When Does A Habit Become An Addiction?

Most of us have bad habits of some sort. In most cases, these habits are completely harmless. But what happens when a habit spirals into a dangerous addiction? Do you smoke? Do you drink to excess? Do you take pills or use cocaine from time to time? Have you been taking prescription drugs for as long as you can remember? None of us expect to become an addict, but addictive behavior can develop very quickly. Before you know it, you’re not in control, and your addiction is taking over every aspect of your life.

addiction

Am I an addict?

We often say that we’re addicted to things in a light-hearted manner. But the reality is that addiction is a real threat to society. Bad habits won’t land most of us in trouble, but addiction can. When you have an addiction, you’ll continue to do something even though you’re aware of the negative consequences. You’re willing to put your family, your finances, and your health on the line to get that next fix.

If you think about something all the time, and it has become your priority, you may be an addict. Are you willing to sacrifice other things to buy pills or a bottle of vodka? Are drugs, gambling, or alcohol the first thing you think about when you wake up? Are you willing to push the boundaries and take risks just to get that high? Has your behavior changed? Are you lying to others to cover your tracks?

Addictions don’t just affect your mental health. They also have implications for your physical health. If you’re a drug addict, you may find that your heart races sometimes. Or you may have lost weight. If you’re an alcoholic, you may have jaundice. If you smoke all day every day, you may have a smoker’s cough and breathing difficulties. Many people who have addictions also struggle to sleep.

alcohol

Where can I get help?

The most important step on the path to recovery is admitting you have a problem, and seeking help. There are some amazing facilities and treatments out there, but they’re no good to you if you don’t want to be helped. If you do want to reach out, there are various options. See your doctor or contact a charity that helps addicts. Seek advice from your therapist or research drug rehab centers. There are many different treatment techniques and methods, which may be beneficial. Often, it’s a matter of trying therapies and seeing what works best. The methods that are recommended may depend on the type and severity of your addiction. In some cases, medication and talking therapies may be sufficient. In other cases, intensive rehabilitation may be the best approach.

Drugs

Image credit: Brandon Giesbrecht – https://flic.kr/p/b6XZJa

You may never have thought in your wildest dreams that you would become an addict. The trouble is that a one-off can quickly turn into something much more serious. If your life is governed by smoking, drinking, or going to the casino, you may well have an addiction. Even if you feel fine physically, this doesn’t mean that all is fine and dandy internally. It can take a long time for the effects of an addiction to become apparent. What is important is that you seek help if you are worried about your behavior. Early intervention can make all the difference.

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First Steps to Treating your Depression

Depression is a slippery beast to treat. This is for many reasons: general stigma surrounding mental health treatment, depression’s symptoms can often be confused with other emotional responses, and the inertia depression generates. Although awareness of mental illness has generally increased over the past several decades, folks can still face repercussions at work or from their family when disclosing mental illness.

 

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The conversation about how to shift culture and change fundamental issues within the mental health system is for another article. For now it’s enough to say – mental health is a right, not a privilege. Every person deserves access to resources that can help them to be healthy, and 1 in 4 American adults experience mental illness in a given year. Depression isn’t fun but it is common, and treatable.

 

Am I Depressed?

Sometimes depression can be easy to miss because it doesn’t fit our preconception of what depression is supposed to look or feel like. While TV may have taught us that depression = sad, in reality there are a variety of symptoms wrapped up in it.

 

  • Depressed or irritable mood most of the day, every day, that is different from your “normal” mood.
  • Impaired level of function – i.e. it’s hard to go to work, clean the house, and other daily tasks of living.
  • Decreased interest in pleasurable activities
  • Significant weight change (gain or loss)
  • Change in sleep (inability to sleep or sleeping all the time)
  • Change in activity (slowing down or speeding up)
  • Fatigue/loss of energy
  • Feeling guilty or worthless
  • Inability to concentrate or be decisive
  • Thoughts of suicide or self-harm

 

When noticing these symptoms in yourself it’s important to also consider duration. Many of these may come up normally just as part of being a human living an imperfect life. If these symptoms or feelings persist continually for more than two weeks, then you may have depression. If you or someone you love are experiencing these symptoms, seek treatment with a therapist immediately.

 

How do I Start Therapy?

In addition to general stigma, Depression’s symptoms can create barriers to treatment. Depression can take away motivation to do things you used to enjoy, much less boring and repetitive tasks like making the necessary phone calls to enter treatment. Worse, depression can make you feel worthless and guilty – suddenly the fact that you’re not in therapy is because you’re lazy or undeserving and not because you’re sick. In order to keep depression from keeping you out of therapy, use the tips below:

 

  • Get a buddy. Starting therapy can feel overwhelming – it involves phone calls and google searches and leaving your house, all things that depression may tell you are too hard. Ask a friend to help you look up providers or sit with you while you make phone calls and even take you to your first therapy appointment. If you have a friend experiencing depression the single most helpful thing you can do is make an appointment for them.
  • If you have insurance, go to their website to find a list of providers that definitely accept your coverage. This can save you a lot of time, and prevent any added financial stress or disappointment during appointments.
  • If you don’t have insurance and money is a concern, look for universities with Social Work or Psychology programs – they will often offer reduced price or sliding scale services by students who are in training. You can also find group practices like http://www.therapyinphiladelphia.com, The Center for Growth. Private training programs like The Center for Growth, have the added bonus of more intensive supervision for interns, meaning more oversight for your issues.
  • If finances are not an issue, we strongly encourage working with senior level therapists. Therapists who have at least ten years of experience have a higher treatment “success” rate than new therapists.  Depression is a serious condition that is treatable.  With the right supports, most people can learn to manage their depression as opposed to depression managing them!
  • Treat your first therapy session as an interview. This is a chance to see if you want to work with this therapist, and to help them identify your treatment goals. Come up with a list of things that are important to you: More important than their educational level, or even school that they attended is were their clinical hours video-taped? Unfortunately most training programs do not require clinicians to have their work videotaped and reviewed on a weekly basis with a supervisor and thus many new therapists are poorly trained. Other important questions to ask is have they treated depression before? And if so, what percent of their population struggles with that particular issue.  Many therapists will tell you they treat depression (eating disorders, grief, addiction etc) even if they only work with 2 people a year with that issue.  It is absolutely your right to know the frequency that they work with your particular issues.  In addition, you want to know how many clients a week your therapist sees.  10-25 clients a week typically allows the therapist enough emotional energy to spend thinking about each particular case and continuing to push themselves to clinically grow. Therapists that see 30+ clients a week typically are emotionally overloaded and do not have enough emotional energy to clinically grow.  Yes, many good clinicians work more than 30 hours a week, they are just not spending all of their time in people’s heads. They are doing other types of work like consulting, teaching, writing etc.  Lastly, asking your therapist if they have they worked with people who share your racial, gender, sexual, religious, etc identities is recommended?  It’s not your job to educate your health care providers on your identities.
  • Remember that therapy is about fit. Too many first-time patients stick with therapists they hate or think “therapy isn’t for me” because they don’t click with their first therapist. If you don’t feel comfortable opening up to your therapist- find a new one! They are professionals and it will NOT hurt their feelings. We strongly recommend making several first sessions and then you have a way of comparing them. If all three of them tell you the same thing, that says something. Typically, you will find yourself gravitating towards one person over the next.  If you hate all three of them, then the issue is likely you.  One major benefit of seeing a therapist at a group practice is that if you don’t like one practitioner, you often are allowed to “test” out a different one free of charge.

 

Above all remember: you deserve help. Help is within reach. If it feels like too big a task to manage on your own, ask for help getting help. Call 267-324-9564 to make an appointment with a therapist at the http://www.therapyinphiladelphia.com The Center for Growth today.

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Common Diabetic Problems (And How To Fix Them)

Diabetes just by itself is enough of a problem for those carrying the illness. That’s not to mention the host of other health problems that can crop up along the way! It’s a disease that affects life, and lifestyle, in many different ways, and there’s not always a solution to each issue.

That being said, it is possible to help yourself if you know what to look for. Diabetes sufferers often possess a specific set of symptoms which relate to another, more serious problem. By catching these symptoms early on, the problem can be fought – and potentially fixed!

Kidney problems

 

2610 The Kidney

Diabetes and the kidneys are directly related. Diabetes affects the blood vessels in the kidneys, meaning that they cannot clean your blood properly. This can result in waste building up in your blood, as well as your body holding more water and salt than necessary.

Difficulties include the inability to empty your bladder, kidney failure and urine tract infections. To solve these issues, or at the very least catch them early on, it’s recommended to have your urine checked for protein regularly. If you show any of these symptoms – swollen ankles, excessive weight gain – visit your doctor immediately! Quick treatment can halt these effects.

Kidney failure in diabetes sufferers is also commonly caused by medication like Invokana. Invokana injuries also range from strokes and heart attacks, so make sure you’re aware of the risks before getting a prescription.

Heart problems

 

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Patients suffering from any type of diabetes are more prone to heart disease. Other related issues include high blood pressure, and fluctuating blood sugar levels. Your first port of call will be to stay on the lookout for any of the basic signs of a heart attack or stroke. These include:

  • Feeling dizzy and faint
  • Chest pains
  • Sickness/being sick
  • Blurred vision or difficulty speaking
  • Painful headaches

If you suddenly gain two or more of these symptoms, you must visit your nearest hospital immediately. It could be nothing, but it could also be a serious issue. Better safe than sorry!

However, there are a couple of things you can do to delay the onset of, and possibly even prevent, any heart attacks or failure. For starters, you can stop smoking – smoking doubles your chances of a heart attack.

Secondly, if you remove your central obesity, you can reduce the risk of heart disease. Central obesity refers to the amount of weight you’re carrying around your waist. This type of fat can increase your cholesterol, and deposits blood fat on the inside of your vessels.

Other problems

 

feet

Your feet are also at risk if you have diabetes. High blood sugar can lead to nerve damage, and loss of feeling in your feet. To prevent infection, it’s essential that you keep your feet and skin healthy and attend to any cuts or sores.

And finally, that high blood sugar can also cause a condition known as neuropathy. Neuropathy is a condition which affects the nerves up and down our body. Symptoms include tingling, numbness and loss of feeling. You must consult a doctor if you experience any of these on a long-term basis!

 

Image credit:

Image 1 – By OpenStax College [CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

Image 2 – By Patrick J. Lynch, medical illustrator – Patrick J. Lynch, medical illustrator, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1492978

Image 3 – pixabay.com

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The Dangers That Can Come With Prescription Drugs

When we are prescribed drugs by our doctor, we rarely think of the dangers. It’s right to trust your doctor, but you should still use those prescription drugs carefully. There are many dangers and things that can go wrong if you don’t do this. To start with, you should be aware of what the common dangers associated with prescription drugs are. That way, you can make sure you avoid them in the future. Read on to find out all you need to know about those various dangers.

Side Effects

Every drug has its side effects, whether it was prescribed by a doctor or not. So, you need to be aware of this before you start taking them. Your doctor should talk about possible side effects with you before you leave his office. And when you’re given the medication, all the possible side effects will be outlined on the packet. But talking to your doctor is best if you’re not sure. They are the ones who can offer you the best support and advice.

Our bodies are all different, and that means that they can react to medication in different ways. For some people, a medication can cause them no side effects at all. But another person can take the same medication, and the same amount, and suffer severe side effects. This is why it’s important to be careful and make sure that you know the risks and the signs to the looking out for in advance.

 

prescription drugs

Wrong Prescriptions

Sometimes, it’s the doctor who prescribed you the medication who is at fault. If they prescribe the wrong medication for your illness or diagnose you with the wrong illness, you could be at risk. Taking a drug that is not applicable to your particular condition will prevent you from getting the right treatment. And it will also make things more difficult because the drugs could damage your health further.

If you think that you have been the victim of this kind of medical mistake, you should take legal action. You can find help and information at www.HeardRobinsNewMexico.com. It can be the pharmacist who makes a mistake sometimes too. If they give you different drugs to the ones that were written on your prescription, you could end up taking the wrong medication. That’s why you should always make sure that you’ve been given the right drugs before leaving the pharmacy.

 

Addiction

It is possible to get addicted to some drugs. When we think about drug addiction, most of us think about illegal drugs. But it can be much more common for people to get addicted to medications given to them by a doctor. Of course, addiction is something that some people are more likely to suffer from than others. Certain genes make becoming addicted to something more likely.

Strong painkillers can be addictive. And people in pain often feel the need to increase their medication to get rid of that pain. This is when a problem can arise. Doctors have to do their best to limit a patient’s access to certain drugs if there is a risk that they could become addicted. But when someone becomes addicted to something, they will do everything possible to get what they need. Stopping patients taking enough of those kinds of medication to get addicted in the first place is what’s important.

 

Mixing Drugs

Two different drugs can be perfectly safe if they’re taken separately by an individual. But when that person takes both medications consecutively, it can cause real problems. Mixing drugs in this way causes they to react differently when they are being processed in your body. That’s why it’s important that your doctor is kept up to date about which medications you have been taking.

If you don’t tell your doctor about what you take, they could prescribe you something incorrectly. If that medication reacts with an over the counter drug in a way that is dangerous, then you could be in trouble. Alcohol can also react badly with certain drugs. That’s why it’s important to take your doctor seriously if they tell you not to take certain pills before or after drinking alcohol. Failure to follow this advice could lead to hospitalisation.

 

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Not Taking Drugs As Prescribed

When your doctor prescribes a drug, they will not only tell you what to take it but how and when to take it too. Failing to follow these instructions can lead to the drug being used in the wrong way by the patient. And that can have all manner of other health implications for them. It’s not something that can be allowed to happen if you want to stay fit and healthy when taking a certain form of medication.

For example, your doctor might tell you to take the drugs before going to bed. If you take the drugs in the morning, it could affect your mood and ability to work throughout the day. And if you take the drugs more often than your doctor tells you to, the addiction will become more likely. Go to psychcentral.com if you want to find out how to always remember when to take your drugs.

 

Driving After Taking Drugs

Driving after taking drugs can be very dangerous if the drugs cause you to become tired or drowsy. This is a common side effect, and your doctor will usually tell you about this. They should warn you not to do certain things, such as driving or operating machinery, after taking them. Your doctor is being over-cautious when he or she tells you to do this, so don’t be tempted to do this.

For people whose jobs involve driving, the treatment should be discussed at length. There might be a way of finding a different form of treatment that doesn’t involve taking those kinds of drugs. But if that’s not possible, then it might be necessary to take a break from work while recovering. Both your employer and your doctor should be aware of what you do and what drugs you are taking.

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Ways that gardening is good for your health

With summer finally here, we cannot think of a better way to celebrate the arrival of warmer weather than to encourage you to get out into your garden.

gardening

In the following guide, The Plastic People — a manufacturer of various products which are ideal for enhancing both your home and garden — looks into how gardening can help improve your health and wellbeing:

Gardening has been found to ease stress

Gardening can reduce stress more than other relaxing leisure activities, according to the findings of a study titled Gardening Promotes Neuroendocrine and Affective Restoration from Stress.

For the research, those taking part were initially asked to complete a task aimed at making them stressed. Following this, the individuals were split into two groups — one group was instructed to read indoors for 30 minutes and the other group was assigned gardening tasks for the same period of time.

When the half an hour was up, the people who had done some gardening were reported to have felt in a better mood and were identified as having lower levels of the stress hormone cortisol.

Gardening has been found to improve mental health

Research carried out by gardening company Bakker Spalding has claimed that gardening can have positive effects on a person’s mental health as well as their physical wellbeing.

Upon surveying a group of people, 88 per cent said that a key benefit for them spending time in the garden is due to the mental wellbeing that such an activity brings them.

Kathryn Rossiter, the CEO of leading disability and gardening charity Thrive, acknowledged the value of gardening on health in an interview to The Telegraph: “As well as the strong therapeutic value of gardening, it can help people connect with others, reducing feelings of isolation. It makes us more active, gaining both physical and mental health benefits.”

Gardening has been found to reduce the risk of a heart attack or stroke

In a 12-year study reported on by The Guardian, it was found that regular gardening or DIY can reduce the chance of someone in the 60-plus age bracket suffering a heart attack or stroke, as well as prolong life, by as much as 30 per cent.

The research, led by Dr Elin Ekblom-Bak at Karolinska University hospital’s department of medicine and involving close to 4,000 60-year-olds based in Stockholm, involved people initially asked questions about their diet, lifestyle and inclusion in physical activity. Lab tests and physical examinations were also conducted, with those identified as having an active daily life been much less at risk of having a heart attack than others involved in the study.

Regular activity was seen as offering more benefits throughout the course of the 12-year study, such as reducing the risk of individuals experiencing cardiovascular problems.

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Top Tips For A Healthy Pregnancy And Birth

Lots of women who work hard to look after their bodies wonder how much they can do when they’re pregnant. The truth is that pregnancy can make you feel so tired and so achy that you might not feel like doing anything. And that’s OK. During pregnancy, your body will do whatever it takes to make sure your baby’s body is healthy and protected. And if that means making you rest up for a while, then that may be what you have to do!

 

Of course, the birthing process is hard work. It can last many hours and is physically demanding. And if labor starts late in the evening, you could be incredibly tired within just an hour or so. It’s important to maintain your health and fitness for this ultimate endurance test. So how do you find the right balance between rest and activity during pregnancy?

 

Pregnancy

 

In early pregnancy, your baby is rapidly developing from just a few cells into something recognizable as a baby on your first scan. This takes it out of you. The surge in hormones and shift of your internal body parts can make you feel very sick, making eating difficult. This can be stressful too. It is so important to stay hydrated. Try to eat a rounded diet even if you have weird cravings or aversions to different foods. Some doctors recommend eating fish and meat each day, but if you’re a vegetarian, you may choose not to do this.

 

You may also need to take supplements during your pregnancy to support the healthy growth of your child. Things can go awry, and things can go wrong. You may need more iron if you become anemic. And you may need to radically alter your diet if you suffer from gestational diabetes. Your thyroid function could become weakened, leading to extreme fatigue. If any of these things happen, be prepared to rest more. Gentle exercise like walking could be preferred. Of course, if you suffer from preeclampsia, total bed rest may be required!

 

Some women can continue jogging into their eighth month of pregnancy. Special Yoga for pregnancy can keep you strong and focused. But no matter how much you can or can’t do, it’s important to take care. Lifting can be too strenuous. And even sleeping habits need adjustment to be safe.

 

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The birth itself can also be precarious. Through no fault of your own, your infant could be at risk of developmental problems. Brain damage and cerebral palsy can occur due to the birthing process. It’s important you speak to a cerebral palsy lawyer if your child suffered an injury at this time. They will be able to help you find the right help and support for your child’s needs in life. Thankfully, the vast majority of births are successful and healthy.

 

For a healthy pregnancy and healthy birth, it’s important you take care of your body. Pregnancy is hard, and it can feel anything but natural! But with a careful diet and careful exercise, your baby can be the beautiful and healthy little bundle of joy you dreamed of.

 

Image credit:

Image 1 – Tatiana Vdb – https://flic.kr/p/e4nLge

Image 2 – Ginny Washburne – https://flic.kr/p/9ZNPii

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