Thursday, November 23, 2017

Is Workaholism A Real Problem?

Is Workaholism A Real Problem?


Is Workaholism A Real Problem?

Workaholism does not get much attention in the psychiatric community but for those individuals who are addicted to work, there are common characteristics that are shared with other addictive disorders.  The workaholic may exhibit feelings of dissatisfaction with their psychological, physical, and social lives.  A workaholic may spend excessive time at work and is typically driven by external incentives such as tangible and intangible rewards.  The workaholic denies unpleasant emotions and might exhibit behavior that is aligned only with their interests, goals, or values.  Workaholism is associated with instant gratification and material values, which are reinforced in our society.
Workaholism can be caused by a variety of factors including abuse or neglect in childhood, abandonment, feelings of incompetency, unfulfilled needs, and low self-esteem.  The influences of society also play a role in the onset of workaholism.  Society places a high value on social status and activities focused on spending and possession, ultimately glamorizing wealth as a symbol of happiness.  These influences can play a significant role in the exacerbation of workaholic behaviors, which often result in opposite outcomes.
Treatment is available for the workaholic; however, there are many who work too much who simply deny the problems.  They may rationalize their behavior as necessary to support their families or to have nice homes and things.  If a person decides that they no longer want to work so much, there is help available.  Many can find a psychotherapist that specializes in work issues to explore the denial and underlying forces that influence the workaholic’s emotions and behaviors.
The therapist can work with the individual to understand the consequences of their behavior and address any underlying issues with depression or anxiety.  The individual can learn to set limits to their working behaviors and to address dysfunctional thoughts such as rationalization and denial.  The therapist can help the workaholic set both short and long-term goals and to help the workaholic to recognize symptoms, internal and external motivators, thoughts, feelings, and consequences associated with the behavior.  The therapist might also address any relationship issues arising from the workaholic’s neglect of the family due to working so many hours.
One difficulty in identifying and treating workaholism is the technological world we live in.  Access to work email is a 24/7 event.  Many people who take vacations often take computers and phones with them so they can continue to work.  In addition, there are many jobs today that can be performed from a home office; therefore, it is less likely to be recognized as a problem if the workaholic is home all day and able to spend time with the family.  As with any addiction, the individual needs to recognize there is a problem and seek help.
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

What Researchers Tell Us About Alcoholics Anonymous

What Researchers Tell Us About Alcoholics Anonymous



What Researchers Tell Us About Alcoholics Anonymous

There exists a number of researchers who consistently attempt to find solid evidence of the treatment efficacy of Alcoholics Anonymous or AA.  AA has been in existence for many years and millions of individuals have benefitted from attending AA meetings.  Still, researchers wish to know more about how AA changes people over the long term.  The interesting thing is even though researchers want to know more, they see AA as necessary to treating alcohol abuse.  They even show a great deal of respect for those who regularly attend AA meetings.
AA meetings are based on the concept of anonymity, which does make it difficult for researchers to understand how AA really works.  There are no files related to statistics on who attends AA meetings and for how long.  AA bases success on the stories of recovery from members who attend meetings; not research.
AA members are not very welcoming to outsiders who wish to ask questions of members as they see it as an invasion of privacy.  Many simply would refuse to speak with a researcher during a meeting.  To the members, they are not statistics, but people who need help in recovering from a debilitating problem.
What the researchers do tell us about AA, is that simply it works.  The mechanisms behind why it works is open to discussion.  AA does encourage group participation in the form of reading the Big Book during meetings or sharing stories of recovery.  Members are encouraged to work the 12 steps to recovery and to challenge thoughts related to rationalizing drinking behavior or staying away from the people, places, and things that might get one into trouble.  AA also provides members a way to connect to a higher power that provides hope and healing.
There is a true fellowship that occurs in AA meetings that outsiders might not understand, let alone researchers.  AA members communicate through an understanding that is not visible to the non-AA member.  AA allows for support networks to be established and a safe place to vent frustrations and stories of success related to recovery.
Researchers have discovered that a support network, including regular attendance at AA meetings, is critical in maintaining abstinence.  Research also shows us that two-thirds of people in treatment attend AA meetings and for those who attend meetings at least once per week, are more likely to complete other forms of treatment such as individual or group therapy.
Regardless of how it works, those who attend AA meetings know it does work, if they work it!

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.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

What Do You Do With Time On Your Hands In Recovery?

What Do You Do With Time On Your Hands In Recovery?



What Do You Do With Time On Your Hands In Recovery?


Once you begin recovery, you may find that you have a lot of free time on your hands.  This is normal for a lot of people.  Consider that you spent months or years in drug-seeking behavior.  You had to secure financial resources in which to purchase drugs or alcohol, you had to make time to buy the drugs or alcohol, and you spent a great deal of time using drugs and alcohol.  Your life was centered around drugs and alcohol.  Once you stop using drugs and alcohol, all of this free time kind of just sits there and can sometimes feel like empty or wasted space.

Many addicts state that they do “anything but” engage in using drugs or alcohol.  What does this “anything but” look like and how can you fill your time with meaningful activities to prevent relapse?  How can you ensure that boredom will not set in and set you on a path to relapse?  Boredom is often a topic at 12-step meetings due to the importance of its relationship to relapse.  The important thing to remember is that even non-recovering addicts get bored.  Everyone has experienced boredom at one time or another.

Most in the early stages of recovery spend time attending meetings and working their program of sobriety.  This is an efficient and resourceful use of your time.  Through sharing your emotions, thoughts, frustrations, and concerns is not only beneficial to your recovery but is also a great way to spend your time.  There is a good chance that you will meet others who are also new to recovery and need that added support.  After a period of abstinence, you can sponsor others in recovery.  Sponsorship is a great way to fill time but it also allows you the opportunity to share your stories of recovery and hope with others.  Helping others also builds your self-confidence.

With some time under your belt, you might start to feel like you can do more.  If you are not working, try taking a class or two at a local community college or even online.  Maybe there is something that you have always wanted to study but did not due to your addiction.  Taking courses also serves the dual purpose of connecting with other non-recovering individuals and expanding your social network.

If you work and have family responsibilities, you may find that you have little time outside of group work or meetings for other activities.  This is okay.  What you want to avoid is “empty” time where you are left alone thinking about other things you would rather be doing.  This can set up a relapse situation because in most cases, thoughts might turn to engaging in negative drug behaviors again.  Keep your mind occupied through reading books, doing a crossword puzzle, or watching a good movie.  In a sense, these activities are the “anything but” that many in recovery refer to.


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

Theory of Behavioral Change

Theory of Behavioral Change



Theory of Behavioral Change


One theory that seeks to understand how people change is called the Transtheoretical Model or TTM.  This theory has been around for over 40 years and seeks to explain how behavior change occurs.  TTM is structured around five stages of behavioral change and was primarily designed to explain how individuals implemented an exercise routine or stopped smoking.  Today, TTM is used to describe an intentional process of change for those individuals with substance use disorders, process disorders, and health-related disorders.  TTM is unique in that the stages of change are integrative and designed to explain how behavior change occurs.  There are five stages of change including precontemplation, contemplation, preparation, action, and maintenance.

Precontemplation


The precontemplation stage is the first stage and generally involves an individual who is thinking of changing behavior, yet has no intention of changing problematic behaviors.  For example, an alcoholic may think about modifying their behaviors; however, may be doing so only to appease others.  Even though one might not act on changing behaviors, this stage does allow for the addicted individual to begin thinking about the process of change.  

Contemplation


Contemplation involves intent to change problematic behaviors within the foreseeable future; typically within six months.  The addict in the contemplation stage will begin to think more about how their lives could be different if they quit drinking or using drugs.  There is a considerable thought that goes into changing behavior and how this can be accomplished.

Preparation


An individual in the preparation stage intends to change within the next month.  Individuals in this stage are ready to change and seem to understand the risks involved in continuing with drinking or using drugs.  In essence, the individual is preparing for behavioral changes.

Action


During the action stage, individuals have made specific modifications to problem behaviors and implemented these changes within the past six months.  The alcoholic or drug addict has started a program of recovery and works to change negative or destructive behaviors.

Maintenance


In the maintenance stage, individuals have made significant changes to their problem behavior and are attempting to prevent relapse.
The Transtheoretical Model is but one of many theories that seek to explain how behavior change occurs.  TTM does provide a conceptual framework for understanding behavioral change in substance abusers and can help mental health professionals in designing treatment plans.  As with any behavioral change process or theory, the underlying core is the same.  An individual has to want to change for any process to be successful.

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.

Friday, November 17, 2017

Should You Be Worried About Triggers?

Should You Be Worried About Triggers?



Should You Be Worried About Triggers?


Have you ever heard the saying, if you do not want to slip, do not go where it is slippery?  This saying can mean a number of things to different people.  Often someone might say this about not wanting to cheat on a diet but wanting to go to the donut shop for coffee.  In other words, do not tempt yourself.  The same can be said for those in substance abuse recovery or recovery from any addiction.  If you do not want to relapse, then avoid places, people, and things that can trigger a relapse or even make you think about relapsing.

Triggers are related to associations that we made while using or engaging in addictive behavior.  They can be a simple memory or a situation that reminds you of using.  Triggers can include a person such as a dealer or people that you used to go out drinking with after work.  Triggers include places such as bars, casinos, or even street corners where you used to buy your drugs.  Triggers can also be a thing such as an emotional state.  Anger, sadness, and stress can trigger a relapse as can happiness or a reason to celebrate a promotion at work.  Even your routine while you were using or engaging in addictive behavior can serve as trigger.  You work up, you looked for drugs, and you used.  This was your routine and if you stay in that mindset without finding alternative activities, even your routine can be a trigger.  There are even subconscious triggers such as looking at pictures of alcohol or drugs.

If you have a trigger, recognize it and avoid it.  Triggers do not necessarily mean that you will relapse but it does increase the likelihood of relapse.  External triggers such as people or places are relatively easy to avoid during recovery.  Internal triggers such as emotional states are more difficult if not impossible to avoid.  You will have times when you feel angry or sad about a situation; however, these are the times when you want to engage your sponsor or call a friend.  Tell them how you are feeling and that you are having an urge to relapse.  The more involved you become in recognizing your triggers, the more tools you will have available to you to help you through the rough spots.

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