Posts tagged with ‘Psychology’

20 jul

Taking the Steps to Addiction Recovery

RobertCordrayDual diagnosis treatment is a relatively new development in mental health care and addiction recovery. Until recently, clinicians treated mental illness as a separate condition from drug or alcohol addiction. When the conditions overlapped in a dual diagnosis, mental health treatment came only after addiction rehab. This was known as “sequential treatment.”

The Problem with Sequential Treatment

Sequential treatment was the norm as recent as a decade ago. Until then, most clinicians subscribed to a division between mental health treatment and addiction recovery. This meant that people with a dual diagnosis were excluded from one treatment area until they were stable in the other. For example, a depressed alcoholic could not receive therapy for depression until he went through detox and rehab.

Since addictions often stem from psychiatric disorders, people with a dual diagnosis need different types of therapy. When research showed that sequential treatment led to high rates of addiction relapse, its popularity diminished. Today, dual diagnosis treatment centers combine successful aspects of mental health care with substance abuse treatment. The clinicians have credentials and training in co-occurring disorders.

The Benefits of Dual Diagnosis

According to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), only 12 percent of the four million Americans with a dual diagnosis in 2002 were treated for both conditions. Today, many rehab centers offer personalized treatment services for those with dual conditions. Nevertheless, finding the right program is a challenge.

Rehab centers that offer parallel services increase recovery chances. They offer supportive therapies that bolster self-esteem and build self-confidence. The most effective treatments bring spouses and other family members into therapy for individual and group counseling.

Many addicts feel immense relief when they receive a dual diagnosis, especially if they lived with an undiagnosed condition for a long time. If they suffered with long-term depression, severe mood swings, painful flashbacks, hallucinations or suicidal thoughts, giving their condition a name can give them hope. A properly trained rehab team can help them can help them recover from mental illness while they battle their addictions.

Dual Diagnosis Therapy Options

People who meet the criteria for a dual diagnosis are classified when they enter treatment. They generally suffer with a condition such as depression, schizophrenia or bipolar disorder as well as alcoholism, drug addiction or another addictive disorder. The most effective treatment considers both conditions.

No single treatment works for everyone with a dual diagnosis. There are many mental health disorders, and the relationship between mental illness and addiction is complicated. Individual recovery plans address specific disorders as well as personal histories of addictive behaviors.

Residential Treatment

People with severe mental illness or heavy drug or alcohol use may benefit from residential treatment programs. This type of therapy offers intensive, 24-hour care and monitoring. It is especially helpful for those who experience psychotic episodes or suicidal thoughts.

Outpatient Treatment

Addicts who are physically and mentally stable may benefit from outpatient treatment, where they can live at home and go to work during their rehabilitation. Because of the minimal supervision, outpatient therapy requires a high level of dedication to recovery to prevent relapse.

Pharmacological Therapy

Pharmacological therapy is usually a key component of dual diagnosis treatment. People with mental illness usually require medications to stabilize their moods, reduce anxiety and prevent flashbacks or hallucinations. While psychiatric medications are often discouraged in substance abuse treatment programs, dual diagnosis patients can benefit from pharmacotherapy during rehab.

Family Counseling

Family counseling is an important part of addiction recovery. This type of therapy educates spouses, children and siblings about addiction and mental health. As they begin to understand their loved one’s condition, they are more likely to provide support for recovery.

Group Therapy

Group therapy is also essential to the recovery process. Peer support groups and 12-step programs are available for addicts, friends and loved ones. Group sessions remind those with drug and alcohol addictions that they are not alone in their struggles.

Most people benefit from a combination of treatment therapies. Getting their lives back on track requires help and hope, and dual diagnosis treatment provides both. Relying on members of their treatment team as well as their loved ones can make rehabilitation easier and more effective.

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Posted by Robert Cordray on July 20th, 2014 in Health | No comments Read related posts in , , , , ,

14 aug

The Power of Negative Thinking

WEJMDNegative thinking is our enemy. It dampens our enthusiasm and motivation. It contributes to indecision, inertia, procrastination and outright derailment of our goal-directed actions. It defeats us. It beats us. It creates the “bad luck” that we will later bemoan.

We are our own worst enemy when we indulge our negative thinking and tell ourselves, “It’s not going to work out… I’m unlucky… Something will go wrong… Such and such will happen and I’m just going to be more miserable, so why bother?”

There are an endless number of negative messages in all shapes and sizes that discourage us from being proactive and going forth into the world. And now is as good a time as any to stop playing this losing hand, to stop giving these negative messages any power.

A major problem in this regard is that, for the most part, we’re so used to our negative thinking that we aren’t even aware when we’re doing it. Consequently, we need to listen closely to the content of our thoughts. We need to hear our words as we speak them, with our negativity detector finely tuned.

When we recognize the negative thoughts and words, we need to stop them and counter them with alternative messages that are positive and optimistic, based on truth, not fear.

To be sure: just because things haven’t worked out in the past doesn’t mean they never will. Just because we have been rejected and disappointed in the past, doesn’t mean that this is our eternal fate that we must resign ourselves to. Just because we’ve been plagued with failure and perceived bad luck doesn’t mean that this is the way it always will or must be.

We are masters of our fate, whether we allow our fear or our optimism to propel us forward.

On an unconscious level, our negativity is a defense mechanism, a protective device such that if something bad should happen, we won’t be blindsided and devastated by it. By anticipating failure, we think we are softening the blow of failure should it occur.

Unfortunately, this is not a good plan. The negativity of anticipated bad luck and failure actually helps to create them because it contributes to us not putting our best foot forward. It blocks the flow of positive energy and directs the Law of Attraction to attract negative consequences rather than positive outcomes. It reinforces our fear and insecurity, and it diminishes our confidence and faith in ourselves and our objectives.

In this regard, negative thinking is actually a form of self-abuse. Certainly, it is important to be aware of the things that can go wrong so that we can have a strategy to address them and push forward, should they occur. But to beat ourselves into submission with our negative fear thoughts such that we don’t take risks and we don’t go the distance in order to protect ourselves from disappointment, shame and humiliation is simply self-punishment.

Letting fear and negativity derail us will never bring rainbows and sunshine into our lives. Rather than anticipating failure, we should anticipate success, while at the same time telling ourselves that should failure occur, we will be emotionally capable of dealing with it, that we will pick ourselves up, brush ourselves off and continue on our path toward our goals because that is the only way we will get where we want to go.

It’s best that we remind ourselves that there is less shame in failure and defeat than in never trying at all, that many great hearts and minds have risen from the ashes of multiple failures and defeat to reap the rewards of great success and prosperity.

Bottom line: we must be vigilant over our thoughts, stop the negativity and be positive and enthusiastic regardless of adversity and seemingly overwhelming odds against us, and push forward with one true thought always in the forefront of our consciousness. Win, lose or draw, it’s much better to play the game than watch from the sidelines.

By Walter E Jacobson, MD
http://forgivetowin.com
info@walterjacobsonmd.com

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Posted by Walter E Jacobson, MD on August 14th, 2011 in Career, Health, Relationships, Spirituality | No comments Read related posts in ,

11 aug

Tune into Others

RickHansonWhat Are They Feeling?
The Practice
Tune into others.
Why?

Imagine a world in which people interacted with each other like ants or fish. Imagine a day at work like this, or in your family, aware of the surface behavior of the people around you but oblivious to their inner life while they remain unmoved by your own.

That’s a world without empathy. To me, it sounds like a horror film.

Without empathy, there can be no real love, compassion, kindness, or friendship. Empathic breakdowns shake the foundation of a relationship; just recall a time you felt misunderstood – or even worse, a time when the other person could care less about understanding you. In particular, anyone who is vulnerable (e.g., children, the elderly) has a profound need for empathy, and when it’s a thin soup or missing altogether, that’s very disturbing. In my experience as a therapist, poor empathy is the core problem in most troubled couples or families; without it, nothing good is likely to happen; with it, even the toughest issues can be resolved. Read more »

Posted by Dr. Rick Hanson on August 11th, 2011 in Uncategorized | No comments Read related posts in , , ,

04 aug

Drop the Case

RickHansonWho are you prosecuting?
The Practice
Drop the case.
Why?

Lately I’ve been thinking about a kind of “case” that’s been running in my mind about someone in my extended family. The case is a combination of feeling hurt and mistreated, critique of the other person, irritation with others who haven’t supported me, views about what should happen that hasn’t, and implicit taking-things-personally.

In other words, the usual mess.

It’s not that I have not been mistreated – actually, I have been – nor that my analysis of things is inaccurate (others agree that what I see does in fact exist). The problem is that my case is saturated with negative emotions like anger, biased toward my own viewpoint, and full of me-me-me. Every time I think of it I start getting worked up, adding to the bad effects of chronic stress. It creates awkwardness with others, since even though they support me, they’re naturally leery of getting sucked into my strong feelings or into my conflict with the other person. It makes me look bad, too cranked up about things in the past. And it primes me for overreactions when I see the person in question. Yes, I practice with this stuff arising in my mind and generally don’t act it out, but it’s still a burden.

I think my own experience of case-making – and its costs – are true in general. In couples in trouble, one or both people usually have a detailed Bill of Particulars against the other person. At larger scales, different social or political groups have scathing indictments of the other side.

How about you? Think of someone you feel wronged by: can you find case against that person in your mind? What’s it feel like to go into that case? What does it cost you? And others?

The key – often not easy – is to be open to your feelings (e.g., hurt, anger), to see the truth of things, and to take appropriate action . . . while not getting caught up in your case about it all.

How?

Bring to awareness a case about someone – probably related to a grievance, resentment, or conflict. It could be from your present or your past, resolved or still grinding. Explore this case, including: the version of events in it, other beliefs and opinions, emotions, body sensations, and wants; notice how you see the other person, and yourself; notice what you want from others (sometimes their seeming failings are a related case). For a moment or two, in your mind or out loud, get into the case: really make it! Then notice what that’s like, to get revved up into your case.

Mentally or on paper, list some of the costs to you and others of making this particular case. Next, list the payoffs to you; on other words, what do you get out of making this case? For example, making a case typically makes us feel in the right, is energizing, and helps cover over softer vulnerable emotions like hurt or disappointment. Then ask yourself: are the payoffs worth the costs?

With this understanding, see if you can stay with the difficult feelings involved in the situation (the basis for the case) without slipping into a reproachful or righteous case about them. To do this, it could help to start by resourcing yourself by bringing to mind the felt sense of being cared about by others, and by opening to self-compassion. And try to hold those difficult feelings in a big space of awareness.

Open to a wider, more impersonal, big picture view of the situation – so it’s less about you and more about lots of swirling causes coming together in unfortunate ways. See if any kind of deeper insight about the other person, yourself, or the situation altogether comes to you.

Listen to your heart: are there any skillful actions to take? Including naming the truth of things, disengaging from tunnels with no cheese, or the action of there-is-nothing-that-can-be-done.

Watch how a case starts forming in your mind, trying to get its hooks into you. Then see if you can interrupt the process. Literally set down the case, like plopping down a heavy suitcase when you finally get home after a long trip. What a relief!

Enjoy the good feelings, the spaciousness of mind, the openness of heart, the inner freedom, and other rewards of dropping your case

* * *

Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a neuropsychologist and founder of the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom. His work has been featured on the BBC, NPR, Consumer Reports Health, U.S. News and World Report, and Huffington Post, and he is the author of the best-selling Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom. He writes a weekly newsletter – Just One Thing – that suggests a simple practice each week that will bring you more joy, more fulfilling relationships, and more peace of mind and heart. If you wish, you can subscribe to Just One Thing here.

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Posted by Dr. Rick Hanson on August 4th, 2011 in General, Relationships, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in , , , , , ,

30 jun

We Don’t Need to “Keep Fear Alive”

RickHansonJon Stewart and Stephen Colbert had dueling rallies in DC in October, 2010. Stewart’s was “Rally to Restore Sanity” and Colbert’s was “March to Keep Fear Alive!

Obviously, Colbert is a great satirist who was poking fun, since we sure don’t need a rally to keep fear alive. Alarming messages are all around us, like the news about global warming or the “Threat Level Orange” announcements every few minutes in the airport.

Some of those messages are true and worth heeding. For example, dumping carbon into the atmosphere must inevitably make the planet hotter; it’s basic physics.

But others are wildly exaggerated: the actual odds of a bad event on your airplane flight are “Threat Level Chartreuse” — a bucket of green paint with a drop of yellow.

How do we tell the difference between real threats and bogus ones? Read more »

Posted by Dr. Rick Hanson on June 30th, 2011 in General, Relationships, Things We Love | 1 comment Read related posts in , , , ,

19 may

Your Wise Brain

RickHansonYour Wise Brain is my blog, posted at Psychology Today, Huffington Post and other major websites.

It’s about how to take charge of the caveman brain in the 21st century by using practical methods from the intersection of psychology, neurology, and contemplative practice.

With a new post every week or so, I’ll showcase cutting edge research on the brain, present new and powerful methods for healing and transforming the mind and heart, and share fascinating insights from the world’s great paths of contemplative practice.

My focus is on news and tools you can use to manage stress, keep your wits about you in turbulent times, heal the psychological bruises and cuts no one escapes in this life, keep your heart open no matter what others do, assert yourself with strength and dignity, steady and quiet your mind, and open to liberating insight.

The historically unprecedented meeting of the modern sciences of psychology and neurology, with the ancient contemplative traditions, offers wonderful ways to change your brain and thus change your life, and even the world.

I hope you’ll join me on this rich and rewarding journey.

* * *

Rick Hanson, Ph.D., is a neuropsychologist, author, and teacher. A summa cum laude graduate of UCLA, he founded the Wellspring Institute for Neuroscience and Contemplative Wisdom, and teaches at universities and meditation centers in Europe, Australia, and North America. His work has been featured on the BBC and in Consumer Reports Health, U.S. News and World Report, and other major magazines.

Rick’s most recent book is Buddha’s Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love, and Wisdom (with Rick Mendius, M.D.; Foreword by Dan Siegel, M.D. and Preface by Jack Kornfield, Ph.D.), which has been praised by numerous scholars, therapists, and teachers, including Tara Brach, Ph.D., Roger Walsh, Ph.D., Sharon Salzberg, and Fred Luskin, Ph.D. Considered an expert on self-directed neuroplasticity, he edits the Wise Brain Bulletin, and his articles have appeared in Tricycle Magazine, Insight Journal, and Inquiring Mind; his Your Wise Brain blog is on Huffington Post, Psychology Today, and other major websites. He has a chapter – 7 Facts about the Brain That Incline the Mind to Joy – in Measuring the Immeasurable, as well as several audio programs with Sounds True. His first book was Mother Nurture: A Mother’s Guide to Health in Body, Mind, and Intimate Relationships (Penguin, 2002)

Rick is currently a trustee of Saybrook University. He also served on the board of Spirit Rock Meditation Center for nine years, and was President of the Board of FamilyWorks, a community agency. He began meditating in 1974, trained in several traditions, and leads a weekly meditation gathering in San Rafael, CA. He enjoys rock-climbing and taking a break from emails. He and his wife have two children. For more information, please see his full biography at www.RickHanson.net.

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Posted by Dr. Rick Hanson on May 19th, 2010 in Health, Relationships, Spirituality, Things We Love | No comments Read related posts in ,