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Tag Archives: Family Guidance Center

The Serious Heart Link Between PTSD and Women

PTSD and Women: What are the Physical Risks?

PTSD 5In the month of October you probably saw many pink ribbons…or pink socks or scarves. That’s because October was national Breast Cancer Awareness month. Nationwide education efforts about the risks of breast cancer and the need for regular check-ups have been embraced by the American public. But breast cancer is not the only serious health risk for women. Recent studies are revealing that women who’ve undergone a notable life trauma also face a higher risk of heart conditions like stroke or cardiac arrest. The research shows that PTSD and women can be a very risky combination.

The study is a joint study performed by the Harvard and Columbia University schools of Public Health. Researchers gathered data for two decades from roughly 50,000 subjects before publishing their conclusions. Even after controlling for other known risk factors such as being overweight, tobacco use and high blood pressure, the combination of PTSD and women proved to be serious. Women with at least four symptoms of PTSD faced a 60 percent higher chance of heart trouble compared to women with no PTSD history. And women who reported trauma but showed no symptoms of PTSD still faced a 45 percent greater risk of developing serious cardiac problems.

The association between PTSD and women reinforces what more and more health professionals are noting — the direct connection between mental and physical wellness. What happens in our brain correlates strongly with our physical health and well-being. Women who’ve experienced traumatic events may not be aware that the stress of that experience can be associated with serious heart issues later on.

If you’re a woman and you’ve been through a traumatizing life event, it is important to reach out to a trained mental health professional. At Family Guidance Center we can help you understand the symptoms of PTSD and how to move forward toward wellness. Reaching out for help from mental health professionals means you’re moving closer to the quality of life you want to enjoy.
Please contact us and let us help.

Prescription Drug Abuse on College and University Campuses

Survey Reveals Prescription Drug Abuse Among College Age Youth Has New Triggers

happy group of young people at a university college

happy group of young people at a university college

Young adults often experience their first taste of adult freedom when they head off to college. Perhaps at no other time in life are so many choices presented as during those brief, college years. A recent study asked young people about the choices they face regarding illicit use of controlled substances. The survey found that prescription drug abuse is a choice many are making.

The 2015 College Prescription Drug Study surveyed nearly 4,000 college undergrads, graduate students and professional studies enrollees from both private and public schools in a handful of states. Students were asked how available prescription drugs were on campus, if they had ever personally misused prescription drugs and, if so, for what purpose.

One interesting finding was that young people who engage in prescription drug abuse, do so for a couple of reasons. Today, young people are more likely to misuse drugs in order to self-medicate or just to help them navigate through newly encountered adult life pressures than those of previous years who did so just for recreation.

Prescription drug abuse on college and university campuses is mainly centered around pain medications. A little over half of those surveyed had misused pain medications to control pain, but nearly as many took them to get high. Over half of those who misused sedatives, took them in order to get sleep. Another 18 percent of students had abused stimulant drugs often with the intention of improving academic performance, though this group was made up of mostly undergraduate students.

If you or a young person you care about is living with prescription drug addiction or abuse, know that we can help. At Family Guidance Center, learning positive ways to manage the triggers that can contribute to substance abuse for a lifetime is part of the overall wellness approach we offer.

Things Which Trigger Alcoholism Are Often Risk Factors for Depression as Well

Understanding the Link Between Alcoholism and Depression

alcoholismDepression and alcoholism share many similar symptoms and can sometimes stem from the same biological causes. Depression often can bring a risk factor for alcoholism and alcohol abuse can increase a person’s risk of becoming depressed. Over 30 percent of those with depression, also struggle with alcoholism.

Some people may face a greater pre-disposition towards alcoholism or depression, but outside factors also play an important role. Environmental factors are one example. People who experience violent traumas in youth, for instance, can be more likely to develop depression or a negative relationship with alcohol as they grow older.

Even if you had a traumatic childhood or have alcoholism in your family tree, you still don’t have to accept depression or alcohol abuse as part of your life. You do need to know that if you are depressed, drinking alcohol may deepen your depression. But whether you are living with one disease or both, help and hope are available.

At the Family Guidance Center we can help you escape the downward spiral of depression. We can also help you to develop new tools for coping other than alcohol. Life can be bright, purposeful and filled with opportunities to meet your goals. Just because you’ve experienced risk factors, doesn’t mean you cannot reach out for help. Let us show you how today.

Family Guidance Center Offers SATOP Program

SATOP May Look Slightly Different for Each Individual Who Participates

SATOP 2SATOP is the acronym for Substance Abuse Traffic Offenders Program. It is required for all Missouri drivers who receive a DWI conviction and have their license suspended. The program offers clinical treatment to help individuals who have driven while intoxicated more fully understand what they did and why. The end goal is that individuals would be prepared to avoid making the same choice again in the future.

The St Joseph Family Guidance Center offers several ways to fulfill a SATOP requirement. The initial assessment steps look the same for everyone who enters the program, but once clinicians have identified key markers, referrals are made according to individual assessments. That’s why SATOP can differ slightly depending upon the needs of each person.

For instance, one individual may qualify for the Weekend Intervention Program (WIP). A person would need to complete the entire weekend’s program and have the okay of the clinician before having fully met their SATOP requirement. Other SATOP interventions include group or individual treatment, Offenders Education Program (OEP), or SROP (Serious Repeat Offenders Program). Which program deemed most appropriate would be decided according to the clinician’s assessment. In every case the person must complete the assigned SATOP program and be signed off by the mental health leader.

This means that not everyone can fulfill their SATOP requirement in the same way or in the same amount of time. In a way, SATOP is a gift. It helps a person slow down and examine their actions and the motivations behind those actions and the goal is then that they will not repeat the offense. If help is needed to address how decisions are made, Family Guidance offers the individual counseling that can work on those issues also. Give us a call today and we can tell you more about our SATOP program.

Pop Star Encourages More Open Discussion of Mental Illness

The Stigma of Mental Illness Keeps Many From Seeking Treatment

mental illnessPop star Demi Lovato is perhaps best known as the voice of Disney’s Frozen theme song “Let It Go”. She is also lending her voice these days to the cause of mental illness. The singer, who herself has lived with bipolar disorder and addiction, wants to encourage more Americans to be open about their mental health issues. Lovato acknowledges, along with mental health professionals, that stigma keeps many people from admitting their problems and seeking the help they need.

Removing stigma helps the healing of mental illness as it opens the door to talk about personal struggles and frees individuals to reach out for help and support. Many people suffer in secret because they fear that acknowledging their problems will result in guilt or public shame.

Nearly one quarter of the world population experiences mental illness at one time or another during their lives. Depression alone will affect around 10 percent of all Americans at some point. Mental illness is real and it is not rare. It is a health condition that needs and deserves public understanding and public discourse.

However, it’s not enough just to talk about mental illness. Treatment is needed. It is important for individuals with mental illness to feel comfortable reaching out to a mental health professional that addresses personal issues in a meaningful way. Our staff of mental health professionals at Family Guidance Center can provide treatment that is as unique as each individual who comes looking for help. Mental illness is an illness like so many other illnesses such as cancer or diabetes. And like other illnesses it is important to seek professional treatment. Don’t let fear prevent you from getting the help you need. Call us today.