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Thursday, April 20, 2017

Can Poor Sleep Lead to Pessimism?

Having trouble sleeping? You may have a more difficult time seeing the positive side of things, according to a new study published in the journal Depression and Anxiety. And the link is especially strong if you suffer from anxiety disorder or a major depressive disorder, say researchers from the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. 

This is because poor sleep affects a specific region of the brain, called the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, which plays a role in regulating negative emotional responses. Study participants, who had anxiety or depression (or both) as well as severe sleep troubles, were shown disturbing images of violence — from war or accidents — and were asked to not control their reaction or to "reappraise" what they saw in a more positive light. 

An example of reappraisal: Imagining a woman with a badly bruised face as an actress in makeup rather than a survivor of violence, explained researchers.  

"Reappraisal is something that requires significant mental energy," said Heide Klumpp, assistant professor of psychiatry at UIC, in a statement. "In people with depression or anxiety, reappraisal can be even more difficult, because these disorders are characterized by chronic negativity or negative rumination, which makes seeing the good in things difficult."

Sleep Troubles: 5 Steps for Better Sleep
Shortchanging yourself on sleep can harm your recovery efforts and lead to some serious health consequences. Try these tips to set yourself up for sound slumber:
  1. Avoid caffeine after 3 p.m.
  2. Create a sleep schedule, and don’t stray on weekends.
  3. Make your bedroom a smartphone-free zone. 
  4. Don’t study or work on your computer in bed.
  5. Exercise earlier in the day, never just before shut-eye.
Depression and Anxiety Treatment at Red Oak Recovery®
Whether drug and alcohol abuse led to your depression or anxiety or you began self-medicating to escape the pain of a mood disorder, chances of successful long-term recovery are greatest when co-occurring conditions are treated together. To learn more about our individualized and integrative depression treatment and anxiety treatmentcall: 866-831-9107.




Thursday, April 13, 2017

Is Your Smartphone Use Becoming a Problem?

Your smartphone may be causing personal, social, and workplace problems – and females are even more susceptible to smartphone addiction, according to small study by researchers from Binghamton University-State University of New York. 

Participants were placed into one of the following types: 
  • Thoughtful
  • Regular
  • Highly Engaged
  • Fanatic
  • Addict
The users in both the “fanatic” and “addict” categories were found to exhibit depression, social isolation, social anxiety, shyness, impulsivity and low self-esteem, with females most likely to exhibit susceptibility to addiction.

"Our smartphones have turned into a tool that provides short, quick, immediate satisfaction, which is very triggering," said Isaac Vaghefi, assistant professor of management information systems at Binghamton University-State University of New York. "Our neurons get fired and dopamine is being released, and over time this makes us acquire a desire for quick feedback and immediate satisfaction. This process also has contributed to developing shorter attention spans and being more and more prone to boredom."

Some warning signs of smartphone addiction, according to Vaghefi: 
  • You use technology to escape problems or relieve feelings of helplessness, guilt, anxiety or depression.
  • You ignore what's happening in real time in favor of what's happening virtually.
  • You constantly check your smartphone, even when it doesn't ring or vibrate.
  • You get paranoid when you do not have your smartphone with you.
3 Steps to Curb Smartphone Use
  1. Do track how much time you’re spending on your phone. Download a free app to help you track your smartphone usage and then set goals to help you scale back. Some apps even have features to let you lock yourself out of your phone if you go over a pre-set limit. 
  2. Don’t charge your phone bedside. In fact, your bedroom is one place that your phone should never be. This is because the blue-hued light can prevent your brain from releasing sleep-inducing melatonin. Plus, making your bedroom a smartphone-free zone will eliminate the temptation to pick up your phone when you can’t sleep.
  3. Don’t use your phone in the company of others. Unless it’s really necessary, do your best to put away your phone when you’re with family, friends and colleagues. Not only will this help curb your use but it will also help you develop stronger relationships. After all, staring at your phone in the company of others is just plain rude. 
Help for a Dual Diagnosis
Geared toward young adults, our addiction facility utilizes the latest clinical practices and state-of-the-art techniques to treat alcohol and substance abuse and co-occurring disorders. At Red Oak Recovery, we believe in addressing issues in a simultaneous, holistic and integrated fashion. To learn more, call 866-831-9107.




Thursday, April 6, 2017

6 Scary Side Effects of Alcohol Abuse

April is Alcohol Awareness Month – which is a great time to talk about some of the many ways that drinking too much – on a single occasion or over time – can take a serious toll on your health.  

In fact, accidents and addiction are only part of the story when it comes to the damage caused by alcohol abuse. Drinking can also have a negative impact on your appearance, organs, immune system and more.
  1. Your skin: Alcohol causes the blood vessels in your face to dilate up on the skin, resulting in a red and ruddy face. Plus, if you have a skin condition like rhodesia or psoriasis, alcohol can trigger a flare. 
  2. Your weight: When you binge drink, you’re putting tons of empty calories into your body – and yet you’ll still be hungry. Drinking also weakens your judgement and can easily interfere with healthy eating habits. 
  3. Your immune system: Some studies show that your immune system is reduced after drinking alcohol. Chronic drinkers are more liable to contract diseases like pneumonia and tuberculosis than people who do not drink too much. And drinking a lot on a single occasion slows your body’s ability to ward off infections – even up to 24 hours after getting drunk, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).
  4. Your sleep: Alcohol upsets your REM (rapid eye movement) cycle, or the phase of sleep most important for your body to rest.
  5. Your brain: Alcohol suppresses three parts of your brain: the frontal lobes (helps you make decisions); the amygdala (warns us of danger and makes us feel afraid, worried and anxious); and the hippocampus (makes memories).
  6. Your heart: Drinking can damage the heart, leading to the following problems, notes the NIAAA:
  • Cardiomyopathy (stretching and drooping of heart muscle)
  • Arrhythmias (irregular heart beat)
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure  
Stopping the Side Effects of Alcoholism
The best way to combat the physical and emotional health consequences of a substance use disorder is early intervention. Don’t wait. If you or someone you love has a drinking problem, Red Oak can help you get the help you need today. Call: 866-831-9107.





Friday, March 31, 2017

Depression Leading Cause of Poor Health

Recent findings from the World Health Organization (WHO) say depression is now the leading cause of illness and disability across the globe. And it’s linked to other disorders and diseases, including substance use disorder, according to WHO.

Between 2005 and 2015, the number of people living with depression rose 18 percent, jumping to 300 million people worldwide, according to researchers. Yet, despite these alarming figures, few seek treatment. That’s why on April 7, in celebration of Word Health Day, WHO is urging you to talk about mental health. In fact, this year’s theme is “Depression: let’s talk.” The goal is to stop the stigma and increase access to mental health treatment so folks can get the help they need and deserve. 

“The continuing stigma associated with mental illness was the reason why we decided to name our campaign 'Depression: let’s talk,'” Dr. Shekhar Saxena, director of WHO's Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse, said in a statement. “For someone living with depression, talking to a person they trust is often the first step towards treatment and recovery.”

Spotting the Signs of Depression
Depression is much bigger than regular old sadness. It has mental and physical effects that can impact your daily life, job, relationships, and sobriety. Here are some common depression symptoms to look for.
  • Fatigue or lack of energy
  • Insomnia
  • Sleeping too much
  • Changes in appetite or weight 
  • Physical pain
  • Memory problems
  • Social withdrawal
  • Unexplained sadness 
  • Loss of interest in hobbies/activities
Do You Need Dual-Diagnosis Treatment?
Co-occurring conditions like depression may exist prior to substance abuse, or develop as a side effect of drug and alcohol dependency. Using traditional and holistic therapies, Red Oak has a proven history of successfully addressing the secondary health challenges that complicate substance abuse. For more info, call 866-831-9107.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

How FOMO Can Harm Your Recovery

Do you ever experience “FOMO,” or the “Fear of Missing Out”? This phenomenon, defined as ‘‘the uneasy and sometimes all-consuming feeling that you’re missing out – that your peers are doing, in the know about, or in possession of more or something better than you’’ – impacts nearly three quarters of young adults. 

Not only can FOMO lead to an unhealthy obsession with social media but it can also be dangerous to your long-term sobriety. This is because it can cause feelings of sadness, loneliness, anxiety and envy – for example, thinking about missing out on a party or concert due to your sobriety – and increase your risk of relapse.  

Perhaps the best way to quell any FOMO feelings is to focus on the here and now – and to learn to enjoy the new sober life you’re working so hard to build for yourself. 
  • Track your achievements. Start a journal and jot down your accomplishments, goals, and things for which you’re grateful. 
  • Stop comparing yourself to others. This is especially easy to do on social media – where everyone’s life seems picture perfect. Remind yourself that, despite happy pics and posts on Facebook and Instagram, everyone has their fair share of ups and downs in life. 
  • Give yourself a break. Especially in early recovery, it’s okay if you’re not ready to attend that party, go on that date or run that 5K. Give yourself time and set small, achievable goals to build your confidence.
  • Be more mindful. Mindfulness meditation can help you stay in the moment and stop chasing the next “thrill” or event. 
  • Start moving. A vigorous walk or hike can help keep you calm and focused on your recovery and eliminate feelings of FOMO. 
Guiding Young Men & Women 
Red Oak Recovery® is a unique North Carolina treatment center for young people ages 18 to 30. Combining recreational therapy, clinical treatment and healthy nutrition into gender specific programs, our licensed staff will tailor a treatment program to your individual needs. Ready to begin your recovery? Call today: 866-831-9107.





Thursday, March 16, 2017

Addiction and Your Oral Health


People with substance use disorders have more tooth decay and periodontal disease than the general population, but are less likely to receive dental care, according to a study published in the scientific journal Addiction. The review combined the results of 28 studies from around the world, which collectively provided data on 4,086 dental patients with substance use disorders.

Researchers noted that beyond lack of regular dental care, there are many ways that drug use and the lifestyle that usually accompanies it can have an adverse impact on your oral health. This includes: 
  • Dry mouth
  • An increased urge for snacking
  • Clenching and grinding of teeth
  • Chemical erosion, from applying cocaine to teeth and gums 
  • High-sugar diets
  • Malnutrition
  • Poor oral hygiene
What’s more, dental care can be further compromised due to tolerance to painkillers and anesthetics.

Oral hygiene is not only important for self-esteem and overall good health, but it can also help prevent the following conditions caused by the chronic inflammation and bacteria in the blood that accompany bad teeth:
  • Coronary heart disease
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Respiratory disease
Luckily, dentists can take a few simple steps to help improve the problem, including screening patients for any advanced dental or periodontal disease inconsistent with patient age. Doctors and clinicians should also consider using sugar-free preparations when prescribing methadone and educate people suffering from addiction on the oral health risks associated with dry mouth and cravings for sweet foods, say researchers. 

In addition, dental experts note that making good hygiene a habit can help prevent most dental problems:
  • Brush twice a day – in the morning and last thing at night 
  • Clean between the teeth at least once a day with ‘interdental' brushes or floss 
  • Cut back on sugary foods and drinks
  • Go for regular dental check-ups 
Stopping the Side Effects of Addiction
The best way to combat the physical and emotional health consequences of substance use disorders is early intervention. Don’t wait. If you or someone you love has a drug problem, Red Oak can make sure you get the help you need today. Call: 866-831-9107.

Friday, March 10, 2017

The Scary Effects of Sugar

Sugar is sneaky and it can be addictive in the same way as drugs like nicotine, cocaine and heroin. This is because when you eat sugar, the brain lights up and causes dopamine (the so-called reward chemical) to spike and increase your desire to have more. Like drug addiction, sugar addiction can lead to tolerance (needing more to attain the same “sugar high) and withdrawal.

An addiction to sugar can happen fairly easy, especially if you tend to reach for sweets to quell any cravings for your former drug of abuse. And giving up the sweet stuff isn’t always easy – added sugars are everywhere in processed and prepared foods for flavor and preservation. In fact, experts recommended that Americans limit their intake of added sugars to 10 percent of daily calories.

CNN recently ran an article, “What Happens to Your Brain When You Give up Sugar,” and the results are pretty astounding. While the piece is directed at those who decide to give up the white stuff for Lent, the takeaway message sure can help you if you’re simply looking to clean up your diet as part of your new sober lifestyle. 

Perhaps the most surprising part of the article was that, according to several studies of sugar-treated rats, giving up sugar resulted in a slew of physical and mental withdrawal signs, including: 
  • Cravings
  • Anxiety and depression
  • Teeth chattering
  • Paw tremors
  • Head shaking
  • Impulsive behavior
  • Feelings of helplessness
The good news: Experts also say that swearing off the sweet stuff can result in boundless energy and newfound happiness, according to the article. How long it will take to reap the positive effects, however, is different for everyone. 

Our Food Philosophy at Red Oak Recovery
Our nutritional therapy program, as part of our drug and alcohol treatment, approaches food and eating holistically.The food we prepare is designed to heal the body from the malnutrition and dehydration that substance abuse can cause. To learn more, call: 866-831-9107.