Cognitive Behavioral Therapy For Social Anxiety Disorders

Medication and therapy are the two most highly prescribed answers for treating mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety. Increasingly, evidence is showing that there is more to treating mental illness than talking and taking a pill. For anxiety of all kinds, various treatment methods are being incorporated into treatment regimes to support recovery. Recent research has found that a combination of therapy and medication is no longer the most effective method. According toKnowridge Science Report, cognitive behavioral therapy alone is the most effective treatment for anxiety- specifically, social anxiety disorder.

In a recent study published inPsychotherapy and Psychosomatics, the website reports, an overwhelming 85 percent of participants struggling with social anxiety disorder “significantly improved or became completely healthy using only cognitive therapy.” Though a small group sample at 100 people, the researchers, as cited by the website, claim to have set a world record in effectively treating social anxiety disorder. Metacognitive therapy is the specific type of cognitive behavioral therapy used for the study. Through the process, therapists are able to work with patients in identifying thoughts, ruminations, worries, and reactions to social anxieties. Patients were equipped with coping tools for regulating their attention, their emotions, and training their brains in new ways.

Why Therapy For Social Anxiety Disorder?

Medication cannot yet target the specific memories, situations, or chromosomes that causes someone to worry about what they do. Some anxiety is genetically inherited while other people’s anxiety is formed in reaction to trauma, bullying, humiliation, or other causes. While medication can change brain chemistry and reduce the intensity of symptoms, it cannot stop the reaction entirely, or cure the psychological cause of it. Cognitive behavioral therapy helps patients target and manipulate their very thought processes, rewiring the way the brain responds.

Enlightened Solutions utilizes the multidisciplinary use of cognitive therapies for treating anxiety disorders and an often co-occurring addiction disorder. For information on our partial care programs of treatment certified for treating dual diagnosis, call us today at 833-801-5483.

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Is Depression Caused By A Lack Of Expression?

Circus animals are prone to get depressed. Tigers, lions, bears, and elephants, are wild animals. They are meant to roam large and vast lands, hunt, mate, and explore. When they are put into the circus, however humanely they are treated, they are confined. Instead of being free, they are caged. Rather than explore and be the animals they are, they are trained and forced to perform in unnatural ways. Many animal rights activists criticize circus companies for torturing animals in this way because it rids animals of their autonomy to be who they are. Similar criticism is given to zoos.

Oppression and Self Expression

Humans face a similar tale. Oppression is a common story in a human life. Though the reasons are different, people get oppressed in their ability to fully express who they are. Whether it is due to cultural conflict, religious conflict, environmental conflict, or other means, people are not allowed to fully actualize who they are. Each human is a unique and different individual. Like snowflakes, humans have numerous similarities and commonalities, but at the core, not one of us is exactly like the other. When others find ways of repressing that, humans react in one of two ways: they act out or they shut down, a symptom of which can be depression.

Gbenga Adebamo is a counselor who wrote on the many ways depression is created out of a lack of expression, for The Good Men Project. He describes everything from lack of gratitude, to grief, to overparenting- and includes addiction. Depression and addiction are highly co-occurring disorders. Worldwide, depression is a leading mental illness. “One of the major reasons why people relapse back into addiction,” Adebamo explains, “is simply because they are unable to find positive expression for their energy.” Adebamo continues to describe the energy behind people’s addictions and how, after getting sober, that energy needs to find somewhere to go. Often, addiction is a coping mechanism for pre-existing depression or other areas which Adebamo might label as being resistant to expression.

Finding Your Expression

Recovery is a process of discovery. Through treatment and therapy, you have the opportunity to discover, or re-discover, how it is you express yourself. Expression doesn’t have to be creative, it just has to be you. After years of being told that your means of expression is wrong, you begin to believe you are wrong. You are not wrong. Now is the time to find out who you really are and live an authentic life expressing who that is.

Start with Enlightened Recovery Solutions on your path to sobriety. Our partial care programs are designed around the unique needs of each individual to help them become their authentic selves. If you or a loved one are experiencing difficulty with depression, addiction, or both, call us today at 833-801-5483.

How To Calm Panic And Anxiety

Anxiety and panic are reality disorienting mental disorders. When we experience an onset of anxiety and panic, we are losing touch with reality as we know it personally. Our minds our suddenly convinced of the worst case scenario, death, humiliation, shame, and more. The problem with anxiety and panic is that we have a difficult time separating ourselves from the experience of panic anxiety. If you read that sentence and felt shocked that you even could separate yourself from panic and anxiety, this article is for you.

Panic and anxiety are emotional experiences. Any emotional experience can be observed with a healthy mindfulness and nonjudgment. However, it takes therapeutic work to get there. The key to creating a sense of calm during panic and anxiety is recognizing that calm is possible. Anxiety and panic are fleeting, transitory emotions, even though they don’t feel that way. 

Problematically, when we aren’t actively aware of that our panicked and anxious reactions turn into habits. Habits are hard to break. It takes awareness and practice to change a habit. How you react to stressors in your life is completely in your power, should you seek to use it.

First, Understand The Difference Between Panic And Anxiety

Panic and anxiety are not the same thing. Having an anxiety attack and having a panic attack are two different kinds of episodes. Most contrastingly, panic is when the brain becomes convinced it is about to die. Panic is not set in various fears or insecurities- panic is narrow mindedly focused on imminent death. Anxiety, on the other hand, is paranoia run wild. Anxiety attacks are the feeling that everything is getting out of control and the worst case scenario is about to occur.

Second, Use That Knowledge To Create Some Distance

Now that you have differentiated between having a panic attack and having an anxiety attack, or experiencing one of the two emotions, you can create some distance between them. By labeling what is going on, you can start to detach yourself from it. Naming the problem is a way of making it separate from you. Instead of being panicked or being anxious, you are experiencing panic and experiencing anxiety.

Third, Take A Moment To Breath

Utilizing mindfulness meditation during the onset of panic or anxiety can curb the experience and reduce the intensity of symptoms. Focusing on the breath, you can help yourself feel more grounded in the moment, concentrating on the fact that this too shall pass.

Enlightened Solutions is an integrative care treatment center providing holistic healing and 12 step inspired care to clients. Our dual diagnosis problems welcomes mental health disorders as well as substance use disorders for treatment. For more information, call 833-801-5483.

Billboards Have Nothing On Instagram For Body Image Damage

“Put your best face forward” is a cliche which has taken on a whole new meaning in the age of social media. Social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram have been criticized for promoting body shaming, and pro-anorexia communities. Instagram especially comes under fire as the “news feed” for the social media platform is 100% photos. It is easy to fill one’s newsfeed with nothing but photos of idealized perfection in models, celebrities, and more.

Self Editing

For the ultimate Instagram photo, there is a lot of editing involved. People even buy special backlit photo cases to be able to take the perfect “selfie”. Apps help people digitally edit their faces or their bodies to make it look more “perfect”. Many people argue that social media is damaging to self-esteem because people portray their real-life identities to the online identities of others. Recent research suggests that instagram might be more damaging to body image than big media mediums like billboards.

Social Media Comparison

According to theSydney Morning Herald, “research found women rarely compare their appearance to others’ in magazines or on billboards, and only sometimes compare their appearance to others’ on TV.” Women are more apt to make social media comparisons than any other, the research found, and social media comparisons describe the way young women are comparing themselves all the time.

The results of the study were startling. Women were asked to report how often they compared themselves to other women and social media and what their mood, body image perception, and thoughts about diet and/or exercise were like. “Women reported being in the worst mood after social media comparisons relative to other comparisons,” the study explains. “When women made social media comparisons, they also reported being unhappier with their appearance.” In addition, women were more “motivated” to start drastic weight loss regimens. All of these reactions were more extreme when women compared themselves against images on social media.

Body image can lead to a damaged sense of self-esteem and encourage extreme behaviors which can lead to the development of an eating disorder. Spending too much time online can be problematic. If you or a loved one are concerned about body image issues leading to an eating disorder, call Enlightened Solutions today. We provide dual diagnosis treatment for body image, eating disorder, and co-occurring substance disorders as well. For more information, call 833-801-5483.

Be Of Service This Year

“Practical experience shows that nothing will so much insure immunity from drinking as intensive work with other alcoholics. It works when other activities fail.”  This is written in the chapter “Working With Others” in the primary text of Alcoholics Anonymous, The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous. The informative chapter describes numerous situations in which an alcoholic can help another. Connecting with alcoholics who might still be struggling is an essential part of being a recovering alcoholic. It is, after all, how Alcoholics Anonymous began.


Bill Wilson had finally gotten sober after a lifetime of miserable alcoholism. On a business trip to Ohio, he found himself in the hotel lobby pacing back and forth in front of the hotel bar. He had worked so hard to stay sober and was actually enjoying his sober life. Yet some phenomena was overtaking him. He had an intense craving for alcohol, even though he knew how tragic it would be for him to drink. Suddenly, a thought hit him. He needed to speak to another alcoholic. Only another alcoholic could understand what he was going through. By way of fate he ended up in the house of an older man suffering from alcoholism by the name of Dr. Bob Smith. At the end of a long’s night discussions regarding alcoholism and Bill’s recovery- both men had been helped. Bill was no longer craving alcohol and Bob was inspired to get sober. Alcoholics Anonymous, and the importance of being of service was born.

Recovery is a Gift

The new year is an opportunity to refresh your service hood. Recovery is a precious gift which, many who have recovered have found, must be given away in order to be kept. Being of service to others in recovery can take many forms. Make a list of the ways you would like to give back this year. There is little doubt you will not regret it. Here are some of our favorite ideas at Enlightened Solutions.

  • Complete the 12 steps
  • Sponsor another person through the 12 steps
  • Take a service commitment at a meeting
  • Speak at H&I meetings (hospitals and institutions)
  • Donate a small amount to your favorite charity, organization, or cause
  • Pick up some small etiquette practices like showing up on time, writing thank you notes, and being courteous to all
  • Help the less fortunate

Enlightened Solutions believes the philosophy of the 12 steps offers a spiritual and philosophical foundation for a practical program of living in recovery. For the problem of alcoholics and addiction, we have a solution. For more information, call 833-801-5483.

7 Ways To Amp Up Your Adult Self-Care Game

Protect Your Feet

Our feet are pretty important. They get us to where we need to go, help us do fun things, and support our entire body. Fashionable footwear can be fun, but we need to start thinking holistically in recovery. Treat your feet to something sweet with footwear that is both good looking and good for your body. Supporting your body, literally, from the floor up is a way to help save your back in the future.

Get More Sleep

Sleep is a critical necessity in life and in recovery. On average, you should be getting 6-8 hours of sleep, though some researchers suggest that 10 hours of sleep would be the most efficient. Follow good sleep routines like staying off your phone, meditating, and going to bed at an appropriate time. Never say no to naps, but learn how to nap effectively: 20 minute power naps can reboot the brain while 90 minute naps can enhance productivity and creativity.

Be A Better Driver

How many times did you drive intoxicated and put others at risk? Driving each day is an opportunity to make a living amends for times we were more reckless and dangerous to others. Practice safe driving, don’t use your phone, and give yourself ample time to get to where you’re going so you don’t rush. Enjoy your driving time with books on audio or your favorite music.

Clean Your Room And Your House

Your messy days are over. It’s true, you’ll have days when a clean room is the least of your worries. A cluttered space equals a cluttered mind. Having material goods is a gift of recovery, so they should be well taken care of. In addition, you’re working hard to restore your immune system and your health. A clean home and living space reduces hidden toxins and germs which can cause illness.

Take Care Of Sexual Health

Sex and sexuality is not a common topic of recovery. Alcoholism and addiction can cause reckless sexual impulsivity. Taking good care of sexual health is part of being a grown person in recovery. Make regular appointments with doctors and take care yourself.

Cook Real Food

Learning how to cook is a benefit of recovery. When all we think about is our substances, we are less than inclined to take good care of ourselves. In the beginning of recovery it can be easy to opt for easy food options to at least eat. Later on, its essential to start practicing habits for a healthy diet. One of thebest ways to do that is to cook at home.

Enlightened Solutions aims to help men and women learn how to live life again through supportive twelve step based recovery fused with holistic and alternative healing. For more information, call 833-801-5483.

The Scientific Benefit Of Prayer And Meditation

“The spiritual life is not a theory,” the authors of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous boldly state. When Alcoholics Anonymous was founded in the 1930’s there was no answer for the disease of alcoholism. The insanity which drove a man or woman to continuously drink to excess despite the impending and well known negative consequences lying ahead was bewildering. No doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist, wife, husband, or man himself could explain it. Moreover, no one could seem to make it stop. Until, that is, founder Bill Wilson had what he would come to famously described as a spiritual experience. Once he discovered the healing of a power greater than himself his phenomenal obsession of craving for more alcohol ceased to exist. Of course, it took some work to maintain his sobriety. However, the foundation of his life became a spiritual one. The twelve steps of Alcoholics Anonymous, and all reflective twelve step programs, are a program of living for a spiritual life. They are a guide for discovering and building a relationship with a spiritual power of being that one gets to define for themselves.

Step 11 calls upon a recovering addict or alcoholic to engage in prayer and meditation for the purpose of improving a conscious contact with a Higher Power. Regarding step 11, The Big Book text reads, “We shouldn’t be shy on this matter of prayer. Better men than we are using it constantly.” Later, they write, “it works- it really does” For years, the 12-Step philosophy has fallen under ridicule as a model of treatment for addiction and alcoholism. Spirituality and science have long been at war, struggling to find a common ground. Ironically, most spiritual people fully embrace scientific evidence. What occurs through spiritual experience feels like a scientific revelation to many. Changing one’s thoughts, behaviors, and ways of thinking is in fact a neuroscientific process but feels remarkably spiritual. That is precisely what happens when one chooses to leave their destructive relationship with drugs and alcohol behind and seek a closer connection to spiritual sources greater than themselves.

Fifty five percent of Americans say that they participate in prayer every day, according to a 2015 poll. Seventy five percent of Americans believe prayer is an important part of life. Some doctors are bridging the crossroads between spirituality and science and looking at just how important prayer might be. Prayer and meditation have great physical and psychological benefit that help deal with a deadly factor: stress. Addiction and alcoholism are stressful. Recovery can be stressful. Life itself is often stressful. How one deals with that stress has a direct impact on their health and wellbeing. Prayer and meditation have been found to create a sense of calm, lower blood pressure, support regulation of challenging emotions like anger, and generally reduce symptoms of stress.

Reduction of stress due to prayer and meditation, the constant conscious contact with God or a Higher Power of one’s own understanding might relieve so much stress for another reason. “We alcoholics are undisciplined,” The Big Book authors explain, “So we let God discipline us…” Spiritual practices like prayer and meditation are a form of discipline which help guide a recovering addict or alcoholic into a new way of living.


Enlightened Solutions brings together the spirituality of 12 step philosophy with natural healing modalities for holistic health. Our program is designed to help you break the harmful bonds of drug and alcohol addiction and support your transformation from co-occurring disorders. For more information, call 833-801-5483.

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Things Contributing To Negative Self-Thinking

Negative self-thinking is exactly as it sounds: the negative thoughts one thinks about themselves. Do you have negative self-thinking? Most people have at least one thing they hold high above their own heads, something that just isn’t...right. Whether a physical imperfection, emotional imperfection, or a work-oriented imperfection- one might think more highly of themselves, if only that one thing would change.

“Ego says: once everything falls into place, I will find peace. Spirit says: find peace and everything will fall into place.” The drive for some kind of perfection is a matter of acceptance. We often feel that we cannot be accepted and loved by others unless we achieve this expectation of perfection. It is true that there are thousands of messages being sold by the media each day to convince us of just how imperfect and unloveable we are. To absorb and consume those messages and make them into our own thoughts is a matter of ego. Our ego believes in perfection because our ego likes to think it might be achievable. Spirit, on the other hand, the spiritual soul by which we learn to live in recovery, does not need perfection. Spirit lives in acceptance, transcending the ideas of perfect or imperfect. While the ego is in constant struggle, the spirit is content with simply being.

Negative thinking is the result of beliefs and habits that form over time due to certain blockages we set up. The more we feed the ego, the more we block the spirit. One way we do that is by punishing who we are. The freckles on our face, the way we snort when we laugh, or our difficulty in certain school subjects makes us unique. Assuming and deciding that there is something defective with us is damaging to the spirit which sees everything with an unconditional love. Another way we block the spirit with ego is by refusing to forgive ourselves. Forgiveness means, by one definition, giving up all hope of a better past. Through addiction, alcoholism, eating disorders, and other harmful habits or ways of thinking, we punish ourselves for our faults. Somehow we think hurting ourselves in this way in the present will help change the way we’ve been our whole lives- the way we were meant to be. Forgiving means taking a weight off our own shoulders, being able to breathe, love, and accept who we are. Until we can forgive ourselves, we continue to have negative self thinking because, if for no other reason, we do not think we are worth being forgiven or worth living without punishment.


Recovery is a beautiful process of healing for mind, body, ego, and spirit. Enlightened Solutions uses the philosophy behind holistic and spiritual practice in conjunction with 12 step philosophy and evidence based practices to create a wholesome approach to treatment. Serving dual diagnosis needs of substance use disorders and mental health disorders, we welcome anyone to call for help. 833-801-5483

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Does Marijuana Help Mental Health?

Marijuana is legalizing and medicalizing around the country. 2016 alone has seen the legislative approval of recreational marijuana use in 4 states. Many others have decriminalized small amounts of marijuana as well as medicalized it. As the normalization of marijuana grows, research continues to grow as well. CBD oil, which removes the high-inducing THC molecule from marijuana, is being used to treat cancer, autism, ADHD, depression, and more.

A recent review of research has found that marijuana can benefit mental health disorders. Social anxiety, PTSD, and depression can all be benefited from the use of marijuana, according to the review. Specifically, these mental health disorders benefit from the use of marijuana. Other mental health disorders like bipolar might not benefit from the use of marijuana as they result in more negative effects.

According to, one of the main encouragements for expanding research into the positive benefit of marijuana in treating mental health is to aid in the war on opioids. Quoting Zach Walsh of the University of British Columbia, Time cites, “If people use cannabis as a replacement for opioid medications, or to get off of opioids or cut back, we could see some pretty dramatic public health benefits.” Walsh continues to explain what millions of Americans know to be true: “The level of opioid overdoses is so high right now.”

Isn’t Marijuana Addictive?

Marijuana is not considered to be an addictive or habit forming drug by most. However, marijuana use disorder has become a realistic problem. Marijuana today is stronger than it has been in previous decades, causing more a chemical alteration and creating a dependency. Regular marijuana users do experience symptoms of withdrawal without using marijuana. For this reason, recovery professionals are concerned about the use of a mind altering substance to treat the addiction to another mind altering substance.

As controversy still reigns regarding medication assisted treatment and the use of natural substances like Kratom, it is unlikely marijuana as an addiction treatment will gain traction. Additionally, marijuana, though legalized at state level for some states, is still a federally illegal drug. Until the DEA lifts the Schedule 1 label on marijuana, conducting further studies will be difficult.


Enlightened Solutions provides a continuum of care to men and women seeking a creative approach to treatment. Our programs combine evidence based treatment with twelve step philosophy and include holistic modalities for care. For more information, call 833-801-5483.

Should You Quit Social Media For The Holidays?

The holidays aren’t merry and bright for everyone. Though winter cheer is supposed to warm our hearts despite the frightful weather outside, for many, the holidays are a dismal time. Far from being a bah-humbug, some have experienced great loss, abandonment, or trauma during the holidays. Growing up without the picture postcard perfect holiday celebrations can make witnessing the celebrations of others difficult. Recovery is a time to redefine how you want to relate to and spend your holiday season. It is also a time to learn how to manage your fear of missing out, the way you compare yourself to others, and the way you feel about yourself. Even so, the holidays can be hard. For this reason, many 12 step meeting clubhouses around the world have 24 hour meeting schedules during specific holiday celebrations. There is usually a spike in sobriety dates during January as people hit their bottoms during the holidays.

Social Media Detox

Holidays are just a season and a single day in the year. As we’ve learned to do, we take it all in stride, one day at a time. The holidays will pass and there will be a whole other set of eleven months during the year until they return.

It is perfectly okay to feel slightly disturbed or uncertain during the holidays. Engaging in regular self-care is of critical importance during these times. One practice that might be beneficial to add to your holiday self-care regimen is quitting social media temporarily.

Getting Your Head on Straight

New research suggests that quitting social media, specifically Facebook, can increase your sense of happiness. However, the research is limited in its credibility. Many studies have shown that Facebook can increase feelings of FOMO, isolation, and depression. Going without Facebook long term has not been studied longitudinally or in a blind study. However, the results from such studies show that there is a definite difference between those who can give up their social media vices and those who cannot.

Taking A Holiday Social Media Detox

Set out a final post wishing everyone a happy holidays and sign off. With your free time, read a book you’ve been eyeing, pick up a new hobby like playing the guitar, or spend time exploring an area you’ve been wanting to see. Make the holiday season yours by creating your own memories.

At Enlightened Solutions we offer clients a way to create a new life for themselves integrating therapeutic practices and holistic lifestyles for total transformation. Our certified treatment center works to help those with substance use disorder issues as well as co-occurring secondary issues. For more information, call 833-801-5483.