10 Ways to Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder & Drug Addiction

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This time of year can be very difficult, especially for those who suffer from addiction, as holidays and moments of celebration are often considered to be triggers for those in recovery because of the social aspects of casual drinking or drug use during the winter months. What can make it even more difficult to remain sober during this time is when a recovering addict also suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD or seasonal depression.

Addiction is characterized as a brain disorder and can often be coupled with other mental health diagnoses or mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). For people who live with both a mental health disorder and struggle with addiction, just know that you are not alone. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 20 percent of people who are diagnosed with a mood disorder, such as SAD, also suffer from a substance abuse problem.

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People who suffer from mental health issues, are more likely to use substances, like drugs or alcohol to self-medicate.

Symptoms of SAD

If you are unsure whether or not you may be suffering from seasonal depression you can always speak with a mental health professional. Common symptoms of SAD include those of major depression along with several others. People who are suffering from seasonal depression may experience all or some of the following;

  • Depressed mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Lack of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in appetite and sleep patterns
  • Loss of pleasure in certain activities
  • Social withdrawal
  • Cravings for carbohydrates (unique to SAD)
  • Excessive daytime sleeping (unique to SAD)
  • Heaviness in arms and legs (unique to SAD)

Causes of Seasonal Affective Disorder

Researchers and doctors are still unsure about the exact cause for seasonal affective disorder but some factors that attribute to this condition include;

  • Biological Clock (Circadian rhythm)- As the days grow shorter around the fall or autumn season, we begin to lose sunlight, which can disrupt your body’s internal clock, causing feelings of depression.
  • Serotonin Levels- The reduced sunlight can lead to a drop in the brain’s chemical that affects mood, the neurotransmitter serotonin.
  • Melatonin Levels- The seasonal change can disrupt the body’s natural production of melatonin, which plays a role in sleep patterns and moods.
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Changes in the weather can affect your mental health in very prominent ways.

10 Ways to Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

            If you are one of many suffering from the symptoms of seasonal depression and are wondering how to treat SAD, then do not worry, there are many treatment options available that can help alleviate some of the symptoms.

  1. Know the signs and symptoms- Knowing what is happening with you and your body can help greatly in managing the symptoms. If you begin feeling sad during the autumn months, being aware of your seasonal depression can help keep you from spiraling down a hole that seems impossible to get out of, simply just by understanding what is going on.
  2. Try light from a box- Light therapy is reported to be one of the most effective treatments for the “winter blues”. There are specialty light boxes or lamps designed to produce effects similar to natural light, helping to restore your body’s natural circadian rhythm and production of melatonin. Research suggests that sitting in front of a light box first thing in the morning, everyday, during the fall and winter months for at least 30 minutes can greatly reduce the symptoms of SAD.
  3. Get outside as much as you can- Nature is a form of therapy for almost any mental health disorder. So, try to make it a point to go on a at least a 10 minute nature walk every day, or as often as possible, regardless of the weather. Studies have shown that even short walks increase mood, along with other mental and physical health benefits. Not to mention, the sunlight you get from being outside is much more beneficial than that from a window, helping to promote natural production of serotonin and melatonin. Going outside around noon when the sun is brightest can help reap the most benefits in a short amount of time.
  4. Exercise regularly- Aside from talking a daily break in nature , trying to exercise regularly is especially important for people suffering from SAD. Exercise is a proven treatment for many forms of depression. Try combining your daily exercise with going outside to help decrease the symptoms of seasonal depression.
  5. Take vitamin D- Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to SAD in at least one study, so doctors have begun urging patients to up their vitamin D intake, especially during the winter months.
  6. Caring for plants- Research has shown that gardening can help reduce feelings of depression. By caring for something small during the winter months, it can help alleviate some of the symptoms of seasonal depression.
  7. Stay Connected- Avoid the sometimes overwhelming feeling to remain reclusive during the cold months. Stay connected with your family and remain active in your support groups, such as AA, even when you feel like hibernating. Staying connected with your support group can help combat feelings of depression by getting you out of the house and by allowing you the opportunity to express out loud how you are feeling.
  8. Paint walls in lighter colors- Studies suggest that people who suffer from seasonal depression feel better when they are surrounded by lighter colors. Aside from the mood lifting ambiance, sometimes just doing the activity of painting alone can be a soothing process for someone with a depressive disorder.
  9. Keep a journal- Sometimes we have thoughts or feelings we are uncomfortable sharing with others, by writing them down we can begin to understand our emotions better. Writing down our negative thoughts or emotions gives us the opportunity to cope with them and feel as though we have gotten them off our chest, allowing ourselves the chance to fully process them. Plan on writing for at least 20 minutes a day, and try doing it before bed so that you can express the last 24 hours in as much detail as possible.
  10. Try aromatherapy- Essential oils can activate the same part of the brain that is responsible for controlling moods and our internal clock. Purchase an oil diffuser for your home or workspace, or try adding a couple drops in your bath.
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Understanding yourself and your mental health can greatly help you overcome the “winter blues”. Seek help before you become overwhelmed!

 

While all of these tips are useful, knowing when to get contact a professional for help is the most important. If you are having extreme thoughts of suicide or are having a difficult time with coping during the winter months, or in general, then there is nothing wrong with getting help. Speak with your doctor, who can potentially prescribe medications, or contact a counselor or therapist who can help you cope with the emotions of depression. If you are a recovering addict and find that you are struggling to stay sober, we are always here to help! Reach out to us today to begin specialized treatment.

 

(877) 228-4679

Can Brain Imaging Help Beat Drug Addiction?

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The word addiction itself comes from the latin phrase meaning “enslaved to” or “bound by”. Addiction is a disease of the brain that is characterized by the inability to stop using drugs or alcohol despite the user having experienced severe negative consequences throughout their everyday lives, such as job loss, relationship problems, or extreme poverty. People who suffer from this disease experience compulsive behavior related to using drugs and alcohol, they are unable to stop doing them even though they know it will cause further problems in life or keep them from bettering their situation entirely.

People with substance abuse problems have distorted thinking, behavior, and bodily functions. However, not everyone who uses drugs or alcohol will become addicted, there are many factors that can lead to someone developing an addiction, such as genetic predisposition, environmental factors like peer pressure, and dynamics in the family and home. When someone begins using drugs or alcohol, a surge of chemicals, mainly dopamine, are released inside the brain. Dopamine is often referred to as the brain’s reward and pleasure centers, this chemical is released naturally in the brain when we experience pleasurable moments like eating a delicious meal or participating in your favorite activity. When a person continuously uses drugs or alcohol, our brains begin to rely on this surge of chemicals and it needs them in order to function properly.

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Disease is any condition that changes the way an organ functions, much like how heart disease permanently damages the heart. With prolonged and repeated use of drugs and alcohol, the brain begins to change over time, creating new pathways for these chemicals to go back and forth between neurons. This ultimately causes changes to the brain’s structure and the way the brain functions, some of these changes are even permanent. Drugs and alcohol change the brain in many ways but there are 3 areas that are most heavily affected.

Areas of the Brain Affected by Drugs and Alcohol

  • Basal Ganglia- This area of the brain plays an important role in positive forms of motivation and our habit forming principles. This area of the brain allows us to feel pleasure and when it becomes inundated by drugs and alcohol it becomes less sensitive to the natural reward system, making it difficult to feel pleasure without the use of drugs and alcohol.
  • Extended Amygdala- The extended amygdala plays an important role in producing feelings such as anxiety, irritability, and overall uneasiness, which are typically synonymous with feelings of withdrawal. With repeated use of drugs and alcohol, this area of the brain becomes more sensitive, causing the user to seek drugs and alcohol again to avoid these negative feelings.
  • Prefrontal Cortex- Perhaps the most crucial of all, this area of the brain plays an important role in the ability to think, plan, solve problems, make decisions, and exert self control over impulses. This is also the last part of the brain to mature, making teens more susceptible to becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol. When drugs and alcohol are repeatedly used, it shifts the circuits from stress, to reward, to lack of impulse control, ultimately creating a situation where drugs and alcohol have taken over.

How Brain Imaging Can Help Fight Addiction

With the evolution of science, this has changed the model of addiction. What was once seen as lacking moral fortitude or the ability to control one’s actions, scientists and doctors now understand that it requires more than good intentions to fight this disease. Now widely recognized as a brain disease and cataloged as a mental health disorder, doctors and scientists have been conducting brain imaging studies in order to better understand how to effectively treat and manage this chronic disease.

Since addiction causes changes to the brain, there are differences when comparing brain image scans of a non addict to an addict. Areas like the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for decision making, show major differences that can be attributed to the lack of self control in addicts and their inability to stop using drugs and alcohol. Using brain scans to help treat addiction has shown significant promise to recovering addicts and their families. Aside from the medical standpoint, brain scans help in many ways when it comes to recovery.

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How Brain Scans Help Recovering Addicts

  • Brain Scans Don’t Lie- Brain scans clearly show toxic damage and exposure that is caused by drugs or alcohol. These illegal substances negatively impact areas of the brain that play an important role in being able to control one’s emotions and critical thinking abilities, brain scans show the damage left by drugs and alcohol.
  • Brain Scans Reveal Effects of Drugs- Seeing as how brain scans don’t lie, it is much easier to understand the correlation between drug and alcohol use and the visible damage caused by them. Substances like marijuana and nicotine cause significant changes in brain function and even everyday things like sugar can impact the way our brains operate on a daily basis.
  • Brain Imaging Shows That There is More Than One Addiction- Through brain imaging, we have been able to gain a deeper understanding into addiction. Now, addiction can be broken down into different categories.
    • Compulsive Addicts
    • Impulsive Addicts
    • Impulsive-Compulsive Addicts
    • Sad or Emotional Addicts
    • Anxious Addicts
    • Temporal Lobe Addicts

Researchers have gained valuable insight into how to effectively treat and manage multiple types of addiction, instead of grouping them all together.

  • Brain Imaging Helps to Break the Stigma and Shame- For years, decades even, addiction was treated as a lack of will power and moral discipline. With the advancement of technology, brain scans prove that drugs and alcohol alter the structure of the brain. An addict who is suffering may also feel as though it is all their fault, brain imaging helps show that addiction is a disorder of the brain.
  • Brain Scans Help Remove Denial- Many people with addictions are in denial that they even have a problem. When an addict is confronted with a brain scan image that shows visible damage from drugs and alcohol, it is difficult to deny that there is an underlying issue.
  • Brain Images Help Families Understand- Much like when an addict is shown their brain on drugs, when a family member is shown the scans of loved one it can help remove any blame they place on each other knowing that addiction is a result of chemical and structural changes to the brain, not something they did personally.
  • Brain Scans Can Reveal Co-occurring Disorders- Another benefit when using brain imaging as an additional tool to combat addiction is that it can also reveal co-occurring disorders, such as traumatic brain injuries, depression, or ADHD. In order to heal from addiction, these issues also need to be addressed.
  • Brain Scans Give Hope- Being able to see that your brain is toxic can be a great motivator. Brain scans also make it easy to track the progress of an individual throughout their treatment plan and their sobriety. Using before and after pictures can help someone stay motivated by being able to actually see the healing of their brain.

With a deeper understanding of addiction, we hope to remove the stigma surrounding it. There is no shame in asking for help, if you or someone you know are addicted to drugs, reach out to us for help today! We have many treatment programs available designed to fit your needs.

 

(877) 228-4679

Addiction Recovery in The Music Industry

music band on the stage addiction recovery in the music industry

With each year that passes, it seems like another talented musician falls victim to addiction and other forms of mental illness. For some people that may feel commonplace; after all, genius is often accompanied by psychological turmoil. On the other hand, most of the general public is shocked when they learn about the passing of a beloved musician. Who can forget the confusion in many people’s mind upon learning of Prince’s death last year, a megastar who was known to rail against substance use and abuse only for Prince to die of a fentanyl overdose!

What we imagine the lives of celebrities to be like is usually miles off the mark. All of us are accustomed to thinking that fame, fortune, and success are impervious to despair; we say to ourselves, ‘how can a person who has everything throw it all away for a high.’ A line of thinking that just goes to show the paradox of addiction; the disease does not care who you are, how many friends you have, and what your financial standing is presently. Everyone has some level of propensity to get caught up in the cycle of substance use when the factors and conditions are just right.

With the year coming to a close, we should all consider the number of people who seemingly had everything, but still could not escape the consequences of untreated mental illness. Some of you were probably saddened to learn of Soundgarden’s Chris Cornell’s suicide after struggling with addiction. A short time later Linkin Park’s Chester Bennington followed suit. Just last month, Lil Peep, a young rapper with a promising future ahead of him died of an overdose, he was 21.

Addiction Doesn’t Need to Be The End

It might come as a surprise to learn that there are some mental health resources available for musicians. In fact, it’s not uncommon for meetings of recovery to take place backstage before a concert. The Recording Academy’s charity MusiCares, helps people in the industry get assistance for mental health conditions, such as addiction. The foundation has helped struggling artists get into treatment, and in some cases covers the cost.

“I actually used MusiCares’ Musicians Assistance Program to get sober,” MusiCares board chairman, Michael McDonald, tells Billboard. “They provided two group therapy sessions a week. Eighteen years later, I’m sober.”

It’s also worth pointing out that a significant number of famous musicians have given up drugs and alcohol, adopting a path of addiction recovery. Including, but not limited to Trent Reznor, Billy Joel, Elton John, Flea and Anthony Kiedis of Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pete Townshend, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton, Smokey Robinson, U2 bassist Adam Clayton, Billy Idol, Slash, and the late David Bowie. The list goes on, but you get the idea; recording artists can recover from mental illness, too.

“During the past 13 years, the organization [MusiCares] has provided close to $10 million in ­assistance to nearly 3,000 people in need of help,” said Harold Owens, who assists The Recording Academy’s MusiCares ­foundation address ­substance abuse, addiction and ­recovery in the industry.

You Are Eligible for Addiction Recovery

Alcohol and substance use disorder can affect the lives of anyone, and we can say the same for recovery. It’s sad to learn that the disease wins from time to time, but the list of musicians above is testament that working a program of recovery saves people’s lives. If you are a male struggling with addiction, musician or not, please contact 10 Acre Ranch. We can assist you in realizing your dream of recovery.

Mental Illness In Young Adults

young people in a group supporting each other's mental health

If you are a young adult, there is a good chance you are getting ready to start or have just started the fall semester. You may even be a freshman, heading away from home for the first time in your life. Unchaperoned! This is an important time in a person’s life, one that should be cherished — in between studying and class. For most people who pursue higher education, the time literally flies by. Before you know it, graduation has come and gone and off you go to the workforce.

College days are also a time when you will come to find out who you are, in good ways and bad. Your strengths and weaknesses will come to the surface quickly without the aid of mom and dad nearby. Hopefully, you are heading off to school having a relatively healthy relationship with alcohol. It’s a substance that can hardly be avoided during this time in one’s life. Certainly, you saw some partying in high school, but there was always some parental oversight. And, the risk of getting caught, as well as the fear of punishment, keeps most teens in line.

Without fail, some heading off to college for the first time have already developed unhealthy ties to substances. Whether it be alcohol, tobacco, marijuana or all three. It could mean that you had a healthy appetite for socialization. Or, it could mean that the seeds of addiction were planted at a young age. Just that the problems of addiction have not borne fruit yet. Hopefully, it’s the former scenario. Being away from home can give one’s addiction room to grow exponentially, creating a host of problems. Issues that will need to be addressed sooner, or later. What’s more, addiction is not the only mental illness that can appear up during the college years.

Mental Illness Away From Home

A significant number of college students struggle with untreated mental illness, in one form or another. In some cases, students battle addiction and a co-occurring mental health disorder. Such a reality presents many obstacles to one’s chance of success in college. More times than not, mental illness is cited as the cause for dropping out. Fortunately, mental illness does not need to spell the end of one’s education. There are resources available on campus that can help students, with mental health disorders, keep their symptoms in check. In turn, avoiding tragedy and strengthening the chances of making it to graduation.

While the stigma of mental illness is still a very real thing, there are many more options for students today. College campuses have resources available and people students can talk to, mitigating the risks of self-harm and self-medication. It is quite common for students to develop addiction due to untreated mental health disorders.

In fact, right here in Southern California UCLA is taking mental illness seriously. The university is offering free mental health screening to all incoming freshman and transfer students, CNN reports. Such services can make all the difference in increasing a student’s chance for success. Potentially keeping them from turning to an unhealthy means of coping with the stress of college.

“To our knowledge, no other university has ever attempted screening of this nature and scale,” said UCLA Chancellor Gene Block. “Students who choose to participate will be screened for depression and related traits — anxiety, mania and suicidal tendencies. And we will offer help to those who need it.”

Mental Illness Treatment

If you are a young man reading this, there is a good chance you are not attending UCLA. However, colleges across the country are placing greater emphasis on mental illness. If you are not feeling stable or are struggling with substances to cope with how you are feeling, talk to someone. Letting it go unchecked can eventually have grave consequences.

Perhaps you are getting ready to head off to school and you know that you have a condition that needs treatment. Drinking and drugging on regular basis, in conjunction with the symptoms of depression can be dangerous. Please contact 10 Acre Ranch to discuss your treatment options. We are fully equipped to help you recover from co-occurring mental health disorders.

Join The Voices of Addiction Recovery

Addiction and Recovery Blog

If you are working a program of addiction recovery, you have a lot to be proud about. You have, even those of you new to the program, have come a long way from where you were. In the grips of a progressive illness with generally dismal outcomes. Some of you may have even surpassed most people’s idea of rock bottom. You might even say you were looking up at the bottom. Addiction is a take no prisoners mental illness, people with a disorder, if left untreated, will likely die as a result. It is for that reason that anyone working a program of recovery has so much for which to be grateful.

If you have undergone addiction treatment, then you know that your disease is nobody’s business but your own. You know the program that is saving your life is an anonymous program. You also know that there are many things that prevented you from seeking treatment for as long as you did. Usually, at the top of that list of reasons is the social stigma that has long been a black cloud over addiction. The belief that addiction is not a disease, but rather a moral failing among individuals with weak will. The power of such societal beliefs should not be underestimated.

Due to the prevalence of social stigma, many addicts and alcoholics go without treatment. Even if they can easily access or afford addiction treatment services, many will put it off. It is a decision that is often fatal. Many addicts die of an overdose before they ever have an opportunity to give recovery a chance.

Ending The Stigma of Addiction Requires Everyone

The program you are working is anonymous for good reasons. But, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a role in ending stigma by speaking out. There is no time like the present to let the world know that recovery from this mental illness is possible. September is National Recovery Month, a time to raise awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders. And a time to recognize the millions of people actively working programs of recovery.

The theme this year is Join the Voices for Recovery: Strengthen Families and Communities. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) asks that both individuals in recovery and their family members share their personal stories and successes. By doing so, it could encourage a significant number of people to give recovery a chance. If you are interested in sharing your story, please click here. Below is an example of a courageous individual in recovery:


If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

You may not be at a point in your recovery that you are willing to share your story with society. That is OK. Some people might not ever be comfortable to do so, which is also just fine. You can still have a role in spreading the message that addiction is a mental health disorder. And that recovery is possible by continuing to live by the principles of addiction recovery. Paying forward what was given to you gratis.

Recovery is Possible

If you are a male who is still caught in the vicious cycle of addiction, please contact 10 Acre Ranch. We know it is a hard decision. We know that your disease will always try to convince you that there isn’t a problem. Even when you know there is. Maybe National Recovery Month, and the inspiring stories of brave individuals, can be the catalyst for your own recovery.

Addiction and Mental Illness Help for the Homeless

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There is no telling where substance use and co-occurring mental health disorders will take you. In most cases, nowhere that would be considered ideal. People who seek help for addiction are, in many cases, destitute and are perhaps living on the streets. Homelessness and addiction can often go hand-in-hand. And with limited resources, getting off the streets and into recovery can be a real challenge.

It is not uncommon for people living on the streets to walk into the rooms of recovery. Usually at 12 Step meetings like Narcotics Anonymous or Alcoholics Anonymous. Those who stick around can access resources that will help them change their lot. Members may be able to assist such individuals with finding temporary housing and employment. Thus, allowing them to get back on their feet while they are learning to live a life in recovery.

There are others, though, whose co-occurring mental health disorder may make it more difficult to accomplish such goals. Requiring state assistance, such as social security benefits. A number of people who have battled addiction find a way to keep their home and job. Whereas some people’s addiction and other forms of mental illness made it next to impossible. There are millions of Americans living on the streets, today. With a little support, they can find a way to live a fulfilling life.

SOAR With SAMHSA

As was mentioned earlier, one’s untreated mental disabilities can make it hard to hold down a job. Making it impossible to pay bills. It can be a real challenge to recover without a roof over one’s head, and food in the stomach. A vast number of homeless people have mental health disorders, helping them access social welfare benefits is vital.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration launched the SSI/SSDI Outreach, Access, and Recovery (SOAR) program in 2005. The goal was to assist homeless individuals navigate the arduous process of applying benefit programs Supplemental Security Income and Social Security Disability Insurance. Since the program was created, more than 27,000 Americans have gained access to SSI and SSDI benefits through SOAR.

“SAMHSA’s SOAR Technical Assistance Center helps states and communities increase access to these benefits for people with behavioral health disorders who are also experiencing homelessness, as well as for those returning to their communities from jails and hospitals.”

Those who have access to financial assistance are in better position to succeed at working a program of recovery. Managing both substance use disorders and co-occurring mental health disorders, such as depression, schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

Getting Addiction Help for A Loved One

Do you have a loved one whose addiction has brought them to the depths of despair? Living without hearth or home? Perhaps your loved one has resigned him or herself to a life of addiction. Thinking that recovery is not possible. They are not alone, many a recovering addict and alcoholic once thought that way, too. However, recovery is possible and it works. It is a difficult process to be sure, and requires (often) the full support of one’s family.

Please contact 10 Acre today to discuss options for helping your loved one find the miracles of recovery. The longer their condition persists as is, the greater the danger of tragedy.

Self-Medicating Toward Addiction

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Regarding mental illness, when it rains it pours. At least that is often the reality in the field of addiction medicine. To be clear, addiction is a form of mental illness with many symptoms, one of which is the misuse of drugs and/or alcohol. It’s a disease of the mind that has no known cure to date, but there are effective methods of treatment. Upon completing treatment, those who redouble their recovery efforts via a program like the 12-Steps often have positive outcomes.

Again, drug and alcohol use is but a symptom. There is a lot of work that needs to be done. Work which will mitigate the risk of relapse and spiraling back into active use. But, for a significant number of addicts and alcoholics, addiction is not the only mental health disorder on the table. It is extremely common for people meeting the criteria for addiction to have co-occurring mental health disorders. Often referred to as having a dual diagnosis.

Anyone working in the field knows firsthand the consequences of not treating both addiction and the dual diagnosis, together. This makes sense. Addiction is often precipitated by another form of mental illness, such as depression. The symptoms of untreated depression lead to the dangerous practice of self-medication. Which does the opposite of help, in any respect.

Self-Medicating Toward Dependence and Addiction

People whose anxiety, bipolar disorder or depression is left untreated, are essentially left to their own devices. Functioning under the cloud of depressive or manic symptoms is rarely tenable. In an attempt to quiet one’s troubled mind, drugs and alcohol often become the preferred method of treatment (escape, actually). The continued practice of using mind-altering substances to cope is a slippery slope to dependence, and ultimately addiction. People who engage in this practice actually convince themselves that the substances are helping. When, in fact, they are not.

Research has shown that illicit substance use makes the symptoms of one’s mental health disorder worse. Having the unintended effect of exacerbating the symptoms one is trying to keep at bay. The longer the act of using drugs to cope with mental illness continues, the more severe and often episodes occur. People living with a co-occurring mental health disorder are at great risk of harm. Every year, a significant number of people who meet the criteria for a co-occurring disorder take their own life. Therefore, it is so vital that people living with a mental health disorder are encouraged to talk about their condition. And by doing so, they become empowered to seek treatment.

So, just how common is mental illness in America? A new government report showed almost 1 in 5 American adults struggles with mental illness or addiction each year. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s (SAMHSA) report indicates nearly 44 million American adults living with mental illness, HealthDay reports.

“The presence of [any mental illness] in every state reinforces that mental illness is a major public health concern in the United States,” the report noted. “Overall treatment levels remain low, and addressing the mental health of U.S. adults remains a concern for state and national public health officials.”

Treatment Is The Answer, It Works

While treatment rates are low, they are effective for most people who seek assistance. At 10 Acre Ranch, we have helped many men, from young adults to seniors, recover from co-occurring mental health disorders. If you are battling regular episodes of depression, et al., and are dependent on substances, please contact us today. We can help you break the cycle of addiction, while simultaneously addressing the co-occurring mental illness.

Depression Advocate Michael Phelps

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At the end of last month and at the beginning of June, we focused heavily on post-traumatic stress disorder. Which makes sense. Considering the passing of Memorial Day and that many people suffering from the symptoms of PTSD also have a co-occurring mental health disorder, such as addiction. What’s more, June is National PTSD Awareness Month, a time for everyone to have an active role in encouraging people to talk about and seek help for the debilitating mental illness; which, left untreated, is a sure path to both substance use and suicide.

PTSD, without a doubt, is a serious problem in America and abroad. But, it cannot be stressed enough how pervasive other forms of mental health disorders that often accompany addiction are, such as depression. The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that more than 300 million people worldwide are living with depression. Calling the condition the number one cause of poor health on the planet.

With that in mind, our hope at 10 Acre Ranch is that more Americans will realize the importance of destigmatizing mental health conditions. Only by doing so can we encourage people who need help to get help. It is a fact, the majority of people living with a mental illness of any form have never been diagnosed. Without screening and treatment, people cope with their symptoms by any means necessary, often with drugs and alcohol. When those substances stop having the desired effect (as they always do at some point), suicide often follows.

Screening for Depression

Helping people get screened for mental illness has become the mission of Michael Phelps, who hopes to make waves outside the pool. Phelps was named the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) honorary chairperson of National Mental Health Awareness Day 2017, The Baltimore Sun reports. And now the Olympian, with more gold medals than anyone else in history, is on the board of directors of Medibio, an Australian-based medical technology company that’s developed a comprehensive test to help accurately diagnose depression and other forms of mental illness.

“I have personally experienced Medibio’s technology and believe it can help make a profound impact in diagnosing mental health and empowering people to seek the help and support they may need,” Phelps said in the company’s news release. “In sports, there is so much focus on the physical aspects of performance, and athletes are analyzed from head to toe. But for many athletes, mental health has not been a topic of focus, and the data analysis aspect of it has been missing up until now.”

The Digital Mental Health Platform is the world’s first FDA approved diagnostic test for mental illnesses like depression. The technology is non-intrusive, quick, objective, decisive and will (according to the Medibio) revolutionize the diagnosis and treatment of mental health. The company believes that Phelps will be an important asset to the company, and the mental health community.

“His lifelong dedication to excellence in the pool, his advocacy for mental health, and his understanding of data-driven solutions will provide a great addition to our board,” Cosentino said in the release. “Michael’s significant public profile will raise substantial awareness of mental health challenges and the real, tangible solutions that Medibio’s diagnostics can provide.”

Depression and Addiction Treatment

It is quite common for people living with the debilitating symptoms of depression to also have an alcohol or substance use disorder. If you, or a loved one, are struggling with co-occurring mental health disorders, please contact 10 Acre Ranch today.

PTSD Awareness Month: Encouraging Treatment

photo of psychologist and despair soldier with PTSD

In the last weeks of May, we covered what we believe to be some very important topics. Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), co-occurring mental health disorders and keeping your recovery intact during the Memorial Day holiday weekend. Regarding PTSD, we discussed what is at stake for individuals whose condition is left untreated, specifically substance abuse and suicidal ideations. Many veterans who have such thoughts make attempts on their own lives and many of those individuals succeed. With that in mind, it is of absolute importance that everyone showing signs and symptoms of post-traumatic stress be encouraged to seek assistance—without fear of social stigma or professional consequence. If you are looking for veteran disability benefits, you should find a recommended increase va disability attorney Kentucky to help you in your pursuit.

At this point, if you are regular reader of this blog, you may be wondering, ‘why all the talk about post-traumatic stress?’ Other than the fact that the disorder is quite common among addicts and alcoholics from all walks of life—military background or not. And given that without a concerted effort to treat both the addiction and the co-occurring mental illness concurrently, recovery is next to impossible; June is PTSD Awareness Month and the 27th is PTSD Awareness Day.

Throughout the course of the following month there will be events held across the country to promote wellness among those affected by this most serious mental health disorder. Even though the Veterans Affairs Department having resources available for the afflicted to access treatment, the majority do not utilize it. A relatively recent study from the RAND Corporation found that 50 percent of veterans who have PTSD do not seek help, of those that do accept treatment, only half of them get “minimally adequate” treatment.

Encouraging Treatment

It should go without saying that the statistics cited above are wholly unacceptable. People who put life and limb at risk for a cause should be afforded the best treatment possible. And everything that can be done, should be done to encourage those who are reluctant to seek help. No easy task, to be sure, yet it is still a goal worth working towards.

“Greater understanding and awareness of PTSD will help Veterans and others recognize symptoms, and seek and obtain needed care.” – Dr. Paula P. Schnurr, Executive Director of the National Center for PTSD.

During the month of June, please join 10 Acre Ranch in the effort to break down the stigma that has surrounded mental illness for too long. Treatment works, it is available, but those who are suffering from any form of mental health disorder need reassurances that they have the support of their community when they make the brave step to recover. There are number of things you can do to propagate the value of seeking treatment, and continued maintenance.

If you click here, you will find a number of materials that can be shared on the various social media platforms in your digital quiver. Once there, you can find information on hosting your own event to further the cause. Below is a short PSA titled, “I have PTSD,” that can be shared on Facebook, Twitter et. al:

If you are having trouble watching, please click here.

“Raising PTSD awareness is essential to overcoming the myth, misinformation and stigma surrounding this mental health problem” said the former Secretary of Veterans Affairs, Robert A. McDonald. “We encourage everyone to join us in this important effort.”

PTSD Treatment

If you are male, or have a loved one who is struggling with untreated PTSD along with an alcohol or substance use disorder, please contact 10 Acre Ranch. Drugs and alcohol may, for a time, calm some of your post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, but in the long run mind-altering chemicals only make the symptoms worse. And they can actually make the afflicted more reluctant to seek help. Which is why we implore you to seek assistance before the condition worsens and the symptoms lead to irreversible decisions.

Recovery is not an easy task. The road will be trying, but it will be worth it. You can reach out to our treatment center 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We are here to help.

Treating Soldiers With PTSD and Addiction

photo of psychologist and a soldier with PTSD

It is a well known fact that experiencing trauma can have a serious impact on the course of one’s life. A severe accident, or the loss of a loved one can scar people in seemingly ineluctable ways. If you have ever experienced such trauma, then you know firsthand the scars the event can leave with you, possibly even post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). An insidious mental illness that if left untreated can lead people to engage in self-destructive behavior. The paradox is such behaviors often take the form of self-medicating with drugs and alcohol, which initially can alleviate some of the symptoms of the disorder, but actually make the symptoms worse in the long run. What’s more, self-medicating can also lead to addiction, and what one finds themselves with is a co-occurring disorder—otherwise known as a dual diagnosis.

Symptoms of PTSD can include:

  • Reliving the event (also called re-experiencing symptoms).
  • Avoiding situations that remind you of the event.
  • Having more negative beliefs and feelings.
  • Feeling keyed up (also called hyperarousal).

PTSD In The Military

While the condition can develop in anyone who experiences trauma, most people you probably associate post-traumatic stress with is the military. Young men and women who go off to fight in armed conflict witness and experience first-hand the horrors of war. In the field of battle even the survivors are victims. After nearly two decades of continuous involvement in the Middle East there are thousands of military personnel who have come home from Afghanistan and Iraq changed.

Ideally, such people would have access to the best treatment money could buy. That is, effective methods of therapy and medication that can counter the symptoms and even repair some of the damage. Unfortunately, the Veterans Administration (VA) isn’t always on top of treating affected personnel, which means many service men and women take to calming their symptoms with substances. In many cases, it is a choice that leads to a dishonorable discharge, which can actually cut individuals off from receiving VA benefits. Therefore, upsetting one’s prospects for obtaining a good job after the military

A new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) found that during a four-year period, almost two-thirds of the 91,764 U.S. troops kicked out of the military for misconduct had received a diagnosis for post-traumatic stress, The Washington Post reports. The GAO is urging the Defense Department to do a better job at ensuring commanders consider medical conditions like PTSD when determining how to handle misconduct cases.

Treating Mental Illness – PTSD and Addiction

It is quite common for people with any form of mental illness to suffer from addiction as well. Which condition comes first is not as important as treating both disorders at the same time. Failure to do so usually results in an inability to recovery. At 10 Acre Ranch, we understand that drugs and alcohol can prolong a cycle of avoidance and delay treatment. For more than 25 years, we have treated many clients who courageously served overseas, who self-medicated their PTSD with drugs and alcohol. By addressing both the addiction and the co-occurring disorder they could get back on their feet and lead a fulfilling life.

If you or a loved one is struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder, and self-medicates, please contact us today. Recovery is possible.