Educators: Is Summer the Best Time to Pursue Treatment?

Educators: Is Summer the Best Time to Pursue Treatment?

The summer months offer educators time to focus on their needs. Many educators struggle with the management of mental health symptoms and various stressors throughout the school year, leading some to use various substances to help manage their symptoms and overwhelming emotions. Often, this repeated use of substances to manage their struggles can result in the development of a substance use disorder (SUD).

What Are Substance Use Disorders?

Addiction to alcohol or other substances or behaviors can be chronic and affect the brain in significant ways. Once you become dependent upon the substances or behaviors due to a dopamine surge, abstaining from substances or behaviors may seem impossible. However, with treatment, you can overcome the urges to use and pursue a life in education that is consistent with your values.

There are many reasons people choose to use substances, and there are more reasons why people become addicted to them. Scientists are still trying to root out the causes of addiction. However, we know that when a person struggles with their life, they want relief, and sometimes, the use of substances may provide just that. Unfortunately, the relief is short-term and leads to tolerance and sometimes dependence, often resulting in SUD. Life does not end with a diagnosis of SUD, and it's important to remember that you are so much more than a diagnosis. You are an individual with a unique story and deserve the life you want. Begin that life by seeking treatment.

2 Reasons to Pursue Treatment

SUD is treatable. SUD is a real disease that can cause serious and harmful effects on the body and one's life. Your social, professional, and personal life are all negatively impacted by the misuse of alcohol and/or other substances, but there is hope. Treatment at Enlightened Solutions can change your life and get you back to living the life you want.

#1. Be An Example

One primary reason many educators seek treatment is to be an example for their students. You may imagine how hard it is to advise students against substance misuse when you are struggling with the same issue. Seeking treatment and developing a plan to cope with urges will help you be more present for your students. You will also show your students what living in balance is like.

Being an example for your students is critical to your success as an educator. Not only are you teaching them content for classwork, but you are also teaching them how to manage stress and live a full and healthy life.

#2. You Can Overcome SUD

Another critical reason to pursue treatment is that you can overcome SUD. SUD is not a life sentence. While you may struggle with urges and triggers for many years, you will be able to overcome those urges to use by a careful focus on your recovery.

Choose Treatment, Choose Life

When you choose treatment at Enlightened Solutions, you are choosing to change your life and be more present. You are choosing a path that will lead you to success and, in some ways, your students to success.

Choosing treatment means you are choosing health. As you seek treatment and pursue recovery, your body heals. While not everyone experiences full health restoration, you can be assured that you will reap many benefits from seeking treatment. One benefit is that your brain will begin to function normally once again. Within weeks of treatment and detox, your brain begins “lighting up” as expected to certain stimuli. With this in mind, you can be assured that treatment will help you return to a life of helping others and your pursuit of knowledge.

Summer Treatment

At Enlightened Solutions, we know choosing treatment can be difficult in the midst of teaching during the school year. Why not take this summer and pursue your wellness? We offer a variety of treatment services to help you develop the skills you need to return to school this fall fully ready to tackle teaching.

We offer individual therapy and holistic care, encouraging you to adopt eating and sleeping habits that will improve your overall wellness. We also focus on the whole being, not just your emotions and physical self. We recognize that your whole being involves an element of spirituality, which is why we offer mentorship for you to develop yourself holistically. 

We want you to be ready to return to school this fall and be present, not only for your needs but also for the needs of others, including your students. You deserve to be your own advocate and be the best educator you can be.

The summer has arrived and may be the best opportunity for you to pursue healing from your addiction. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction to alcohol and/or other substances or behaviors, you are not alone and help is available. Being an advocate and role model for students can be difficult and sometimes overwhelming. But, remember, as an educator, you are an amazing individual and deserve exceptional care. Enlightened Solutions offers care at every stage of recovery, from detox to help in maintaining recovery after leaving. Our compassionate team knows and understands addiction. Contact Enlightened Solutions and learn how we can help you on your journey to wellness from addiction. Learn how to live your best life and be your own advocate through treatment at our southern New Jersey treatment facility. Call us today at (833) 801-LIVE and start your recovery.  

5 Ways the Weather Can Affect Your Mental Health

5 Ways the Weather Can Affect Your Mental Health

If you’re recovering from addiction, it pays to keep track of the things that affect your mood and overall mental health. Most people with a substance use issue also have a mental health issue such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, PTSD, bipolar disorder, personality disorders, and others. In addition to therapy and possibly medication, healthy lifestyle changes are key to managing these issues.

It helps to understand the factors that affect your mental health, including people you spend time with, what you eat, how much you exercise, and even the weather. While we can’t control the weather, being aware of how the weather affects your mood can help make you less vulnerable to its possible effects and allows you to make adjustments. The following are some of the ways weather can affect your mental health.

Winter SAD

One of the biggest ways weather is likely to affect your mental health is winter seasonal affective disorder, or SAD. People with a history of depression or bipolar disorder are particularly vulnerable to winter SAD. While many people experience winter blues, SAD is an actual episode of depression. Symptoms typically include depressed mood, sleeping too much, fatigue, lethargy, and increased appetite, especially for sugar and carbs. As you might expect, winter SAD is more likely to affect people in northern latitudes, where days get shorter and temperatures get colder.

We don’t know exactly what causes winter SAD, but we have some pretty good ideas. The primary factor may be that your circadian rhythm gets disrupted, since it’s common to wake up in the dark, spend the whole day inside, then go home in the dark during winter months. We need the light to wake us up and initiate the hormonal changes that keep us on a regular wake/sleep cycle. Research suggests that disruptions in circadian rhythm may significantly contribute to depression. For this reason, light therapy is typically the treatment of choice for winter SAD.

Summer SAD

While winter SAD is the most common, many people also experience summer SAD. Some people experience this as a depressive episode but whereas winter SAD depressive symptoms typically include excessive sleeping and increased appetite, summer SAD depressive symptoms are more likely to include disturbed sleep, poor appetite, and possibly weight loss.

People with bipolar disorder will sometimes experience manic or hypomanic episodes triggered by hot weather. These typically include having lots of energy, little need for sleep, racing thoughts, and starting new, ambitious projects. More severe symptoms might include delusions of grandeur, paranoia, or psychotic symptoms.

Bad Weather Can Make a Bad Mood Worse

It’s important to distinguish between a bad mood and an actual depressive episode. The former may last hours, or perhaps days, while the latter must last at least two weeks and include other symptoms such as fatigue, poor concentration, and disturbed sleep. Still, a bad mood is a cause for concern when you’re recovering from addiction or depression.

One study found that if you’re in a good mood, the weather won’t have much effect on your mood, but if you’re in a bad mood, the weather can make it worse. The actual results of the study were a bit of a mixed bag because people tend to respond to weather differently. Participants did tend to report that an increase in temperature gave them more energy. Worse mood also seemed to correlate with less sun and more wind.

These effects were relatively small but still significant. What’s more, some people appear to be more sensitive to weather variations than others. The important thing is to notice how weather affects you and recognize when an oppressively hot day or rainy weather might be partly responsible for your lousy mood.

Severe Weather Is Complicated

While normal daily changes in weather have a mild effect on mood and mental health, the effects of extreme weather are more complicated. Extreme weather events, such as hurricanes, floods, tornadoes, droughts, and heatwaves can massively increase your stress and anxiety, both as you wait to see if you are actually going to be affected by an impending disaster, or afterward when you’re trying to deal with the fallout.

These situations can trigger anxiety, panic, and depression, and they may cause PTSD, even years after the fact. A current area of active research is the effects of climate change on mental health. Early research suggests that worry over climate change may contribute to a number of mental health challenges, including anxiety, guilt, and grief.

Paradoxically, severe weather can also have some positive effects. People tend to pull together in a crisis. Donations to non-profits tend to increase and people tend to help out their friends and neighbors. Sometimes people who typically struggle with anxiety or depression are suddenly able to act with calm and focus in the face of dire need. What’s more, the challenging emotions and the more positive emotions are not mutually exclusive. You can act with purpose during a crisis and still experience symptoms of PTSD after the storm has passed.

Tempers Flare in the Heat

Finally, there’s research to suggest that hot weather may make us more anxious, irritable, and even violent. For example, one study found that people with panic disorder tended to have the most problems during the August heat and that they were more sensitive to weather changes in general. It is also well documented that rates of violent crime tend to increase in hot weather.

There may be several factors involved here. The hot weather may make it challenging for the body to dissipate heat, creating a greater feeling of stress. Hot weather may also increase breathing and heart rate, mimicking anxiety. Furthermore, we tend not to sleep as well in hot weather and that sleep deficit can lead to both increased anxiety and decreased self-control.

As for the crime, it’s also possible that there’s a greater opportunity to commit violent crimes when the days are longer and people are out. However, other studies suggest an increase in irritability and aggressiveness on hot days, so it’s likely that the heat is at least partly responsible.

Some of us are more sensitive to the weather than others and if you’re prone to depression or anxiety, it’s more likely you will notice the effects of weather on your mood. The important thing is to be aware of these effects and find effective ways to cope. As the old saying goes, you can’t control the wind but you can adjust your sails.

At Enlightened Solutions, we know that a lot goes into having a strong recovery from addiction. It’s not just abstaining from drugs and alcohol, but rather about learning to understand yourself, sustain healthy relationships, and manage your emotions. These are all priorities in our treatment program. To learn more, call us at 833-801-5483.