Beating Insomnia During Addiction Recovery

Beating Insomnia During Addiction Recovery

It can be a challenge to get some sleep when you are in early recovery for addiction. Our minds and bodies are adjusting to not having those abusive substances keep us up at night. By using stress reduction techniques and making sure you are in a dark environment where the light cannot get in, you should be able to sleep soundly.

Insomnia During Alcohol Withdrawal

There are people who drink alcohol thinking it will help their insomnia to get them to fall asleep. The truth is that alcohol increases the time it takes to fall asleep, disrupts sleep time, and increases snoring and apnea. Symptoms can be nightmares, having trouble falling asleep, racing thoughts through the night, etc. Without proper treatment to sleep, your sleep cycle can worsen over time.

Light Exposure

Exposure to the morning sunlight is telling our body that it is time for a new day. The stress hormone cortisol gets released to help us get out of bed. We do not want this hormone to be activated at night too. By having our television, computer, smart phones, and tablet screens on, the blue light tells our bodies to shut down the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Cortisol is produced instead which makes us alert and awake which makes it harder for us to fall asleep. You should add blue light blocking apps to your smartphones and tablets as well as programming your television to turn off an hour before it is time to go to bed. You should instead read a book or listen to soft music like new age or classical. If you prefer to read from a tablet such as a Nook or a Kindle, turn the light off of the Kindle or just listen to an audiobook.

Change Your Sleep Environment

Remember that the sole purpose of your bedroom is to go to sleep. Take a good look at your bed so that you can train your mind that this room is meant for sleeping. It helps to make a clear path of your bed so that there is nothing around that can distract you. This involves picking up your clothes from the floor, straightening your desk, and clearing any clutter off of your bed like excess pillows or stuffed animals. You should also make sure that your room is the right temperature such as making sure that you are sleeping with the fan on to prevent sweating in your sleep. You also do not want to be too cold either so you should make sure that the temperature of your room is 60-70 degrees, according to The National Sleep Foundation.

Keep your room as dark as possible so that no excess light comes in. This may involve closing your blinds or having a shade cover your window. If you want music or other sounds from your television, turn on the function that only turns the picture off. If there are any LED lights still sticking out from your electronics, cover them up with masking tape. A sleeping mask is also a good alternative is light is still able to come into your room as well as wearing reusable earplugs so that you no longer hear anyone in your house or the busy streets.

Nightly Stress Reduction Techniques

You should end the day feeling stress-free and looking forward to the day that will come tomorrow. One stress reduction technique you can do is journal all of your thoughts that are racing in your head right now. Make a recap of all of the good things that have happened to you today and what you look forward to doing tomorrow. If you made any mistakes today in regards to your recovery, write down what you would like to work on and a solution to ensure that it will not happen again. Journaling can be a great way to wipe the slate clean instead of sleeping with those stressful thoughts in your head keeping you up at night.

Another stress reduction technique would be to relax our breathing. Remember that how we breathe is the one thing that we can control from our autonomic nervous system. Try to breathe in for six seconds, hold for seven seconds, and exhale for eight seconds or visualize a box when you breathe. This will help activate the parasympathetic branch of the nervous system which is responsible for how we rest. Meditating for five minutes before it is time to sleep can also be a useful tool to activate the theta brain waves which is associated with deep sleep. This can help us better relax when we have had a stressful day and make it easier to relax to help us fall asleep.

Sleep Supplements

While you may think taking sleeping pills is a wise choice to help you fall asleep, they can also be habit forming and cause you to form another addiction. Taking relaxing herbs, botanicals, and amino acid supplements can be a good alternative to sleep medications without any bad side effects. There is tryptophan which produces melatonin and makes you naturally sedated. There is also gaba which calms and relaxes the neurotransmitters and reduces anxiety. Lemon balm can improve mood as well as promote relaxation. By using any of these techniques at night to help fall asleep, not only will this increase your chances of a successful recovery but also a good night’s sleep.

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.

The Difference Between a Service Dog, a Therapy Dog, and an Emotional Support Dog

The Difference Between a Service Dog, a Therapy Dog, and an Emotional Support Dog

Dogs have the power to be a great source of comfort for those struggling with mental disorders. They feel soft and warm when you put their fur and always have a big smile on their face. To know whether or not an emotional support dog, a service dog, or a therapy dog is the right choice for your mental health, it is important to know the differences between the three.

Defining an Emotional Support Dog

Emotional support dogs provide mental health benefits for individuals. They can be useful for those with post traumatic stress disorder, people with anxiety, inmates with emotional problems, etc. Any breed of dog can be an emotional support dog. People with a mental health disorder can benefit well from an emotional support dog in that it can be hard to speak to a doctor or any human about your problems in fear of judgment or hearing something you are not ready to hear. Sometimes, all you are looking for is a companion who is willing to listen to you and will provide unconditional love to them. Emotional support dogs can qualify for no-pet housing as well as can fly on an airplane with someone with an emotional or psychological disability, but do not have access to all public areas.

Characteristics of Emotional Support Dogs

An emotional support dog is supposed to always be there for you and responds to your emotions and your commands. While ideally an emotional support dog should be calm and laid back, a hyperactive dog can also be an emotional support dog but will need more training to be obedient to their owner. Find a dog that is about one year old so that this dog can grow up with you and better build a relationship. It is best to find breeds that are good with people such as golden retrievers, poodles, golden doodles, labrador retrievers, etc.

The Legalities of Emotional Support Dogs

Emotional support dogs are not considered service dogs by the Americans with Disabilities Act since they have not been trained to do a specific job. Emotional support dogs do not require registration or certifications. To get an emotional support dog, speak to your therapist about the qualities you should be looking for in a dog and to get an emotional support animal letter from a therapist which will come in handy for a landlord or an airline. If you do not have time to obtain a letter from a mental health professional, you can get a letter online from Certapet or Emotional Pet Support. Be prepared for online sources will ask you to fill out a mental health pre-screening questionnaire to see if you qualify for an emotional support dog.

Defining a Service Dog

A service dog is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for those with a disability. The tasks need to be related to that person’s disability whether it is physical, psychological, sensory, intellectual, etc. People with mental health issues have service dogs to remind them when to take their medicine, let them know when a panic attack comes, or stop them from self-harming. Training can take at least a year involving basic commands and public access commands like ignoring people, other pets, and food. The focus for them should be their owner in case something medically wrong occurs. Service dogs can do things like pull a wheelchair, prevent a seizure, or calm a person done if they have post traumatic stress disorder.

The Legalities of Service Dogs

Service dogs need to be allowed in businesses. It is illegal for someone to ask you about your disability, but can ask if your pet is with you because of a disability or what tasks your dog does for you. You are not allowed to pretend to be disabled to gain access to an area. The Americans with Disabilities Act does not require registration for service dogs. Another thing that you should not do is pet a service dog when they are working. If you feel like a service dog is the right choice for you, speak to your doctor or therapist to see whether or not a service dog will benefit you.

Defining a Therapy Dog

A therapy dog is used in a facility to give comfort and affection to someone with a mental disability. Unlike a service dog, therapy dogs do not need to be trained to perform specific tasks. It is important for a therapy dog to be calm, affectionate, and friendly to strangers. They need to be obedient, well-groomed, and have check-ups.

Training a Therapy Dog

You can train your therapy dog by socializing him or her to new people, places and things. Your dog also completes obedience training being able to follow important commands such as not to jump on others, to look, or leave something alone. Then, you enroll your dog in a therapy dog class and register your dog with a national therapy dog organization. In order to earn a title through the American Kennel Club, you need to have a certain number of visits depending on the title you are acquiring. For example, for the AKC Therapy Dog Distinguished title, you need 400 visits from a therapy dog organization recognized by the AKC. These dogs can help you make a positive impact towards your mental health and will always stand by your side as long as they are there.

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.

Call for Bridgeton Veterans to Volunteer as Mentors for Substance Abuse Veterans

The brave men and women who fought valiantly for their country also came home with issues surrounding their mental health. According to a 2014 JAMA Psychiatry study, one in four active duty members show signs of having a mental health disorder. It is important for those who have served in the military to keep their mental health a priority when they return home as untreated mental health disorders can lead to devastating consequences.

Mental Health Disorders Veterans Experience

One mental health disorder those in the military experience is depression. This is an intense sadness that takes over their everyday life. They could be experiencing sadness from the tragedies they saw and experienced and see just how harsh the world can be. This is not the type of sadness that those in the military can just get over with time. JAMA 2014 study says that veterans experience depression five times more than civilians.

Another mental health disorder experienced by veterans is post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that comes from the shock of traumatic events like military combat, disasters, sexual assault, getting hurt or witnessing tragedy happen to others can lead to long-lasting effects. People with PTSD tend to experience irritability, trouble sleeping, nightmares, feeling jumpy, and abusing drugs or alcohol to self-medicate their pain. JAMA says that veterans PTSD 15 times higher than civilians.

Having a traumatic brain injury is another mental health issue that veterans deal with. This is normally as a result of being hit in the head or body really hard. You can experience drowsiness, headaches, and mood swings. Injuries like this should not be ignored or more permanent damage could occur towards the injury site that can affect your life.

Veterans also develop substance abuse issues while active and when they return home. Veterans deal with the stress and depression from being away from their families and in a war-torn area. They feel like the only way they can numb their feelings of anxiety or depression is by abusing drugs or alcohol. Coming back from the military can put stress on veterans as well when it comes to finding work, transitioning to civilian life, trying to forget about their time in service, physical and emotional pain they are going through, etc. The refusal to acknowledge their pain and seek treatment will make their substance abuse worse.

Consequences of Veterans Not Seeking Help

When veterans are struggling with mental health issues and substance abuse disorder, they could experience dire consequences like being homeless. Because they spend all of their money on drugs and alcohol, they are not able to pay rent as well as produce a steady income. Homelessness and poverty can cause veterans to steal. Not treating their mental health disorders can lead to getting out of control and becoming violent. With the right course of treatment, they will learn how to control their mood swings and their PTSD.

Another risk veterans face is dying by suicide. The Department of Veteran Affairs says that 20.6 in the military die by suicide with 16.8 as veterans and 3.8 as active duty. PTSD is associated with suicidal behaviors as they may be feeling guilt for behaviors used in combat as well as painful members of watching their service members die. Veterans are also more likely to take their lives in that they have had weapons training so they know how to use them.

Bridgeton Veterans Volunteer to Help Other Veterans

The Cumberland County Prosecutor’s Office is asking for veterans to volunteer their time to be mentors for the county’s Veterans Division Program. This program is to help veterans who have substance abuse issues and have engaged themselves in criminal activities because of their PTSD, traumatic brain injuries, mental health issues, and other physical injuries that they experienced during their service. There will be a training session done by the Prosecutor’s Office and the Department of Military and Veteran Affairs at Cumberland County College for veterans interested in being a mentor.

Mentors are to encourage and help their veteran mentees through the criminal justice system while helping with their treatment plans. The mentor is responsible for being a good listener to their mentee and trying to understand any of their concerns. No legal experience is required. Mentors are expected to call their mentee every week on the phone or see them in person. After two years when veterans complete the program, their criminal cases are dismissed and their arrest record is expunged. Mentors being able to relate to the psychological issues their mentees are struggling with can help them make a good team and be a good source of strength.

How to Help a Fellow Veteran

The most important thing that you can do to help a fellow veteran is by asking how they are doing and listen to them without being quick to interrupt them. Remind them the importance of not only taking care of their physical wounds but their mental wounds as well. That anyone can develop mental health symptoms and that it is not a sign of weakness. You should also let your mentee know that speaking to a counselor will not hurt their career or security clearance. Bridgeton veterans who are struggling with their mental health and substance abuse disorders will be able to seek help from other veterans who can relate to their pain and are willing to help them on their journey to recovery.

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.

Ways to Relax at Night Without Wine

Ways to Relax at Night Without Wine

It is a common cliche that women tend to unwind with wine after a long day. It is important, however, for women to be conscious of their alcoholic levels. According to The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, women drinking three drinks in a day or seven in a week is considered binge drinking and one bottle of wine is consider five glasses. By learning about healthier ways to relax after a long day, you will not have to worry about the health harms of binge drinking.

Calming Bath

Letting the hot water soak every inch of your body after a hard day will help soothe your mood. You can add bubbles or Epsom salts to better make the experience more enjoyable. Play some relaxing music in the background like classical, smooth jazz, or new age genres to put help you relax. Taking a bath is also a good opportunity to read a good book or listen to an audiobook as bath times are supposed to be private and uninterrupted where you can enjoy some peace and quiet.


Exercising is a great way to experience those feel-good hormones every time you move your muscles, hands, or feet. You can either have a heavy workout at the gym or go for a nice walk. There are other relaxing exercises to do like going for a swim, walking the dog, hiking, yoga, or working out at home. When you exercise, you are alone in your thoughts and think more about what happened today and what tomorrow will be like. You can also do a variety of different activities every night so that your exercise routine does not become tedious. This will help you see which exercises help you relax more at the end of the day.

Brain Teasers

While it is important to make sure your body is active, the brain is a very important muscle that deserves exercise when the day is over. Getting your brain working on something challenging but fun at the end time is another way to help you relax. This may involve doing crossword puzzles, putting together a jigsaw puzzle, or doing brain teaser trivia on your own. This will help you avoid feeling sluggish, fatigued, and exercising your brain before it is time for you to sleep.


While creativity may be stressful when you must use these skills for work, it can be more fun during your off hours. This can mean doing indoor activities as soon as you get off work like taking a painting class or knitting, sewing, or making a quilt at home. You can also be creative in the kitchen by trying out new recipes from a cookbook or a cooking show. You can even launch your creativity outdoors by going for a jog and taking pictures of the nature around you. Get those creative juices flowing to help reduce your end of the day anxiety.

Read a Book

Nothing like sitting on the couch, bathtub, or bed snuggling up to a book that you have been looking forward to finishing. It can be a good escape to listen to the voice of someone you enjoy or be transported to a new world. If your eyes are too tired to follow through with your book, listen to an audiobook to fall asleep to. You can also read from an ebook as you look at how much longer it tells you how long a chapter will take you to finish to have an idea of when to get some shut-eye.

Clean the House

You may be feeling too tired to worry about having to keep the house in order after a long day at work, but you will feel more depressed coming home to a mess. Your stressed levels will be reduced and you will sleep better knowing you have a clean room in a clean house. Take one room at a time and start rearranging your closets, cabinets, bookshelves, etc. You will feel like cleaning will help clear your mind by finding an activity that will distract you away from any issues you faced today or the urge to head for the bottle.

Communicate with Someone

Sometimes, we all just need to clear our heads after a long day of work by venting to someone. We tend to forget how good it feels to speak to someone via phone or video chat. You can talk about what is stressing you out or just be a good listener to someone else. You may realize that talking about your stresses out loud or hearing someone else’s will make you realize that your struggles are not worth struggling about. Even if you do not feel like talking, snuggle up with a pet as animals will relax as long as you are relaxed.

Alone Time

You may just want to unwind by yourself as you have been around people all day. This can mean going to a movie by yourself or to your local coffee shop with your book and beverage of choice. You can also use this opportunity to go to the grocery store alone without having to worry about anyone. Drinking a bottle of wine does not need to be your go-to solution to unwind. Finding healthy activities to do will make you feel good by the end of the day and will help you look forward to the next day.

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.

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

When you are sharing your body with a fetus, whatever you put into your body is what the baby will absorb as well- including opioid drugs. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a baby is born every 25 minutes suffering from opioid withdrawal. It is important to protect your baby from Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome during pregnancy and to make sure you give your baby the proper treatment to avoid the deadly consequences that may come.

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome is when a baby suffers a series of conditions after suffering from withdrawal as a result of being exposed of opioids in the womb. Opioids pass through the placenta which grows in the womb and supplies the baby with food and oxygen through the umbilical cord. Drugs such as codeine, Vicodin, morphine, oxycodone, tramadol, heroin, antidepressants, and benzodiazepines are examples of drugs that a fetus can be addicted to. If the drug is no longer available, the central nervous system of the baby will experience withdrawal just like a fully grown human being with addiction. For nine months, you and your baby are one body. Nothing you put in your body will be able to escape your child and can lead the serious problems in the womb and after your child is born.

The changes your baby can experience with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome can happen three days after birth, right after, or a few weeks after. Symptoms may include tremors, seizures, twitching, tight muscles, excessive crying, fever, blotchy skin, trouble sleeping, diarrhea, throwing up, stuffy nose, and sneezing. This can cause your child to have a premature birth, slow growth, and birth defects. Your child having Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome can depend on which drugs were used, how much drugs, how long you have been taking them, and if the baby was born 37 weeks early. You should have a feeling if your baby has Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome early such as if your baby weighs less than five pounds, eight ounces, the baby’s skin and eyes are yellow from not having a fully functional liver, if the baby has to stay in the NICU, or needs to be under medication.

A doctor can determine whether or not your baby has Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome by using a scoring system to give points on the severity of each symptom your baby is exhibiting to determine the right course of treatment. There is also a meconium test for the baby’s first bowel movement as well as a urine test that the doctor can administer. A small piece of the umbilical cord could also be used for drug testing. You should make sure that if you are currently using opioids but want to quit, do not quit cold turkey as it can lead to death for the baby if they suffer withdrawal symptoms. Make sure to speak to a doctor to give involved in a treatment program. You may need to be on a medically-assisted treatment program where you can be on medications like methadone and buprenorphine during pregnancy to help with withdrawal.

It is possible that you could be taking pain medications as a result of your pregnancy or for any other condition that you may have. Before agreeing to take any medications, check with your doctor to see if any of the medications prescribed can lead to Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome so that you can stop certain medication or change to safer ones. If you are abusing opioid pills such as taking more than prescribed or stealing medications from other people, you should be on birth control so that you can take care of your addiction before pregnancy. Birth control can come in the form of IUDs, implants, pills, or condoms.

If your baby does have Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, make sure that your baby is under medication to treat or manage their symptoms such as morphine, methadone, or buprenorphine. The goal is to prescribe your baby a medication that is similar to the one the mother used while pregnant and then slowly wean off the doses over time. The fluids would be administered through an IV to prevent dehydration, diarrhea, or throwing up. If your baby has a diaper rash or other areas of a skin breakdown, give your baby a special ointment or cream. Your baby may also have to drink a higher calorie formula if they have trouble being fed or are growing too slowly. With five to thirty days, your baby should feel better.

If your baby is being really fussy during treatment, wrap your baby up in a warm blanket to better comfort him or her. You could also press your baby onto your bare chest with him or her wearing nothing but a diaper. Make sure that the room is quiet and dim to avoid any distractions or loud noises. Continue to breastfeed your baby. It is important to remember that if you are thinking of having a child, you need to put the child’s needs before your own. This means that if you are suffering from addiction, go into treatment now instead of while you are pregnant. If you are pregnant and are abusing opioids, speak to your doctor about weaning off of them to avoid your child having any health problems that can affect them as they grow up. Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome is absolutely preventable so think of the health of your baby as well as yourself.

Through years of experience working with art and music therapy, we know how powerfully beneficial they are in healing and relapse prevention. Call Enlightened Solutions today: (833) 801-LIVE.

mental health patients

Why Mental Health Matters Need Urgent Attention

All signs point toward an upward trend in mental health concerns in the United States. Neurological research, population health studies and qualitative surveys all show that more people than ever are meeting diagnostic criteria for mental health disorders including depression, anxiety, panic disorders, personality disorders and more. In 2017 alone, an estimated 46.6 million adults — 18.9 percent of the adult population —  in the U.S. had a mental illness. Of these, 24 percent had a serious mental illness that interfered with one or more major life activities such as work, school or relationships.

While it’s unclear whether these numbers indicate an improvement in diagnostics or a higher rate of occurrence of mental illness, the effect is the same: a steadily increasing number of people are in need of treatment or assistance to help them manage their mental health.

Despite its prevalence, however, mental health remains stigmatized in our culture. Out of the 46.6 million adults in the U.S. with mental illness, only 19.8 million — 42.6 percent, significantly less than half — received treatment for their concerns. Too many people avoid diagnosis or treatment because they are afraid of what it means to have a mental health disorder. They may downplay their symptoms, which leads their loved ones to misjudge the situation. For many, it’s easier to brush off depression as having a few bad days than it is to make an appointment with a mental healthcare provider.

But no matter how mental illness may appear on the outside, the individual who is struggling is likely experiencing a host of inner difficulties. Living with mental illness like anxiety or depression can feel debilitating, and cause problems in many areas of an individual’s life. It’s critical not to ignore the signs of a mental health disorder, and to get help and treatment for mental health matters when they arise.

Mental Health is Tied to Physical Health 

It’s becoming increasingly clear in modern medicine that mental and physical health are deeply intertwined. A growing body of research shows that exercising regularly, while benefiting your muscles, heart and more, also improves mood regulation, perceived happiness and self-confidence. And, studies like one carried out by the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health have found that the opposite may also be true: out of 10,000 subjects, those who had a happier and more optimistic attitude at the start of the study were more likely to exercise over the course of the next 10 years. 

Living with poor mental health, on the other hand, can impact physical health in negative ways. Several published studies show that mental illness is linked to a higher risk of a variety of physical concerns, including lowered life expectancy, cancer fatality, heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis. It’s important to heal your mind so that you feel more motivated to take care of yourself and live a longer, happier and more fulfilling life.

Mental Health Disorders Increase Risk of Substance Abuse

When it comes to risks that are heightened by mental health disorders, not the least of them is a higher risk of developing a substance abuse problem. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that people with a mental illness are about twice as likely as those without mental illness to develop a chemical dependency on drugs or alcohol. And of the 46.6 million Americans with a mental illness, nearly 8.5 million had a co-occurring substance use disorder. The harmful of effects of addiction are well-known — it’s essential to get treatment for mental health concerns so that accompanying substance abuse issues don’t also arise. 

Abusing drugs or alcohol is also known to make the symptoms of a mental health disorder worse. The changes that drugs and alcohol cause in the brain can make symptoms feel better temporarily, which cause many people to turn to them to self-medicate for mental health disorders. But when the high wears off, the brain is left feeling drained, which brings the original symptoms back in full force. With the interplay between these two, addiction and mental health recovery centers like Enlightened Solutions are increasingly offering what’s known as dual diagnosis treatment: targeted care that helps people learn to manage both addiction and a mental health disorder at the same time. This offers longer-lasting and sustainable solutions to both problems and helps prevent relapse in the future.

Untreated Mental Illness Can Have Serious Consequences 

The last and most important reason to seek help for mental health matters is that mental illness can be deadly. Mental illness-related deaths are not only linked to poor physical health, but also to suicide. The National Alliance on Mental Health presents the following chilling statistics:

  • On average, adults in the U.S. with mental illness die 25 years earlier than those without — usually as a result of an untreated health condition.
  • More than 90% of suicide fatalities are individuals who were diagnosed with a mental health condition or exhibited signs of a mental health condition.
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death nationwide, and the 2nd leading cause of death for Americans aged 10-34.

Taking mental health seriously and getting the necessary treatment can truly save your life or the life of a loved one. If you or someone close to you is exhibiting symptoms that you believe might be signs of a mental health disorder, reach out for help. Effective treatment is available in many forms, including regular mental health counseling, lifestyle changes, carefully managed medication and inpatient recovery programs.

At Enlightened Solutions, we believe that everyone has a right to live a full and happy life. We know that you can find fulfillment, no matter how long you have been fighting with mental illness or substance abuse. We provide targeted, individualized care in New Jersey for men and women who are living with concerns including depression, anxiety and panic disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder, and bipolar disorder. We are also equipped to provide dual diagnosis care for individuals who have co-occurring mental health concerns and substance or process addictions. We encourage you to reach out to us if you need help for yourself or a loved one — even if you are not in the New Jersey area, we admit clients from out of state or we can direct you to resources to help you find treatment near you. Contact us today at 833-801-LIVE. 

How to Stop Feeling Like You Have to Fix Yourself

How to Stop Feeling Like You Have to Fix Yourself

Many of us working towards recovery take our healing very seriously. We commit to personal development, self-care, spiritual practice and accountability. In this process, however, we can come to view ourselves as being flawed. We feel as though we have to fix ourselves. This can make us feel inadequate, like something is inherently wrong with us. When we make ourselves feel this way, we’re actually doing ourselves a disservice in our recovery. We’re holding ourselves back and limiting our progress because subconsciously we think we aren’t good enough as we are.

Striving for self-improvement and growth are important for our evolution, but we can operate from a place of encouragement rather than self-disparagement. We can choose to believe in our goodness rather than fixating on our flaws. We can see ourselves as whole beings with potential for growth rather than as imperfect people needing to be fixed. The things we want to improve upon in ourselves only make us stronger; they don’t imply we weren’t good enough already.

When we constantly feel as though we have to fix ourselves, we set out on a quest for perfection that is simply unattainable. We beat ourselves up for every perceived inadequacy in our character. We have to accept our flaws and imperfections as part of the unique individuals we are. We have to learn to have self-acceptance, including everything we don’t love about ourselves, not despite it.

To combat our ingrained feelings of inadequacy, let’s work to change our self-talk. Let’s practice affirming, “I am good enough. I am growing and evolving. I am whole and perfect as I am.” Catch yourself when you start telling yourself you aren’t good enough. Shed your habits of comparing and competing with other people. Heal jealousy and envy by recognizing that we all have light to add to the world, and none of us is better than anyone else.

Personal development adds to our growth and can aid in our recovery, but when we take it too far and constantly feel like there are things we need to fix, we stunt our growth instead. We sometimes can feel like we’re on a never-ending search for improvement. Every day we’re taking inventory of where we need to improve. Take some time to stop fixing, and just start living. Learn to be in the present moment. Embrace the beauty that is everywhere around and within you. Practice gratitude for everything you appreciate about yourself and your life. Let yourself enjoy the rewards of all your hard work.

The treatment programs at Enlightened Solutions include holistic healing modalities that work to heal mind, body and spirit. Call (833) 801-LIVE today for more information.

Celebrating Our Successes

Celebrating Our Successes

Living with addiction can harden us to the point where we are quick to criticize ourselves and judge ourselves harshly. We create a self-image based on self-rejection and self-hatred. One thing we can do to soften our perception of ourselves and create a healthier sense of self is to start celebrating all of our successes, no matter how small they might be or insignificant they might seem. The more we can cheer ourselves on, the more we establish good habits for ourselves and mentally reward ourselves for reaching our goals.

When we’re overly focused on our failures, we are subconsciously telling ourselves that we don’t believe in ourselves, that we expect to fail, that we don’t have faith we’ll be successful in our recovery. When we’re working to recover, we need all the support and encouragement we can get. When we withhold these things from ourselves, we’re setting ourselves up for more failure.

When we put energy into celebrating our successes, we bolster our progress and reinforce our goals. We become our own source of motivation. Subconsciously we’re embracing ourselves rather than rejecting ourselves. We’re giving ourselves the love and support we need.

As part of our recovery work, we can set goals both large and small. We might want to give ourselves a goal of one year of sobriety. That would be a large goal. Small goals can be to attend a support group meeting once a week, to see a therapist on a regular basis and to find a sponsor to connect with. Along the way, as we’re working towards our larger goal, we can be implementing and working towards these smaller goals. Setting these small, more incremental goals helps us stay on track with our recovery, hold ourselves accountable, and keep ourselves focused on the daily things we can be doing to help ourselves. We can congratulate ourselves for each of these steps. Even the things that seem unimportant add up to and contribute to our growth and evolution. When we focus exclusively on the bigger goals, we can get overwhelmed at the loftiness of our expectations. Keeping ourselves on track with small, achievable goals helps us with our overall progress, and before we know it, we’ve reached our goal of one year, then two years, then three.  

Part of celebrating ourselves for our successes is learning not to be so hard on ourselves, to love and accept ourselves unconditionally, even when we falter. We set ourselves up for a successful recovery when we believe in ourselves and can celebrate ourselves.

Wherever you are in the recovery process, we'll meet you there and help you find your way. Enlightened Solutions has the caring and supportive team to help you achieve your recovery goals. Call (833) 801-LIVE today for more information on our treatment programs.

The Harm in Avoidance

The Harm in Avoidance

Our addictions and mental health issues can affect us in such dramatic ways that we develop a default coping strategy of avoidance. Because we so desperately don’t want to feel our pain anymore, we try to avoid it thinking this will help us to reduce how deeply we’re affected.  We soon come to see, though, that avoidance not only doesn’t help, it exacerbates the issue. Avoidance prevents true healing from taking place.

When we avoid the things that bother us, they become more overpowering. We feel increasingly more triggered by and sensitive about our particular issues. Our habits of avoidance can interrupt our lives in meaningful ways. We might isolate ourselves from other people out of fear that we will be hurt and to avoid feeling triggered by them. When we feel particularly triggered by certain people, we might avoid them altogether, causing our relationships to become estranged and distant. Often our loved ones don’t understand the impact their words or actions have on us, especially if we ourselves aren’t aware of them and haven’t been able to articulate our feelings to them.

Our avoidance can lead us directly to the addictive substances and behaviors that offer us some relief from our pain. We realize eventually that this relief is only temporary, and it is a form of escapism, not genuine healing. Our addictions become devastating manifestations of our avoidance. Many of us have been running from our issues for so long that we forgot what they were in the first place. We’re not conscious of what our original trauma was or why we’re in so much pain. We’ve buried our complicated emotions under layers of drugs, unhealthy relationships, self-destructive behaviors and toxic thought patterns.

Avoidance can cause us to develop harmful habits of denial and dishonesty. We can lie to ourselves and to the people in our lives in order to hide how severe our problem has become. We can be in denial for so long that we start to believe our lies and convince ourselves we’re fine. Denial can be dangerous and can be the fuel our addictions need to thrive.

Working to shed our habits of avoidance means making the conscious decision that we deserve better, that we deserve to heal. Choosing to face our problems head on can be some of the hardest emotional work we’ll ever do, but it is a crucial step in our recovery. If we remain avoidant, we only perpetuate our addictions and allow them to have control over us.

At Enlightened Solutions, we have the supportive staff, comprehensive resources and effective methodologies to help you in your recovery. Call us today: (833) 801-LIVE.

Healing Our Toxic Energy

Healing Our Toxic Energy

When we are working towards recovery, abstaining from our addictive drugs and behaviors is only half the battle. We also must heal our energy that has been adversely affected by our struggle with addiction. Our energy is made up of our thoughts, emotions, fears, habits and behaviors. Our energy can dictate our moods, patterns and cycles. Having unhealed energy can mean we’re manifesting more struggle rather than the healing we’re hoping for. Healing our toxic energy is a crucial step in our recovery process.

We often are unaware of our energy and whether or not it is healthy. Our energy is often something we don’t have a conscious understanding of. Energy operates on unconscious and subconscious levels, and the first step in healing it is becoming conscious of it. We can start by paying more attention to our feelings and our moods. How do you feel when you first wake up? If you’re filled with anxiety upon waking, for example, your energy is one of fear. How do your emotions and moods fluctuate throughout the day, how do they operate, and how do they cause you to act? Are you filled with anger and resentment? Are you worried, stressed, pessimistic or negative?

Take note of how you’re treating the people around you. How would you describe your relationships? Are you easily frustrated and impatient with other people? Do you find yourself treating people with unkindness and disrespect, and then feeling ashamed afterwards? Are you often involved in some kind of conflict, tension or interpersonal disharmony? Do you trust people or do you keep them at a distance? How do you resolve conflict? Are you able to listen and communicate in healthy ways?

Take inventory of your self-talk. Do you speak to and about yourself in disparaging or uplifting ways? Are the words you choose full of negativity and self-hatred? Are you constantly beating yourself up, criticizing yourself, judging yourself and knocking yourself down? All of these are signs you have unhealed, toxic energy within you dictating the ways in which you feel about yourself.

Once we’ve grown our conscious awareness about the energy we’re carrying within ourselves, we have a better understanding with which to heal it. Energy practices we can use to heal ourselves include meditation, prayer, reiki, tapping and energy clearing. We can work with a spiritual guide or therapist to address our unhealed energy. The more we actively work to create positive energy within ourselves, the stronger our foundation is for healing and recovery.

The community at Enlightened Solutions is here to provide you with the support, encouragement, love and care that come from our own personal experience with recovery. Call (833) 801-LIVE today to start your journey towards healing.