From our blog, articles tagged: Mental Health

Why and How We Live Rhythmically at Two Dreams

The chains of habit are generally too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken

- Samuel Johnson

Every living organism has a natural rhythm. These rhythms are disrupted by illness, particularly drug and alcohol use. A drug can create false sleep. A drug can stimulate alertness. A drug can suppress appetite. Another can stimulate appetite.

The science behind living rhythmically, strategies that promote and restore natural rhythms, and the role of sleep, nutrition, meditation, and exercise in the 21st century approach to healing oneself in recovery are all important aspects of your journey at Two Dreams.

At Two Dreams the concept of living in the NOW (No Other Way) is central to living a life in recovery. Similarly, mindfulness is a state of active, open, non-judgmental attention on the present. Many treatment programs and practitioners are employing mindfulness in the care and management of patients with mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders- diseases and symptoms which tend to cluster together.

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When you give up drinking it can seem like all of the fun things you used to do go with it. Most of our social lives revolve around alcohol, which not only is unhealthy but can lead to the slippery slope of addiction.

Choosing to live alcohol-free may seem like a daunting task, but all you need to do is find things that can replace drinking.

 

Why You Can Still Have Fun and Be Sober

While it can feel lonely being one of the only of your friends that is sober, it’s more likely than not that someone around is going through the same situation as you. Almost one-third of adult Americans don’t drink at all and another third have less than one alcoholic drink a week. People who don’t drink have reported several benefits like better skin, more focus, and a deeper connection with themselves and those around them.

Just because you’re sober doesn’t mean that you can’t have a little fun. There are plenty of ways for you to have a great time alcohol-free. Don’t believe us? We’ve put together a list of 30 things you can do instead of drinking. An entire month’s worth of activities that you can do without alcohol, with friends, or by yourself. The next time you’re tempted to pick up a drink or just can’t think of anything fun to do sober, check out these 30 options you have to choose from.

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Hanging out with your friends is always a good time. You guys make each other laugh, talk about the things that matter, and are always there for each other when you need them the most.

If you have a truly supportive group of friends, they will understand the struggles you’ve overcome in rehab and will want to support you in any way they can. Even if that means not involving alcohol when you hang out together.

Once you get out of rehab and you’re ready to start seeing your friends again, you may notice that a lot of the things you use to enjoy doing together revolved around alcohol. You may have found it easier to stay away from alcohol in a controlled environment like rehab or group therapy sessions. Now that you’re out in the real world, there’s nothing to worry about. You can still have plenty of fun with your friends without the help of alcohol. Below are twenty ideas you can use the next time you need a sober way to have fun.

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According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 23.5 million persons aged 12 or older needed treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol abuse problem. That’s a large portion of the population who are either in need of treatment or are seeking some form of treatment for substance abuse like rehab. While millions of people are admitted into rehab every year, the success rate for each facility varies ranging anywhere from 5 to 10 percent.

In order to have a successful recovery and benefit from rehab’s effects, it’s important that you put in the necessary work that it takes to get the most out of a rehab program. Whether it’s focusing on the long term goals, making a commitment to yourself, or surrounding yourself with love and support, there are several ways you can make drug rehab more effective. Below are twelve ways you can start to build on your rehab treatment and work towards a successful recovery.

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Getting sober is not easy task. It comes with its ups and downs and a lot of hard work. With almost 60 percent of sober people experiencing relapse, it’s no wonder that people are afraid of getting sober. Understanding your fear of getting sober is the first step to conquering it. Once you get a hold on the fears that are driving your hesitation and procrastination, you can begin to see clearly the benefits of getting sober. Below are ten reasons why people are afraid to get sober and how to overcome them.

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Navigating the road to recovery can be tricky sometimes, especially with the reality of relapse always looming overhead. Nearly 40 to 60 percent of people in recovery will relapse at some point. While relapse is a reality that all addicts have to face, it doesn’t necessarily have to happen to everyone. With a little bit of hard work and motivation, you can take the necessary steps to prevent a relapse and have a successful recovery. Below are ten relapse prevention strategies that can be a great addition to your recovery journey.

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Dating sober isn’t always the easiest thing to do. A large part of modern dating often revolves around socializing during the evenings, which in turn can often involve meeting at a bar, or over food. However, this fact doesn’t mean it’s impossible, or that you should give up on the idea of dating while sober. The biggest hurdle that many sober people will face when dating is telling their date that they’re sober. This can be awkward and difficult to get out, and you don’t always know how the person is going to react. The important thing to remember is that if this person is truly a good match for you, they will accept you as you are and support you no matter what.

 

You’re Not Alone

The good news is that there are plenty of sober people out there to date. If you’re looking for a sober love match, there are so many different online dating sites that cater to the sober population to choose from. When you use sites like these, there is no door for you to hide behind or anything dramatic to unveil, everyone there is on the same page.

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It is estimated that between 75 and 90 percent of Americans have cell phones. The numbers are increasing each year, with plenty of young children being granted cell phones each year as well.

Now, in and of itself, this is not an issue, but it does become an issue when someone becomes addicted to their cell phone.

Just look around whenever you're out in public. You'll see a good number of people staring at their cell phones. Some are texting, some are scrolling social media sites, or doing something with their cell phone. Oftentimes, you'll see a family out for dinner and each family member is fiddling with their cell phone. No one is talking to each other; they're simply lost in the cell phone world.

Cell phone addiction is very common. One study suggested that about 67% of people habitually check their phone even, when they don't hear it ring or vibrate. It can simply become a habit and perhaps a compulsion to check your phone every few minutes.

 

Am I addicted to my cell phone?

Though cell phone addiction is not listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders yet, it may very well be in the future. Are you addicted to your cell phone? Here are some signs that you may be:

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Coming out of rehab can sometimes feel a bit frightening, as you begin a new journey navigating life sober.

You may be dealing with some anxiety over facing life without leaning on any substances to cope. Rest assured that such anxiety is quite normal among those who are leaving rehab, but good news is that you don’t have to navigate life alone.

As you probably know, addiction impacts more than just the addict. Families and friends oftentimes get the brunt of the addict’s behaviors, and this doesn’t always go over well. In fact, many bridges are burned throughout the addict’s using days.

However, heading off to rehab to get sober or clean offers you a new lease on life, as well as a chance to think about reconnecting with some of those old friends. Maybe you’ve lost touch with your old friends’ due to your addiction. Or perhaps you said or did something that caused them to stop communicating with you. Either way, there’s fresh opportunity to reach out to your old friends and begin building a healthy bridge.

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Dream Journal

Andrea Barthwell MDNote From Dr B.

People aren’t expected to recover from a life-threatening illness without care and we use the dimension of professional guidance to represent how we help an individual do the things that are necessary to recover. That professional guidance during the first phase might be helping them to get up in the morning to re-establish their circadian rhythms. Later on, it’s an individual therapy where they can delve deeply into emotional hurts that they’ve experienced about their life and share them with another person, sometimes for the first time in their lives, or it could be in having someone just direct you to a particular app that’s going to allow you to celebrate the days that you have in recovery.

Professional guidance is extremely important because individuals who can get sober in AA alone did. They’re not in treatment, and those are individuals who need some professional assistance to help decide what elements to put together and what specific way they need to approach treatment in order to recover. Our staff is passionate, caring, and dedicated to helping others achieve the best outcomes possible.

Sincerely,

Dr. B

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Dream Journal

Andrea Barthwell MDNote From Dr B.

Peer support is probably the most important thing that you can experience in treatment and it’s experienced in different ways depending upon the phase that you’re in in treatment. Coming into treatment, you look around and you see that other people have the same kind of problems that you’ve had and you learn to identify and understand that you’re not unique in what you’re feeling or what you’ve gone through to get here. You also see people who are a little further along in treatment than you are who are doing better than you could have ever imagined for yourself. You begin to want what they have and you become hopeful that it’s possible.

Peer groups also provide a form of support and understanding. They are a way in which people express their love for others in their humanity. They are a way to identify. They are a way to stay accountable. Additionally, people who have gone through what you’ve gone through understand what you’re experiencing and when you may talk about something that’s happened in your past but minimize the impact or change the way in which you describe a situation, somebody who has actually experienced that situation may be able to help you find a deeper truth in your story-telling.

Peers are extremely important in the program and being able to feel free enough to experience and love another person for who they are is one of the first things that we can do to heal ourselves.

Sincerely,

Dr. B

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Many individuals find that returning to work after rehab is a major challenge.

For some, it’s because returning to their previous place of employment makes them feel stressed or triggered to use drugs again. For others, it’s because of a long period of unemployment, which makes getting hired more difficult. Some have a poor employment history (no work or working under the influence), and for others, legal issues hold them back.

Whatever the reason, it's a good idea for people finishing addiction recovery to leave much of the past behind and make a fresh start. Many people try living life in a new location and/or starting a new career.

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Dream Journal

Andrea Barthwell MDNote From Dr B.

Abstinence is critical for recovery. The individual who’s been using alcohol or drugs or other devices has to stop and return the body to as near-as-makes-no-difference-to-normal state in order to start the process of recovery. However, just taking the drugs out of your system doesn’t give you recovery; it gives you an opportunity to step back and then put together a life that one can lead in recovery.

This dimension is very critical and it can be done in a way where the individual goes through detoxification or maybe on medication-assisted reductions to what they’ve been taking or even medication-assisted recovery if necessary. Somehow, though, we have to be able to clear the mind and stop the cycle of using and recovering from the use in order to have the energy to engage in the recovery process.

It is also important to note that abstinence not only means abstaining from drugs and alcohol, but dysfunctional elements in life as well. For example, individuals in recovery should abstain from negative thoughts, codependent behaviors, self-defeating communication styles, and other individual issues that hold them back from achieving mental peace, physical well-being, and personal productivity.

We insist upon abstinence here at Two Dreams and encourage graduates of our program to continue abstaining throughout their long-term recovery as well.

Sincerely,

Dr. B

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Dream Journal

Andrea Barthwell MDNote From Dr B.

I created the "3-7-3" philosophy as part of my commitment to holistic, evidence-based treatment that is both all-inclusive and highly effective. Patients are required to examine their progress introspectively throughout their stay at Two Dreams and spend every day working to complete the three phases of treatment via our seven dimensions of treatment. When both the patient and the staff feel that the individual has achieved the three main outcomes of recovery, mental peace, physical wellbeing, and personal productivity, they are ready to transition out of our facility.

The first few editions of the Dream Journal this year are going to focus on the first "3" of the "3-7-3" philosophy, a number that represents the three phases of treatment at Two Dreams. The three phases are a naturally occurring progression; they are not time limited, and clients can transition in and out of them depending on several clinical factors. The third phase, and the subject of this edition of the Dream Journal, is the "Looking Out Phase."

 

Stretching in the morning

 

The Looking Out Phase, as the name suggests, is all about looking outward and meditating on a future in long-term recovery. Patients in this phase have all the tools they need from treatment and may begin making decisions about where to go and what to do after Two Dreams. They make a plan to continue building on the gains they made while in primary treatment, including working on managing cravings, managing relationships, and reintegrating into their next living environment. This phase provides a supportive environment in which to practice newly gained skills and outlooks. Our professional staff continues to guide clients by encouraging them to utilize their strengths and the positive attributes revealed to them during their stay at Two Dreams.

Please call us today at 708-613-4750 for more information about the Looking Out Phase or our treatment program in general. We look forward to speaking with you.

Sincerely,

Dr. B

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Dream Journal

Andrea Barthwell MDNote From Dr B.

I created the “3-7-3” philosophy as part of my commitment to holistic, evidence-based treatment that is both all-inclusive and highly effective. Patients are required to examine their progress introspectively throughout their stay at Two Dreams and spend every day working to complete the three phases of treatment via our seven dimensions of treatment. When both the patient and the staff feel that the individual has achieved the three main outcomes of recovery, mental peace, physical wellbeing, and personal productivity, they are ready to transition out of our facility.

The first few editions of the Dream Journal this year are going to focus on the first “3” of the “3-7-3” philosophy, a number that represents the three phases of treatment at Two Dreams. The three phases are a naturally occurring progression; they are not time limited, and clients can transition in and out of them depending on several clinical factors. The second phase, and the subject of this edition of the Dream Journal, is the “Looking In Phase.”

 

Inner peace

 

The Looking In Phase, as the name suggests, is all about introspection and the therapeutic discovery of ones core beliefs and emotions. Patients learn to recognize, respect, and connect their thoughts, feelings, and aspirations, while simultaneously banishing negativity and forming a more whole and healthy sense of self. Process groups involve sharing with others on a deeper level than in the first Coming In Phase and a frequent discussion topic is acting intentionally as opposed to reacting emotionally when faced with stimuli from either the internal or external world. Patients are ready to transition into the last phase, the Looking Out Phase, when they have demonstrated an ability to acknowledge their addiction, commit to their recovery in a heartfelt manner, and reduce or eliminate inducements to use in the future.

Please call us today at 504-510-2331 for more information about the Looking In Phase or our treatment program in general. We look forward to speaking with you.

Sincerely,

Dr. B

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Dream Journal

Andrea Barthwell MDNote From Dr B.

I created the “3-7-3” philosophy as part of my commitment to holistic, evidence-based treatment that is both all-inclusive and highly effective. Patients are required to examine their progress introspectively throughout their stay at Two Dreams and spend every day working to complete the three phases of treatment via our seven dimensions of treatment. When both the patient and the staff feel that the individual has achieved the three main outcomes of recovery, mental peace, physical wellbeing, and personal productivity, they are ready to transition out of our facility.

The first few editions of the Dream Journal this year are going to focus on the first “3” of the “3-7-3” philosophy, a number that represents the three phases of treatment at Two Dreams. The three phases are a naturally occurring progression; they are not time limited, and clients can transition in and out of them depending on several clinical factors. The first phase, and the subject of this edition of the Dream Journal, is the "Coming In Phase."

The Coming In Phase is about easing into recovery and making a conscious commitment to health and wellness. It is about establishing a feeling of safety and comfort around the staff and peers in the program in order to create a platform on which to build the recovery experience. It is about engaging in the development of healthy rituals, and building the self-confidence necessary for achievement in therapy and the following treatment phases. It is also about exploring new behaviors, as well as becoming aware of existing thought processes and coping mechanisms. Patients must embrace their stories fully and honestly, and learn to share their experiences, as difficult as that might be.

Although the Coming In Phase is introductory, it is vital to the continuation of recovery. Without embracing the self, patients cannot possibly continue the therapeutic work necessary for developing new life skills and holistic wellness. This phase is challenging of course, but our caring, professional staff is consistently able to guide patients through their obstacles and towards the end-goal of self-actualization.

Please call us today at 504-510-2331 for more information about the Coming In Phase or our treatment program in general. We look forward to speaking with you.

Sincerely,

Dr. B

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Researchers have discovered that magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be used to identify structural and neural alterations in the brains of youth with a family history of alcohol and drug use disorders. This technique may be used to predict adolescent susceptibility to substance abuse disorders before substance abuse even begins.

Contact us today at 504-510-2331 if you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse; the earlier the better! Read more here: http://oregonstate.edu/ua/ncs/archives/2017/feb/mri-brain-scans-may-help-identify-risks-prevent-adolescent-substance-abuse

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Dream Journal

Andrea Barthwell MDNote From Dr B.

In 2011, researchers from Case Western Reserve University published an article in Alcoholism Treatment Quarterly indicating that volunteer work and service to others are integral to the recovery process. This finding is consistent with the stated purpose of Alcoholics Anonymous, to stay sober and help others achieve sobriety as well.

At Two Dreams, clients embrace the power of service to themselves and others through regular group therapy sessions. Clients help each other process their emotions and provide feedback on their progress in their recovery. We encourage clients to keep in touch after leaving the facility and we stress the importance of open communication in the milieu. We find that clients are able to build deep relationships with each other based upon their common experiences, and they are therefore able to help each other through difficult challenges and emotions that come along with addiction. Helping others at different stages of treatment also reminds clients of where they have been or where they aim to go in terms of recovery. This enforces a commitment to combatting the addiction and increases the determination needed to succeed.

During this holiday season, it is especially important for us to remember that giving should not be followed by the expectation of receiving. Give of yourself freely because you can make the world a better place.

Happy Holidays and Happy New Year,

Dr. B

Sources cited:

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110128104242.htm
http://alcoholrehab.com/addiction-recovery/service-in-recovery/

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A recent study suggests that mindfulness training can be used to reduce relapse rates related to cocaine or methamphetamine addiction in persons diagnosed with depression or anxiety.

 

What Are Stimulants?

Stimulants are drugs that increase the body’s alertness and energy levels. They also increase blood pressure and heart rate, constrict blood vessels, and open up the airways in the lungs, increasing the respiratory rate. A doctor might prescribe stimulant drugs to treat certain medical conditions, such as ADHD, narcolepsy, or depression.

 

Problems with Stimulant Use

While it is acceptable to use stimulants for a number of health conditions, many people perceive these drugs to be safe for general use and are beginning to use them without a prescription. Drugs like Ritalin and Adderall are being used more and more frequently to induce euphoria or increase performance. These drugs are dangerous when used for nonmedical purposes because they can lead to addiction, major cardiovascular events, and psychosis.

 

Thinking on the beach

 

What is Mindfulness?

Mindfulness training teaches you to actively evaluate your present situation, thoughts, and feelings from a distance without passing judgment. Mindfulness is a state of being in which you do not think about the past or present, and instead live actively in the moment.

 

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Dream Journal

Andrea Barthwell MDNote From Dr B.

Addiction is a disease of learning, memory, motivation, and choice that results in biological, social, psychological, intellectual, and spiritual alterations. In this edition of the Dream Journal, I want to focus on the spiritual aspect.

One of my favorite definitions of spirituality comes from a 2000 edition of "The Physician Executive," in an article entitled "Spirituality and the Physician Executive: Reconciling the Inner Self and the Business of Health Care." The author, Kaiser, claims that spirituality "…refers to a broad set of principles that transcend all religions. Spirituality is about the relationship between ourselves and something larger. That something can be the good of the community or the people who are served by your agency or school or with energies greater than ourselves. Spirituality means being in the right relationship with all that is. It is a stance of harmlessness toward all living beings and an understanding of their mutual interdependence." (Kaiser 2000)

According to this definition, spiritual alterations occur when one’s individualized ability to seek purpose and meaning is changed. In this sense, spirituality is not necessarily synonymous with religion; it is more strongly associated with a connection to the universe in some capacity.

The Big Book stresses surrender to a "Higher Power," which many people take to mean "God," but it actually means so much more than that; it transcends mere religion. It is nature. It is music. It is art. It is the relationship between family and friends. It is existence. It is resonance. It is love.

At Two Dreams, clients are encouraged to carve their own spiritual paths and choose their own Higher Power. The staff works with each individual to create a personalized recovery plan so that the lessons learned in treatment resonate long after discharge. Everyone expresses spirituality in his or her own way, and Two Dreams embraces that amazing piece of the human condition in order to help each client find mental peace, physical wellbeing, and personal productivity.

Sincerely,

Dr. B

Source:

Kaiser, L. (2000). "Spirituality and the Physician Executive: Reconciling the Inner Self and the Business of Health Care. The Physician Executive. 26(2). March/April.

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Light regulates circadian rhythms

Why and How We Live Rhythmically at Two Dreams

The chains of habit are generally too small to be felt until they are too strong to be broken

- Samuel Johnson

Every living organism has a natural rhythm. These rhythms are disrupted by illness, particularly drug and alcohol use. A drug can create false sleep. A drug can stimulate alertness. A drug can suppress appetite. Another can stimulate appetite.

The science behind living rhythmically, strategies that promote and restore natural rhythms, and the role of sleep, nutrition, meditation, and exercise in the 21st century approach to healing oneself in recovery are all important aspects of your journey at Two Dreams.

At Two Dreams the concept of living in the NOW (No Other Way) is central to living a life in recovery. Similarly, mindfulness is a state of active, open, non-judgmental attention on the present. Many treatment programs and practitioners are employing mindfulness in the care and management of patients with mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders- diseases and symptoms which tend to cluster together.

Read more ...