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Thursday, April 27, 2017

6 Healthy Ways to Express Your Emotions

Recovery is a roller coaster of emotions – from frustration to fear to anger to guilt. While it’s certainly not easy, taking control of these oft-misunderstood emotions is essential for lasting sobriety. Alcohol and drug addiction can numb your emotions and they may even feel more intense once you get sober. Part of recovery is learning how to manage those feelings without relapsing. Here are a few healthy ways to better cope with and release any feelings felt during recovery.
  • Talk about it. Whether it’s a parent, aunt or uncle, guidance counselor or sponsor, seek out someone you trust to be your sounding board. 
  • Start a journal. Writing down your thoughts and emotions can help you figure out what you’re feeling and why – and then help you let it all go. Try it: Take just 15 minutes per day and write freely, without censoring yourself. 
  • Tap into your creative side. Creativity is a great way to work out your feelings. Choose something you enjoy or try something new, whether writing poetry, painting, playing an instrument, singing or dancing. 
  • Take a long breath in. And now breathe out for the count of five. Repeat. This type of deep breathing can help you quell any negative feelings.
  • Practice meditation. Meditating is gaining more and more ground when it comes to mental health. It’s a simple technique and it’s super powerful for moving through “stuck” feelings into a place of healing. 
  • Let it out. Feeling your emotions fully can certainly help you feel better in the short-term, so go ahead and have a good cry once in a while. 
Finding Emotional Support at Red Oak
Our serene campuses provide a place where our clients can step away from the distractions of daily life and focus on inward reflection. There are many paths we take for emotional healing and spiritual growth. To learn more, call 866-831-9107.

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.