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Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Getting to the Basics of Gestalt Therapy

What is gestalt therapy and will it work for you? 

Developed in the 1940s by Frederick "Fritz" Perls and collaborators Laura Perls and Paul Goodman as an alternative to conventional psychoanalysis, gestalt therapy has been used today to successfully treat a host of addiction disorders and mental illnesses, including substance use disorder, sex addiction, compulsive gambling, eating disorders, trauma, bipolar disorder and depression.

The word gestalt comes from the German word shape or form, and can be defined as “unified whole.” It makes sense, then, that gestalt therapists use this technique to enhance awareness, freedom, and self-direction. The goal is to focus on the here and now and to avoid dwelling on the past or anxiously anticipating the future. This isn’t to say that past experiences are ignored, however, but merely addressed to determine how the present moment is impacted by those experiences of the past.

The Benefits of Gestalt Therapy
Generally speaking, gestalt therapy helps promotes awareness of your thoughts, emotions and perceptions, and helps you better understand how these internal dialogues play a role in actions and behaviors. When used as an integrated approach to addiction treatment, gestalt therapy can also help you:
  • Monitor thoughts and actions in “real time”
  • Discover suppressed feelings or feelings masked by other feelings
  • Accept and trust your emotions
  • Provide a greater sense of freedom, control and serenity
  • Promotes conscious and thoughtful actions
  • Gain a new sense of self as overall awareness
Finding the Right Therapy for You
The Willows at Red Oak Recovery offers gestalt therapy along with a host of conventional and holistic treatment modalities. Our flexible length of stay allows for a self-change process which follows the client’s rate of change, not that of a “one size fits all” approach. To learn more, call 866-831-9107.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Selfie Shows Face of Addiction

A woman’s recent selfie on Reddit is sending a very real message about the harmful effects of drugs on your skin and the positive transformations that can occur from getting sober.

She posted two photos – shot 826 days apart – of herself while using heroin and then in recovery. The result: a dramatic improvement in her complexion.

The change of her appearance didn’t surprise dermatologist Hooman Khorasani, MD, Chief of the Division of Dermatologic and Cosmetic Surgery at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City. “Drug and alcohol abuse can have skin manifestations with underlying nutritional, infectious, and neurological factors,” he told Yahoo Beauty. 

Vitamin and protein deficiency caused by malnutrition are common culprits, noted Dr. Khoransani. “For instance, vitamin A deficiency can cause severe dryness of your skin, and thiamine deficiency can make your skin look waxy and swollen,” he said. “A B-2 deficiency can cause a rash in the face, and a B-3 deficiency can cause cracking of the corners of the mouth and tongue. Zinc deficiency can cause hair loss and skin rashes.”

Here are some other ways that long-term drug abuse can take a toll on your appearance:

  • A loss of skin elasticity, resulting in premature sagging and wrinkles 
  • Tooth decay and gum disease, most often caused by methamphetamines (aka “meth mouth”) 
  • Bad breath (known medically as halitosis) caused by poor dental hygiene 
  • Damaged tresses including changes in hair color and texture 
  • Red, bloodshot, or glazed eyes 

Stopping the Side Effects of Addiction
The best way to combat the physical and emotional health consequences of substance abuse disorder is early intervention. Don’t wait. If you or someone you love has a drug problem, Red Oak can help you get the help you need today. Call: 866-831-9107.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Unraveling The Causes of Addiction

Why are some of us prone to addiction — whether alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, or sex — and others aren’t? It’s a complicated question and one that continues to be investigated and debated by scientists and addiction specialists alike. 

A column written by Daniel Sumrok, MD, an assistant professor at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and director of the Center for Addiction Science, recently addressed this much-debated topic. 

Among the causes of substance abuse disorder, Dr. Sumrok noted the role of trauma. Specifically, “physical trauma in the form of adverse childhood experiences and other psychological damage, mediated by genetics and environment, that physically change the way the human brain functions,” he wrote. In fact, he explained, these changes can even be seen on functional scans of the brains of people who have suffered trauma.

“Traumatized brains seek comfort and reward through the systems of the brain that control pleasure, motivation, satisfaction and reward reinforcement,” Dr. Sumrok said. “Desperate brains seek comfort desperately, often resulting in substance use, and hold on tight, even when this results in negative consequences like jail, disrupted families, hepatitis C or loss of a job.”

The link between trauma and addiction is perhaps most evident among the female population: Studies show that as many as 80 percent of women seeking treatment for drug abuse report lifetime histories of sexual and/or physical assault. 

Luckily, despite the many unknowns, addiction specialists remain steadfast in trying to better identify the causes and prevent addiction early on. “Reducing addictions in the future will take a commitment by all to create safety and security for our children at home, at school and in the community,” Dr. Sumrok says. 

Addressing Trauma and Addiction
The Willows at Red Oak Recovery is a clinically dynamic, trauma-informed treatment center. In helping women to recover from the impact of trauma in their lives, we utilize an integrated approach based on theory, research, and clinical experience. To learn more, call: 866-831-9107.