Bipolar

Life is full of ups and downs, but for those with bipolar disorder, these fluxes are more severe and can cause extreme mood swings that greatly impact daily functioning. The highs and lows of bipolar disorder go beyond simply feeling good or bad, and these abrupt changes in mood are so intense they often interfere with work, school, personal relationships and more. When combined with the effects of substance use, the symptoms of bipolar disorder can become more severe and further diminish quality of life as addiction takes hold.

At Enlightened Solutions, we understand how unpredictable living with bipolar disorder can be and provide holistic solutions to help clients find a sense of balance, stability and well-being in their lives. Bipolar disorder is a complex, multifaceted condition that requires an all-encompassing approach to address the profound impact it has on daily life, rather than the “one-size-fits-all” treatment it often receives. Our team can help clients with bipolar disorder and co-occurring substance abuse problems move forward in recovery with holistic, sustainable ways to heal that can make a lasting difference.

What is Bipolar Disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental health condition characterized by extreme mood swings and alternating periods of highs and lows. Known as depressive and manic states, those with bipolar disorder experience bouts of heightened energy, racing thoughts and feelings of euphoria, followed by periods of decreased mood, lethargy and hopelessness. Episodes may occur infrequently or multiple times throughout the year, with varying degrees of symptoms depending on the individual. There are two main types of bipolar disorder, type I and II:

  • Bipolar Disorder Type I: Marked by more severe manic episodes, bipolar disorder type I can occur with or without a major depressive stage. The symptoms experienced during a manic phase are disruptive, debilitating and often dangerous, and may lead to risky or impulsive behaviors that require hospitalization.
  • Bipolar Disorder Type II: Although the symptom patterns are similar, bipolar disorder type II is distinguished by episodes of deep depression and hypomania, a less severe form of full-blown mania. Because the symptoms of hypomania are more subtle, this type of bipolar disorder is often misdiagnosed as depression.

Bipolar disorder may also feature mixed symptoms, or episodes that occur simultaneously or in quick succession. Regardless of the type, bipolar disorder is a serious mental health condition that won’t get better on its own, and a proper diagnosis is crucial for effective treatment and symptom management. Left untreated, bipolar disorder is more likely to cause problems at home, work or school and increase the risk of substance abuse or suicide.

Symptoms of Bipolar Disorder

  • Abrupt or sudden mood changes
  • Periods of depression and isolation
  • Hyperactive or manic episodes
  • Concentration issues
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Racing thoughts
  • Fatigue or loss of energy
  • Irrational or risk-taking behavior
  • Changes in weight or appetite
  • Agitation or restlessness
  • Anger and irritability
  • Jumbled, racing thoughts
  • Overly talkative or frantic speech
  • Inflated self-esteem

Understanding Bipolar Disorder and Addiction

Bipolar disorder is a complex mental health condition that involves chemical imbalances in the brain, affecting mood stability and behavior. Diagnosing bipolar disorder is not a simple task, and symptoms must continue for an extended period of time before being classified as a mental health problem. It is also possible for psychiatrists or therapists to mislabel bipolar disorder as severe depression, anxiety or even schizophrenia if seen in the midst of active substance abuse or post-acute withdrawal, and many people begin to self-medicate to manage their symptoms when proper treatment isn’t given.

Although it can provide temporary relief, self-medication with drugs or alcohol is particularly risky for those with bipolar disorder. Studies show that as many as 30 to 50 percent of bipolar patients will develop a substance use problem during their lifetime, which can worsen symptoms and cause manic or depressive episodes to become more severe. Substance abuse can also mask the signs of bipolar disorder and decrease the motivation to seek help, further delaying treatment and complicating the recovery process.

At Enlightened Solutions, we understand how complex bipolar disorder is, especially when combined with the effects of addiction. To promote holistic healing that addresses the physical, mental and emotional needs of those in recovery, we treat both conditions simultaneously to get to the root of addictive behavior. While we are primarily an addiction treatment center, we offer personal mental health and substance use disorder assessments to better understand the unique needs of our clients. Following these evaluations, either by referral or through our treatment center, we can then schedule detox and formulate a recovery plan tailored to each individual. We require clients to enter detox first to separate the effects of addiction from those of the mental health disorder, ensuring a positive, successful experience that will build a strong foundation for lasting recovery.

Holistic Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

Enlightened Solutions is a great place for clients to distance themselves from an addictive environment and find support in a recovery-oriented atmosphere. While the addiction cycle may feel impossible to break, our holistic approach can provide the tools needed to successfully manage bipolar disorder and abstain from drugs and alcohol. We understand that bipolar disorder is complex and clients may need to take medication as prescribed while completing treatment, but our program is designed to provide a more sustainable solution for managing symptoms. Some of the techniques we use include:

  • Meditation and mindfulness
  • Acupuncture
  • Experiential therapy
  • Brainspotting
  • Coping and life skills development
  • Family constellation therapy
  • Individual and group therapy
  • Wellness and nutrition-focused care
  • Herbal supplements
  • Art and music therapy

By utilizing a number of holistic and experiential therapies, our goal is to help clients find new ways to balance their moods and heal from the inside out. We often find that with addiction and bipolar disorder, clients are often self-medicating or being over-medicated with prescription drugs that only serve one side of the issue. Substance abuse then becomes the other “medication” that feeds the current mood, like caffeine and other stimulants. With therapy and a proper diagnosis through referred physicians, we can tailor our approach to address the mood changes of bipolar disorder, such as manic episodes or depressive days. By treating the whole person with holistically-minded care, we help clients develop solutions that medication alone can’t deliver, providing an alternate, more sustainable way to heal.

Benefits of Holistic Treatment for Bipolar Disorder

In a typical psychiatric setting, prescription medication is often the first line of treatment used for bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, medication only treats the symptoms of mania and depression, isn’t curative and comes with unpleasant side effects. While prescription drugs can correct chemical imbalances within the brain, we’ve found that a holistic approach supports lasting wellness by treating the whole individual, not just their symptoms. Some of the benefits of holistic care include:

  • Enhances the body’s innate healing abilities by promoting relaxation, stress reduction and an overall improvement in mood.
  • Increases mindfulness and awareness, helping clients recognize the onset of symptoms and develop better ways for managing them.
  • Helps cultivate healthier lifestyle habits.
  • Introduces natural and integrative healing techniques that are more sustainable.
  • Psychotherapy can help reframe negative thinking and change destructive behavioral patterns.

These and other benefits help clients access solutions for managing their mental health from within and provide sustainable tools for achieving the goals of symptom relief, mood stabilization and sobriety. By thoroughly addressing mental health and substance abuse problems in a holistic way, our approach helps clients break free from the ups and downs of mood cycling and addiction without overly relying on medication.

Contact Enlightened Solutions

If you’re someone that wants to understand more about substance use and co-occurring bipolar disorder, we can help. We’ve created a program here at Enlightened that allows you to be mindful of these behavioral mood changes, recognize them and practice coping skills that can taper the feeling. Managing mental health disorders requires work and special skills such as breathing exercises, meditation, physical fitness, yoga, pilates or jogging and talk therapy. Acceptance is another series of treatment sessions our therapists offer that helps clients process their diagnosis, understand it better and move toward solutions that will make life manageable without substances.

To learn more about our holistic solutions and programs available near Atlantic City in Egg Harbor, New Jersey, and how they can help you or a loved one, contact or call us today at 833-801-LIVE.

You have an amazing life, and we want to help you get it back without chronic anxiety or depression. You can manage your body and mind with special holistic and traditional recovery treatments by calling Enlightened Solutions today at 833-801-LIVE.


Snapchat Filters Have Caused A Rise In Body Dysmorphia

Body Image Disorder

Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) is thought to affect millions of individuals in the U.S. Some studies suggest up to 4 percent of the population may have BDD, but given that the symptoms are often hidden, the numbers could be even higher. Though we primarily hear about women who have this disorder, men do as well – poor body image is not a gender-specific condition. Men and women experience body image concerns in a different manner, but both can feel anxiety about their physical appearance and struggle with the way they feel about themselves. And, no matter how a person experiences BDD, the impact of living with constant negative self-image can be severe. According to the International OCD Foundation, out of those suffering from a body image disorder, up to 80% have attempted or will attempt suicide.

Body image disorders are one of many complications we see in addiction treatment. BDD frequently comes paired with addiction and other mental health conditions, and it’s often unclear to the individual which one came first. They know only that they’re overwhelmed.

At Enlightened Solutions, we aim to change the superficial image we have of the body, and through exercise and therapies, help our clients develop a healthy mindset. In addiction treatment, we have to take time to unpack everything that brings us down and causes us to depend on addictive substances. We offer each client private therapy and group sessions, as well as an early dual diagnosis to communicate treatment expectations. Clients managing body image disorders can learn to love their bodies and how to find happiness in everything around them so they can live with confidence.

Symptoms of Body Image Disorders:

  • Wearing baggy clothes
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Loss of interest in friends and family
  • Lack of participation in events where food is present
  • Lack of appetite
  • Depression
  • Overexercising
  • Hair loss and tooth decay
  • Rapid weight loss or gain
  • Persistent weakness
  • Prolonged Illness
  • Stomach irritation or intestinal issues
  • Anxiety
  • Constantly picking at the way they look

Body Image and Eating Disorders

When we feel deficient in the way we look compared to others around us or what we see in the media, we can become obsessed with our bodies. Society stresses beauty and promotes a narrowly defined image of a “perfect” body. Many clients who enter our treatment programs begin with the mindset that they need to resemble what’s popular or adhere to what society describes as beautiful.

Body image disorders function almost like the disclaimer on a mirror that warns objects are not as they appear. Over time, individuals with these conditions develop a distorted image of themselves and a hyper-focus on their perceived problems that magnify as they continue to internalize these feelings.

If the issue is body weight, eating disorders soon follow, along with depression and stress from the inability to achieve what an individual feels is the ideal body type. Eating disorders can be dangerous, especially when combined with addictions, as the health problems from lack of nutrition can permanently destroy bodily functions. Drugs, alcohol and lack of nutrition have adverse effects on brain function, as well as the immune and cardiovascular systems.

Types of Eating Disorders:

Bulimia

Bulimia nervosa is a condition that drives people to “binge,” or eat an excessive amount within a defined period of time, and then “purge,” or engage in compensatory behaviors (such as self-induced vomiting, fasting, extreme exercise or misuse of medications like laxatives or diuretics) to “undo” the effects of binge eating. Those with bulimia experience a sense of lack of control over eating during a binging episode. Over time, bulimia can deprive the body of important nutrients, leading to electrolyte and chemical imbalances that affect the function of major organs including the heart.

The severity of bulimia is determined by how frequently the binging and purging cycle occurs, usually at least once a week for at least three months. Individuals with bulimia are typically afraid of gaining weight and have self-esteem that is closely tied to their body image. Someone with bulimia may be thin, overweight or a normal weight. Because bulimia affects people of all body types, and because binging and purging are usually done in private, it can be difficult to tell if a loved one has bulimia.

Anorexia

Anorexia nervosa is characterized by weight loss, lack of appropriate weight gain in growing children or difficulty maintaining an appropriate body weight for a person’s age and height. People with anorexia obsessively restrict the number of calories they consume and the types of food they eat. Some also exercise compulsively or misuse laxatives, diuretics, enemas or diet aids to lose weight rapidly. They are often far below a healthy weight, but a person does not need to be underweight or emaciated to be struggling with anorexia.

People with anorexia are acutely focused on controlling their weight and body shape. They often have an unrealistic perception of their appearance and a strong fear of becoming overweight or obese. No matter how much weight they lose, they continue to fear weight gain and will go to extreme lengths to prevent it, even when their restrictive behaviors significantly interfere with their lives. Those with anorexia often equate thinness with self-worth. Treating anorexia involves restoring healthier eating habits and addressing the condition’s underlying emotional causes.

Binge Eating Disorder

Binge eating disorder is defined by repeated episodes of binge eating. A binge eating episode includes eating an amount of food that exceeds what most people would eat within a two-hour time period. It may also involve eating until feeling uncomfortably full, eating a large amount of food when not feeling hungry, eating more rapidly than normal or eating alone due to embarrassment over how much one is eating. Those who binge eat often feel depressed, ashamed, guilty or disgusted with themselves after an episode. They do not regularly use harmful compensatory measures (such as purging) to counter the binge eating.

This eating disorder can be difficult for friends and family to identify because someone with binge eating disorder may maintain a normal weight. The health risks associated with binge eating disorder are most commonly those associated with clinical obesity, weight cycling (yo-yo dieting) and weight stigma. Binge eating disorder is the most common eating disorder in the United States.

Depression and Addiction

When we have an unhealthy way of viewing our bodies – be it our weight, size or shape – it can be difficult to concentrate on anything other than molding ourselves to fit this distorted image of perfection. Depression and isolation can follow, and eventually, people develop eating disorders that deprive them of proper nutrition and perspective. Dependency on alcohol and drugs can arise as a coping mechanism to mask the deeply rooted issue of disliking what we see or how we feel. Addictions are formed when we are in our most vulnerable state, and body dysmorphic disorders and eating disorders cause the perfect storm of mental, physical and spiritual vulnerability.

At Enlightened Solutions, we offer group therapy sessions that focus on building confidence and strength, as well as nutrition and wellness classes so we can reintroduce a happy and healthy image of food and the body. In these health and wellness sessions, we compliment each other on the hard work we do and encourage one another to take care of ourselves. Addiction can lead us down a rough path that falsifies not only the way we feel, but the world that surrounds us. Operating from the inside out is how we gain control of our thoughts and actions.

Body image disorders can be manipulative and cruel, often begin in unhealthy environments. It is our mission at Enlightened Solutions to create a safe place in which to rebuild and restructure how we think and feel. This allows our clients to remove themselves from negative atmospheres and concentrate on creating an internal space where beauty and strength blossom. For more information, contact us today!

We provide our clients options to live without addiction or shame and provide and surroundings that nurture you to feeling wholesome while recognizing yourself as the amazing person that you are. You are beautiful, unique and worth it; we believe in you at Enlightened Solutions so call now at 833-801-LIVE to learn more about our addiction, body image, and eating disorder treatments.


Anxiety

What is anxiety and how does it work in our body?

Our bodies are amazing things that contain internal mechanisms to keep us safe, alive, and well. One of these mechanisms is anxiety, and another is stress, both of which are caused by hormonal and chemical responses from the brain. Our innate reaction to stress or fear causes our brain to choose one of two options – fight or flight. Most people have heard about the fight or flight response, which comes from evolutionary developments in the body. Thousands of years ago, when human beings were living near larger animals (and at the low end of the food chain), the brain had to figure out a way to help us survive in a dangerous situation. Do we stay and fight, risking being hurt or killed, or run and hide? This became known as fight or flight, where our brains were able to make the wiser choice for us. However, making one choice or the other required some extra work from the body, including a rush of adrenaline, increased breathing, heightened circulation, and slowing of the digestive system to conserve energy.

Reduced Stress for Some, Long-Term Anxiety for Others

Over time, these necessary survival responses became less necessary, because we didn’t have to run away from predators or fight for our food and lives. But just because we had evolved and ascended the food chain, our body never lost this primitive response to fear or stress; so we kept the fight or flight response. For most people, anxiety is short-lived and can be beneficial so they can get things done if they’re under pressure. Once the task is completed, their anxiety decreases and they go on about their day. For others, anxiety and stress have developed into long-term responses to everyday life, and these stress responses can manifest in many forms, and come on quickly with no noticeable stressors present. Those suffering from generalized anxiety disorder or social anxiety disorders know this all too well; no matter what they do they can’t seem to lower their stress levels.

What does stress influence?

  • How well a person will react to a changing environment
  • How healthy a person is (if they get sick often)
  • How someone sleeps
  • How well a person can concentrate
  • The decisions a person makes
  • How motivated a person is
  • The outcome of a person’s life experiences

In addition to all of the functional and psychological effects of anxiety listed above, stress can negatively affect processes in the body we cannot directly see. We talked about the good things stress does for our bodies when we cannot think fast enough – it offers us the choice to leave, or stay and see things through. But what’s meant to only linger in our system for short bursts can damage the body if it remains there for long periods of time. Stress releases something called cortisol into our system, affecting everything from the health of our cells to joint deterioration, memory loss and heart trouble – basically, stress kills cells and causes premature aging. Your body is essentially in constant alert mode as epinephrine rushes through your system, causing these overwhelming feelings of fear or anxiety to overcome you and drown out your ability to reason and calmly make decisions.

Stress and Anxiety Affects Addiction

Overwhelming stress and anxiety can cause a need for substances like alcohol, heroin, cocaine, or anything that will lessen this feeling of stress, so we self-medicate and end up with addiction. The addictive substance will reward us with immediate comfort, but there is a downfall to these things – they don’t last. When our brain begins producing stress hormones for extended periods of time, we get into a cyclical relationship with addictive substances by thinking that we need them to avoid the feelings, but they can actually cause anxiety to spike. Anxiety and addiction need to be treated separately to break this cycle, since the body is taking on too much from the added chemical imbalance in the brain and the serious health problems that come from the addiction.

How do we treat anxiety and addiction?

At Enlightened Solutions, after a complete detox and dual diagnosis by a professional, we break apart each compartmentalized diagnosed condition. When our clients come in for substance abuse, there may be other co-occurring disorders that we need to pay attention to and treat in experiential therapies. We think about the effects of the addiction on the mind and body, as well as the physical and emotional effects of anxiety once the substance is removed from the body. Anxiety causes noticeable changes in body chemistry so that we can respond to high levels of stress – meaning our blood pressure skyrockets, breathing is quickened, and our body feels antsy and overwhelmed with pent-up energy caused by increased epinephrine throughout our system.

To combat anxiety, we need to reverse the physiological feelings in the body. We focus on mindfulness exercises and meditation to reduce these stresses and calm the mind; an addictive mind paired with an anxiety disorder always feels there is something to worry over or stress about. We have to train the body to reserve this strength, so we work on breathing exercises. The more we train the brain to understand there is no immediate danger by creating a safe space and practicing these exercises, the less likely you are to experience adverse effects from stress. If we change the way we respond to stress, then we can be more in control of our bodies and stop focusing on the things in our lives that hurt us. Instead, we can understand where these feelings come from and how to achieve real happiness from our natural experiences, not from the false comfort offered by addictive substances.

To understand how anxiety and addiction live together, and how we can work to relieve these stresses to focus on recovery, call Enlightened Solutions today at 833-801-LIVE.


Codependency

Once, our clients have been detoxed and we’ve addressed their main addiction, we often discover co-occurring conditions as we peel back the layers and can see through to the core of their being. Many times, addicts who are also codependent have cocooned themselves in low-self esteem and the critical feelings they have about everything they do.

For codependents in addiction treatment, this condition of needing another person for validation is serious and should be explored in an effort to gain understanding to fulfill their needs in long-term. Addiction is the dominating result of this condition of low self-esteem and loss of one’s identity.

So what exactly is codependency?

Codependency is a psychological condition that involves a person being emotionally and psychologically dependent on another person. The codependent focuses on this individual and creates a life completely enmeshed about what the other person needs. They no longer recognize their own needs, and forget themselves completely. Most people in addiction recovery that are also codependent have learned these behaviors early, perhaps in childhood where they may have observed this behavior in their parents. Codependency is typically a learned behavior, supplemented by the fact that codependents feel as though they are worthless without another person. This type of thinking often opens the door for addictive behaviors to find a way into their lives.

Codependent Relationships

Relationships for people suffering from addiction and codependency are complicated, because they may come from an entire family that supports these behaviors, perhaps believing they have to focus on the addicted person all the time and forgetting themselves in the process. Codependency is where family dysfunction is created, fostered, and then passed on to the next family unit. We look to break this cycle in addiction recovery and end this dysfunction. We look at codependents and the relationships they build, because this can set the stage for the rest of their lives. When codependents seek romantic relationships, they seek individuals they can change and those that seem to need them.

Independence

The biggest issue with those that are codependent is that they forget how to live for themselves, or view their own purpose in life. When dealing with an addiction and a codependency issue, we see it on both sides of the equation, where an addict with codependency pairs with a codependent partner. The one with the addiction feels that they need to hide themselves away to make this person happy, and struggles with their inner critic that says they can’t do anything right. Any relapse or difficult situation such as an argument regarding substance use is internalized, and they feel responsible for everything. This process further pushes this person into their addiction because they are unable to cleanse themselves of this toxic thinking, and continue using substances for comfort so as not to upset their partner.

There are other instances when the codependent addict becomes involved with a person who takes more than they will ever give them. This person allows the codependent to give support and love, money or stability. Codependents often find themselves attracted to narcissists. A narcissist is someone that may never change through therapy. Once a codependent person progresses through treatments and spends time on their own, they begin to see these patterns. In treatment, we focus on the things that you have the ability to change and also those areas that will case you to regress. Relationships that are healthy do not have a codependent dynamic, and it should be at the top of your list to get well and surround yourselves with people and situations that will enhance your recovery.

Cycling Behaviors

A codependent partner may have their own issues, where they feel the need to cover up the addict’s indiscretions and lie for them to avoid embarrassing their addicted family member. They may also threaten to leave that person, but cannot bring themselves to follow through with ultimatums because they would feel guilty and responsible for any negative outcomes. The codependent partner may believe they’re helping, but they’re only making it worse – if the addict doesn’t deal with the consequences of continuing to engage in their addictive behaviors, the situation only gets worse for both parties.

How to Spot a Codependent:

  • Someone with fears of abandonment
  • Someone who puts their needs second
  • Low self-esteem
  • Allows themselves to be abused emotionally and physically
  • Indecisiveness
  • Distrusting of people
  • Expresses guilt
  • Controlling and dominating
  • Need for approval or validation
  • Chronically apologetic
  • Can’t be alone (always jumping into relationships)
  • Has difficulty expressing themselves to define their feelings
  • Someone that never speaks up

Treatment at Enlightened Solutions for Codependence, Family, and Addiction

Addiction is a family disease and all persons are effected by this illness. The enabler holds the keys to recovery for the addicted person. Support persons are educated on how to develop and maintain healthy boundaries and structure while discontinuing their enabling behaviors. Remaining supportive and loving and essential, however allowing unacceptable behaviors to continue only allows the addict to continue using substances. Our goal at Enlightened Solutions is to expose all individuals, client and support persons, to the idea of becoming completely independent and joining into interdependent relationships. This concept will eliminate dependence and codependence in order to strive for healthy and happy relationships.

If you feel you may be codependent or that your family member is suffering from addiction and may also have codependency, then it’s important you recognize that fact so that you can both focus on building a healthier home environment. Primarily, treatment for their addiction to substances will be addressed providing a medical detox and a dual diagnosis. A professional behavioral health team will then assist to define issues, and include family members for further treatment at the appropriate time. To completely heal from the addiction and support a healthy relationship with another person, the addict will understand their feelings and identify interpersonal relationships that are unbalanced. As they learn to fulfill their own happiness, they will learn to share this with their loved ones. Loving people give and receive love with a full heart that is free from guilt and other burdens, including addiction.

Codependents rely on the other person in their relationship to bring them external happiness and care.

At Enlightened Solutions, we concentrate on the holistic healing of the whole person, while working with codependents. We strive to assist in building confidence and happiness within themselves. We work with our clients to offer specific esteem building and exploratory treatments that will focus on internalization of their efforts. Holistic healing repairs individuals as they find natural remedies to the emotional blocks within themselves. Our clients learn to find everything they need inside of themselves, and how to define their uniqueness as a positive quality. We practice exercises of self-love and expression so that we can become our authentic selves and remain confident. Utilizing this strategy, we become able to make decisions that are right for us, aiding in a constructive and loving life-long recovery.

For more information on codependence and addiction treatments, call Enlightened Solutions today at 833-801-LIVE.


Living with Depression: A Guide to Addiction Recovery and Mental Illness 

Depression

We’ve all known someone who can never seem to find joy in anything that they do. They somehow always stay unhappy and struggle to see the good in any situation — even in the best of times, they find something to worry about, or they only talk about the negatives. We don’t mean those people who have one or two bad days at school or work; people affected with depression have these sad, anxious and lonely feelings inside of them for weeks, months or years at a time. It becomes a burden that weighs them down every day and casts a shadow over everything they do.

Depression can be dangerous because those affected by it truly believe that they may never escape the dark cloud in their lives. They may be in danger of giving up on themselves — or giving up on life. Over 90% of people with serious mental illnesses like depression will attempt suicide, which is why treatment is so important. If you or your loved one is showing symptoms of depression, has been diagnosed with depression or believes they might be depressed, you should seek professional treatment right away.

What is depression and why does it affect people so severely?

Depression is an emotional and mental health condition that is more common than most people know. Major depression affects nearly 16 million people in the United States and 350 million people worldwide. Depression can start in a variety of environments and situations, and there are also several factors that can influence the development of depressive symptoms, such as your upbringing and home life, chemical imbalances in hormones and stress levels. Depression isn’t something you should take lightly, or something that should be overlooked as a simple, passing condition.

It’s multidimensional, impacting mental health in many different ways and causing long-lasting changes in a person’s outlook, motivation and confidence. This mental health condition can impact everything in a person’s life, putting a damper on everything from work and family time to the personal activities they once enjoyed. It’s more than just a bad mood or pessimism; it’s deeply seated in the brain and doesn’t go away without specific treatment that’s designed to help rebalance the nervous system.

Holistic Depression Treatment

When you visit a doctor about your depression, their first recommendation might be antidepressant medications. These medications might be a solution for some patients, but they don’t offer a long-lasting fix. They can correct chemical imbalances in the brain, but once the effects wear off, the patient is not personally equipped to handle the symptoms that may return. Side effects from these medications can also cause problems like weight gain, insomnia or intimacy problems. At Enlightened Solutions, we aim to offer people struggling with depression a better and more sustainable way forward.

We bring together a variety of treatment modalities to help people suffering from severe depression, so they can find balance in their whole being and learn to live beautiful lives. We don’t rely on medications to balance these thought processes, but instead offer experiential therapy, herbal supplements, acupuncture and family constellation therapy. When the body is free of chemicals, we can think clearly and feel good from the inside out — and we can be able to maintain happiness on our own, without relying on other sources to mask the symptoms.

Depression can physically affect your body, causing immune system dysfunction and other changes such as weight gain or loss. When you’re unhappy, you’re unwell in the body, mind, and spirit. At Enlightened Solutions, we heal you completely — we help you regain your physical strength, fortify your mental health and restore your spiritual foundations. With this holistic approach of treating the whole person, we can offer solutions to depression that come from within you, so you can access them at any time and never fear symptoms again. Whether you have been unable to find answers to depression through medication, or you are seeking an alternate, sustainable route to healing, Enlightened Solutions can offer the treatment you need.

Identifying Depression in Yourself or A Loved One

Depression can set in slowly — so slowly that you might not notice it happening at first. But one day all the symptoms together will add up, and it will be clear that something is wrong. There are some signs you can watch for if you suspect that you or a loved one may need help for depression, including:

  • Change in sleep patterns or development of insomnia
  • Disinterest in things they once loved
  • Change in family relationships and interaction with loved ones
  • Withdrawal from events and activities
  • Reduced appetite
  • Begin drinking heavily or taking drugs
  • Suicidal thoughts, or suicide attempts
  • Unbalanced moods
  • Intense thoughts about the past and inability to let go and move on
  • Confusion and difficulty concentrating
  • Body aches
  • Anxiousness

For many people, depression can affect your thought processes and make you feel unworthy of love and respect. When you don’t feel you’re good enough to be loved or respected, that means you won’t give yourself these things either. Whatever we feel on the inside is displayed on the surface, and it’s present in everything from the way you look and behave, to your interactions with your friends and family.

Depression and Substance Abuse

If you’re struggling with depression, it can be very tempting to numb yourself with substances like drugs or alcohol. The feeling of being drug or high can drown out the negativity and sadness of depression, if only for a short while — but it quickly becomes much more complicated than this. Alcohol and addictive drugs are actually chemical depressants that will worsen your condition with continued use. You’ll begin to feel even more hopeless and depressed as you start to rely completely on drugs or alcohol to feel good — and then, you won’t be able to stop using them, even when you know it’s not good for your mind or your body. It’s known that one in five people have some type of mental health condition, and that a little over ten million people have an addiction that lives alongside a mental illness like depression. It doesn’t matter which of these co-occurring conditions came first, but they both need to be treated to make progress in recovery.

Contact Enlightened Solutions

Depression holds fast to the past, and it’s important to be able to move forward so that we can work through these experiences. The past serves as a developmental tool in finding the key to our feelings, and why we feel the need to abuse alcohol and drugs, but we cannot focus on that forever. Once you’ve addressed the past, it should stay where it is, and you have to let it go. The Serenity Prayer tells us to accept the things that we cannot change and focus our strength on building the courage to change the things we can. This is how we heal. We work with mood enhancing therapies and create new experiences in recovery that can heal depression and change your outlook on life, so that when you’re done at Enlightened Solutions, you know what peace will come your way in recovery.

Depression can change everything you love, and it only gets worse with addiction clouding your mind. Contact Enlightened Solutions at 833-801-LIVE to help you remove the fog and finally see the light that’s inside of us all.


Gambling Addiction

The process of addiction starts with an inkling of interest that turns into something taking over your life because you just can’t stop. Casinos and anyone in the gambling industry entice you to become engaged with gambling because they make money.

Unfortunately, compulsive gambling can cause a series of terrible things to happen to you physically, mentally and of course financially. If you feel your life spinning out of control with the incessant spending and don’t know what to do, treatment can help you stop. At Enlightened Solutions, we work with people who live with active addictive behaviors as well as substance use disorders.

Is an obsession with gambling an addiction?

Most people are surprised to find that a person can be addicted to gambling. This addiction can also lead to a series of other addictions including alcohol and/or drug abuse. Addiction in itself is an obsession with your behavior; by engaging with the substance or behavior, a positive reinforcement creates the brain’s need to continue acting on the rush. When the promise of payoff is near and the loss and gain cycle continues, someone with a gambling addiction won’t think about sticking to a budget to avoid financial ruin. The person with the addiction will continue to play or bet by going into debt or selling everything they have, with a distorted thought process of ‘winning it all back, and more’.

Addictive Lifestyle

In addition to the behavior or physically pushing the slot button, playing blackjack, the lifestyle of a gambler can also be addicting. Casinos offer incentives for gamblers such as free nights at the hotel and endless free drinks. In underground gambling establishments, sexual relations with prostitutes–hired by the business– can influence the addict. The presence of drugs and alcohol can cause the person to forget how much they’re spending or engage in dangerous activity. The more engagement in addictive behaviors and use of substances produces a release of dopamine in the brain that demands the person to continue by any way they can. Repeating this behavior with little to no intention of stopping starts to appear as unkempt image, bill collectors calling, change in your health and so much more.

Gambling Addiction Can Escalate

As soon as a gambling session is through, the person suffering from gambling addiction feels the need to be secretive about their activity. Bills begin to pile, and the behaviors escalate into serious financial problems, causing the person to develop depression or anxiety. Gambling addiction can make the person feel like the world is ending and they feel compelled to take their own lives or hurt themselves in some way. Serious depression and mood changes plague families. It may seem like a harmless activity but it’s the habitual way people engage in gambling that ruins them.

Our recovery program can teach you mindfulness as a way to focus on impulse control. We can help improve your confidence and think of the world as a positive place where your potential is endless. We can also assist in finding a financial advisor to help get your funds in order. There is hope, so call Enlightened Solutions to find answers to gambling addiction at 833-801-LIVE.


What to Do About Mood Swings

Mood, Grief / Loss and Anger Management

Understanding Grief, Loss, and Anger

Experiencing emotion is human, but the way in which we act on these emotions and how we choose to process them is up to us. Our emotional state is comparable to the opposites sides of any positive or negative entity; you choose one side (positive) or the other (negative), but there’s never a smooth transition from one feeling to the next. Mindfulness is a necessary skill that requires practice to achieve a neutral middle ground where sound decision making occurs. When we learn to adapt to our emotions, we find that our bodies are less stressed, and we are able to make a conscious choice to own our emotions.

At Enlightened Solutions, we work with dealing with grief, loss and anger so that you can learn to manage these emotions in a healthy and productive way. Out of control, unaddressed or unknown feelings are often disguised by addiction and fuels a complete upheaval of a balanced lifestyle. When struggling with addiction as it is facilitated by grief, loss and anger, at Enlightened Solutions. we will teach you how to channel this energy into problem-solving skills. Focusing on anger management, grief therapy, and individual counseling sessions can propel you toward recovery one day at a time.

Working Through Introspection and Healing

Many of our clients at Enlightened Solutions find themselves in a funnel of disjointed feelings they don’t fully understand that cause them to isolate. In isolation, we remove ourselves from meaningful connections with family and friends, unable to express our feelings. Instead of reaching out or trying to slow down to digest the way we feel in a constructive way, grief and loss can internalize and transform into guilt, blame and self-loathing. This is not a safe space to be in, and typically are root causes of anger, depression and other negative feelings. In an effort to manage or cope with constant negativity, substance use seems like an effective oping mechanism. You may not realize this is happening to you until you have pushed away everyone in your life who is meaningful.

In therapy, we ask clients to go through anger management sessions, identify feelings and assist in the development of expressing oneself appropriately. We look to the current situation at hand and ask you to think about your most recent outburst or how you feel at that moment. Moving through the processing of anger or sadness and exploring where these originated can change your perception of yourself and the issue. Moving directly into anger, often masks true feelings of fear or anxiety. Teaching mindfulness exercises focused on meditation is one way we approach emotion regulation.

Grief and anger can manifest themselves in physical changes in the body and mental distress. Some of these mood-related symptoms include:

  • Increasing heart rate and stress levels
  • Abdominal pain
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Body aches
  • Anxiety and depression
  • High blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Irritability
  • Muscle tension
  • Chest pain
  • Isolating from loved ones
  • Shifting of beliefs and priorities
  • Loss of control
  • Inability to communicate and interact with others

Coping mechanisms can filter out the things that do not serve you and can be detrimental to your health. We encourage group work, holistic methods such as journaling, physical fitness, music therapy, gardening, art therapy and mood management. Instead of relying on substances to subdue these issues or close your mind to them, detox and treatment can help. Call now to access services that can open your heart to a positive, peaceful lifestyle of change. 833-801-LIVE.


PTSD

Mental health disorders play a major role in the world of addiction and only through the last decade or so have people begun to understand this concept. Physical and emotional traumas you may have experienced can affect your mental health and well-being.

What is PTSD and how does it start?

Whether or not you understand what you’re experiencing or have any recollection of past traumas, symptoms of PTSD affect children and adults alike. It is an all too common issue of war veterans suffering the aftereffects of disturbing experiences including death and the destruction of countries, men, women and children. A reaction to the traumatic event is filed away and can randomly affect your state of calm. PTSD is a condition of past trauma that arises from environmental, personal and triggering of sudden flashbacks.

Traumatic events that can cause post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) include:

  • Sexual, emotional and physical abuse
  • Witnessing sexual abuse or domestic violence
  • Fighting in the war
  • Witnessing a murder or knowing a close friend or family member who was murdered
  • Serious car wreck or pedestrian death
  • Prison experience
  • Kidnapping
  • Terrorism
  • Attack or robbery
  • Home invasion
  • Prostitution
  • Medical incidents (surviving heart attack, stroke or suddenly waking up in surgery)
  • Miscarriage
  • Child abuse

To numb these internal battles, people suffering from PTSD turn to substances. Another common trait of those afflicted by PTSD to internalize these intense feelings of fear, guilt, anxiety and confusion. Addiction and PTSD are two factors that can not only inhibit your ability to interact with others, but your ability to fully experience your life on your terms. Triggers for PTSD are not focused on internal factors, but also those environmental changes. Weather can bring someone back to a stormy night when something tragic occured and it can cause these memories to flood into their minds. For some it’s the fact that your next door neighbor or clerk at the grocery store resembles an abuser.

There Are Others Experiencing PTSD, Just Like You

There are two types of people who exhibit PTSD symptoms, that deal with trauma by becoming reactive and externalize their fear, and the other is someone who dissociates from their world. Feeling overwhelmed and unable to understand what’s happening internally can wreak havoc on your emotions and internal balance. While you may think you’re the only person who struggles with PTSD, there are many out there in hiding.

If you find yourself lashing out at others because your environment triggers these feelings of anxiety and fear, you may have PTSD. The first step in treating PTSD is to complete an assessment with an addiction and mental health specialist and find a recovery program that will support your needs. Trauma specific treatments are available and are conducted in a safe space so that you can work through these events and eventually find peace.

If you struggle with memories and flashbacks it’s important that you find help by calling our treatment center at Enlightened Solutions at 833-801-LIVE.


Sex Addiction

Sex addiction is identified separately from substance use disorder and we will focus on the area alone, although it can be connected and induced by illicit substances. While substance abuse can reroute brain function based on reward satisfaction, the addiction to sexual acts whether through self-satisfaction or involving others, replaces the focus on substances.

The Diagnostic Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders reviews a few sexually based dysfunctions but still does not specifically identify sex addiction. However, there are people all over the world who struggle with their sexual fantasies that turn into obsessive behaviors that become addictive.

What distinguishes obsession with sex from addiction to sex?

When you exhibit control over your sexual urges, this is normal, but what identifies sexual addiction for therapists is the inability to tame these urges and to act on them by any means necessary. Statistics show that over half of those convicted for sexual abuse are sex addicts that never sought out treatment. Again, addiction isn’t based entirely on drugs and alcohol. Addiction is the brain’s affinity for an abused substance or behavior that eventually displaces all other necessary functional life needs. When it comes to sex addiction, you’ll likely think of how these obsessions with sex escalate over time. Someone who is addicted to pornography, for example, watches porn compulsively and may then act on these pornographic scenes with their partner or engage in risky sexual relations with complete strangers.

There are many issues connected to pornography addictions such as the disconnect from romantic relationships based on the unrealistic need to act out the sexual fantasy. One’s partner may feel uncomfortable or disrespected in the process, and it ruins the relationship. Should a sex addiction continue to escalate beyond the obsessions with pornography or masturbation, things can become complicated. Life’s balance between family members, work responsibilities, finances, and communication can fall by the wayside without care. Once the individual loses all inhibition to find sexual satisfaction in voyeurism or prostitutes, while in a committed relationship, there are also health-related concerns that put others in danger as well.

Where does the addiction to sex come from?

Some studies suggest those who have been diagnosed with a sex addiction have suffered childhood trauma such as sexual abuse. Along with this environmental influence, genetics also play a role as they do with the predisposition to become addicted to drugs and alcohol. Should someone live with addicts and is raised with the same mentality or emotional issues, they could feel powerless, and sex offers that power satisfaction. There are still potential connections to sex addiction and related behaviors that are currently in the research process, but the problem is ever present.

If you or someone you know finds themselves engaging in risky activity and need help, we’re willing to assist you find balance and stability. We understand that the aftereffects of risky sexual behaviors can cause depression and anxiety not to mention, produce rifts in the family. Call Enlightened Solutions to focus on recovery and your family bonds at 833-801-LIVE.