Addiction Studies

Understanding Addiction

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Addiction Self-Help & Management

Understanding Relapse: Stages, Triggers, And How Counseling Can Lead To Recovery

There are times when people who quit their addiction suddenly go back to their harmful habits. This period is called a relapse. But what exactly happens during a relapse? Let’s take a look at its different stages and triggers and how counseling can help people bounce back from a relapse period.

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What Is A Relapse?

A relapse is a common occurrence in many people who are recovering from any form of addiction. A relapse can be described as the sudden worsening of a condition that had previously improved. During this time, a person may slip back to their former behavior or habits.   For example, a person who stopped drinking for several months may suddenly experience relapse and start drinking again at an alarming rate.

Relapsing naturally happens during the recovery process. Many people who are trying to overcome addiction may experience several relapses before they finally succeed in quitting. 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), around 40 to 60 people with drug addiction experience relapse. When a person experiences relapse, their physician must be notified right away to avoid potential harm to themselves or others.  

What Are The Stages Of Relapse?

Many people fail to realize that there’s a process when it comes to relapse. Relapse is not a sudden moment; instead, it goes through different stages over time. It’s essential to know its various stages to understand better how to prevent relapse from happening.

The following are the stages of relapse:

  • Emotional Relapse: 

In this stage, the person is not yet involved in his addiction. However, they begin to experience some of the emotions they used to feel while suffering from addiction. 

Poor self-care might be one of the leading causes of emotional relapse. A recovering person must know how to maintain themselves physically and psychologically. This involves a healthy diet, good sleeping habits, proper hygiene, and practicing self-kindness.

  • Mental Relapse

During this period, individuals who have been troubled by emotional relapse for so long might start to feel uncomfortable and restless. This stage feels like a mental battle for any recovering person. A part of themselves wants to alleviate their restlessness with their addiction, while the other part doesn’t want to relapse. 

The confusion in their minds leads to increased irritability and looking for ways and opportunities to relapse. They may start to bargain about their addiction and romanticize the life they were living before. During this time, resisting relapse gets more complicated. 

  • Physical Relapse

This is the penultimate stage of relapse, and it involves returning to the previous unhealthy habits and addiction. This stage may last for a day, weeks, or even months. Physical relapse continues when the individual has lots of opportunities to go back to their old habits.

When a person experiences a relapse, it’s an indication that they need to return for treatment or counseling sessions. They might also be asked to join meetings that will help them to reach recovery.

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What Are Its Common Triggers?

Various kinds of triggers may set off a relapse for a recovering person. Remember that each person has different sets of triggers that they have to take into account. Knowing your triggers is essential in recovering from your addiction and maintaining a better lifestyle.

Each person may act differently when presented with a trigger. To those with solid coping skills and a supportive group of friends and family, facing their triggers might be manageable. 

Here are some of the common triggers:

  • Stress: This may be the leading trigger of relapse. When a recovering person is stressed and overwhelmed, their chances of relapsing are high. This is true most especially if their primary coping mechanism to stress is their addiction. 
  • Specific people or places: For some, a particular place or a person may make a strong response that may lead to a relapse. People might invite you to drink, or an area may remind you of memories of your past lifestyle.
  • Strong or challenging emotions: People tend to hide away from harmful and challenging emotions. More often than not, this leads to confusion and internal turmoil that would lead to a relapse.
  • Being in contact with the object of your addiction: Seeing or sensing objects of your addiction can be a strong trigger. For example, a drinking or smoking addiction can be triggered by seeing liquor bottles or smelling a whiff of smoke. 

How To Respond To Relapse?

When a relapse happens, the focus must be on bringing back the individual to recover. This is the time when the presence of supportive family and friends is most important. Beyond that, there’s always the support that therapists can give through counseling sessions.

There is a kind of intervention called Relapse Prevention Therapy that aims to prevent relapses through therapy. With this therapy, the individual can anticipate future circumstances that may lead them to relapse.

The individual is also taught different coping skills that will be helpful when they have the urge to go back to their addiction. They will be able to manage their emotions when confronted by high-risk situations.

More so, RPT and other counseling methods help individuals to see their relapse from a different perspective. Instead of interpreting their relapse as a sign of failure, they can see it as an opportunity to grow and learn.

With the right support from family, friends, and professionals alike, individuals can triumph over their relapse and continue their recovery. 

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Relapsing might seem to be a step backward, but it’s a natural part of the healing process. Experiencing relapse must not be seen as a sign of weakness or failure. More so, a relapse does not stop a person’s progress towards recovery. 

For those undergoing recovery from addiction, a solid support system is a must. These people must also understand the frustrations that relapses can bring about to the recovering person. It’s during these difficult times that more support and love must be given. 



Why Counseling Is Beneficial In Treating Your Gambling Addiction

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It’s never easy to quit a gambling addiction. When you try to break the habit, you find yourself doing it again without realizing it. It’s even more challenging to quit your addiction if it stems from deep-rooted problems.

You may find yourself asking what else you can do to put the brakes on that cycle. Perhaps you can try talking to a support group. You could actively stay away from the things that tempt you. Whatever you decide to do, know that counseling will be able to help you in your journey.

The Root Of The Problem

Before anything else, you need to understand what your problem is. You won’t be able to remedy it if you don’t know what’s going on. When you discuss your gambling addiction with your counselor, they can help you identify its roots. They can also point out its other possible consequences.

Compulsive gambling stems from other mental health conditions. It may come from anxiety or depression, or even substance abuse. It is also associated with psychological disorders. Some examples include bipolar disorder and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

You may be thinking that it would not matter if you don’t have these conditions. However, these are usually underlying causes of gambling addictions. It may be possible that you have a mental health condition, but you’re not aware of it. Your counselor can give you direction on this.

Counseling will help you assess whether your gambling problem arose from uncontrollable circumstances. Things such as family conflicts or financial instability can trigger compulsive gambling. Your counselor will talk things through with you should this be the case.

This stage might not be easy, but remember that your counselor is guiding you through it. They will help you unravel problems and pinpoint causes. When things get tough, remember your end goal. 

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An Insight To Your Feelings

During your time with your counselor, they will keep asking you how you’re feeling. After all, counseling is all about making you feel better. Understanding your emotions will give you an insight into why you act the way you do. By peeling these layers off, you may be able to recognize why you’re addicted to gambling.

At some point, you may feel like your counselor is testing you. You may get the impression that they’re looking for a specific answer from you. However, you must know that the only thing they want from you is honesty. These questions about your emotions are there to guide you to matters that you need to address. Sometimes, your counselor may also ask you this when they feel like there are emotions you’re trying to avoid.

Recognizing your feelings can also help you feel more in control. Unknowingly, we sometimes tend to let it dictate our actions. Being in tune with your emotions may help you fight your urge to go back to gambling. Be in control of how you feel, and don’t let it be the other way around. This is why you should be honest with your counselor when they ask you this. 

This stage is essential, but know that your well-being is your counselor’s top priority. Tell them if you feel uncomfortable, frustrated, or angry with their line of questioning. After all, your counselor is there to help you feel better and accommodate your needs.

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Moving Forward With Direction

One of the goals of counseling is to help you build a path going forward. This involves lifestyle changes, breaking and making habits, and setting goals. As always, your counselor will help you decide on these things. They’ll be there to guide you and to make sure you know you’re not alone.

Your counselor will help you know what to do to turn things around and which path to recovery you should take. They may suggest you join a support group and avoid gambling entirely. They may also recommend you do other activities whenever you get the urge to go back to your old habits. Learning to sew and exercising are possible suggestions of your counselor.

Counselors can also help with repairing relationships that gambling addiction may have harmed. It won’t always be easy, but reconnecting with the people you love is an essential step to healing. You may tell your counselor about such relationships, and they will suggest remedies for you to cross those bridges.

To Wrap Up

Healing from a gambling addiction won’t be a one-day miracle. It will take conscious changes and a massive effort from you. While it may seem daunting, try to remind yourself that this is all for your sake.

Along with other lifestyle and habit changes, talking to a counselor will also help you in your journey. They will help you unpack motivations and reveal layers of emotions. Counselors will make you understand yourself more. This process will help you move forward from your gambling addiction in a healthy way.

Talking to your counselor also helps you get to the root of your problem. Don’t hesitate to tell them about your situation, when it started, and even how it came to be. Discussing these things is the first step to self-awareness.

This understanding will also prove beneficial in processing your feelings on gambling. It won’t just help you get a grasp on your emotions. More than that, you’ll be able to control it instead of letting it influence your actions.

Above all things, your counselor wants you to feel better. They’ll help you do so by guiding you in creating a path for your future. They may suggest some changes in your lifestyle and habits and recommend you to attend a support group. Counselors will be there to discuss how to repair and strengthen your relationships too.

Your journey forward may not be an easy one at all. When times get tough, remember that this is for your well-being. Always keep your goal front and center, so you do not lose motivation. With your effort, motivation, and help from your counselor, you’ll get there. 



Frequently Asked Questions About Online Psychiatry

I was a typical nerdy boy who wanted to be friends with popular, older kids at school. I often got excellent grades and even won at decathlon competitions, but I paid attention to becoming a football team’s water boy, hoping to get the jocks’ attention. My academic accomplishments became more insignificant to me than ever when Jack, the star quarterback, invited me to a party at his house one weekend.

Objectively speaking, I did not think that Jack meant to invite me. I thought he merely did it out of courtesy because I happened to be in the locker room as he invited the other players. Despite that, it did not deter me from going.

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I half-expected the other kids to bully me when I showed up at Jack’s house. After all, my aesthetics screamed that I was not a part of their clique. Thus, you could imagine my surprise when a few jocks came up to me and handed me a beer in a can.

I could only look at it for a second, unsure whether to take it or not. I just turned 16 years old back then; I was nowhere near the legal drinking age. Due to my desire to please my potential best friends, I accepted the beer and chugged it. It tasted like I assumed urine would taste like, but the guys cheered me on, so I kept drinking until the can was empty. When I put it down, a lit cigarette came into my line of vision.

Nope, not a cigarette – a rolled-up weed. I realized that Jack was holding it, and he gave me an encouraging smile. “If you finish this, you’ll be one of us,” he said.

Brazened by that promise, I took the weed and brought it to my lips. It was so bitter that I almost spat it out, but I felt the need to do it to be one of the cool dudes at school. After my first roll, they gave me more weed and beer all night long.

Knowing I Was Going Down The Drain

True to Jack’s words, I became a part of their group after that party. People envied me and wanted to know how it happened, but I never tattled. I remained friends with the jocks for years and continued smoking pot, drinking, and even snorting cocaine several times when we entered college.

However, the only time I felt like I was genuinely going down the drain was when Jack came to a summer break party with meth, candles, spoons, and injections. It meant that he wanted us to try injecting illegal drugs into our bodies. Knowing I had to avoid that at all costs, I sneaked out of the party, arranged my transference to a university on the other coast the next day, and never spoke with Jack again.

While I did the right thing, it did not mean that I managed to avoid withdrawal symptoms. I could not go to rehab without letting my parents know why I had to do that, so I began looking for other ways to get help. That’s when I discovered online psychiatry and therapy.  

Is online therapy safe?

Yes, online therapy is generally safe, especially if you sign up at a reputable virtual platform. They can secure your details and have data-protection measures to keep hackers out. More importantly, no one will know that you are receiving therapy unless you tell them yourself.

Can BetterHelp prescribe?

No, BetterHelp cannot prescribe medication. It is a platform that helps mentally troubled individuals reach licensed psychologists and therapists without the fear of revealing their woes to others before they feel ready to do so. In case online therapy does not work, and the person genuinely needs antidepressants, the therapist or psychologist will most likely advise them to seek a psychiatrist’s help. 

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Is it better to see a psychiatrist or psychologist?

In reality, most people tend to see a psychologist first, especially when they experience psychological symptoms but are yet to receive a diagnosis. If it turns out that they indeed have a mental disorder, the psychologist may recommend therapy for treatment. Many psychologists double as therapists, but they may refer you to another mental health professional if you meet one who does not.

Now, in case your symptoms are quite severe – e.g., delusions, hallucinations, panic attacks, etc. – it may be better to see a psychiatrist. The primary reason is that mental illnesses with such symptoms cannot be treated by therapy – antidepressants, sedatives, or stronger medications may work. Those are things that only psychiatrists can prescribe. 

What are the benefits of online therapy?

The main benefit of getting online therapy is that you need not look for a mental health facility that offers therapy. In truth, you do not have to leave your house at all as long as you have internet or mobile data. This is ideal for people with disabilities or who live in remote areas, considering their treatment can go on without meeting their therapists face-to-face.

Furthermore, online therapy is an affordable version of psychotherapy. Many people who have tried this treatment claim that it is not too different from going to a therapist’s clinic, except that they are not required to pay hundreds of dollars to receive therapy. 

Is online therapy as effective?

Yes, various studies have proven the effectiveness of online therapy over the years. In all honesty, they go as far as saying that online treatment is as effective as face-to-face therapy. That is especially true for online cognitive-behavioral therapy, given that people with depression, social anxiety, panic disorder, and other common mental illnesses have found relief through online therapy.

How do you get therapy if you can’t afford it?

If you cannot afford therapy, you may try doing the following:

  • Inform your therapist about your financial situation. Many mental health professionals may have an ongoing professional fee, but it does not mean that you cannot ask them to make an exemption and lower their costs for you. It all comes down to honesty and agreement.
  • Go to a university mental health clinic. This suggestion is ideal for people who live close to universities with psychology programs. Some students tend to volunteer at outpatient hospitals and offer therapy for free. Although they do not have the same number of experiences as seasoned therapists, they have the same training or knowledge that the latter may have.
  • Try group therapy at local institutions. Considering there is at least one mental health facility in your area, feel free to check if they offer group therapy. This is generally cheaper than one-on-one treatment, so you may be able to afford it. If you can find one that does not charge anything for group therapy, that’s better.
  • Consider getting online therapy. Online therapy is more affordable than traditional therapy by a mile. You may receive the latter for one-fifth of what other therapists charge if you meet them face-to-face.

Is online therapy cheaper?

Yes, online therapy is cheaper than in-person therapy. When you sign up for the latter, you may get unlimited chances to chat or talk to a psychologist or therapist for as low as $35 per week. If you choose one-on-one therapy, $100 may not be enough for a one-hour session with the therapist.

How much does a therapist cost a month?

The cost of seeing a therapist depends on various aspects. For instance, if you are in Los Angeles, New York, and other parts of the country with a high living cost, the fee may start at $200 per session. In other inexpensive cities, it may begin at $150. However, if you want to try online therapy, you may only need to pay $30 every week.

What is the difference between ADHD and Asperger’s syndrome?

The main difference between ADHD and Asperger’s syndrome is that only one of them belongs to the autism spectrum – and that’s the latter. Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder is in a league of its own, in the sense that people with this disability are known for their impulsive and hyperactive behaviors and lack of attention. Despite that, mental health professionals conclude that an individual has ADHD before scraping that diagnosis and realize that what they have is Asperger’s syndrome.

How can you tell if a girl has autism?

These are the telltale signs that a girl may have autism:

  • She asserts control by dictating what game to play or how they should play it.
  • In case the girl does not get her way, she prefers to play alone.
  • She feels lost in a social function and tends to copy others’ behaviors.
  • She deals with mental breakdowns at home, although she may never do that anywhere else to blend in.
  • She can be overly sensitive to the extent that she removes clothing tags or avoids deodorants.

How can you tell if someone has Asperger’s?

Someone with Asperger’s syndrome may have the following symptoms:

  • They cannot make friends and often chooses to self-isolate instead of socializing with their peers.
  • They cannot meet others’ eyes when they are talking or distinguish sarcasm from honesty.
  • They tend to misbehave unknowingly.
  • Having great common sense is not one of their best qualities.
  • They show intense fascination in specific subject matters, but they cannot talk about others.
  • They thrive well when they have a schedule to follow.

Do people with Asperger’s syndrome lack empathy?

It has always been said that people with Asperger’s syndrome lack empathy, but it is not entirely true. Yes, they do not understand others’ feelings, reactions, or tones. Yes, they may even be baffled whenever someone cracks a joke and end up taking the latter seriously. However, they can still be compassionate at times.

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Can BetterHelp diagnose you?

No, BetterHelp cannot diagnose you. The platform houses many licensed psychologists who should be able to do that, but there is a strict regulation to only make diagnoses face-to-face. All they can provide online is therapy.

Does Asperger’s syndrome get worse with age?

The answer depends on how early the Asperger’s syndrome has been diagnosed or what the diagnosed individual has done to treat the condition. Although Asperger’s syndrome cannot be cured permanently, many people end up leading everyday lives, getting married, and excelling in the workplace. The only time it may worsen with age is if it’s left untreated.

Can BetterHelp diagnose ADHD?

No, BetterHelp cannot diagnose ADHD. Aside from the fact that psychologists cannot conduct a psychological evaluation or diagnosis online, specific mental health professionals deal with ADHD. That’s something that BetterHelp is not equipped for. 

Final Thoughts

The first couple of mental health professionals I talked to were hesitant to accommodate me and advised me to rehab. However, I could not do that, so I kept looking for a psychiatrist or therapist who did not mind offering therapy to a reforming substance abuser. Luckily, more than a handful of mental health services providers chose from, so I eventually received the help I needed to get my act together. 

 



Frequently Asked Questions About Brief Therapy

There are many reasons why individuals seek out therapy help. Those who have problems with excessive alcohol consumption, gambling, mental illness, or any form of addiction might reach out for professional help to find healing and recovery. 

There should be no shame in going to a therapist and hope for a better life. So if you are thinking of getting professional help for the first time, make sure to ask questions or clarifications about therapy.

There are many available forms of therapy. For one, individual therapy is a type of psychotherapy that involves one on one sessions with the patient and the therapist. Together, they go through the issues that the patient is facing. It is an effective treatment that helps develop healthy coping skills to deal with various stressors, emotional challenges, and mental illnesses.   

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Another form of psychotherapy is group therapy. It involves one or more therapists working with several people together. Group therapy allows individuals to feel that they are not alone in their struggle. It allows a safe space to share thoughts without judgment. Group therapy also enables individuals to receive feedback to improve their awareness of the self and the environment.  

Both individual and group therapy help people educate themselves and others about the recovery process and formulate goals for their future selves.  

If you find yourself needing help very soon and you’re financially unequipped to handle long-term therapy, brief therapy is a type of counseling for you. It is time-limited, usually lasts for six to twelve sessions. However, each session’s duration can vary depending on the problem at hand. Brief therapy focuses on clients’ presenting issues and current life situations. 

For your information, here are some frequently asked questions about therapy, specifically, brief therapy.  

How do I get the most out of group therapy?

Group therapy is an excellent method to gain various perspectives on a particular set of issues. However, like other therapies, you can maximize your gains from group therapy by putting in the effort and doing your work. Being open and having an open mind is one of the most important aspects of getting the most out of group therapy.

It’s often more difficult for us to see ourselves clearly than when we’re looking at other people’s situations. Openness helps you gain awareness of your emotional state while gaining greater insights from other people in the group.

How do you maximize a therapy session?

Any form of therapy requires time and money. Hence, it is essential to know how to maximize each therapy session to achieve your desired goal. It starts with choosing the right therapist for you. Because therapy is a collaboration, you should be comfortable opening up about your state of mind to your therapist. It will also help if you schedule each session to not lapse with other commitments to give the therapy your full attention.

Is it normal to cry at every therapy session?

Yes, it is normal and helpful to cry during therapy sessions. In fact, it is often a crucial part of the therapeutic process. We refer to this process as catharsis, which is a way of releasing repressed emotions in the form of tears. It helps you overcome and get over your issues and problems brought up during the therapy session.

How many sessions is brief therapy?

Brief therapy usually consists of around 6 to 12 sessions with time limits. The duration of each session and the therapy’s length often varies depending on the issue at hand. The therapist and client will determine the number of sessions together, along with the initial sessions.

What do you talk about in group therapy?

You can discuss numerous topics in group therapy to give you a chance to gain insights about yourself and others. Many group therapy people talk about the best and worst life moments, success stories, and past traumas. It’s also a space where you can educate each other about your recovery process and talk about your goals and dreams.

Group therapy discussions allow you to understand what it’s like to be in someone else’s shoes by sharing and listening. This process reduces feelings of isolation as you discover that you are not alone in your struggle.

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How do you facilitate a group therapy session?

Group therapy sessions must follow basic guidelines to make them efficient for the participants. It aims to make participants feel involved in a welcoming social circle. It’s important to incorporate fun and engaging activities in group therapy sessions while maintaining personal boundaries and private space.

Furthermore, since these sessions would involve the confrontation of sensitive issues, unexpected things may surface in the process. As a facilitator, you have to make sure that you can calmly handle behaviors that spark violence.

What is a process therapy group?

Process therapy groups usually consist of 5 to 10 individuals, where they can freely share their concerns and struggles. This therapy process’s primary focus is to promote interaction among members by sharing stories and contributing feedback and responses. Receiving these multiple perspectives and support provides an opportunity for developing self-awareness, which is crucial for growth and change.

How do you give feedback in group therapy?

Feedback is one of the best aspects of being a part of group therapy. If you want to give good feedback, make sure that you’re specific about which remark you’re responding to. Try to be as honest and direct as possible with your responses by providing concrete examples.

As much as possible, try to avoid giving direct advice to a person struggling not to make them feel unheard. However, it will help share both positive and negative feedback you have in mind while remaining polite.

What should I not tell my therapist?

The basis of therapy is to have a safe environment to share your honest thoughts and feelings—may it be good or bad. Note that everything you tell your therapist is kept confidential with certain law limits on required legal disclosure. Other than that, it will be helpful to open up to your therapist on whatever’s in your mind. You may be surprised at the things you will learn about yourself when you let yourself be vulnerable in your sessions.

Should I take notes during therapy?

While others may find it unusual, it’s actually helpful to take notes during therapy sessions. It’s hard to remember everything about a therapy session because it can be emotionally and mentally charging. Thus, some people find note-taking helpful in processing ideas, steps, and coping mechanisms. You can also write down your thoughts during a particular moment or write down questions you want to ask later on.

How do you approach a first therapy session?

During the first therapy session, the therapist will ask about your personal history and reason for seeking therapy. It will help them assess the current situation and come up with a tailored therapy process. To make your first therapy session fruitful, be open and prepared to talk about your feelings and problems.

Some people would write down a list of why they seek therapy to relay it clearly to their therapist later. It’s also vital to ask questions to make sure you understand everything accurately and to create realistic expectations about the therapy.

Can therapists hug their clients?

Therapists have professional training in the ethical guidelines involved in therapy. It is not appropriate for therapists to initiate hugs or other physical contacts with their clients in principle. Note that the client-therapist relationship is not personal but professional. Physical contact can deprive therapists of objectivity as professionals and may impair the therapy progress.

Is it OK to text your therapist?

Different therapists each have their own set boundaries around communication between sessions. But generally, texting your therapist is fine as long as it is task-oriented or related to rescheduling of sessions. You can also send your therapist a text message during crises for them to provide professional guidance outside sessions.

Do therapists cry in therapy?

In a study, around 72% of participating 684 therapists and trainees report having cried in therapy. It does not consider the duration and intensity of “crying” as shedding tears or tearing up. During therapy sessions, the crying of therapists is a subject that hasn’t been discussed and researched at large. The majority of therapists also report that they have no training in dealing with crying while doing therapy.

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Being open-minded to new perspectives and letting go of your prejudices about receiving professional help enables you to get the most out of therapy sessions. Although it may be hard at first, your willingness to undergo the recovery process can change your life for the better. 

Many preconceived notions about therapy can harm its effectiveness. It can also affect people’s enthusiasm to find healing and recovery in their problems. Whether you opt for long-term or brief therapy, you are the significant key in your progress. 

Therapy is a collaborative journey. Your therapists won’t heal you alone. You have to work together to build healthy coping abilities and responses to the stressors surrounding you. Therefore, you have to be committed to making a positive change in your life and sacrifice your time and other plans for your sessions.  

It’s essential to know how to get the most out of a therapy session since it requires your resources, such as time and money. Moreover, it will also help to achieve your desired goal more efficiently. Don’t be afraid of asking questions. Read materials about therapy to help you learn more about getting professional help.    

Another important thing to remember is to allow yourself to be vulnerable and become a part of a community. Holding back your emotions can only lead to repression, which will eventually find its way out of you one way or the other. 

Showing emotions doesn’t make you weak; it is all part of being human. Allow yourself to feel the emotions. Let go of the things that are holding you back and accept good things in your life. Through this, you can change your life for the better.    



How My Wife Saved My Mental Health From Video Game Addiction

I am someone who understands my responsibility as a husband, a father, and a man. I take my commitments seriously, and I always ensure to complete my task before I end up throwing myself on the couch or bed. But right after losing the job due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I somehow drifted apart from my positive standpoint in life. I became lethargic and more exposed to technological use. In fact, I spent almost a couple of my time browsing the internet and scrolling up on social media’s newsfeeds. At first, I find it reasonable since there is nothing much to do when locked up. But when I engaged in video games, that is where things began to change.

My wife is a lovely and supportive woman who always takes things into considerations. So when I talked to her about wanting to spend my time playing video games, she agreed immediately. That is when she saw how happy I was with this new set of gaming CDs. She thought that there would be nothing wrong with that. My wife never asked me for anything in return because she feels that nothing much needs to be done in the house. From that agreement, we managed to have a peaceful and easy-going lockdown life amidst the pandemic. But everything started to escalate as soon as I got addicted to playing.

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What Went Wrong?

Routines around the house were changing drastically as I continue to play more and more. I do not wake up early anymore because I got to sleep late. Honestly, I think I only spend 2 to 3 hours sleep in bed at night for weeks. I also do not eat meals with my wife anymore, which made her eat on the dining table alone. Admittedly, my hygiene got affected, too, as I never find time to take a bath or even clean myself before going to bed. I was miserable and hopeless.

When my wife finally talked to me about my condition and calmly explained everything terrible that has been happening around the house, I was closed-minded. I was listening to her while she states facts, but I entirely do not care at the back of my mind. I mean, I do understand that my wife only thinks about my overall health. But I was too stupid to believe that she is only using an ample amount of complaints so that she can make me stop playing video games.

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Day after day, my wife became so persistent in talking to me about my actions’ consequences. I could tell that she tried her very best to control herself as she often gets an unfavorable response. She was so determined to help me get through the video game addiction phase, which I never knew I was having by that time. My wife tried desperately everything from asking me out on a date to asking me every night for intimacy with the hope of getting rid of my video game time.

On the other hand, I thought I was considerate. I made time for my wife and went out with her. My family and I eat meals together at the table again, and I thought it was okay. I believed that when I gave in to her requests, she would leave me alone with my hobby. I thought I was trying to be nice and more committed despite sensing an invisible barrier between us. I thought because I am moving my ass around the house, it was enough for her to consider allowing me to do what I want to do. Unfortunately, that didn’t go well.

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Prepare For The Worse

All my assumptions about my wife and I’s supposed normal relationship went down the hill when she has had enough. One time, when I was busy playing video games, she walked straight towards me with a cooking pan in her hands. I thought she was about to hit me with that. But she smashed it on my computer screen. She then turned her face at me, didn’t say anything, and began to cry. It was at that moment I realized how things are so messed up.

The Instant Effect

Honestly, my wife ruining the computer screen is not the turning point. It was her emotional distress. I was so hooked with a hobby that turned out to be a mental illness, and I didn’t care to help myself. My wife, on the other hand, was struggling with mental and emotional stress because of me. But my wife was trying her best not to create an impact on my well-being. And I thanked her for that. I genuinely appreciate her efforts in helping me get through my addiction despite battling with her own demons.

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From then on, I promised never to allow my wife to suffer from mental and emotional issues for an undeniably stupid thing.



Family Mistakes In Treating Addiction

It can be quite challenging to address addiction, especially if a member of the family is affected. Most members would try their best to create strategies such as providing advice, comforting the addict, tolerating the vices, charging punishments, and ignoring the addiction’s negative results. Well, some of these can work, but not all can support a long-term positive outcome. That is because most families do not try and understand the factors affecting their loved one’s addiction. Thus, they create mistakes in treating them. To give light on the subject, here are some of the reasons why helping a family member getting rid of addiction somehow doesn’t seem to work.

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Thinking It Does Not Affect Them

Most families look at addiction as an individual’s specific struggle only. But that is farther from the truth. Honestly, it is an entire unit’s battle, and it affects everyone in the family. It affects everyone’s productivity, financial growth, physical strength, and emotional and mental well-being. Usually, that is because of their idea that addiction is limited only to drugs, alcohol, and gambling. But addiction has a lot of categories. There’s videogames, sex, abuse, technology, and so on. With this at hand, it is useless to think that a family dynamic can keep their distance from becoming addicted. There is entirely no protection or guarantee that addiction cannot get through their units.

Ignoring The Problem

A lot of times, most family members have suspicions of addiction going on in one of the members of the family. However, since they can’t seem to find proof or couldn’t get validation, they tend to ignore it. That is a big mistake because it makes the addict struggle more; it also postpones the necessary action in treating the mental condition. Yes, it can be okay to include environmental issues, but ignoring the symptoms will make things more complicated. Not only for the addicted individual but also with the life of the whole family surrounding the addict.

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Relying On Short-Term Solution

A lot of times, we see that most families rely on short-term solutions. That is because they think about addiction treatment as something that can be done in a brief period. That is why they bring their addicted family member to a physician, punish them from time to time, and set restrictions, and so on. From there, families think that a few sessions or limited actions can instantly eliminate the problem. However, that is way too impossible, and that is a huge mistake. Addiction requires a lot of time to heal and recover and relying on simple methods, sometimes even makes it worse. It leads to enabling the co-dependency of the addict to his family.

Throwing Money At The Addiction Problem

Throughout the history of treating addiction, it is one of the most common mistakes of every family. We have seen them sending their loved ones to institutions and rehab centers, which we know costs a lot. There is this mentality that if the family finds the most expensive rehabilitation facility, they can best get rid of their loved one’s addiction problem. However, money itself doesn’t solve the mental condition. That no matter how much a family spends, it does not guarantee their family member’s healing and recovery. Usually, choosing this tends to make them become more in denial, thus keeping themselves away from the solution.

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Trying To Negotiate With The Addict

Generally, we understand that addiction is a long-term problem. Depending on the intensity, it will take years for the addict to develop recovery patterns. Thus, it becomes a huge mistake when family members tend to negotiate with the addict. There is no way they can come up with a solution that can benefit both parties. A tough conversational agreement doesn’t help treat the addiction because it is not just a simple rational decision that needs to be hatched out. It is a mistake to think of addiction as a will power because it is instead a mental condition that requires specific treatment.

Delaying The Treatment

Beyond just thinking that addiction is a will-power issue, it is a mistake when there is a delay in the treatment. The more the family spends time thinking of a solution, the more the addict becomes miserable. It is a huge mistake to wait for an event to pass before trying to ask for help. At times, the postponement of getting an addiction treatment leads to either makes the problem worse by causing a further rift and significant life problems. These include illegal involvement, DUIs, injuries, and even drug overdose.

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Takeaway

It is essential to understand that helping someone in the family get rid of addiction is a struggling process. No one can tell when or how things will come to an end. So if families want to help their loved one, they should avoid creating these mistakes.



Managing Your Alcohol Recovery While In Quarantine

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The COVID-19 pandemic has ensued a tremendous amount of anxiety and worries for all of us. The uncertainties it brought, not only in health but also economically, and isolation can affect our mental health and adopt coping mechanisms that may be deemed harmful. Especially for people recovering from alcohol abuse, they have to manage the overwhelming emotions to stay sober while in quarantine. 

Being stuck at home for quarantine can be boring and redundant. It’s a good thing that BetterHelp is here to save us from it all. BetterHelp is an online platform that offers you convenient and affordable counseling in more ways than one!

According to Dr. Yngvild Olsen, MD, from the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the “COVID pandemic has created an explosion of people in crisis due to isolation and anxiety.” She also mentions that those who are already in the recovery stage of their addiction may open a chance for relapse. 

Therefore, it’s essential to manage these profound emotions as early as possible to prevent losing touch of their improvement. If you’re in recovery or with people who are, here are some ways recovering alcoholics can manage their mindset while being in quarantine: 

Stay Connected With Your Loved Ones 

Staying in touch with the people you can freely share your feelings is crucial, especially now that the world is in crisis. And when your emotions get out of hand, you might again use alcohol to tune out these sensations. Having a reliable support system allows you to have companions during this hard time and remind you that you’re not alone. 

Even while being in quarantine, you can reach out to them through digital means. You don’t have to talk about COVID-19 pandemic all the time. Share past events in your lives, have some laughs, and breath out the negativity in your mind. Be honest about your worries with them; don’t feel like you have to be strong all the time. They may have the ability to help you or give you advice. 

If you have support groups that are available online, connect with them, or go search for others online. You don’t have to go through this alone. You can lean on to other people.

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Get Busy 

A lot of thoughts can enter your mind when you do nothing. And ideas about alcohol consumption can come in as well. To avoid that, remain productive while in quarantine. Don’t let isolation bore you. Create a daily schedule. Fix the things you said you would last month in your house. Clean and reorganize your furniture. Read books or write stories. Make every day fruitful, and you will keep the negative thoughts away. 

Limit Your Social Media Usage 

Most of the time, social media can be stressful. It can be hard to be emotionally healthy when you’re seeing people bickering online and sharing false information about the pandemic. It can increase your stress and worry more. Leave when you feel drained by the noise of social media. If that’s the only way you receive your news, only follow credible accounts and stay away from hateful pages. 

Understand that the lives of the people you see on the internet may not be authentic. Don’t believe everything you see. Follow your family and friends. Watch funny videos on Youtube. Don’t stay too long on the black screen.

Receive News From Credible Sources Only

Fake news can create panic and deepen your existing anxieties. It’s essential to focus your thoughts and energy on things that are real and accurate. Moreso, we all have to stay informed nowadays and see the pandemic’s state in our community. Only follow organizations that are credible like the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

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Learn New Things And Find Hobbies

One good thing that you can get from being in quarantine at your home is time. You now have time to explore new activities and learn more about yourself. The internet will give you tips on how to start the hobby you want to pursue. You can also do your old hobbies and rediscover yourself again. Instead of finding ways to get near on a bottle, you can spend your time improving your creativity and character. 

Acknowledge Your Thoughts

Denying that you have sudden cravings can intensify your emotions more. Accept your thoughts and talk to yourself. Why are you feeling this way? What are the consequences if you drink excessively again? Slow down and breathe. Learn to deal with these thoughts in a healthy way. Know those feelings will pass, and you are strong. 

It can be a tough time for people recovering from addiction during the COVID-19 pandemic. Being in isolation and waiting for answers to uncertainties can bring overpowering emotions. But it’s crucial to remember that you can get past through it and hard times will pass. People are waiting for your warmth outside. Take care of yourself, and don’t let your faith wither. 



Five Reasons Why COVID-19 May Cause Internet Addiction

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With the rise of the COVID-19 pandemic, governments have forced their people to stay in the comfort of their homes. In hopes of controlling the virus, we now spend each day in quarantine. During these tough times, most of us are fortunate enough to have access to the Internet. With the Internet, you can binge-watch movies on Netflix, contact your friends on Messenger, and video chat family on Skype. However, as fortunate as you are to have such a privilege, is it right for you?

As we have no means of going outside, most of us resort to the comfort of our phones, computers, or gaming consoles. We have the freedom to spend as much time as we please on these devices. Though, the more time you spend on the Internet, the more you may become addicted to it.

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Common Internet Addiction Symptoms

There have been several studies regarding internet addiction disorder; however, it is yet to establish a proper diagnosis. Instead, a questionnaire measures or determines whether a patient has internet addiction. Here are some common symptoms or traits associated with internet addiction:

  • Achieves satisfaction with more internet time
  • Stays on the Internet longer than initially intended
  • Becomes moody, irritable, or depressed when the connection to the Internet is lost
  • Uses the Internet as a means of escape from problems
  • Risks the loss of a significant other or responsibility for internet use
  • Unsuccessful with any efforts to reduce internet time

Why COVID-19 May Cause Internet Addiction

Internet addiction is not yet recognized as a condition under the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). However, most psychologists argue that it should still get treated the same as other forms of addiction.

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There may be no exact cause for the addiction, and it may vary from person to person. However, here are five reasons why COVID-19 may cause internet addiction.

  1. It’s Human Nature to Seek A Connection

It is part of our human nature to be associated with a company or group. Whether it may be with a friend, loved ones, or significant other, we always want to stay in touch. Having someone to talk to, especially when you alone, helps you calm down and stay sane. During the quarantine, it is difficult to manage a day with only having yourself. Thus, we spend more time messaging or video chatting with other people to feel connected.

  1. The Internet Becomes A Digital Playground

One thing we all enjoy doing is going around a particular area, such as a mall or park. As social beings, we tend to look for a place to be with other people. However, during the quarantine, we can only look for a place in our homes. We may do online shopping, seek for fun and recreation in online games, or watch random videos online. The Internet becomes our mall, playground, and school.

  1. Means Of Escape From The COVID-19 Situation

Most of us have become anxious about the COVID-19 situation. With how fast the virus is spreading and the growing number of lives it took, you can’t help but be scared. The Internet provides those having difficulty coping up with a sanctuary. The Internet may become their second home with all the possibilities it holds to help you escape. Even if their escape is temporary, it could become addicting.

  1. Lack Of Emotional Support

Those separated from their families during immediate lockdowns may be developing a void in their hearts. It is difficult to be alone and could cause your emotions to overflow. Suzanne Degges-White, Ph.D., says, “As we are all feeling isolated and dealing with anxiety or fear, having someone who steadies us, supports us, and appreciates who we are in our imperfection can be the healing force that keeps us moving forward.” The Internet may become a tool to fill in those voids. The emotional support it provides may end up as an addicting drug they’ll continuously seek.

  1. Desire To Be Constantly Informed

Right now, the most essential tool everyone needs at their disposal is information. We need to know of necessities such as the use of IDs, supermarket hours, food deliveries, and emergency hotlines. However, nowadays, the bulk of information is online. With a growing desire to find out what we need to know, the longer we may end up staying online.

Everyone should watch out for the COVID-19 situation. It is during these crises that we become most vulnerable. We need to take care of not only our bodies but also our mental health. Some things to help you avoid internet addiction include a timer, doing other activities offline, and self-reflection.  



Moderate Versus Excessive Drinking: Know Your Limits

It’s a no-brainer that alcohol should not be taken in excessive amount because it can pose harmful effects to a person’s body and mind. Drinking alcohol is part of our cultural and social practice. In some countries, drinking alcohol is part or included in their everyday diet and not only during special occasions. Medical research even presented the therapeutic effects of drinking certain alcoholic drinks to physical and psychological health.

For example, drinking two glasses of red wine every day can decrease the risk of cardiovascular disorders among women. Moderate drinking of alcoholic drinks can also reduce the risk of having ischemic strokes and diabetes in adults. Despite these positive claims, it is still essential to impart the adverse and harmful effects of alcohol if taken excessively. “Drinking represses the negative emotions that affect the mental well-being of those with diagnosed mental health concerns and those who simply feel emotionally flooded. While it may allow for a short-lived relief from anxiety, depression, or overwhelming feelings, drinking alcohol is not a smart choice in the grand scope of mental well-being,” says Jesse Viner, MD.

 

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