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One of the most important elements of a healthy work environment is a work-life balance. Work-life balance helps prevent burnout and stress. According to a recent study, chronic stress is one of the health problems in workplaces today. It is directly linked to digestive problems, hypertension, heart problems, and chronic aches. Unfortunately, most Americans sacrifice their personal lives in an effort to move ahead. This explains why only 30 percent of employees are content with their work-life balance.

Long Hours at Work May Ruin Your Relationship

Most people strive to balance their work and personal lifeadeptly every day. Some are more successful at it than others. By spending most of your time at work, you may be unintentionally hurting your partner. The hurt can gradually lead to anger. Although all relationships are different, a work-life imbalance can put a strain on even the healthiest of relationships.

3 Tips on How to Keep Your Relationship HealthySet Boundaries

Although career-oriented couples enjoy working, setting boundaries will allow you to enjoy each other. Whether it’s how often you work from home or the time you leave the office, ensure that you always communicate. Create simple rules. For instance, vow thatyou won’t check your phone after 7:00 pm.

Take vacations together

In case you have been daydreaming about a romantic getaway with your partner, now may be the time to stop fantasizing and to actually plan. You need a break from your work, and a vacation with your partner will help you cultivate those feelings of enjoyment, fun, and love for your partner.

Make the time

If your work is very demanding, it may seem as thoughyou never have enough time to spend with your partner. But you can easily create time to relax, talk and even pamper your partner. All you need is just one hour per week. Therefore, try to carve out some time from your schedule just for spending with your partner.

Consider Couples Counseling

Balancing between work, your partner's’ happiness and the family needs can be challenging. Sometimes you may feel as though you can’t hold everything together without one piece falling. With so many responsibilities, including household chores, work demands, children, and other personal commitments, your partner may start feeling abandoned. This may cause them to start acting out and you may start feeling distanced.

Marriage therapy can be of great help. Marriage counseling sessions will help boost communication and increase your ability to balance between work and home. If your relationship is on the line, talking to a counselor may help your relationship to recover.

Visit our couples counseling page at https://www.wakecounseling.com/couples-counseling/

Call us at 919-647-4600


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It can feel good to solve problems independently, but when the load gets too heavy, there’s no shame in asking for help from a professional counselor. Counselors come in many forms -- social workers, psychologists, and psychiatrists -- but they’re all positioned to help you cope with your stressors, anxieties, and negative emotions.

In the United States, attitudes toward counseling and therapy range from intense skepticism to wholehearted belief. Where you fall on that spectrum may depend on the influence of your immediate family and closest friends. If you’re considering therapy but have only heard negative opinions on it, don’t be afraid to open yourself up to the benefits.

Here are just some of the benefits of regular counseling sessions:
  • Professional insight into the mental-health hurdles you’ve encountered in life

  • Actionable advice to lessen or eliminate mental-health struggles

  • An environment in which you can express anything that’s on your mind without fear of judgment or consequence

  • Access to medication that can alleviate your symptoms and increase your productivity (with a prescription from your psychiatrist or primary care physician)

Not only does counseling help you with mental-health challenges, but it also gives you the tools to blossom into a more mature, confident person. Counselors impart life skills and coping strategies that you can use in every facet of life. Let’s run through a few:

  • Counselors can help you identify the moments in life where you let your emotions get the best of you. Once you’ve made that identification, you can learn strategies for defusing your negative emotions and letting calm, rational thoughts and feelings prevail.

  • You can gain insight into the behavior of others and better understand points of view that aren’t your own

  • You benefit from an impartial perspective that’s given to you by someone without a personal stake in your decisions. Even your most trusted friends and family members have their biases, but therapists are neutral.

  • In all honesty, talking with a counselor can be just plain fun! It’s a small portion of your week that’s carved out for honesty, relaxation, and self-improvement. And if they work with children, they might let you play with the toys in their office!

If you want to reap the personal-growth benefits counseling can provide, consider making an appointment today. There’s no time like the present to seize an opportunity to better yourself!

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There is no question that social media can be highly beneficial to users. Social media allows brands to market to customers, facilitates the spread of information, and helps people connect with others across the globe.

Since its inception, social media has proved useful; however, its allure has also led to overuse. Too much of a good thing can be detrimental, and many people are falling into the clutches of social media addiction.

It is estimated that roughly 210 million peoplesuffer from social media addictions worldwide. Social media addiction affects both teens and adults equally. It can also cause a decrease in productivity and happiness. In fact, people who spend hours checking social media every day are more likely to experience depression and anxiety.

Most alarming, social media addiction can be incredibly dangerous. 50% of drivers who use their smartphones while driving are checking social media. The inability to separate from social media leads to thousands of deaths every year. If you think you might have a social media addiction, you need to seek help sooner rather than later.

Signs you might be addicted to social media include:
  • Feeling depression or sadness because you are comparing your life to others on social media

  • Experiencing irritability or anxiousness when you are away from your phone or social media

  • Only experiencing joy when people are interacting with your social media profiles

  • Using multiple devices to log into social media accounts

  • Inability to work, go to school, or eat without checking social media

  • Checking your social media as soon as you wake up in the morning

  • Sleeping with your phone

  • Inability to ignore notifications from social media

If you recognize many of these signs in your life, you should consider seeing a counselor. A therapist can help you overcome this addiction and learn how to have a healthy relationship with social media.

Here are a few ways that mental health counseling can help you with your social media addiction:1. Identifying Addiction and Underlying Issues

Attending counseling can help you identify the root of your addiction. Like many other addictions, social media abuse can stem from a variety of issues.

Some common causes of social media addiction include:

  • Finding self-esteem and worth in likes, follows, and positive comments

  • Chasing the dopamine that comes from receiving notifications

  • Escapism

  • Craving connection

When you work with a licensed therapist, you can find out what fuels your social media addiction. Your therapist might encourage you to go without social media for a period of time to see its effects. Counselors may also ask you to write down your feelings when you use social media. Once your therapist helps you find the cause, the two of you can begin working on a solution.

In addition to treating the addiction, a therapist can help you treat the issues that led to your problem. This will ensure that you do not simply replace your social media addiction with some an equally destructive habit. Sometimes the underlying issues in an addiction cause problems in several areas of your life. A therapist can help you manage and deal with these issues in a healthy way.

2. Establishing Healthy Boundaries

As you develop a strategy for managing your social media addiction, your counselor can help you set some boundaries. Healthy boundaries will help you avoid situations where you are using social media in a negative way. These boundaries can also help you take steps toward recovery.

In therapy, you can develop a social media management plan with your counselor. This could mean leaving your phone outside of your room at night or only checking Facebook once a day. You might decide you will never check your notifications during dinner or while you are at work, or you might limit yourself to fifteen minutes of social media per day.

However you and your therapist decide to manage your social media use, this practical approach will be helpful. As long as you work toward reaching your goals, you will start to see progress.

3. Support

Overcoming social media addiction will be challenging, but going to therapy will give you the support and accountability you need to succeed. If you struggle to maintain your boundaries, your therapist can provide support, encouragement, and strategies to get you back on track.

Seeing a therapist will force you to make a commitment toward recovery. As you self-reflect and think about your progress from week to week, your therapist can guide you, offer advice, or redirect you when necessary.

Many people make the mistake of trying to fight addictions on their own. This lack of accountability and support often leads to failure. One major benefit of mental health counseling is that you do not have to solve problems on your own. If you think your social media use is becoming a problem, you should seek out the help of a therapist today.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit https://www.wakecounseling.com page or call 919-647-4600.

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No matter how strong its foundation, any relationship without nurturing will eventually fall apart. A healthy relationship requires both parties to put in the time, attention, and love required to strengthen the partnership.

Whether your relationship is thriving or stuck in a rut, you can take steps to improve it. Make an effort to work at your relationship every day, and you will be rewarded with a deeper connection.

Take steps to improve your relashionship

Here are ten easy habits that will help you nurture your relationship:1. Communicate

Communication is key to any healthy relationship. If you want your relationship to prosper, you must be able to communicate well. Speak honestly when you have a problem, and do not let your emotions fester. Allow your partner the freedom and space to do the same.

Even when the conversation may be difficult, it is imperative that you talk through your issues together. When both partners feel safe sharing their feelings with one another, they are able to build trust and respect.

As both of you practice speaking honestly and listening well, you will become even better communicators. This will help your relationship grow stronger and deeper.

2. Be Intentional

If you want to foster growth in your relationship, you need to be intentional with your time and your actions. Carve out time to spend with your spouse and make sure you are using the time wisely. Even if you can only manage a quick twenty or thirty minutes each day, you need to dedicate time for your partner.

Here are a few ways you can be intentional with your time:

  • Start a weekly date night

  • Go on a brief walk together after work

  • Cook breakfast together in the morning

  • Find a tv show you both enjoy and watch it together

  • Meet for lunch once a week

Find activities that you enjoy together

However you choose to spend time together, make sure that you focus on your partner. Make sure to silence your phone, get rid of any interruptions, and hire a babysitter if necessary.

Show your partner that you prioritize your relationship by dedicating time to building your connection.

3. Show Appreciation

If you are not careful, it can be easy to take your partner for granted. One of the easiest ways to avoid this is by showing appreciation every single day. Think of everything, big and small, that your partner does for you each day. Write these actions down and make sure you do not neglect to thank your partner for doing them.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  • Write a heartfelt letter expressing how your spouse’s selflessness makes you feel

  • Buy them chocolates, flowers, or some other token of appreciation

  • Say “thank you!”

  • Take on one of the jobs or chores they typically do for a day

  • Prepare a romantic dinner

  • Tell other people in your life how much you appreciate your partner

When your partner feels appreciated, it will nurture your relationship. Nothing kills a relationship faster than having one person feel like they are not appreciated or valued. Make it a habit to show appreciation every day.

4. Acts of Service

Giving is one of the most important acts you can do in a relationship. Take time to complete acts of service for your spouse.

Does he hate taking the trash out or washing the dishes, do this chore for him from time to time. Does she put the kids to bed every night or always cook dinner? Take over this responsibility so that she can have a break. These little acts of service can make a big difference in a relationship.

Actively look for areas in which you can help your partner. If you notice your spouse’s car is dirty, take it to a car wash. If you know your significant other has an important meeting, wake up early and prepare a nice breakfast. Acts of service are a great way to show your partner you care about your relationship.

5. Take Responsibility

When you and your partner have a problem or an argument, make sure you take responsibility for your part of the situation. Avoid playing the blame game or making excuses. Listen to what your significant other has to say without being defensive. Then apologize if appropriate and take responsibility for your actions.

If you want your relationship to flourish, make sure you are willing to admit to and own up to your mistakes.

6. Provide Emotional Support

Demonstrate to your partner that you are care by showing emotional support. When your partner knows that you have his or her back, it will increase the trust, connection, and love in your relationship.

Listen, give compliments and appriciate

Here are some easy ways you can make showing emotional support a habit:

  • Offer your loved one compliments and validation

  • Listen when they have a struggle they are facing at work

  • Ask them how they are doing

Make sure your partner knows they are not alone in this relationship.

7. Forgive

Holding grudges can be detrimental to any relationship. Get in the habit of forgiving your partner when you have talked through a problem where they were at fault.

Sometimes couples will bring up resolved issues and past mistakes when they have an argument. This chips away at the trust in a relationship and prevents you from ever truly solving problems. Practice forgiveness and let go of resolved conflicts.

8. Share

When you share your goals, dreams, ups, and downs with your partner, you will become closer. Sharing is a form of intimacy that comes with many benefits. It is important for you to be vulnerable and talk about things that might make you uncomfortable.

Not only does this help your partner know what is going on in your head, it also allows you to have important discussions. If your dream is going to require moving across the country or investing time or money, it is important that you communicate that with your partner.

9. Perseverance

Like anything worth having, relationships require hard work to maintain. It does not matter how close you are with your partner; you are going to need to work at your relationship to maintain its integrity. One way you can nurture your relationship is to actively work toward improving your relationship.

Always be willing to improve, both for your own sake and your partner’s. Then put in the hard work toward fixing these problem areas. When things get tough in your relationship, resolve not to give up right away or avoid having hard conversations. Work on your partnership in good times and in bad times.

10. Attend Marriage Counseling

If you want to make sure your relationship is as healthy as possible, consider couples therapy. Couples therapy can help you work out issues, develop positive habits, and learn to communicate. Try to attend marriage counseling regularly, even when you feel like your relationship is solid. Marriage therapy can equip you with the tools and strategies you need to have a successful relationship.

Visit our couples counseling page at https://www.wakecounseling.com/couples-counseling/

Call us at 919-647-4600

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There are few things as important as maintaining your relationship with your spouse or significant other. However, anyone who has ever been in a relationship knows that maintaining one is easier said than done. Sometimes people with good intentions make simple mistakes that can jeopardize their relationship or end it altogether.

If you want to have a successful relationship, identifying and avoiding these mistakes is essential. It is important that you recognize some of these problems so you can take steps toward becoming a better partner and protecting your relationship.

Here are five common mistakes people make in their relationships:1. Taking Your Partner for Granted

When you have been in a relationship for a while, you can easily grow so accustomed to the flow that you forget to take the time to savor it. Instead of appreciating your spouse’s contributions, you might grow accustomed to these actions or stop noticing them altogether. If you find your spouse complaining frequently or expecting you to do nice things for them, you might be taking your spouse for granted.

It is important to show your significant other that you truly value their actions. Do not fall into a routine where everything your partner does becomes an expectation. If you do, your partner may grow resentful, pushing the two of you apart. In a healthy relationship, both individuals show and communicate appreciation for one another. You can accomplish this in many ways:

  • Take the time to say “thank you” or send an appreciation text to help your partner recognize their value in your life.

  • Express how your partner’s thoughtfulness makes you feel

  • Acknowledge your significant other’s contributions, and be sure to make contributions as well

When both of you feel valued, your relationship will be stronger.

2. Bottling Up Emotions

Many people believe their relationships are healthy because they never fight with their partner. However, avoiding confrontation can devastate a relationship. It is always better to share your emotions than to hold them inside.

When people bottle up their emotions, their negative feelings will only build. This will cause the small problems plaguing the relationship to develop into major issues that are harder to solve. This is toxic, and it can lead to angry outbursts, resentment, and emotional pain.

If you have a tendency to bottle up your emotions, there are steps you can take to change. Be honest about your feelings, and communicate with your partner when something is bothering you. If your spouse does something to upset you, let them know before your anger begins to fester. Fostering regular, healthy communication can help you strengthen your relationship and avoid serious problems.

If you are having trouble communicating with your partner, you should consider going to couples counseling. Having a professional, third-party present can make it easier for you to express your feelings with your spouse.

3. Playing the Blame Game

Placing blame on your partner for all of the problems in your relationship is unhealthy and unfair. One mistake that people make in relationships is refusing to admit fault for their part of a problem. When you point fingers at someone else, you prevent yourself from seeing how you contribute to conflicts in your relationship. Take the time to reflect on your own actions before you try to assign blame.

When you blame your partner for mistakes, it is easy for one small slight to spiral out of control. Instead of listening to your partner and addressing an issue together, you immediately make you spouse the enemy. In doing so, you rob yourself of the opportunity to show compassion and grace to your significant other.

If you constantly assign blame, you will start to see your partner in a negative light, which will harm your relationship.

4. Keeping Score

If you relentlessly track all of your partner’s mistakes or your sacrifices, you are not doing your relationship any favors. Keeping score is one of the easiest ways to kill a relationship. Avoid bringing up resolved issues from the past when you argue. This is unfair to your partner, and it prevents you from ever truly solving problems.

When your spouse apologizes for something, and you accept the apology, leave it in the past. Do not bring the issue back up in the future. It may help you “win” an argument, but it will ultimately make you lose your partner’s trust.

Additionally, you should also stop keeping a mental list of every single sacrifice you have made for your partner. Understand and accept that there will be times when each of you has to pull more weight than the other in the relationship. Keeping score will only make you feel bitter, and this will take a toll on your relationship.

5. Neglecting to Listen to Your Partner

Communication goes two ways. In addition to being able to express your feelings, good communication requires responsive listening. When people in a relationship feel unheard, the relationship will not grow. Practice active listening and make it a priority. If you need help with this, attending marriage counseling can help you develop your active listening skills.

When you are in an argument, listen to your partner’s side of the story. Make sure you truly seek to understand how your spouse feels about the situation. If you want to improve your relationship, you should focus on making sure your significant other always feels heard and respected.

Visit our couples counseling page at https://www.wakecounseling.com/couples-counseling/

Call us at 919-647-4600

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Depression involves much more than just feeling “down” or sad. Depression can affect every aspect of someone’s life, from quality of sleep to relationships to job responsibilities. It can be hard for people to deal with this mental illness on their own; but with the right knowledge and treatment, recovery is possible for anyone who is struggling.

Causes of Depression

Depression is one of the most common mental illnesses, but many people want to know what causes it. Unlike physical ailments, mental disorders are often caused by a complex combination of reasons. However, researchers believe that there are 4 main factors that may lead to an increased risk of depression:

Biological differences

People with depression often have physical changes in their brains. Currently, researchers aren’t sure how significant these changes are, but we may be able to find out more in the future.

Brain chemistry

Neurotransmitters, which are naturally occurring brain chemicals, likely play a role in depression. When neurotransmitters don’t function properly, it can lead to a decrease in mood stability. Research also shows that those who have depression show less activity in the frontal lobe of their brain.2

Hormones

Hormone changes in the body may also trigger depression. Major hormone changes occurring from pregnancy, thyroid problems, menopause, and other conditions can affect a person’s mental health.

Inherited traits

Depression is more common in people whose relatives also have depression. Researchers are still searching for the specific genes that might be involved in causing depression.1

Risk Factors

Along with the factors listed above, major life events or personal beliefs can also trigger depression. These areas can include:

  • Specific personality traits, like pessimism and low self-esteem.

  • Traumatic or stressful events, such as physical or sexual abuse, the death or loss of a loved one, a difficult relationship, or financial problems.

  • Blood relatives with a history of depression, bipolar disorder, alcoholism or suicide.

  • Being lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender in an unsupportive situation.

  • History of other mental health disorders, such as anxiety disorder, eating disorders or post-traumatic stress disorder.2

  • Abuse of alcohol or recreational drugs.

  • Serious or chronic illness, including cancer, stroke, chronic pain or heart disease.

  • Certain medications may list depression as a side effect.1

Common Treatments

The first step in treating depression is to speak with your doctor. They can give you an accurate diagnosis and then refer you to plenty of helpful resources. Depression is best treated with a combination of treatments, but you and your doctor can decide what’s right for you. Here are some aspects you may want to include in your treatment plan:

Medication

The first type of antidepressant most doctors prescribe is known as an SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors). SSRIs include medications like Prozac and Zoloft, and they don’t usually cause any unpleasant side effects. Other types of medications that may help with depression include mood stabilizers and antipsychotics.

Therapy

There are several choices you can consider for psychotherapy treatments, such as individual talk therapy, family therapy, or cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). There are also outpatient treatment centers at some hospitals where you can be involved in group therapy, learn how to manage your symptoms, and find support.

Focus on physical health

It’s hard to find motivation to do certain things when you’re depressed. You might not feel like cooking healthy meals or exercising or even getting out of bed. However, doing small things to encourage healthy habits can quickly add up. For example, instead of pushing yourself to go to the gym, just take a walk around the neighborhood. If you can’t find the energy to get dressed, just brush your teeth.

Hospital treatment

Sometimes, depression can be so severe that people may need to be hospitalized for a period of time. A psychiatric unit will help you stay safe and make sure you take care of yourself. There will be several resources available for you, including various group sessions, relaxation exercises, and self-care activities. If you feel like you might harm yourself or others, going to the hospital is crucial.

Brain stimulation therapies

If other treatments haven’t helped, brain stimulation through electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) or vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) can be effective.

One important thing to remember throughout your treatment process is to be patient. There are dozens of medications, treatments, and therapies available for depression, but it might take time to find what works best for you. You may not feel the effects of an anti-depressant for over a week, or you might not like the first therapist you see. And that’s OK! Know that there are plenty of other options available and that you deserve to feel better.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit our Depression Counseling page or call 919-647-4600.

References:

  1. Depression Symptoms and Causes. Mayo Clinic.

  2. Depression Overview. National Alliance on Mental Illness.

  3. Depression Treatment. National Alliance on Mental Illness.

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Stress arises from the modern lifestyle. In a fast-paced world where we’re constantly making big decisions, reasons to worry pop up almost daily. If you believe stress and anxiety impact you more than normal, take the time to understand the options for treatment.

Symptoms of Anxiety:Desire

Have you ever felt like you want to do something so badly, but you’ll never be able to achieve it? Maybe you suffer from dissatisfaction with your career or romantic life. Fixating on the things you want but don’t have may signal chronic anxiety.

Worry

Worrying is totally normal, but if you feel consumed with it all the time, you may have an anxiety problem. When you spend too much time dreaming up unrealistic disaster scenarios, it may be time for treatment.

Fear of the Unknown

Sometimes meeting a new person, a new boss, or moving to a new school can make you nervous. But have you ever felt nervous enough to cancel your plans entirely? Do you go for long periods of time without leaving the house? Severe anxiety is marked by attempts to escape the reality of the outside world.

Difficulty Breathing

Sometimes when your anxiety levels are very high, the anxiety makes your muscles very tense that you can't breathe normally. If a panic attack sets in, don’t hesitate to call emergency services when you need them.

If one or more of these feelings or symptoms are relatable to you, you may suffer from moderate to severe anxiety.

How to Treat Anxiety

Medication may help, but a pill alone will not likely make anxiety go away altogether. That said, for severe cases of stress and anxiety, your psychiatrist may recommend medication to keep you healthy and ward off feelings of depression and mental instability.

You can also treat your anxiety levels with many non-pharmaceutical sources by practicing a healthy lifestyle that alleviates your symptoms

Sleep

If your body is not well rested, your brain will not work correctly! When you don’t sleep enough, your stress and anxiety levels can dominate your conscious mind. Always take enough time to rest and recover your mind and body for the next day.

Exercise

When your brain overthinks and worries about everything throughout the day, a sedentary lifestyle only exacerbates symptoms. A good amount of regular physical activity physical activity helps you to strike a good balance between body and mind. Take time to maintain your body and distract your mind from your most persistent sources of anxiety.

Yoga

Practicing yoga can help to calm your mind and release unnecessary tension from your body. Try to find a friend who practices yoga and can guide you when you’re getting started, or join a yoga group in your community.

Be realistic

Sometimes, when anxiety really hits, you might feel as though the end of the world is upon you. We are powerless to stop many of the threats and sources of hardships in the world. Constantly thinking of worst-case scenarios only adds more fuel to anxiety.

The next time that voice in your head starts talking breathlessly about what your future holds, try to silence it. Ask yourself if it’s really going to happen. The answer is “probably not,” but severe anxiety prevents us from seeing that. Positive thinking alone can’t fix mental illness, but it can help.

Anxiety rears its ugly head for people of all ages and in all walks of life. Don’t let the stereotype that it’s only for teenagers or young adults impact your decision to seek treatment. This mental condition can affect anybody at any time; no one is immune, so suffering from anxiety is not a sign of weakness!

Excessive anxiety only feeds on itself when you leave it untreated. Whenever you feel anxious to a point where you can't control it, talk with somebody who can assist you in getting the help you need

For more information or to schedule an appointment, visit our Anxiety Counseling page or call 919-647-4600.

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Your Substance Abuse is Affecting Your Relationships

Substance abuse is something that can sneak into your life right under your nose. You may not even realize that you are using a substance like alcohol, over-the-counter medications or other illicit drugs as self-medication but you could be. In fact, many people suffer from substance abuse disorder or SUD and do not even realize it. However, people suffering with SUD can often times see the effects of their behavior within the family. A partner, spouse or the entire family may notice a need for interventions for the person suffering.

Does Someone in Our Family Have SUD?

The term “family” includes husband and wife partnerships, traditional and heterosexual couples, parents, single parents, blood relatives, adoptive families, foster children, grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins. No matter how small or large your family is, SUD can have a dramatic impact on the balance and overall health over the family system. Therefore, it is very important that as a member of your family the signs and symptoms of SUD are not dismissed or minimized. If you are unsure if one or more members suffering from SUD, here are the signs of SUD: 

  • Taking an over-the-counter or prescription medication when you do not have a health problem
  • Using more of any type of substance to get the same effect due to prolonged use/abuse
  • Building up a tolerance to medications or taking more than the recommended dosage
  • Feeling shaky or uneasy when you stop using alcohol or drug
  • Inability to stop using a substance like alcohol or drugs
  • Spending large amounts of time thinking about a substance or drug or making excuses to use the drug
  • A loss of interest in activities other than using alcohol, drugs or medications
  • Borrowing or taking money to get more of your substance of choice 
  • Changes in mood and physical appearance1
What About the Children?

Family systems may also include children. Today, approximately eight million children live with one or more adult suffering from a form of SUD. That is more than one in 10 children! This figure also sadly includes mostly children under the age of 5. These children could be exposed to an adult who has an altered mood (either positively or negatively), distracted attention and preoccupation with using substances like alcohol or drugs or someone who is perpetually in a state of recovery. All of these qualities in a parent or caregiver can leave a child feeling lost and without a healthy support system or attachment. Children may then become more vulnerable to stress, anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses. 

Here is just one example of how children can be affected as the result of SUD in the family:

“From age 9, she remembers her mother coming home, being intoxicated sometimes in a black-out, and Ashley helping her into bed. She remembers caring for her mother at night, cleaning up her vomit, wiping her face, and tending to her younger brother in the mornings by getting his breakfast and helping him get ready for school. She stated to her therapist that she remembers thinking, “If only I take really good care of her, maybe she'll be able to take care of me someday.”2

This heart-breaking story about a case study reveals that even children can develop distorted roles within the family. Taking on a parental role as a child to help manage a household that includes one or more members of the family with SUD can take a devastating toll on the entire system. However, don’t lose hope! If you or someone you love within the family is suffering with SUD, numerous studies show that family interventions and therapy can help.3

How-To Reverse the Damage of Substance 

Substance use counseling or joining a support group is one of the best ways to start the process of reversing the damage of SUD. Studies can confirm that when one person starts to make a change in their behavior the effects can be seen throughout the family system. This means that if you decide to see a counselor individually to address substance use treatment or your therapy includes couples counseling, one-on-one talk sessions or group therapy as a family, professional substance use counseling can help.4

For more information or to schedule appointment online please visit our Substance Use Page or call at 919-647-4600.

References:

  1. Signs of Drug Addiction. WebMD. 
  2. Laura Lander, Janie Howsare. The Impact of Substance Use Disorders on Families and Children: From Theory to Practice. Soc Work Public Health. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2013 Jul 27.
  3. Substance Abuse Treatment and Family Therapy. Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 39. Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. `        q2Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 2004.
  4. Laura Lander, Janie Howsare. The Impact of Substance Use Disorders on Families and Children: From Theory to Practice. Soc Work Public Health. Author manuscript; available in PMC 2013 Jul 27.
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