Alcohol and PTSD

Alcohol and PTSD

Alcohol and PTSD are often found together. And the combination or pairing of alcohol and PTSD can cause a lot of problems for the trauma survivor and their family. Alcohol and PTSD go hand in hand, with PTSD are more likely than others with the same sort of background to have drinking problems. And on the other hand, people with drinking problems often will have PTSD. Those with PTSD have more problems with alcohol both before and after getting PTSD. And then PTSD also increases the risk that someone could develop a drinking problem. Alcohol and PTSD really come together and make a vicious cycle.

Alcohol and PTSD: Women

Women who go through trauma have more risk for alcohol abuse. They are at risk for alcohol abuse even if they do not have PTSD from their trauma. Women that have problems with alcohol abuse are more likely than other women to have been sexually abused at some time in their lives. This could apply to both men and women though. Both men and women who have been sexually abuse have higher rates of alcohol and drug use problems than others.

Nearly three quarters of people who survived abusive or violent trauma report having alcohol problems. Up to a third of those who survive traumatic accidents, illness, or disasters report alcohol problems and alcohol problems are more common for survivors who have ongoing health issues or are dealing with pain.

Alcohol and PTSD: Vets

Sixty to eighty percent of Vietnam Veterans that are searching for PTSD treatment have alcohol use problems. War veterans with PTSD and alcohol issues tend to be huge binge drinkers. Binges may be in response to memories of trauma. Veterans over the age of 65 with PTSD are at a high risk for suicide or suicide attempts and also suffer alcohol problems or depression.

Alcohol makes PTSD symptoms worse

Someone who has alcohol and PTSD may drink alcohol to distract themselves from their problems for a short amount of time. Even though alcohol only makes it harder in the long run.

Someone with PTSD may drink to concentrate, be productive, and enjoy parts of their life.

Using too much alcohol makes it harder for someone with PTSD to cope with stress and trauma memories. Alcohol use and getting drunk can make some PTSD symptoms increase. For instance symptoms of PTSD that can get worse are feelings of being cut off from others, anger and irritability, depression and the feeling of being on guard.

Some people with PTSD have trouble falling asleep. If this is the case they may medicate themselves with alcohol to try and get a good night’s rest. This is also very true if the person with PTSD has bad nightmares. They may drink so they have fewer dreams and can avoid the bad memories. All of this just prolongs the PTSD.

Having both alcohol and PTSD problems can compound the two. For this reason alone, the alcohol use and PTSD must be treated together. If an individual has PTSD they should try to find a place they can go that specializes in both.

5 Signs You Are Codependent

5 Signs You Are Codependent

Are you a Codependent?

•             Do you keep quiet to avoid arguments?

•             Are you always worried about others’ opinions of you?

•             Have you ever lived with someone with an alcohol or drug problem?

•             Have you ever lived with someone who hits or belittles you?

•             Are the opinions of others more important than your own?

•             Do you feel rejected when significant others spend time with friends?

•             Do you doubt your ability to be who you want to be?

•             Are you uncomfortable expressing your true feelings to others?

•             Do you feel like a “bad person” when you make a mistake?

•             Do you have difficulty taking compliments or gifts?

•             Do you think people in your life would go downhill without your constant efforts?

•             Do you frequently wish someone could help you get things done?

•             Are you confused about who you are or where you are going with your life?

•             Do you have trouble saying “no” when asked for help?

•             Do you have trouble asking for help?

 

What is Codependency?

Codependency is defined as a psychological condition or a relationship in which a person is controlled or manipulated by another who is affected with a pathological condition (typically narcissism or drug addiction); and in broader terms, it refers to the dependence on the needs of, or control of, another. It also often involves placing a lower priority on one’s own needs, while being excessively preoccupied with the needs of others. Codependency can occur in any type of relationship, including family, work, friendship, and also romantic, peer or community relationships. Codependency often affects a spouse, a parent, sibling, friend, or co-worker of a person afflicted with alcohol or drug dependence.

Harmful Effects of Being Codependent

Unresolved patterns of codependency can lead to more serious problems like alcoholism, drug addiction, eating disorders, sex addiction, and other self-destructive or self-defeating behaviors. People with codependency are also more likely to attract further abuse from aggressive individuals, more likely to stay in stressful jobs or relationships, less likely to seek medical attention when needed and are also less likely to get promotions and tend to earn less money than those without codependency patterns.

For some, the social insecurity caused by codependency can progress into full-blown social anxiety disorders like social phobia, avoidant personality disorder or painful shyness. Other stress-related disorders like panic disorder, depression or PTSD may also be present.

Characteristics of Co-dependent People Are:

•             An exaggerated sense of responsibility for the actions of others

•             A tendency to confuse love and pity, with the tendency to “love” people they can pity and rescue

•             A tendency to do more than their share, all of the time

•             A tendency to become hurt when people don’t recognize their efforts

•             An unhealthy dependence on relationships. The co-dependent will do anything to hold on to a   relationship; to avoid the feeling of abandonment

•             An extreme need for approval and recognition

•             A sense of guilt when asserting themselves

•             A compelling need to control others

•             Lack of trust in self and/or others

•             Fear of being abandoned or alone

•             Difficulty identifying feelings

•             Rigidity/difficulty adjusting to change

•             Problems with intimacy/boundaries

•             Chronic anger

•             Lying/dishonesty

•             Poor communications

•             Difficulty making decisions

 

5 Signs of Codependency

#1. The codependent makes excuses for the other person’s behavior.

 

#2. The codependent enables the person with the problem to keep going down the wrong path and is in denial that the other person has a problem. Likewise, the opposite is also true: the codependent doesn’t realize that they have a problem and thinks that they are helping the troubled person when they are really not.

 

#3. The codependent takes care of everything such as money, the household, etc.

 

#4. The codependent acts like the main person in order to keep a good family image.

 

#5. The codependent withdraws from others and acts like he/she doesn’t care what others have to say.

 

Sources:

http://voices.yahoo.com/

www.wikipedia.org

http://www.webmd.com

http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net

 

Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder

Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder

What is Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder?

Hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD) is a disorder characterized by a continual presence of sensory disturbances, most commonly visual, that are reminiscent of those generated by the use of hallucinogenic substances. Previous use of hallucinogens by the person is necessary, but not sufficient, for diagnosis of HPPD. For an individual to be diagnosed with HPPD, the symptoms cannot be due to another medical condition.

Is HPPD the Same Thing as Acid Flashbacks?

HPPD may be confused with acid flashbacks. However, HPPD is distinct from acid flashbacks by reason of its relative permanence; while acid flashbacks are brief and fleeting, HPPD is persistent. HPPD is an actual medically recognized mental condition and appears in the DSM-IV (diagnostic code 292.89).

Causes of Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder

The cause(s) of HPPD are not yet known. The most current neurological research indicates that HPPD symptoms may manifest from abnormalities in Central Nervous System function, following hallucinogen use. One theory derived from this research is that the brain inhibitory mechanisms involved with sensory gating, or filtering out excess visual and auditory stimuli, are disrupted therefore allowing more information to be perceived at one time. This results in an overload of the senses.

What HPPD Looks Like

In some cases, HPPD appears to have a sudden onset after a single drug experience, strongly suggesting the drug played a direct role in triggering symptoms. But in other cases, people report gradual worsening of symptoms with ongoing drug use. Drugs that have been associated with HPPD include LSD, MDA, MDMA, psilocybin, mescaline, diphenhydramine, PCP, synthetic cannabis, and high doses of dextromethorphan.

How many people are affected by HPPD?

Some put the number at about 1 in 50,000 hallucinogen users develop HPPD. However, it is possible the prevalence of HPPD has been underestimated by authorities because many people with visual problems relating to drug use either do not seek treatment or, when they do seek treatment, do not admit to having used illicit drugs. Thus, it may be that HPPD occurs more often than is detected by the health care system.

Quick Facts About Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder:

  • People can develop HPPD after only 1 use of a hallucinogenic substance
  • HPPD is most typically caused by the use of LSD
  • About 59% of people with HPPD see geometric patterns on blank surfaces like walls. Almost as many, see false movements of still objects, usually in the peripheral visual fields. Others reports flashes of light, trailing images behind moving objects, and intensified colors
  • Most people with HPPD recover within a month or two after last use, a few take as long as a year

 

Natural Treatments for Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder :

  • Abstinence from using hallucinogens, until the effects from HPPD are gone
  • Valerian Root may help alleviate symptoms. It can be purchased over the counter at most drug stores and health food stores
  • Sun glasses may help alleviate symptoms. Most people with HPPD describe symptom onset or increased intensity of symptoms when they are in bright light and especially when changing from a dark environment to a bright one
  • Meditation, yoga, exercise, breathing techniques and talking about the experience (narrative therapy) with supportive and knowledgeable people may also be helpful

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sources:

www.wikipedia.org

http://www.neurosoup.com

http://www.drugabuse.gov

 

History of Therapy: Albert Ellis

History of Therapy: Albert Ellis

Albert Ellis, Ph.D., was born in Pittsburgh, PA on September 27, 1913 and was raised in New York City. He held an M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Columbia University. Albert Ellis held many important psychological positions that included: Chief psychologist of the State of New Jersey and professorships at Rutgers and other universities. More importantly, Albert Ellis was the founder of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT), the first of the now popular Cognitive Behavioral Therapies (CBT).

In 1954, Ellis began teaching his new techniques to other therapists, and by 1957, he formally set forth the first cognitive behavior therapy by proposing that therapists help people adjust their thinking and behavior as the treatment for emotional and behavioral problems. Two years later, Ellis published ‘How to Live with a Neurotic’, which elaborated on his new method.

Albert Ellis established the Albert Ellis Institute in 1959. The Albert Ellis Institute is a non-profit organization whose mission was to promote Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy as a educative and preventative theory. The Albert Ellis Institute promoted Rational Behavioral Therapy’s practice and theory through training professionals and the public. Initially Albert Ellis ran everything from his own private practice as a psychologist. Then Albert Ellis purchased a six story townhouse in Manhattan in 1964. He took that town house that had previously been occupied by The Woodrow Wilson Institute and used it for his work. Albert Ellis donated the earnings of his books to purchase the building and to fund the running costs of the Institute.

Albert Ellis practiced psychotherapy, marriage and family counseling as well as sex therapy for over sixty years at the Psychological Center of the Institute in New York. Albert Ellis also served as president of the Division of Consulting Psychology of the American Psychological Association and of the Society for the Scientific Study of Sexuality. He also served as officer of several profession societies including the American Association of Marital and Family Therapy, the American Academy of Psychotherapists, and the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors, and Therapists.

Albert Ellis was ranked one of the most influential psychologists by both American and Canadian psychologists and counselors. He also served as consulting or associate editor of many scientific journals. He published more than eight hundred scientific papers and more than two hundred audio and video cassettes. 

During his final years he collaborated with Michael S. Abrams, Ph.D., on his only college textbook Personality Theories: Critical Perspectives. Albert Ellis also wrote an autobiography entitled “All Out!” published by Prometheus Books in June 2010. The book was dedicated to and contributed by his wife Dr. Debbie Ellis who Ellis described as “The greatest love of my whole life, my whole life”. He also entrusted the legacy of REBT to her. In early 2011, the book Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy by Dr. Albert Ellis and his wife Dr. Debbie Ellis was released by the American Psychological Association. The book explains the essentials of the theory of REBT and is considered an excellent basic guide in understanding the REBT approach for students and practitioners of psychology as well as for the general public.

http://www.goodtherapy.org/famous-psychologists/albert-ellis.html

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Ellis

 

Fear and Anxiety

Fear and Anxiety

By Jenny Hunt

March 28, 2012

Anxiety is something that affects everyone from time to time. It becomes a problem when it begins to occur frequently. The difference between fear and anxiety is that fear is a response to an immediately present stimulus and anxiety as a worry or rumination about something that has yet to occur, or may never occur. For example, if you are walking through the woods and you see a venomous snake, you will generally feel fear: a natural reaction to a present threat. The next day, you are walking in the woods again and you begin to worry that you will see another venomous snake. This feeling is anxiety. It is the expectation of a threat that may or may not come to fruition.

Fear and anxiety are not universal reactions in the animal kingdom. Every animal is born with the ability to detect and respond to certain kinds of danger, and to learn about things associated with danger. Fear is a necessary reaction for survival of a species. However, not all animals can feel anxiety. Anxiety depends on the ability to anticipate, which not all animals have. Humans are particularly skilled at projecting into the future, which is why anxiety is so common. Human anxiety is greatly enhanced by our ability to imagine the future.

 

Fear and anxiety can also become harmful. Anxiety is a general term for several disorders that cause nervousness, fear, apprehension, and worrying. Anxiety can affect how we behave and can manifest in real, physical symptoms. Most medical experts agree that when fear and anxiety begin to interfere with daily life, an anxiety disorder is present.  Common anxiety disorders include phobias, panic disorder, post-traumatic stress syndrome, and generalized anxiety disorder. The complicated factors contributing to pathological fear and anxiety make these conditions challenging to diagnose and treat.

When we are experiencing anxiety, our body reacts to it like there is a present threat. Thus, fear and anxiety have similar physical manifestations. We have shortness of breath; our heart begins to pound; and our muscles tense up. Our body is reacting to the sharp increase of adrenaline that occurs when we experience fear and anxiety. Pathological fear and anxiety result from alterations of the brain systems that normally control fear and anxiety. Our bodies start to manifest the standard fear and anxiety reactions even when there is no present or potential threat, and it begins to interfere with us leading a normal life.

There are many treatments available for treating pathological fear and anxiety, but the most successful ones involve changing the reaction to fear. Medications can be used to calm the physical manifestation of fear and anxiety in everyday life. Another treatment of pathological fear and anxiety is known as exposure therapy. In this type of therapy, the individual is exposed to various stimuli that normally cause fear and anxiety. This is done in a safe environment under the care of a medical professional. Over several sessions, the fear elicited by the stimulus weakens, and the patient can live fear free, or at least with less fear and anxiety.

Do We Overmedicate for Mental Health Disorders?

By Jenny Hunt

February 21, 2012

When Christine went in to talk to her doctor about her sleepless nights and growing feelings of melancholy, he immediately pulled out his prescription pad. He prescribed Prozac, an antidepressant, and told her to follow up in a month. The appointment lasted less than 10 minutes.

Christine’s experience isn’t all that unusual. Doctors seem to be turning more and more to medications to treat mental health disorders. One out of five Americans is currently taking a prescription drug to treat a mental health disorder. Without a doubt, some that suffer mental health disorders really need these medications. But are doctors over medicating and under utilizing other methods that could be used to treat these mental health disorders?

Recent studies have shown that a walk in the woods can be effective when treating depression, exercise reduces anxiety, and therapy works better than medication when treating insomnia. So why aren’t these therapies used more often when people seek help for a mental health disorder?

Some people theorize that is simpler for doctors to simply write out a prescription than to pursue alternative treatment. With the rising cost of healthcare, insurance companies are paying doctors less and less for each patient they treat. This forces doctors to see more patients and see each for a shorter period of time. On average, a single doctor’s appointment lasts about 18-20 min. Some say this is just not enough time to assess whether or not an alternative treatment would be appropriate for a particular mental health disorder.

Another theory is that patients are asking for prescription medications more often.  Experts have dubbed America a “self-drugging society.” We are often too quick to pop pills when something doesn’t feel quite right. Americans are also far more likely to adhere to a medication regimen than to participate in alternative treatment for a mental health disorder.

Finally, some believe that our standards for diagnosing a mental health disorder have become too broad. Up until this past week, grieving has been excluded from the diagnosis of major depression. New guidelines from the American Psychiatric Association may change that. The current draft of the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (the guiding document of psychiatry in the US) will allow major depression to be diagnosed two weeks after the death of a loved one. Many feel that treating grief like depression is very dangerous, and may lead to over medication of grieving patients.

Whatever the reason, there is no doubt that more Americans are taking medication for mental health disorders than ever before.