Posted on: April 30th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments
Alcoholism is a serious disease that affects millions of people from all walks of life. The dangers of alcohol addiction are many, and when a person is dependent on alcohol, they often find that many aspects of their life have been destroyed or damaged by this condition.Because of the fact that alcohol use is so common, it can be somewhat difficult to surmise whether a loved one is in fact suffering from alcoholism. Here are a few signs and indications that a person is indeed struggling with alcoholism.
Like many drugs, the use and withdrawal from alcohol can trigger serious changes in a person’s mood. If your loved one is suddenly displaying signs of a temper, or exhibiting signs of severe sadness without explanation, this could be attributed to alcohol. Alcoholism and depression are often correlated in a number of ways.
Many people who suffer from depression may be at a higher risk for drinking heavily, and those who are addicted to alcohol are at a higher risk for being depressed. Severe drinking takes a major toll on the functioning of the brain and, in addition to impacting things like short term memory and cognitive skills, heavy drinking lowers serotonin levels and makes it much more difficult for the brain to maintain healthy and balanced levels of happiness and stability.
If a person regularly drinks to the point that they black out, this is a strong indicator that they are frequently binge drinking and may very well have a problem with alcohol. Blacking out happens when a person consumes much more than what is a safe or moderate amount of alcohol.
Sometimes, a person who knows that they have a problem may not be vocal about the fact that they have blacked out. They may, however, frequently be confused about conversations they do not remember happening or repeat information multiple times to the same person.
Inability to Stop Drinking
One of the biggest things that separates moderate drinking from addictive drinking is the ability to stop drinking. A person who is addicted to alcohol may often continue to drink when those around them have stopped drinking, or may leave a situation to go find and consume more alcohol after a party or event has ended. An alcoholic will consider drinking even if they are already very intoxicated, and generally once they start to drink, will continue to consume alcohol as long as they can.
Defensive Behavior Around Drinking
When a person is addicted to any drug, they are often in denial to themselves and those around them about the severity of their problem. One reason for this is that once a person has become addicted to a substance, their brain becomes hardwired so that they are completely fixated on finding and continuing to use this substance. Denial is one mechanism that the brain uses to attempt to continue to drink. For this reason, many people who are in fact struggling with alcoholism will become angry when confronted about their drinking.
Lying About the Amount of Alcohol Consumed
Another form of denial includes deceiving one’s self and those around them about the amount of alcohol they are consuming. People who are suffering from alcoholism may claim that they have not had anything to drink at all or make false statements about the amount of alcohol they have consumed.
Alcoholics may also lie about things related to their drinking, like where they spend their time and money and whose company they are keeping. Holes in logic or inconsistent stories are very common among those struggling with alcoholism.
Posted on: April 27th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments
Any time a person experiences stress or hardship they may feel some sort of anxiety that eventually passes. Anxiety can be a completely normal response to certain stressors that occur in day to day life. However, someone with an anxiety disorder may spend several hours every day worrying about issues that are not immediately affecting them. What makes an anxiety disorder different from normal anxiety is that the feelings of fear, worry and stress are not temporary but become a constant problem.
Often for people with some type of anxiety disorder their feelings do not go away and actually become much worse over time if they do not seek treatment. When anxiety begins to interfere with job performance, school work, relationships or other daily activities then it is important to get professional help. The way a person experiences anxiety can differ greatly among individuals so specialized treatment is the best choice to help manage a disorder. Our anxiety treatment guide hopes to provide information and help people on the road to recovery.
Common Symptoms of Anxiety
Most people are familiar with what anxiety feels like but the specific symptoms may vary for everyone. When you experience stress your body often activates some of its fight or flight responses which are biological protective reactions to keep you on high alert. Some people may have tense muscles, nervousness or restlessness, a faster heart rate, rapid and shallow breathing, trembling, weakness and difficulty focusing on anything other than their worries.
More mild anxiety may involve only a few of these symptoms and they will only last a short period of time. Someone with a disorder may have multiple symptoms occurring regularly. Someone with very severe anxiety could have panic attacks where they experience very intense physical symptoms such as sweating, a sensation of choking, chest pains, difficulty breathing, numbness, or dizziness. Frequent recurring panic attacks could indicate that an individual has panic disorder, a form of anxiety that often requires medication and treatment.
Different Types of Anxiety
The symptoms that a person exhibits along with the kinds of triggers that cause their anxiety can help to categorize their disorder. There are a few different types of anxiety disorders that are commonly diagnosed and treated. One of the most common is generalized anxiety disorder or GAD which means that a person feels anxious most of the time and not just in specific stressful situations. People with GAD have intense and persistent worries that can begin to interfere with their ability to function in life.
Another common disorder is social phobia or social anxiety which means that an individual only feels anxious in specific situations involving other people. They might have an intense fear of being judged, criticized or humiliated in social situations such as performances or speeches, conversation with strangers, or eating in front of others. Other kinds of anxiety include obsessive compulsive disorder which can lead to ritualistic behaviors to minimize fear, and post-traumatic stress disorder which occurs after a traumatic event such as a war, accident or disaster.
General Anxiety Disorder Symptoms
People who have anxious feelings most of the time rather than reacting to specific triggers are more likely to have generalized anxiety disorder. Someone with GAD will have symptoms of anxiety more days than not for a period of six months or more. People with general anxiety may also have some symptoms of social phobia, depression or other disorders along with excessive worrying.
The main issues that characterize generalized anxiety disorder are feeling worried about a number of events and activities, finding it hard to stop worrying and having anxiety that makes it difficult to complete daily activities. People with this disorder may feel restless or on edge, have trouble concentrating, feel irritable most days, have trouble falling or staying asleep and have frequent muscle tension such as a sore back or jaw. Aside from physical symptoms, general anxiety disorder overall leads people to have uncontrollable worries and fears that never fully subside.
Other Symptoms of Anxiety Disorder
Anxiety disorders that have specific triggers may involve some different symptoms than general anxiety. With social phobia, a person may have reactions to social situations that indicate they are experiencing intense anxiety such as excessive perspiration, trembling, blushing or stammering when they speak as well as nausea or diarrhea.
Someone with social anxiety will likely only feel these physical symptoms when they are in a situation where they fear being judged by others. People with this type of disorder often find ways to avoid triggers or leave a situation as soon as they can when they are anxious. Obsessive compulsive disorder or OCD has some unique symptoms which occur as a reaction to obsessive recurring thoughts. People with OCD may develop rituals or compulsive behaviors as a way to reduce the stress of their recurring anxious thoughts such as excessive cleaning, obsessing over order and symmetry, repeatedly counting items or checking things.
How to Prevent Anxiety Attacks
People with an anxiety disorder may have periods of intense symptoms that appear suddenly in the form of a panic or anxiety attack. These attacks can often occur at any time or any place but most people can feel when they are about to happen. Although it may seem inevitable that the attack will take place, there are some strategies you can use when you feel the onset of an anxiety attack. When you start to feel some of the physical symptoms such as your heart rate increasing you can try to find a distraction that will help take your mind off of the anxiety.
Find something that will help you get out of your head such as calling a friend, talking to somebody about your feelings, focusing on other thoughts or doing mental exercises such as math problems or creating a story. Another technique that can be very helpful in preventing an anxiety attack is slow, deep breathing which naturally helps relax the body. Rapid breathing is actually the cause of many anxiety symptoms so deep breathing is one of the best ways to fight off an attack.
How to Deal with Anxiety Attacks
If you are in a situation where your anxiety is too intense and these techniques are not working to fight off an attack then you will need to have some strategies to make it through until it subsides. There are some other techniques you can use to help ground yourself or feel calmer in the midst of an attack. You can try to list five things you see, four things you can touch, three things you can hear, two things you can smell and one thing you can taste.
This strategy helps you focus on your surroundings and be more present so that your thoughts and physical reactions will stop spiraling out of control. Focusing on your senses and taking note of what is happening in your body can also help get you more in tune with the present. Make sure to keep telling yourself that the symptoms you feel are temporary and they will soon pass.
When to Get Anxiety Attack Treatment
If you find that these strategies are not effective for you or you have anxiety attacks very frequently without being able to prevent them then it may be time to seek treatment. It can be very difficult for someone with very severe anxiety to handle their symptoms without any professional help.
If anxiety attacks are beginning to affect your physical health because of the extreme stress and your body’s reaction to your fear then treatment can help improve your well-being. Anxiety attacks might also cause you to miss days at work or school, or affect your ability complete tasks. When your anxiety interferes with relationships, treatment can help you improve communication and other issues that are affecting your connection to friends, partners or family. If your anxiety attacks cause you to self-medicate using drugs or alcohol then it is important to get mental health treatment as an addiction will only make your symptoms much worse.
Medicine for Anxiety
The most intense symptoms of anxiety such as panic attacks can be treated with helpful medications. Patients are sometimes given benzodiazepines such as valium or Xanax to be used sparingly only when very severe symptoms occur. Medication taken regularly such as antidepressants including Zoloft or Prozac can minimize day to day anxiety which can also prevent panic attacks from happening.
Antidepressants are used as a long-term solution while benzodiazepines are only recommended for short term use because they can become addictive. Each type of medication will have certain side effects so the patient will have to determine which prescription works best to treat their symptoms with minimal reactions. Benzodiazepines can cause side effects such as drowsiness, dizziness, memory problems, headaches and blurred vision. Antidepressants can sometimes lead to fatigue, nausea, weight gain, insomnia and diarrhea. Patients and doctors can work together to find the right medication that works for them mentally and physically.
Cognitive Therapy for Anxiety
Although medication can be a quick fix for symptoms and help people deal with panic attacks, it does not address the underlying causes of anxiety. Therapy is necessary to treat anxiety because it can help patients understand why they have this problem and it also allows them to develop coping methods and problem solving skills.
Many types of anxiety, particularly disorders like PTSD, are caused by certain events which triggered the onset of symptoms. Talking about trauma and some of the root causes of certain negative beliefs gives patients a chance to resolve their complicated feelings. Therapists also help show patients how many of their fears are unfounded or exaggerated. When they understand that their anxieties are not based on reality then it can help diminish their power. The ultimate goal of cognitive therapy is to change the way that a patient thinks so that they can replace negative beliefs with more positive ones.
Enrolling in Anxiety Treatment Centers
For anyone who feels their anxiety is beyond their control and they need some time away to recover, there are plenty of treatment centers available for help. Entering a residential treatment facility can be a very healing and life-changing experience because it gives people a period of time to really focus on resolving their issues. Living in a facility while receiving treatment means you will be surrounded by mental health experts that are there to provide you with assistance and compassion.
You will also be among other people who also suffer from an anxiety disorder so that you can talk to peers who truly understand what you are going through. Treatment centers set up a full schedule for patients so that they have plenty of time for individual and group therapy sessions, classes and activities all designed to help them manage their anxiety. This type of treatment plan creates more successful results for each patient.
Outpatient Treatment for Anxiety
Living in a residential treatment center may not be right for everyone and some people may prefer to stay home while getting help. Outpatient treatment can still be as effective as living in a facility because it involves many of the same programs and therapy sessions created for patients with anxiety disorder.
Through outpatient treatment you can continue to work or care for your family as you get the help you need to start managing your symptoms and reducing the severity or frequency of anxiety attacks. It may be a good idea to get an assessment from a psychiatrist to determine if outpatient treatment is the right choice for you.
The Benefits of Anxiety Treatment
Some people may feel like they have to live with their anxiety and simply cope with this aspect of their personality. The reality is that anxiety is an illness that is treatable and many people can recover from the anxiety disorder. Cognitive therapy, medication and time spent in a treatment center can all work to minimize anxiety so that patients can continue to work, go to school and have fulfilling relationships without their symptoms interfering.
Eventually people who receive treatment will find that their worrying and suffering diminishes over time and they are able to face their fears more often. Getting professional treatment is the best thing you can do to handle your anxiety.
Posted on: April 25th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments
Recovering from alcohol is a challenging process that takes all of an addict’s strength and resolve. The reality of recovery is that no addict can successfully achieve sobriety unless they have made the choice for themselves to get clean, but having a strong family support system in place is a truly invaluable asset for any recovering addict.
Addicts with a loving family supporting them are much more likely to successfully maintain their sobriety than those who do not have a family that they are close to. There are many reasons why family plays such an integral role in an addict’s recovery.
Boosting Sense of Self Worth
One thing that many addicts have in common is a low self image. Many people with low self esteem are at a higher risk for using. Many people who struggle with addiction also see that their self image wanes as they fall deeper and deeper into addiction. When a person is struggling with addiction they often engage in behavior that is not typical for them.
This may include acts that make them feel guilt and anger toward themselves. This is because when a person is addicted to a substance, their brain’s reward system becomes wired to become completely consumed with finding and using more of a substance. As this happens, an addict will begin to place using over the people and things that they hold dear.
When an addict is in recovery, they may begin to feel guilt and experience low self image because of this. These feelings can make recovery more difficult because an addict must believe that he deserves to be happy in order to get better. Having a family who loves him helps reinforce this belief and encourages an addict to seek the help they need.
A Positive Support System
When a person is using, they often lose touch with people in their lives who would otherwise be a good influence on them. Many addicts generally socialize with other people who are addicted to drugs, and when an addict is recovering, they should generally avoid triggering environments and groups.
It can be very difficult for recovering addicts to find the emotional support they need when they are newly recovered, and a healthy and supportive family can offer important emotional support as well as the company of people who will encourage them to maintain their sobriety.
Family Can Encourage and Addict in Difficult Times
The reality of recovery is that there will be many challenges through out every stage of getting sober. Achieving and maintaining sobriety means coming to terms with a number of difficult emotions and thoughts. It also means facing triggers that an addict once met with using and learning to work through them without using drugs or alcohol.
There will be moments when an addict needs someone to listen or someone who can help be there for them emotionally as they work through these struggles.
Family can be the friend and the support that an addict needs. Twelve step programs and therapists certainly have their own function in an addict’s recovery, but the fact that an addict’s family has known them for so long puts them in a position where they can offer a kind of support that is unique and cannot be found anywhere else.
Family offers unconditional love and can help a recovering addict to realize that they do have what it takes to continue working on their sobriety and taking the challenging but necessary steps to stay healthy and drug free for the rest of their lives.
Posted on: April 25th, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments
Recovery is a time of renewal and healing. When a person is addicted to drugs or alcohol, their life often has become out of order, and most recovering addicts must face some kind of loss while they are in recovery. The reality of addiction is that it places an addict in a position where there are a number of harmful decisions made.
This is because the nature of addiction is that an addict begins to place more import on finding and using drugs or alcohol than on any other aspect of their life. Because of this, very important relationships or life functions may be damaged. It is very important to deal with loss and the many forms it can take while in recovery. Dealing with loss is an integral part of healing to the point that sobriety and serenity can be found.
Grief and Processing Emotion
Part of experiencing any loss is coming to terms with the emotions that surround it. When an addict is using, they generally become accustomed to dealing with emotions by using drugs, alcohol, or other addictive behaviors to numb them.
Once the recovery process begins, however, an addict begins to experience the full sensations associated with his emotions. In the case of loss, often a person who is newly sober will experience intense grief or sadness. It is important that a recovering addict allows himself to fully process this sadness for a number of reasons.
Dealing with these issues head on allows an addict to get to the root of the loss they have experienced and to thus give themselves the ability to move on rather than numbing feelings of grief with drugs or alcohol.
Learning to deal with grief by working through the feelings around it also allows a newly recovered addict to strengthen the skill of dealing with emotions in a healthy way.
Moving Forward With Strength
Loss is one of the most difficult life events to work through. Loss of a relationship, loss of a loved one, and loss of a job are all serious life events that take proper work and support to work through.
It is very important that in the aftermath of a serious loss, a person has the tools they need to move forward and to rebuild their life in a healthy way. This is why it is so important to deal with loss in the context of recovery.
In recovery, a recovering addict has access to the counselors and therapists who can help an addict start to recognize old unhealthy behaviors and to start to set up new behaviors that will serve them well in their new healthy life.
While loss is an incredibly difficult thing to process, it also represents a new start and a new way of viewing things and of behaving in general. It is important that a recovering addict has the support they need to ensure that they will be able to continue to grow, even in the face of feelings like anger, sadness, or guilt.
As a recovering addict begins to pay more attention to their emotions, they are also able to recognize why they feel a certain way and what they could possibly to do deal with emotions in a safer or healthier way. Like any other skill, the process of becoming more emotionally aware takes discipline and focus.
It also requires commitment and a strong desire to find a healthy and happy life. In time, it is possible for even the deepest and most severe wounds to heal. In recovery, an addict can find peace, strength, and closure.
Posted on: April 22nd, 2017 by The Gooden Center No Comments
Open-mindedness means being receptive to new ideas and different ways of seeing the world. It is rooted in humility and wisdom, and in awareness that you don’t have all the answers and so must be receptive to learning from others. In recovery, being open minded is an absolutely essential mental state that can make a huge difference in your ability to succeed.
A common expression among addicts in recovery is “My best thinking got me here.” By that they mean, believing that you had all the answers and do not need anyone else’s help leads directly to falling into the traps of addicted behavior. To undergo the radical change from addiction to recovery, you’ve got to posses the open-mindedness to try to think in new ways.
1. Being open-minded is an act of surrendering control, and surrendering control is the first step towards recovery
Opening up your mind means you are free from having to control your every thought. New ideas, experiences, and perspectives are brought in, and old ideas are challenged. Under the throws of addiction, it’s easy to get caught up in the thoughts of your own head.
You may realize that your addiction is very harmful and beyond your control, but you have biases and mental roadblocks preventing you from taking the step towards recovery. Open-mindedness allows you to escape these mental traps, by learning how to hold on to your thoughts more loosely and freely.
2. Addiction distorts your thinking, and so you need to think in new ways.
Addiction is built upon harmful mental blocks of denial, or not realizing you have a problem or thinking you can control it, and obsession, where your perspective disappears and the only thing that matters to you is finding your next fix.
These two distorted ways of thinking trap you into continuing with addictive patterns, and you need an outside perspective to recognize and challenge when you are falling into these patterns. The perspective of someone else can help you realize that is it possible to go one day without your drug, and can help you see how you deeply you are failing to keep your life under control. It is only by being open-minded that you are able to listen to the outsider.
3. It is only by being totally present to discovering the truth that you are able to have a successful recovery
Yet it’s not enough to always be dependent on other people to tell you the truth about yourself. The most important part of recovery is learning how to change your own thinking, and to raise your self-awareness to see past your own self-deception.
Open-mindedness goes beyond simply listening to other people, but it also means having the willingness to reexamine your own thoughts and challenge yourself to think differently. This is an important step to make, because it is only by making your recovery your own that it will truly stick.
4. Some things about recovery may be hard to grasp or practice at first, but are ultimately the key to your survival.
You are not alone in facing the powerful dragon of your addiction. You are part of a large community of people who have struggled, and discovered certain things that work in building a successful recovery. A lot of what you hear from other people might not make that much intuitive sense at first, particularly if your brain is distorted by addictive habits.
By being open-minded, you open yourself up to a someone else’s experiences, and allow their story to teach you. Simply going off your own ideas will not be as effective as learning from other people who might have had to learn things the hard way.
5. A Personalized and Flexible Program
Yet at the same time, everyone’s story is different. What is incredibly effective for one person may not resonate with you as much. That is why there is such a variety of programs, theories, and ideas about recovery out there. No one’s path to wholeness and recovery is exactly the same, and so you need to be open to things from a variety of sources, open to seeing whatever will work.