The Dangers of Polydrug Use

Polydrug use is when you use more than one drug at a time or mix drugs and alcohol. People usually mix drugs to enhance their effects and to experience a more euphoric high. However, mixing drugs can compound their side effects and increase the chances of an overdose, respiratory failure, or even death.

What Are the Dangers of Polydrug Abuse?

The dangers of mixing drugs depend on the combination of drugs or alcohol that you are using. While it is possible to combine some drugs safely when following a prescription, mixing drugs without medical advice or mixing illicit drugs is extremely dangerous. Some of the possible dangers include:

  • Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety
  • Liver damage and failure
  • Heart problems
  • Stomach bleeding
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Respiratory failure
  • Brain damage

Alcohol and Benzodiazepines

Mixing drugs with alcohol is one of the most common forms of polydrug abuse. In 2011, over half of all alcohol-related emergency room visits in the United States also involved illicit drugs. People often mix drugs and alcohol at parties to intensify the intoxicating effects.

Mixing benzodiazepines (benzos) with alcohol can be particularly dangerous. Both substances are central nervous system depressants that work by slowing down the brain. Taking them together compounds their effects and may lead to slow breathing, organ failure, and coma.

Alcohol and Cocaine

People often mix alcohol with cocaine to ease some of cocaine’s negative side effects like anxiety or twitching. It can also re-energize someone and make people feel less drunk.

However, using alcohol with cocaine is hazardous. It enhances the effects of cocaine, increasing its blood concentration by up to 30%. It may also increase your heart rate and cause you to behave more violently.

Combining alcohol with cocaine also produces a new chemical in the liver called cocaethylene. This drug is toxic and may lead to seizures, liver damage, and a weakened immune system.

Opioids and Benzodiazepines

Opioid painkillers and benzodiazepines are both prescription drugs that your doctor may prescribe to treat certain conditions. Combining opioids and benzos is always extremely dangerous. Both drugs are sedatives that impair thinking and suppress breathing which is the leading cause of death by overdose. A study in North Carolina found that death by overdose was ten times higher in patients combining opioids and benzos than in those just using opioids.

Worryingly, many doctors still prescribe opioids and benzos simultaneously. In 2013, 17% of people receiving opioid prescriptions in the United States were also prescribed benzos.

Heroin and Cocaine

Combining heroin and cocaine is known as ‘speedballing’. Taking heroin with cocaine enhances the effects of each drug and produces a new kind of high that you can not experience from taking either substance on its own.

Using both substances together can also reduce some of their negative side effects. While this may make the experience more pleasurable, it can cause you to think that you are soberer than you are. Speedball users may continue to take more of each substance, increasing the chance of an overdose.

The duration of cocaine is shorter than heroin, so the effects wear off earlier. Users who have taken a high dose of heroin can experience respiratory failure when the effects of cocaine subside. Repeatedly injecting drugs also increases the risk of collapsed veins and abscesses.

How Does Polydrug Use Lead to Addiction?

When you repeatedly use an addictive substance, it affects the reward pathways in your brain. Your brain recognizes the pleasurable effects of a drug and produces urges to use the substance again. If you take multiple addictive substances, this reward-seeking behavior is reinforced and intensified. It strengthens the urges to use drugs, increasing the chances of addiction.

Polydrug abuse is a serious problem in the United States that can be devastating to your short-term and long-term health. At Enlightened Solutions, we offer our clients numerous tools to move forward in a sober lifestyle. We focus on healing the whole person alongside addiction. Our treatment program is rooted in the 12-step philosophy and offers each client an individualized recovery plan.

We offer a range of treatment modalities, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), family constellation therapy, art and music therapy, yoga and meditation, acupuncture and chiropractic work, and equine-assisted therapy. Our treatment facilities are on the south shores of New Jersey and provide optimal healing and relaxation. If you seek relief from addiction, or if someone close to you does, please call us at (833) 801-5483 for more information about our treatment options.


Cleaning

Is It Safe to Go to Rehab During the COVID-19 Pandemic?

If you or someone you know is contemplating treatment for drug or alcohol abuse, you may be wondering if it’s safe to do so during the COVID-19 pandemic. The answer is yes, treatment facilities are taking numerous precautions to ensure the safety of their patients and staff members. In fact, it may be a really good time to seek treatment.

A Booming Business

According to experts, more people are turning to drugs and alcohol to cope with the stresses brought about by COVID-19. People are planning quarantine cocktail parties and Zoom Happy  Hours. Friends have raised a glass to each other via FaceTime. According to a piece that ran on Morning Edition on National Public Radio (NPR) on September 11, 2020, alcohol sales have been an economic bright spot during the pandemic. Alcohol sales outside of bars and restaurants are up 24 percent over this time last year, and restaurants have been allowed to sell alcohol with take-out food orders. Drizly, an app-based alcohol home delivery service, raised $50 million in August to expand its operations, and a company spokesperson said that sales are up 350 percent over this time last year.

This boom in alcohol sales worries Dr. Lorenzo Leggio, who is a researcher with the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Leggio says that because alcohol is more socially acceptable than other drugs, consuming excessive amounts of alcohol seems less risky to people than street drugs (although the use of opioids, meth, and cocaine has also increased). Another point of concern is that, according to Leggio, alcohol-related illnesses kill 88,000 Americans per year, which is more than all drug overdoses combined for the same time period. People who drink excessive amounts of alcohol have an increased risk of respiratory infections and an increased risk of complications from those infections. Additionally, there is concern that after the pandemic ends, that pattern of excess drinking may continue.

What Precautions Are Treatment Facilities Taking?

Drug and alcohol treatment centers are considered essential services and so have not been required to shut down during the pandemic. In fact, as more people turn to drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism during the pandemic, treatment centers are more needed than ever as people struggle with addiction and other mental health issues.

At many treatment facilities, health precautions begin before a patient is even admitted. Perspective clients are screened for risk factors, frequently through a questionnaire that asks if they have traveled outside the United States recently; if they have passed through an airport; if they have had a cough, fever, or shortness of breath in the past seven days; if they have experienced a loss of taste or smell; and if they have been in contact with anyone who is or may be COVID-19 positive. Many treatment centers check the temperature with a forehead thermometer of anyone entering the facility. If their temperature is higher than 100.4 degrees, they will not be allowed to enter. 

Disinfectant wipes, masks, and gloves are available for everyone in the facilities, staff, and patients alike. Cleaning and disinfecting routines have been heightened, with high-touch surfaces being disinfected frequently throughout the day. Masks must be worn when in common areas. Social distancing is enforced, and handshakes, hugs, and the like are not allowed. Many facilities are prohibiting visitors and visits off-site have been scaled back.

Treatment facilities have also developed protocols to follow if a patient should become ill with COVID-19 while in treatment. Clients in an out-patient program would need to return home and participate in their various therapies via Telehealth services or a Zoom meeting or some other remote access modality. They would be required to contact their primary care physician or go to urgent care. They would need to be free of a fever for 72 hours and be cleared by their doctor before returning to the program. Clients in a residential program who become ill with COVID-19 may be quarantined in their residence, sent home and offered Telehealth services, or taken to a local hospital if their medical situation warrants that level of care.

As in many other organizations, many staff members at treatment centers can work remotely and are doing so. Whenever possible, group and individual therapy sessions are being conducted through telemedicine. If groups meet in person, social distancing guidelines are being observed. Some treatment centers that offer residential care are limiting off-site visits for clients to medical appointments.

Treatment Facilities May Offer More Precautions from COVID-19 than “Civilian” Life

Some experts feel that, for a person addicted to drugs or alcohol, a treatment facility may provide more protection from COVID-19 than they would have in their day-to-day life because they will be in a controlled environment. People struggling with addiction won’t be abusing drugs or alcohol and engaging in risky behaviors that frequently coincide with substance abuse. If you are or someone you love is considering entering a treatment program, don’t let COVID-19 deter you.

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, more people are turning to drugs and alcohol to cope with the stress as the world grapples with this illness. Alcohol sales, excluding bars and restaurants, are up 24% when compared with the same time period in the previous year. Some experts worry that people are drinking to excess to ease the stress and boredom from the pandemic. While not all of this excess will result in addiction, some will. There is concern that when the pandemic ends, the excessive alcohol consumption will continue. At the same time, there is concern about whether or not it is safe to enter a treatment program during the pandemic. Rest assured that treatment facilities like Enlightened Solutions, located on the New Jersey shore, are monitoring the pandemic closely and taking precautions to safeguard the health of clients, staff members, families, and the greater community. If you or a loved one is concerned about drug or alcohol use, call (833) 801-5483.

 


Animal Therapy

Can Animals Be Therapists?

It is said that man’s best friend is a dog. Can a dog also be man’s best therapist?

Anyone who loves animals knows how nice it is to come home to a dog who’s glad to see you, particularly after a bad day: to stroke a cat’s fur and listen to the kitty purr; to cuddle a nice, soft bunny; to saddle up a horse and go for a ride, or even to watch fish swimming placidly in their aquarium. All of these actions contribute to a sense of calm and well-being.

While a beloved pet will never take the place of a trained therapist, spending time with an animal provides both physical and mental health benefits that can aid in recovery.

Benefits of Having a Pet or Spending Time With Animals

According to an article that was published on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) website, owning a pet can decrease stress, improve a person’s overall cardiovascular health, and can decrease the levels of cortisol (a stress hormone) circulating in a person’s system and increase the levels of oxytocin. Decreasing the levels of cortisol can lower blood pressure, prevent weight gain, boost energy levels, improve brain function, and strengthen the immune system. Increased levels of oxytocin contribute to the ability to form connections. A study conducted by the Federation Cynologique Internationale suggests that children who have pets in their homes develop stronger immune systems than do children in homes without pets.

An article in Psychology Today says that spending time with animals can be beneficial to people diagnosed with major depressive disorder, schizophrenia, and substance use disorder. Spending time with animals can contribute to feelings of calmness, comfort, and safety, and forming a bond with an animal can help people develop better self-esteem, improve their ability to trust and form connections, and improve socialization and communication skills. A study of adolescents with type 1 diabetes demonstrated that taking care of fish correlated to the teens better managing their diabetes.

Having a pet also lowers your cholesterol level, decreases triglycerides (fats carried in the blood), decreases feelings of loneliness, increases your opportunities to get exercise and spend time outdoors, and makes it easier to form connections with other people. If you have a tendency to isolate because of depression or feelings of shame surrounding addiction, having a dog can be a great way to get out of your head, get out of the house, and meet some other people.

If pet ownership isn’t a possibility, perhaps because you rent in a place that doesn’t allow animals, you are in college and live in a dorm, or you or someone in your household is allergic to animals, you can still have some of the benefits of being around animals. Go to a pet store and spend some time watching the animals there. If your area has an aquarium, zoo, or living museum, pay them a visit. Volunteer at an animal shelter or an animal rescue society. Find work as a dog walker or take care of people’s pets when they travel. 

Animals in Medical and Other Settings

Because of the mental and health benefits that spending time with animals brings to people, animals are used in more formal settings as well. This idea is not new. An article on animal-assisted therapy (AAT) published on the Alliance of Therapy Dogs website says that the ancient Greeks used companion animals to help people with physical and mental illnesses. Hippocrates, the Greek doctor considered to be the founder of medicine, thought that there was great therapeutic value in horseback riding. In the 1960s, child psychologist Boris Levinson is considered to be the father of AAT. Levinson began bringing his dog, Jingles, to work with him and found that when he did so that the children’s therapy sessions were more productive. Children were more at ease and communicative when Jingles was in the session. 

Now therapy dogs (typically well-trained pets) make the rounds at some selected hospitals, nursing homes, hospice facilities, addiction treatment centers, and prisons. According to an article published by the Mayo Clinic, the use of therapy dogs can “significantly reduce pain, anxiety, depression, and fatigue in people with a range of health problems.” These health problems include children undergoing dental procedures, cancer patients receiving treatment, patients with dementia, and veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Prisons use therapy dogs to “reduce violence and anti-social behaviors, cases of suicide, and drug addiction.”

Some airports now use therapy dogs as well, which was implemented after 9/11. According to Vane Airport Media, Inc., as of 2018, 58 airports in the United States had some sort of therapy dog program. For example, the Wag Brigade has been a tail-wagging presence at the San Francisco International Airport since 2013. The Wag Brigade now has 22 therapy dogs and one Juliana -breed pig, who enjoys playing her toy piano. The therapy animals all wear vests that say “Pet Me.” The Wag Brigade is a partnership between the airport and the San Francisco SPCA.

Animal-Assisted Therapy in Addiction Recovery

Because of the mental and physical health benefits associated with being around animals, many treatment facilities incorporate some type of animal-assisted therapy into their programs. Activities will vary depending on the facility and the client, but can include grooming and feeding the horses, taking care of the tack, and cleaning out stables. Many programs also incorporate riding. Equine therapy lends itself well to recovery programs because working around horses can help people to identify and process their feelings. 

The ancient Greeks were right: animals are good for people. Don’t fire your therapist, but do find a friendly animal to be part of your life.

Spending time with animals is good for your physical and mental health. Because of this, Enlightened Solutions includes equine therapy as part of the holistic treatment modalities that they offer to patients working to overcome addiction or mental health issues. Equine therapy has demonstrated success in helping people to identify their feelings, which is part of the healing process. Located on the New Jersey shore, Enlightened Solutions offers alternative therapies to complement the one-on-one and group counseling that they provide. Other alternative therapies that they offer include art and music therapy, Family Constellation Therapy, horticultural therapy, yoga, acupuncture, and chiropractic work. Every patient has a treatment program custom-tailored for him or her based on their individual needs. If you or a loved one are seeking treatment for a substance abuse disorder or a mental health issue, consider Enlightened Solutions. The facility offers treatment in a compassionate and supportive environment. For more information call (833) 801-5483.

 


Brain Anatomy May Predetermine Suicide Risk

In October of 2019, researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago identified differences in brain circuitry that may relate to suicidal behavior within individuals with mood disorders. Therefore, this study offers an encouraging lead towards developing tools that may predict which individuals are at the highest risk for suicide. 

Suicide rates are steadily increasing, particularly among individuals with mood disorders like depression. Over half of those individuals who committed suicide sought medical help from a health professional within the previous 30 days, but not necessarily for their mood issues. Although urgent care facilities and emergency departments may ask screening questions dealing with mood and psychological health, suicide rates are on the rise. 

Currently, self-reporting and health-provider judgment are the only ways to identify individuals who may be at high risk for suicide-related behavior. Although that is a good starting point, it is not sufficient for identifying those suffering and in need of help. Stigma and fear of subsequent judgment or consequences may lead those who experience suicidal thoughts or ideations not to report these incidents to their health care providers. Therefore, these negative thoughts and feelings go unreported and undetected, leading to detrimental consequences. 

The Previous Research Finds Brain Circuits Related to Mood Disorders 

Prior studies identified brain circuits related to mood disorders. 

  • The cognitive control network (CCN) deals with attention, problem-solving, decision-making, impulsivity, other high-level cognitive processes, and working memory (which is the part of short-term memory that is involved with the immediate conscious feeling and language processing)
  • The salience and emotional network (SEN) deals with emotion regulation and processing. Since it is the control center for emotions in the brain, it delivers signals between the areas of the brain that regulate how we respond, react, and act to situations through our thoughts and feelings. 
  • The default-mode network (DMN) is the opposite of the CCN, in that it deals with the wandering mind, retrieving long-term memory, and self-reflection. It is active when individuals engage in self-focused thought.   

The Study

The current study utilized four groups:

  • individuals with a history of suicide attempts and mood disorders
  • Individuals with a history of suicidal thoughts and mood disorders
  • Individuals with mood disorders, but no history of suicidal thoughts or behaviors
  • A healthy control group with no mood disorders or a history of suicidal thoughts or behaviors

The researchers used functional MRI’s to capture brain images of calm and rested patients. This process allowed the researchers to assess circuit connectivity within the brain at base levels. The study found that the group with a history of suicide attempts showed less connection within their cognitive control network (CCN), which involves decision-making and problem-solving. 

Furthermore, there was less connectivity between the CCN and the default-mode network (DMN) within this group. Therefore, there was a limited connection between the parts of their brains that deal with decision-making and self-reflection/thought. These variations may present a target for treatment within the neurons of the brain. Science could find a way to improve connectivity between the CCN and the DMN to reduce suicide risk for the future. 

The Limits of the Study and Where to Go from Here

This type of research is still new, and this was a small study. Since it consisted of only 18 participants with histories of suicide attempts and mood disorders, it will need replication among a new and larger sample. Furthermore, the results of the study do not confirm that individuals at risk for suicide with mood disorders have a different mental illness than those without the risk for suicide, or whether every individual with a mood disorder is at risk of suicide. Furthermore, the study focused on past events, such as previous suicide attempts. Also, the MRI scans did not occur during the suicide attempts, so the images the researchers studied may not represent what the brain looks like during an actual suicidal episode. 

This type of research requires a longitudinal study or one that involves repeating observations and analysis of the same group of people over a specific period. The researchers could measure brain circuits in the beginning and check in regularly with patients to see how they are doing. In this case, it may be beneficial to follow individuals at the beginning of their diagnosis of a mood disorder and then follow their journeys for a few years, so that MRI’s may be taken multiple times for the same individual. This way, the researchers could identify how the brain changes during suicidal episodes and compare that data with previous research. This data will provide an improved idea of which risk factors to monitor at the clinical level, and when there should be medical interventions.

Feeling Lost and Looking for Help?

  Past research on suicide and its risk among individuals create a foundation for future research to build upon and may lead to life-saving interventions at the neurological and psychological levels. Studies such as this help researchers guide their studies to cater to the needs of the population and those who have mental illness, suicidal ideations, and substance use disorders that regularly accompany these issues. Prevention of mental illness, related suicidal thoughts, and subsequent substance use disorders are vital to improving the health of all individuals in this modern, fast-paced society. If you or someone you know is contending with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, call Enlightened Solutions today at 833-801-LIVE.


Deleting Facebook: Are Social Media Apps Influencing Young Adults to Use Substances?

Social media sites, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, are different but share similarities. First, users generate an account, then link to a network of friends, family, or groups, and proceed to use the platform to share personal thoughts and ideas, videos, photos, and other user-generated content. In the United States in 2019, there were 190 million active users on Facebook, 330 million active users on Twitter, and 110 million active users on Instagram. Although users saturate these platforms, research shows that exposure to other’s social media pages displaying negative behaviors also influences young adults’ use of drugs or alcohol. 

Social Media is Addictive Itself

Social networking sites, also known as SNS, include platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. The use of these social media platforms causes stress due to their use. When dealing with stress-induced by SNS, users do not just stop using them; instead, they change how they use them. For example, research revealed that social media users would switch from posting updates to scanning news feeds to chatting with friends, depending on which ones were inducing stress. They essentially “bounce around” the platforms to avoid stress, instead of cutting out social media use altogether. These actions may lead to an addiction to the social media platform itself. Using the same social media platforms that cause stress to battle stress seems illogical, but that is how the use becomes obsessive, compulsive, and, ultimately, an addiction. 

Social Media is Free Advertising

Seeing other people’s “highlighted” lives may cause negative emotions, such as jealousy and anger. Users of SNS are seeking solace from stress and using these sites as a means of escape or coping. Unfortunately, the use of SNS causes stress itself and may lead to anxiety disorders, depression, and addictions. Addiction to the SNS is not the only possible outcome, as social media use positively relates to increased alcohol use in young adults. The content generated on these social media platforms is from other users, so images of alcohol and drug use are rampant on these sites. Images of drinking and using drugs are known to influence young adults, and social media promotes the sharing of information and connecting to others. Alcohol and drug-related texts or statuses and photos of consumption or use abound on SNS. 

Therefore, other users unknowingly become advertisements for smoking cigarettes, drinking alcohol, and using drugs through their own social media pages. Although these advertised risky behaviors become displayed on social media platforms, they are not so quick to display the negative consequences of engaging in them. Embarrassment, hangovers, arrests, or other negative consequences associated with these risky behaviors are rarely, if ever, posted on SNS.

Furthermore, alcohol companies ask users to “like” their social media pages on Facebook and then ask them to take photos of themselves imbibing their specific alcohol beverage. There may be giveaways or contests associated with participating in these requests, which furthers the amount of “free advertising” for the alcohol company. It is difficult to censor the content that a social media user is exposed to on SNS like Facebook. Since generating an account does not require age-verification, you can choose whichever age you wish when setting up your page. Therefore, drug or alcohol-related content exposure for young adults is a real problem.

Psychological Theories Help Explain Social Media Influence

Social media strongly influences young adults and is explored through two classic psychological theories: Social Learning Theory and the Media Practice Model. The Media Practice Model suggests that the role of media choices influence intentions and behaviors, and young adults choose and interact with social media based on who they are or who they want to be in that moment. Therefore, social media users explore content based on behaviors they wish to engage in, which can lead to the reinforcement of these ideas. So, an adolescent who is contemplating alcohol consumption may decide to watch a movie or browse social media content that depicts drinking at a party, which in turn may inspire them to attend a party in the future. 

Social Learning Theory is a combination of two other theories, and suggests that there is a strong relationship between peer influence and behavior:

  1. Cognitive Learning Theory suggests that psychological factors influence learning.
  2. Behavioral Learning Theory presumes that we build learning upon our responses to environmental stimulants.

Therefore, combining the two theories, Social Learning Theory identifies four requirements for learning:

  1. Observation, or learning from others.
  2. Retention, or continued use of the substance.
  3. Reproduction or imitating behaviors.
  4. Motivation, or feeling rewarded by acting the same way as others.

Consequently, young adults learn through direct experience and observing others. Observing peers is a significant influence on young adults’ intentions, attitudes, and behaviors. This relationship is evidenced by early alcohol use, which is mainly dependent upon peer alcohol use. In regards to social media use, these observations are no longer limited to physical interactions, but are online, on cellphones and computers. 

Looking for Help?

Today, social media is pervasive in our society, easily available, and accessed continuously as a source of information for young adults. SNS combines the influence of social persuasion with the reach of mass media, and exposure to alcohol and drug use through these platforms is associated with higher instances of adolescent substance use. Social media is creating a more powerful influence on drinking behavior for these at-risk populations. At Enlightened Solutions, we offer a safe and nurturing space for a long-lasting road to recovery. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, call us today at 833-801-LIVE.


The Inner Critic and Self-Reliance 

The Inner Critic and Self-Reliance 

We can struggle when we internalize ideas about ourselves that are particularly negative, especially ones that impact our self-belief. Harriet Griffey wrote “Yes, you can” for In The Moment magazine. She references a quote by Henry Ford: “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t, you’re right.” This quote helps to drive home the powerful notion of self-fulfilling thoughts. Here’s the thing: you have the power over your thoughts. You can squash your internal critic — here’s how!

Challenge the automatic negative thoughts

Negativity is a paved road that we often travel. We also often question the positive things in our lives. It takes practice to stop the negative thoughts and accept the positive ones. Griffey urges us to respond thoughtfully to the thoughts you have that may be negative. Employ your rational mind when thoughts become irrational. “Unless the self-criticism is challenged, it chips away at your self-belief,” Griffey says. Don’t give in to the negative thoughts — challenge them!

Believe in yourself

Self-belief in others is a common thing we recognize. We see our friends and family members accept compliments or admit their wrongdoings, but when it comes to ourselves, we have trouble accepting self-belief. Take note of when your friends and family members don’t immediately turn to the irrational negatives. They don’t have to brag or boast, either. They are able to separate the situation from who they are. It isn’t always about them, and they know that. This is what you should strive to do. Begin to recognize self-belief in those around you and you will be able to recognize it in yourself, too!

It’s not selfish

It’s not selfish to have genuine self-belief. You must have confidence so that you can accomplish the goals you’ve set for yourself. Confidence and being self-assured isn’t selfish. Don’t let what you’ve been told about selfishness to impact how you see and think about yourself. Challenge the thoughts you’ve been told, too!

With self-belief comes self-reliance. It takes strength to rely on yourself more often than you rely on others. You cannot, however, avoid relying on others all of the time; however, you can work toward making yourself the person you lean on when you have the choice. Self-reliance breeds independence and strength to become the person you want to become. Take control and forge your own path, says Annika Rose, who wrote “How to become more self-reliant” for the magazine, In The Moment. Try not to fall back on the default of leaning on others. Make your own choices, take responsibility, and activate independence, she says. Here are ways that you can be more self-reliant!

Permission granted!

Do not seek permission from others to pursue what you want and love says Rose. Give yourself the ‘yes’ you want and have been waiting for, she says. Allow yourself the space to complete what you want. You don’t have to wait for others to grant you permission. As long as you’re making a well-considered choice and taking action in the direction of your desires, says Rose, you’re on the right track. 

Balance your social and solitary time.

We all know that time alone can be good for us, but some of us don’t like solitary time. Others don’t like social gatherings. Whatever your thing is, it’s okay. You must learn to balance your time between solitary and social time, though. Solitary time can give you time to reflect and replenish, while social time can lift your mood and strengthen the relationships you have. Try to create a balance between the two. 

Take control of your finances.

Taking control of your finances can make you feel self-sufficient, says Rose. This doesn’t just stop at finances, however. Be the boss. Take control of your happiness by becoming more self-reliant and taking control of your desires.

Challenge expectations.

On the flip side, if you feel like you have become too self-reliant, you are able to take a step back and let go a bit. Going with the flow, Rose says, can be helpful to take the load off of your shoulders. Let others decide what to do next. Let them be self-reliant, too! It’s all about balance.

Turn to the experts.

“If you’re struggling to connect with your self-reliant side, try reading books, listening to podcasts, or following the Instagram accounts of pioneers and change-makers who will inspire you to believe in yourself and be more independent,” explains Rose. Turning toward others will help you, over time, turn to yourself. For more information on how Enlighted Solutions can help you or a loved one, please call us at 833-801-LIVE today.


Passive Aggression- The Sneaky Anger

Passive Aggression- The Sneaky Anger

When someone is angry, they may be upfront with you and tell you that they are upset with you. Then there is another type of anger where someone could act like everything is fine, but use subtle tactics to avoid having to confront you about their anger. It is always important to be upfront about your anger to avoid any pent up anger or confusion if the person you are angry at cannot pick up on your signals.

Not Looking In the Eye

One form of passive aggression is when you do not look at the person you are mad at. You know that if you look at the person you are mad at for too long, your anger can come out. You would rather distance yourself from that person. Maybe you could be dealing with problems that have nothing to do with that person, but you do not want to look at them because you are afraid if you do, you are inviting them to ask you what is wrong. The truth is that a person, especially a good friend, will know that something is wrong if you look like you are avoiding looking at them. It will make them feel ignored.

Ignoring Someone in a Group Setting

You could be in a group setting and have a problem with one person in the group. This can mean that when the person you do not like is speaking, you could be ignoring them and speaking to everyone else. The person you do not like will catch on when they realize you are not answering them when they speak or if they are trying to bring a good idea into the discussion and you are just passing it off.

Your Actions Do Not Match Your Words

The whole point of passive aggression is that you are nice to that person to their face, only to speak harshly about them behind their back. One example is that you may over compliment that person and they do not know you are mad at them. That person may have no idea that anything is wrong and that you are just being genuinely nice. Or that person may find it odd that you are being too nice. It may come as a shock to them when they find out how you really feel.

Being Critical

If you do not like someone, you may be using your tone of voice as a way of conveying your dislike towards someone. An example can be that you are to train someone at work that you do not like. Whenever that person makes a mistake, you are rudely criticizing that person for every mistake instead of comforting them. This is a way of establishing dominance and seniority by making that person feel useless to feel smarter. All this is telling the other person is that you are insecure about yourself and tearing the other person down to feel on top.

Making Fun of Someone

Passive aggression is using subtle signs in regular action. This can mean that you are constantly mocking the person you do not like. You could be making fun of the way they walk, talk, or certain quirks of theirs. You could be lying to them and saying that you are joking, making them feel like they are being too serious. In reality, you mocking that person is your own subtle way of telling that person how you think of them. You are pointing out what you think are flaws that you cannot ignore about that person.

Denial

One of the biggest signs of passive aggression is when you will absolutely not admit you have a problem with that person. You do not want to have to confront that person about your dislike towards them, so you would rather take the subtle approach to avoid a fight. You will still tell that person that everything is fine even when they clearly see that it is not. You may even respond to that person in anger when they ask you how you are feeling. If you do not confront that person on your feelings towards them, that anger will not go away.

Unsatisfied Resolution

You may have tried to resolve things with this person because they see all of the red flags you are sending them. Even when it seems you have come up with a solution, you are still not satisfied. The problem is that the other person has no idea that you are still not happy. On their end, everything seems fine because you gave off that impression that it is. With no resolution means more pent up anger and frustration. 

How You Can Change

Remember that being passive-aggressive is a choice you made instead of being confrontational. This may be who you have always been, but there is room for change. Learn to direct your communication to that person who is angering you instead of your subtle approaches. Think of the subtle choices that you have made in the past when you were passive-aggressive and how you can change them. For example, if this person offers a conflict resolution you are not happy with, tell that person and come up with a solution you are both happy with. Let others know that you are trying your best to change. Confronting your passive-aggressive anger will help resolve it and move past it. 

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


How an Actor Should Take Care of Their Mental Health

How an Actor Should Take Care of Their Mental Health

Being an actor is hard work as you face rejection on a daily basis. If you go through a series of auditions and not get a single one, it can damage your self-esteem and throw you into a depression. By knowing how to take care of your mental health after an audition, you will be in good spirits for the next one. 

How to Deal With Rejection

All actors deal with rejection. Even if you are talented and gave a great audition, someone else could have given a better one. You should embrace rejection into your life if being an actor is your dream instead of dreading it. None of us wants to feel this pain and we will do whatever it takes to stop it. You should find the power in rejection. Whether or not you are an actor, not everything comes easily to everyone. After a series of rejections, you may finally get the part you have always wanted. Do not let rejection be an enemy, but embrace it instead.

How to Stay Motivated

When you act in an audition or an acting class, you must feel a rush of excitement and you feel proud of yourself. Remember through challenging moments why you decided to act. You can tell yourself that rejection is just part of the process that will take you a few steps forward towards your dream. You can also let yourself know that everyone loses. Just like your favorite sports team has probably lost the finals of an important game. They did not give up, but they pushed themselves every game. That is how you have to see yourself after every audition. 

How to Avoid Jealousy

It is easy to compare yourself to others in the business. You may be looking at other aspiring actors in the audition room and seeing what they look like or how much experience they have told you they have. You could also be thinking of how your favorite actor or actress started at a young age and are scared your time has passed to be cast. Once you know what you are jealous of, turn that negative statement into a positive one. For example, if you think you are not good enough, change that to you trusting your gifts and talents. Read the positive and negative statements out loud and see which ones sound stronger. You will know your jealousy is gone when instead of feeling negativity when seeing other actors, you are instead happy for them in their success.

How to Handle Audition Anxiety

You may enter the audition room and you hear your name being called out. Once you see the casting directors waiting for you, everything about your confidence changes. This is because when adrenaline rushes to your bloodstream, you tighten up, sweat, shake, have dry mouth, shortness of breath, and dizziness. This fight or flight response can lead to a panic attack. By trying to ignore these symptoms can actually make them worse if all of that energy is pent up. Expect this kind of reaction when you are in front of judges and just tell yourself that these casting directors want you to do well and are rooting you on. Casting directors are looking for the actor to embody the character they have imagined and want that person in front of them to be the one they have been looking for. This should build your confidence.

When to See a Therapist

People tend to be afraid to go to therapy because they are afraid that it will make them appear weak. The truth is that anyone can benefit from therapy as you speak about your problems to someone who is unbiased. Most insurance plans offer mental health coverage and you can find a therapist that has a sliding scale to help with costs. A therapist can help you figure out why you love what you do, help you cope or make necessary changes, and dealing with new challenges. Therapy can actually help benefit your acting career.

Change Your Intentions

Actors tend to put a lot of pressure on themselves during their audition. Instead of telling yourself that this will be the part that will make or break your career, find a new intention instead. Tell yourself that you are doing this audition as an opportunity to introduce casting directors to your new monologue or that this is just for practice. Focus only on that intention and let that be your goal so that you can walk out of the audition feeling like you accomplished something.

Emotional Health

You can find a community of other actors going through the same through online message boards on Facebook or in your acting class. Everything you are feeling is most likely what they have felt as well. While acting may be your main passion, it does not have to be your only passion. Find a hobby to engage in between auditions and to help take your mind off the last audition. You should also focus on what you need to improve on for the next audition such as cold reading too quickly, shakiness, forgetting your lines, etc. You can speak to your therapist about how to improve in these areas. It is important to realize that you need to improve your mental health to help benefit your acting career and your own personal health.

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


How a Viral Obituary Inspired Others to Share Their Stories of Death by Opioids

How a Viral Obituary Inspired Others to Share Their Stories of Death by Opioids

Obituaries are a great way to let your community know about someone that you thought was a great person. They are a great way to honor someone and share some facts about them that would interest others. A viral obituary was recently released and inspired an online memorial project to honor those who lost their lives to opioid addiction

The Death of Alexa Rose Cioffi

On the day Alexa Rose Cioffi died, she was too sick to take care of her two-year-old son Frankie. Her father, Frank Cioffi, decided to help her out by taking his grandson to the store to buy diapers. When he returned back to her house with Frankie, Cioffi thought Alex was asleep. He made himself a snack, changed the baby, and found Alexa lying sideways on the bed. He discovered she was unconscious and not moving. He called 911 and started CPR where he found marks on her neck and chest. The EMTs injected Alexa with Narcan medication but it did no good because it was not an opioid overdose. 

Alexa died of acute bronchial pneumonia as a result of substance abuse. Alexa broke her wrist in a car accident at 17 and was prescribed opioids. She did not become addicted until her mid-20s. It was not until she stole from family members that Cioffi realized something was wrong. The autopsy showed traces of fentanyl. After she died, Cioffi adopted his grandson and wrote in the obituary that he wishes Alexa could see him.

All Our Hearts

Cioffi never shared the details of his daughter’s death before. He, along with others who lost loved ones to opioids, wrote about the honest and personal details about them in an online memorial project called All Our Hearts. This project was made by Seven Days, a Vermont-based newsweekly to show to the human cost of the opioid crisis. This site currently features 12 memorials written by parents, siblings, and partners. They would write about who these people were before they discovered drugs as well as their darkest moments and how addiction changed their relationships. 

The idea came from an obituary that got an overwhelming response. Kate O’Neill wrote about her sister Madelyn Linsenmeir who struggled for 12 years with opioid addiction before she died. O’Neill learned just how much shame there was in addiction when her sister was alive and how she wanted to put a face to this epidemic. All Our Hearts manager Cathy Resmer saw this obituary and saw 1,000 heartbreaking comments on it. She realized that these comments were a safe space. It reminded her of the AIDS Quilt that helped break the stigma of those who died during the AIDS epidemic. The name for the project came about when O’Neill wrote in Madelyn’s obituary, “Know that we believe with all our hearts that you can and will make it. It is never too late.” It was not easy for Cioffi to share the details of his daughter’s death to online strangers, but wanted to encourage others to seek help before it is too late.

Angela Bowser-Camilletti

One of the memorials in All Our Hearts is when Sandy Camilletti spoke of how her daughter, Angela, was held down and injected with heroin at a college party. Angela was an avid skier and snowboarder as well as a lifeguard, swim teacher, dancer, and dance teacher. She played the Sugar Plum Fairy in her high school production of The Nutcracker and was studying criminal justice before she died of an overdose in 2009. Camilletti said she did not feel like the mother/daughter dynamic they both had was ever the same. She felt fear, lack of understanding, anger, and hopeless. Angela did not enter recovery until she entered her third rehab in three years. Camilletti said the love they had for each other never changed. Angela’s youngest sister, Lena, helped develop All Our Hearts.

Angela overdosed on over-the-counter medication and methadone. Lena would never hear anyone speak of heroin addiction outside of her family. She felt like it was of great importance to be honest about her sister’s death as it was therapeutic for her and did not want other families to go through this pain. 

Virgil Shepard

Melissa Shepard wrote an obituary for her 34-year-old brother who died in Ohio after shooting up a drug he had no idea of. What he thought was heroin was actually a mix of heroin, fentanyl, carfentanil, and cocaine. The police said he took something he had no idea what he had and it went straight to his heart. Shepard loved football and Tom Petty. While it hurt Shepard to write about her brother’s death, she knew it was important to open up discussions and for harsher punishments to come to those who sell drugs.

Being Part of the Project

These obituaries teach the world about the horrors of addiction. We can read through each writer’s words how painful it is to lose a loved one to something that can be treated with the right guidance and support. In order to make sure your obituary appears on All Our Hearts, fill out an online form on the Seven Days website or call the paper. The team then contacts people who submitted their entries and interviews them to get additional details of their experiences. By submitting an obituary for this project, you are helping break the stigma of addiction and honoring your loved ones.

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


A Dopey Podcast for Recovering Addicts

A Dopey Podcast for Recovering Addicts

Podcasts can be a great way to hear stories of those struggling with the same issues as you. You can discover new information in the news in relation to the topic as well as hear personal stories that you can relate to. A pair of friends created the podcast Dopey informs listeners about the true natures of addiction with some light-hearted moments in between.

How Laughter Can Help in Recovery

One part of recovery from addiction is slowly rewiring the reward circuitry of the brain. Laughing can help produce endorphins and make you feel good without feeling the need to turn to drugs. Bringing laughter into your recovery will show you all about not stressing about the small stuff and to make light of things. Laughter can also be stronger when shared with a group of friends and family. That was the mission of podcasters Chris and Dave in speaking freely about their own struggles with addiction but adding some humor to it to help make the recovery of others easier. 

How Dopey Began Into a Successful Podcast

Two recovering heroin addicts, Chris and Dave, met at a drug rehab center in Connecticut in 2011. Dave at the time was less than six months into sobriety working at a Jewish deli in Manhattan. Chris managed a sober living facility and was getting an undergraduate degree in psychology. Four years later after they both came up with the idea of the podcast in 2011, they both had more stable sobriety and met in Manhattan to tape stories of their drug-fueled stories. It started out with a small following to guests joining them to tell their own stories. 

There have been musicians like House of Pain and Three Dog Night, comedians like Artie Lange and Modi, Dr. Drew Pinsky, and even the touring manager of The Rolling Stones. These sober guests proved to be an inspiration to listeners struggling with addiction as well as guests who spoke out their journey out of the horrors of addiction. 

How the Death of Chris Changed Everything

Unfortunately, after four years of sobriety, Chris passed away from a fentanyl overdose when Dopey was on its 143rd episode. In the months before his death, Chris was prescribed painkillers after injuring himself while on vacation with his girlfriend. Painkillers led to him abusing heroin and other drugs. After losing his friend and co-host, Dave could have shut down the show forever. Instead, Dave decided to be absorbed in his work and has not missed an episode so far. He even had Chris’ friends and sponsor guest star on an episode the night of Chris’ wake. This led to the tone of the show being less comedically fueled and more on the vulnerabilities of addiction and recovery. 

After more people found out about Chris’ death, podcasts downloads doubled. Popularity soared more when the podcast was featured on an episode of another podcast This American Life. Dopey even has its own community that has members all around the world. Dave knew how important it was to keep the show going to avoid letting his fans down. Dave says unless the show feels boring or people stop listening, the show is not going anywhere.

Guest Stars on Dopey

During the early years of Dopey, Dave originally asked Jamie Lee Curtis to be on the show and she declined. She did not like the idea of a podcast that blended comedy with addiction. Dave let her know that she could be as serious as she wanted which changed her mind. She became the first Dopey guest to cry on the show. Curtis, who dealt with opioid addiction for ten years, spoke on the show about how anyone can develop an addiction no matter how much money you make or your job. That addiction will try to kill you if you do not get help. 

David Sheff was another guest who wrote the memoir “Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction” which was adapted into a movie last year. Sheff spoke about how he believed more solutions can come for addiction treatment if more people talking about it. Sheff also said he loved Dopey because these conversations are able to come alive and can engage listeners through these stories. Dr. Drew Pinsky has become a regular guest on Dopey and is a fan of the way the podcast addresses addiction. That in 12 step meetings, people in recovery tend to make light of their own struggles as well as being honest. 

What is Happening with Dopey Now

Last month had the first-ever DopeyCon which was a live storytelling event being sponsored by the rehab where he met Chris. Fans from all over the world traveled to this event and met other members of the Dopey community. Dave’s wishes for Dopey is to show that being in recovery can be fun and to educate others on the dangers of addiction as well as the safety of recovery. Dave has no plans to replace his best friend with another co-host and still continues to host the podcast on his own. Chris and Dave made something of themselves and used their stories of addiction to inspire others to break the stigma of addiction. By listening to more podcasts that speak of the perils and hope in recovery, you will feel brave enough to tell your own story.

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