Wednesday, October 18, 2017

What Is Holistic Health?

What Is Holistic Health?


What Is Holistic Health?


Holistic health is a term used to describe a whole person in terms of caring for the mind, body, and spirit.  If you have visited a physician lately, you might have noticed that the doctor or nurse practitioner asks about symptoms and overall general physical health.  You might be given an examination and maybe get a referral for a few tests.  At the end of your appointment, the doctor or nurse practitioner might prescribe you a medication to help with symptom management.

In holistic health, this typical doctor’s visit looks considerably different.  First, holistic health looks at the whole person including mind, body, and spirit and how these interact with the environment.  Second, there is less focus on illness and disease with holistic health.  Finally, the focus of holistic health is functioning well at every level.

Holistic health generally emphasizes diet, exercise, attitude, behavior, and spirituality in order to heal the mind, body, and spirit.  Holistic health does not replace traditional medical care or surgery when needed.  It is more of a way to heal the body and keep it healthy through lifestyle changes.  Many individuals who engage in holistic health practices feel empowered through caring for themselves and their well-being outside of traditional medicine.

Some individuals refer to holistic health as complementary to traditional healthcare practices.  Some will engage in chiropractic care, acupuncture, homeopathy, meditation, or massage.  If you have never practiced  holistic health, it might be a good idea to start slow.  You might want to try a massage or meditation at first to see how it works and how you feel afterwards.  If you notice improvements in your overall well-being, try adding more practices such as acupuncture or chiropractic care.

The one downside to holistic health practices is that most health insurance companies will not pay for these types of treatment.  Most individuals who wish to engage in holistic health practices typically pay for the services out of pocket.

There are free alternatives to going to a holistic health practitioner and these include self-meditation, a natural diet, and exercise.  Meditation can be done in your home and all it takes is a quiet place, free from distractions and deep breathing exercises.  A natural diet can be incorporated into anyone’s health plan by selecting fruits and vegetables over potato chips and other high-carb snacks.  Individuals can also benefit simply by taking a 15-20 minute walk outside.  Getting fresh air and exercise can do wonders for the mind, body, and spirit.

Settled remotely in the Arizona desert, the healing landscape of Cottonwood Tucson, a residential treatment center for co-occurring disorders, is the perfect environment for transformation. Our integrative approach to treatment heals the mind, body, and spirit, for total recovery and lifelong abstinence. Call us today for more information: (800) 877-4520

Mindfulness Therapy for Depression

Mindfulness Therapy for Depression


Mindfulness Therapy for Depression


Mindfulness therapy for treating depression is a relatively new approach.  There is a growing body of research that supports mindfulness therapy as a way to treat the negative thought patterns associated with depression.

Depression is a major disorder affecting millions of individuals.  It is a complex mental health disorder that requires intervention and treatment.  A person might experience overwhelming sadness or feel empty inside.  Many report depression as a “dark place” where there is no end in sight.  Others experience feelings of worthlessness, hopelessness, and irritability to the point where the person is no longer able to enjoy activities or sleep well.

Mindfulness therapy is based on the tenets of cognitive therapy and is referred to as MBCT or mindfulness-based cognitive therapy.  Depression carries with it many negative thoughts and feelings generally directed toward the depressed individual.  MBCT seeks to reduce these negative thoughts and feelings through education.  Individuals are taught to disengage from this negative way of thinking and feeling and to re-engage with life as it occurs in the moment.
Many people who experience depression can be caught up in the what ifs of the future and the what happened of the past.  This pattern of thinking can perpetuate depression into a vicious cycle of never-ending hopelessness or believing that nothing will ever change.

MBCT involves a series of therapy sessions where the therapist focuses on what is occurring at this moment.  If the individual’s mind starts to wander toward the what ifs, the therapist will bring them back to the moment through focused breathing or maybe participating in a stretching exercise.  The focus of MBCT is on mindfulness exercises including body awareness, yoga, and daily homework exercises designed to keep the individual mindful of each moment and paying attention to what they are doing in each moment.

MBCT does show support in treating depression and can be helpful in preventing relapse of depressive symptoms.  Some studies have indicated that MBCT has the same effect as some medications used for treating depression.  The exact mechanism behind how MBCT works is not fully known; however, it does help to assist the individual in becoming aware of and observing thoughts that occur throughout the day.  Mindfulness might lead a person to experience compassion for the self and decrease avoiding experiences that are uncomfortable.

Through focus on the moment and acceptance of the moment, awareness of one’s feelings and thoughts can become known and can prevent one from having wandering thoughts about the future.  The focus is on the here and now and one can learn the experience of truly living in the moment.
An integrative approach to treatment is necessary for healing the mind, the body, and the spirit from the effects of addiction, trauma, and mental health. Cottonwood Tucson offers critically acclaimed clinical care for men, women, and adolescents. Call us today for information on our internationally recognized programs. (800) 877-4520.

Monday, October 16, 2017

How Does Heroin Affect The Brain?

How Does Heroin Affect The Brain?


How Does Heroin Affect The Brain?


Heroin is made from the resin found in poppy plants.  A sap-like opium is removed from the pod of a poppy plant, which is refined to make morphine and following further refinement, heroin is made.  Heroin is highly addictive and most individuals who use heroin, inject the substance intravenously.  Heroin is a difficult substance to withdraw from which is why many individuals choose to keep using the drug then suffer the effects of withdrawal.

Heroin is a central nervous system depressant and binds to opiate receptors in the brain.  This binding causes the short-term effects of the drug.  Heroin can be injected, smoked, or snorted, which makes it more addictive.  Once the drug reaches the brain, it is converted to morphine by the body’s enzymes.  The morphine then binds to the opiate receptors in the cerebral cortex, thalamus, nucleus accumbens, brainstem, and spinal cord.

These areas of the brain include pain pathways and reward pathways.  The areas associated with the reward pathway release dopamine, which makes someone feel euphoric.  The pain pathways get numb from the binding of morphine, which causes the inability to feel pain.  These areas are what make heroin appealing—numbing pain and helping someone to feel euphoric.  Individuals experience pleasure and is why many use the drug again and again.

The short-term effects of heroin include euphoria, lack of pain, drowsiness, and mental functioning that is clouded by the drug.  These short-term feelings create such a pleasurable experience that many who use the drug do not care about the negative side effects.  The effects of a single heroin use can last for several hours and once the drug begins to wear off, the individual might experience nodding off.  This is a period of time in which one can be in a wakeful and drowsy state at the same time.  Without the drug, people will start to feel nauseous, itchiness, and have respiratory depression.  Therefore, many people continue to use the drug, as withdrawal can be very uncomfortable.

The long-term effects of using heroin on the brain can lead to addiction.  Many individuals report that they continue to use the drug because they are seeking the same high as when they first used.  The brain is affected mostly through psychological experiences such as tolerance, cravings, and dependence.  Tolerance occurs because the individual wishes to remain “high” but over time needs more and more of the drug to accomplish this.  Cravings occur due to the increased activity of glutamate, a cortical excitatory neurotransmitter.  Dependence can be physical and psychological where individuals need to have the drug to feel normal.  

Settled remotely in the Arizona desert, the healing landscape of Cottonwood Tucson, a residential treatment center for co-occurring disorders, is the perfect environment for transformation. Our integrative approach to treatment heals the mind, body, and spirit, for total recovery and lifelong abstinence. Call us today for more information: (800) 877-4520

Impulsivity

Impulsivity


Impulsivity


Impulsivity is characterized by behavior that is given little thought of future consequences.  The term also implies that a person may act without thought to longer-term goals, which may lead a person to take risk in the short term.  A person can be impulsive and actually experience a positive outcome, whereby explaining why impulsivity can serve a dual role.

Impulsivity is a characteristic in many mental health disorders including Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), substance use disorders, personality disorders, and bipolar disorder.  Impulsivity is often used as a term to describe a person’s personality.  A person who has an impulsive personality may act with spontaneity or may procrastinate.

Many people use the term impulsivity in conjunction with compulsivity; however, the terms are not mutually exclusive.  Impulsive behavior is related to acting without thought of the benefits of the behavior.  Compulsive behavior is more related to repetitive actions such as are seen with compulsive gamblers and compulsive shoppers.

The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has a classification of disorders related to the inability to self-regulate behaviors and emotions.  These disorders include disruptive, impulse-control, and conduct disorders.  Gambling disorder was previously categorized as an impulse-control disorder; however, was changed due to similarities with substance-use disorders.

Impulsivity is linked to substance-use disorders, as many people have a difficult time controlling impulses to use drugs or alcohol or quite simply, have a hard time saying no.  The addict will not see the consequences of their actions and choose to react through impulsive behavior.  Impulsivity has also been linked to whether or not casual use will turn into an addiction.  Researchers suggest that those individuals with the ability to curb impulses are less likely to become addicted to a substance.  This may seem simple in design; however, the researchers caution that there are other variables to consider including environmental and genetic factors.  Another important consideration is that substance use can also lead to impulsive behavior.  This ultimately creates a cycle of impulsivity and drug use and vice versa.

Impulsivity and any corresponding mental health disorders can be treated with therapy, mindfulness training, and behavioral interventions.  Impulsivity with substance abuse can be treated with substance abuse counseling or 12-step intervention.  Behaviors can be managed through learning to delay satisfying the impulse, which promote stopping to think about what behavior you are engaging in and finding alternatives.
An integrative approach to treatment is necessary for healing the mind, the body, and the spirit from the effects of addiction, trauma, and mental health. Cottonwood Tucson offers critically acclaimed clinical care for men, women, and adolescents. Call us today for information on our internationally recognized programs. (800) 877-4520.


Thursday, October 12, 2017

Do Feelings and Decision Making Go Hand In Hand?

Do Feelings and Decision Making Go Hand In Hand?


Do Feelings and Decision Making Go Hand In Hand?


Everyone has feelings and these feelings serve a purpose.  If humans were not allowed to express emotion and behave in a certain way, we would probably not work very effectively.  Feelings are vital to our everyday lives and throughout the day, we can experience many feelings about many things.

Feelings help us to grieve, allow us to process events, and help us to survive.  Imagine if you did not feel hunger, would you remember to eat?  Feelings are necessary and yes at times uncomfortable but on occasion these feelings can help us understand things that might need to be changed.

Feelings can also influence the decisions we make.  The brain plays a role in our feelings—how they are processed and how they are regulated.  In addition, when we make decisions, our brains go into overdrive trying to figure out the best way to make a decision before, during, and after the decision was made.  We can make decisions that maximize our potential or specific situation yet some are limited by information from our past.

We make decisions every day—what to eat, what to buy, who are friends are, etc.  Often, our feelings can influence our decision-making abilities and can influence whether or not a decision was the best one to make given the circumstances.  How do emotions play a role in our ability to make decisions?  Imagine a situation where you feel anger or fear.  This feeling will allow you to produce a result or how to respond to the situation.

Feelings can however, get in the way of making productive and worthy decisions.  Remember the last time you experienced an overwhelming feeling of anger or sadness.  If you were to make a decision about something during this emotional state, do you think you would make a sound decision?  The answer is probably not.  Feelings are powerful forces and at times they may prompt us to make decisions that are not in our best interest.

According to researchers, anger and fear are the two biggest feelings that influence decisions we make.  Interestingly, happiness can also influence decision making.  The best way to handle feeling-based decisions is to remove yourself from the situation and take time to breathe.  Clear your mind and address the anger, fear, sadness, or even happiness first.

The ideal situation is to make decisions that are based in reason, not emotion.  Decisions that are made while experiencing a feeling can often be made too quickly.  Decisions that are made when you are calm and not experiencing an overwhelming feeling are made more productively and can have better outcomes.  There is a saying in 12-step meetings that we should never make decisions when feeling hungry, angry, lonely, or tired (HALT).  There is a reason for this.  Stay calm, breathe, and allow reason to guide your decision-making ability.

Settled remotely in the Arizona desert, the healing landscape of Cottonwood Tucson, a residential treatment center for co-occurring disorders, is the perfect environment for transformation. Our integrative approach to treatment heals the mind, body, and spirit, for total recovery and lifelong abstinence. Call us today for more information: (800) 877-4520

CARF - Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation FacilitiesNATSAP | National Association of Therapeutic Schools and ProgramsNBCCNAADAC