Thursday, March 29, 2018

Using Good Nutrition to Support Your Recovery

Alcohol and drug abuse can create a number of health problems, including severe nutritional deficiencies. Empty calories from alcohol fill the body up without providing the fuel it needs, and many illegal drugs act as appetite suppressants.

In the early stages of recovery, paying close attention to your diet can help you heal some of the past damage caused by substance abuse. The following tips provide a general guideline for a healthy diet, but you can also try keeping a food journal to learn more about how what you eat affects your energy level, mood, and cravings.

Stay Hydrated
The human body is 2/3 water by weight, so dehydration can cause serious problems with your nervous, circulatory, and respiratory systems. During withdrawal, staying hydrated can help reduce the severity of detox symptoms such as constipation, headaches, and stomach upset.

Ideally, you should try to drink one half to one ounce of water for each pound of body weight. For example, a 200-pound man should try to drink 100 to 200 ounces of water per day.

One problem people often have with the suggestion to drink more water is that they get bored with the taste of plain water. Infused water made from fresh fruit and herbs is a great option, as is using ice cubes made from no-sugar-added fruit juice to add a hint of flavor to your water. There are also flavored Stevia drops you can use to sweeten your drink without adding empty calories.

Eat the Rainbow
Current federal dietary recommendations suggest that you fill half your plate with fruits and vegetables at each meal. However, it's important to choose a wide variety of fruits and vegetables instead of sticking to the same basic choices.

A great way to make sure you're getting a full range of nutrients is to try to eat a rainbow of fruits and veggies each day. Every color of the rainbow offers different nutritional benefits. For example, orange and yellow citrus fruits are rich in antioxidants to support your immune system. Red fruits and vegetables, such as apples, raspberries, tomatoes, and red onions, contain lycopene and anthocyanin to improve your memory and boost heart health. Green leafy veggies like kale and spinach are a source of chlorophyll to help rid the body of harmful toxins and promote detoxification in the liver.

Fill Up with Whole Grains
Whole grains are an excellent source of insoluble fiber, which helps you control your appetite and keep your digestive system in order. Unlike refined grains that have been significantly modified from their natural composition, whole grains contain the original bran, germ, and endosperm.

Common refined grains include white brain, white rice, white flour, and regular white pasta. Examples of whole grains include whole wheat bread, brown rice, oatmeal, and air-popped popcorn, as well as more adventurous options like quinoa, bulgur, millet, and buckwheat.

Snack Smart
Snacking is important to keep your blood sugar stable, but it's smart to choose snacks that will fill in the nutritional gaps in your diet instead of reaching for candy bars, potato chips, or fast food when you get hungry in the middle of the day.

A healthy snack would be one that combines several different food groups. For example, you can try making your own homemade trail mix by combining almonds, walnuts, or sunflower seeds with your favorite dried fruit and whole grain granola. Portion 1/4 cup serving sizes into plastic sandwich bags or reusable containers so you always have a healthy snack ready to go. A mixture of honey and almond butter or natural peanut butter is another easy-to-prepare snack option that makes a great dip for fresh fruits and veggies, as well as a topping for bagels, rice cakes, and whole grain crackers.

If you're concerned about nutritional deficiencies, it may seem like taking dietary supplements would be an easy way to give your body a boost. However, it's always preferable to get the fuel your body needs through a balanced diet. The vitamins and minerals in supplements are synthetically created and thus harder for the body to absorb than what's found naturally in food. Some supplements may also interact with certain prescription medications.

Talk to your doctor about any specific nutritional concerns you may have before deciding to use dietary supplements. If your doctor believes a supplement may be appropriate, he or she can help you choose one that best fits your needs.

By Dana Hinders

Many Hands Sustainability Center

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Can the Seasons and Weather Affect Your Sobriety?

The saying goes, “As the seasons change, so do we,” and this proverb may have added meaning when it comes to addiction recovery. Although the determination to stay sober is your own, the changing of the seasons and weather can have an impact on your sobriety.

As we in the United States transition into spring and Daylight Saving Time, we should take the time to examine the effects that these changes may have on recovery.

Seasonal Affective Disorder
Typically, we associate sustained low mood and/or depression with winter weather. This condition is called Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and is caused by your body’s reaction to a decrease in natural light.

However, those who live in warmer, sunnier regions may also experience “Summer SAD,” a condition that results in feelings of depression, oppression and agitation possibly brought on by too much sun, which can also affect melatonin production and cause disruption to the body’s circadian rhythms. Reduced levels of melatonin and poor sleep can become triggers for stress and ultimately substance use. 

SAD can affect addiction and addiction recovery just as clinical depression and other mental health disorders do. A Finnish study of alcohol use disorder (AUD) showed a significant correlation between SAD and an increase in alcohol consumption among the 4,554 individuals surveyed (Morales-Muñoz, Koskinen, & Partonen, 2017).

Right now, spring and Daylight Saving Time are literally and figuratively bringing more light to our lives. As the days lengthen, notice whether your moods change. If you’re feeling unusually anxious, sad, or manic, consider talking with your doctor about whether you might have seasonal affective disorder. 

If the extra sun and heat are driving you indoors, take advantage of supplements like Vitamin D and SAD lamps, which can simulate the effects of natural light on your mind and body. Socialization, exercise, medication, and other mood-boosters that can reduce the effects of depression are also effective in treating SAD.

Social Drug and Alcohol Use
Social influences of the warmer months can also impact substance use habits. Upcoming spring and summer holidays in the United States, such as St. Patrick’s Day, Cinco de Mayo, Memorial Day, and the Fourth of July, culturally encourage binge drinking.

Bloch, Shin, and Labin’s (2004) study of drinking habits in California shows a significant increase in alcohol-involved car accidents during certain holidays. Among the holidays most associated with alcohol-related accidents were the Fourth of July (#3), Super Bowl Sunday (#4), Memorial Day (#6), and Cinco de Mayo (#7).

While the warm month holidays do not pose as great a threat to sobriety as the winter holidays (e.g., New Year’s and Christmas), they are nevertheless responsible for statistically significant spikes in substance abuse. For instance, in underage males, drinking-related hospitalizations double over the Fourth of July. Similarly, Cho, Johnson, and Fendrich (2000) found that, of 57,758 American adults surveyed about their alcohol consumption in the previous month, participants were more likely to report episodic binge drinking in the month of July than in any other month.

Knowing and avoiding your triggers is a necessary part of staying on the path to recovery during these times of year. And remember that the strategies you used to keep sober over the winter holidays still apply. 

By Emily Fogel Conway

Cottonwood Tucson is an inpatient holistic behavioral health treatment center and addiction rehab. For more information, call us today at (800) 877-4520.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Why Do I Need to Exercise?

Why Do I Need to Exercise?

Why Do I Need to Exercise?

Exercise is everywhere around you whether you see your neighbor going for a run in your neighborhood, your siblings doing chores, a sports game at the park, or any other repetitive full body movements. Finding ways to bring exercise into your life will give you more energy throughout the day and improve your physical and mental health.

What is exercise?

Exercise is movement that works the body at a greater intensity than your usual day-to-day activities. It can raise your heart rate and work your muscles. Some examples include, walking, swimming, running, sports, yoga, ellipticals, dancing, etc.

What are the benefits of exercise?

Exercise can improve your health and help you lose weight if you have at least twenty to thirty minutes of activity a few times a week. It can lower the chances of heart disease, Type II diabetes, arthritis, breast and colon cancer. You will have more energy during the day as well as improve your strength and endurance daily. You would also be able to solve problems better, deal with stress, think fast, and be able to remember better. Your sleeping will improve and help you relax. By working out at the gym, outdoors, in class, a club, or a sports team, you will be more social.

What is there to consider when deciding on an exercise program?

Decide what your reason is for wanting to exercise like if it is for health, strength, or to be more social. Talk to your doctor and ask which exercises you should do to improve your current health state. Also decide if you would rather exercise alone or if you would prefer to do it in a group. Think if there are any sports that you have always wanted to try out that you might enjoy. Do you want formal exercises or to just be more active doing your everyday activities like doing more housework. You should also see if you have more availability to work out in the day or night depending on your responsibilities.

What is the right way to exercise?

It is best to start off slowly so that you do not overdo it. It is important to take your age, sex, and health problems into consideration. If you are having trouble coming up with a safe and productive exercise plan, it is best to speak to your doctor. It helps to do activities that you like to enjoy so that it does not feel too much like work such as if you like to swim or like dancing. If you enjoy it, you will want to do it more. Give yourself realistic goals to follow so you can follow a schedule and stick to a routine for positive results.

Cottonwood Tucson is an inpatient holistic behavioral health treatment center and addiction rehab. At Cottonwood, there are recreational therapists that create an exercise plan to trigger the release of chemicals that stimulate the growth of new brain tissue such as aerobic activity that involves complex and skillful physical coordination, playing games, and solving puzzles.. For more information, call us today at (800) 877-4520.

How to Help Someone with PTSD

How to Help Someone with PTSD

How to Help Someone with PTSD

It can be hard to understand what exactly someone with PTSD is going through unless you have gone through it yourself. It may be difficult to see your loved one being more intense and less affectionate. You will see your loved one being more angry, irritable, not being trusting, depressed, and dealing with substance abuse. It is important to remember that your loved one is stuck in a constant state of alert. Now is the time to be compassionate, understanding, and letting them know you will help them in any way you can.

One way you can be there for your loved one is to provide them with as much support as possible. This involves not pressuring them to talk and that you are just hear to listen and still be around them if they do not want to talk at all. That they do not have to tell you anything but they always can. Do normal things with your loved one that you both enjoy to do whether it is meeting friends for dinner, going to a movie, going dancing, taking a class, and anything else that will make you two have fun. Also, let your friend be the one to tell you how to provide support and how you can be there for them because only they know what they truly need. It also helps to educate yourself on PTSD by learning about the symptoms, effects, and different treatment options so that you have some idea what your loved one faces every day.

PTSD can make someone be afraid of the world and feel everyone is untrustworthy. In order to help you loved on feel safe and that they can trust you, let your loved one know you are there for the long run. Make sure to keep any promises you have made to your loved one and do what you say you will do. It is also important to remind your loved on their strength and past successes to show them that they are capable of recovery. You should also encourage your loved one to go to a support group so they can hear the stories of other people who have gone through the same experiences and to feel less alone and damaged. Above all, your friendship should show your loved one there is still a goodness in the world and they will no longer be alone.

Cottonwood Tucson is an inpatient holistic behavioral health treatment center and addiction rehab. Cottonwood’s PTSD treatment plan involves group therapy, Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) in order for patients to recall traumatic events with less emotional resonance. For more information, call us today at (800) 877-4520.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

What Does it Mean to Be Bipolar?

What Does it Mean to Be Bipolar?

What Does it Mean to Be Bipolar?

There are those that experience an unusual shift in mood such as one minute everything feels fine to next minute feeling lousy. Experiencing these behaviors can mean you have bipolar disorder. Going into treatment and taking your medication will help even out your moods so that you can live life in content.

What is bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder is a mental health disorder where you go through unusual moods. Some moods can be very happy and energetic while others can bring you down. There could be changes in your sleep, not being able to think clearly, and a change in energy levels.

What causes bipolar disorder?

Bipolar disorder can be passed down in families. Another cause can be environmental factors like a tragic event. It can also be a difference in brain development, structure, and neurotransmitters that are messengers between nerve cells.

What is the difference between manic, hypomanic, and depressive?

Manic episodes are when you feel upbeat or jumpy, are more active, talk fast about different things, have your thoughts racing, do a lot of activities at once, or do risky things. Hypomanic episodes are similar to manic episodes except they can be shorter and less severe. Depressive episodes are when you feel down, cannot enjoy anything, being forgetful, feeling tired, or think of death or suicide.

Are there different kinds of bipolar disorders?

Yes. Bipolar I is where you have at least one episode of mania. Bipolar II is having at least one depressive and one hypomanic episode. Cyclothymic Disorder is when you deal with hypomanic and depressive episodes on a regular basis. Rapid Cycling is having four or more episodes of hypomania, depression, or mania within twelve months. A mixed episode is when you experience both depression and mania or hypomania at the same time.

How is Bipolar Disorder treated?

There are many different types of medications to control symptoms. You may need to try a variety of medications before you know which one works for you. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing severe side effects before stopping. Common medications include lithium, mood stabilizers, benzodiazepines, beta-blockers, antipsychotics, and anticonvulsants. There is also different types of therapy such as Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, family therapy, and Dialectical Behavior Therapy to change behaviors, strengthen relationships, and better manage their lives.

What kind of lifestyle changes do I need to make when I have Bipolar Disorder?

It is important to continue taking your medication and going to therapy to better manage having Bipolar Disorder. You should also make sure to stick with a regular sleeping schedule, exercise regularly, drink more water instead of alcohol or coffee, and even mindfulness techniques to connect with your spirituality.

Located on the Sonoran Desert, Cottonwood Tucson is an inpatient holistic behavioral health treatment center and addiction rehab. Cottonwood provides a continuum of care that includes medical detox, addiction assessment, co-occurring disorder treatment, family counseling and relapse prevention. For more information, call us today at (800) 877-4520.
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