Substance Abuse Articles

Honor Veterans by Acquiring Support Skills

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

Honor Veterans by Acquiring Support SkillsIs there a military veteran in your life living with an untreated mental health condition? Are you uncertain whether your support is actually hurting more than helping? If so, you are not alone.

Most of us are not inherently equipped with the skills to understand what our loved ones experienced while serving their country through military service. Yet, according to the Department of Veterans Affairs, nearly 30 percent (PDF) of veterans serving in Iraq and Afghanistan since 9/11 that have been treated at V.A. hospitals and clinics have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

During the month of November, Care for Your Mind (CFYM) is showcasing an innovative program that coaches loved ones in how to provide healthy support for the veteran in their life.

6 Ways to Convince an Addict to Get Help

Sunday, October 26th, 2014

addiction-300x212Many people who struggle with alcohol or drugs have a difficult time getting better. There are many reasons why these people do not get the help they need.

Here are six suggestions on how to convince a person dealing with substance abuse to get help.

Psychology Around the Net: October 18, 2014

Saturday, October 18th, 2014

Mental Health Blocks

Suffer from insomnia? Ever feel you might be addicted to the Internet? Interested in seeing what a schizophrenia episode actually looks like? We have it all and more in this week’s Psychology Around the Net.

Hip-Hop Therapy Is New Route to Mental Wellbeing, Says Psychiatrists: According to researchers in the U.K., hip-hop music might be a viable mental health treatment for illnesses such as depression and schizophrenia. How? By providing people with a sense of empowerment and self-knowledge.

Man With Schizophrenia Records Episode to Give Glimpse Into Life With the Disorder: Social media has made it easier to share experiences with mental illness, and Scottie Long is just one patient to do so. Long documents his schizophrenia episodes via YouTube and sends a clear message: When treating mental illness, sooner is always better.

What Goes on Inside an Intervention?

Sunday, August 3rd, 2014

What Goes on Inside an Intervention?Interventions have become a household word for the general public, thanks to television shows such as “Celebrity Rehab” and “Intervention.” Although an intervention is not necessary in every situation, some situations benefit greatly from one. Every situation is different, but most interventions do follow a similar structure.

An intervention is a planned event where friends and family members face an addict about his or her problems. An intervention is carefully planned and provides a forum for family members and loved ones to confront the problem and express their concerns, in the hope that a person will enter treatment.

Not the Man I Used to Know

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

Not the Man I Used to KnowEarly in my sobriety, I became friendly with a university professor who regularly attended my home group meeting. This person taught political science, and I enjoyed our conversations about current events, especially discussions around the Middle East, as Israeli and Palestinian tensions were peaking during this period. He was a supportive friend, and encouraged me to mentor another newcomer who later became one of my very best friends.

A short time into our friendship, the professor showed up late to our meeting and was disruptive throughout the hour. He stood up several times in the middle of other people sharing, washed his face in the small kitchenette sink, and had several coughing fits. It was odd, but I didn’t know enough to confront him or suggest he leave the meeting.

Returning to Work after Addiction Treatment

Tuesday, July 8th, 2014

Returning to Work after TreatmentEvery year, thousands of white-collar professionals enter treatment for addiction to alcohol and drugs. In treatment they are taught new skills for living productive and fulfilled lives without mind-altering substances. After completing a 30- to 90-day inpatient program, possibly with some additional time in a less restrictive sober living community, they return to work.

In their absence, not much has changed back at the office; the expectations and associated stress have continued without a break. These newly sober professionals are inserted back into a culture from where they came and where they drank.

Accepting a Diagnosis of Mental Illness

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

Accepting a Diagnosis of Mental IllnessI can remember when I was told that I was crazy. It was an apex in my life resulting from nearly two years of skewed thinking and symptoms so bad I could barely leave my house.

The diagnosis came three days into my week-long stay at the Boulder Community Hospital after a spur-of-the-moment trip to the U.N. where I thought I was a prophet.

On Rejecting the False Promise, 25 Years Later

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

imagesI used to think once you put down the drink you were fixed, that once you conjured up the courage to quit your addiction the hard work was over. But addicts are never really cured.

Like cancer survivors, they simply stay in remission for the duration of their lives. There is always a person, place, or thing in their horizon promising them the way to the land of unicorns and fairies, a detour from the painful stuff of life.

Introducing One Sober Life

Thursday, May 1st, 2014

Introducing One Sober LifeGrappling with sobriety — and learning to live without alcohol in your life — is …

Alcohol May Not Help: Alcohol’s Impact on Your Mental Health

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014

Alcohol and Mental HealthAlcoholism is common among people suffering from mental health conditions. People experiencing anxiety, depression, impulsivity, or other diagnosable mental illnesses often turn to alcohol to find temporary solace. Additionally, people who do not have a mental health diagnosis, yet are encountering a phase of overwhelming emotions, drink dangerously.

For example, while struggling with the aftermath of trauma, such as physical or sexual abuse, people drink to escape the pain. Alcohol is used as a coping mechanism for those enduring a great deal of stress or hardship, such as getting fired from a job or losing a loved one.

Drinking represses the negative emotions that affect the mental well-being of those with diagnosed mental health concerns and those who simply feel emotionally flooded.

The Hunger Fix: Managing Your Addiction to Food

Friday, March 14th, 2014

The Hunger Fix: Managing Your Addiction to FoodThere’s a scene in an episode of “Sex and the City,” where Miranda Hobbes has shamelessly salvaged a cupcake from the trash and, half of the thing in her mouth, leaves a voicemail with Carrie admitting her weak moment in case her friend needs that evidence when she admits her into the Betty Ford clinic. Katie Couric played the clip before introducing her guest, Dr. Pam Peeke, internationally recognized expert, physician, and author in the fields of nutrition, stress, fitness, and public health, on the “Katie” show.

Peeke’s latest book, The Hunger Fix (a New York Times bestseller), lays out the science to prove that fatty, sugary, salty processed foods produce in a food addict’s brain the same chemical reaction as addictions to crack cocaine and alcoholism.

Peeke uses neuroscience to explain how, with repeated exposure coupled with life stresses, any food can become a “false fix” and ensnare you in a vicious cycle of food obsession, overeating, and addiction. The dopamine rushes in the body work the same way with food as with drugs like cocaine.

4 More Spiritual Tips for Staying Sane Through the Holidays

Thursday, December 19th, 2013

4 More Spiritual Tips for Staying Sane Through the HolidaysAs the holiday season winds up for its last big week before Christmas, here are a few spiritual tips to help you remember what the season’s all about. This is part two of a two-part article (part one is here).

4. Celebrate your truth.

I have a friend named Wayne who had an awful life. He was maybe 12 years old when, looking around the dinner table, he finally did the math that estranged him from his family.

You see, Wayne had four older brothers, each a year apart, and Wayne was born four years after the last. He knew immediately that he wasn’t supposed to be there; he knew immediately that he was an accident. Even worse, he knew that everyone in that household hated and resented his existence.

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