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Tag Archives: depression

Three Tips to Overcoming Addiction in the Midst of Depression

Alcoholic 1Alcohol is often used to mask deeper emotions such as depression that people don’t wish to confront. For the person living with depression, avoiding alcohol can be particularly difficult because of the underlying emotional turmoil that fuels addiction. Entering into a joyous occasion such as a birthday celebration or holiday party can exacerbate feelings of depression and even serve as a catalyst for drinking as the affected individual struggles to understand why he or she can’t relate to others who always seem so happy.

Men and women diagnosed with depression may wonder if recovery from substance abuse disorders is even possible. The fact is there are treatments designed for those who are working through both issues. Medications can also help to regulate moods and minimize cravings.

Here are three tips for those living with both depression and dependency to ensure a successful recovery:

  • Keep away from people or situations that serve as triggers for drinking or depressive symptoms. This doesn’t mean that it’s necessary to take a rain check for every celebratory event. For these occasions, it’s important to take along an accountability partner and have a plan for the night’s agenda. For example, maybe the plan is only to stay for an hour, say hello, then exit before any drinks are served. If it’s early in the recovery process, such events may need to be avoided altogether until the person has regained some footing.
  • Reach out and build a strong support network. It’s critical to have people to talk to when feeling low or when reinforcement is needed. It helps to include other relatable individuals in this group who are also working through the same issues of depression and addiction.
  • Take ownership of the recovery process. Ultimately, no one is going to make a person get sober other than themselves. It’s important to realize that temptations will always exist, so it’s critical to learn the skill of self-control and know when to say no.

Family Guidance Center works with over 1,600 people every year to aid in their recovery. The symptoms of substance abuse and depression are manageable and treatable. The truth is, each year mental health affects about 25 percent of the adult population. Call Family Guidance Center today learn more about programs in your area.

New Study Shows First Three Months are Critical in Drug Recovery

14429202_sFor the person living with addiction, there are many factors that can complicate the success of recovery. Addiction can lead to risky decision making and impulsivity that might not occur otherwise. A person living with addiction may engage in precarious sexual encounters, overspending or compulsive gambling, compulsive overeating or other behaviors that can create feelings of hopelessness or lead to depression.

Abstinence from an addictive substance is often challenged by underlying mental, emotional, and social elements. Guibin Wang of China’s National Institute on Drug Dependence located at Peking University sought to get a better understanding of the process that occurs during abstinence in the hopes of developing more effective drug treatment plans and minimizing the occurrence of relapse.

Wang studied 183 individuals receiving treatment at a particular recovery facility. He evaluated drug cravings and symptoms of depression, anxiety, and impulsivity. Participants had been sober anywhere from about a week to more than a year.

The findings indicated that the longer participants were drug-free, the lower their level of impulsivity and the better their decision making skills became. Wang also found that longer periods of abstinence were associated with fewer instances of depression and anxiety.

And though general cravings diminished over time, Wang found that the first three months were critical to the recovery process as individuals actually experienced increased cue-based cravings during this period. The implication for clinicians is to be particularly vigilant during the initial phase of recovery and take additional steps to help minimize stress and regulate emotions during those first critical months of sobriety.

For over 100 years, Family Guidance Center has been aiding individuals and their families in breaking the cycle of addiction. Family Guidance Center also has programs for adults who are working through depression and other common types of chronic mental illness. Treatment is offered on both an inpatient and outpatient basis and focuses on learning positive ways to manage substance abuse triggers. Recovery can, and does, happen. Contact Family Guidance Center for more information.


Three Mental Illnesses that Affect Millions of Americans

10855632_sMore often than not, mental illness does not receive the same attention as conditions affecting physical health. There are many reasons for this. One reason is that mental illness is still surrounded by a cloud of stigma making it difficult for society to openly talk about and address such issues.  Other times there is a lack of education and awareness regarding mental health matters and just how many people are truly impacted by them.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that over a quarter of all Americans over the age of 18 have a diagnosable mental illness each year. That equates to almost 63 million men and women. Three of the most common mental health problems include eating disorders, mood disorders, and personality disorders.

Eating Disorders. Women tend to be diagnosed with eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia far more frequently than men. Both anorexia and bulimia can leave a person severely malnourished and trigger other serious health problems. In each case, the course of treatment may include individual and group therapy and family support. Sometimes an anti-depressant is necessary to treat symptoms of depression. Additionally, millions of women and men live with binge eating disorder or compulsive eating disorders, and may have untreated coexisting mental illnesses that contribute to the destructive cycle.

Mood Disorders. Two of the more frequently diagnosed mood disorders include bipolar disorder and depression. Approximately 6 million Americans are affected by bipolar disorder, and more than twice that (15 million)  live with major depressive disorder. Without treatment, both can seriously affect family life, careers, finances and every area of life. Per NIMH figures, depression is the leading cause for disability for those between the ages of 15 and 44. Treatment involves medication and counseling.

Personality Disorders. Just under 10 percent of Americans are affected by personality disorders such as anti-social personality disorder, borderline personality disorder (BPD), and avoidant personality disorder. These are serious forms of mental illness that impact daily functioning and social relationships. They can be more difficult to treat and often require medication.

Mental illness doesn’t have to dictate the course of a person’s life. With professional help, such as from Family Guidance Center,  many individuals manage symptoms successfully and lead very fulfilling and productive lives.  If you would like to set an appointment or learn more about available mental health services in your community, contact Family Guidance Center.

Bipolar Diagnosis in Affected Individuals May Help Speed Recovery

13583067_sWhen a person initially finds out that he or she has bipolar disorder, it can be an overwhelming and unsettling experience. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), there are 5.7 million American adults affected by the disease. Bipolar disorder can take as long as a decade to diagnose and this is because its symptoms of mania or hyperactivity, depression, and risky decision making are often easily confused for something else.

In fact, many individuals diagnosed with depression are later found to have bipolar disorder. Symptoms may gradually worsen over time till the affected individual no longer feels comfortable in his or her own skin. Bipolar disorder is a serious mental health condition that when left undiagnosed, can cause significant disruptions to a person’s life. Researchers from Norway’s University of Bergen examined 13 adults with bipolar disorder to determine how finally receiving a diagnosis affected the group – particularly how such knowledge impacted recovery.

According to a recent article on GoodTherapy.org, the acceptance of being bipolar occurs in three phases as adults move toward recovery: 1) doubt and confusion, 2) identifying and trying to understand shifts in mood, and 3) attempting to process the illness in terms of its meaning for the future. In the first and second phases, participants reported feeling out-of-sorts and disconnected from reality. In the third phase of diagnosis, however, even though some individuals struggled to accept their diagnosis – for others, the realization brought relief.

According to lead study author Marius Veseth, being made aware of the illness and recognizing it for what it is can often be a step toward recovery, even though that acceptance can be difficult to process. Once the initial shock wears off, it may be easier to transition into the ‘Okay, I have bipolar disorder, what now?” phase.

If you or someone you know is affected by bipolar disorder, Family Guidance Center can help. Life doesn’t stop because of mental illness. Quite the contrary – with proper support and assistance, many individuals with a mental health diagnosis — similar to a chronic health problem — lead fulfilling and productive lives. Contact Family Guidance Center to learn more about treatment and recovery programs available in your area.


Four Tips to Cope with Childhood and Adolescent Mental Illness in Summer

14110068_sMany kids dread having to get up and go to class every morning throughout the school year. But for children with ADHD, a regimented routine can actually prove beneficial. In fact, the summer with its laid back and carefree schedule may actually present far greater challenges for ADHD children than the remaining months of the year.

Some children who need medication to boost focus while in school may be afforded some time off during the summer if their ADHD is not severe, says Ohio based psychiatrist Peter Zafirides. He adds, however, that the transition off medications may take some adjustment. Additionally, because of the lack of structure during the summer, symptoms of ADHD such as moodiness, anxiety, and petulance can be exacerbated. In a recent article on GoodTherapy.org Zafirides offers some tips to help kids and young adults with mental illness have a healthy and productive summer.

  1. Spend time outside and enjoy nature

  2. Minimize time in front of the television, including video games

  3. Participate in activities that get the body moving

  4. Don’t neglect proper sleep

While we normally associate summer with emotions such as happy and carefree, this is not the case for everyone. In fact, many health professionals advise that mental health conditions like depression may be more prominent in the summer due to loneliness or boredom. According to William Oswald who heads Summit Malibu, a California based behavior and addiction treatment facility, people have an easier time keeping their minds occupied when they are busy.

Maintaining some summer structure can help keep symptoms of mental illness at bay. Depending on the age group, kids can get involved in play groups, apply for a part-time job, or participate in summer education or internship programs.

Zafirides says the key to keeping parents and kids with ADHD on the same page is to have a discussion as summer commences and talk about the things that each would like to accomplish. Also, having set, regular talks that are not confrontational which address mood shifts and behavior changes can help.

Before making any decisions to reduce or stop taking medications, parents should first consult with their child’s doctor. Family Guidance Center also serves as a place of support for mental health conditions of all kinds, and can provide an assessment if a child has symptoms that may indicate ADHD. To learn more about ADHD or to find out ways you can support your children during the summer months, contact Family Guidance Center.