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.
When the term addiction is mentioned, most people only think of drug addiction. However, there are also behavioural addictions, including; gambling, sex, exercise, eating, and shopping. When people start developing such behaviour, they never know they can be addicted until it gets too late. Once one is addicted to such behaviour or even drugs, coming back from it takes a while. It may even be years for some. Regardless of what you are addicted to, you may need to follow a particular path to ensure that your recovery is successful once you have decided to quit. Below are some tips that can help you in fighting any addiction.
Find the Right Support System
Addiction recovery is never an easy journey. You may, therefore, require all the help you can get. You can try contacting your family and friends and explain to them your situation. Ensure that those you reach out to for help will never judge you when you relapse. Instead, they will help you get on the recovery path once more.
Change Your Past Friends
When you were mid addiction, you may have found a clique of people who enjoyed the same activity, whether drugs, shopping, or gambling. It is vital to inform them of your new venture. If possible, you may need to stop associating with such people for a while, as they may be the source of your trigger.
Cut Off What Supports the Addiction
When you are a gambler, shopping, or drug addict, one thing that supports your lifestyle is money. You may need to ensure that you cannot have access to such finances. Therefore, you can talk to your bank or even spouse to ensure that the only money you can have access to is those you need for your bills. Having no cash to support your lifestyle may be a significant step towards recovery, but speak to a trained mental health professional about this too.
Join a Self-Help Group
If you are struggling with addiction such as gambling, drugs or sex, you may want to join self help groups. Self-help groups are composed of people who are going through the same journey as you. As such, they understand what you are facing and are there to support you on your road to recovery.
There are those things that may constantly remind you of your addiction. For instance, when trying to recover from sex addiction, it would be wise to get rid of anything triggering. You may also need to avoid hanging out in drug-related areas when you are trying to quit drugs.
Having an addiction is a tricky thing. Luckily, there are people like Awakenings Health and Wellness Centre out there to help you out on your journey. When recovering and having a hard time with your addiction, you may need to check on the above tips to help you stay on course.
The journey to recovery from alcohol or substance abuse is a long one and is never a straight line. While rehab and detox are the essential first step in sobriety, they’re just the beginning of the journey that can last for a very long time. Going straight back to your previous life and surroundings can be triggering and jeopardise your progress, leading to relapse.
This is where a sober living home can be the perfect next step on your journey to recovery. These are interim, transitional steps that give you independence based on structure and support. They are designed to help you rebuild your life skills and relationships away from the temptations of drugs and alcohol.
Additional Time To Recover
The more time and energy you can devote to your recovery, the more successful you will be in maintaining it for the long term. In a sober living home, you will be in an environment where there are no drugs or alcohol to tempt you and find a support network of staff and other residents with which to share the experience. Giving yourself this additional time to recover could be the difference between success and failure.
Most sober homes, including Bridgeway Sober Living, have specialist managers on-site 24/7 to give your support and encouragement during your recovery. They are there to help with issues such as feeling depressed right the way through to helping you find a job.
A lot of the support staff in the sober living home have personal experience with addiction either through their own experience or that of a friend or loved one.
A sober living home can let your form bonds with others that aren’t rooted in alcohol. You’ll have lots of things in common and a shared sense of purpose. Your road to recovery will be anything but lonely.
Rebuilding Life & Social Skills
The basics of everyday life can be difficult for someone in the grip of addiction. Even dressing, washing, and taking out the trash can be beyond some people. Sober living homes allow you to put a structure back into your everyday life that can rebuild your life skills. You’ll relearn how to look after yourself and your surroundings.
Regain Your Independence
In rehab, your movements and activity are controlled tightly until you’re discharged. Often, going straight back to your former life can be overwhelming. Sober living homes give you the opportunity to start claiming your independence back gradually. You’ll be expected to go out and find your own job, attend social gatherings and look after yourself, all within the safe space of the sober living home.
Sober living homes are becoming a viable choice for many recovering addicts. You can find them in all major cities and highly populated areas. They are very well designed, as far away from the stereotype as you could imagine. As part of a successful recovery, they can be the transitional step you need to complete your recovery.
Everyone has their own mental health. But people who are addicted to drugs, alcohol, or any other substance abuse are more prone to develop mental illness. While on the other hand, individuals who have mental illnesses are also more prone to developing drug, alcohol, or substance addiction.
People struggling with addiction and mental health problems have complained about the co-occurring disorder. However, it can be tough to identify which one is the primary. A mental health diagnosis, such as clinical depression, can undoubtedly worsen an individual’s problems with addiction. Similarly, a person experiencing addiction may find that their mental health declines as their use grows.
If these conditions are left untreated, then co-occurring disorders can lead to a nasty cycle of repeated addiction and worsens mental health symptoms. To overcome addiction and mental health issues, professional care is necessary at a rehab center like Florida Addiction Treatment.
But before that, it is vital to understand the relationship between addiction and mental health when looking for help for yourself or a loved one. Because both addiction and mental health diagnoses are chronic medical conditions, they can be treated and managed with the right and approachable treatment while they cannot be cured.
Understanding the Link Between Mental Health and Addiction:
You might wonder if mental illness can cause addiction or if addiction creates the perfect storm leading to mental health problems. However, in most cases, it is rarely clear which one manifested first.
Addiction to drugs and alcohol or any other substance can occur due to people self medicating if they suffer from any mental health disorder. Self-medicating with addiction in times of crisis may provide temporary relief at first. But it may help you feel more comfortable connecting with your peers or boost your confidence. However, this is part of the danger of the link between mental health and addiction.
Continued use is hazardous and develops the risk of addiction. What you look at as a remedy to your problem can quickly put you on a brutal cycle of misuse and abuse.
Long-term use of addiction often produces side-effects such as anxiety and depression. Taking addictive substances alters your brain chemistry, and extended use of it only increases your chances of developing mental illness.
People coping with these specific mental health conditions are more likely to get addicted to drugs or alcohol (but not in every case)-
Major depressive disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
Potential Causes of Co-Occurring Disorders:
Addiction and mental health issues can occur because of many factors; however, some potential causes may involve genetics, age, and environmental factors.
Genetics or family history-
Genetics can play a critical part in the evolution of both addiction disorder and mental condition. It has been studied that genes contribute to many health issues.
As genes are passed down from generation to generation, the family history of a disorder is also a strong indicator. Autism, ADHD, bipolar disorder, major depression are all examples of conditions that can be spread through your genes.
However, you don’t have to have the genes for a particular disease, which does not mean that you will develop the condition. The environment plays a key role in how their genes are expressed.
High-stress environments, trauma, physical or sexual abuse can also contribute towards a co-occurring disorder. Looking at your friends and family engage in dangerous behavior like addiction can also play a key factor. People likely to follow the examples of those they are close with. When your close ones behave poorly, you may be more likely to as well.
Exposure to certain things during teen years can also be an element. Being offered drugs or alcohol at an early age can also contribute to addiction and possibly mental illness. Since at an early age, the brain is still in the developing stage. Developing a mental health illness at an early age may also make you more susceptible to addiction.
Treatment for Mental Illness and Addiction:
The best treatment for both disorders is an integrated approach, where both the substance abuse problem and the mental illness are treated together. Whether your mental health or addiction problem came first, long-term recovery depends on getting treatment for both the disorders by the same treatment provider.
Treatment for mental health may include medication, individual or group counselling, self-care measures, lifestyle change, and peer support.
Addiction treatment may include detoxification, managing withdrawal symptoms, behavioral therapy, and support groups to help maintain sobriety.
When people abuse drugs and alcohol, it is often the sign of a deeper underlying issue. For many people struggling with addiction, the source of their addiction is due to mental illness that often has gone undiagnosed. One of the most common co-occurring disorders seen with substance abuse is anxiety. The following article will outline what defines anxiety, and the connection between anxiety and substance abuse.
What is Anxiety?
In general, anxiety is an important emotion to have. While it may be normal to feel fear, apprehension, and nervousness from time to time, it becomes an issue when people experience these emotions at excessive levels. When anxiety takes over a person’s thought process, it manifests itself into physical symptoms such as the following:
Increased and constant restlessness
Increased and uncontrollable feelings of worry
Anxiety can be grouped into several types of disorders. These can include generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), panic disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), phobias, social anxiety disorder, and selective mutism among others. The leading causes of anxiety include work and family stresses, financial worries as well as underlying medical issues. The roots of anxiety can also be traced to past traumatic events that are unresolved.
How Anxiety and Substance Abuse Connect
When people suffer from anxiety, mental and physical symptoms can be very intense and can wear on the body and mind. To get some form of relief, people may turn to substances that stimulate dopamine in the brain to help numb the feelings of discomfort. Self-medicating oneself to take the edge of off anxiety only works in the short-term and can have a rebound effect that makes anxiety worse over time. Without addressing the roots of anxiety, their condition will worsen over time—along with their substance use.
The connection between anxiety and substance abuse can also trace back to the teenage and young adult years. During adolescence, the brain is still developing and forming. If people used drugs as a teenager, it could alter the development of the parts of the brain that govern reasoning and impulse control. Drug and alcohol use early in life can increase the likelihood of anxiety and substance abuse as that person gets older.
Another reason for anxiety disorders and substance abuse connection is because of one’s genetics. Some people may be more predisposed to both anxiety and drug and alcohol dependence through genetic factors shaped by one’s environment.
For those dealing with co-occurring disorders, they must seek specialised help from a dual diagnosis treatment facility specializing in mental health and addiction disorders. The first step in getting help is undergoing medical detoxification. During detox, patients will undergo medication-assisted therapy to help better tolerate the physical and psychological symptoms associated with withdrawal. Additionally, staff will perform physical and mental health evaluations to pinpoint any underlying issues that may impact recovery.
For those suffering from dual diagnosis, treatment will include mental health services in addition to addiction treatment services. Dual diagnosis facilities feature mental health professionals working alongside addiction treatment personnel in creating an individual treatment plan that fits each client’s specific needs.
In addition to therapy, 12-step counselling, life, and coping skills training and other forms of treatment, patients will receive mental health treatment with a focus on ongoing counselling and medication-based therapies that will give them the tools to handle anxiety.
This guest blog was written by Nu View Treatment Center
Socialising during your recovery always requires some effort, and life after rehab always takes some serious adjusting, but it can be especially difficult during the holiday season. The holidays are a time when you reunite with family and friends and spend time at seasonal social gatherings. You may encounter friends from your past times of using, people with whom you have impaired relationships, and social situations that tempt you to compromise your sobriety. In short, despite being one of the happiest times of the year, the holidays can also be stressful and dangerous for sobriety.
While the holiday season is a season of joy and giving that ought to be celebrated, it is important to be on your guard in order to protect your newfound sobriety. In case you find yourself or a loved one struggling to navigate recovery from addiction this season, here are some tips for protecting the sobriety you’ve worked so hard for during the holidays…
Know Your Triggers
Take an inventory of what your triggers for substance use are. In the past, did you use when you were hungry, angry, lonely, or tired? Was substance use an outlet for stress? Do you experience cravings most when you are bored or sad?
Whatever your triggers, be sure to take the necessary steps to keep those triggers at bay. If stress is a trigger for you, for example, practice regular stress relief techniques like meditation, even when you don’t feel particularly stressed. If you are tempted to relapse when you are bored, on the other hand, make it a point to plan out your days with wholesome activities and to have a go-to activity for those times when you truly do have nothing to do.
Use Your Support System
It is so crucial to set up a support system within your social circle during recovery, and the holidays are a perfect time to take advantage of that support system. Talk to members of your support system, especially family members and friends with whom you may be attending holiday gatherings. Tell them about what struggles you are facing and what you are worried about this season. This will help them remain mindful of you and allow them to help you at those times this season when you need it most.
Don’t Be Afraid to Call for Help
Your support system can carry you through the most difficult times of the holiday season. If you are worried about temptations to pick up alcohol during a particular holiday gathering, for example, a friend or family member can refrain from drinking with you or stay by your side throughout the evening to help hold you accountable. If you are worried that spending time with a particular group of people might tempt you to use again, make alternate plans with a friend or family member who understands your recovery.
Consider Whether an Event is Worth It
Holiday gatherings can be stressful for a variety of reasons. You have to answer questions about what you have been up to and what’s new in your life. You may encounter people with whom you used to use during times of addiction. You may find yourself around loved ones with whom you are still trying to repair harmed relationships. There are all kinds of reasons to be stress about attending a holiday season event, and for those occasions when you think the stress may be too much, it’s important to recognize when it may be better to miss an event.
Make a Plan for Parties
If you do feel that a holiday party will be low-risk enough for you to attend, be sure that you still come with a plan. Bring your own non-alcoholic party drink to sip on if you know alcoholic drinks will be present. Drive yourself so that you can duck out a bit early and have more control over when you leave. Plan out what you will say any time someone offers you a drink at parties. Try to envision which scenarios may arise so that you can be prepared for them.
Wear Your Sobriety on Your Sleeve
Finally, make the decision to own your sobriety this season. When someone asks you what is new in your life, go ahead and tell them about your sobriety (only if you feel comfortable doing so, of course.) Talk to them about your journey thus far, in as little or as much detail as you desire. Share what you are looking forward to as you continue your journey. When others see you talk enthusiastically about your recovery, they are sure to respond with similar enthusiasm, offering a shoulder of support and becoming advocates of your recovery.
My name is Allen and this is my recovery journey from alcoholism and mental illness.
On 12th October 2005 I had my last drink of alcohol and the following morning I was admitted to a psychiatric unit. On reflection I didn’t know what was happening and had no clue what was happening emotionally, physically or mentally just that I was going into hospital for a short stay to get better.
Better from what? Whats happening to me? When can I go home? It was like a constant conversation in my head and I couldn’t turn it off. Little did I know that I had been admitted because I was a risk to myself and others and I was going to be detoxed from alcohol and drugs.
I was never the world’s greatest drinker but I loved everything about alcohol and now know that since my teenage years, alcohol was a constant in my life at home, in pubs, on the train to work, in the park, in the toilet, in secret or in the open and it had been that way since teenage life.
So I stayed in that psychiatric unit for 6 ½ months and I was diagnosed with Bipolar 2 (a mood disorder) and prescribed medication to deal with that. Since that time, I have experienced two courses of electro convulsive therapy, Cognitive behavioural therapy, one to one counselling, 12 step programmes for drugs and alcohol, taken anti-depressants and anti-psychotics and read numerous self help books.
This week I will reach 13 years of sobriety- a great achievement considering I couldn’t go a day without alcohol. However, 2018 has seen me admitted into another psychiatric unit, following numerous suicide attempts and thoughts.
I received an additional diagnosis of Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder and a dawning realisation that I need to go way back to my early years to start to really understand me. Childhood / teenage trauma, bullying, substance and alcohol misuse, relationship problems, low self-esteem and lack of confidence, financial woes and debts mounted up.
The past 13 years have enabled me with the help of a twelve step programme to manage life, be as good a father as possible, to be a son, brother and uncle, and a friend.
I have been able to hold down a job and study a degree in Psychology and Counselling,. I became a Mental health first aider and I suppose now I need to look at me and listen to others as to how I can manage my mental health and addiction. I can learn to be the best father I can be to my son and daughter, and focus on what I need to do to alter the cycle of mental illness that has plagued me for so long.
Long term therapy seems to be the best option and I hopefully begin this process with an assessment very soon. I am so proud to be miles away from where I was in early 2018. Then, I asked a member of the Home Treatment Team (for crisis care) if I could go into hospital. I also shared for the first time that I have heard a voice for most of my life and the voice has made me harm myself.
I am now doing so much better and hope that therapy helps me to heal even more.
Allen is a writer, mental health first aider and mental health worker.
Today’s world is dominated by social media and it seems to be playing an ever increasing role in our lives.
Dr Mark Winwood, Director of Psychological Services at AXA PPP healthcare acknowledges that social media can give young adults a certain perception of life, that isn’t always reality.
“Social media is a window where people choose what they want to present to the world – whether this real or altered – and in many ways it can be a ‘false reality’.
It’s natural for an onlooker to make assumptions about others based on what they see online, but often those who are vulnerable cannot make this distinction, which can have a negative affect both on their mental health and their body image.” comments Dr Winwood.
“For some, being online is their main source of social interaction and, over time, this can turn out to be an isolating and lonely experience. And, whilst the ‘rewards’ of communicating online are instantaneous, this isn’t necessarily a good thing” he says.
Social media website Instagram has been rated as having the worst effects on teenagers’ sleep, body image and fear of missing out.
Ultimately with four of the five most popular forms of social media found to be harming young people’s mental health, it is important for young adults to realise that there is a world outside of the screen.
In 2016, seven young people who switched off from social media told the Guardian about the positive results they experienced. One said “I can live my life instead of trying to shape it into one that looks good online. I also have a lot more time now, and it’s easy enough to keep in touch with my friends in other ways.”
If you decide to have a social media holiday, here are Dr Winwood’s observations:
Suspend your accounts – suspending them for a week means you can take a break without the temptation to check for any new notifications.
Make an effort to meet up with friends face to face – you may find that cutting down on your social media time leaves a temporary void, so arrange to see friends and family personally and you’ll feel in touch when you’re off-line.
Enjoy the gift of renewed focus – think of all the occasions when your attention was split between checking social media and having a conversation or watching TV or walking along and just tune in to the moment of what you’re doing without the distraction.
Get an alarm clock – using your phone as an alarm can make it tempting to automatically check the online scene the minute you’re getting up. Having a separate alarm clock removes that temptation from arm’s reach.
If you find you crave social media try checking out apps designed to block certain sites at certain times of the day. This approach helps avoid that mindless checking and re-checking we all fall victim too.
This guest post was written by AXA PPP Healthcare. If you think you might be addicted to social media, find more tips and advice at AXA PPP healthcare’s Mental Health Centre or speak to one of its help at hand nurses online.
This guest post was written by Tomas Sanchez and talks about Drinkaware, the UKs top alcohol education charity. For more and help and support, view their website at : https://www.drinkaware.co.uk/
Highly demanding jobs, family duties, money worries, relationships issues, they can all add up to make our stress levels go through the roof. The truth is, it can sometimes feel like we’re sat on a roller coaster, led by a high-pressure lifestyle that is ruining our health and happiness.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, 16 million people experience a mental health problem each year, and stress is a key factor in this. Which is why this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week is focused on understanding the impact stress has on our lives and how to tackle it effectively. The week took place last week between 14th and 20th May.
When it comes to coping with stress, reaching for booze might seem like a good idea to help you lift your spirits and relax. However, in the long run, alcohol can have the opposite effect and contribute towards raising your stress, affecting your mental health and wellbeing.
In fact, while a pint or two may cheer you up, this is only a short-lived effect that will quickly wear off. But, in the long run, drinking too much too often can exacerbate your stress and contribute towards the development of mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
Alcohol can also impact your sleep. You might think that drinking can help you nod off a stressful day at work, but in reality, alcohol can alter your sleep cycle and make it harder for you to get the rest you need to tackle the stress in your life.
If you’re struggling to deal with stress, there are more effective ways to cope with it than reaching for alcohol, such as:
Exercise, a great way to de-stress. Go for a run, swim or to a yoga class – or even a brisk walk can help clear your head of the day’s worries.
Talk to a friend about what’s worrying you. If you don’t feel comfortable talking to your friends or family, look for professional help – talk to your GP or an accredited counsellor. They will be able to help you manage your feelings and point you to the right resources to help you restore your wellbeing.
Take a hot bath or do some gentle stretches to relieve tension from your body.
If you do decide to have a drink, follow the UK Chief Medical Officers’ (CMO) advice – it’s safest not to drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week and spread your drinking evenly over three or more days.
If you’re drinking too much too often, cut back on it by:
Keeping track of what you’re drinking – use Drinkaware’s App to help you monitor your alcohol intake and change the way you drink.
Choosing low-alcohol drinks or mocktails.
Giving alcohol-free days a go. If you drink regularly, your body starts to build up a tolerance to alcohol. This is why many medical experts recommend taking regular days off from drinking to ensure you don’t become dependent on alcohol.