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Therapist directories are slowly becoming a thing of the past. We look into detail why they might not be worth your money in 2019.

You’re a therapist, not a marketer. You’ve specialized in helping your clients and changing their lives for the better, but it’s not so easy to find them in the first place. You laboriously built a website but have no idea what to do with it. You find yourself wasting a lot of time on social media trying to shuttle people in through your front door when you could be doing your true work: improving lives one day at a time.

Traditional wisdom says that the main and most effective way for a therapist to gain clients is with therapist directories. However, that’s not exactly true, at least not in 2019. Maybe it’s worked in the past, but there are more options now and the times are changing.

Let’s look at some of the many reasons to skip traditional therapist directories and what might be more effective now and in the future.

1.    Therapist Directories Cost Money

It costs you and your practice hard-earned money to join a therapist directory (about $30 a month for two of the most popular options), and you’re not guaranteed to make that money back.

You’re paying for exposure only and not conversion—that’s a marketing term for when people walk in your door for an appointment or consultation after seeing your ad. People might see your ad and your information, but it’s still tough for them to tell which therapist is right for them and why they should choose you. There may be options to write a biography or record a video, but since (again) you’re not a marketer, you might not be using these tools to their full potential.

2.    They Don’t Help You Stand Out

A directory will never help you stand out compared to other therapists in the directory. Most people will search by location, but there’s no way to differentiate yourself from the other therapists within the search. In fact, many directory listings have a randomized front page that isn’t based on any criteria at all.

There’s a sea of profile pictures and names, but it’s impossible for clients to choose the best therapist for themselves based on those things alone. You’ve worked hard on your therapist bio that potential clients can click through and see, but again, you’re not a marketer—and maybe you’re not sure you’ve avoided jargon or said what’s going to convert clients.

To succeed in marketing your profile, these directories might require you to write blog posts and articles, which takes you away from what you’re really good at: helping people one-on-one. These directories do not pay you in return for your hard work in writing content for them that will increase their place in search engine rankings.

3. There are Too Many Therapist Directories to Join Each One

Not only do therapist directories cost money, but there are too many to join each one. Therefore, you’re missing out on potential clients that might only trust one directory or another. There are many directories competing with each other, splitting up search engine rankings and distracting therapists from their true mission. Having one trusted directory in the industry would be much better for search purposes and would also waste a lot less of your time as a professional.

4. They Market Their Websites, Not Your Individual Profile

Therapist directories market their websites in their entirety and don’t get you directly in contact with clients for whom you’re the best fit. Instead of building up a client base for you as a unique professional, they gain potential clients for their directories as a whole.

For them, it’s more about making money through ad revenue and subscription fees and increasing search engine rankings, rather than catering to you as a professional who needs a trusted marketing service for your business.

5. There’s No Way to Build a Reputation

It doesn’t matter to therapist directory search engines whether you’ve been in practice for ten years or one. It doesn’t matter if you’re a great therapist or a terrible one. It doesn’t matter if you’ve helped 50 clients or five. These search engines list you along with other therapists without taking your great reputation into account.

Unlike Yelp or Google Reviews, people cannot give feedback on their experiences with the best therapists out there, leaving potential clients in the dark when it comes to choosing the most trusted professional for their personal needs.

In the Therapist Search screen, potential clients get a summary of your experience. On the Therapist Details screen, they will see your specialties and how many users would recommend you.

What is the Alternative to Therapist Directories for a Therapist Who Needs New Clients?

Getting your name in front of the people who need the therapy the most so you can do your job doesn’t have to take up all your energy. Reachout’s Incentives program that began with a chronic patient’s need for access to quality therapy, sprung into a service that connects therapists and patients who need their help the most.

Instead of paying for advertising with other directories, with Incentives, you offer two free therapy sessions for clients to get to know you and for you to establish a rapport.

The post 5 Reasons Therapist Directories are not Worth Your Time in 2019 appeared first on Reachout.

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Learning how to market yourself as a therapist, and mainly how to market yourself online wasn’t a huge priority of your graduate program. But, now that you’re stepping into the professional world and building up your private practice, it’s inevitable you become familiar with the basics of online marketing.

Advertising yourself as a therapist doesn’t necessarily have to be as complicated as you’d think. There are three basics channels you need to cover. First, you need to establish your online presence with a website. Then, reach out to your potential clients (and employers) through social media and professional networks such as therapist directories and specialized referral services for mental heal professionals.

Let’s delve into details on how to market yourself as a therapist.

Create a website for your private practice

Building a website for your private practice nowadays is practically an online alternative of a brick-and-mortar shop. We all spend a considerable portion of our day online, so it’s only natural a potential client will look for you online.

What should you include on your therapist website?

While the technical side of creating a website might seem daunting to you at first, it really is not. Services like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace offer intuitive and easy-to-use website builders that give a professional look and feel. If you consider yourself an extremely un-technical person, on the other hand, you can hire a developer at a very reasonable price through online platforms.

Invest in a website that has an attractive design to catch the attention of the visitors but try keeping things simple. Your potential clients should understand precisely what you offer, what qualifies you to provide those services, and how can you be reached.

The key question to keep in mind when deciding on what to include on your website is:

“Will this encourage someone to book a session?”

More tips on what to include on your private practice website

A professional photo, inviting description of how your sessions look together with testimonials from your previous clients and a call-to-action for a reader to book a session are a must.

Your private practice website doesn’t necessarily have to include a blog, but if you choose to write one, it can be an excellent way to get you noticed. Write high-quality content that contains the right keywords, regularly; a good frequency is once a week. But most importantly – write content that is valuable and relevant to the people who need your services.

In short, if you don’t have a professional website yet, make that a top priority. And of course, don’t forget to advertise your site by adding it to your email signature, post comments signature or your forum comments signature.

Make the most out of social media

We live in an era in which social media are not only viral but are also a primary source of information for many people. As a therapist, you are limited by ethics principles on what you can share, and that goes without saying, however, you still have plenty of space to maximize your exposure on social media ethically and reach new clients.

Here are tips on how to market yourself as a therapist:

You can join groups on Facebook

created for people interested in your niche. Groups in which people are talking about their mental health and they are looking for help are the right place for a therapist, and not only for the advertising purposes. You can help people who need professional input and make a difference in their lives. By doing so, you will also have an interactive relationship with your future clients before they actually become your clients, which can only positively impact your collaborations.

Create ads to advertise your services.

All social media networks offer the possibility to create ads that will reach just the right type of audience you need. Facebook Ads, for example, provide a precise targeting relevant to your region, or you can filter people who will see your ad by their interests and habits. These are paying ads so, you should expect to invest a minimum budget in them. How much you decide to spend depends on your possibilities as well as on your needs and expectations.  

You can also choose to advertise through Google or Bing Ads. These advertisements are displayed together with the search results, and, typically, to get a consistent flow of clients from search advertising at a reasonable price, you would need to consult a professional.

Retweet and share the content you publish on your blog.

If you blog regularly, you need to share your content. Otherwise, it’s like talking to an empty audience. Of course, you don’t want to come off as spammy, so write and share the content that is relevant to people who are following you. There is little point in sharing your latest blog that deals with nuances of different therapy approaches to a group of close friends or family who have nothing to gain by reading it.

Expand your professional network with Linkedin.

Sharing a blog from our previous example on Linkedin, where other therapists can read it, would have a completely different impact. If you’re connected with other therapists (which you should be), they’ll be interested in learning your thoughts on the topic, leaving comments and remembering you. Later, they might refer you to clients they can’t manage at the moment.

One final piece of advice on social media as a way to market yourself as a therapist. Always evaluate the time and effort you put into building up your following and maintaining multiple profiles versus the clients you get from each source. This way, you’ll be able to turn your attention elsewhere before you lose too much time on something that just doesn’t work.

How to market yourself as a therapist on therapist directories

Therapist directories are old, but a consistent way to be noticed by a potential client. While listings on established services like Psychology Today cost about $300 yearly, there are no guarantees your listing will bring in any clients unless you make it appealing.

To make your listing stand out, a professional photo is a must. Next, you need to optimize your headline and description so that person reading it can get a sense of who you are and what you do. When writing a summary, just as when you’re writing for your website, always consider what does a specific sentence says to a person looking to book a session.

With all these technicalities in mind, you also want to avoid making your listing sound “too salesy.” The best way to do this is to show your potential clients you’re a compassionate person, who is open to helping them. One way to communicate this is to include anonymized and a very brief story of the client that moved you the most. Or, you can tell your potential clients your reasons for becoming a therapist.

Incentives: marketing for therapists from Reachout

Discover Incentives

Incentives is a specialized referral service for mental health professionals that came to be as a direct result of chronic patient’s needs for therapy. To make it easier for Reachout App users to find a therapist, Incentives offers mental health professionals to create a listing, at the cost of two therapy sessions. You can read more details about the Incentives program here.

The post How to market yourself as a therapist online appeared first on Reachout.

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Marketing a private practice can be the most daunting task if you are not sure where to start and which options you have. To get you started, we look into marketing channels and strategies you can start using today to get a consistent inflow of clients.

Being a therapist in private practice can be challenging when you are just starting out. Once you run out of your first few clients, then what? In any business plan, it is extremely important to have the right target audience while marketing your business.

Marketing a private practice would, initially, involve the following:

  • Create a Database of clients in relation to your specialism. For example, if you specialize in working with addiction rehabilitation then target rehabilitation centers around your area.
  • Plan your pitch. When you create a pitch, your first and foremost thought should be ‘why’ a client or Institution might want you. Base your plan around the ‘WHY’.
  • Your approach needs to center on ‘Trust’. Show your clients that you are sincere and willing to help them with your experience and unique skills.

As a therapist, you might feel that things like ‘trust’ and ‘acceptance’ are common knowledge to people. You’d be surprised by how many people in the general population do not understand what therapy means. Explain your potential and process to your clients even when it seems obvious and build that trust around your approach.

What if there was a way to get through to the right audience without having to invest so much time and money in a business plan? Here are 4 channels for marketing a private practice, together with tips and strategy you can apply to each.

Marketing a private practice on social media

Social media is a booming tool for marketing a private practice. Using your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn to spread your message will allow you to get a large reach in the whole world. But what should you post? If you want to target a certain demographic population, you can use Facebook ads to target a certain age group in a specific area. You need to decide your demographics and Facebook ads will help you to go about the process. It is cheap and effective but it doesn’t guarantee conversion.

Marketing a private practice on social media

Creating weekly videos on your social media is another way to target clients. Make a list of topics that you are most acquainted with, for example, if you are a relationship counselor then think about 10 different difficult situations in relationships and make one video weekly. When people hear you and see you, it is easier for them to approach you because you have created a sense of familiarity through your videos.

You could have clients who write lovely reviews on your Facebook page but if you had more clients reviewing your services, you could become more popular on social media. The question of confidentiality will often have clients refraining from reviewing or even speaking about you. You can combat this by gaining client consent before posting a testimonial that is sent to you personally or on a feedback form.

Anonymous feedback forms after a workshop or group session will allow you to evaluate your own development while having offline or handwritten reviews that look genuine and you could possibly post these on your social media page. Don’t forget to add social media publishing consent on the feedback form.

Marketing a private practice through online platforms

While the internet has great advantages, these days you might be watching too many Facebook and Youtube Ads from online coaches, mentors, and even fitness instructors! How would clients differentiate your qualifications and genuine evidence-based practice from all other competitive and under qualified life coaches who are promoting themselves on each and every website with great testimonials on how to ‘gain abundance’ and become ‘rich’.

Online counseling services have become a great tool for accessing quick, easy and cheap therapy. Reachout is one such platform for mental health professionals.

“27% of the users on Reachout are seeking mental health support”

You might be updating your social media pages regularly but there may be times when clients who are living far away from you might not be able to trust how genuine you are in order to have a video counseling session. Clients hesitate before they can approach you in a vulnerable and pressurizing world of social media. Reachout can take care of all your marketing plans with tailored ads for specific target audiences and provides you with specific reports on potential clients. If you are new to private practice and want to gain new clients, Reachout Incentives allows you to offer two free sessions before your clients start paying from the next session onwards. It’s a great way to build trust with new clients and learn a new way of consultation.

Engaging with the community

The best way for marketing a private practice is to become a known face in your close-knit community. You can contact some youth clubs, community leisure centers, and health centers to run free workshops on your specialized topics. You could run courses to spread awareness about mental health and educate people about symptoms. 

The old fashion way of distributing flyers in your local area could also come in handy. You can printout a flyer for an open session on mental health.

Encouraging people in the community to come and see you in person will enable them to get to know you before they come for a therapy session. An evening or weekend is the best time to have an open session. Many people feel less vulnerable showing up in groups and it could be an opportunity for you to show your expertise in person rather than on paper or the internet.

Publishing in local journals and magazines is another way for effective marketing. However, make sure you are writing about recent issues in your city. People read about current issues in the area through their community magazines. Read up about current psychological issues and focus on statistics.

Community and networking are a great way to market your private practice

For example, if you know that 35% of the people are posting about a certain topic in your area, write about it and get it published. Publishers of local magazines love topics related to current issues. Another way of writing for the local magazine is to link current issues to psychological aspects. People are interested in knowing how policies or upcoming developments in healthcare or education will affect them psychologically.

Networking with the right people

Attending conferences is a great way to meet other professionals in your field and learn from their marketing plans. How about hosting a conference or a peer group of professionals in your workplace setting? When people see how you are actively trying your best with regards to learning new skills, they are drawn to you and start trusting you. It is also a great way to spread your message through word of mouth.

Other therapists in your area can also recommend you to clients who need your specialist skill set. You can always share confidential cases with mentors and peers. In turn, this reassures them of your capabilities before they refer you to friends and family.  It’s all about your reputation in your field.  It never hurts to start building your reputation among professionals online. For this purpose, therapist directories like the one on Psychology Today can be worth your effort.

Overall, marketing yourself could take a lot of time and money. All you need to do is have a plan and stick to it. Consistency is key when it comes to effective marketing. When your current marketing strategy stops working, change the plan, not the destination.

The post Marketing a Private Practice: Strategies and Channels appeared first on Reachout.

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Starting or growing a private practice means taking on the role of a business owner. And, your business, like most others, depends on how consistently can you get new clients. This is where marketing for therapists and marketing-related activities like building your online presence come in.

When asked about what is the one burning problem in their private practice, finding new routes of referral always comes up on a number one spot on the practitioner’s list.

While it is completely understandable you want to focus on what you do best, i.e. helping your clients live a happier and healthier life, sooner better than later you’ll also need to figure out which marketing option works best for you and your practice.

Let’s take a brief look at the conventional channels marketing for therapists relies on nowadays: Therapist directories

Therapist directories, such as Psychology Today or Goodtherapy offer their visitors a search through therapist’s profiles so they can choose the therapist they think best matches their needs.  As a therapist, you have an opportunity to create a profile that highlights your availability, location, and specialty, together with a choice to publish articles. They both cost about $300 a year, and there are no guarantees of how many clients will the listing send to your office.

Print media advertising

A tried and tested way to get your name in front of the wider audience, the print advertising is slowly on it’s way out as a choice in marketing for therapists. The high costs of running a print ad even if your business could handle them often do not bring any return for one simple reason: print ads target a too wide audience, and with the rise of social media this audience is diminishing each day.

Digital advertising (Google AdWords, Facebook Ads)

Advertising for therapists: what works best?

In an answer to the rise of digital media, print ads were replaced by Google and Facebook adverts. These two are the most common places on the internet visited on the planet, but their paid advertising programs work differently.

In the simplest form, while Google AdWords enables you to purchase a top spot in Google search results for a specific keyword tied closely to your business, e.g. “marriage counselor in Tucson,” Facebook Ads enable you to target groups of people who belong to a specific demographic group, share a specific interest or belong to specific areas.

Social media marketing

Even a newer form of online advertising, social media marketing aims to make marketing messages more organic, so they look like any other user-generated content on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. In a way, social media marketing comes as a natural extension of modern demands for a business to have an online presence that includes a website and profiles on relevant networks.

Word-of-mouth referrals

Whether it is your prior clients recommending your services to their friends or relatives, or your peers referring the clients to your practice, word-of-mouth recommendations remain one of the primary sources for new clients for every therapist.

Since mental health is a private topic, people are more likely to trust their friends or experts in the field than an advert, simply because it’s less personal. Social media marketing sometimes can gap this bridge between the personalized recommendation and offering your potential clients a chance to know who you are and what you do.

Each of these marketing channels isn’t inherently better than the other, but let’s take a look at

Where conventional marketing for therapists usually fails: #1 High costs and high competition

The paid advertising, especially effective paid advertising costs money. Even though it might seem like it isn’t a complicated science to set up a promotion for your Instagram post or to run a simple Facebook ad, there also aren’t much to be gained. That is unless you know what you are doing when it comes to targeting, monitoring performance indicators and investing a budget into your campaign.

When you look at the alternative, for example, if you want to run an AdWords campaign on a keyword like the one we used in our example, “marriage counselor in Tucson” you quickly discover that you have to outbid your competition who is trying to promote their business using the same keyword. Hiring an agency to handle this for you is a good choice, but again this option can cost upwards of $200 per client.

Cost versus effectiveness.

#2 High time and knowledge investment

While you can grasp the basic concepts of digital advertising or social media marketing fairly quickly, you soon find out that doing each of these on a professional level isn’t a result of a crash course but years of experience people put into running digital ad campaigns.

The “DIY” approach works for writing your blog or sharing a few posts on social media that establish your reputation and get your practice out there. But there comes a point when you have to consider whether the two hours of your time are better spent on working with the paying clients instead of speaking to an uninterested crowd.

#3 Ineffective targeting

Whether your marketing strategy is low or high cost, a primary goal remains the same: your advertising needs to be seen by the people who are most likely to book a session.

Getting your message delivered in front of the people who are looking for begins by narrowing your specialization. Next, it takes a bit of research and strategizing to discover who your potential clients are. Finally, you need to establish your reputation and showcase your practice to your targeted audience.

Effective targeting enables you to book more clients with the least investment in advertising.

When we take a look at the conventional marketing channels for therapists and compare them by the targeting options they offer, we see that you have almost no control of targeting with word-of-mouth referrals. As you move to print and digital advertising, your targeting options get better, but the costs rise as well.

How Incentives change marketing for therapists

The Incentives program introduces innovative marketing for therapists that aims not only to reduce but to remove the expense of advertising for new clients for your therapy practice.

How is this possible?

When we started the Reachout App as a platform of support groups for chronic patients, be it mental or physical health, there was one question that always came up in our user’s discussions: “Can you recommend me a good therapist?”

We do not offer medical services ourselves, instead, we provide a platform where people can connect and support each other. The Incentives is our answer to our users’ needs. By partnering up with therapists and therapy practices we are connecting clients who are ready to start working on their mental health issues with specialists who can help them.

Your expertise is showcased to paying clients and they select to work with therapists based on their preferences and therapist expertise, and the only thing we ask in exchange is two hours (2 free sessions with a client) of your time.

Incentives: Marketing for therapists re-imagined

If this is something you find interesting, you can read more on the Incentives program or you can fill out the sign-up form, and someone from our team will reach out to you.

The post Why conventional marketing for therapists fails and how Incentives innovates appeared first on Reachout.

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Coping with asthma and COPD is extremely difficult and only the patients suffering through such chronic illness can understand the distressing feeling of shortness of breath that you can never get used to. People with COPD can have varying abilities when it comes to shortness of breath. Some experience it after moderate exercise and some ask for oxygen while walking across the room. Thus, it is absolutely vital that you get a professional opinion about your condition.

The symptoms of asthma and COPD are somewhat similar. Asthma is a respiratory disease but often is mistaken for COPD as they have a common symptom of shortness of breath. On the other hand, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or COPD is a general term to describe respiratory diseases such as chronic bronchitis and emphysema. COPD is not curable; however, you can live with it without compromising your quality of life. Here are some measures that you can make part of your life to cope with such chronic respiratory diseases.

1. Quit smoking

Giving up the addiction of nicotine is the best favor you can do to your lungs. There are various methods to help quit smoking, including medication, counseling, self-help groups, and nicotine replacement therapy. In addition, e-cigarettes are harmful even though it does not contain tar or smoke. It contains other ingredients such as flavorings, that may cause harmful effects on your lungs and worsen your asthma or COPD.

2. Diet and moderate exercise

It becomes a herculean task to exercise if you are suffering from shortness of breath. However, eating a healthy diet and regular exercise is important to maintain your fitness. People suffering from COPD or asthma shouldn’t be too thin or too heavy. If you’re skinny, then you might not get enough nutrients to perform daily tasks and if you’re overweight, your heart and lungs have to work harder to pump oxygen and supply it to your body. However, consult a dietician before you start a strict diet.

3. Take medications under medical supervision

Most people take medications to help with occasional or regular breathing problems. You must consult your doctor and start a drug treatment plan that is tailored for your conditions. There are novel drugs to deal with asthma and COPD owing to rapid technological advancements in the treatment of such chronic diseases. According to Allied Market Research, global asthma and COPD drugs market is projected to reach $50.36 billion by 2022, registering CAGR of 3.7% during the period 2016–2022.

4. Use oxygen wisely

For some COPD or asthma patients, oxygen therapy is necessary to improve their breathing capabilities. Oxygen does not harm your lungs or body if used properly and it also allows you to be more active. Some patients refrain from using oxygen as it looks unattractive. However, if you are struggling through severe asthma, lack of oxygen may damage your lungs and worsen the condition.

5. Avoid infections and pollutants

If you are a patient of COPD, there is a high risk of lung infections. Thus, get vaccinated frequently. For instance, the influenza vaccine is recommended per year and the pneumonia vaccine is recommended after every 5 to 7 years. Wash your hands frequently to prevent germ infection. Avoid bad air and use an air filter in your house or air conditioning to beat allergens and pollutants.

6. Practice breathing techniques

The most important way to cope with shortness of breath is to retrain yourself with new breathing techniques, including diaphragmatic breathing and pursed lip breathing. In diaphragmatic breathing technique, breathe in slowly through your nose and push your stomach out while breathing in. This technique uses the diaphragm and the lower respiratory muscles. In pursed lip breathing method, use the same technique while breathing in and when you breathe out, purse lips slightly as if you are going to whistle and breathe out slowly without forcing the air out.

The most important thing to remember while dealing with any chronic illness is to maintain a positive attitude and do not give up on yourself. Air is one of the basic needs of a human; COPD and asthma directly oppose the ability to breathe. However, there are several patients that have been living a healthy life without feeling powerless against asthma or COPD. You can live a happy life too. First, learn about your disease, how much severe it is and have regular check-ups with your doctors. It is utterly essential that you know every detail about your condition and how it can impact on your life. Only then, you can take the necessary steps to prevent it and take charge of your life and live life to the fullest.

The post How to Cope with Chronic Asthma and COPD More Effectively appeared first on Reachout.

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A casual drink of one or two bottles with friends is not something to fret about. However, it is important to note that alcohol is addictive, and it is fairly easy for people to get addicted to it.

There are different indicative signs to help identify probable alcohol abuse. While most of the symptoms are perceptible others may be harder to see and recognize. Moreover, the gravity of alcohol abuse also influences the alcoholic symptoms a person displays. For instance, some people hide their drinking making it difficult for people to interpose and help their loved one. However, hereunder are 10 warning signs that you can look up when trying to figure out if your loved one has suffered from alcohol abuse and help them undergo an alcoholism treatment program.

1. Drinking Daily

A tell-tale sign of alcohol addiction is consuming alcohol daily. The need to drink alcohol once a day is not normal. Alcoholics find a drink first thing in the morning or in the middle of the day, before eating or after eating.  They usually rationalize the drink as an appetizer to make them eat better. Despite knowing the dangers of alcohol, they never stop drinking by disregarding the risks, which is a clear-cut sign that alcohol has become one’s priority over health. Like any drug, alcohol makes the alcoholic essentially feel better. Thus, they drink in order to fight off stress, depression, or any emotion that bothers them. Alcohol provides a temporary relief against negative feeling which is becoming a risky habit in the long run because one becomes dependent on it and uses it as emotional support. This is also precisely why people undergoing an alcoholism treatment program usually feel lonely and alienated as feel like they’ve lost their best friend.

2. Relationships Troubles

Another warning sign of alcohol addiction is troubles with relations whether with one’s spouse, family, children, and concerned friends. Alcohol addiction can damage relationships in life that can lead to divorce or marriage, alienation from family members and isolation as the alcoholic is unable to hold on to relationships. Since people close to you are the first ones to recognize your alcohol addiction, they are also the first one who will feel how you are being controlled by alcohol and failing to do your part in maintaining good relationships. A corollary to this, an alcoholic person starts to hang out with a different crowd, who are most likely heavy drinkers themselves, whom they prefer to go with as they end up getting drunk together.  In any substance abuse therapy like an alcoholism treatment program, one of the major changes that the program initiates are changing one’s circle of friends who are the bad influence on the patient.

3. High alcohol Tolerance

Tolerance is a major indication of alcohol addiction. Remember that you only drink one or two drinks and you already feel drunk.  When you become addicted to alcohol, you tend to drink more than you used in order to reach that level of drunkenness. Drinking more than you use to, means that your body has adopted consistent exposure to alcohol.  Moreover, you might also require a greater dose of alcohol to stay in your system in order to feel good. And because of this, you will find it difficult to cut back and becomes trapped for the need to drink more and more each day in order to reach the alcohol your body needs.

4. Withdrawal Symptoms

Withdrawal pertains to your body reaction when you lack alcohol.  Alcoholic usually feel prickly, fatigue, depressed, woozy or uneasy when they don’t have a drink, which is a basic withdrawal symptom. When they have no alcohol in their bodies, alcoholics experience withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, palpitations, convulsions, fretfulness, restlessness, and bewilderment. Alcoholism treatment program especially includes detoxification management for delirium tremens, which is experienced by veteran alcoholics. This included deep sleep, irrational fear, seizures, abrupt mood swings, agitation, and distorted thinking.

5. Drinking To “Feel Normal”

The common excuse for substance addiction among drug addicts and alcoholics is to make them feel normal.  Substance abuse works like a vicious circle in which the patient experience bad feelings as described in the withdrawal symptoms which forces one to drink or take alcohol to feel normal or to deal with unpleasant withdrawal problems.  Thus, a person with alcohol problems usually engages in drinking in order to cope with problems in order to live normally at least within 24 hours as that’s how long does alcohol stay in your system. The alcoholic will drink on his own, during working hours to remove stress, before attending a major event or celebration to relax or calm them.  If you feel the urge to drink as a matter of the need to feel normal, then you might consider an alcoholism treatment program because you are suffering from alcohol addiction.

6. Drinking in Dangerous Situations.

People with drinking problems would always find themselves in need of a drink regardless of any situation and including dangerous conditions. The strong urge to drink overpowers moral, legal or social constraints.  For instance, an alcoholic will drink before attending a religious mass or an event where one needs to be sober like a business meeting or meeting the family or parents, among others. An alcoholic will have a drink even if they are driving or in any other such activity where drinking is prohibited. Believing that alcohol only stays in your system particularly in the blood for just 6 hours, they feel that they can get away with any alcohol test especially because they have high alcohol tolerance.  An alcoholic will also drink alcohol in public places, in gatherings and other occasions i.e. picnics, a walk in the park, where activities do not require drinking. Finally, an alcoholic who will potentially suffer from liver problems will continue to drink even against the doctor’s prescription. In all of these cases, an alcoholic simply does not care about the serious consequences that one will face in drinking despite risking one’s life.

8. Experiencing “Blackouts”

A blackout pertains to memory loss because of substance abuse including alcoholism. Alcohol mainly restricts with the capacity of a person to form long–term memories, particularly of events and things that they do when under the influence of alcohol.  Because of that, alcoholics may not be able to remember or recall any foolish or stupid act that they have done which makes them appear like they no remorse or regret for doing such things.  Truth is, alcoholics actually suffer from blackouts or memory loss that’s why they seem to act innocent or ignorant to mistakes that they have committed against people when they are under the influence.  This is especially dangerous especially for women who may get involved in sexual intercourse with strangers and may get pregnant without them not knowing who got them pregnant.  While getting blacked out after excessive drinking is normal, this becomes a sign of alcoholism when a person regularly drinks and regularly passes out not knowing what they have done usually something bad.

9. Negligence of Duties and Responsibilities.

A drunkard person not only tends to forget what mistakes one has done but also forgets and neglects one’s moral and social responsibilities.  This included doing regular tasks like household chores which make their place a mess. This may also include one’s own regular hygiene making an alcoholic dirty, filthy, and smelly. And while they may be aware of these flaws, they are too preoccupied with their drinking that’s why they care less.  Negligence of one’s responsibilities also occurs in work which causes their job as they get fired. It may also cause them to forget their moral responsibilities. A drunken parent, for instance, tends to prioritize their self-interest of finding a drink then taking care of children which makes them appear selfish and self-centered.

10. Inability to Quit.

When it comes to addiction, quitting becomes very difficult. Not only because of the intense craving that one experiences when lacking alcohol but because of the dependence of the person on alcohol to feel normal or good. The experience can overwhelm and overpower those alcoholics may engage in illegal means and other activities that can hurt themselves just to satisfy the craving or thirst for alcohol. When the withdrawal symptoms start to kick in, the yearning becomes stronger and can cause a person to get back into addiction.  Alcoholism treatment programs are aware that these cravings for alcohol are the toughest when starting recovery.  People under therapeutic programs are often caught between the pressure of drinking and the quitting. Hence, a support system, provided by peers, counselors, and family is important in providing a patient to pursue the program and get alcohol out of their system.

11. Lying or Hiding one’s drinking. 

Most often than not, people who are suffering from alcohol addiction have family and friends who are bugging them to quit or enter an alcoholism treatment program.  In most instances, alcoholics are also on a denial that they are alcoholic. The reason that they have full control of themselves and are just like everybody else who enjoy drinking alcohol every now and then. But in order to prevent attention or for family and friends to notice one’s bad habit and avoid nagging or unsolicited advice, they hide or lie about drinking alcohol. However, they hide their drinking, they will, however, be discovered drunk because of alcohol stay in their system. An alcoholic would smell like alcohol because alcohol stays in one’s breath up to 24 hours.

The post 11 Warning Signs of Alcohol Addiction appeared first on Reachout.

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Sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) occurs when the electrical signals that control the heart become irregular. This places the heart in a state of ventricular fibrillation, and as a result, it ceases to pump blood around the body. When your heart stops pumping blood to your essential organs, they become starved of oxygen and other essential nutrients, causing you to fall unconscious and stop breathing.

It’s essential that victims are treated quickly and efficiently, otherwise, an SCA could lead to death in a matter of minutes.

The only way to treat a sudden cardiac arrest is through proper use of CPR and early defibrillation – the latter can only be achieved by using a device called a defibrillator, which sends a series of electrical pulses to the heart, shocking it back into a normal (and healthy) rhythm.

The facts about the sudden cardiac arrest

Defibrillators can prevent sudden cardiac death among people who have a higher risk of life-threatening arrhythmia. The following statistics highlight the importance of having easy access to life-saving automated external defibrillators (AEDs).

  • 350,000 out-of-hospital cardiac arrests (OHCA) happen in the United States every year
  • In the US, only 46% of people who suffer SCAs receive immediate treatment
  • Each year, roughly 10,000 cardiac arrests happen in US places of work
  • 80% of out-of-hospital cardiac arrests happen at home, and the remaining 20% occur in public places
  • Without immediate treatment, 90-95% of sudden cardiac arrests result in death
  • If a defibrillator is used and effective CPR is performed within 3-5 minutes of cardiac arrest, the chance of survival is increased from 6% to 74%
  • In 2014, almost 45% of OHCA victims survived as a result of bystander CPR
What to look out for and how to prevent the SCA

Sudden cardiac arrests are different to heart attacks in the sense that they can’t be predicted in the same way. Heart attacks occur as a result of arterial blockages, which in turn put a strain on the heart. These will often cause visible pain and often come as a result of poor dietary choices or other external factors.

The cause of SCA, on the other hand, is not as clear-cut.

  • Although some external factors can put you at risk of an SCA, they can happen to any person regardless of age, gender, and physical health
  • Symptoms of SCA include sudden collapse, lack of pulse, breathing difficulties, and loss of consciousness
  • Working in a job that is physically strenuous can put you at risk of cardiac arrest
  • Heart attacks can lead to cardiac arrests – factors such as smoking and poor diet can lead to heart attacks, which puts you at higher risk of cardiac arrest
  • Life-threatening events can also lead to cardiac arrest: think along the lines of electrocution, choking, and general trauma
When it comes to treatment, every second counts

When a person suffers a cardiac arrest, it is essential that treatment is delivered quickly and efficiently. The following statistics show the importance of developing a proper understanding of cardiac arrests and their treatment.

  • The chances of a victim surviving an SCA reduces by a further 7-10% for each minute that passes without treatment.
  • A victim’s survival chances will increase to 90% if defibrillation takes place within the first minute of them collapsing.
  • Carrying out basic first aid and proper CPR will increase the victim’s chance of survival.
  • The likelihood of causing harm to the patient by performing CPR or using a defibrillator is low because an AED will only deliver a shock if it has examined the victim’s heartbeat.
Education is key

Given that each minute is crucial, and the fact that emergency medical services can’t always reach a cardiac arrest victim in time to save them, it’s important that everyone learns about defibrillators, CPR, and general health and safety. This level of education will increase the bystander response-rate and save more lives in the process.

The post What Is A Sudden Cardiac Arrest? appeared first on Reachout.

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People should consider light therapy for medical treatment, said Daniel F. Kripke, M.D., professor of psychiatry at the University of San Diego.  Since the early 1970s, Kripke has been studying the relationship between depression and biological rhythms.  He explained two theories of psychotherapy in an interview with the Psychiatric Times.

One theory claims that light affects mammals differently during different seasons.  More daylight in the summer causes mammals to have more energy, display bigger appetites, and show more sexual activity.  In the winter, meanwhile, mammals experience losses of energy, sexual activity, and appetite because it becomes dark earlier.  Kripke concluded that light therapy could simulate such daylight and might be a good way to treat depression.

The second theory is that depression could disrupt people’s circadian rhythms and that light could correct them.  Kripke acknowledged that there is evidence for and against both theories.  Professionals have conducted several trials that have used light therapy to treat seasonal and nonseasonal depression in the United States, Japan, and Europe.

He reported that depressed patients sometimes responded more quickly to light therapy than to psychotherapy and medication.  With light therapy, some depressed patients started seeing results in a week or two.  A number of other patients have had positive outcomes by using light therapy in conjunction with psychotherapy and medication.

Early Research

In the early 1980s, Kripke and his team conducted clinical trials using light therapy.  He found that light had an antidepressant effect on patients with major nonseasonal depression.  He concluded that the first seven patients experienced a significant reduction in their depression when compared to people who used a placebo.  Each patient only had an hour of light therapy.

Kripke and his team conducted a one-week study in 1992 of fifty-one randomly selected patients who were suffering from major nonseasonal depression or bipolar-type depression disorder.  The patients were veterans hospitalized at a Veterans Affairs medical center.  The majority of the patients experienced comorbidity, which means that they had depression and another condition, such as a substance abuse disorder.

Twenty-six of the veterans in the study were subjected to dim red light, while the other twenty-five were subjected to bright white light.  After a week, the twenty-five patients that used the bright white light experienced an 18 percent reduction in their depression, whereas the other twenty-six patients did not improve at all.

Kripke also worked with Richard T. Loving, Ph.D., R.N. and Stephen R. Shuchter, M.D. to study the effects of light on patients with major depressive disorders.  The patients used antidepressants with a half a night of sleep deprivation, followed by bright light therapy.  The researchers found that people who used bright light experienced significant reductions in their depressive symptoms in just one week.

Studies have found that sleep deprivation and medication can increase the response to bright light therapy.  Dr. Loving reported that within a week, patients who used all three combinations improved by 30 percent.  It was a dramatic improvement compared to patients who used an antidepressant such as Prozac.  Many of these patients did not see results until twelve to sixteen weeks after they started using the medication.

Dr. Alexander Neumeister and his colleagues conducted a similar study at the University of Vienna that combined light therapy, sleep deprivation, and medication.  Neumeister found that this combination prevented a quick relapse of depressive symptoms for some participants.

Major Depression and Light Therapy

Neumeister and his team conducted a study with people who had major depression.  The study exposed participants to light therapy in the morning after depriving them partially of sleep.  The purpose of this was to determine whether relapses of depression would occur after sleep deprivation.

Some of the participants in the study experienced reduced depressive symptoms, but the effects faded after the patients received a full night of sleep.  During the study, the participants used antidepressants along with light therapy, which prolonged the effects of partial sleep deprivation.

According to Kripke, clinicians should consider using a combination of light therapy and standard therapy when treating depressive disorders.  He would not suggest using light therapy by itself unless patients refused other treatments or could not tolerate standard treatments.  Some patients in this category could be children whose parents are apprehensive about using antidepressants, patients who may have had allergic reactions to other medicines, and pregnant women.

Many people suffer from depressive disorders but do not seek standard treatment for various reasons.  If they knew about bright light therapy, they may consider it, said Kripke.  For his own patients who struggle with nonseasonal or seasonal depressive disorders, he has used a combination of light therapy, psychotherapy, and antidepressant.  He added that if patients’ disorders were severe, he would require them to arise in the middle of the night the day before they started light therapy.

Light therapy starts working for patients one to two weeks before antidepressants begin to work, said Kripke.  Patients who receive light therapy have the choice of using light from outside, light from indoor rooms, or special devices such as light boxes.

In warmer, sunnier climates such as Southern California, people may be able to use outdoor light therapy, but in other climates, outdoor lighting might not be effective or practical for therapeutic purposes.  Sometimes, increasing room lighting can do the job.  Or, buying a light box, a device that emits bright artificial light, could be an option.

Kripke said that people with depression who spend an hour or more outdoors may sleep better and experience reduced symptoms of depression.  He noted that while bright light is beneficial at any time of day, certain conditions could produce better results for certain people.  For example, people with seasonal affective disorder (SAD) may fare better if they use light therapy in the morning because people with the disorder often tend to sleep later.

On the other hand, people with bipolar disorder may fare better with light therapy during the evening, because evening light apparently triggers mania less than morning light.  But, professionals recommend that if people with bipolar disorder undergo light therapy, they should also use mood stabilizers, because light therapy also can trigger mania.

According to Kripke and others, light therapy may be a promising tool to treat depressive disorders.

References:
  • Loving, Richard T., et al. (2002, August 2) “Bright Light Augments Antidepressant Effects of Medication and Wake Therapy,” Depression & Anxiety.
  • Mendelson, Wallace, B., et al. (1999, May 1) “Light Therapy for Nonseasonal Depression,” Psychiatric Times.
  • Miller, Michael Craig (2012, December 21) “Seasonal Affective Disorder: Bring on the Light,” Harvard Health Blog.
  • Neumeister, Alexander, et al. (1996, January 1) “Bright Light Therapy Stabilizes the Antidepressant Effect of Partial Sleep Deprivation,” Biological Psychiatry.

The post Treating Nonseasonal Depression with Light Therapy appeared first on Reachout.

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Understanding Social Anxiety Disorder

According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), social anxiety disorder or social phobia is “intense anxiety or fear of being judged, negatively evaluated, or rejected in a social or performance situation.” The people with this mental condition may feel it hard to face people out of fear of criticism or rejection. The person does not want to be in front of a person that may make him or her anxious, nervous, shy, etc.

History of Hypnotherapy

Though hypnotherapy originated in the 1700s, its use for social anxiety is quite new. Hypnotherapy evolved from the animal magnetism works of Austrian physician Franz Anton Mesmer. The American Medical Association (AMA) recognized it as a medical procedure in 1958. Over time, professionals learned to treat anxiety disorders and some physical conditions with hypnotherapy. Here is how it works.

How Does Hypnotherapy Work?

When a person experiences events that cause anxiety, some emotional and physical reactions become linked to similar events. As a result, the personal experience healthy, unhealthy, physical, and emotional reactions the same way when those similar events occur.

We can take the example of public speaking. If a person speaks in public for the first time and his or her hands start shaking. That person will develop the fear of shaking hands and he or she will feel scared each time that person thinks about speaking in public.

Hypnotherapy is a kind of therapy for social anxiety where a professional tries to separate your body’s anxiety response from the experience of public speaking. During this therapy, the person may also get the post-hypnotic suggestions to relax once the session finishes.

What Happens During Hypnotherapy?

It is important for the hypnotherapy professional to know the medical history of the social anxiety disorder patient. The professional will also dig deeper into the current mental state of the patient. It will be followed by some discussion about the way hypnotherapy works.

“The goal of hypnotherapy is to enter an altered state of consciousness, also known as a trance or hypnotic state,” Dr. Steven writes. When the hypnotic state is achieved, the patient feels relaxed, blood pressure lowers, and the heart rate reduces. Some change in brain waves also takes place.

Now, the professional will suggest some facts because the patient will be more responsive to suggestions during this altered state of mind. A typical hypnotherapy session lasts from 30 minutes to one hour. The patient will be brought back to the normal state at the end of each session.

The professional may ask the patient to reflect those suggestions on the experience. Some professional may go beyond it and teach the patient how he or she can practice self-hypnosis outside of hypnotherapy.

Hypnotherapy for Social Anxiety

Though the direct effect of hypnotherapy on social anxiety disorder has not been studied yet, various randomized controlled trials have highlighted the positive effects. “Hypnotherapy can reduce anxiety in general and may enhance the effects of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for anxiety,” Dr. Steven adds.

What to Consider Before Entering Hypnotherapy

In some rare cases, hypnotherapy can worsen some psychological problems. As the debate on the limitations of hypnotherapy on social anxiety goes on, it is important to mention that this therapy should be used for a history of significant early trauma or psychotic illness with added caution.

One must not start taking hypnotherapy sessions before getting diagnosed by a mental health professional. It is due to the reasons that the identification of the exact problem is necessary before starting the treatment. A hypnotherapist can be one of the followings:

  • Licensed Psychologists
  • Licensed Social workers
  • Licensed Medical doctors
  • Licensed Registered nurses
  • Other Licensed professionals

These professionals have qualification, training, and experience in hypnotherapy. The healthcare professionals who offer hypnotherapy are governed by the regulations of their profession. If possible, go for a healthcare professional offering hypnotherapy.

It is because of the reasons that the people who are not healthcare professionals but offer hypnotherapy are not regulated and certified by a professional organization. It is important to mention that there are professional organizations such as the American Association of Professional Hypnotherapists and the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis for hypnotherapy but they do not regulate or certify them.

Social Phobia: The Bottom Line

Some people around us are afraid of being judged and rejected which makes them discouraged to interact with others. The people with social anxiety disorder or social phobia should consult a qualified and experienced psychiatrist to overcome different problems. Please visit the nearest psychologist or psychiatrist to learn more if you have signs of social anxiety disorder.

References

The post Does Hypnotherapy For Social Anxiety Actually Work? appeared first on Reachout.

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Raising a child is no easy feat, but it becomes that much more challenging once puberty hits. Once children become teenagers, everything changes; their brains, their bodies, and their perception of the world around them. So, it can be tricky for parents to determine which changes are normal and which are signs of a problem: teen addiction.

Teen Addiction in the United States

In recent years, teen addiction and drug abuse trends have been on the decline. In fact, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reported in their 2017 Monitoring the Future survey that rates of overall teen drug abuse have dwindled.

Still, it’s impossible to tell if this downward trend will continue. With the rise of the ongoing opioid crisis, more and more teenagers are abusing easily accessible opioid prescriptions. This, in turn, could potentially lead to further experimentation with other drugs and alcohol.

Telling Signs of Teen Addiction

Countless signs could indicate teen drug abuse. Unfortunately, a lot of these signs are written off as normal teenaged behavior. In fact, one in five parents who fear that their teenaged child might be abusing drugs does not do anything to confirm or disprove their suspicions. While it can be tough, it’s important to not only look for the warning signs but also to take action when you find them.

If you suspect that your teenaged child might be abusing drugs or struggling with a developing addiction, then be sure to look for these signs:
 

 

Changes in Personality

Significant changes in personality are an early sign of potential drug abuse. At the very least, they are a sign that something is wrong. Changes in personality that indicate teen addiction might include:

  • surprising instances of poor self-control
  • decreased levels of productivity at home or school
  • an unexpected (negative) shift in moral code or ethics

The cause of these warning signs can sometimes be hard to distinguish. After all, not every teenager that acts out of the ordinary is abusing drugs. Still, it’s important not to ignore these sorts of changes in personality— especially if they are sudden.
 

 

Changes in Behavior

Similar to changes in personality, sudden shifts in behavior are a sign of potential drug abuse or addiction. According to a variety of medical professionals, including those behind the Innovations In Clinical Neuroscience monthly journal, changes in behavioral patterns and mannerisms are some of the biggest red flags of drug use and addiction among teens.

Some of the more notable changes in behavior that may indicate teen addiction include:

  • self-isolation from friends and family
  • the habit of frequently skipping school
  • a sudden shift in friends or social circles
  • unexpected conflicts at home or school
  • atypical dishonest or manipulative behavior
  • “lashing out” (i.e., disobedience, hostility, etc.)
  • a newfound and desperate demand for privacy
  • “sneaking out” (i.e., unexplained disappearances)
  • an uncharacteristic lack of respect for authority figures
  • a sudden indifference to beloved extracurricular activities
  • changes in speech patterns (i.e., faster or slower than usual)
  • an unusual decline in academic performance, like poor grades
  • secretive actions or behaviors where there were previously none
  • complaints about behavior from teachers, classmates, neighbors, etc.
Changes in Mood and Mental Health

Mood swings are a staple of teenage life. Every parent of a teenager should expect to face mood swings at some point. However, if you have noticed that your child has seemingly lost all sense of mood stability, then it’s worth it to ask questions. Like changes in personality and behavior, changes in mood could hint at a secret substance use problem.

Changes in mood that point to possible teen addiction typically include:
  • poor concentration
  • forgetfulness or memory issues
  • unexplained bouts of fear or paranoia
  • uncharacteristically high or low energy
  • decreased motivation or sense of purpose
Changes in Physical Health

When it comes to teen addiction, any strange changes in physical health are a lot harder to hide. Some of the most telling signs of drug abuse and dependence among teens include:

  • pupil dilation
  • constant fatigue
  • extreme sweating
  • frequent headaches
  • itching and scratching
  • bloodshot or teary eyes
  • unexplained nosebleeds
  • unusual changes in appetite
  • bouts of shakiness or tremors
  • extreme fluctuations in weight
  • sleep disturbances (e.g., insomnia)
  • sudden problems with coordination
  • excessive bouts of nausea or vomiting
  • bruises, cuts, sores or other unexplained injuries

 

 

Changes in Grooming and Personal Appearance

In more cases than not, those who struggle with addiction tend to “let themselves go.” In other words, their focus is so invested in feeding their cravings for drugs or alcohol that they neglect (or forget) their appearance. The same applies to teenagers.

If you suspect that your teen is struggling with addiction, you may notice changes in physical appearance like:

  • unfamiliar bad smells or odors
  • uncharacteristically poor hygiene
  • unexplained bandages (i.e., hiding injuries)
  • wearing long sleeves more often, even in hot weather
  • marks on arms or legs, which is a sign of intravenous drug use
Take Action Against Teen Addiction and Drug Abuse

It’s important to recognize that drug use and addiction are two very different things. Not all cases of drug use lead to addiction. Still, teenagers who abuse substances like illicit drugs, prescriptions, or alcohol are statistically more likely to develop an addiction as an adult. Moreover, several surveys from different sources indicate that the vast majority of adults who struggle with addiction began experimenting with substances as teenagers.

So, if you have noticed that your teenaged child is exhibiting any of these signs of drug abuse or addiction, then the best thing you can do is talk to them. Approach the situation from a place of love and concern. Then, enlist the help of addiction treatment professionals for an assessment and, if needed, treatment.

Addressing Teen Addiction at Lumiere Treatment Center

At Lumiere Treatment Center, we specialize in the treatment of a wide variety of substance use disorders. Our personalized programs ensure the comfort and safety of your child throughout the treatment process, from detox to outpatient care. For more information, please call us at 855-535-8501. All calls are free, confidential, and available 24/7.

The post The Rise of Substance Use and Addiction Among Teens appeared first on Reachout.

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