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

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

Mental Health Disorders Veterans Experience

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

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

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

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

Consequences of Veterans Not Seeking Help

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

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

Bridgeton Veterans Volunteer to Help Other Veterans

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

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

How to Help a Fellow Veteran

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

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


Bipolar Can Come With a Lot of Creativity

Bipolar Can Come With a Lot of Creativity

One conversation occurring about people who are bipolar is that they often have great access to creativity.  The link between bipolar and creativity is substantiated by significant data.  Many who are living with this disorder grow to associate their creativity as related to their mental health.  There is collective value in acknowledging this experience of creativity when evaluating the benefits of treatment for bipolar.  During the process of determining treatment, it is paramount to consider the necessity of a creative perspective for someone with bipolar when examining a range of treatment options.  Being a channel of creativity crafts a unique life perspective, different from one who lives primarily on the plane of rational logic. Potential threat lies in the perspective of a treatment option which might violate the natural creative flow.

Due to the the chemical basis of bipolar’s effect on mental health, it is widely recommended that medication be used in the treatment strategy.  Unlike other mental health challenges, bipolar disorder will exist despite changes in environmental experiences.  The necessity of medication is similar to insulin for the diabetic.  Folklore about medication and bipolar is that the creative energy is squelched by this aspect of treatment.  This myth must be debunked as those living with this disorder have special gifts to offer the collective as well as an obligation to their own health.  

The life experience unique to someone with bipolar disorder is a pendulum swinging across two realities.  This disorder expresses two distinct realities, depression and mania.  It is the swinging between these states that generates the powerful energy for creativity. Bipolar is similar to a waterfall, the space between running water of a stream and the pool of water at the bottom of the gravitational flow.  Both are bodies of water and the water that is contained by each space is the same, yet there is a power that is generated in the fall that is booming with effect.  

The journey to finding the medication that will allow this beautiful flow of energy to exist without debilitating effects is challenging.  Balancing brain chemistry with an external influence, like medication, is an imperfect science and also one that saves lives.  The journey is one of minor degrees of change which are sometimes felt as no change at all.  Commitment to continue is essential for both survival and longevity.  When that commitment flounders, return to the vision of the creative gifts that will be generated over a lifetime. Without medication, this creative energy may be extinguished early or stunted by debilitating highs and lows fulfilling the original fear that causes resistance to medication for the person with bipolar disorder.  

If you are struggling with addiction, alcoholism, and/or mental health, know that there is hope. There is a solution. Harmoniously fusing together the best elements of clinical care, holistic healing, and 12-step philosophy, Enlightened Solutions has created a program of total transformation for men and women seeking recovery. Call 833-801-5483 today for information on our partial care programs in New Jersey.


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Generalized Anxiety: Do You Believe In Generalized Myths?

Anxiety is one of the most frequently co-occurring mental health disorders with substance use disorders which include drugs and alcohol. High anxiety can lead to tumultuous emotions and a chronic state of worrying, in addition to many other symptoms. Impulsivity, panic, and intensified fear of judgment by peers are especially high risk factors for those with anxiety to develop a relationship with substance abuse. Too often, anxiety disorders like generalized anxiety go misdiagnosed or undiagnosed. Mistaken for stress or chronic worrying, many family members and even doctors write off very obvious symptoms and approach anxiety in the wrong way. After numerous years without treatment, someone with generalized anxiety might find themselves struggling to make sense of their heightened emotional states and wondering why they can’t seem to function like ‘normal’ people. When the opportunity arises, they can easily be inspired to search for relief or answers in drugs and alcohol. The predisposition of mental illness causes the mind to be more susceptible to developing a chemical dependency, leading to a lifetime of problems until treatment and recovery.

Yes, Generalized Anxiety Can Be Treated

Generalized anxiety is a mental health disorder for which there are many treatments. Working with a psychiatrist for medication management, seeing a therapist to work through underlying issues, and receiving care from holistic health practitioners can all relieve the symptoms of generalized anxiety and make them more manageable. Mindfulness based stress reduction is a proven treatment method and lifestyle approach to living with anxiety. Using mindfulness helps take the focus out of the future, or the past, and bring it into the present moment. Immediately, there is a reduction in symptoms of stress.

Yes, Generalized Anxiety Is A Serious Anxiety Disorder

Because generalized anxiety is not a specific anxiety disorder like panic or social anxiety, many tend to believe that it is not or cannot be as severe. However, that is not true. Generalized anxiety in many ways is more complicated than specified anxiety because of the way it causes general anxiety. Without a specific focus, someone with generalized anxiety can experience anxious symptoms in response to absolutely anything.

Yes, Generalized Anxiety Needs To Be Treated When Co-Occurring With Substance Use Disorder

Anxiety and substance use disorders as co-occurring issues need to be treated in conjunction with one another. In order to fully recover from both, both need to be treated, because one can often inspire a triggered response in the other.

Enlightened Solutions offers an integrative approach to treating anxiety and substance use disorders. Bringing together spiritual and holistic healing with twelve step philosophy as well as clinically proven treatment methods, our clients start their lives in recovery on the right path. For more information, call us today at 833-801-5483.


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Trigger Warning: Developing An Understanding Of Your Triggers

The word “trigger” and the use of the phrase “trigger warning” has become more prominent in mainstream culture today as society becomes increasingly aware of trauma and mental health. Trauma can be associated with any kind of traumatic event which feels out of someone’s control. Addiction, alcoholism, depression, anxiety, personality disorders, mood disorders, psychiatric disorders- almost all mental health conditions end up being rooted in the experience of some kind of trauma in someone’s life. Trigger warnings are used to let a mass audience know that a particularly difficult subject is going to be discussed openly. Commonly, topics like rape, sexual abuse, violence, drug and alcohol use are triggers for those who are recovering. Talk of suicide, loss, and violence can be triggering too. There are many shared triggers. Each individual has their own set of triggers as well. Developing an understanding of your triggers is part of developing a relapse prevention plan. Relapse prevention is the set of tools, actions, and practices to prevent yourself from reacting to any kind of situation with default behaviors- primarily engaging in the harmful use of drugs and alcohol. Triggers are not uncontrollable and you are not left weak or victimized in their wake. The first step to overcoming triggers and learning how to manage them is understanding them.

Pay Attention When You Feel Stimulated By Something

You might not yet recognize what feeling “triggered” is like. If you are in recovery from drugs and alcohol, it’s a very simply situation. Feeling triggered is any moment when your immediate reaction is: I want to use. I want to get high. During the early recovery months that can happen a hundred times a day from no hot water in the shower to hearing an especially mean comment. Drugs and alcohol become the habitual behavioral default for coping with difficult and uncomfortable situations. Keep a journal for a week to notice each time you feel inspired to drink or use. At the end of each day, look at the triggers and see if there is a common theme.

Start Looking For The Theme

Noticing the different situations which are triggering, you’ll notice commonalities between them. This is the situation of the trigger, or situational trigger. It might be something like feeling out of control, fear of being abandoned, not having your needs met, being bullied, perceiving someone’s judgments as negative. You might find you make a jerk reaction assumption about all of these moments. As someone in the beginning phases of recovery, and as any human beginning to do this work, that is exactly what you are supposed to do . Overtime, you’ll learn to pause, reflect, then choose how you want to respond. You will not feel triggered by everything forever, that is a promise of recovery. It gets better.

Transformative healing can take place during a few months of recovery. Enlightened Solutions provides recovery for mind, body, and spirit with our integrative partial care programs for men and women. For more information, call 833-801-5483.