If you have a loved one who is struggling with addiction, you may be wondering how you can help them stay sober. It can be a challenging process, but there are many things that you can do to support your loved one. Here are some tips that you can use to help a loved one stay sober.
1. Be Understanding And Supportive
One of the most important things you can do is be understanding and supportive. Addiction can be a very isolating experience, and your loved one may feel disconnected from family and friends. Show them that you care and are there for them, even if they don’t always show it in return. Offer words of encouragement when needed and provide a listening ear and understanding.
2. Help Establish Healthy Routines
Creating healthy routines and habits can help keep an individual on track with their sobriety. Make sure that your loved one is getting enough sleep, eating healthy meals, and engaging in activities that will help them stay sober. This could include going for walks or hikes, joining a gym or sports team, or finding other activities to occupy their time, such as volunteering or taking classes.
3. Set Boundaries And Respect Your Loved One’s Choices
It’s important to remember that the choice to stay sober ultimately lies with your loved one. Though you can provide support and guidance, it shouldn’t be done in a way that makes them feel pressured into making decisions they don’t agree with. Respect their autonomy and wishes while still providing advice if asked.
4. Create An Action Plan Together
Sobriety is often a process; it can take time for someone to achieve their goals. Have an honest conversation with your loved one about their progress, any issues, and how you can help. Then, you can create an action plan together where both of you set realistic goals and provide support when needed.
5. Consider A Sober Living Program
If your loved one is struggling with relapse, consider enrolling them in a sober living program from rdsoberliving.com (if in USA, for UK see other programs). These programs provide structure and accountability to help someone stay on track with their recovery goals. They also provide support from peers and mentors who have been through similar experiences.
6. Reach Out To A Professional
Don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it. Consider talking to a professional who is experienced in addiction recovery, or get your loved one connected with a therapist. They can provide additional guidance and support that may be helpful in maintaining sobriety.
7. Take Care Of Yourself
It’s also important to remember to take care of yourself as well. It can be challenging to help someone who is struggling with addiction, and it can take a toll both physically and emotionally. So make sure that you are getting enough rest, engaging in activities that bring you joy, and reaching out for support when needed.
Helping a loved one stay sober can be difficult. However, there are many ways that you can provide support and guidance to help them succeed. Be understanding and supportive, set boundaries, create an action plan together and consider professional help or a sober living program if needed. Also, remember to take care of yourself throughout the process.
Whether it is addiction to alcohol or drugs, deciding to seek treatment for substance abuse is never an easy decision. If it is a family member or yourself who has a problem with substance abuse, there are certain signs that will indicate it’s time to seek treatment at a qualified facility. Though it may be hard to admit, here is how you will know the time has come to admit professional help is needed.
Changes in Personality
If you have major personality changes eg you were once very outgoing but now are withdrawing from those closest to you, this can indicate you may need treatment for a substance abuse problem- you could also be struggling with depression . Another indication is if you lie about your addiction to those you love and try and keep it secret.
If you are addicted to drugs, it won’t take long for this problem to result in you having severe financial problems. Whereas in the past you always had money to pay your bills, you now find yourself having to ask others to help you out financially. Eventually, you may lose your car and even your home. Seek help for your finances when you are able to- perhaps a friend of family member could help you.
Incidents with Law Enforcement
As you live with addiction, you may find that you commit crime or do things you wouldn’t normally do. This may include getting arrested for drunk driving, possession of drugs, or even more serious crimes such as theft or assault and battery. Once this cycle begins, it will worsen very quickly, which is why you should seek out substance abuse treatment as soon as possible. Drugs and alcohol can change your behaviour.
When you are drinking or doing drugs regularly, this will ultimately take quite a toll on your physical health. While the most common signs may be relatively minor such as nosebleeds or eyes that are constantly red, you may also start to notice other signs. Look for signs of liver damage, increased blood pressure, or trouble breathing. Once these signs become evident, you need to get medical treatment as well as substance abuse treatment for your mental health. Look after your body as it can take a battering when you are addicted to substances.
Losing Your Job and Marriage
When substance abuse problems get very bad, your job and marriage may be at risk of being lost to you forever. You may find yourself suddenly being faced with the prospect of being unemployed and possibly divorced due to your ongoing battle with drugs or alcohol. Addiction can sadly strain relationships and make you unreliable at work too, because you are unwell and can’t get better. At that point, if you hit rock bottom, you may admit you need help for your addiction.
Taking that initial step in seeking treatment will be tough. However, doing so will enable you to get your life back on track and overcome your addiction to drugs or alcohol.
There are many places that offer specialised drug and alcohol treatment in the UK and globally. Check out Alcoholics Anonymous, Mind and Action on Addiction.
This article was written by freelance writer Rachelle Wilber.
When a loved one suffers from addiction, it can have just as much of an influence on your life as it does on the addicts. This is especially true if the loved one is a parent or a close relative. Children of addicts within a family are undoubtedly the most affected by addiction. This is particularly true if the addict’s children are still growing up. Unless you’re young or elderly, it’s difficult to cope as the child of an addict. Addiction has the potential to destroy a family. A parent is a glue that ties a family together; if they are addicts, the children must mature and become the house’s adults. This can have a significant negative impact on children’s mental health.
What are the Feelings of an Addict’s Children?
Children look up to their parents as role models. Parents who become addicted to drugs or alcohol, on the other hand, are only concerned with their addiction. Understanding that addiction is an illness is crucial for children of addicts. This is because long-term substance misuse changes the chemistry of an addict’s brain. As a result of this, an addict’s brain is rewired over time as a result of their substance misuse. As a result of their addiction, addicted parents can exhibit poor judgment and decision-making, a lack of self-control, and deviant behaviour choices.
What Can Children Do to Assist Parents Who are Battling Addiction?
Drug and alcohol addiction can have both short- and long-term impacts. Substance misuse can disrupt even the calmest and most loving relationships. When family members quarrel, it becomes commonplace. The level of trust begins to erode. If a relative who consumes illegal substances acts angrily or hides their condition in secrecy, relatives may grow concerned.
Marriages may disintegrate as a result of addiction-related changes. Communication gets more difficult as displeasure is highlighted. In addition, children often take a step back from their parents to separate themselves from them. Family members may observe their loved ones endure the negative effects of drugs or erupt into rages while inebriated. Others may notice that their relatives have lost weight and are no longer recognizable.
How Can I Help an Alcoholic Parent?
Parents are blessings, so if they are addicts you can try to help them recover- but ultimately they must accept help. Here are some of the things you can do to help them.
A person suffering from drug or alcohol addiction needs the support and love of family members. They need someone who will understand what they are going through. As a child, one should make sure that you are fully aware of the supportive needs of your parent- but equally you can’t fix everything.
Talk to them
Talking helps a lot. An addict thinks that everyone is trying to distance themselves from them and if your parent feels like someone is trying to talk to them- they may appreciate it. Children of addicts should make sure to spend some time with their parents, where possible and if able. It can be very difficult to see your parent struggling with addiction and can be harmful also, so you will need to weigh this up.
Encourage Addiction Treatment
Addiction treatment is the only way to treat drug and alcohol addiction. Children of addicts should be aware that to help their parents they should suggest an addiction treatment program near them. Here are some addiction treatments that you can recommend to your parents:
Dual-diagnosis treatment for co-occurring disorders
Medicated-assisted treatment (MAT)
Outpatient or Intensive Outpatient addiction treatment
Telehealth addiction treatment is a new form of treatment where a patient can receive treatment while being in their own homes. So if your parent avoids or doesn’t want to leave home for addiction treatment, suggest they get Telehealth addiction treatment.
Avoid Fighting with them
There is no need to fight with your parents. They are already going through a very tough time. Try to avoid any sort of confrontation with them.
Make them Feel Wanted
Addicts need their children to make them feel wanted. Spend some time with them. Take them out and have a nice dinner every once in a while.
In The End…
An addict’s brain is rewired, and quitting addictive substances is more difficult than it appears. When a person becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, his or her brain becomes fully reliant on them to function. As a result, when addicts cut back or stop taking opioids, they may experience uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Because they are terrified of experiencing withdrawal symptoms, addicts are sometimes discouraged from attempting sobriety.
As much as you may despise your parent for acting the way they do and refusing to seek treatment, you must respect their decision. Simply take a deep breath and recognise that your parent is afflicted with an ailment over which they have no control.
This article was written by Chaye McIntosh. You can see more about treatment here
Please note: this article relates to facilities and costs in Canada only.
For anyone struggling with alcohol addiction, many different types of addiction services can help. There are inpatient and outpatient programs and 12-step programs, and support groups.
Here are the four main types of alcohol addiction services and what they offer:
Inpatient alcohol addiction services
Inpatient services are typically offered in a hospital or rehabilitation center. Patients live at the facility and receive 24-hour care. This type of service is ideal for severe addictions or those struggling with other mental health issues.
Inpatient services offer a variety of therapies, including individual and group counseling, educational classes, and 12-step programs. Patients also have access to medical care and support 24 hours a day.
The average stay in an inpatient facility is 28 days, but some programs offer longer stays.
Cost: Ranging from $500 to $1500 per day. Many insurance companies will cover some or all of the cost of treatment.
Outpatient alcohol addiction services
The services are offered in hospitals and rehabilitation centers, but patients do not live at the facility. They visit for treatment day or evening, like a Male Alcohol Addiction Treatment Program. This service is ideal for those with mild to moderate addiction or who do not need 24-hour care.
Outpatient services offer a variety of therapies, including individual and group counseling, educational classes, and 12-step programs.
The average length of treatment is three months, but it can vary depending on the patient’s needs.
Cost: Outpatient alcohol addiction services typically cost between $50 and $200 per week.
12-step programs are self-help groups that offer support and guidance to those struggling with addiction. There are many different 12-step programs, but they all follow the same basic steps.
Admitting you have a problem and you need help is the first step.
The second step is finding a sponsor or someone who has been sober for a long time and can help guide you through the program.
The third step is making amends to those you have hurt due to your addiction.
The fourth step is maintaining your sobriety day by day.
12-step programs are free and open to anyone who wants to join them.
Cost: There is no cost associated with 12-step programs.
Support groups are similar to 12-step programs, but they do not follow the same structure or steps. They are simply a place where people can come together to share their experiences and offer support to one another.
Support groups have no charges and are open to anyone who wants to join them.
There are many different alcohol addiction services available to those who need help. Inpatient and outpatient programs offer a variety of therapies, while 12-step programs and support groups provide support and guidance. Choose the service you or your loved one can benefit from and get started on the road to recovery today.
This article was written by freelance writer Rachelle Wilber and contains affiliate links.
We all have been through it or at least heard about the term ‘retail therapy’ before. To many, retail therapy is the act of shopping to relieve stress. It is a coping mechanism that can be used to deal with emotional issues.
A study by the University of British Columbia found that people who shopped when they were feeling sad or angry were more likely to feel better afterward. Shopping may be a way for people to temporarily forget about problems and focus on something else. For many, getting over a bad day could be as easy as going to the online shop adidas offers or visiting your local retail store.
Retail Therapy does not work for everyone, and some may find it counterproductive because it can lead to feelings of guilt and shame after spending money on items that are not needed or wanted. So, what benefits can we get from retail therapy, and is it something that can work for you?
What are the Benefits of Shopping as Therapy?
Shopping is a great way to improve mental health. It can be a form of physical and emotional therapy. Shopping in store can be a form of physical therapy as it allows people to get up, walk around and explore new places.
It also provides an opportunity to take care of oneself by indulging in self-care. Shopping can be an emotional therapy as it allows people to express themselves through buying things they want or need, while getting rid of the things they don’t want or need anymore.
There are many ways to improve your mental health. Many people choose retail therapy as a way to relieve their stress and improve their mood. Retail therapy is an effective way to unwind because it helps people to change the focus of their thoughts from negative thoughts, such as worry or anger, towards positive thoughts, such as excitement or anticipation.
It is important to note that retail therapy has been shown to have positive effects on mental health, but it should not be used as a replacement for professional help. There are different types of sleep deprivation, and insomnia is one of them.
Sleep deprivation can lead to mood swings, irritability, trouble concentrating, and more serious problems like obesity or diabetes. In a similar way, Insomnia can lead to depression or anxiety disorders, which can lead to other problems such as substance abuse or an eating disorder.
Improved Mood and Happiness
There are many reasons why retail therapy can help you improve your mood. One of them is that it makes you feel like you have accomplished something, which boosts your self-esteem. Another reason is that retail therapy is seen as self-care and an easy way to distract yourself from negative thoughts or feelings.
Retail therapy provides you with a sense of control and relief. You can use it to distract yourself from your negative thoughts and feelings. While retail therapy is not always a good idea, it can be helpful in some situations. For example, if you are feeling frustrated or lonely, retail therapy might provide you with the joy and excitement that you need to feel better about yourself. It’s important to remember that the benefits of retail therapy are temporary and that this technique should be approached with care.
Disadvantages of Retail Therapy
While there are many advantages and benefits to retail therapy, there are many ways that it could have a negative effect on you. So, it’s essential to remember that retail therapy is not for everyone. It has been proven to be helpful for people who have depression and anxiety, but it also has its downsides. People who have a shopping addiction can find themselves in a difficult situation when they feel the need to buy something new every time they are feeling down or sad.
The person will not be able to control their shopping habits because of their addiction and wants the feeling of gratification from buying something new. They may also buy things impulsively without thinking about what they need or even if they have the money for it. When this happens, the person might start making poor financial decisions which could lead them into debt or bankruptcy.
It’s important that you lookout for signs of shopping addiction while taking part in retail therapy.
Signs of Shopping Addiction
Shopping addiction is a serious problem that is becoming more and more common. It can lead to numerous mental health issues, such as anxiety, depression, and stress. It’s important to be able to tell the difference between the occasional shopping spree and a full-blown addiction. Signs of shopping addiction include:
Spending too much money on clothes or other items for yourself or others
Having difficulty controlling your spending
Spending hours at a time looking for things to buy
Feeling guilty or ashamed after shopping
Putting off, paying bills, saving money, or doing other important tasks in order to spend money on things you don’t need
Once you find yourself showing signs of your addiction, it is important to get help because it can lead to mental health issues. It can also lead to a lack of self-control, which in turn can lead to other problems.
Knowing When To Getting Help
So, to answer the question: Can retail therapy help with your mental health? The answer is yes, but that yes comes with a warning beside it.
While retail therapy can be great for helping your mental health. It’s important for you to remember that everything should be taken in moderation. Retail therapy is great for helping you to get over a bad day today. However, when it starts to have a negative effect on your mental health instead of helping, it’s time for you to get professional help.
Don’t ever spend more than you have and if you find that you are regularly. support is available for you. You are not alone.
This article was written by a freelance writer and contains affiliate links.
On the 1st March 2016, I started this blog as a way to provide therapy for myself- as I was going through panic attacks, (caused by trauma due to a hospitalisation for a bipolar manic episode). Since then I have had several years of EMDR trauma therapy and my life changed so much too- I met my husband, we got married and moved to our first home. I also found a career I love after many twists and turns due to mental illness. Life is never plain sailing especially with mental health and I still live with panic attacks/ social anxiety at times but am learning to manage them.
The blog has turned into a book Bring me to Light (with Trigger), writing for Metro.co.uk, Glamour, the Telegraph, Happiful, Rethink Mental Illness, Mind and other incredible organisations, I have partnered with large and small brands, charities, businesses, writers to create content that battles stigma on mental health. We have been awarded as a Top 10 UK blog by Vuelio since 2018 (thank you) and I love to share my story to help others and educate people about bipolar, anxiety, panic disorders, psychosis, mania and mental health in the workplace (amongst other mental health topics!). I have also recorded podcasts – most recently with Dr Rosena Allin Khan MP, shadow minister for mental health, Daniel Rosenberg at SodsPod and was also interviewed by Penny Power OBE with my Dad Mike (who is a mental health speaker).
When I started this blog I had no idea where it would lead and its been the most special, humbling and amazing journey- with so much more to do so watch this space!. I really want to help more people this year and also have a childrens book I would love to get out there to help kids with anxiety.
As always, I want to thank all my contributors and brands (sponsored or not), as well as the digital agencies and freelance writers who provide content too. I hope to keep it going for the next year at least! Let me know what you want to see.
This year heres what we have been talking about (and big thank you to everyone. If it doesnt have a name by it, content has been written by a writer):
How social distancing is affecting social anxiety in the pandemic- Anita Ginsburg
Book Review of the Smart Girls Handbook by Scarlett Clark- me (Eleanor)
Being kind to myself, social anxiety and life in recovery- me (Eleanor)
Self care ideas for positive change in 2021
How to cope with top 4 challenging life events
The Book of Hope launch– me
Sending self care packages- a guide to sending gifts
Feel less trapped with these powerful ideas
6 Tips to stay positive and help mental health
Moving to our First Home and mental health- me
How to reach for help and not be ashamed
Whats the connection between mental health and addiction- Jennifer at Mandala Healing
We are a top UK mental health blog 2021- thanks Vuelio- Me
Can you still get health insurance cover if you have a history of mental illness?
The benefits of seeking mental health support and help
The link between debt and mental health
Start Up founders are 50% more likely to suffer from a mental health condition- Daniel Tannenbaum
How can mental health workers cope with the new normal?
Easing the burden of divorce- Brooke Chaplan
Stress and Panic Attacks Part two- Me
How to remain independent and look after your health as you get older
How selfie changed my life and mental health- Kathryn Chapman
The benefits of personal training for your mental health- Life Force Fitness
Recovery from alcohol or substance abuse: benefits of a sober living home
6 Ways Fathers can Assist New Mothers- Jess Levine
Work in progress- healing from trauma to find the light- me
Is stress affecting your skin? heres how to tell
Prioritising mental health on the world stage, Simone biles- me
Why privacy is critical for our mental health
Goal setting for mental health
Moving house? 5 tips to deal with moving stress
4 Ways to make mental health a priority in your life- Emma Sturgis
What you need to know about post Partum Depression- Kara Reynolds
The Midnight Library book review- me
5 interior design ideas to boost wellbeing
Steps to help aging and wellbeing
How to keep your children in mind during a divorce-Brooke Chaplan
Bryony Gordons mental health card collection for Thortful.com
The Inquisitive-a film on mental health and suicide- Kelvin Richards
Being self compassionate when I have anxiety- me
Keeping things stress free when selling an elderly family members home
7 Bipolar disorder facts everyone should know- Ronnie Deno
Recovering from an eating disorder- Kara Masterson
Wellbeing tips and activities for children- collaboration with Twinkl resources
Building trust in a relationship
How sleep patterns affect your mental health
Choosing life and freedom- my therapy journey- me
Dealing with imposter syndrome
Confidence on return to the office
lifestyles and mental health- Anna Witcherley at Head Hacks
Stress and mild anxiety formula- Nu mind wellness
Mental health problems in the pandemic- Webdoctor.ie
Patient transport helps anxious travellers- EMA Patient transport
How to stop signs of traumatic brain injury- Lizzie Weakley
Looking after mental health in a tense office environment
Dealing with anxiety as a mom/mum- Kara Reynolds
5 Self help books for 2022
Winter mental health and anxiety update- me
Tips to fight addiction- Lizzie Weakley
Lockdown, sleep, anxiety and mental health- collaboration with TEMPUR mattresses (ad)
Helping elderly people to live independently
Getting your loved one help for their addiction- Emma Sturgis
How to support your spouse with mental health issues- Kara Reynolds
Battling co occurring mental health and substance addiction- Holly
Festive season- me
Its Okay not to be Okay by Esther Marshall book review- me
The difference between a therapist and life coach- Lizzie Weakley
Managing mental health over christmas/ festive time- me
Reflecting on a new year 2022- me
Surviving trauma makes relationships difficult- self compassion helps- Taylor Blanchard
Window to the womb launches avocado app for perinatal wellbeing
Where to start when battling addiction- Rachelle Wilber
Mental health new year resolutions
Book review- Pushing through the cracks- Emily J Johnson- me
Depression meals when life gets hard- Kara Reynolds
Jami see mental health campaign blog
Recovering from cancer- the mental health aspect- Rachelle Wilber
Outdoor activities to improve your mental health- Elizabeth Howard
Mental health and eating disorder recovery journey- Emily J. Johnson
Fitness and mental health
Interview with Penny Power MBE, Thomas Power and Mike Segall on bipolar disorder
Self love for Valentines Day- with Kalms (ad)
Being debt free and in good mental health for 2022
Mental health medication- fighting the stigma- me
Overcoming alcohol addiction- Rachelle Wilber
Spiritual tips for helping mental health
Risk factors for post partum depression
Wow! Thank you for supporting me and the blog, for continuing to read and share it and to help battle the stigma around not only bipolar disorder and anxiety- but every mental illness.
Alcohol addiction greatly impacts on your mental health and general wellbeing. Fighting addiction should be your ultimate goal, making it possible to take control of your life. There are numerous options available to help in overcoming addiction and improving your mental health. Here are several options.
Alcohol is extremely addictive and has the potential to ruin mental health and peoples lives. These are just a guide, please consult with professionals.
Connect with Others
A great place to start is it to get out and start meeting other people at support groups. It helps to share positive or similar experiences, which will aid your mental health and self esteem. . You can also consider others and build emotional support if able. Avoid people who want you to relapse back into addiction and who enabled it too! Seek support for you to move forward, even if slowly.
Exercising and getting involved in activities release the endorphin hormone, also known as the happiness hormone. This can also help your general health as you recover slowly. Get involved with community causes and help raise funds for 5k, to 10k walks once you feel able.
Learn New Skills
Learning new skills helps connect with others and builds a sense of purpose. Try taking a responsible role when volunteering that has an immediate impact, be it at work or in the community like cooking for the homeless- as long as you are in recovery and feel able.
Getting into a male alcohol addiction treatment program (or a mixed program/ one for women) can help you in being mindful as it is one of the crucial aspects taught. It helps you consider yourself and the positive changes you have made while recovering from alcohol abuse. Being mindful helps you understand yourself better and take the necessary steps to ensure mental health is protected.
Being kind to yourself and placing your feelings first will make it easier to recover from alcohol addiction. Avoid comparing your progress with others and discard people’s opinions of your progress. Allow yourself to make mistakes while finding the right ways to be mentally free.
Celebrate Your Small Wins
Celebrate small wins even if you have milestone goals you want to achieve. Start with celebrating finishing the alcohol addiction treatment program. Celebrate your sober days!
Write it Down
A great way to improve mental health and overcome addiction is by documenting everything. It helps in processing all emotions to gauge triggers to avoid them. It will also allow you to self-reflect on progress, relieve stress, and inspire creativity.
Reach for Support
Remember to get into local support groups or even stay in touch with members of the alcohol addiction treatment program. Consult a professional (GP or psychiatrist) if the urge is unbearable to avoid relapsing into addiction and keep you on the road to your recovery.
This article was written by Rachelle Wilber, freelance writer.
Pushing Through The Cracks: In the Darkness of Her Family’s Mental Illness She Found Light by Emily J. Johnson is an incredible book. It is a story that I don’t believe has ever been written about before in such a way in the mental health space, I have certainly never come across it. Its a true memoir that occurred here in the UK during lockdown.
Emily wrote to me and kindly sent me a free copy of her book. I was hooked from the first page- this is a story of survival against the odds, of how mental illness can rip a family apart but how healing and hope are possible. Of strength through immense difficulty. Of light winning over darkness.
Four years ago, in the UK, Emily, a divorced mother of two, was living her best life with a new partner and blended family of six. But then addiction and mental illness entered her home uninvited, threatening to tear the whole family apart.
With an alcoholic husband and two teenage sons – one a depressed gambler and the other with chronic obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)– Emily is left to cope alone. And when the Covid pandemic hits, Emily, a ‘serial people-pleaser, enabler and born rescuer’, almost breaks too.
This true story delves into the darkest sides of mental illness and addiction with raw, often harrowing honesty. It shines a light on taboo subjects including self-harm, suicidal feelings, gambling, alcoholism, depression, severe OCD and eating disorders, all exacerbated by an unprecedented global pandemic and dwindling support services.
This is a story of remarkable strength, self-realisation and reclamation of a lost identity. This is a story of finding hope, pushing through the cracks in the darkness. It is also a story that touches on the difficulties of accessing UK NHS mental health services at times, especially CAMHS.
I found Emily’s strength through such severe adversity – dealing with a husband and two sons with severe mental illness, whilst carrying on with her own life when mental illness permeated every part, to be so inspiring. Her marriage falls apart, her children are unable to attend work and education, the family embarks on several different recovery journeys- navigating NHS mental health care and all its difficulties. Her sons addictions and acute OCD worsen and add to the pressures for Emily. How does she as a mother fix it all? She realises.. she can’t fix anyone and its not her job too.
The front cover features a dandelion pushing through the cracks of the ground. Emily describes the moment she hits rock bottom but then saw a dandelion poking through- which symbolised hope and light for her,
‘(image: Emily J. Johnson)
‘I pick up my phone and call a crisis support line…I desperately want someone to listen to me, to ease my pain, to hear my stories…(of mental illness at home)
I throw my phone across the path in frustration… something catches my eye, a beautiful yellow dandelion is growing through a crack in the concrete. Its golden yellow petals cut through the greyness of the broken path and it overshadows the filth and discarded cigarette butts around it. Despite its surroundings, it has found ways to push up through that crack, to have life. it is. not complaining or giving up, it’s surviving and it will go on to finish flowering. One day soon, the wind will carry its dainty seeds somewhere else to carry on the cycle of its life.
Just like that dandelion, I have pushed through adversity and survived. …I close my eyes and raise my face to the sunshine… Even in the midst of all this chaos, this darkness, there is warmth and light. There is hope.” (from chapter Dandelion) (Emily J. Johnson)
This is also a book which exposes the difficulties and realities of living with mental illness. I will add a trigger warning- it doesn’t hold back on the reality of mental illness including self harm, addiction, alcoholism, suicidal thoughts etc- so please read with care.
Thank you Emily for letting me read and follow the journey of your family. I hope your husband and sons are able to fully battle their demons and recover or stay in remission. Pushing Through the Cracks by Emily J. Johnson can be bought from Amazon and good book shops.
Many people might tell you that admitting you have a problem is the first step to battling addiction. Their intentions might be good, but does your journey to sobriety and recovery really start until you decide you want to live better? Knowing where to start when battling addiction is crucial to improving your odds of success.
Your personal physician probably already suspects or even knows about your addiction, even if you’ve never mentioned it to them. It’s their job to help you with your physical health, and they will have access to more tools you might use than nearly anyone. Your conversations with your doctor are totally confidential, so this is a very safe place to start when battling addiction.
Find a Facility
Not all forms of addiction require going into a rehab facility. However, some might. There are facilities available, such as Awakenings Health and Wellness Centre that are top-notch in helping people dig deeper than the obvious superficial issues. Also, the right rehab center can dramatically improve your odds of getting past any addiction and have a better fighting chance at living a clean life ahead of you.
Friends and Family
This one can be tricky. Friends and family might be some of the people most likely to support you through your addiction battle, but some of them might also be the most judgemental. In fact, some relatives might even be contributors to your addiction. Turn to those you think you can trust.
You probably don’t want to tell your actual supervisor that you are battling addiction, but your employee benefits might have a hotline you can call privately. If your health insurance or other benefits include rehab programs or counseling of any kind, it might be at low or even no cost to you.
Spiritual and Religious Advisors
Individuals such as these may not feel qualified to help you with your addiction and recovery, and yet they might also truly want to help you. They might be able to point you in the direction of people and programs who can help you. So, whether it’s a priest, rabbi, or even a yoga teacher you study under, see if they have any referrals or connections you might use.
Help Is Out There
Battling addiction is a journey that can leave you feeling very alone, and overcoming it can only happen if you personally do it. However, even though no one else can get you over your addiction, they can be of tremendous assistance to you while you try to get clean.
What are co occurringmental health disorder and substance abuse?
A co-occurring disorder is when a person is battling some kind of mental health issue alongside substance abuse like drugs and alcohol addiction. Both SUDs and mental health issues share a strong link. In fact, it’s estimated that almost half the individuals suffering from one will develop the other at some time or another.
It’s not uncommon for substance abuse to fuel a co-occurring disorder and vice-versa. The severity of both can also increase over time.
The most common mental health issues to co-occur alongside SUD are –
Anxiety Disorders – Social anxiety and general anxiety share a strong link with marijuana abuse. Almost 19% of people in the US have some kind of anxiety disorder. GAD, social anxiety, and panic disorder can also increase the odds of co-occurring issues.
Personal Disorders – In terms of the general population, around 10-15% suffer from personality disorders. When we talk about those suffering from addiction and substance abuse, the rate is an astounding 35-70%. The commonest personality disorders in those battling SUD are – borderline, avoidant personality, paranoia, and antisocial behavior.
Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder – Studies tell us that ADHD comes with an increased risk of developing addiction-related issues during adulthood (mainly 20s and 30s.) There is a positive correlation in symptoms of ADHD like impulsiveness, hyperactivity, and inattention with substance use in adults.
Mood Disorder – Around 30% of people suffering from SUD are likely to suffer from one of the mood disorders such as depression and bipolar.
PTSD – According to a survey, people with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder are 4x more likely to develop substance use disorder than those without.
What Causes Co-occurring and Substance Addiction?
It is estimated that over half the people with one disorder will eventually develop the other during their lifetime. While the exact set of reasons that can fuel these two conditions might be long, researchers have found the 3 most prevalent reasons as to why co-occurring disorders may take place.
Overlapping Risk Factors
Many of the risk factors behind SUD and mental health issues are overlapping. Generally, these include environmental factors like exposure to drugs or alcohol at an early age, early childhood trauma, and genetics. All of these factors can make a person more susceptible to developing mental health issues and requiring addiction treatment for drugs such as Cocaine or others.
Dealing with a mental illness can be difficult. That’s why many people resort to alcohol and drugs as coping mechanisms. In medical terms, this is called ‘self-medicating’. However, it’s quite misleading as instead of fixing the problems, it only masks them. What’s more, in the long run, it exacerbates the symptoms and worsens the dependency on drugs/alcohol, making it more difficult to detox from alcohol or drugs, often requiring medically supervised detox.
Drug-Induced Brain Changes
Prolonged drug and substance use can change the brains ‘motivation and reward mechanism’. It can give a false sense of wellness causing one to develop a dependence on drugs beyond control. Eventually, it can lead to mental health issues by affecting the brain and neurotransmitters.
Drugs affect the areas of the brain associated with mood, impulse control, anxiety, and schizophrenia.
How to Battle Co-occurring Mental Health and Substance Use
Residential rehab programs begin with an initial assessment to draw an individual treatment plan. This is followed by detox and several other therapies. The patient has to stay in a structured and highly supervised facility. Common inpatient treatment duration for drug addiction is 30 days. Residential programs put the entire focus on recovery as daily triggers and challenges are removed that often lead to relapses.
Outpatient Healing Programs
Under this program, a patient receives all the treatments and therapies as in residential rehab. However, they are not required to live in the facility. This is good for young teenagers, parents, and people with mild addiction who cannot sacrifice work commitments.
This is usually the first step in most addiction treatment programs. Drug detoxification entails medical supervision to get the drugs out of the system. With a clean system, experts can begin further treatment. Generally, therapies and medication cannot begin unless detox is successfully over.
Integrated treatment often includes behavioral therapy and counseling as interventions. Rehab centers in Connecticut and other parts of the United States use integrated treatment coupled with medication. Integrated treatment encompasses several therapeutic techniques with proven results in treating substance abuse and mental health issues. Common integrated therapies are –
Cognitive-behavioural therapy aka CBT aims to understand negative behaviours, thinking patterns, and self-talk that might be causing addiction and other disorders. It then works on changing them.
Dialectical behavioural therapy is used for treating borderline personality disorder. It does so by working on negative actions and thoughts like self-harm, suicidal behaviour, and dependence on a substance to cope with daily stressors.
Contingency management is often used in upscale addiction treatment centres. It reinforces positive changes by utilising incentives for patients who can exhibit positive behaviours such as staying sober and meeting therapy guidelines.
Psychotherapeutic Medications are often integral to treating SUD and co-occurring disorders and are frequently used during alcohol treatment. The commonly prescribed medications include antipsychotics and antidepressants. The latter is used to mostly manage the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. Other than that, medications may also be used to lessen the cravings so that relapses don’t happen.
Buprenorphine, naltrexone, methadone, disulfiram, and acamprosate are the common medications used for treating SUD.
Peer Support Clubs
It’s not uncommon for people with psychiatric issues to become antisocial. The withdrawal from social life exacerbates when you throw drugs and alcohol into the mix. By joining peer support groups/clubs like 12-step, Alcoholics Anonymous, and group counseling – patients can find solace in the presence of other people going through similar battles.
They can draw inspiration from their stories and also learn some tips to maintain sobriety. Support groups are highly effective in fostering a long-term, sustainable drug-free lifestyle.
Education and Counselling for Families
Sometimes a toxic family environment or dysfunctional relationships may unknowingly be fuelling a person’s addiction. Family counselling educates people how to create a healthy living environment for a family member to support long-term recovery.
Medical science is embracing the effectiveness and importance of holistic/alternative treatment when it comes to treating drug addiction. Many rehab centres are now adopting a holistic treatment model. Common holistic therapies are – massage therapy, acupuncture, hypnotherapy, yoga, reiki, meditation, and music therapy.
Co-occurring disorders may be a harsh reality in many people’s lives. But, know that if you or your loved one is going through this issue, help is always available.
Holly is a freelance writer who loves to help people who are struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction. Holly knows first-hand what it’s like to deal with substance addiction, and has now been sober for 5 years. Holly is a frequent contributor to many addiction-related blogs and organizations such as the Addiction Treatment Division and Inpatient-Rehab.org.