Thursday, April 28, 2011

Animal Assisted Therapy

This is ultimately something that I want to do!

" The phrase "troubled teen" is somewhat ambiguous, and can mean different things to different people. But essentially, it refers to a teenager who struggles with mid-level to severe emotional and behavioral issues. The teen may experiment with drugs or alcohol or even become addicted. The issues can be caused by any number of things, including an unstable or unsafe home life, or spending time with the "wrong crowd". Regardless of the reasons, a teenager who's emotional or behaviorally unstable can be a danger to himself, his family and his friends. Over the years, psychologists and counselors have discovered many effective treatment programs for troubled teens. One that is coming to the forefront is Animal Assisted Therapy - or the use of professionally trained animals as part of the counseling process.

Studies have shown that spending time with a friendly animal, even a short time like 10 to 15 minutes, increases the amount of endorphins that are released into the body and decreases the levels of a chemical called cortisol - which is a hormone that controls stress and arousal. Because many troubled teens are in a near-constant state of emotional arousal and/or stress, animal assisted therapy can help them feel calmer.

Most domestic animals also shy away from aggressive behavior. Animal assisted therapy can help a troubled teen learn that quiet, gentle behavior gets better results than behavior that is loud and aggressive.
Animal assisted therapy
Some people hear "animal-assisted therapy" and think that it means kids are simply hanging out with pets, but true AAT is a formal, planned program in which the teen participates. Interactions with the animal(s) are controlled, and are done for specific reasons. Facilities that choose to implement animal-assisted therapy typically conduct extensive studies and develop strict rules and guidelines for their programs. Far from being haphazard, these programs are focused and intentional, and often produce marked positive results.

Counselors have seen teenagers, even teens in juvenile detention facilities, that are unresponsive to the counselor open up and actually "talk" to a therapy dog or horse. Some are so overwhelmed by a therapy dog's unconditional kindness that they break down and cry. This kind of emotional breakthrough is vital in the treatment of troubled or at-risk teenagers, and allows the teen to begin moving toward emotional and psychological healing. "

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Is there really such thing as Sexual addiction?

Recently while discussing some of my research findings with a close friend, she asked, " Is there really such a thing as Sexual or Pornography addiction? I thought it was normal for all guys to do that kind of stuff".

I am here to tell you, YES! It is a real addiction, and NO it is not normal for Men or Women to participate in or view that type of material. Society would have you believe that it is healthy and normal, but God, AND science disagrees. 

Here are some links to help you educate yourself on this particular type of addiction, and how to help a loved one through it. I have many many more that are more in depth ( medically) and will be happy to send them to you if you are interested.


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Depression and Addiction

The old question of the chicken and the egg and which came first applies to this conundrum. Recent studies suggest that depression and addiction recurrently go hand in hand.

There is a strong correlation between depression and addiction and the problem is often approached in 2 different ways.
1. Some conventional psychiatric treatment procedures focus on treating depression as the root cause contributing to the drug or alcohol abuse problem, 
2. Others consider depression as a symptom typically revealed after a person gets addicted into substance abuse. 

As an addict travels along the ever descending road, whilst experiencing their high, they are in a euphoric state of mind in which they simply become numb to any sort of pain sensations, both emotional and physical. In most cases, addicts are in a worsening or poor state of health. Long-time drug and alcohol abusers also suffer from nutritional deficiencies. Therefore addiction is a progressive complication. 

Due to prolonged addiction problems, addicts face variety of emotional, social and physiological problems such as job loss, broken relations, and discontinuation in studies, financial bankruptcy, legal problems and many others, which lead to recurrent episodes of depression. So in one way or other, depression and addiction is highly correlated with each other, especially considering the consequences of addiction. 

Depression Often Leads To Relapse

Depression is a critical mental health condition that most frequently coexist with substance abuse disorders. If left untreated depression can hinder the addiction recovery process and may lead to relapse. On the other hand, an untreated addiction problem may also develop depression in the patient and consequently lead to relapse. Hence, this vicious cycle of depression and addiction needs to be recognized and requires simultaneous treatment. 

The ideal treatment must focus on the deepest root of the addiction and its consequences incorporating a thorough understanding of the relation between addiction, recovery, depression and relapse. The treatment must be based on a clear understanding of the bio-psychosocial model of addiction and depression. The fundamental principle of treatment will only be established by treating depression coexisting with addiction. The recovery plans need to address the administration of signs and symptoms of both depression and addiction. 

( Paul Courtney)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

counting days of sobriety

I laid in bed last night thinking about a conversation I had with an individual about counting the days of sobriety. The only method I am familiar with, or even really thought of was ..."You remain clean so many days, keep track of the amount of time, and if you slip up you start from scratch".  

What a disheartening and discouraging way of accounting for your progress and set backs. No wonder so many fall off the wagon, you cant ever see the progression. All you know is that you must scratch everything and start again from the bottom.

Imagine this chain. So much work has gone into cutting out the strips and placing each one together, each signifying something special. It finally reaches across the room, and now you must trash it all; All of it is worth  nothing, and you must begin again. How heart wrenching! How does one ever feel like they have accomplished anything?

Lets now take this same chain....Each day you carefully choose your paper, cut it out, you  may even design it, then you glue it on to your chain. Some days it may be a challenge, maybe you don't want to cut today, or maybe the color isn't right, but you still somehow make that link for the end of your chain.The next day something goes awry...for whatever reason, you mess up your link and you can't glue it on.

Is your chain completely ruined? Why is there need to scrap the whole chain for one ruined link? Haven't you worked so hard on those other links? Why shouldn't we count the effort and work and accomplishment that went into all those other links, just because we messed up one?

It is my suggestion ( thanks to this individual whom I conversed with) that we keep the good links, and trash only the links that we messed up. That way we see our progression, we see the hard work we have done, we see that we actually have accomplished something, and our chain is really a lot longer than we give ourselves credit for. With enough time, and enough practice, just maybe we won't screw up any more links, and our chain will be long enough to reach the moon.