Signs of Teen Drug Use

It can be frightening to think that your teen has been misusing drugs or alcohol. Teenagers are at a crucial stage of development, and drug or alcohol misuse at this stage of their brain development can have dire consequences on their overall health and well-being. 

Peer pressure, self-exploration, and mistakes are natural parts of growing up and, as much as we would like them not to, many teens experiment with drugs and alcohol. However, there is a difference between one-time drug use and chronic use. 

If your teen has been misusing substances, it is essential to seek professional help. An adolescent mental health specialist can guide you on the steps you can take to prevent the onset of dependence and drug addiction. If your teen is already addicted, evidence-based teen-friendly treatment programs are highly effective.

How Do I Know If My Teen Has Been Using Drugs? 

You may notice some worrying behaviors in your teen and jump to the conclusion that they have misused drugs or alcohol. It is likely that your teen's mood swings, withdrawal, rebelliousness, and unusual behavior stems from their racing hormones and developing sense of the world around them, however, there is a chance it could be from substance misuse. 
It is essential to recognize the early warning signs of teen drug misuse so that you can take effective action to help them. 
According to Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, early warning signs of teen drug use include(1):

  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed hobbies and activities
  • Secrecy about whereabouts
  • Health problems 
  • Sudden change to social group
  • Unusual sleeping patterns
  • Increased irritability, aggression
  • Drastic weight loss or gain
  • Missing prescription drugs
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia (rolling papers, needles, bongs, empty spirit bottles, burned spoons)

What Are the Behavioral Signs of Teen Drug Use?

Behavioral signs are usually the first signs of teen drug use that parents and loved ones notice. Common behavioral signs of drug or alcohol misuse to look out for include:

  • Coming home late
  • Frequently asking for money
  • Withdrawing from the family
  • Absence from school or work

What Are the Physical Signs of Teen Drug Use?

Physical indicators of drug or alcohol misuse in teens include:

  • Neglect of personal hygiene
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Sores on mouth
  • Large dilated pupils
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Shakes and tremors
  • Sudden weight loss or gain

What Are the Risk Factors for Teen Drug Use?

FACTS is an acronym you can use to understand the risk factors for teen drug use. 

F - Family History

Suppose there is a history of substance misuse in the family. In this case, a child or teen is more likely to use drugs and develop an addiction(2). SAMHSA reports that children with first-degree relatives who have Substance Use Disorder are eight times more likely to misuse substances than those without(3).

A - Age of First Use

The younger a person is when they first use drugs or alcohol, the more likely they are to develop an addiction(4). Teen brains are at a crucial stage of development, and drug or alcohol misuse at this time can shape how the brain continues to grow and develop. 

C - Craving

Drug or alcohol misuse can lead to dependence. When dependence occurs, the teen experiences intense cravings for the substance when it is not available. Teens may not yet have developed the ability to tolerate the distress associated with these cravings, making them more vulnerable than adults to addiction.

T - Tolerance

Tolerance to a substance's effects builds up the more it is used. If your teen needs to use more of a drug in greater frequency to achieve the desired effects, they are at high risk of dependence and addiction. 

S - Surroundings

Exposure to drug or alcohol misuse in the home or in one's peer groups increases the likelihood of drug or alcohol use, and prolonged exposure normalizes the behavior. A teen may notice that family members or friends use drugs or alcohol in stressful times and learn to do the same. 

Should I Talk to My Teen About Drugs?

It’s essential to talk to your teen and listen to their opinions and perceptions about drugs and alcohol. By speaking with them about the reality of substance misuse, you create a trusting, supportive relationship in which they feel comfortable talking about their experiences. 

Talking goes a long way in reducing the risk of substance misuse. Make sure that when you talk to your teen, you do so with compassion and understanding. Hostility and confrontation will not help. 

If you have discovered that your teen has been misusing drugs or alcohol, don't hesitate to reach out for help. Effective interventions and treatments are available and can help your teen curb their drug use before addiction takes over. 

You’re never too young for recovery. There are treatment centers and support groups across the United States dedicated to helping teens find recovery.

At Enlightened Solutions, we offer our clients numerous tools to move forward in their sober lifestyle.  We focus on healing the whole person and not merely treating the addiction. Enlightened Solutions is a licensed co-occurring treatment center; we can treat both substance use disorders and the mental health issues that frequently accompany addiction.  Our treatment program rooted in the 12-Step philosophy provides each client an individualized recovery plan. At Enlightened Solutions, we offer a range of treatment modalities, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), family constellation therapy, art and music therapy, yoga and meditation, massage, acupuncture and chiropractic care, and equine-assisted therapy.  Our location near the picturesque southern shore of New Jersey allows us to provide optimal healing and relaxation. If you want to be free from addiction, or if someone close to you does, please call us at (833) 801-5483 for more information about our treatment options.

 

(1) Ali, Shahid et al. “Early detection of illicit drug use in teenagers.” Innovations in clinical neuroscience vol. 8,12 (2011): 24-8.

(2) Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Substance Abuse Treatment and Family Therapy. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 2004. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 39.) Chapter 2 Impact of Substance Abuse on Families. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64258/

(3) Lipari, R.N. and Van Horn, S.L. Children living with parents who have a substance use disorder. The CBHSQ Report: August 24, 2017. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, MD.

(4) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); Office of the Surgeon General (US). Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General's Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health [Internet]. Washington (DC): US Department of Health and Human Services; 2016 Nov. CHAPTER 2, THE NEUROBIOLOGY OF SUBSTANCE USE, MISUSE, AND ADDICTION. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK424849


talking to your kids about addiction

How to Tell Your Children About Your Addiction

Her drinking started when her children were young. She was helping to take care of her aging aunt. The situation was stressful, and she found that having two glasses of wine with lunch made it easier to cope. Her kids were at school, so she thought her drinking would not affect them, as they wouldn’t notice.

Gradually, her drinking increased. She was late picking up her kids from school because she fell asleep. She had been drinking at lunch. The experience was frightening for them and humiliating for her. Episodes like that began to happen more often--running late, forgetting commitments, not keeping promises. She realized that she needed to get help for her drinking and have an honest conversation about what was happening.

If you recognize yourself in the illustration above, you are not alone. While talking about your addiction with your children may seem frightening, it’s an important conversation to have.

Why the Conversation Matters

Telling your children about your addiction is vital for several reasons. Your children may not recognize your addiction to drugs or alcohol, but they likely know that there is a problem, that something is “off.” Although you may think that you are somehow protecting your children by not discussing your addiction, you aren’t. It is better for your children to know the truth about the situation than to be afraid of something they are unsure of. What they imagine about the problem could very well be worse than the reality.

One of the most important messages you can give your children is that your addiction is not their fault. They didn’t cause your addiction, and it’s not their responsibility to try to “cure” it. Living with a parent who has a substance use disorder can cause children to feel insecure and uncertain. While knowing that mom or dad has a drinking or drug problem won’t necessarily make them feel safer, they will have a better understanding of why they feel the way they feel. Children need to recognize and acknowledge their feelings and to know that whatever they are feeling is real.

Children also need to know that they are not alone--that other families have the same experiences. They also need to know that they can talk about the experience with you. It is also helpful to identify another adult that children can talk to, possibly a relative, family friend, or maybe a teacher or counselor.

Having the Conversation

Finding the right time and place to have the conversation is essential. Have the conversation when the children are relaxed, when there is time to answer any questions that may come up, and when you won’t be interrupted. Be prepared to have more than one conversation--your child may need time to process the information and may come back to you with more questions later. Needing time to understand this issue is typical and expected.

Explaining Treatment

Tell the children about the treatment you will be getting. If you are going to a residential treatment program, tell them where it is, what it’s like, and how long you will be there. If you won’t be able to talk to them for a few days, make sure they know. Let them know when you can have visitors and when you can see them or talk with them on the phone. Make sure that they know that family therapy may be part of the treatment plan. Let them know who will be taking care of them while you are away and when you expect to return from treatment. Also, they must understand that when you return from treatment that you will probably be seeing a therapist regularly and that you will be attending some sort of support group meetings.

Talking with your children about your substance use disorder will be hard, but it is imperative to your children’s emotional well-being. Pretending that the problem doesn’t exist will only make the situation worse. Honest, open communication, difficult as it can be, will improve your relationship with your family. Your children will learn how to talk about difficult topics, and they will learn that challenges and difficulties are a part of life and how to solve them. By admitting that you have a problem with drugs or alcohol and getting help, you provide them with a healthy example of how to handle issues like addiction. As a result of your honesty and treatment, your family can become closer, and you can all end up in a much better place in terms of mental health.

If you have a substance use disorder, your whole family is affected. It is essential that you talk about your disorder, especially with your children, if you have any. Your family members may participate in one or more counseling sessions with you during your treatment. At Enlightened Solutions, we will include your family in your treatment plan, and we offer education and support programs for family members. We also can help you gain the communication skills you need to talk about your addiction with your family. We are a licensed co-occurring treatment center, and as such, we treat substance use disorders and the mental health issues that frequently accompany addiction. Our program is rooted in the 12-Step philosophy. It includes traditional talk therapy and many holistic treatment modalities such as yoga and meditation, acupuncture and chiropractic treatment, and art and music therapy. Our facility is near the southern New Jersey shore, and we customize treatment for each client. Our focus is on healing the whole person rather than just treating the addiction. If you seek recovery and relief from addiction, please call us at (833) 801-5483.

 


When Family Becomes Toxic: The Signs and Effects

Family can be a positive or negative influence or a combination of both. Negative, or toxic, family dynamics may lead to frustration and cause emotional distress through interactions with family members or even the thought of them. It may be hard to recognize you are in a toxic or dysfunctional family or that you grew up in one. It is hard to see a situation when you are on the inside. There are ways to recognize and change how you engage in these toxic situations.

Recognizing a Toxic Childhood or Family Environment 

Most people do not realize the effects that their childhood family environment had on their development until they are adults. Some signs that you may have grown up in a toxic family environment include having to meet unrealistic standards, such as having chores or tasks that kept you from completing homework, playing with friends, or getting enough sleep. Some examples of what one might endure in a toxic family environment include:

  • Having to care for younger siblings by providing discipline and care to them
  • Staying up late with parents with substance use disorders (SUDs) to ensure they got to bed safely
  • Providing emotional support to parents with SUDs 
  • Cooking meals or doing excessive chores at extremely young ages
  • Receiving harsh criticism that made you feel unloved, unwanted, or lesser than
  • Having personal needs not met, such as being forgotten and not being picked up from school or after-school activities, not having adequate food at home, or suitable clothing and shelter

 Healthy family environments include supporting basic needs, including:

  • Making sure your needs are met, such as providing adequate clothing and food
  • Taking care of your health
  • Providing affection
  • Instilling discipline and setting boundaries

Recognizing a Toxic Family Environment

If you feel that you have dealt with, or are dealing with, a toxic family situation, try and recognize your feelings after interactions with family members. If you feel negative or down on yourself after family interactions, you may need to draw boundaries. For example, look for these particular feelings from your family that may be warning signs:

  • You feel controlled 
  • You feel disrespected and unloved
  • You feel hatred and disapproval instead of love

Substance Use and The Toxic Family Environment

A family member who uses alcohol or drugs isn’t inherently toxic, but substance use disorders (SUDs) may develop, which can lead to unhealthy dynamics within the family. Ways that substance use may influence a toxic family environment include:

  • Substance use that impacts a family member’s mood or behavior negatively
  • Substance use that is hidden or not spoken of among the family or to outsiders
  • Enabling a family member’s use of drugs or alcohol
  • Emotional, verbal, or physical abuse resulting from a family member’s alcohol or drug use 

Unfortunately, there is a relationship between substance use and abuse. SUDs take over the sufferer’s life, resulting in an uncontrollable need to use drugs or alcohol, which may lead to engaging in negative behaviors such as lying, stealing, manipulating, or abuse to obtain the substance.  Abuse within the toxic family can include:

  • Physical abuse or violence
  • Verbal abuse such as name-calling or harsh criticism
  • Sexual abuse, such as inappropriate touching
  • Gaslighting, or making someone doubt their perception of reality or memories

How to Deal with a Toxic Family Environment

Dealing with toxic family members is a personal and individualized pursuit. Some may cut off contact entirely with toxic family members, while others will limit contact and try to figure out the situation while protecting their emotional and psychological health. If you are currently in a toxic family situation or grew up in one, these strategies may help you navigate and cope:

  • Figure out what you want from your family relationships
  • Develop clear boundaries you want to set, by limiting the number of family visits and maintaining a certain level of contact that is comfortable for you
  • Practice separation and not getting involved in family issues

Separation may involve avoiding topics that evoke strong emotions, keeping conversations casual, and leaving if situations start getting toxic or heated. However, staying out of toxic family situations is easier said than done. You must make a plan to avoid getting drawn into the negative cycle that creates a toxic family environment. Some strategies include:

  • Establish topics to avoid while you’re with family, and informing them of these off-limit topics
  • Figure out how to change topics
  • Deflect a provoking or prying question by asking a different question
  • Deciding what you’re willing to share, and what you want to keep private

Toxic family members may use details about yourself to control, manipulate, and criticize you, so establishing boundaries on what you share with them is a form of self-preservation. Before engaging with your family, remind yourself of what your off-limit topics are so you don’t engage in conversations that may create dysfunction and negative situations. Furthermore, understand that setting boundaries are a risk in a toxic family environment since you risk rejection. Saying “no” to situations that lead to distress and unhappiness may be the best way to protect yourself from perpetual exposure to toxicity. You do not have control over anyone but yourself, and you cannot change toxic family members. You only have the power to change yourself and how you respond to or engage in situations. 

What to Do If You Feel You Are A Part of a Toxic Family Environment

Often, a toxic family environment involves a substance use disorder (SUD) and, unfortunately, may lead to unhealthy dynamics. Toxic family members may attack you, lessen your self-esteem, or disagree with your life choices. These situations can cause division between you and your family and impact your self-worth. You may need to set boundaries and create a personal path in life, avoiding the conflict and negativity that comes from interactions with a toxic family environment. Give yourself the power back. If you or someone you know has a substance use disorder to drugs or alcohol and is living in a toxic environment, call Enlightened Solutions today at 833-801-LIVE.


Feeling Left Behind: When Dysfunctional Family Roles Dictate Which Family Member Enables, Which One Develops a SUD, and Which One Becomes Lost

When one member of the family unit has a substance use disorder (SUD), everyone within the family is affected. The family becomes one of dysfunction as the SUD continues to develop and change the family dynamics. With a family history of SUD, this situation can feel like a losing battle for everyone, particularly when one family member enables the addictive behavior. Harder still is when the person suffering from the SUD is a child, the enabling person is the parent, and the other child is left to fend for themselves. 

Dysfunctional Family Roles Illuminate the Issues

Growing up in a dysfunctional family creates an environment of pain and trauma. Negative situations may occur due to the family member’s battle with their SUD, and subsequent harmful attitudes, words, and actions committed by them to other members within the family. Children raised in this environment grow up differently than others and may develop traits consistent with dysfunctional family roles. The oldest child may have to take on responsibilities at a very early age, parenting their siblings, and even taking care of their parent that is suffering from the SUD, while the youngest child may be more coddled and shielded from the traumas. However, the youngest child is also the most vulnerable to physical and sexual abuse due to their role within the family.

The oldest child may develop multiple dysfunctional family roles. For example, the oldest child may become “the lost child” or a loner role in a dysfunctional family who does not want to cause more trouble for the family and so therefore “escapes.” Escaping may mean getting lost in television shows or movies, reading, or engaging in any activity that allows them to be seen and not heard. The lost child seeks solace from the chaos and therefore may develop an elaborate fantasy life. Furthermore, solitude may lead to developing spirituality and creative pursuits, as long as low self-esteem does not diminish these efforts. It is common for the lost child to have few friends, difficulty with romantic relationships, and find comfort in material things or pets.  

This lost child is independent, and makes few demands on their parents, withdrawing into their world through their escapism. The lost child may isolate, be shy, and feel like an outsider within the family who is ignored by other family members. Furthermore, escaping the dysfunctional family and the subsequent drama may lead this child into their alcohol or drug use to momentarily escape the truth of their life. This role may develop at an extremely early age due to substance use by the parent with the SUD, and it may persist when a sibling follows the genetic path to addiction.  

The lost child may also develop traits of “the doer” in the dysfunctional family. By secluding oneself from the family, it is easy for the lost child to engage in activities outside of the home to escape. For example, the doer may become an outstanding performer, engaging in drama club, and acting in plays. Furthermore, they may become extremely responsible for themselves, leading to excellent grades in school, and even caring for younger siblings. The doer of the family is a self-appointed role, and this individual is psychologically over-developed and over-stressed at a young age when there is a parent with a SUD.

The youngest child in the dysfunctional family may find themselves in a deviant, or “problem child,” role. They may have problems in school, issues with authority, and distract the family from the parent’s SUD through this rebellion. Furthermore, this child may become “the scapegoat,” who is blamed for problems within the family, while they view the oldest child who makes no waves as the good one. This youngest child may develop psychological issues or learning problems due to their disruptive behaviors. Furthermore, they may learn to exploit their other family members to get what they want, becoming spoiled and entitled through their episodes of acting out. This child is at great risk for developing subsequent SUD to drugs or alcohol to deal with the guilt attached to these assumed roles. Furthermore, they may blame their sibling for their situation since the parent with the SUD was not responsible enough to care for them, and the sibling assumed that the caretaker role. 

The enabler of the family in this scenario is the parent without the SUD. Due to the other parent’s SUD and accompanying mental health disorders, this parent assumes responsibility for the household and the financial load, therefore leading the children to be more responsible for themselves and the daily functioning of the household. This enabling parent allows the SUD to persist and merely deals with the daily consequences as they occur. Furthermore, when the lost child and the problem child age, the lost child and doer accomplish educational and work-related goals, while the problem child persists in their deviant and irresponsible behaviors. The youngest child may then develop a SUD of their own, and the enabler parent continues to support them financially because that is all they have ever done. The SUD has merely jumped to a new family member. The lost child remains lost and alone, as the enabling parent continues to care for the family member with the SUD. 

If You are Experiencing a Dysfunctional Family and its Accompanying Roles, there is Hope for a Happier and Healthier Future

Feeling anxiety and inner rage is common when dealing with a dysfunctional family and generational SUDs. Life dramatically changes when having to deal with a family member battling a SUD, and problems arise when that behavior is enabled. Even if your family member, be it, parent or sibling, is not open to treatment right now, you have to believe they can recover, offer as much support as you can, and encourage them with love. These actions may help alleviate the pressures they feel in seeking help for their SUDs. If you or someone you know is battling a substance use disorder, call Enlightened Solutions today at 833-801-LIVE.


What to Do About Postpartum Depression

What to Do About Postpartum Depression

Having postpartum depression is when mothers suffer depression after giving birth when it comes to all of the responsibilities that have to endure, having no time to themselves, lack of sleep, and constantly feeling like you are on an emotional rollercoaster. According to a CDC study, one in nine women experiences postpartum depression. By forming a connection with your baby and not being afraid to seek help from your partner, you will be able to bring the joy back to being a mother.

Effects of Postpartum Depression

Having postpartum depression is nothing to gloss over as there are changes that can occur to your hormones, your physical health, and can increase your stress levels. After giving birth, women experience a drop in estrogen and progesterone hormone levels. Thyroid levels tend to drop which leads to fatigue and depression. You could also experience changes in blood pressure, low immune system, and metabolism changes. Postpartum depression can also lead to having low self-esteem in that you have trouble losing baby weight or are still experiencing pain from giving birth. Not getting enough sleep at night as a result of your child’s cries can lead to depression. New mothers can feel heavy anxiety if they are not confident that they know how to properly care for their child.

Connect with Your Baby

Postpartum depression can make bonding with your child hard as your depression causes you to negatively respond to your child or not respond at all. This could also mean not interacting with your child, playing with them, reading to them. In the first five years of your child’s life, it is always important to form a bond with them. This bond will ensure how they interact and form relationships with others later in life. This means that when your baby cries, comfort them. If your baby smiles at you, smile back. Bonding with your baby will be a huge benefit to your child and will help release endorphins that will make you happier.

Seek Support

Even if there is a part of yourself that is telling you that you would rather be alone, stay connected to your family and friends. Isolating yourself will only make your depression worse if you feel like you have no one to lean on. Let your loved ones know that you need help and what they can do to better your situation. Share what you are experiencing with one other person and let them know that you are just looking for a good listener instead of judgment. It can help to find other mothers who are feeling the same way as you whether it is in-person support groups or ones online so you can all offer advice on what to do.

Bond with Your Partner

It may be hard to want to connect with your partner as it is you who have birth and not the other. You feel like they do not understand what you are going through so there is no point in confiding in them. You may be feeling resentment every time your child cries, needs to be changed or fed. Because you know that it is not the baby’s fault for their behavior, you place your frustration on your partner. Remember that you and your partner are in this together. It is not supposed to be about you raising this baby alone. Tackling these challenges together will make everything easier.

If your partner is angering you and you expect them to help you in some way, communicate with them. Do not expect them to read your mind or already know what you want. It is also important to find time to spend together to better reconnect. You two do not even need to go anywhere, but spending 15 minutes watching a TV show together or snuggling up in bed can make a difference.

Treatment

It is possible that with a big support system, you could still be dealing with postpartum depression. You can meet up with a good therapist to help you with your marriage or if you do not feel like you have enough support in your house. There are also antidepressants that can help you function properly with your baby and life in general. Make sure that you are monitored by a physician and that you engage in psychotherapy as well. There is also estrogen replacement therapy that is to be used in combination with antidepressants. 

Self-care

It will be difficult to get through postpartum depression if you are not doing anything to take care of yourself. This means exercising at least half an hour a day. You can go on a nice walk around the neighborhood or take your child with you to the park. You can even do yoga at home to help with your flexibility and energy. Exercising is a great way to release those feel-good endorphins ready to make an appearance. Make sure to sleep for seven to eight hours as less sleep can worsen depression. You can tell your partner that you would like to take a nap for half an hour and would appreciate it if they can watch the baby until you wake up. Give yourself some quality time like reading a book, taking a bubble bath, lighting scented candles, or get a message. By taking care of your postpartum depression, you have the chance to be a happy mother towards your child.

 

Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions is a recovery center that uses evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress-reducing techniques centered around a 12 step network, you will ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please call us at 833-801-LIVE as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


How to Treat Your Anxiety During Motherhood

How to Treat Your Anxiety During Motherhood

Being a mother can be very stressful as you have all of these responsibilities that follow taking care of your children as well as the house. It can be overwhelming when tackling the problems your children may be facing as well as juggling that with a career. It is important to acknowledge your anxiety and take care of yourself so that you can be strong for your children and yourself.

Fit Exercise Into Your Schedule

You may seem like you are too busy to fit exercise into your life. If you do not exercise, you can experience fatigue and be out of shape which can lead to health problems down the road. Exercising tends to release the feel-good hormone dopamine which will help you relieve your stress. If you feel that you do not have the time to go to the gym, feel free to work out at home. You can take laps to each room of your house, do some jumping jacks, jog in place, or pick up some chores around the house while listening to upbeat music to get you moving. Find these little moments where you have spare time to lower your stress and have bouts of happiness.

Take a Break From the Internet

The internet has a tendency to drain your energy. You may find it as a great break from your motherly duties by seeing what your friends are doing on social media or checking the news. Too much social media can lower your confidence if you feel like your friends are being more successful than you are or having a better day today. You should also see if the friends that you have on your social media are worth devoting your time to. If these friends are adding more to your anxiety by offering unwelcomed criticisms or hardly listening to what you have to say, see less of these people or do not give them the time of day.

Be Creative

Everyone needs a creative outlet to help their mind grow. Instead of being so focused on your worrisome thoughts, find something to do that will be a good distracting and help you grow as a person outside of being a mother. This can mean putting your energy into baking a new recipe that you can share with your family. You can also channel your worries into writing them into a story whether it is in first person or third person. Once you read your own story, you might be able to see for yourself the triggers of your worries and how to deal with them next time you are forced to confront them. Keep trying out different hobbies until you find one that works well with you.

Declutter Your House

Cleaning your house is a great way to keep yourself moving. Another benefit of cleaning is that you will feel like a whole weight has been lifted off of your shoulders. If you are organizing your closet, your bookshelf, or your garage and you get rid of the clutter, you will feel comfortable knowing that you are living in a clean household with room for much more than before.

Say No

It could be very tempting to say yes to everything that your husband or children demand of you. You may be asked to pick up or drop your children off anywhere they ask or to volunteer at your children’s school. Only you know how much you can handle, but you also need to take your mental health into consideration as well. Do not be afraid to say no if the demands are piling up too high and see if someone else can take over that certain responsibility. You will still be a good parent even if you cannot do everything all at once as everyone needs help now and then.

Bring Humor Into Your Life

If you are feeling so stressed over your daily obligations, find something to laugh about. If your children are always able to find some way to smile every day, you can do the same thing. Find a joke book or daily humor websites to make you laugh. This can also mean watching comedian sets on video streaming sites or comedy movies. Being a mother does not have to be filled with only serious moments.

Savor the Small Moments

Instead of worrying so much about something bad happening today or all of the responsibilities awaiting you, cherish the small moments you have with your family. Whenever you hug your child, receive kisses from your partner, or seeing your child have fun should not be a fleeting moment. Appreciate anything good that comes into your life to show you how much love you have. Kids will grow up faster before your eyes. Do not live in regret that you missed out on the good moments your kids had because you were too focused on the bad. Because you may not have been taking good care of yourself, you were focussing more on your pain and worries instead of your children’s. Make time to be with your kids such as during the weekends or reading them a story every night before they go to bed. Go into treatment for your anxiety if you feel like it is interfering with your life. By being in control of your anxiety, you can be there for your kids and enjoy your life more.

Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions is a recovery center that uses evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress reducing techniques centered around a 12 step network, you will be ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please call us at 833-801-LIVE as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


When Addiction Runs in the Family

When Addiction Runs in the Family

Many of us come from families where addiction runs rampant, and if we’re not already experiencing addiction in our lives, there are some things we can do to help prevent it from overtaking us. Being genetically predisposed to addiction does not guarantee that we’ll succumb to the illness, and regardless of our family’s experience, recovery is always possible, for all of us. If addiction runs in your family, take some time to implement these steps in order to prevent addiction in your own life and that of your children and other family members.

Become familiar with the warning signs of addiction, including depression and mood swings, changes in appearance and behavior, loss of interest, apathy and isolation. Early detection is key, just like with any illness. The earlier we spot the signs of addiction, the sooner we can get help. When we are unaware of the warning signs, we are less likely to know when addiction is encroaching upon us. Familiarizing ourselves with the signs of addiction can help us to spot them in ourselves and in our loved ones, and can help us to stop it from developing before it has gotten out of control.

Educate yourself about mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of growing our conscious awareness, being present in each moment, increasing our emotional intelligence, and learning to manage our thoughts and emotions. When we use mindfulness for addiction prevention, we learn how to handle the difficult feelings that our addictions tell us we are powerless over. We learn to face our emotions head on rather than developing habits of avoidance, denial and escapism.

Talk to your children about the prevalence of addiction in your family. Hiding the truth from them doesn’t prevent addiction, and our avoidance can actually work against us. Teach them about mindfulness and help them learn how to work with their emotions. Encourage them to practice meditation, journaling and other healing practices that are so powerful in helping us to maintain our serenity and inner peace.

Take advantage of therapy, for yourself and your children. If you or your kids are experiencing distress of any kind, signs of addiction, depression or debilitating anxiety, don’t hesitate to start therapy so that you can get the support you need. Therapy can help you to navigate the emotional complexities and difficulties of addiction and mental health issues so that you can learn healthy coping strategies. Therapy can help you to build your self-reliance and inner strength so that you can feel confident about functioning and thriving, even when faced with the struggles of addiction.

The community at Enlightened Solutions has been working with substance abuse and recovery for decades. Please reach out to us so that you can receive the help you deserve. Call us today: (833) 801-LIVE.


Ways to Help Our Loved Ones Who Are Struggling

Ways to Help Our Loved Ones Who Are Struggling

Seeing our loved ones suffering with addictions and mental health issues can be difficult and painful. One of the hardest parts is not knowing how to help them. Here are a few suggestions.

Listen

Sometimes what people need most is simply to feel heard. They don’t necessarily need advice, just a listening ear. It can be therapeutic to get things off our chest. Keeping things bottled up inside of us can contribute to our depression and anxiety. Providing the safe space for your loved ones to process their emotions is a real gift. Allowing our emotions to flow and expressing ourselves is important for our mental health.

Check on Them

Call, text, email, stop by. However you can get them to respond to you so you know they’re ok, do it. They might not be able to express their appreciation if they’re in a very depressed place, but know that you are helping them by checking on them. You might be helping them through a panic attack. You might be giving them much needed relief from their anxiety or diverting them from their suicidal thoughts. Just knowing someone cares means a lot to us when we are struggling.

Understand

Release judgment. We might not be able to understand why our friend can’t get out of bed, or go to work, or why they’ve given up on their passions- but we can try. We may not have experienced addiction in the ways our friend does, but we can try to put ourselves in their shoes and imagine what kind of sadness and fear they might be feeling. Have compassion and empathy. Be patient with their struggles.

Commit to Boundaries

Addiction and mental health issues can contribute to our having codependent and/or toxic relationships. Sometimes when a loved one is actively using or struggling emotionally, there can be extra conflict and turmoil. You may feel disrespected, controlled or manipulated. You might feel hurt or uncomfortable. Create boundaries for yourself and commit to them. Don’t allow yourself to sacrifice your own peace of mind.

Learn About Enabling

Think about whether anything you’re doing might be enabling your friend’s addictive or toxic behaviors. Are you making excuses for their behavior? Are you allowing yourself to be manipulated in any way? Are they taking advantage of your kindness and help, being dishonest, or using you? When we allow our loved ones to involve us in these patterns, we are enabling them, even when that is not our intention.

At Enlightened Solutions we offer intervention services and recovery planning. Call (833) 801-LIVE for more information.


Avoidance

Avoidance

While in the disease of addiction, it is an extremely easy to slip into isolation and avoidance. Life becomes bleak and pessimistic. There may be no hope. Although everyone has their own story, the commonality is that there is a bottom. High bottoms and low bottoms, each person has their own threshold of what they can take. Unfortunately, it’s not up to anyone who had already lost the choice to drink or use. This is because all of these ways have ceased to work and it is becoming more clear that things have gotten out of control. When the mind continues to tell someone with addiction that everything is fine, what is really important will begin to take a back seat. Avoiding the signs that there may be a problem, will almost always result in self-sabotage.

Some people will begin to avoid painful feelings that stem from the past. It’s true that you don’t have to feel feelings if you don’t want to, and a good way to do that is to numb with alcohol and/or drugs. Individuals with addictions experience an inevitable progression into a downward spiral. Over time a high tolerance builds up for the substance and chaos. Soon the person who’s sick will be spending more time focusing on the behavior and less on reality. Once things really take a turn for the worse, it’s easy to slip into isolation mode. This is simply avoiding people, places, and things that could possibly interfere with whatever troubling behavior.

At some point, the person who is sick has the ability to find themselves with other like-minded people. The people surrounding the abusive behavior are in actuality only attracted to the unhealthy habit because they are doing the same thing. If someone isn’t ready to get help, using pressure it not going to help. It’s up to every person to decide when they are finished with avoiding life. The disease of addiction is really a way to escape from reality. When people learn how to handle life’s stressors in a healthy way there can be hope. Accepting help and beginning to use coping mechanisms learned in treatment, there can be progress.

If you are trying to learn healthy ways to cope without alcohol and/or drugs, do not give up! Our partial program at Enlightened Solutions is clinical, holistic, and 12 step based. Begin to heal your body, mind, and soul. For more information call: 844-234-LOVE.


Helping a Loved One With a Drinking Problem

Helping a Loved One With a Drinking Problem

When a person drinks excessive amounts of alcohol despite the negative consequences that it causes, he or she might have a drinking problem. A person with a drinking problem cannot control how much they drink or continues to drink after having too much.

The signs of having a drinking problem are:

  • Drinking more than intended
  • Inability to cut back on drinking
  • A lot of time spent thinking about alcohol and the next drink
  • Missing work, school, or other important activities
  • Having relationship problems due to drinking alcohol
  • A lot of time recovering from the effects of alcohol

If you want to help a loved one who has a drinking problem, there are some important "Do's" and "Don'ts" to be aware of before approaching him or her with your concerns.

  • Never use shameful, demeaning, or negative language
  • Do not threaten or plead
  • Do not lecture
  • Do not use labels when talking about the problem
  • Express your concern for his or her health
  • Offer to see an addiction counselor with him or her
  • Use "I" statements to express how his or her drinking affects you

A person might not be aware he or she has a drinking problem and could have an underlying mental health issue that needs to be addressed. Many people with depression, anxiety, or PTSD turn to alcohol as a way to escape the symptoms of their mental health condition. The individual can feel guilty, shamed, or have low self-esteem.

Join a support group with your loved one and talk to others in similar situations. Learn about the struggles that other members have with alcohol and listen to people share their stories with alcohol addiction. Connect with others in the group who can be a positive influence on you and your loved one.

Encourage your loved one to get help and offer to go with him or her to see a counselor or therapist who specializes in alcohol addiction. Attend group meetings with him or her and show your loved one that you care about his or her well-being.

Recovery begins with you. You have to make the decision, now, to call and ask for help, get to treatment, and start a transformational, life-changing journey. The power to heal is yours. Let Enlightened Recovery Solutions show you the path of holistic treatment, bringing together the best practices of evidence-based clinical care, proven alternative healing practices, and trusted 12-step philosophy. Call 833-801-5483 today for information on our partial care programs.