Do you know someone who seems to self medicate with alcohol to cope with life, symptoms of a mental health diagnosis, or simply to de-stress? It is a known fact that alcohol is often the "drug" of use for individuals suffering from a mental health condition. Alcohol is a substance that either works as a medication for symptoms that are becoming out of control or a way to increase the properties of a psychotropic drug. Either way, alcohol can be a dangerous substance if used unwisely and to self-medicate. As you know, alcohol is such a socially acceptable substance that many people won't suspect anything is wrong with someone who frequently drinks alcohol. Why would there be? Alcohol is found almost everywhere and almost in every restaurant across the nation. It isn't being sold in a variety of flavors at a restaurant, it can be found in a variety of foods. Alcohol is also culturally acceptable as many kids from higher socio-economic statuses tend to drink wine with dinner at various ages. It's no wonder so many people use and become addicted to alcohol. Unfortunately, out of control alcohol use can lead to a variety of challenges including increased depression. This article will highlight some of the ways that alcohol negatively affects those with mental health challenges.
Do you know someone who struggles with emotional attachment? Someone who struggles with becoming emotionally attached too soon or too fast? What about someone who struggles with putting up appropriate boundaries for fear of losing a person, angering a person, or expressing their own needs? Emotional abuse and bondage may be more prevalent than we all think. You can Google the term "relationships" and find multiple topics on co-dependency, emotional attachment, emotional and psychological abuse, and narcissism. It is a topic that many of us feel drawn to because human beings must have relationships. We're constantly challenged to figure out how to keep them healthy, respectful, or at least somewhat "normal." This article will discuss 5 thoughts the emotionally needy person may have and ways to correct defeatist or narrow views.
Do you know someone who struggles with delusional thoughts? A delusion is defined as a belief, that is strongly held to be true, despite evidence to the contrary. It is a fixed and pervasive way of thinking that is not easily derailed by logic. For many people attempting to cope with loved ones who have delusional thoughts, it can be extremely difficult to communicate with the person or live peaceably with them. Another component that results in much stress in families is that the person with delusions does not always seem to be ill. In other words, the individual may go in and out of "consciousness" and show moments of insight, emotional awareness, and engagement. However, this only lasts for a short duration. Are you experiencing a situation like this or know someone who is? If so, this article is for you. This article will discuss the things we can do to make communication slightly better with those who struggle with delusional thoughts.
Do you know what a delusion is? If I were to ask you to define it would you be able to? If not, that's okay. Many people struggle with the thought of what a delusion is. So I will define it here. A delusion is a false belief, held to be true, despite evidence to the contrary. A delusion is a fixed and stable/pervasive belief that is held for as long as the delusion makes sense to the person. The delusion, often a belief that becomes more complicated as the person seeks evidence to support the belief, is as strong as the belief of someone who has evidence to support their beliefs. For example, you may have a belief that your cousin is lying about everything based on the fact that she or he may have a long history of lying. That belief cannot be changed by anyone else, primarily those who contradict what you so firmly believe is true. This is often how a delusion is formed and maintained. The belief makes sense to the person suffering from the delusion and no one, even the closest family member, can change that belief. This article will briefly review delusions and provide tips on what not to do with someone who may be delusional.
Abuse is a very difficult topic to discuss with my clients. It is even more difficult to accept when it you are the target of the abuser. Abuse can come in many forms, even sneaky forms, and it takes not only experience with people and relationships but also appropriate boundaries to cope. Abuse can be described as any act that creates some form of suffering for the target of the abuse. The targeted person can suffer multiple emotional and psychological wounds, even if the abuse is physical. The psychological and emotional wounds can lead to decreased self-esteem, fear, uncertainty, lack of motivation, anhedonia (lack of pleasure in things once desired or enjoyed), and mental health symptoms. Considering all of this, can you imagine how vulnerable a person can be living with and trying to cope with someone who has an untreated or severe mental illness but also engages in abusing others? This article will briefly discuss the "victims" of the abuser who also struggles with mental health challenges. This article is meant to highlight the emotional toll abuse takes on an individual and possible considerations for the victim.
Do you have a therapist? What about a psychiatrist to prescribe medication? How do you feel about them? Mental health care has become a controversial field for many reasons but most clients and families are fearful of being mistreated, misdiagnosed, used, misunderstood, controlled, and mistreated. It is a sad reality that fearful and uncertain clients drop out of therapy completely. Others may self-medicate or speak to and learn from family and friends who can offer suggestions or "therapy" for free. In my sessions with clients, I often remind parents and families that they have, what we can conceptualize as, 50% control over their treatment. For example, clients can decide who to see for therapy or medication management, refuse to pay for services that they are not satisfied by, file a grievance if they are not satisfied with their service, among many other things. This article will review and discuss some of the things that you should keep in mind while seeking mental health care for yourself or someone you love.
Do you know an emotionally avoidant and detached parent/guardian? If so, what makes that person so emotionally unavailable? Is it a mental illness, personality disorder, or something else such as a job, career goal, or educational endeavor? Whatever it is, having an emotionally unavailable parent or guardian can lead to a lifelong journey of unstable or failed relationships, emotional neediness, empty voids, identity confusion, poor attachment to others, low self-esteem and self-efficacy (the feeling of mastery), etc. Research has identified the importance of all infants and developing children having an appropriate, warm, and loving attachment to a mother figure during the developmental years. Without an appropriate, warm, and loving parental figure, children are likely to develop multiple personality, emotional, and psychological difficulties. For many of my clients, the absence of a loving parental figure has resulted in an increase in psychiatric symptoms, school and academic difficulties, fear of abandonment, and many other challenges. This article will discuss the aftereffects or consequences of growing up without an emotionally available parent.
Abuse. What does that word mean to you? After giving a presentation at a conference, in 2014, of parents and families who have lived through years of abuse, I recognized that not many people understood the full definition of abuse. Some families either minimized the term (made the term sound better than it should sound) or magnified the term (made it sound much worse than it is). Minimizing or magnifying the term only perpetuates incorrect views of the term. Abuse often takes many forms. Did you know that abuse is one of the most traumatizing events that a child could experience? For many children, abuse is unexpected and their ability to cope is often disproportionate to the abuse. Trauma is often defined as a terrible event that outweighs a child's ability to cope (National Child Traumatic Stress Network, 2015). This inability to cope often leads to mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, and even personality disorders such as borderline personality disorder, narcissism, or avoidant personality. Even more, trauma can interfere with our ability to develop and maintain healthy relationships (work, marriage, friend, family) and appropriate social interactions. Trauma can also affect development throughout the lifespan and lead to a lifetime of emotional lability ("switchable" emotional states or moods). This article will briefly explore "Traumatic Bonding" and signs to look for that indicate traumatic bonding with an abuser.
Do you diagnose yourself? If so, how?
For many of my clients the process of diagnosing themselves and others involves a quick Google search and a couple of minutes looking at WebMD or the Mayo Clinic's Symptom check lists. For others, self-diagnosis may occur after speaking with friends who have been formally diagnosed (i.e., diagnosed by a mental health professional) or who also diagnose themselves.
Unfortunately, self-diagnosis can lead to great confusion, fear, and uncertainty. A former 19-year-old client of mine believed she was severely depressed for years after reading the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders), a manual used by mental health professionals to communicate about certain disorders. After meeting with a medical doctor at the age of 35, to her surprise, she was not depressed but suffering from an autoimmune deficiency. Not only did she lose years she could have used treating her medical condition, but she also confused her family. This article will discuss the topic of self-diagnosis and reasons why we should all avoid self-diagnosis.