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

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

When two disorders occur at the same time, it is often called a dual diagnosis. Depending on what the two disorders are – and various factors related to the individual – recovery can include different ups and downs. Dual diagnoses can be incredibly difficult to manage if both aren’t taken into consideration – depression is quite a common occurrence amongst those who also battle with addiction, so it’s important to ensure that both get proper treatment. If you’ve been struggling with depression while working towards sobriety, please know that you’re not alone – and there is help at Enlightened Solutions for healing and restoration. 

Hiding the Pain with Medication 

Millions upon millions of people across the world experience depression and many don’t understand that it’s a mental illness – not their actual reality – that’s making day-to-day life so hard. It’s hard to seek out a diagnosis for depression, however, especially because it’s so hard to talk about and understand. For example, a person with depression may find it incredibly difficult to open up to their friends and family about this issue, because depression causes us to feel as though it’s our problem alone to deal with – and that only closes us off to more people who could help us.

Previous studies have explored issues like depression as it’s related to self-medication, and they’ve found that drugs like marijuana and alcohol tend to be the most common to use because they’re not viewed by society as “severe” as other drugs. Self-medication occurs when a person uses substances in order to try and mask the symptoms they’re experiencing – although this may seem to work in the meantime, the unfortunate reality is that it becomes easier than ever before to become addicted to these substances. We have a chemical in our brain called dopamine, and whenever something releases this chemical (such as food, sex, drugs, shopping, gambling, etc.), our memory stores it in place as a good one. From there, it becomes easier and easier for the brain to recollect those “feel good” memories – which can entice a person to continue using substances. 

Addiction Recovery and Depression: Managing Both Disorders

Routine

Recovery is a courageous endeavor and one that could change your life for the better. There’s no particular “right way” for a person to heal, as each person has different needs that must be addressed. For those with depression, it often helps to talk and open up to people – even if one doesn’t feel like it. From there, it’s nice to create a strict schedule for navigating each day, including times to wake up, eat, and go to sleep. This helps rewire the brain to get back on track so that it’s no longer “stuck in a rut”.

 Therapy 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)  helps us to identify old, negative thought patterns, while giving us insight into how much importance we’re placing on those thoughts, and if we really need to be giving them much importance considering the effect it’s having on our happiness and health. CBT provides many people with depression the tools and resources they need to really start thinking critically about their thought patterns and what they can do to improve their current circumstances.

Nutrition/Exercise 

When depression hits, it’s common to feel incredibly tired, agitated, and with too many – or too little – feelings to deal with. On top of that, substance abuse can make the situation worse, depriving us of vital nutrients through an unhealthy diet and leaving us with little – or too much - sleep. Depression festers in its own way, and some people even have difficulty maintaining proper hygiene for health and wellness. If you add all of the effects of depression plus the negative effects associated with substance abuse, it becomes a nasty cycle – and exercise can help break the cycle by relieving stress, promoting teamwork and building a sense of community.

Spirituality 

Despite the way depression or detox may be causing you to feel, it’s crucial to begin working on who you are as a person. Spirituality, such as praying, meditating, and creating a strong social support network, can help us to feel as though our lives matter – because they do – and because it’s truly the mental illness causing us to feel as though we don’t. 

The emotional walls we’ve put up, the way we’ve closed ourselves in, the opportunities we’ve passed, the loved ones we’ve hurt, and the substances we’ve relied on can only be healed by choosing to move forward, and spirituality can help us identify what our purpose is in life. 12-Step programs can greatly help aid in this process of discovery, especially as they help connect us more closely to God or another Higher Power.

If you’re ready to recover from addiction and depression, speak to one of our admissions experts today at 833-801-LIVE.


Wil Wheaton’s Journey of Anxiety and Depression

Wil Wheaton’s Journey of Anxiety and Depression

Wil Wheaton is a 45-year-old actor with a wife and two children. He has worked on hit television shows like “The Big Bang Theory” and “Star Trek- The Next Generation,” has been a New York Times Bestselling Audiobook narrator, has received numerous awards for his work, and has struggled with anxiety and depression despite it all. By learning about Wil Wheaton’s experiences of anxiety and depression, it shows us that everyone has their struggles no matter how successful you are in your career and how important it is to talk about it.

Wil Wheaton’s Childhood with Anxiety and Depression

When Wheaton was seven or eight years old, he started having panic attacks. Adults back then thought that he was just suffering from nightmares since there were no names for panic attacks. Wheaton would wake up in terror with the blanket being off the bed by the end of the night. He would sleep on the floor of his sister’s room because he was afraid of being alone. Despite having normal moments as a child, the panic attacks would keep returning always worse than before. 

At the age of 13, Wheaton’s anxiety would kick in where he would worry about everything. He was tired, irritable, lack self-confidence, and low self-esteem. Wheaton felt like he could not trust anyone because he was convinced people only wanted to be around him for his fame since he considered himself worthless without it. Wheaton was taught that his anxiety was shameful in that it would reflect poorly on his parents and should be kept a secret. Adults did not take his anxiety symptoms seriously. When he would have trouble breathing while on set, in fear of messing up or being fired, directors and producers claimed he was too difficult to work with. This was when his anxiety turned into depression.

The Stigma of Mental Illness

Wheaton has told Medium that he wished he knew what mental illness was. Because he did not know what was wrong with him, he did not know how to ask for help. He also had no idea that mental illness could be treated and that he does not have to continue feeling lousy. Wheaton’s parents did not like to talk about mental illness as they felt like it would be a reflection on them. Wheaton does not blame his parents for not addressing his mental illness because he believed they were blind to the symptoms. His parents grew up believing that mental illness was a sign of weakness and taught their son that. When Wheaton would try to reach for help, he did not know what questions to ask and adults did not know what answers to give.

Wil Wheaton in His Twenties

When Wheaton was 22, he suffered another panic attack in the middle of the night. This caused him to drive to his parent’s house, sleep on the floor of his sister’s room again, and asked his mom the next morning what was wrong with him. Even though his mother knew mental illness ran in the family, she still could not connect the dots that the same thing was happening to her son. 

In his twenties, Wheaton started having obsessive behaviors. He would worry about the world around him, holding his breath when he would drive under bridges to avoid crashing his car, tap the side of airplanes to avoid the plane crashing, and would feel like every time he said goodbye to someone would be the last. 

How Anxiety Interferred in Wil Wheaton’s Life

Whenever Wheaton wanted to have fun with his friends, he felt like his anxiety would always stop him. Traffic would be too stressful and he would have trouble finding parking. Wheaton would think of all of the “what-if” scenarios that would make him think negatively about every experience. He wished his brain would ask him what would happen if he actually had fun. Wheaton felt like his anxiety would prevent him from living and just solely existing. 

The Start of Treatment

After Wheaton had a panic attack and a meltdown at the Los Angeles International Airport, his wife suggested that he get help. He knew how important his wife was to him and that she did not want to see him suffer anymore. When Wheaton went to see a doctor, the doctor said to him, “Please let me help you.” It was not until he was 34 that he realized mental illness was not a weakness. Wheaton started on a low dose of an antidepressant and noticed a big change after taking a walk with his wife in ten years. He noticed the smell of the flowers, the breeze, and the birds without feeling any negativity. 

Wil Wheaton’s Advice

Wheaton started talking about his mental illnesses in 2012. After that, a bunch of people reached out to him online. They shared stories with him and asked him questions about how he got through a bad day or week. He would tell them that his depression feels like a lead blanket weighing him down. While that happens, depression feeds you lies. Wheaton wants people to know how important it is to take care of yourself and the awful feelings do not stick with you forever. Wil Wheaton’s wish is for the government to put more funding into mental health treatments and for more people to be comfortable talking about what they are going through. 

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.


Why People Avoid Mental Health Treatment

Why People Avoid Mental Health Treatment

You may know that you need treatment for your mental illness, but perhaps you are too scared to do anything about it. You do not know what to expect and are worried that it will not work. However, seeking treatment for your mental health can help you be in more control and feeling better.

Facing Scary Feelings

Therapy is very hard because it involves exposing your deep, dark feelings that you have not revealed to anyone. You are trusting a stranger with your intense feelings, in hopes that they will help repair you mentally. Therapy involves digging deep into your past and present and exposing who you really are. You may be afraid that you do not like what you discover. It is important to be aware that a therapeutic atmosphere is a safe place where you can feel comfortable to express anything. You will have a professional by your side the whole time. 

Questioning the Length of Therapy

It is important to know that fixing your mental health is not something that will happen overnight. It can take months or years to finally feel better. According to the American Psychological Association, 50% of patients require 15-20 sessions which are about three months if you go weekly. By missing your sessions, you are only making your treatment much longer than it needs to be. If you do not put in the time and effort, you are not going to get better. Every minute that you wasted could have gone into speaking to a therapist about how to help you. By making it a routine to go to therapy, you will see that the months you need to be in treatment will fly quickly.

Feeling Shame

You could be afraid that someone will see you walking into a therapist’s office or a neighbor constantly asking you where you go every week. Especially if you are currently unemployed. You may not want to lie when someone asks, but you are also afraid of the judgment you will face if you tell someone you have a mental illness. You need to remember that you are not alone. According to a Barna study, 42% of Americans have been to therapy at least one point in their life. The people curious where you are going could be in therapy for themselves as well. Also, if you had to go to the doctor for a physical medical issue, that would not be something that you would be quick to hide. The same goes for having a mental illness. It should not be something that you are ashamed of. 

Using Your Friend’s Experience to Match Yours

Everyone’s experience in therapy is different. Your friend may have told you that they had a terrible therapy experience and that based on that one experience, therapy is not helpful. The experiences that our friends have dealt with are not universal. The Barna study said that 47% of people have had a positive experience in therapy and 39% had a somewhat positive experience. Only six percent had a negative experience. It could be possible that your friend did not see a good therapist or that the therapist was not fit for your friend’s needs. Focus on the long-term benefits of therapy and give it a chance as you have the opportunity to have a more positive experience.

Therapy Associated with the Crazy Label

You may feel like you do not need therapy because therapy is for “crazy people.” You may think that your symptoms are not that bad because you get irritable sometimes or get sad sometimes. It is all about how you handle your anger and sadness. If you have huge fits of rage or hide in your room whenever you feel sad, you are not expressing your emotions in a healthy way. You could think that therapists have bigger problems to fix than the ones you have. Any problems that you have, though, are important as small problems can become bigger problems later if you do not do anything about them. 

Money

It can be expensive to go to therapy. But, there is such a thing as affordable treatment. There are therapists that offer service based on a sliding scale or there are community mental health centers that offer therapy at little to no cost. Also, remember that money should not be considered as what stops you from seeking help as if you sprained your ankle, you would see a doctor to fix it no matter what. The same emergence should be said for your mental health as not seeking help can lead to panic attacks or suicidal thoughts if you let the symptoms worsen.

Encouragement for Mental Health Treatment

More needs to be done to let others know how normal it is to be in treatment for your mental health. This can mean writing down the statistics of those who are struggling with the same mental illness you have or how many people in the country go to treatment. Government officials need to talk more about their mental health and encourage treatment. The responsibility should also fall on your local doctor’s offices to have pamphlets of information where to go for treatment as well as transportation options. By speaking comfortable about mental illness and being honest about your symptoms, you should be confident enough to pick up the phone and schedule your first therapy appointment. 

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.


Reasons People Develop Disordered Eating

Reasons People Develop Disordered Eating

It can be hard to understand why someone would purge their food or not eat. People may see what they are doing as a choice when it is really a mental health disorder. By understanding the reasons why people develop eating disorders, we will be able to recognize the signs more easily.

Society

According to Power of Positivity, one of the reasons people develop an eating disorder is when people try to fit in with society’s expectations. The world teaches us that we cannot be overweight and be considered beautiful, but to look skinny to get anywhere in careers, make friends, and gain respect. It can especially be hard when movies, television shows, and magazines show us women that are called beautiful and sexy, but not too many that we see attract the gaze of those they are romantically attracted to are overweight.

Instead of thinking about how important it is to be healthy, they focus more on how we should look toned with no flab anywhere. Because being fat is considered to be a condition no one wants to be in, we are taught to be afraid of food. More people in Hollywood, as well as models, should bring more awareness about being comfortable in your own skin no matter what shape you are.

Where You Live

It is also possible to feel self-conscious about yourself because of the area that you live in. You may work in a place where people are physically fit. You may feel like you have to keep up with everyone in the office so that you do not stick out like a sore thumb. By developing bulimia, you may feel that this is a faster way to lose weight to keep up with everyone. When people binge, they love how food tastes so they taste the food to experience it, but then dispose of it so that it is like it was never eaten. It is also possible that you could have been raised in an environment where you were belittled by your parents or an older sibling because of your shape. By avoiding food, you may think that it will be harder for them to continue belittling you if you look the way they expect you to look.

Sports

There can be a lot of pressure in playing sports. You are pressured to be a certain weight so that you can perform better for games, races, and dance performances. There are people who will starve themselves thinking they will athletically perform better. It can be very hard when they see others they compete against or the build of famous athletes thinking that they need to look just like them to win their games. Athletes need to be aware that more than anything, the best way they can perform in their sport is to be healthy and have the energy and strength to win for their team.

Bullying

There are people who take down others who do not look like them to feel better about themselves. This does not have to be in school, but can be at work as well. It can also feel uncomfortable if your office goes to get dinner and sees you eating more than them, making them think it is okay to make jokes at your expense. If someone is picked on a lot, they may feel like the only way they can avoid this torture is by changing the way they look. Instead of letting these negative taunts affect you, you should stand up to them and be your own person instead of who everyone else wants you to be.

Genetics

Eating disorders can be passed down to children just like with other diseases or mental health conditions. Just like when you look at families that have all obese family members, the same can go with those who use not eating or purging in their daily routine. Power of Positivity also says that chromosomes have been linked to eating disorders like anorexia. Twins are also said to have a higher chance of developing an eating disorder compared to other kinds of siblings.

Low Self-Esteem

Having low self-esteem can play a big part in developing an eating disorder. You may have been in a relationship where your partner left you for someone younger. You feel like you need to compete for that partner or for someone else to be attracted to you. You may be telling yourself that you are just trying to lose a few pounds until it becomes trying to lose too much that you need medical attention. Understanding your worth and seeing the beauty in you through treatment will help you get through your eating disorder.

Poor Coping Skills

It is possible to develop an eating disorder because you have problems dealing with what normally stresses you out. Because life feels so uncontrollable, you feel that the only way to get that control back is by deciding what goes or, in this case, what does not go in your mouth. There is no room for judgment when someone has an eating disorder as it is as much of a cry for help as breaking your arm. It cannot be ignored. By paying attention to the signs of an eating disorder and knowing these possible reasons, you can look into treatment to learn how to like yourself and view your body as beautiful.

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 lasting recovery. For more information, please call us at 833-801-LIVE as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


All or Nothing Anxiety

All or Nothing Anxiety

Having all or nothing anxiety means that your thinking is very black and white. This can affect the choices that you make going forward which can hold you back. It is very important to overcome these negative distortions to avoid missing out on new experiences that you have the chance to enjoy.

Seeing everything in an all or nothing viewpoint makes you think that something either is or is not something. This can mean using absolute terms like “never” or “ever.” If you continue to think this way, this will not leave room for an alternative solutions. You may only see the downside of every situation which will make you not want to try things. You can only be one thing instead of two and can only do something one way instead of trying another. This kind of anxiety can leave you withdrawn from your friends if they feel you are too stubborn to every try things their way.

Having symptoms of anxiety like having a panic attack can make you think you are unworthy and nothing else. This type of thinking will stop you from noticing all of the positive qualities about yourself. Examples of all or nothing anxiety can mean that you gave your resume out to all of these companies that you could picture yourself working for only to never hear from them. Because of this bad experience, you tell yourself that you will never be hired anywhere. You do not mean that you will not be hired at that particular company but anywhere for as long as you live. If you kept up with this thinking, this could prevent you from ever getting a job if you do not put yourself out there.

Another example could be that you are afraid of riding roller coasters. In your mind, you tell yourself and your friends that you will never go on a roller coaster. You probably think about the freak accidents you hear on the news of roller coasters or you watch people go on them first and feel it will be the death of you. There is no changing your mind about giving it a try. While you should trust your instincts and not do anything out of pressure or what you are not comfortable with, you should not look at everything with a negative mindset and be open to stepping outside of your comfort zone.

The best way to overcome all or nothing anxiety is by changing your thought patterns. Since you are used to thinking in the extremes, find some middle ground. For example, if you have not heard back from that companies that you applied to, you can say to yourself that maybe they have not gotten to your application yet, you may get a phone call from them today, they could be reading your application right now, or there are other job opportunities out there waiting for you. The other example could apply as well in thinking that there may be a possibility that you will have fun on this roller coaster enough to go on again. You will not know if you do not give it a try.

Instead of using words like “never,” “ever”, and “or,” change your word choices. Do not use extreme or final word choices. Instead of thinking that I will never have my dreams come true, think of the possibility that you will. Instead of feeling like you are either a good or bad person, be honest with yourself about your positive qualities. Think that you can be both a good person and a bad person as we all have strengths and weaknesses. No one is all good or all bad. Instead of feeling like today was a good day or a bad day, just be honest and admit that while bad things happened today, good things happened too. By using the word “and,” it feels like there is room for more than one choice and more open to other options of your feelings.

You should also think about expanding your options. All or nothing thinking can make you feel like you have to choose one way or only stick with one option or your world will crumble if you had to settle on another choice. For example, you may belong to a Republican party but your friends are talking about liberal issues. You do not want to keep an open mind because you believe that you need to believe in anything your political party is for or against. Actually listen to what your friends are saying and see things from their viewpoint. You might change your mind after hearing them or your opinion will be the same. At least you were able to consider all of your options instead of having an automatic answer.

Most importantly, try to find the positivity in every situation. Do not believe that because things did not work out today that that is all the day brought you. Think of the moments when you smiled or laughed today. Use your friends and family as a support system when you are feeling down as a day that you found to be all bad can grow to be positive by the end of the day. By overcoming your all or nothing anxiety, you will be more open to the choices and opportunities around you and you will be a much happier person.

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


Mental Health During Pregnancy

Mental Health During Pregnancy

Pregnancy can be a very emotional time as you have a baby growing inside your body. But, not only do you have to look out for your physical health, you also need to think about your mental health as well. By knowing about what your mental health can be like when you are pregnant and how you can keep it in check, you will be in a good state by the time your baby is born.

How Pregnancy Affects Mental Health

Because you know how big the responsibility is to carry a baby in your body for nine months, this can be an emotional challenge for you. You may be feeling stressed in that this is a big change coming to you. While you may have read all the baby books and taken the classes, it still cannot prepare you for the hormonal and physical changes your body will go through. Unexpected things may happen to your baby even if you do everything that the doctor tells you. Especially if you had bad experiences in the past like a miscarriage or if your last baby dealt with health issues, this may put you on edge during your pregnancy with high anxiety that something will go wrong. Your anxiety can also grow higher if you google every complication that you may experience, making yourself even more on edge.

Mental Health Problems During Pregnancy

Pregnancy can often lead to anxiety and depression. The chances can increase if you have had problems with your mental health in the past and are not doing anything to treat it. It can also occur if you feel like you do not have support. Your spouse may be at work the whole time you need something, does not come to classes with you, or you live in an area where there is no family near you. It could be that while you are pregnant, you are having problems with your spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend which is making you even more stressed and emotional. You may have also dealt with past abuse before which can put you in a depression while pregnant.

Best Time to Get Help

Remember that there is nothing to be ashamed about in terms of having a mental illness. The important thing is that you take care of yourself for the sake of your baby and yourself. When you notice the signs that something is off about your mental health, do not be afraid to do something about it. By getting a proper diagnosis for what you have, you will feel relieved knowing there is a reason for your behavior and that it can be treated. This can mean if you have been constantly feel sad for longer than a couple of weeks. It can also mean that the negative thoughts and feelings that you are experiencing are affecting your everyday life. If you are losing interest in the things that you used to enjoy or you feel hopeless, that means that you have depression. If you do not do anything about your depression, this can impact you doing what the doctor tells you to do to take care of your baby. Being anxious or worried all the time is having anxiety which will also not leave you in a healthy state during your pregnancy. If you experiencing any of these issues as well as developing panic attacks or obsessive compulsive behaviors, feel free to let a mental health professional know.

What Pregnant Women Need to Be Aware Of

Depression is never the fault of the woman who is pregnant. No one asks to get depression just like no one asks to have a physical ailment. There are many factors that lead to someone getting depression. While developing depression may not be in your control, how you treat it always will be.

You should also know that you are not alone in developing mood disorders during your pregnancy. Because it is a common stereotype how emotional women can be, especially during pregnancy, this may prevent women from getting help. That it is not natural to see a woman not full of joy while pregnant. The point is that mental disorders are serious and always need to be paid attention to. It is also important to know that the sooner you get help, the sooner you and your baby will feel better. Getting early treatment will help you be able to better bond with your baby once he or she is born. Do not wait until your symptoms turn serious to realize you need urgent help.

How Your Mental Health Can Be Treated While Pregnant

One method of treatment is taking prescription medication. Always make sure that you talk to a doctor first to make sure it is safe to take while pregnant. If you were taking medication for your mental health before you were pregnant or you plan to be pregnant, still speak to a doctor to see if you should still continue. Another option is to use talk therapy to better manage your stress, depression, and anxiety while pregnant. By joining a support group, this will more than prove to you that you are not alone in your struggles. You can also do things at home like eating right, getting a good amount of sleep, yoga, and speaking to a friend. By taking care of your mental health, you will have a successful pregnancy.

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.


Atlantic City High School Breaks the Stigma of Mental Health

Atlantic City High School Breaks the Stigma of Mental Health

High school can be a very stressful time when you have classes to pass as well as fitting enough activities for your college applications. Having a mental illness while in high school can be just as much a struggle, but it does not have to be. By having a center located in your high school to help you better cope with your mental illness, you will be able to get through high school without having to worry about anything.

Mental Illness Issues in Atlantic City

Atlantic City is considered a big place when it comes to those with mental illnesses according to the New Jersey Hospital Association. Because 40% of its residents are in poverty, it is critical to find a solution to those struggling with mental illness. A Rutgers Camden study says that childhood experiences for those in poor families can lead to developing mental health disorders in children. When these issues are addressed early enough, civic engagement and having a healthy family can lessen the effects of mental illness.

When Relia Williams was a freshman at Atlantic City High School, she was told by her aunt to see a counselor because she was having anger issues. At the time, she did not feel like she needed counseling because she did not feel like there was anything wrong with her. It was not until she joined a teen center at her high school that she started to smile a lot. Now a senior, she has become a much happier person as she felt like being around positive people was giving her a positive energy.

AtlantiCare Teen Center

Funded by the New Jersey Department of Children and Family Services located at Atlantic City High School, the AtlantiCare Teen Center is an effort to help teens during an important moment in their life when they are developing into adults while struggling with a mental illness. This center offers individualized counseling as well as group therapy sessions free of charge. There are other teen centers in Atlantic County such as at Buena Regional High School, Oakcrest High School, and Buena Regional Middle School. In their own schools, students are met with a nurse, an advanced practice nurse, and a case manager who takes care of them when they come in for sick visits, STD, physicals, pregnancy tests, etc.

The director of the high school’s program, Craig Cochran, notices how students are being more open now with their vulnerability and facing their issues of anxiety and depression. Because so many students at the high school sees their friends struggling with the mental illnesses, they feel more comfortable being open with what they have and accepting that they need help.

AtlantiCare Teen Center’s Programs and Groups

AtlantiCare offers an eight week violence prevention program when referred to. There is also a ten week group called Lotus which helps you focus your energy on the present and how to reduce stress, anger, anxiety, and not feeling in control of your feelings. Teens will be able to build their self-confidence and teach you stress-reducing techniques to help you cope more with everyday situations. Another group is Make-A-Move which teaches you how to cook healthy and be more active to stay healthy. There are also groups like Woman2Woman and Men2Men that empowers young women and men to make healthy and responsible choices in their relationships, communication and decision making. RAP (Redirecting Anger Positively) is another group that teaches teens how to identify with their triggers, learn coping techniques and other skills to maintain a healthier lifestyle.

Students are able to immediately see a doctor without having to worry about long wait times. According to the Hospital Association, Atlantic County has the third highest rate in the state for emergency room crises for those with mental illnesses. It is hard for adults who are out of work or do not make a lot of money to have access to care for their mental illness considering how expensive treatment can be. It is best for those to get into care while they are young and while there are cost free opportunities available in their schools that they have access to.

How Relia Williams is Doing Now

Relia Williams is now the president of the Youth Counsel with Atlantic City’s NAACP chapter. She feels like the staff at the teen center is like her second family. Williams would like to eventually work as a nurse or in mental health services. She applied to colleges such as Rowan University, Stockton University, Atlantic Cape Community College, and Morgan State University. Even though she does not need regular counseling anymore, she is still involved with the teen center and wants to bring what she has learned from the center to new students who join.

Williams said that she felt more open being able to speak to others about herself since joining the teen center. That it is not healthy to hold your emotions in if you have a mental health disorder since everyone will break sooner or later. By communicating with others about what you are feeling and learning how to better cope, teens will be able to manage high school and the rest of their lives going forward. If there are more teen centers in more high schools worldwide, teens would be in more control of their mental illness and would help break the stigma of being open about their ongoing struggles.

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


The Harm in Avoidance

The Harm in Avoidance

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

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

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

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

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

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


High Functioning Depression Is More Than Meets The Eye

Everything May Look Great, But…

Just like high functioning addiction or alcoholism, high functioning depression looks one way but feels completely different to the person suffering. Depression, though it can be managed and coped with, has persistent symptoms that can be unruly. Showing up to a job, to a marriage, to a family and to a life is possible with depression. Facing the challenges of having depression while doing so is incredibly challenging. Depression, along with many other mental illnesses, is quickly dismissed when everything on the outside appears to be fine. Outside the sun may be shining. Inside is a dark storm, forever brewing.

Sometimes, showing up and doing well is part of the way one copes with depression. It might be surprising to learn someone has depression when they do their job so well or function so seemingly normally in life. Just because you can’t see the way someone’s depression affects them doesn’t mean it isn’t real. Telling an alcoholic you don’t think they’re an alcoholic because you don’t see them as one is making a statement according to social guidelines. Projecting social expectations onto someone suffering from mental illness only heightens their sense that they are different. More troublingly, it tells them that their authentic and individual experience in life is unimportant.

Supporting a loved one with high functioning depression should include many activities or gestures to help them remember just how important they are. Their life and place in this world has a great impact on everyone involved. Losing them would be a significant loss to the world around them. Remove the stigma and blanket generalizations of depression by creating an individualized world for your loved one. What activities do they enjoy the most? What small actions can you commit to each day to help remind them that they are loved? Of course, none of this is meant out of codependency, but instead compassion.

Compassion is the ability to recognize someone’s suffering. Sometimes, suffering is hard to notice when it is so adequately masked by high functioning behavior. As the family and friends of a loved one suffering from mental health disorders we learn to question what we see. A spiritual practice to engage in this contemplation can include a conversation with yourself, with friends, etc, to ask, “At what cost does this person’s life come?”. What we see on the outside is only sometimes an indication of what’s inside. We can never know what someone is going through until we stop to ask.

Enlightened Solutions wants to know if you are suffering from mental health issues like anxiety. A certified and licensed dual diagnosis center, Enlightened offers the best in integrative treatment. For more information call 833-801-5483


Eating Disorders Come From A Deeper Place Than Magazines

There’s no question about it. The way body, food, eating, and body image are represented in mainstream media is harmful. Societal standards of beauty are created for profit. By making people believe they are less than, ugly, unwanted, or in need, corporations can sell their products which will rectify these problems. Women’s bodies are photoshopped to be more thin. Men’s bodies are photoshopped to be more sculpted. If one were to make a list of all of society’s demands for having the perfect body, one would find a consistently contradictory list. Expectations lead to disappointments. The expectations set forth by societal pressures and demands regarding body image are impossible to meet, therefore many are left feeling disappointed in how they look. Most unfortunately, many don’t realize that the happiness or feelings of adequacy they seek cannot come from the way they see themselves in the mirror. It is an entirely inside job.

Eating disorders are less about the eating and more about the disorder. Disordered thinking about self, control, body, and image, are what leads to an unhealthy relationship with food. Since the conversation about societal standards through media and body image are so closely tied, many confuse the cause of an eating disorder to be those societal standards. As reported by The State Press, the opposite is true.

Genetics can and do play a large part in the development of eating disorders. While there are specific genes which contribute to eating disorders, they can also develop out of other mental illnesses. Mental illness has been found to be largely genetic, passing on from one generation to the next. Eating disorders are a way to cope with life- similar to the way drugs and alcohol are abused. In fact, there is a high percentage of eating disorders co-occurring with substance abuse. When mental illness goes untreated, it yearns for comfort in whatever way it can. Practices of restriction and starvation, common in anorexia nervosa, or binging and puring, common in bulimia, bring people comfort.

Recovery from an eating disorder will require an understanding of how the mainstream media influences ideals of body image. Digging deep into the psychological underlying causes for eating disorders will help to separate the practice from the perceived cause.

Enlightened Solutions proudly offers dual diagnosis treatment for eating disorders and substance abuse, as well as other co-occurring mental health disorders. We have a carefully curated eating plan complete with nutritional courses and cooking lessons for life skills development. Using twelve step philosophy with evidence based treatment our approach to recovery is integrative and comprehensive. For more information on our programs of treatment, call 833-801-5483.