Alcohol Addiction: How to Support a Loved One with a Drinking Problem

Alcohol Addiction: How to Support a Loved One with a Drinking Problem

By Jackie Molan

Alcohol addiction is a very difficult problem to deal with, not only for the person struggling with it, but also for their loved ones. Since addiction and the subsequent recovery process tend to occur over a period of many years, it is important to understand how to support those we care about who are struggling with alcohol addiction.

Preparing for the Conversation

If you are concerned that a loved one is misusing alcohol, the first step is to do your own research about alcohol use disorder. Once you understand the signs, symptoms, and types of treatments, it will be easier to have an informed discussion with the person struggling. Give plenty of thought to what you want to say, and aim to start the discussion when the person is sober and you are both in a private space with limited likelihood for interruptions. You should avoid using terms with stigma attached, like “alcoholic,” and try to use “I” statements as much as possible to avoid sounding accusatory. For example, instead of saying “You have a problem and need to get help,” say “I care about you and am concerned for your health.”

The Conversation

It is often difficult for people to admit that they have an alcohol problem. Therefore, their first instinct might be to defend themselves and become argumentative. It is important that you stay as calm as possible and remind them that you are coming from a place of genuine care and concern. Offer to help them make a plan and take steps toward recovery, like calling a therapist to schedule an appointment. Remember that you cannot force them to go to treatment if they are unwilling, but initiating a conversation can be a good first step which might help them become more open to the idea. Many people will try to achieve sobriety on their own first, but ultimately, professional mental health treatment is the most effective way to confront alcohol addiction. 

Personal Considerations

While supporting someone with alcohol addiction issues, it is essential to remember to care for yourself as well. Set boundaries to prevent codependence, or becoming more invested in your loved one’s health than your own life. Discuss their comfort level with having alcohol in the house or having others drink in front of them. Above all, remain interested and invested in their recovery process. Support them in situations where they are involuntarily exposed to alcohol, and ask them about their treatment. Your support can be an incredibly meaningful piece in their journey to recovery.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/alcohol#supporting-someone-with-a-drinking-problem

https://www.healthline.com/health/most-important-things-you-can-do-help-alcoholic#takeaway

https://americanaddictioncenters.org/alcoholism-treatment/loving-an-addict

COVID Anxiety

By: Julia Massa

The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked fear in many people from diverse populations, especially those who are immunocompromised. Research shows that pre-existing vulnerability to certain illnesses is a major trigger, so it is no secret as to why the pandemic has significantly affected those with autoimmune disorders. People are leaving their homes less, cities are vacant, parks are untouched, businesses are closing, and schools are silent while hospitals are loud, chaotic, and constantly moving. The pandemic has fueled OCD symptoms where people are commonly seen drowning their hands in sanitizer, hoarding their homes with cleaning products, clearing the shelves of toiletries, and constantly cleaning surfaces- no matter the location. There has been an increase in OCD diagnoses and symptoms of those who already have the condition are becoming more severe.

People are stressing over potential blood clots, painful lumps, infections, and even having something as little as an itch- the list tracks on. Illness anxiety is real and can disrupt an individual’s daily functioning. Individuals with this condition constantly google symptoms and surveil their body for any physical signs of illness- previously recognized as hypochondriasis. These constant rituals and safety behaviors can be detrimental to a person’s mental state. In addition, this “what if” mindset only reinforces an individual’s anxiety.  It can be very expensive dealing with this condition, as people tend to go to frequent doctor’s visits, whereas others may avoid going altogether. 

Psychotherapy, particularly cognitive behavior therapy, can be an effective treatment for those with illness anxiety. Medications such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) can help an individual with illness anxiety manage their anxiety and stress without taking a trip to the doctor’s office. Anxiety can actually present with physical symptoms that an individual may think is from a serious illness, so finding ways to cope and deal with the excessive worries can lead to optimal outcomes.

Sources:

https://www.msn.com/en-us/health/medical/pandemic-anxiety-is-fueling-ocd-symptoms-e2-80-94even-for-people-without-the-disorder/ar-AASYBeE?ocid=uxbndlbing

https://adaa.org/learn-from-us/from-the-experts/blog-posts/consumer/health-anxiety-what-it-and-how-beat-it

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/illness-anxiety-disorder/symptoms-causes/syc-20373782

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for illness-anxiety, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/          

Self-Harm: What You Need To Know

About 17% of all people will self-harm during their lifetime, however the actual rate is likely higher than this because of the shame and stigma that surrounds self-harm. Individuals self-harm as a way to deal with difficult feelings, or overwhelming situations and experiences, and can include cutting, burning, and scratching oneself. Self-harm can be difficult to understand, and can sometimes be confused with suicide attempts. Self-harm and suicide attempts are not the same thing, however, there is a strong association between the two. One common stereotype of self-harm is that it is “attention seeking”. The reality is that most self-harm is done in secrecy, and individuals often feel ashamed to ask for help.

There are several self-harm risk factors. These include struggling with mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, personality disorders, drug and alcohol use or addiction, and eating disorders. Self-harming can become physically addictive, as it is habit-forming, and individuals can come to rely on it as a coping mechanism for what they are going through.

Sharing your feelings with someone that you trust can help you self-harm less and feel less alone. If someone has disclosed to you that they engage in self-harm, it is important to be patient and educate yourself on why people self-harm and what you can do to help.

If you or someone you know is struggling with self-harm, please contact our psychotherapy/psychiatry offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/.

Sources

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/self-harm/about-self-harm/

https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/mental-health/self-harm/self-harm-statistics/

https://www.rethink.org/advice-and-information/about-mental-illness/learn-more-about-symptoms/self-harm/

Image Source

https://rcni.com/nursing-children-and-young-people/careers/research-and-commentary/improving-nursing-care-of-children-and-young-people-who-self-harm-81661

Vaping; Vaping Addiction is Becoming More Prevalent in Teenagers and Young Adults

Vaping; Vaping Addiction is Becoming More Prevalent in Teenagers and Young Adults

By: Priya Desai

Vaping has risen tremendously in the past couple of years, especially within the teenage population.  Patients as young as 13 years old were reported to either get sick or die after they vaped. Products that are harmful to your body would be e-cigarettes that include nicotine, THC, and even vitamin E acetate. Many users started using vapes that contain vitamin E to help them reduce their use or contain their use, but these were recently found to be harmful too. People’s lungs end up looking like popcorn lungs due to vaping. Vaping is linked to EVALI which stands for e-cigarette or vaping use-associated lung injury. Symptoms for this disease include shortness of breath, coughing, vomiting, fever and chills, chest pain, dizziness, headache, and diarrhea. To diagnose this, doctors evaluate the patient’s history of vaping devices and take an X-ray of the chest or a CT scan of the lungs. This disease is newer, and among the cases reported, about 96% of patients have needed to be hospitalized.

Vaping is extremely addictive and many teens smoke this to fit in, but this is also why many of them enter early adulthood with a nicotine addiction. Teenager’s vape out of curiosity. There are a variety of different flavors these products provide, and so the teens often do tricks with the device. Normal cigarette smoking has gone down within the teenage population, but e-cigarettes have gone up because they are “easier” to get away with since there is no odor and they are easier to hide. People are also attracted to the different flavors that stores sell. Although e-cigarettes might not seem that harmful, one pod of liquid nicotine is equivalent to smoking one pack of cigarettes.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for a vaping addiction, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Citations: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/mind-matters-menninger/202001/vaping-teens-are-dying-be-cool-and-collected

https://www.lung.org/lung-health-diseases/lung-disease-lookup/evali

https://www.rallyhealth.com/quit-smoking/why-do-so-many-teens-vape

Image Citation: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.ochd.org%2F2020%2F09%2F18%2Fcdc-study-reveals-teen-vaping-use-down-in 2020%2F&psig=AOvVaw1NH06SDRcHM5tWOL_daimc&ust=1631802234262000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAsQjRxqFwoTCIDMk6uXgfMCFQAAAAAdAAAAABAM

Addiction: Recognizing and Coping with a Loved One’s Opioid Addiction

By: Lydia Gallagher

Opioids are a class of drug that can either come as legal prescription drugs, such as oxycodone, morphine, codeine, and others, or illegal street drugs, like heroin. Misuse of prescription painkillers often leads to addiction, after to the cheaper and more available option of heroin. Opioid addiction, formally known as Opioid Use Disorder, is a heartbreaking disease that causes turmoil to the life of the addict and their loved ones. Recognizing the signs of an opioid addiction is an important step on the road to recovery and rehabilitation.

The common symptoms of opioid addiction are as follows:

  • Weight loss
  • Drowsiness
  • Cravings for opioids
  • Isolation
  • Frequent flu-like symptoms
  • Stealing from family or friends
  • Slurred speech

Addiction is hard to fight alone, and many people need their loved ones to help them. Addiction never discriminates and anyone can fall victim to it. Opioid Addiction doesn’t just hurt the one who is addicted. Family and friends can find it emotionally draining and upsetting to see their loved one suffer from this damaging disease. If you have a loved one suffering from opioid addiction, it is important to be there for them and encourage them to get help. It is also vital to take care of yourself and seek therapy to help you become less distressed.

If you or someone you know is seeking therapy for an opioid addiction, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.drugabuse.gov/drug-topics/opioids

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/step-by-step-guides-to-finding-treatment-drug-use-disorders/if-your-adult-friend-or-loved-one-has-problem-drugs/how-to-recognize-substance

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/opioids/science-of-addiction.html

Drug Consumption Rose During COVID-19

By: Priya Desai

Coronavirus is a hard time for everyone and there has been a lot of adjusting to do. Many people turned to drugs and alcohol to deal with the stress, anxiety and depression that they were feeling. Due to this, there was an apparent increase in both quantity and how often people were using drugs during the pandemic. These coping mechanisms are only temporary and cannot fix the problems that people are actually facing.

Months after the pandemic started, there was a survey done in Florida to see how often drugs and alcohol are being used. Almost 80 percent of the participants reported using alcohol in the past month, over 35 percent reported using marijuana, and 10 percent of participants were using stimulant drugs. Along with this, overdoses have spiked since the pandemic began. The increase usage of drugs during the pandemic has occurred primarily among young adults. A few of the reasons for this are economic stress, boredom, general anxiety about the pandemic, fear of acquiring the virus, and loneliness.  With school being online and the stay-at-home act being in order, students had free time which resulted in them abusing substances. Instead of using drugs, people can find a hobby, whether it be painting, exercising, or baking. In addition, with classes being held virtual and jobs being lost due to the pandemic, young adults were worried and stressed. This resulted in an increased use of drug and alcohol in attempt to cope with the stress.

If you or someone you know is struggling with drug abuse caused by the pandemic please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Citations: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/social-instincts/202012/drugs-choice-in-the-era-covid-19

https://www.apa.org/monitor/2021/03/substance-use-pandemic

Image Citation: https://www.google.com/url?sa=i&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.therecoveryvillage.com%2Fmental-health%2Fstress%2Fsubstance-abuse%2F&psig=AOvVaw1hOPaFHRj0X49E6hcvbtEC&ust=1631200310612000&source=images&cd=vfe&ved=0CAsQjRxqFwoTCJC80e3U7_ICFQAAAAAdAAAAABAD

The Impact of Online Support Groups: Addiction during a Pandemic

By Charlotte Arehart

With research showing that the rates of substance abuse are increasing during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is more important than ever for those who are struggling to seek help. Typically, support groups are a great way for those who suffer from substance abuse disorder to seek help. However, with CDC regulations as well as individuals’ anxieties about catching COVID-19, it is difficult for addicts to find support groups. Research has even shown that individuals struggling with substance abuse disorder are at higher risk of contracting the Corona virus than those who do not suffer. Face-to-face interactions are not always possible during the pandemic, especially not in large groups. This has resulted in the dawn of online support groups. The idea is that individuals can get the support that they need in a safe social environment online, perhaps over Zoom, without risking contracting COVID-19. But just like any other major change, online support groups come with its side-effects, whether they be positive or negative.

Online support groups definitely have some benefits for individuals who attend. Some of these include:

  1. Attendees continue to receive support during pandemic
  2. Meet new people from across the country
  3. Protection from the virus
  4. Discuss issues openly and honestly

While all of these effects seem great at first, there are certainly some negative aspects of attending support groups online, including:

  1. Online meetings are not as effective as in-person meetings
  2. Lack of conversation
  3. Lack of connectivity (not all areas have access to Wi-Fi!)
  4. Low engagement levels

Ultimately, it is difficult to say whether or not online support groups are outright a good or a bad thing. It ultimately comes down to an individual’s preference. Luckily, with infection rates declining in the United States and social regulations beginning to ease, in-person support groups are likely to begin meeting again soon, if they have not already!

If you or someone you know needs substance abuse support throughout the pandemic, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://www.apadivisions.org/division-49/publications/newsletter/group-psychologist/2021/03/virtual-group-benefits

Image Source: https://www.beyondmybattle.org/support-groups

Vaping’s Effect on Weight Loss

By: Kassandra Lora

E-cigarettes were first introduced into society around the early 2000’s.  Although they existed around that time they were not widely used especially not by young adults. In 2015 the company JUUL created a newer more eye-catching version of e-cigarettes. This caught the attention of many young adults and thus has increased the number of young adults using e-cigarettes.

When JUUL became popular in 2015 many of the young adults who were smoking it were not aware that JUUL pods contained nicotine. According to an article written in the Psychology Today magazine, 1 cart, or pod, that is placed inside the JUUL contains the same amount of nicotine as 1 pack of cigarettes.

            How does vaping affect someone’s weight? As stated previously, vaping contains nicotine, a highly addictive chemical. According to the article in the Psychology Today magazine, some effects of nicotine include:

  • Cutting craving for sweets
  • Increased metabolism
  • Decreased Snacking
  • Reduced weight

            Since many or almost all of the JUUL pods or carts are available in fruity and sweet flavors, individuals may substitute a craving for a cake or an unhealthy meal for a few puffs of a JUUL. This habit will cause many to begin to substitute a JUUL puff for a meal resulting in an increase in weight loss. In another study titled, Weight Concerns and Use of Cigarettes and E-Cigarettes Among Young Adults, it was mentioned how “someone suffering from anorexia or binge eating is more likely to use vaping as a way to control food intake.” This substitution of vaping instead of having a meal may eventually become an addiction or something that is difficult to control.

            If you or someone you know is struggling with a vaping addiction, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy is located in Paramus, NJ and Manhattan. Call (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com.

Sources: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-antidepressant-diet/201905/vaping-is-not-the-way-lose-weight

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29843377/

Image source: : https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2020/01/9328587/how-to-quit juul

                                                                                                                                                             

Addiction: Supporting My Adult Child Through Addiction

Addiction: Supporting My Adult Child Through Addiction
By Emma Yasukawa

Being a parent means that your children always come first and from a young age, you teach them to make good decisions because children form plenty of life decisions on their own. For example, there are plenty of adult children who make the decision on whether or not they will try drugs or alcohol; even after hearing all of the possible side-effects and risks of addiction. This decision ultimately has an effect on parents and may leave them second-guessing their parenting skills and whether or not they did something wrong as parents.

If you are a parent of an adult child who is not making good decisions and their future seems uncertain, this can be a heavy burden on you. You must take a deep breath and remind yourself that your child is no longer your responsibility legally, and that they inevitably chose this path. Though, there are a few ways that a parent can help their adult child dealing with addiction:

1. Adult children who are addicted to a substance tend to feel as if the whole world is against them and that they feel as if they ‘had no other choice.’ As a parent it is important to remind your child that it was their conscious decision that leads them to where they are. Ultimately, this can remind them that they always have a choice and that it is not too late to seek help.

2. As a parent, you will always want to support your child emotionally and financially if needed. It is a parent’s heart to want to always help, but sometimes you are causing more harm than good. It is important to offer assistance and support but only to the degree that you are able to, and knowing that it is actually bettering your child’s future.

3. Love your child. Love comes in many different forms and sometimes integrating tough love is the best kind of love. This means holding him/her accountable for their behavior, and possibly setting up an intervention if needed.

4. While it is easy for the addicted child to become the center of attention, it is important to not allow this to affect the rest of your family. Of course it will be on everyone’s mind but, it should not get to the point where it will split up a family.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com

Resources: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/lifetime-connections/201410/7-tips-mothers-adult-addicts

Image Source: https://vertavahealth.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Addictioncampuses.com-Getting-Help-For-An-Adult-Child-Addicted-To-Drugs-And-Alcohol.jpg
 

Drug Abuse During Covid-19

By: Catherine Cain

The stress and uncertainty Covid-19 brings is especially dangerous to those who abuse drugs or alcohol. The increased stress, mass layoffs and unemployment, and social distancing restrictions have caused a major uptick in the number of people who self-reported drug use over the last six months. Relying on these substances to make it through a day is not only detrimental to your mental health, but puts undue stress on your body’s immune system, ultimately weakening your ability to fight off infections and viruses.

Those who smoke or vape, whether marijuana or tobacco, are at a higher risk for contracting Covid-19 and may experience severe symptoms. Smoking and vaping lead to lung damage, as does Covid-19, which is why it is especially important not to let your addiction go unchecked.

Addiction may be hard to overcome, but it is not impossible. Covid-19 creates an environment where your addiction can progress quickly, because of the reduced social interactions and prolonged periods of isolation.

Here are some ways to help combat your addiction:

Contact a medical provider immediately.

Ask about medication to combat cravings.

Include your family/friends, so you have someone to hold you accountable.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please contact our psychotherapy offices in New York or New Jersey to talk to one of our licensed professional psychologists, psychiatrists, psychiatric nurse practitioners, or psychotherapists at Arista Counseling & Psychotherapy. Contact our Paramus, NJ or Manhattan, NY offices respectively, at (201) 368-3700 or (212) 722-1920 to set up an appointment. For more information, please visit http://www.counselingpsychotherapynjny.com/

Sources:

https://medicine.umich.edu/dept/psychiatry/michigan-psychiatry-resources-covid-19/specific-mental-health-conditions/addiction-substance-use-recovery-during-covid-19-pandemic

https://www.forbes.com/sites/lipiroy/2020/03/16/addiction-treatment-facilities-are-they-prepared-for-covid-19/#3bf8b57044ea