A Slice of the Integrative Pie: The role of Sierra Tucson’s Psychology department in cultivating Integrative Mental Health

: :

“As we come to acknowledge the multifactorial nature of mental health issues (which I often refer to as ‘‘not occurring in a vacuum’’), it is imperative to integrate mental health programs to combine a variety of therapeutic approaches to treat the myriad issues affecting the whole person.”

– Dr. Antoinette Giedzinska-Simons, Ph.D.,  Director of Behavioral Medicine

 

Sierra Tucson's Integrative Pie

Integrative mental health is a term that isn’t tossed about lightly at Sierra Tucson. Despite current tendencies for many initiatives to toss around “Integrative Medicine” or “Integrative Mental Health” as colloquial buzz words, for Sierra Tucson the buzz really is all about what integrative care can accomplish. Our practice model – the Sierra Model – is based on bio-psycho-social-spiritual principles of healing the whole person and not solely the disorder or symptoms, which is an adaptation of integrative medicine. By definition, the principles of Integrative Medicine are to (a) treat the whole person, (b) engage the patient collaboratively in treatment decision making, and (c) use appropriate treatments – whether allopathic or naturopathic – to promote optimal health. The Sierra Model thus comprises an amalgamation of primary and integrative therapies which are implemented through multidisciplinary collaboration among treatment teams, made up of a core team (psychiatrist and primary therapist) that is joined by other program and integrative therapists.

Clearly, Integrative Mental Health represents a new paradigm of treating the individual. And this paradigm is fitting for a place like Sierra Tucson, because nearly all patients who admit here for treatment are suffering from comorbid psychopathology.  Thus “one size fits all” treatment approaches will not be as effective to treat those who suffer from multifaceted nature of mental health issues as are those programs which emphasize a tailored and integrated approach. Because we expect that patients will present more often with “coexisting disorders” or “comorbidity” as the norm today, it therefore becomes our prerogative to provide a complexity of therapies that are synergistic to provide holistic healing.

 

Evidence Based

 

The ultimate recovery goals at Sierra Tucson are that patients will achieve optimized health, better quality of life and long standing recovery through personalized evidence-based clinical care, family involvement and continuing care after the formal in-residence treatment concludes. We utilize a diverse range of appropriate therapeutic approaches that are informed by research evidence. And by joining modern medicine with proven practices from other healing traditions, integrative practitioners are better able to relieve suffering, reduce stress, and maintain the well-being of patients. So how might you formulate treatments of this complexity?

 

Collaboration:  Sierra Tucson Psychology

 

One of the key ingredients for successful Integrative Mental Health is Collaboration. The Psychology Department at Sierra Tucson plays an active role in collaborating with the treatment teams at the initial start of patients’ admission. With psychologists on board as full-time committed staff, they meet with patients within the first few days of admissions to contribute to the multidisciplinary evaluative process. The main objective of psychometric assessment during the first few days of treatment is to provide essential psychological profiling that will inform the treatment teams to ultimately tailor and augment patients’ treatment plan. Because not all patients are created equally, cookie-cutter treatment programming will not suffice. Therefore, psychological feedback is essential toward making sure each approach towards healing the whole person is tailored to that individual. This is Integrative Mental Health in action.

Psychological conceptualization does not stop, however, at the first week but remains available to patients and their doctors, alike, throughout their treatment stay. Therefore, the process of psychometric assessment will be implemented through a multi-tiered approach. The first “tier” will comprise every patient completing a Comprehensive Psychological Profile (CPP) as standard protocol within the first few days of admission. The CPP is comprised of standardized, reliable, and valid psychometric assessments, specific to mood, psychopathology, quality of life, stress and resiliency, and sensitive to accurately measure any changes over time. The CPP is practical for routine clinical use. Once the data are gathered and analyzed, psychologists will meet individually with each patient to discuss their findings. The information gathered during this clinical feedback is compiled with the CPP profile and the psychologist provides their “patient conceptualization” comprising clinical impressions, diagnostic indicators and recommendations for treatment planning and further testing when needed. These conceptualizations are provided to the treatment teams, which promotes further collegial collaboration among therapeutic staff. The end goal is to ensure that patients’ overall treatment is tailored and optimally formulated for the best integrated treatment toward their recovery.

Further psychological testing will take place in a true collaboration between psychologist, patients, psychiatrists, and primary therapists. The secondary and tertiary tiers of psychometrics will serve to solidify psychiatric diagnoses, differentiate symptomology, explore potential underlying issues, and provide further clarity to patient profiles. Patients can expect that their treatment teams are working in concert with one another to assure that their treatment needs come first and are the focus of many program team meetings which are attended by all of their key integrative practitioners caring for them. Integration, collaboration, communication, and consistency of care. These are elements that underlie the Sierra Model; and are the daily mainstay of all our practitioners here.

 

Partnership: Behavioral Medicine

 

The Psychology department at Sierra Tucson has recently joined forces with the department of Behavioral Medicine. This latter formation is a relatively new development in order to promote the interdisciplinary nature of recovery through the integration of behavioral, psychosocial, and biomedical science knowledge and techniques relevant to the understanding of mental health and illness. The aim of Behavioral Medicine is to provide opportunities for the many clinical disciplines represented within the Sierra Tucson family of practitioners to network for psycho-education, collaboration on common orientation and research, and integration of mind-body-spirit modalities related to enhancement of recovery, rehabilitation, and resiliency.  Behavioral Medicine at Sierra Tucson, like many departments of this nature throughout the country today, serves to weave various threads and patterns of systems together resulting into a strong, cohesive, and beautiful fabric. Behavioral Medicine departments are essential in today’s modern medicine focus on Integrative Mental Health systems.

By weaving in Psychology into the Behavioral Medicine fabric, what emerges is an interconnection between Psychology and PsychoNeuroPhysiology. This will allow for an intra-department integration of services, aimed to further psychological profiling and conceptualization for the benefit of Sierra Tucson’s treatment teams and patients. Click here to read a recently published article outlining the PsychoNeuroPhysiology program at Sierra Tucson.

 

Mission Statement of Sierra Tucson’s Psychology Department

The Sierra Tucson Psychologist is an Integral member of the Professional Staff whose primary expertise is

  1. To provide essential patient information to the treatment team, in order for treatment to be tailored and be the most efficacious for the patient.
  2. To serve as psychological consultants to help guide therapeutic and medical staff on further treatment progress as well as further ruling out diagnostic criteria.
  3. To essentially function as a “service” to the primary treatment teams, to patients, and to patients’ referents.

 

 

 

Comments are closed


Sierra Tucson residency opportunity exposes psychiatry students to integrated, holistic care

: :

by Julia Brown, Associate Editor at Addiction Professional

A renewed rotation partnership between the University of Arizona (UofA) Department of Psychiatry and the nationally known Arizona addiction treatment facility Sierra Tucson will allow psychiatric residency students to work with Sierra Tucson patients and staff for up to two months at a time.

According to Aimee Kaempf, MD, assistant professor of psychiatry and director of the Psychiatry Residency Training program at the UofA College of Medicine at South Campus, UofA psychiatry residents have been rotating at Sierra Tucson on and off for more than 10 years. In the past, two-month rotations at Sierra Tucson were a requirement for senior UofA residents.

In more recent years, it has become an elective rotation, which didn’t cultivate as much student participation. The goal under newly-appointed medical director Michael Genovese, MD, is to re-establish Sierra Tucson as a solid site for residency training and allow  for a more  robust experience for students.

Genovese says that the Sierra Tucson staff has become more engaged with treatment team planning and with teaching with the presence of the residents.

“To me, having education in any healthcare system infuses it with enthusiasm. It forces the doctors and the nurses to stay on their game and stay up to speed because they’re now responsible for teaching the people who will be the attendings of tomorrow,” says Genovese. “Just by the nature of the resident being there, patients are getting more care than they otherwise would. And while residents are still learning, they already have a good knowledge base; they bring something to the table in terms of their font of knowledge, as well as their excitement about learning and treating patients.”

A different sort of learning experience

Students from the university’s south campus and university campus psychiatry residency training programs currently have access to several rotation sites, says Kaempf, including the South Campus Hospital, University of Arizona Medical Center University Campus, the local district attorney’s (DA) office and the Pima County Jail. Sierra Tucson offers a range of treatment modalities and exposure to psychopathology unavailable in other behavioral health spaces, she says. The facility also caters to a different socioeconomic class of patients and offers an integrated, holisitic approach, so student residents would be exposed to a different sort of learning experience at Sierra Tucson.

“Residents are able to see people in county facilities on inpatient, acute psychiatric units, but the types of psychopathology that we see [here] are completely different,” adds Genovese.

For example, at Sierra Tucson, patients fall under six treatment categories—general psychology, mood disorder, eating disorders, chemical dependency, trauma, and chronic or complex pain—and admit themselves on a voluntary basis. Various treatment options are offered, including acupuncture, Reiki and equine therapy, as well as different types of pharmacology and psychotherapy.

Although the university is not ready to make Sierra Tucson a site residency requirement, Kaempf says the goal is to actively encourage residents to take advantage of the experience to work there.

Six areas of care

Interested fourth-year residents will be pre-screened by Sierra Tucson and will be provided an individual curriculum appropriate for their area of focus. Additionally, students will have the option of participating in a more general program where they rotate through all six areas of care, or the ability to focus on one specific discipline. This would be decided upon by Genovese, the resident director and the resident.

Throughout the rotation program, residents will be immersed in meetings and interactions alongside Sierra Tucson staff and will receive guidance from Genovese. He says Sierra Tucson hopes to take in several residents at a time. Depending on interest level, he anticipates around four to six rotation participants at one time between both programs.

Eventually, Genovese hopes to expand the rotation site to include residents’ medical students, so that the residents not only have the opportunity to learn from attendings but also to be teachers in the setting.

Kaempf says that UofA medical students work primarily at Tucson hospitals and the DA’s office, where they deal with seriously mentally ill patients. She says that an expansion of the rotation program at Sierra Tucson to include medical students would expose them to  an area of treatment they wouldn’t otherwise see.

“My hope would be if medical students gain exposure to a wider variety of mental health experiences, we could hopefully turn more medical students on to wanting to [pursue] psychiatry,” she says.

 


 

This article was originally posted by Addiction Professional at http://www.addictionpro.com/article/sierra-tucson-residency-opportunity-exposes-psychiatry-students-integrated-holistic-care

Comments are closed


Sierra Tucson Launches First Ever Student Rotation With Midwestern University

: :

Midwestern University Medical Students to Enter Rotation at Renowned Residential Treatment Facility

TUCSON, AZ–(Marketwired – Dec 15, 2014) – Sierra Tucson, an international leader in the treatment of complex, co-occurring behavioral health disorders, has partnered with Midwestern University’s Glendale, Arizona campus to offer students in the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine the opportunity to obtain rotation at Sierra Tucson. While Sierra Tucson currently offers rotations to University of Arizona residents who have graduated from medical school, Midwestern University students will be the first pre-graduate students to work at Sierra Tucson.

While at Sierra Tucson, Midwestern University students will be given access to a more diverse group of patients than other student rotation institutions, such as a hospital or outpatient clinic, where they work with a limited range of patient types and are often working with new patients every day. At Sierra Tucson, the students will be given the opportunity to learn from the process from admission through discharge, giving them a much deeper education and understanding of the treatment timeline.

“We are pleased to be able to offer Midwestern University students the opportunity to work side by side with not only Sierra Tucson attending physicians but also UofA residents in training, giving them full access to a much more textured education then they would receive at other rotation institutions,” said Dr. Michael Genovese, Medical Director at Sierra Tucson. “With this hands-on introduction to psychiatry from admission to discharge, we hope to show students the many aspects and levels of psychiatry and possibly debunk any misconceptions that some students have about psychiatry.”

The University and Sierra Tucson hope to bring in two students at a time who will undergo rotation for a six-week period. The partnership gives third and fourth year Midwestern University students the opportunity to work alongside Sierra Tucson staff and be exposed to inpatient level 1 psychiatry hospital and level 2 residential Sierra Tucson patients undergoing treatment in general psychiatry, mood disorder, trauma, eating disorders, complex pain, and substance use. Sierra Tucson will be working with Midwestern University’s Dr. Charles Finch, D.O., FACOEP, Chair, Department of Integrated Medicine, Professor, Emergency Medicine, Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine and Dr. Martin Reiss, D.O., Assistant Professor to facilitate student involvement.

To gain rotation with Sierra Tucson, students are pre-screened by Midwestern University and Sierra Tucson and then provided an individual curriculum appropriate to them. While at Sierra Tucson, students in rotation will be immersed in meetings and interactions alongside Sierra Tucson staff and will receive guidance from Sierra Tucson’s Medical Director. The first students will be entering rotation in the near future.

The hands-on Sierra Tucson rotation widens future residency and employment opportunities for students as they look to continue their education after Midwestern University and one day enter the employment field. With greater experience in the field, they are better positioned for future opportunities.

About Midwestern University

Midwestern University is a graduate degree-granting institution specializing in the health sciences with ten colleges and two campuses. The Arizona campus, located on a 156-acre site in Glendale, is home to over 3,100 students and six colleges: the Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine, the College of Pharmacy-Glendale, the College of Health Sciences, the College of Dental Medicine-Arizona, the Arizona College of Optometry, and the College of Veterinary Medicine. The Illinois campus, located on a 105-acre site in Downers Grove, is home to over 2,900 students and four colleges: the Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, the Chicago College of Pharmacy, the College of Health Sciences, and the College of Dental Medicine-Illinois. The University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, a Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. For more information, visit https://www.midwestern.edu/ or call 623.572.3215.

About Sierra Tucson

Since 1983, Sierra Tucson has been a leader in the field of behavioral healthcare, internationally renowned for its effective therapies, extraordinary staff, and exceptional setting. Sierra Tucson integrates evidenced-based practices and integrative therapies to provide the most effective treatments for addiction and other behavioral health problems. This philosophy has led to positive outcomes for tens of thousands of people who have suffered from alcoholism, drug addiction, depression, anxiety, trauma, eating disorders, chronic pain, and other disorders. Discover what makes Sierra Tucson the best environment for you or your loved one.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments are closed


Teens in Early Recovery: 10 Common Relapse Triggers

: :

Teens in early recovery are extremely vulnerable to relapse. It can be hard to understand why a teenager would work so hard to achieve sobriety only to fall back into drug use−but that’s the power of addiction.

Studies suggest that between 50 percent and 90 percent of addicts relapse at least once in the first four years of sobriety, and most relapse many times. Triggers for relapse can be as mundane as hearing a certain song on the radio or as significant as hanging out with friends from the old drug crowd.

Although relapse is considered normal and predictable, knowing the common triggers for relapse and having an action plan can help teens and their families guard against any slip-ups. Here are a few common relapse triggers to watch out for:

1. Being in social situations or places where drugs are available

Unless teens remain on guard, their thoughts will likely turn back to old behavior patterns when they are around the people or places associated with their past drug use. Old friends who still use drugs will use peer pressure, teasing and subtle manipulation to get a teen in early recovery to return to their “fun” old self. These friends may not be ready to confront their own drug use and will not respond positively to someone who questions their habit or forces them to take a look at their own behavior.

Each adolescent has their own set of high-risk friends, places and situations that they must sacrifice for the sake of their sobriety. In drug rehab, teens can practice ways to cope with those triggers, make new friends who don’t use drugs and find sober activities they can enjoy.

After maintaining their sobriety for a time, many teens want to “test” their willpower by going back to certain places or social situations. This can be risky and seldom makes teens feel more secure in their recovery.

2. Being socially isolated

While it’s risky to stay in touch with old friends who use drugs, it’s equally risky to be socially isolated. Teens in early recovery need to closely follow the relapse prevention plan they created during drug rehab. This plan likely includes attending 12-Step meetings and therapy sessions to get support from other people in recovery and to have someone they can go to when the urge to use arises. Without this support system, teens start to feel alone in their struggles, which may make them want to start using again.

3. Being around drugs or using any mood-altering substance

Being around drugs of any kind can trigger a craving to use.  Even the sight, smell or sounds associated with a drug can bring back memories of the way drugs made the teen feel, as well as an overwhelming desire to use again. Most teens in early recovery will need to get rid of all paraphernalia, photos or any other item related to drugs or alcohol in order to avoid temptation.

A common pitfall for teens is thinking they can use drugs, as long as they avoid what used to be their drug of choice. So if they were hooked on painkillers, they figure it’s safe to drink alcohol. The reality is that addiction to one drug easily transfers to another drug (and even other compulsive behaviors like video game addiction, gambling and spending). If a teen has abused drugs before, they will likely need to abstain from all mood-altering substances for the rest of their life.

4. Stress

Many teens first start using drugs to cope with stress brought on by school, relationships or home life. Although adolescents learn new coping skills in drug rehab, it is common to revert back to old methods when life gets tough.

Before drug rehab, when conflicts arose, drugs or alcohol would allow the teen to escape the situation. Now, the teen must practice new ways of coping, such as taking a walk, calling a friend, journaling or some other form of healthy expression.

Establishing a daily routine, including getting up at a certain time or joining a club that meets regularly, may help teens maintain a sense of control in their lives. While predictability can help, teens will eventually have to learn to accept that they cannot control everything.

5. Over-confidence

Self-confidence and an optimistic outlook are protective factors against relapse, but over-confidence is one of the most common reasons for relapse. The 12-Step principles remind teens that humility and an admission of powerlessness over addiction are essential for lasting recovery. But after staying sober for a period of time, some teens are so proud of their accomplishments that they don’t think they need to follow their relapse prevention plan anymore. They stop attending meetings and become less vigilant in monitoring their emotions and cravings.

6. Complacency

A close cousin to over-confidence is complacency. Some teens in early recovery start to take their sobriety for granted. They become complacent, assuming if they’ve been able to maintain their sobriety for a certain amount of time, they no longer need to monitor their mental state, attend meetings or follow their relapse prevention plan with the commitment they started with.

In many cases, teens begin to wonder if they can use only occasionally or have just one drink without returning to their addiction. They want to prove to family and friends that they no longer have a problem. Unfortunately, complacency often leads to relapse.

7. Mental or physical illness or pain

Addiction frequently goes hand in hand with mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. Something that aggravates an underlying mental illness can also trigger the desire to use drugs or alcohol. Teens with co-occurring disorders require dual diagnosis treatment that addresses both their substance abuse and psychiatric illness. After formal treatment ends, they also need to carefully monitor their state of mind through journaling, therapy and other forms of self-reflection.

Physical illness is also problematic, particularly if a doctor prescribes painkillers or other drugs as a form of pain management. Teens who self-medicate a mental or physical illness may find themselves becoming dependent on drugs of relief. For this reason, self-care is essential. A healthy diet, exercise and adequate sleep will help guard against exhaustion and physical illness.

Though it may seem counter-intuitive, positive life events and emotions can also trigger relapse.  For example, getting straight A’s, falling in love or getting into a good college could be cause for celebration and reignite the desire to use drugs.

8. Reminiscing about drug use or telling “war stories”

If an adolescent spends time thinking obsessively about how it felt to be high or telling “war stories” to friends about past drug use, this is an indication that relapse is imminent.

9. Boredom

Without drugs, many teens in recovery don’t know what to do with their free time. A bored teen is a teen who is asking for trouble. Drugs are exciting; there are other activities and hobbies that are equally thrilling without the high level of risk. Teens can get involved in rock climbing, white water rafting, or some other adventure sport. They can also keep busy with school activities, clubs, sports, exercise or hanging out with sober friends.

10. Self-pity

We all want life to go out way, but even the most fortunate among us won’t always get what we want.  Many teens fall into the trap of self-pity; feeling impatient that recovery isn’t happening fast enough, wondering why they have to deal with addiction and rehab, and questioning why other people can go out for a drink with friends and they can’t. They begin to feel entitled to have a drink or use drugs because they’ve been sober and worked so hard.

Though it isn’t fair, this is the reality of addiction. It’s better to accept the good and bad life deals rather than feeling like a victim.

Preventing Relapse

Relapse doesn’t mean drug rehab was a waste of time or money, or that a teenager is a failure. Rather, experts now view relapse as a valuable learning experience that brings an adolescent one step closer to lasting recovery.

Stress also translates into higher rates of relapse. “When teens feel that life is out of control, they tend to fall back on old behaviors and coping strategies,” says Eric Belsterling, an adolescent therapist at Phoenix Outdoor Wilderness Rehab.

“Teens are already balancing school and relationship stress, media influences, and pressures to fit in and succeed,” Belsterling notes. “When you add worries about getting jobs and affording college in a difficult economy, a number of teens begin self-medicating their stresses with drugs and alcohol.”

Parents can support their teen in early recovery by taking the following steps:

  • Don’t keep alcohol, tobacco or other drugs in your home.  Safeguard your prescription drugs and over-the-counter medications by locking them in a medicine cabinet and disposing of them properly when you no longer need them.
  • Offer praise and encouragement when your teen attends 12-Step meetings or therapy sessions, follows their relapse prevention plan or get through a difficult situation without using.
  • Support your teen if they relapse and get them back into treatment rather than blaming, nagging, or judging them. At the same time, avoid enabling their addiction by refusing to make excuses or cover for your child.
  • Encourage your teen to befriend teens who don’t use drugs and to get involved with hobbies, activities or work that appeal to them.
  • Talk openly with your teen about how they are feeling, and if either of you senses the threat of relapse, get help right away.
  • Make sure your teen isn’t overbooked or dealing with excessive stress.
  • Take care of yourself by speaking with a therapist, attending Al-Anon meetings, joining a support group or taking time for the things you enjoy.

Although teens in early recovery may relapse, substance abuse treatment helps them get back on track before they make a full return to their old drug-abusing lifestyle.

 

Comments are closed


Addressing Body Image in Eating Disorder Treatment

: :

The majority of American women are dissatisfied with their bodies. One study found that 86 percent of women want to lose weight, and in another study, 63 percent of female participants identified weight as the key factor in determining how they felt about themselves — even more important than family, school, or career.

For some, the result of this dissatisfaction is the development of an eating disorder. One cause of eating disorders, experts argue, is the negative messages women in particular receive from the media. According to studies, higher rates of body dissatisfaction and drive for thinness have been associated with the rates of exposure to soap operas, movies, and music videos. As young people spend more time watching television and movies and thumbing through magazines, eating disorders such as anorexia and bulimia are being diagnosed at younger ages (some as young as 8 or 9), and with greater frequency.

Because eating disorders are the most fatal of all mental illnesses, professional treatment is often an absolute necessity. At Center for Hope of the Sierras, a renowned eating disorder treatment program for women ages 16 and up, patients receive residential treatment and a step-down transitional program for the treatment of anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and related disorders. Each client’s comprehensive treatment plan includes individual, group, and family counseling designed to promote healing through equine programs, art therapy, meditation, yoga, body image groups, and more.

Anna Treacy, MPH, NCHES, leads weekly body image groups and individual educational sessions with Center for Hope’s eating disorder patients. As a 10-year veteran health educator who has worked at Center for Hope since its inception, Treacy has an arsenal of tools and approaches to helping women work through their body image issues. Having fully recovered from an eating disorder herself, she knows all too well the devastation a woman’s mind can inflict on her body.

Connecting the Mind and Body
According to Treacy, effective eating disorder treatment rebuilds the damaged connection between the mind and body. Women with eating disorders often suffer from a distorted body image, in which they misperceive the size, shape, or attractiveness of their body. In treatment, patients learn how to transform their distorted self-perception, identify and respond to internal cues, and begin to develop personal boundaries and a sense of self.

“Almost every woman who has come to Center for Hope has had issues with body image,” notes Treacy. “Some are completely disassociated from their bodies and won’t even look in the mirror, while others tear down their bodies to the point of self-harm. In either case, the connection between mind and body has been severely damaged and must be repaired by developing new coping mechanisms and an improved self-image.”

One body image exercise Treacy uses in group sessions at Center for Hope is for each participant to write a letter from her mind to her body, and from her body to her mind. Once she’s comfortable, the patient will share her work with a group of supportive and understanding peers “Group sessions create an enriching peer environment where women can see that they’re not alone in the world,” explains Treacy. “When they see that others have been feeling the same way, they feel more comfortable addressing their deep-seated issues.”

The patients at Center for Hope are also asked to complete an individual self-assessment, working through a list of body parts and indicating which parts they’re comfortable with, and which they are not. The women also describe any body image rituals, such as pinching fat, visually dissecting themselves in the mirror, measuring their wrist with their fingers, and seeing how much bone they can feel on their bodies.

Through this process, staff discovers what influences have impacted each woman negatively or positively, including media images and feedback from meaningful people in their lives, and how her eating disordered patterns manifest in daily life. Each patient is then asked to fill out a “body image statement of intent” to put in writing her goals during treatment and concretely describe how she wants to feel about herself and her body.
Acceptance and Self-Love

“Much of the work we do at Center for Hope centers on helping women get to know, accept, and love who they are. By the time they complete formal treatment, we want them to stand on firm ground regarding their own self-worth, in spite of negative messages from the media or the numbers on the scale, clothing labels, or tape measurer.”

Using cognitive-behavioral therapy, positive affirmations, and mirror work, Treacy helps clients restructure their rituals and self-image. In one exercise, the women take pictures of themselves and label the photos with positive body affirmations. In this way, patients begin to associate their own image with positive characteristics.

In another exercise, Treacy provides patients with diet and beauty magazines that are likely to trigger eating disordered thinking and asks them to make collages of images, words, or advertisements that lead to rituals, self-harm, or eating disorder behaviors. As a group, the participants discuss how those images affected them and what they feel ready to let go of in each collage. Together, they go outside and burn those images as a symbol of release, which leads to a discussion of actions they will take to avoid being affected by those messages in the future. For some women, this means limiting their exposure to negative media messages in television and magazines; for others, it means using positive affirmations or learning to identify and challenge negative thought patterns.

Part of the process of learning acceptance and self-love is making fewer comparisons to other people. At Center for Hope, Treacy takes the residents to a popular summer swimming spot and asks them to write down their judgments about others and themselves, as well as the way it feels to make those judgments. The women then discuss ways to avoid or limit making judgments, treat themselves and others with compassion, and align their thoughts and behaviors with their core values.

Eating disorders don’t have to be a life sentence. With intensive treatment at the appropriate level of care, women can and do go on to lead healthy, productive, and fulfilling lives. The staff of licensed clinicians, registered nurses, a dietician, chef, psychiatrist, and physician at Center for Hope of the Sierras has helped hundreds of women with anorexia, bulimia, and related disorders recover with compassion and dignity. For more information about eating disorder treatment at Center for Hope, or call (866) 690-7242.

1 Comment »


Beating The Holiday Blues

: :

Author: Lori Enomoto
Date: 12/7/2009

The holidays are here. It’s the happiest time of the year, right? For some, the answer is a resounding “yes.” For others, the holidays bring into sharp focus how desperately unhappy they feel.

Depression isn’t just about feeling sad. It’s a clinical disorder that warrants medical attention and can affect physical health. Without help, it’s like a car getting stuck in the mud, spinning its wheels to get out, and instead, only getting in deeper. What’s more, once someone suffers a bout of depression and has managed to get past it, the depression may return, making it even more difficult to find a way to move past the new set of challenges.

The holidays are a prime time for depression. We all can imagine the perfect holiday gathering with the perfect holiday meal, and the perfect family on perfect behavior. We see images of it in the media: the traditional, happy family gathered around the holiday table, or the tree surrounded by loads of wrapped gifts.

The problem with these idyllic images that we see repeated in movies, on TV shows and in retail ads is simply that reality doesn’t measure up. Instead, depression shows up, an unwanted and uninvited holiday guest that thrives on a certain confluence of factors that typically comes together over the holidays:

  • Stress from unrealistically high expectations
  • Comparison to how it used to be
  • Distance from family and friends
  • Overemphasis on one day instead of the season
  • Financial pressure of buying gifts
  • Overcommercialization of the holiday
  • A lack of meaning

When holiday expectations collide with reality, it can be particularly depressing. A frenzy of shopping, cooking, houseguests, familial conflicts, credit card debt and separation from loved ones can all contribute to exhaustion and depression. What may seem fun to one person is overwhelming for another. Sometimes it’s just too much to deal with, so we don’t. We get depressed and shut down.

Warning Signs of Depression

Depression affects the body and mind. Here are some warning signs:

  • Insomnia
  • Excessive sleep
  • Fatigue/lack of energy
  • Indecisiveness
  • Lack of direction or purpose
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Inability to cope with challenges
  • Self-inflicted injury
  • Talking about suicide or feelings of worthlessness
  • Suicide attempts

Depression, Drugs and Alcohol

Depression increases the risk of alcohol or drug abuse. It’s very common, especially among teens and males in particular, to find clinical depression co-occurring with alcohol and drug abuse.

Alcohol is a depressant. It depresses the brain and nervous system, leaving the drinker feeling worse, despite the fact that it temporarily lowers levels of stress hormones. Someone who is depressed shouldn’t drink, as drinking can intensify negative feelings, making a person feel morose.

Regardless of our better judgment to stay away from alcohol when we’re depressed, time and time again, when people are upset or feeling down, they get drunk. “I just want to get wasted” is a common escapist response to a stressful situation, especially for a teen or young adult. A drinking binge is almost excused for someone who is facing life difficulties. Particularly as parents of teens, we should be challenging this dangerous coping mechanism.

Alcohol use in males generally happens before the onset of depression, whereas with females, depression generally comes before alcohol use. Alcohol use can be a means of self-medication to blunt feelings, or it can be a cry for help. Drinking often goes hand-in-hand with unintentional injury due to poor judgment, and with intentional injury due to feelings of worthlessness.

It’s important to be aware that alcohol is within easy reach of your teen, and even more so during the holidays. The holidays are a great excuse for alcohol consumption. It’s an acceptable form of “holiday cheer” and a way to try to escape feeling sad. As parents of teens, this is the time to be extra vigilant about alcohol use, not only due to the increased pressures of the season, but also alcohol’s availability. Parties with free-flowing alcohol, older teens who purchase alcohol and parents’ stock of alcohol offer easy access.

The holidays are also a good time to talk to your teen about drinking at parties and ask them how they cope with friends who are drunk. Ask your teen if he ever feels compelled to take a drink due to stress or anxiety. These discussions can help open the door to figuring out what’s really going on with your teen. If you sense that there’s a deep, underlying problem, look for signs of depression. Today’s teens face a minefield of challenges in coping with the pressures of life.

Self-Injury

Cutting is a way to inflict harm in the form of tissue damage. Cutting and other forms of self-injury can be a sign of depression. Self-injury often starts in the teen years and is more common among girls. A typical cutter isn’t the “goth” on the corner. It’s actually an educated female who wants to please people and can’t live up to expectations.

Cutting, other forms of self-injury and putting oneself in danger are signs that should not be ignored. These behaviors may signal:

  • An attempt to alter one’s mood
  • A desperate plea for help or attention
  • A way to express feelings of worthlessness
  • A way to express or stop emotional pain
  • A way to cope with pressure to be perfect
  • A way to express the pain from past physical abuse
  • A way to feel something when a person otherwise feels emotionally numb
  • A way to equalize emotional pain with physical pain
  • A sign of suicidal thoughts

Cutting is psychologically addictive behavior. It makes the person feel better while she’s hurting herself. Painful stimulation also releases endorphins, so there’s some degree of physical relief that results from cutting.

How to Help

A common myth is that talking about your problems will make you feel worse. Talking with supportive, caring friends and knowledgeable professionals is often a positive step, preferable to keeping the negative feelings bottled up. The negative feelings don’t go away by themselves. It’s important to encourage people who are suffering to get evaluated for depression.

The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that depression affects 17 million Americans a year. It’s also estimated that one in four women and one in eight men will experience depression in their lifetime. Clinical depression isn’t something to just sleep off or snap out of.

About 25 million people a year seek treatment for depression in the U.S. That’s about double what it used to be 15 years ago. The numbers are staggering, yet oftentimes, depression is missed as a diagnosis. When it is diagnosed, treatment for depression may include antidepressants and psychotherapy.

If your depression persists after the holidays, you may need to get help at a residential treatment facility that specializes in depression, such as Sierra Tucson in Arizona. A residential treatment center like Sierra Tucson has expertise in treating all types of depression, as well as any co-occurring disorders, such as substance abuse or anxiety. In addition to any necessary anti-depressants, Sierra Tucson provides individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, and integrative therapies such as yoga and acupuncture.

If you suspect that someone you care about is suffering from depression, do something about it. Get that person to a medical professional with a strong track record for treating patients with depression. You may be saving their life.


Comments are closed


A Sober and Fun New Year’s Eve

: :

Author: Lori Enomoto
Date: 12/29/2009

Traditionally a celebration of the past year and the year to come, New Year’s Eve is the perfect time to reflect upon the changes we’d like to see in our lives. If you think you could improve your life (and who doesn’t?), it’s an opportunity to start fresh and break the patterns that have held you back in the past year. To start off right, it’s a good idea to give some thought to how you’re going to ring in the new year.

Plan Ahead
A good way to start the new year is to plan ahead for a sober New Year’s Eve celebration and a sober new year. If you’re committed to making plans for a sober New Year’s Eve, you’re much more likely to avoid putting yourself in a situation where there’s too much alcohol and nowhere else to go.

Set an Example
Actions speak louder than words. Regardless of what teens say, they emulate their parents. If they see that you’ve had too much to drink, don’t be surprised to see them doing the same.

Rethink the Drink
If in the past you’ve had a problem with drinking at New Year’s Eve parties, make a resolution to do it differently this year. Go to a sober party. Yes, they exist, or you can even throw one yourself. Throw a theme party, so it takes the attention away from what guests are drinking and places the emphasis on the theme instead.

Make sure to state on the invitation that only non-alcoholic drinks will be served and are welcome. Or, you can put the focus on the drinks, but alcohol-free drinks; whip out your blender and some delicious alcohol-free recipes and make copies of the recipes for your guests.

More people than you might think would prefer to go to a sober party, as they struggle with the same issues related to alcohol. For those who don’t drink at all or those who don’t like to get drunk, it’s not much fun being around people who do, so an alcohol-free New Year’s Eve celebration is a welcome change.

Alcohol-Related Traffic Fatalities
U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics show that highway crashes during the holiday season, especially the time around New Year’s Eve, are much higher than during the rest of the year. From 2001 to 2005, 41 percent of traffic fatalities during the New Year’s holiday involved alcohol.

How Much Is Too Much
A lot of people are aware that blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher is illegal; however, here’s something to keep in mind that’s not as commonly understood: Impairment can begin with the first drink. Your judgment and coordination can be compromised even if your BAC is well below the legal limit.

It doesn’t take much to start showing the signs of impairment. You can go online to find Blood Alcohol Content calculators, which take into account weight, the alcohol content of your drink and how many hours you’ve been drinking. Because women generally have a lower body weight than men, they also generally have a lower tolerance for the amount of alcohol they can consume before becoming seriously impaired.

If you’re going to drink to celebrate New Year’s Eve, make sure to know your limits ahead of time. The more you drink, the more you may think you can handle. Since once you’re drinking, your judgment about how much is too much will be impaired, along with your coordination and reflexes.

Designated Drivers Can’t Change Their Minds
If you’re going to a New Year’s Eve party where there will be drinking, you can volunteer to be the stand-up person who’s the designated driver. However, if you know you’ll be tempted to drink, it’s best to decline to be the designated driver, rather than put yourself and others at risk if your resolve weakens.

Don’t Get Sucker Punched
Fruit juices in punch, eggnog and energy drinks can mask the taste of alcohol. Don’t get fooled! Bring a large water bottle with you on New Year’s Eve and keep it in your hand. That will help prevent you from impulsively or automatically picking up a drink with alcohol.

Stop Caring So Much About What Others Think
There’s some truth to the thinking that people drink or smoke “to be cool.” People want to be accepted. That means fitting in by doing what others are doing, whether they’re drinking or not drinking. If you can consciously free yourself from automatically doing what others are doing, you can start to be more determined in how you lead your life. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? It’s not. Study after study shows that our behavior is influenced by what others do.

Understand Your Own Reasons for Not Drinking
Think through why you want to have a sober New Year’s Eve. Is it to please others? It’s important to reason through why having an alcohol-free evening is a good idea, or why you’ve decided to put pre-determined limits on your drinking. Expect to be challenged by well-meaning partygoers; if you’ve decided not to drink, being clear about the reasons ahead of time will help you remember why when you’re in the midst of a party.

Talk to Your Teen
Teens are told by parents, teachers and counselors not to drink, but for teens to follow through, they need to decide for themselves that they want to stay sober. As a parent, it’s important to not just tell your teen not to drink, but also give them good reasons why they should stay away from alcohol, particularly on New Year’s Eve.

It’s also wise to have your teen check in with you during the evening, as even teens with the best of intentions can let them slide when their friends are indulging.

Spend New Year’s Eve at Home
When you were a kid, you probably spent New Year’s Eve at home; maybe it’s time to do it again. Make some cocoa or cider, put on some music, play a board game, watch a movie and maybe even fall asleep before the clock strikes twelve. Or watch the big ball drop in Times Square snuggled under a warm comforter. It can be a fun family evening. And it’s not a bad idea to stay off the roads, since there are drunk drivers out on New Year’s Eve, despite the police checkpoints and publicity about not drinking and driving.

Stick with Your Decision
Whether you’re planning on drinking a limited quantity or having an alcohol-free evening, decide ahead of time what, where and how much (if any). If you find yourself at a party where people are drinking too much, consider leaving or leaving by a certain time, as it will be difficult to follow through on your commitment to yourself.

The way you spend New Year’s Eve sets the tone for the new year. Do it right this year, and instead of waking up with a headache on New Year’s Day, you’ll wake up feeling good about yourself and the year to come.

 

Comments are closed


Understanding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

: :

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is most commonly associated with military combat veterans, but it can affect anyone who has gone through a life-threatening traumatic event. People with PTSD generally have a difficult time trying to return to a normal life after they have gone through something traumatic, and they also have a hard time connecting, or reconnecting, to other people.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can occur not only in the people who actually experience a traumatic event, but also in people who witness the event or in those who are responsible for “cleaning up” after the fact, such as emergency medical personnel and law enforcement officers.

Why PTSD Occurs
When PTSD occurs in people, it is in response to a terrifying situation that simply overwhelms a person emotionally. As a general rule, the individual ways that people are able to cope with what they have gone through determines whether or not they will develop PTSD.

When people experience a traumatic event, it causes both the mind and body to go into a state of shock. People who are able to process their emotions and make some sense of what happened will eventually come out of this state of shock and be able to get on with their lives. People who are not able to process the traumatic events remain in psychological shock and may eventually develop PTSD.

There are a variety of traumatic events that can lead to the development of PTSD:

  • Kidnapping
  • Assault
  • Rape
  • War
  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Plane or car crash
  • Natural disasters
  • Medical procedures (usually in children)

Symptoms of PTSD

After people have experienced some type of traumatic event, it is quite common for them to experience at least some of the symptoms that are most commonly associated with PTSD, even if they do not actually go on to develop this disorder.

Following such an event, most people have bad dreams or they find themselves feeling unusually afraid. In a normal situation, these symptoms will only last for a few days or weeks, and then they will disappear, allowing the person to get back to their normal way of life.

The unusual thing about PTSD is that it does not necessarily manifest in the days or weeks immediately following a traumatic event. In many cases, PTSD does not develop for several months or even years after the event has occurred.

In some people, the symptoms of this disorder appear quite suddenly, and with little or no warning. In others, symptoms may start to appear on a gradual, periodic basis before developing into a full-blown case of PTSD.

There are three primary classifications of symptoms that are indicative of PTSD: re-experiencing the traumatic event, increased arousal, and avoidance and emotional numbing.

Symptoms of re-experiencing the traumatic event:

  • Nightmares
  • Flashbacks
  • Intense feelings of distress or anxiety
  • Upsetting memories of the event
  • Physical reactions to memories of the event that are usually intense in nature, and may include nausea, sweating, racing heart, muscle tension or rapid breathing

Symptoms of increased arousal:

  • Irritability or irrational anger
  • Easily startled or feeling jumpy
  • Lack of concentration
  • Insomnia

Symptoms of avoidance and emotional numbing:

  • Feeling detached and/or emotionally numb
  • Avoiding people, places or things that remind you of the traumatic event
  • Lack of interest in life or social activities
  • Unable to remember certain events from the traumatic episode

In addition to the symptoms listed above, there are other symptoms that are characteristic of PTSD:

  • Substance abuse
  • Headaches
  • Stomach problems
  • Chest pain
  • Feelings of guilt or shame
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts

Treatment of PTSD

A large part of the treatment process for PTSD is for people to start to relive the trauma they experienced in order to be able to really deal with it. Recalling the events and emotions that were experienced at the time helps people to process their emotions, which ultimately helps to promote the healing process.

There are four basic types of treatment that are recommended for people with PTSD:

  1. Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) incorporates different types of left-right stimulation along with traditional cognitive behavioral therapy. Medical professionals believe that eye movements can help to unfreeze the processing system in the brain. This process becomes interrupted whenever we go through an extremely upsetting or traumatic event, which leaves us with frozen emotional fragments rather than a complete, cohesive memory. EMDR helps to bring the emotional fragments together so that the complete memory, or memories, can be processed and dealt with.
  2. Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of talk therapy that focuses on gradually making people directly address and deal with their painful thoughts, memories and feelings. Over time, cognitive behavioral therapy helps to put the big picture into perspective, and allows people to process their emotions so that they can move past the painful events of the past.
  3. While there are no medications that will help to alleviate the symptoms associated with PTSD, medications may be prescribed to those individuals who are also suffering from anxiety or depression.
  4. For people who are going through the emotional ups and downs of PTSD, it is often quite helpful for their family members to also go through therapy. Family therapy sessions can help family members to gain a better understanding of what the PTSD sufferer is going through, which will provide them with the knowledge and ability to be more supportive throughout the treatment process.

For people with PTSD, it can also be helpful to find a support group to become actively involved in. The sharing of different traumatic experiences can help sufferers to deal with their own emotions in a more positive way, and it also helps them to feel less isolated.

 

Comments are closed


SUWS Teen Wilderness Program Celebrates 30 Years of Service to Teens & Their Families

: :

Author: Staff Writer
Date: 5/2/2011

Free E-Book: The Aspen Guide to Wilderness Therapy

Learn more about wilderness therapy today. Click anywhere on the image above to download your free copy of this e-book!

CRC Health Group is proud to acknowledge a momentous accomplishment by one of our therapeutic wilderness programs for teens.

SUWS Wilderness Programs, which first opened in 1981, will be hosting a number of events to celebrate 30 consecutive years of superior service to young people in crisis and their families.

SUWS will be hosting gatherings in Philadelphia, Dallas and Los Angeles, and will also be holding a celebration for staff members and program alumni on the SUWS campus in Shoshone, Idaho.

A TRADITION OF EXCELLENCE

“We’ve had a lot of changes over the years,” said SUWS Executive Director Kathy Rex, “but our underlying philosophies and our dedication to helping children and families get their lives back on track has been a constant through the decades.”

Rex, who has been with SUWS for more than 17 years, said the program’s core values have provided the ideal foundation upon which to build a dynamic program that continues to evolve and improve.

“SUWS has definitely evolved,” she said. “For example, in our earlier days, we worked primarily with the child in crisis. Today, we identify the entire family’s struggle, not just the child’s struggle.”

SERVING TEENS & PARENTS

In addition to ongoing dialogue between parents and SUWS staff members throughout the student’s time at SUWS, the centerpiece of the SUWS family outreach effort is a weeklong Family Camp that parents attend near the halfway point of their child’s enrollment period.

“The Family Camp has been unbelievably successful,” Rex said. “The parents come out to Idaho & spend five days immersed in the program. It’s a life-changing experience for the families.”

In addition to providing services for parents as well as students, SUWS has also been a leader in the effort to promote licensure and regulation throughout the therapeutic wilderness industry.

PROMOTING HIGH STANDARDS

“In the mid-1990s, SUWS became the first youth wilderness program in Idaho to be licensed,” Rex said. “We have always emphasized the benefits of establishing standards and regulations for programs throughout the United States.”

Since receiving that initial license, SUWS has earned a number of additional accreditations, including CARF (Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities) and AdvancED (an academic accreditation organization that serves more than 27,000 schools in 69 countries).

FOCUSED ON FUTURE SUCCESSES

While the anniversary events will certainly involve some reflection the program’s past successes, the SUWS staff won’t spend much time resting on their laurels.

Rex said that she and her colleagues remain focused on ensuring that SUWS continues to evolve — both to meet the changing needs of students and families, and to remain one of the nation’s premier providers of therapeutic wilderness services.

“We’re all on a mission to help others,” she said. “We are always looking to the future and exploring how we can make SUWS an even better place for children and their families.”

ABOUT SUWS

SUWS offers therapeutic wilderness programs for boys and girls ages 11 to 17 with a focus on clinical intervention and assessment. Based in southern Idaho, the programs use the outdoors as an alternative to conventional treatment environments, while engaging students using traditional therapeutic methods.

Since 1981, SUWS programs have provided guidance and support to thousands of misdirected and at-risk teens experiencing low self-esteem, defiant behavior, attention deficit, depression, substance abuse, and other emotional and behavioral issues.

SUWS is a program of Aspen Education Group, the nation’s leading provider of therapeutic education programs for struggling or underachieving young people. Aspen’s services range from short-term intervention programs to residential treatment, and include a variety of therapeutic settings such as boarding schools, outdoor behavioral health programs and special needs summer camps, allowing professionals and families the opportunity to choose the best setting to meet a student’s unique academic and emotional needs.

Aspen Education Group is a member of CRC Health Group, the most comprehensive network of specialized behavioral care services in the nation. For over two decades, CRC Health has been achieving successful outcomes for individuals and families.

 

Comments are closed


Understanding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

: :

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is most commonly associated with military combat veterans, but it can affect anyone who has gone through a life-threatening traumatic event. People with PTSD generally have a difficult time trying to return to a normal life after they have gone through something traumatic, and they also have a hard time connecting, or reconnecting, to other people.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder can occur not only in the people who actually experience a traumatic event, but also in people who witness the event or in those who are responsible for “cleaning up” after the fact, such as emergency medical personnel and law enforcement officers.

Why PTSD Occurs
When PTSD occurs in people, it is in response to a terrifying situation that simply overwhelms a person emotionally. As a general rule, the individual ways that people are able to cope with what they have gone through determines whether or not they will develop PTSD.
When people experience a traumatic event, it causes both the mind and body to go into a state of shock. People who are able to process their emotions and make some sense of what happened will eventually come out of this state of shock and be able to get on with their lives. People who are not able to process the traumatic events remain in psychological shock and may eventually develop PTSD.

There are a variety of traumatic events that can lead to the development of PTSD:

Kidnapping
Assault
Rape
War
Physical or sexual abuse
Plane or car crash
Natural disasters
Medical procedures (usually in children)

Symptoms of PTSD
After people have experienced some type of traumatic event, it is quite common for them to experience at least some of the symptoms that are most commonly associated with PTSD, even if they do not actually go on to develop this disorder.

Following such an event, most people have bad dreams or they find themselves feeling unusually afraid. In a normal situation, these symptoms will only last for a few days or weeks, and then they will disappear, allowing the person to get back to their normal way of life.

The unusual thing about PTSD is that it does not necessarily manifest in the days or weeks immediately following a traumatic event. In many cases, PTSD does not develop for several months or even years after the event has occurred.

In some people, the symptoms of this disorder appear quite suddenly, and with little or no warning. In others, symptoms may start to appear on a gradual, periodic basis before developing into a full-blown case of PTSD.

There are three primary classifications of symptoms that are indicative of PTSD: re-experiencing the traumatic event, increased arousal, and avoidance and emotional numbing.

Symptoms of re-experiencing the traumatic event:

  • Nightmares
  • Flashbacks
  • Intense feelings of distress or anxiety
  • Upsetting memories of the event

Physical reactions to memories of the event that are usually intense in nature, and may include nausea, sweating, racing heart, muscle tension or rapid breathing

  • Symptoms of increased arousal:
  • Irritability or irrational anger
  • Easily startled or feeling jumpy
  • Lack of concentration
  • Insomnia

Symptoms of avoidance and emotional numbing:

  • Feeling detached and/or emotionally numb
  • Avoiding people, places or things that remind you of the traumatic event
  • Lack of interest in life or social activities
  • Unable to remember certain events from the traumatic episode

In addition to the symptoms listed above, there are other symptoms that are characteristic of PTSD:

  • Substance abuse
  • Headaches
  • Stomach problems
  • Chest pain
  • Feelings of guilt or shame
  • Depression
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Treatment of PTSD

A large part of the treatment process for PTSD is for people to start to relive the trauma they experienced in order to be able to really deal with it. Recalling the events and emotions that were experienced at the time helps people to process their emotions, which ultimately helps to promote the healing process.

There are four basic types of treatment that are recommended for people with PTSD:
Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) incorporates different types of left-right stimulation along with traditional cognitive behavioral therapy. Medical professionals believe that eye movements can help to unfreeze the processing system in the brain. This process becomes interrupted whenever we go through an extremely upsetting or traumatic event, which leaves us with frozen emotional fragments rather than a complete, cohesive memory. EMDR helps to bring the emotional fragments together so that the complete memory, or memories, can be processed and dealt with.

Cognitive behavioral therapy is a type of talk therapy that focuses on gradually making people directly address and deal with their painful thoughts, memories and feelings. Over time, cognitive behavioral therapy helps to put the big picture into perspective, and allows people to process their emotions so that they can move past the painful events of the past.

While there are no medications that will help to alleviate the symptoms associated with PTSD, medications may be prescribed to those individuals who are also suffering from anxiety or depression.

For people who are going through the emotional ups and downs of PTSD, it is often quite helpful for their family members to also go through therapy. Family therapy sessions can help family members to gain a better understanding of what the PTSD sufferer is going through, which will provide them with the knowledge and ability to be more supportive throughout the treatment process.

For people with PTSD, it can also be helpful to find a support group to become actively involved in. The sharing of different traumatic experiences can help sufferers to deal with their own emotions in a more positive way, and it also helps them to feel less isolated.

Comments are closed
« Page 1, 2 »