Sunday, June 12, 2016

Managing Stress

Ways to Handle Stress
We all experience stress from time to time whether it is from our jobs or just things that are going on in our daily lives. Stress is a state of mental tension that causes a person to worry that can lead to the development of anxiety. Unfortunately, some people are not able to handle stress. When stress is not handled appropriately, it usually leads to very severe symptoms that interfere with your life. These symptoms can become so debilitating that you may have to seek professional help to manage it. I am usually able to relieve my stress by doing various things that I enjoy. Here are some of my stress relievers:
1.      Meditation This is an excellent way to clear your mind of all the stressful things you are experiencing as well as thinking about.
2.      Watching Television I enjoy watching anything that will make me laugh or force me to think.
3.      Listening to Music When I am having a bad day or feeling stressed out, I usually listen to music from my favorite artists, such as Mariah Carey and Minnie Riperton.
4.      Talking to a Friend This is definitely a quick reliever of stress! Just make sure you talk to a friend that is willing to listen and not judge.
5.      Working Out/Exercising Although I have not been in a gym in months, I do find this very helpful. I recommend exercising regularly, which reduces stress tremendously.
6.      Taking a Drive I have found this one very useful over the years. I would usually drive around in the car listening to music alone or with a friend.

Vashonte James, LCSW

Saturday, June 4, 2016

Drugs/Alcohol Recovery Involves the Entire Family

Everyone in a family is impacted in some way if one family member has drug/alcohol problems. No matter how close or distant family relationships are, chemical dependency can disrupt a family's balance and cause dysfunction.  The entire family can assist with the recovery process and help stabilize the families function.

Families tend to worry, stress, fear, distrust, become angry and disappointed about their loved one's chemical dependency problems. Some may try to cover-up the chaos, conflict, accidents, and distress caused by the addiction.

Oftentimes, family members unintentionally make it easier for the addict to use drugs/alcohol. This behavior is called enabling (ex., help which is harmful). Some examples of enabling behaviors:
  • Rescuing the addict from natural consequences of their addiction (ex., hiring attorneys, bailing them out of jail, paying drug dealers)
  • Denial (He/She doesn't have a problem)
  • Minimizing (it's only a little beer, cocaine, heroin etc.,)
  • Taking over their responsibilities (paying cell phone bills, car notes, rent etc.,)
  • Using drugs/alcohol with the addict

These behaviors prevent the addict from looking at their problem and it allows them to continue to use drugs/alcohol.

As loved ones, it's natural to want to help. One of the best things family members can do is to work on themselves. Below you will find some things family members can do that will help:

  • Gather resources on drug treatment facilities and intervention specialists to assist with getting your addicted family member help.
  •  Become your own expert on addiction. Learn as much as you can about chemical dependency, substance abuse and the disease of addiction. 
  •  Seek help from a professional that specializes in chemical dependency issues.
  • Attend self-help/support meetings such as Al-Anon or Nar-Anon.
  •  Let go of and stop enabling behaviors/actions.
  • Practice self-care by eating healthy, getting adequate rest, and exercising.
  •  Recognize that the addiction did not happen overnight therefore it will not change overnight either. Be patient with the process.

Submitted by Pamela K. Williams, MS, LCPC