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Anyone who struggles with their mental health knows that their trouble with their brain impact every aspect of their lives, from their appetite to their sleep. However, they might not know that getting a poor night’s sleep can exacerbate the problems that they are already struggle with. It can also make some new ones for you to deal with.

When insomnia is commonplace, you are at a much higher risk for depression and suicide. People with depression are also at a higher risk for developing insomnia. When you combine the two, you can have a vicious cycle of problems that worsen each other.

How Sleep Deprivation Hurts Mental Health

Not getting enough sleep can lead to mental, physical and emotional exhaustion, all of which contribute to making it harder to deal with your existing mental health issues. Going without sleep makes it harder to make decisions, modulate your mood and emotional state, and to deal with the stressors in your life. If you also suffer from an injury or chronic pain, you’ll find that your pain will feel more intense than usual when you’ve slept badly, which is frankly just rude.

This can also lead you to feel like you lack the energy to do anything, including the activities that make you feel like yourself. This can impact your social life, making you feel isolated and lonely despite having friends around you. You might also find yourself struggling with your mood and patience levels when you do find the energy to hang out with your friends.

How Mental Health Struggles Hurt Sleep

Depression, anxiety and any other mental illness can make it harder for you to fall asleep at night and stay asleep for the length of time you need to feel rested.

For example, anxiety can make it harder for you to turn your brain off when it’s time for bed, which will make it harder for you to fall asleep. It can also make you wake up in the middle of the night panicking about something that could definitely

Depression can make it difficult for you to feel rested even when you sleep for long periods of time. However, depression also makes it harder for you to stay asleep for long enough to get REM sleep. It can also lead to hypersomnia, where you get too much sleep but don’t feel rested.

How to Support Better Sleep Habits and Better Mental Health

Luckily, there are a lot of things you can do to make your sleep habits and your mental health better with small adjustments to your life, particularly in the evenings. Remember that not all of these tips will necessarily work for you, but none of them will if you don’t give them a try.

Make Time For Sleep

You should set yourself a set time to go to sleep and wake up in the morning and stick to it whenever humanly possible. Adjust your schedule accordingly in order to have eight or more hours where you have no responsibilities other than getting a good night’s sleep.

Make your Sleep Space Comfortable

No one wants to go to bed somewhere where it isn’t comfortable, so make sure that your mattress is suited for you and your other physical health needs. If you sleep on your back or on your side, you’ll need a mattress and pillows that’s suitable for the way you sleep.

You should also make sure that your bedroom is dark, cool and has good airflow. It’s been found that people sleep best between 60 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. You should also try to make sure there is as little light in the room as possible. Luckily, it’s easy to do both of those things in your space without much of an additional expense. Adding blackout curtains and turning the temperature down in your bedroom will do a lot to help you fall asleep and stay asleep.

If you find yourself waking up at simple sounds, try adding a white noise machine to your bedroom to help drown those sounds out. A fan can help with this, as well as creating air flow that will help to keep you cool at night.

Maintain Healthy Sleep Habits

Routines are great for both your sleep habits and your mental health. Building healthy sleep habits is a great way to create a routine that will not only make your brain wind down at night, but also help your body to do the same. Keeping this routine no matter what’s going on in your life will help you to actually get to sleep.

Some Things to Add To Your Routine:

  • Brush Your Teeth
  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Take a Warm (Not Hot) Bath
  • Read Something Relaxing

Some Things to Avoid In Your Routine:

  • Using Your Phone
  • Heavy Exercise
  • Watching TV
  • Drinking Alcohol
Work to Manage Anxiety at Night

Use some of those healthy sleep habits, and the skills you learn in therapy to manage your anxiety as much as possible. Focus on your own self care. If you find yourself struggling with anxious thoughts, try writing them down so that you can wait to deal with them until the morning. This can short circuit the anxious thoughts and let you get to sleep easier.

Get Professional Help with Your Sleep and Mental Health Disorders

While changing up your sleep and eating habits can do a lot of good, they aren’t a cure for any of your mental illnesses or sleep disorders. Talk to a professional about medication, sleep tests or getting counseling if your sleep issues persist or your mental health worsens. This is the most important advice that I can give you.

If you take medication for your mental illnesses, try taking them in the morning instead of at night, in order to help you get to sleep without the side effects affecting your sleep. A doctor will be able to help you to figure out how to avoid those side effects whenever possible or to adjust your medication to have fewer side effects overall.

The post How Poor Sleep Affects Your Mental Health appeared first on The Treatment Specialist.

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The barricades are removed and residents are free to return to the scene where an earlier firestorm had raged through the neighborhood. Neighbors reaching the site brace themselves, preparing for what they might find. Imagine the horror of finding one home after another burnt to the ground, leaving piles of soot and ash as the only signs of the years spent living in that once beautiful and lively neighborhood. Imagine being the owner of the one home that, for reasons no one can grasp, is left standing, unscathed by the inferno. While initially filled with gratitude and relief, those emotions may give way to something referred to as “survivor’s guilt.”

Survivor’s guilt is a lingering psychological effect of escaping injury or death after a traumatic event. Examples would include a natural disaster, as explained above, surviving military combat when buddies were killed, being the lone survivor of an accident that killed the rest of one’s family, seeing members of a cancer support group die while others live, surviving a terrorist attack that resulted in multiple fatalities.

Learning how to live with survivor’s guilt takes time and commitment, but it is essential if one is to process the trauma, heal, and move forward in life. Managing survival guilt will require acquiring a fresh perspective that helps in reframing the kneejerk questions, “Why was I spared,” “What could I have done to prevent this,” or “How can I be happy again when others have suffered?” While these are normal feelings to have following an event where a person is spared where others perish, it is important to gain a new mindset if one is to learn how to live with survivor’s guilt. Only then can you rise above the guilt and continue on with a purposeful life.

What Are the Signs of Survivor Guilt?

It isn’t difficult to understand how someone could be left with survivor’s guilt after managing to avoid injury, property destruction, a layoff at work, or even death when others were not so lucky. You may feel riddled with guilt and feel unworthy and even ashamed that you were spared. The symptoms of survivor’s guilt are somewhat similar to those of a trauma disorder, such as PTSD, with a few additional features. These might include:

  • Feeling a sense of responsibility for the event, or the losses suffered, even if this is not rational or appropriate
  • Experiencing recurring thoughts about the event, replaying the event over and over in one’s mind
  • Feeling guilt when experiencing happiness after the event
  • Nightmares
  • Avoidance of situations that trigger memories of the event
  • Social withdrawal
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Symptoms of anxiety or depression
  • Mood swings
  • Apathy
Tips For Managing Survivor Guilt

When faced with a situation that has resulted in strong guilt feelings after avoiding the fallout that others endured, there are a few actions to take that can help one learn how to live with survivor’s guilt. These tips can help promote the guilt to dissipate, at least for the most part, allowing the individual to be able to function again at normal capacity.

These tips include:

  1. Redirect the energy invested in the guilty feelings towards volunteer activities or victim advocacy efforts. Volunteer at an emergency shelter, work a hotline, donate food and clothing.
  2. Get clarity on what or who is actually to blame. Was it arson that caused the fire, was it enemy fire that took the comrades lives, was it a drunk driver that resulted in the death of a loved one.
  3. Allow yourself to grief for the loss. Attempting to bottle up the guilt and sadness only allows negative emotions to fester and grow, ultimately hindering your own ability to function. Allow for the processing of emotions that lie beneath the guilt.
Treatment for Trauma or PTSD

When all efforts to overcome the survivor’s guilt seem to fail, it is possible that more intensive therapy may be needed to overcome the trauma. Trauma treatment consists of a combination of therapies, usually exposure therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy. These evidence-based approaches help the person address irrational thoughts that are trapping them in the guilt, and then replace them with more affirming self-messaging. Exposure therapy helps to incrementally desensitize the person so the event and aftermath are then processed.

In some cases, medication may be helpful. Medications for trauma-related disorders include anti-anxiety medications, called benzodiazepines, or antidepressants. In addition, learning methods to help induce relaxation, such as deep breathing exercises or mindfulness training, can also assist with decreasing feelings of anxiety.

The Treatment Specialist Provides Essential Information About Mental Health

The Treatment Specialist is an online platform that provides an extensive digital library on topics related to mental health, addiction, and dual diagnosis disorders and treatment. Getting help to learn how to live with survivor’s guilt is the first step toward mental wellness. Reach out to The Treatment Specialist today for free personal assistance and guidance toward treatment options. Call (877) 408-0734 today.

The post How to Live With Survivors Guilt appeared first on The Treatment Specialist.

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The moment has arrived. You are done. You are done seeing every single part of your life unravel. You are done feeling horrible every waking hour. You are ready.

Coming to this juncture, that pivotal moment when the reality of your disease dictates change, is usually the punctuation point of a very long and arduous journey. Seeing firsthand the havoc the disease of alcoholism has caused in your life, and the life of everyone in your orbit, is painful. But by successfully knocking down and plowing through each obstacle to treatment you are finally ready to take the impressive turn toward seeking help for alcoholism.

A daunting challenge, for sure! No way can anyone facing such fundamental change that will impact every aspect of one’s life claim to be blasé about it. This is big. But staying alive is bigger. With the support of a loved one, seeking help for alcoholism is the first step toward reclaiming your life, wiping the slate clean, and rediscovering fresh purpose.

What Is the “Bottom” Anyway?

So often people say, “They have to reach their bottom before they will accept help,” when discussing that mythical sweet spot when an alcoholic is finally ready for treatment. This is a dangerous assumption to make, when the only for sure bottom anyone can call is death itself. Bottoms come and bottoms go. It is a mistake to stand by and watch someone’s life implode while waiting for the loved one to hit their particular bottom.

The alcoholic suffers daily. Each day brings its own set of unpleasant circumstances that define the eternal ongoing “bottom” that characterizes the disease. Losing one’s job, one’s spouse, one’s home, one’s health, one’s mind. Alcoholism takes no prisoners. It seduces them into a life of misery, slowly and stealthily, and presents new lows on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis. Do not wait for that ultimate bottom before seeking help for alcoholism.

What to Expect in Alcohol Detox

Alcohol detox is not to be attempted without medical supervision, as there are potentially life-threatening and unpredictable withdrawal complications that would need immediate attention. A medical detox provides a team of trained professionals who will be monitoring progress, vital signs, and withdrawal symptoms throughout the detox process. The severity of withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to severe, depending on the length of history involving high alcohol consumption, the coexistence of a mental health condition, and general health status. In most cases, alcohol detox will take 5-7 days.

The team will administer medications and psychological support to help greatly minimize the effects of withdrawal. The interventions provided can make the difference between sticking it out and successfully completing detox, or relapsing back to alcohol use.

Alcohol detox withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Sweating
  • Hand tremors
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Shaking
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Headache
  • Disorientation
  • Elevated heart rate
  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Insomnia
  • Seizures
  • Delirium tremens
How is Alcoholism Treated?

Alcohol addiction treatment immediately follows the detoxification process and can be procured in either an outpatient setting (mild to moderate alcohol use disorder) or a residential setting (moderate to severe alcohol use disorder.  The residential setting provides a higher level of care, with 24-hour support and monitoring and a full daily schedule of treatment elements.

In general, alcohol addiction treatment involves:

  • Psychotherapy. Therapy is the bedrock of alcohol recovery, as it helps the individual examine underlying emotional issues or past traumas so these can be processed and heal. Cognitive behavioral therapy provides a roadmap for making core changes in thought-behavior patterns that have kept a person trapped in addiction behaviors. The recovery skills learned in CBT help reframe disordered thinking toward positive, affirming thoughts and subsequent behaviors.
  • Education. Learning about the impact of alcohol on brain chemistry and structure can be a deterrent to relapse, and includes guiding the individual to creating relapse prevention strategies and learning new coping skills.
  • Naltrexone. Naltrexone is a non-narcotic medication that can assist in reducing alcohol cravings and relapse for those who meet criteria for usage.
  • 12-step or non 12-step meetings and programming. Peer support is a key element in recovery, and these meetings provide the opportunity to share experiences, challenges, fears, and goals with others in recovery.
  • Adjunctive activities. Rounding out rehabilitation are several activities that augment the psychotherapy, including mindfulness training, yoga, art therapy, acupuncture, recreational therapy, equine therapy, and other activities that teach individuals relaxation techniques.
The Treatment Specialist Provides Key Information About Alcohol Use Disorder

The Treatment Specialist is an online provider of high quality material regarding addiction, mental health, and dual diagnosis. When seeking help for alcoholism, reach out to The Treatment Specialist for important information about planning for detox and rehabilitation. Our compassionate specialists have over a decade of experience guiding individuals towards treatment options, and are here for you. Please do not wait another day to get the help you need. Give The Treatment Specialist a call today at (877) 408-0734.

The post Seeking Help for Alcoholism appeared first on The Treatment Specialist.

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Anyone who has endured a major depressive episode knows full well the debilitating impact of the accompanying fatigue on daily functioning. This is not just a matter of feeling unmotivated or lazy. Fatigue that is associated with major depression is in a class all its own. This kind of fatigue gets into the bones, affecting not only physical functioning, but also psychological and cognitive functioning as well. In this pervasive state of exhaustion, apathy and despair are bedfellows.

So, can depression cause severe fatigue? You bet. It surely is not your imagination if you find yourself struggling with persistent feelings of sadness, the cornerstone of depression, while stuck in bed all day. Depression can truly demobilize a person, causing such severe fatigue that even the most basic tasks seem insurmountable. It isn’t difficult to see how depression can have a significant impact on one’s career and home life when considering the effects of fatigue on your ability to be a fully productive and functioning person.

When wondering if you may be experiencing depression, and asking can depression cause severe fatigue, the most important step to take is to schedule a physical exam with your primary care doctor. Severe fatigue is also a common symptom in various medical conditions, which should be ruled out as a potential cause. If no health issue is diagnosed, the doctor will likely refer you to a mental health practitioner.

What Are the Signs of Depression?

While most of us think of the emotional funk associated with depression, it is often the physical symptoms that first alert us something is wrong, one of those being deep fatigue. When the symptoms persist most of the time for at least two weeks there is a good chance that it is a depressive disorder at the root of the symptoms.

According to the diagnostic criteria stated in the DSM-5, symptoms of depression include:

  • Low mood, sadness, feelings of hopelessness or despair
  • Fatigue
  • Slowed motor movements and cognitive functioning
  • Changes in appetite, leading to sudden weight gain or loss
  • Changes in sleep patterns, insomnia or hypersomnia
  • Feelings of shame, worthlessness, or guilt
  • Difficulty concentrating or making decisions
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed
  • Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide
Depression and Fatigue

Although depression can be clinically diagnosed with only five of the above symptoms present, fatigue tends to be one of the most commonly cited symptoms. In fact, according to a study published in Psychiatry Research, 90% of depressed patients participating in the study reported severe fatigue—and 81% of them were on antidepressants. So even the medication for treating depression can either cause fatigue or not see the fatigue symptom alleviated by the medication.

An article entitled “Fatigue as a Residual Symptom of Depression” [Targum and Fava] points out that when someone with diagnosed and treated depression continues to suffer from severe fatigue, that alone can cause them to relapse back into depression. Their impairment due to the fatigue impacts work, social, and academic pursuits, adding to feelings of despondency. When asking can depression cause severe fatigue, the answer would be yes, and severe fatigue can also cause depression.

Treatment of Major Depressive Disorder

Treating major depressive disorder usually takes the shape of a two-pronged approach: antidepressant drug therapy and psychotherapy. These treatment elements are the cornerstone of depression treatment, although to varying degrees of success. Antidepressants come in various forms and act in different nuances ways upon brain chemistry. The four categories of antidepressants include SSRIs, SNRIs, MAOIs, and TCAs. Antidepressants take 4-6 weeks to produce various degrees of symptom relief, although 30%-50% of patients do not achieve symptom relief from these drugs.

Psychotherapy is designed to treat the particular features of the depression, so for some individuals that may involve delving into childhood trauma to help process and heal these emotional wounds, while others may benefit from cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT helps patients confront their negative self-messaging in response to various triggers, and then change those thought patterns toward more productive, positive ones.

Alternative Treatment Options for Depression

Traditional treatment methods don’t work for everyone. Because depression is a complex and not well understood mental health disorder, there is still not a consensus on the exact cause of it. That is what explains the variance of response levels patients have to antidepressants. In a large number of depression patients, even after trialing several different drugs, antidepressants are ineffective.

These treatment-resistant patients still have some alternative treatments to consider. Patients that were not responsive to conventional treatments have increasingly sought brain stimulation therapies out. Transcranial magenetic stimulation (TMS) is one such therapy that has been clinically proven to help about 60% of treatment-resistant patients experience symptom relief. TMS therapy is the only brain stimulation technique that does not require sedation or surgery, and is well tolerated with few reported adverse effects.

Other alternative treatments might include hypnotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), and vagus nerve stimulation.

Lifestyle Tweaks that Help Depression

In addition to the clinical treatment of depression, more attention is being paid in recent years to the role of exercise, nutrition, and stress management. A sound nutritious diet is said to improve overall brain health. Regular cardio exercise produces the feel good chemicals called endorphins, and stimulates dopamine, which improve mood and sleep quality. Managing stress through such activities as deep breathing techniques, yoga, mindfulness, and massage therapy can help reduce the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline, helping one to achieve a more peaceful state of mind.

The Treatment Specialist is an Online Resource of Mental Health Information

The Treatment Specialist provides in depth information, statistics, and clinical study results about a wide range of mental health and behavioral health disorders. When wondering can depression cause severe fatigue, it implies that you or a loved one may be struggling with this serious mental health condition. The Treatment Specialist offers information about depression and the various treatment options available. For any questions about depression, please reach out to The Treatment Specialist today at (877) 408-0734.

The post Can Depression Cause Severe Fatigue? appeared first on The Treatment Specialist.

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As of 2018, Mental Health America reported that one in five American adults (roughly 40 million people) have a mental health condition. Although it has become more culturally acceptable to talk about anxiety disorders and depression, there are many mental health concerns that are still largely considered to be taboo. One such category is personality disorders. Despite the fact that personality disorders can appear in conjunction with anxiety and/or depression, proper discourse about the disorders is lacking. Whether you think that you, a family member, or a friend has an undiagnosed personality disorder, getting educated is the first step in moving forward.

Working toward prioritizing your mental health and helping those you love with their mental health concerns is essential for treatment and condition management. If you suspect that you or someone you know may have a personality disorder, learn more about the signs and symptoms.

What Is A Personality Disorder?

The Mayo Clinic defines a personality disorder as “a type of mental disorder in which you have a rigid and unhealthy pattern of thinking, functioning and behaving.” While the signs and symptoms of each unique personality disorder vary significantly, they all tend to cause social problems, difficulties at work and school, and problems with family.

What Kinds Of Personality Disorders Exist?

Among the three main clusters (A, B, and C), there are 10 types of personality disorders. Each cluster has its own defining characteristics that are present in all disorders that belong to the given category. Outside of the common cluster characteristics, each individual personality disorder has specific symptoms that are unique.

What characteristics are found in each cluster? Cluster A personality disorders all share thought patterns that experts define as “odd” and “eccentric.” The hallmark of cluster B personality disorders is behavior that is unpredictable, attention-seeking, and occasionally harmful. Finally, cluster C personality disorders share the common themes of fear and anxiety.

Here is the full list of all 10 personality disorders and their corresponding clusters:

Cluster A Personality Disorders

  • Paranoid personality disorder
  • Schizoid personality disorder
  • Schizotypal personality disorder

Cluster B Personality Disorders

  • Antisocial personality disorder
  • Borderline personality disorder
  • Histrionic personality disorder
  • Narcissistic personality disorder

Cluster C Personality Disorders

  • Avoidant personality disorder
  • Dependent personality disorder
  • Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder
What are the signs and symptoms of the various personality disorders?

Even within each of the three personality disorder clusters, the symptoms can vary greatly. The signs of a developing personality disorder often shows up in teens and adults. To explore more about each disorder, learn about the defining symptoms.

  • Paranoid personality disorder: Individuals who are diagnosed with this condition exhibit a strong distrust of others. This distrust results from the belief that people are conspiring to cause them harm, tell lies, and hide secrets from the sufferer. To prevent perceived harm, those with the disorder do not often disclose personal information, and can become hostile and hold grudges if they believe that they have been wronged.
  • Schizoid personality disorder: This cluster A personality disorder is defined primarily by the preference to be alone, and to avoid the development of relationships. In addition to having little to no desire to socialize, individuals with the condition have difficulties with expressing emotion, and as a result, can appear to have a lack of empathy and compassion toward others.
  • Schizotypal personality disorder: Although schizotypal personality disorder sounds similar to schizoid personality disorder, and shares some defining characteristics, there are key differences between the two. In addition to social anxiety and showing a lack of emotion, those with schizotypal personality disorder have distinct patterns of thought. These individuals report hearing voices, the belief that they can control things with their mind, and that there are hidden messages in everyday occurrences.
  • Antisocial personality disorder: As one of the more hostile personality disorders, people who have been diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder can exhibit volatile, or even dangerous, behaviors. Theft, lying, impulsive actions, frequent legal problems, and violent behaviors are all common occurrences with this condition.
  • Borderline personality disorder: Despite the similarities in risky and hostile behaviors present in both the antisocial and borderline personality disorders, borderline personality disorder is much more self-destructive. People with this condition often exhibit tendencies such as having a negative self-image, engaging in unsafe behaviors, having a fear of being alone, and the desire to harm one’s self.
  • Histrionic personality disorder: Unlike the first two cluster B personality disorders, histrionic personality disorder does not involve dangerous or risky behaviors. Instead, this disorder is characterized by the excessive desire for attention. Those with the condition seek to gain attention and approval by acting bold, emotional, and dramatic in social situations. Additionally, individuals with histrionic personality disorder often have challenges with fitting in socially, as they often have incorrect perceptions of their current relationships.
  • Narcissistic personality disorder: Those diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder have thoughts that are self-focused, and that revolve around attaining success and power. Rather than having doubts about their ability to achieve, people with this disorder hold the belief that they are supremely talented, deserving of praise, and that they are better than others.
  • Avoidant personality disorder: The first of the three cluster C personality disorders is avoidant personality disorder. Those with the condition often avoid social situations due to feelings of inadequacy, sensitivity to criticism, and the constant fear of not being accepted by others. These individuals suffer from chronic low self-confidence, and can struggle with performance at school and work.
  • Dependent personality disorder: People who experience dependent personality disorder have a fear of being left alone, or of having to take care of oneself. They often display excessively clingy and dependent behavior. In addition to low self-confidence, those with the disorder commonly have challenges disagreeing with opinions, put up with abusive behaviors from others, and do not feel capable of taking on challenges by themselves.
  • Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder: A diagnosis of obsessive-compulsive personality disorder is marked by intense perfectionism, inflexibility, and the need to control people and situations. Individuals with the disorder are often harsh with themselves and with others if mistakes (real or perceived) occur. These thoughts and behaviors make work and school especially challenging, since perfection cannot be achieved.
What is the treatment for a personality disorder?

Once diagnosed with one of the above personality disorders, mental health professionals can prescribe medications, suggest home remedies, and provide psychotherapy sessions. Extreme cases of a given personality disorder may require a period of hospitalization. Depending on the specific disorder and severity, treatments are tailored to help an individual effectively manage his or her condition.

If you suspect that you or a loved one has a personality disorder, it is crucial to get in touch with a professional as soon as possible. A combination of treatments can significantly improve the quality of one’s social, work, and personal life.

The post How Can You Know if You Or A Loved One Has a Personality Disorder? appeared first on The Treatment Specialist.

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Britney Spears had been lying low, not posting on social media for months following news that her dad, Jamie, had endured a life-threatening medical emergency. Over these last three months, Spears has been prioritizing time with her father and family. At the same time, Spears has struggled to maintain her own mental balance due to the overwhelming emotional distress caused by these events.

On April 3, Britney Spears posted a short note on Instagram, stating she needed to take, “a little ‘me time.’” Apparently, for about a week she has been residing at a mental wellness facility for some emotional nourishment. It is admirable, knowing her prior mental health challenges from over a decade age, that Ms. Spears had the sense to proactively seek out support, rather than allow her mental state to deteriorate. In 2008 she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and has been able to overcome the challenges of the disorder and achieve substantial success in her profession.

Spears offers an excellent example of the importance of recognizing when we are emotionally fragile, and then taking action to get help. Too many people suffer from undiagnosed, untreated mental illness, only leading to impaired functioning and a poor quality of life. As Ms. Spears accesses the professional help that will help to heal and strengthen her mind, body, and spirit, she will find herself in a much stronger place, and can be a source of strength for her father and her family in the days ahead.

Overcoming Barriers to Getting Mental Health Treatment

It is sad to think that, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, only 41% of those who suffer from a mental health disorder seek treatment for it. Untreated mental health issues can lead to more serious medical conditions, loss of employment, financial distress, substance use disorders, and suicide.

Some of the primary barriers to receiving help for a mental health condition include:

  • Low perceived need for treatment. Those with mild to moderate mental health disorders may not see the need for treatment. They may believe they are equipped to handle the issue by themselves, or once in treatment may soon drop out thinking they can manage their mental health without structured treatment.
  • Stigma around mental health issues. A negative stereotype still stubbornly clings to anything associated with mental health. People may resist seeking treatment because they know the perceptions that people have about mental illness and don’t want to be lumped in with those negative beliefs.
  • Finances. Mental health services may be unavailable to some due to lack of insurance. Without insurance, the expense of therapy is cost prohibitive. Low income individuals may qualify for state programs and assistance, but middle income earners without insurance have few options.
  • Medication. One survey regarding barriers to mental health treatment found that a whopping 20% of respondents resisted seeking treatment because they did not want to be put on psych meds.
How a Mental Wellness Facility Can Restore Balance

Although there may be some resistance to getting help from a mental health practitioner, the fact is that much good can come of making one’s mental health a priority. By seeking support at a mental wellness facility, either residential or outpatient, the individual in psychological distress encounters a range of therapeutic activities and compassionate providers that can help them move through the setback and restore emotional balance.

Starting with something as simple as rest, a wellness retreat can provide a quiet, soothing setting where your mind can find solace and peace, absent of the usual triggers that can keep you off balance. This setting carves out a space devoted to healing your mind and soul, prioritizing wellness. Partnering with the mental health practitioners in psychotherapy sessions, and journeying with others during group therapy sessions, provides fresh new perspectives and techniques that you will take along with you.

What Services Does a Mental Wellness Facility Offer?

With such a wide range of possible mental health conditions to consider, it is difficult to define the exact treatment methods that will be accessed for someone seeking psychological support. However, most mental health disorders are helped through two fundamental interventions, which are a combination of medication and psychotherapy. These remain the cornerstone of treatment for mental health conditions, however additional therapies and activities help to round out and fine-tune a treatment plan.

Psychotherapy. With various modalities to select from, a psychiatrist or licensed psychotherapist will access the significant healing properties of psychotherapy. There are several short-term approaches, usually lasting less than 12 weeks, that can provide powerful insights and constructive change that result in substantial improvement in functioning. These include cognitive behavioral therapy, solutions brief focused therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and interpersonal therapy.

Long-term therapy, usually psychodynamic therapy, is beneficial for longer timeframes where in depth exploration of one’s past is indicated for a positive recovery outcome. Deep-seated emotional scars, such as those related to childhood trauma, abuse, sexual assault, or neglect are best served with the longer term psychotherapy.

Medication. There are literally dozens of drugs on the market for assisting with mental health disorders. The most commonly prescribed categories include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications (benzodiazepines), mood stabilizers, and anti-psychotic drugs. Rarely is medication alone the sole treatment plan. Medication can work well with ongoing psychotherapy.

Holistic activities. Holistic therapies are used to round out the treatment plan. These therapies are excellent tools for reducing stress and anxiety and promoting relaxation. Many can be practiced at home, and some can be practiced anywhere. Incorporating the holistic activities into the daily routine can help augment the effects of the conventional therapies. Holistic activities include mindfulness, deep breathing exercises, guided meditation, massage therapy, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, gardening therapy, and art therapy.

The Treatment Specialist Online Resource for Mental Health Information

The Treatment Specialist offers in depth information about a wide array of mental health topics, as well as those pertaining to addiction and dual diagnosis. Our specialists are available to answer questions and to guide individuals toward treatment options and other resources. If you feel the need to address a mental health issue, and need some direction, please reach out to The Treatment Specialist today at (877) 408-0734.

The post Britney Spears Enters Mental Wellness Facility to Restore Her Balance appeared first on The Treatment Specialist.

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Dematillomania, also referred to as skin picking disorder or excoriation disorder, refers to the compulsive picking, rubbing, scratching or digging into one’s skin. This is not the same as the occasional picking at a pimple or scab, which is a common behavior. Compulsive skin picking involves damaging the skin by repetitive picking, resulting in noticeable sores.

Because dermatillomania is considered an obsessive-compulsive related disorder, learning how to stop compulsive skin picking will involve addressing the mental health disorder behind the behavior. There are focused therapies that help individuals access tools for learning how to stop compulsive skin picking behaviors, which can ultimately improve their quality of life.

About Compulsive Skin Picking

Skin picky disorder is a mental health condition that is associated with obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Also referred to as a body-focused repetitive behavior, compulsive skin picking usually is first seen in early adolescence. A much higher incidence of this disorder involves females, who represent approximately 75% of the individuals affected by the compulsive skin picking.

The behavior is directed toward disturbing the skin, whether it is healthy skin or acne, scabs, or some form of skin lesion. The compulsive nature of the disorder may result in the individual spending large chunks of time on the picking behavior, even several hours a day. Compulsive skin picking results in open sores that can bleed or scar the skin. The area of the skin targeted may shift from one region to another, and can persist for weeks, months, even a year if untreated. Attempts are often made to camouflage the skin damage using make-up or clothing.

While the link to OCD is common, there are other causes for skin picking behaviors. These might include withdrawal from opiates, a dermatological disorder, a skin infection such as scabies, body dysmorphic disorder, psychosis, or an autoimmune disorder. Before pursuing a treatment plan, a careful evaluation should be conducted.

Effects of Skin Picking Disorder

Individuals who struggle with skin picking disorder often find their lives negatively impacted by it. There are several ways that skin picking disorder can cause problems in someone’s life, including:

  • Skin infections
  • Secondary infections
  • Scarring of the skin
  • Social isolation
  • Shame and embarrassment
  • Emotional distress
  • Disfigurement
  • Strained interpersonal relationships
Signs of Skin Picking Disorder

Signs of skin picking disorder are evident visually, as the individual will appear with multiple, sometimes dozens, of visible sores covering an area of skin. They may wear long sleeves and long pants during hot weather. They may have attempted to cover the sores using make-up. They may exhibit signs of depression. They may avoid activities they once enjoyed such as going to the beach, water skiing, pool time. They may become isolated, due to embarrassment about the appearance of the skin.

The DSM-5 has classified Excoriation (skin picking disorder, dermatillomania) as an obsessive-compulsive and related disorder. It lists the following diagnostic criteria:

  • Recurrent skin picking that results in lesions
  • Repeated attempts to stop the behavior
  • The symptoms cause clinically significant distress or impairment
  • The symptoms are not caused by a substance or medical, or dermatological condition
  • The symptoms are not better explained by another psychiatric disorder
About OCD

The disorder shares common features to OCD. Just as someone with OCD feels anxiety caused by an obsessive thought, leading to the compulsive behavior, skin picking disorder has a similar path. The individual may experience an urge or physical tension that precedes the picking, followed by unpleasant emotions that lead to rationalizing the behavior, giving themselves permission to pick the skin. Following the skin picking session, the individual experiences urge reduction and a sense of pleasure or relief, as well as the negative effects of shame, depression, isolation, sores and even disfigurement.

This is a similar experience to classic OCD, where the discomfort linked to the obsessive or disturbing thoughts leads to repetitive behaviors that result in feelings of shame, embarrassment, isolation, and depression. OCD is a mental health disorder within the anxiety spectrum. Because of the close relationship to OCD, treatment interventions for skin picking disorder are similar.

How to Stop Compulsive Skin Picking

The treatment plan for individuals with skin picking disorder will depend on whether it is intrinsically a mental health disorder or simply an unconscious bad habit. Once a thorough evaluation has been conducted, it can be determined if the person meets the criteria for a mental health disorder. If not, a therapy known as habit reversal training can help identify triggers that lead to the skin picking episodes, and then respond with more healthy behaviors.

When, however, the behavior is a diagnosed mental health disorder, the usual treatment protocol will be similar to that of an OCD diagnosis. The individual will be prescribed both antidepressant drug therapy along with psychotherapy, specifically cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

CBT has been found to be the most effective type of psychotherapy for treating OCD. It is a short-term therapy that helps patients recognize thought distortions that precede the compulsive behaviors. Working with the therapist, the individual will learn to notice triggering disordered thoughts and then reframe the thought patterns so the compulsive behaviors will not be necessary for relief.

In addition to the antidepressants and CBT, many also find value in learning stress-reduction techniques that they can access when they perceive an upcoming trigger. Deep breathing exercises can be done anywhere and will almost immediately reduce feelings of anxiety. Another option is mindfulness meditation; keeping the mind focused on the present moment and concentrating on the breathing process can also promote a sense of relaxation.

The Treatment Specialist Provides Online Mental Health Information

The Treatment Specialist provides readers with a digital library of important mental health and substance use disorder information and data. When you or a loved one is struggling with dermatillomania, understanding how to stop compulsive skin picking is essential information. The Treatment Specialist can provide helpful information to help you resolve these behaviors, as well as suggest treatment options for OCD. For more information about skin picking disorder, please contact The Treatment Specialist today at (866) 408-0734.

The post How To Stop Compulsive Skin Picking appeared first on The Treatment Specialist.

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Although that innocent Starbucks habit may seem as innocuous as drinking water, the surprising fact is that caffeine is a psychoactive substance—meaning it impacts brain function. The stimulant properties in coffee, energy drinks, or tea make these go-to beverages relied on to get us through our busy days when energy flags.

But what happens when you realize you have developed a habit of excessive caffeine consumption? Signs of this may creep in, such as feeling jittery, irritable, restless, or being unable to get quality sleep. When an attempt is made to rein in the caffeine intake, withdrawal symptoms kick in.

So, what symptoms are involved in caffeine withdrawal? There are several unpleasant effects one will experience when caffeine is withheld. Just as with any drug, these are the signs that tell you an addiction has developed. When planning on quitting caffeinated beverages, it is good to know what symptoms are involved in caffeine withdrawal, and how long it takes to push through these.

About Caffeine

People often refer to caffeine as a stimulant. In reality, caffeine simply allows the brain’s chemistry to have stimulating effects. This works by the caffeine blocking off the brain’s receptors for adenosine. Adenosine is a naturally occurring molecule in the brain that will lock onto the receptors for adenosine, bringing about a feeling of fatigue. Caffeine blocks the receptors, instead generating feelings of energy and mental alertness. Caffeine is an enabler for the stimulant effect.

Over time, with continued use of caffeine, tolerance will begin to require more caffeinated beverages to achieve that same sense of energy. Eventually, the brain will produce extra adenosine receptors and decrease norepinephrine receptors, creating physical dependence. When that happens, any attempt to stop drinking coffee or other caffeinated beverages will result in withdrawal symptoms.

Symptoms of caffeine addiction include:

  • Muscle twitching
  • Restlessness
  • Excitability
  • Flushed face
  • Increased heart rate
  • Upset stomach
  • Nervousness, jitteriness
  • Sleeping problems
  • Agitation
  • Rambling thoughts and speech
What Symptoms Are Involved in Caffeine Withdrawal?

When someone who has developed a chemical dependency decides to stop consuming caffeine they will experience a rebound effect, meaning they experience the opposite of the effects of the caffeine. When wondering what symptoms are involved in caffeine withdrawal, the following 8 symptoms are the most common:

  1. Headache. Caffeine affects the flow of blood to the brain by constricting them. Even three cups of coffee can reduce blood flow by nearly 27%. When caffeine is withheld, the blood vessels open up, increasing blood flow to the brain, resulting in headaches. As the brain adapts to the increase in blood flow, the headaches subside.
  2. Nausea. Many experience nausea the first day or two of caffeine withdrawal, and some also experience vomiting. Nausea and other flue-like symptoms, including muscle pain are common as the body adjusts to the absence of caffeine.
  3. Blurred vision. People lean on caffeine to help them work long hours, often sitting in front of the computer into the evening hours. When caffeine is eliminated, the individual may experience blurred vision, in addition to a sense of tired eyes, and a dull pain behind the eyes.
  4. Fatigue. As the brain adjusts to the absence of caffeine, the rebound effect of intense fatigue ensues. This means the individual feels unusually tired and the sense of low energy is evidence of no longer using caffeine to stimulate alertness.
  5. Anxiety. Even though people who are sensitive to caffeine’s effects may experience anxiousness and irritability, those who quit caffeine, as well as the sugar that is often present in the beverages, also report feeling withdrawal related anxiety symptoms.
  6. Difficulty concentrating. Consistent caffeine ingestion can cause increased levels of adrenaline, a stress hormone, as well as boosting dopamine and norepinephrine. These chemicals cause someone to feel more alert. When caffeine is eliminated, individuals then experience difficulty concentrating and brain fog.
  7. Depressed mood. As brain chemistry attempts to normalize and stabilize after ending an extended period of caffeine intake, low mood can result. The temporary feelings of depression may include feelings of sadness, despair, and hopelessness.
  8. Tremors. Quitting caffeine cold turkey after a history of heavy consumption can result in hand tremors. The tremors can last anywhere from 2 to 9 days during the withdrawal period.
Tips for Quitting Caffeine

Caffeine withdrawal syndrome is a bona fide disorder included in the DSM-5. If someone has decided that they have become dependent on caffeine and find themselves using excessive amounts of caffeinated beverages, there is a strategy to quitting caffeine while minimizing the withdrawal symptoms.

  • Write down all the sources of caffeine ingested on a regular basis, including different types of coffee drinks (caffeine concentrations vary), sodas, energy drinks, energy bars, diet supplements, and medications. This gives you a sense of a starting point.
  • Reduce the intake of caffeine by 10% a day. This gradual tapering process helps the brain adjust slowly over time to reduced caffeine levels. You can eliminate 10% of the total beverages or caffeine sources daily, or water down the beverages to achieve the reduction.
  • Increase water intake, as well as decaffeinated teas or coffee as you eliminate caffeinated beverages each day. This satisfies the desire to drink something, even if it has no caffeine, while allowing the body to slowly adjust.
  • Some individuals believe that initiating the reduction of caffeine while on a vacation is helpful. There is no workday stress demanding extra energy or concentration, making vacation time a good time to begin weaning off caffeine.
  • Increase physical activity. Increasing cardio workouts, such as running, walking, cycling, or swimming, actually results in more energy, better sleep quality, and sharper concentration. Exercise can become a natural replacement for the caffeine.
The Treatment Specialist Provides Useful Information about Addiction and Mental Health

The Treatment Specialist is digital library of information about mental health and substance use disorders. Our expert team of specialists provide sources of useful information regarding symptoms and treatment of substance misuse, including caffeine. If you have questions about what symptoms are involved in caffeine withdrawal, please reach out to The Treatment Specialist today at (877) 408-0734.

The post What Symptoms Are Involved in Caffeine Withdrawal? appeared first on The Treatment Specialist.

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What is BPD? Bipolar disorder (BPD) is complex mental health disorder with four different variations of the mood disorder. Living with BPD can be a difficult journey, often resulting in interpersonal problems, work-related issues, and social isolation. Imagine the flow of life constantly interrupted with dramatic mood shifts that can take you from one extreme to the other. No wonder BPD is exhausting and impairing.

Learning how to manage this vexing mood disorder is challenging, with many twists and turns on the road to living a normal fulfilling life. But here we discuss the basics about BPD, as well as treatment options and complimentary therapies that can offer renewed hope for those who struggle with this mental health disorder.

What is BPD?

BPD is a mood disorder that was referred to as manic-depression until publication of the DSM III in 1980, at which point the term bipolar disorder was adopted. In 1987 further distinctions were made by defining four subtypes of the disorder. BPD features extreme emotional swings alternating between mania or hypomania, and depression.

  • Manic episodes refer to sudden burst of euphoria, energy, productivity, reduced need for sleep, racing thoughts, easily distracted, loss of appetite, sense of grandiosity, excessive and/or rapid talking, impulsivity, and irritability.
  • Hypomanic episodes refer to episodes less extreme than manic episodes.
  • Depressive episodes refer to feelings of sadness, hopelessness, despair, disruption in eating and sleeping patterns, fatigue, apathy, difficulty concentrating, loss of interest in usual activities, and thoughts of suicide.

The subtypes of bipolar disorder include:

Bipolar I Disorder: Characterized by at least one manic episode that is followed or preceded by a depressive episode.

Bipolar II Disorder: Characterized by at least one depressive episode and at least one hypomanic episode.

Cyclothymic Disorder: Characterized by less extreme episodes of depression with episodes of hypomania that persist for at least two years.

Other Specified Bipolar and Related Disorders: Disorders that feature bipolar-like symptoms but do not fulfill diagnostic criteria for the above three subtypes.

What Causes BPD?

When learning about what is BPD, it is logical to ask what causes this disorder. To date, the cause of BPD remains a mystery. Science continues to study the disorder to hopefully identify causal factors someday. For now, there are three risk factors for acquiring BPD. These include:

Genetics: There is some evidence that bipolar disorder may have genetic roots, although this has yet to be definitely proven.

Family history: It has been found that bipolar disorder funs in families.

Brain structure: Brain imaging has detected that brains of those with bipolar disorder are structured differently from those of individuals without the disorder.

Complications of BPD

Untreated bipolar disorder can lead to very serious disruptions to health and life functioning. Bipolar may be mistaken for a different condition, therefore not properly treated, or it may be a co-occurring disorder that coexists with a substance use disorder, which may camouflage this serious mental health disorder.

Some of the complications of bipolar disorder include:

  • Substance abuse
  • Problems in relationships
  • Negative impact on work or school performance
  • Financial or legal problems
  • Diabetes
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Migraines
  • Heart Disease
  • Obesity
How BPD is Treated

Treatment for BPD involves many interventions. Since 1949 a core long-term treatment protocol for BPD remains the psychotropic drug, Lithium, however this drug has inherent risks, including causing birth defects. There are other antipsychotic drugs that are used to manage mania, but to date lithium has been shown to be the most effective. Other medications used for treating bipolar disorder include mood stabilizers and antidepressants, although some studies have shown that many popular antidepressants had no better effect than a placebo for the bipolar patient.

Targeted psychotherapy is a fundamental piece of the treatment plan for BPD. The most effective psychotherapy models for bipolar disorder include cognitive behavioral therapy, family-focused therapy, interpersonal and social rhythm therapy, and group psycho-education.

Outpatient or residential programs exist to serve the needs of the individual struggling with bipolar disorder. Outpatient resources may include a day program, an outpatient treatment center, or private psychiatric services. The residential treatment option is appropriate for individuals who experience escalation in symptoms or episodes, or declining effects of current protocols. A residential program provides an extended treatment environment that is free from the triggers may be causing the increase in episodes, allowing for a more intensive treatment approach.

Living with BPD

Because of the impact of BPD on the family or social network of the affected individual, it is essential that psychosocial approaches are woven into long-term maintenance of managing the mood disorder. The goals of the psychosocial interventions include:

  • Increasing acceptance of the disorder
  • Improving identification of warning signs of impending episode
  • Improving adherence to medication schedules
  • Help establish healthy sleep routines
  • Reduce the use of drugs or alcohol
  • Improve relationships with family members
  • Improve communication skills
  • Improve identification and coping with environmental stressors
  • Improve social, work, and family engagement

Stress management is another key tool for long-term BPD maintenance. This can be achieved through such activities as yoga, meditation, deep breathing exercises, mindfulness training, massage therapy, and acupuncture. Incorporating these activities into the overall wellness routine can help keep stress regulated, which may improve overall functioning.

The Treatment Specialist Provides Helpful Information About BPD

If you are wondering, “What is BPD?” then you have come to the right place. The Treatment Specialist is an important online resource with answers to questions about mental health disorders and addiction, and can provide some guidance toward treatment options. Bipolar disorder is a complicated mental health disorder that requires expert psychiatric intervention for best results. A high quality mental health program can teach individuals how to regulate stress and negative emotions, which can help them manage BPD on a daily basis. For more information about BPD please connect with The Treatment Specialist today at (877) 408-0734.

The post What is BPD? The Facts About Bipolar Disorder appeared first on The Treatment Specialist.

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Addiction – what is it anyway?

An addiction is anything that is hard to stop doing regardless of the negative affects it has on your life and the harm it brings to those around you. It feels like an intense need for a substance and this substance can take the form of food, cigarettes, gambling, sex, shopping, video games or alcohol – just to name a few.

Regardless of the form the addiction takes, addiction is common and shared among people of all races, socio economic backgrounds and education, basically no one set of people is immune to becoming addicted to a substance or behavior and People from all walks of life are affected.

Though addiction is common place, many people suffering from an addiction, including the friends and family members of those suffering are ashamed to talk about it. It is my hope this essay will help to keep the dialogue going, as talking about mental health issues and addiction is a step toward understanding and therefore healing.

Why Does Addiction Happen?

In my experience, having had a close friend addicted to alcohol and another to stimulants as well as my own struggle with a food, addiction is not caused by one single factor and it definitely does not show up because of mental weakness or a lack of willpower.

Research states however, that a few of the factors that affect the probability of having an addiction include genetics, our natural brain chemistry, traumatic childhood experiences, mental & emotional health (people dealing with depression and/or anxiety) and simply not knowing how to deal with stress.

Research also states that if one has parents that have or had struggled with addiction, that person will have a higher propensity of becoming addicted to a substance or behavior.

In regards to brain chemistry, addictive substances and behaviors increase the level of dopamine (a pleasure chemical) in the brain, which gives the feeling of positivity and good will. In my case, dopamine is released in my brain when I eat sugary and salty foods. In the case of my two friends they suffered serious childhood traumas, emotional and physical abuse and they never dealt with them, as they never felt they were able to talk about it to their families. This caused them to seek comfort in their substances. The fact of the matter is no one wants to feel pain; it is through their vices of choice that my friends found some temporary relief and a temporary escape.

Regarding mental health, (depression/anxiety) I know many people that suffer form anxiety/depression. In my case, as I am sure also in the case of my friends, our substances helped us deal with anxiety. When I was very excited or worried I would get very anxious and felt I needed food to calm my nerves. And there it was, my erroneous belief that food, my drug of choice would make my experience somehow better. My friends, I dare say, also self medicated with their own substances thinking it was the most effective tool in their arsenal to ease whatever trauma or discomfort they were dealing with at the time.

With that said…

With that said how many of us in some way look for an external source of power when dealing with our issues? How many of us avoid facing or torments and struggles? How many of us didn’t have to learn how to deal with our traumas, anxiety, and depression? The fact is, as humans, we will find tactics to deal with the traumas of life, some less obvious than others, some healthier than others.

For years people would go through the humiliation and shame of having someone in their family addicted to drugs or alcohol as if it is an attestation of the individuals lack of strength or lack of self-control.  Let’s me ensure I am crystal clear here: it is not!

Lack of will power has nothing to do with being an addict, relapsing or falling into old habits. If you don’t’ believe me just go ask anyone who has ever been on a diet.  Relapsing also has nothing to do with a lack of good intentions to stick to a program either, just remember when you started the gym on January 1st  and stopped going by the last week in February. Let us all think twice before we exalt ourselves over those struggling with recovery.

The work – paying attention to triggers

“…A person with mental illness can recover even though the illness is not ‘cured’… Recovery is a way of living a satisfying, hopeful, and contributing life even with limitations caused by the illness. Recovery involves the development of new meaning and purpose in one’s life as one grows beyond the catastrophic effects of mental illness.“ ~ Recovery from Mental Illness, William Anthony

Going deeper into my own issues, there are tools and lifestyle changes I had to incorporate in order to live a healthier life and I had to find ways to properly and effectively deal with stress. Psychotherapy, self help books, my spiritual practices, exercise and volunteering are all tools I still use. I also had to identify certain situations and people that are triggers for me and either avoid them all together or if I could not, pro-actively arm myself with appropriate affirmations & self talk to minimize the perceived stress these triggers would cause.

Coping strategies are therefore imperative and consciousness of the fact that major changes, a death in the family for instance can be a serious trigger. I experienced this when I lost my dear brother to senseless gun violence on July 1st Canada Day in Toronto 3 years ago. Remaining conscious through my grief, allowing myself to go deeply into my pain and not try to mask it helped me to avoid what could have been a major setback.

Then there are the days that stress compounds. Little two headed stress goblins seem to call on all their little stress goblin buddies in the universe to happen to you, and all the same time! It can feel as if there is a cosmic conspiracy against you to give you and only you a bad day, week, month! This is not the case, the universe is friendly and you must make the effort to fix the narrative in your head that claims otherwise. This is a part of the work.

Doing the work will also help you to do the work because it builds confidence, confidence that you can and will deal properly with the whatever stresses are flung in your direction. Fixing my narrative also opened me up to realize these stresses were a sacred and weird gift from the universe, they are opportunities for us to practice conscious thoughts, acts and practice using our tools. These stresses are here to help make us stronger and what a gift that truly is.

The road to success is often paved with relapse

Often times a relapse can feel like failure. I had seen my friend struggle with this: “Julia” he would say “I was doing so well… you know?… 7 months two weeks… you know?” The shame and the disappointment were, for lack of better words “too real” and have all heard the stories of folk being sober 11 yrs., 12 years etc. then suffer a relapse. The fact of the matter is, very often relapse is a part of the road of recovery. Again, Relapses have nothing to do with lack of will power and it definitely has nothing to do with a lack of good intentions. Having a plan in hand ready for when stresses do occur, can allow the addict to feel more in control when crisis do occur.

If you know someone suffering with an addiction of any kind the best thing to do is to encourage them and to be as informed as you can about the addiction and the factors that may trigger them. It is important as well to help the loved one change their narrative. Personally I had to reframe relapses, as I have had to reframe failures in business. Again, it is worth repeating, a Relapse should be seen as a disguised gift, an opportunity to learn ones triggers, and how to better deal with them. Again, a relapse is not a failure, it is a part of the journey to success, it is an opportunity to pinpoint what works and what does not.  

In conclusion – there is no conclusion.

Managing addiction is an ongoing process, think of it this way: any one of us can fall into the grip of anger or a road rage at any time, addicts have to be conscious that at any time there may be an external factor that wants to tip the scale and send them hurling in a less than healthy direction.

Understanding that recovery is not only a goal but also a process is important for the journey. It is learning how to truly live a higher quality of life and making space in your reality to being ready to receive that higher quality of life. It is recognizing and investigation ones own triggers and being conscious in decisions. Therefore, In conclusion, there is no conclusion in living with addiction. It is a journey, a continuing process into our highest selves, keeping the hope and the vision of the person we intend to become clear and in view at all times.

And Finally…

Though it is often said people need to hit rock bottom – I personally do not believe that is fully true, I think people need to hit “adequate discomfort” from the addiction in order to get to the point of surrender and none resistance. I also am an advocate of hope in the future. In recovery, without hope and a belief that we can have a better life and a better existence we would lack the motivation to even try.

 So The next time you meet someone or the family member of someone struggling with recovery, remember your own failed diet attempts, remember the times you started a gym membership on January 1st and quit by the 12th of February, remember all the times you needed a kind word, of encouragement and support, then have some compassion. Most importantly don’t be embarrassed or afraid to talk  about the addiction and be sure to listen, that is a gateway to the journey of recovery.

The post Let’s Talk About Addiction appeared first on The Treatment Specialist.

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