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People Buy More Food After the New the New Year – In Spite of Resolutions

From The University of Vermont

People Buy More Food After New Year in Spite of ResolutionsDespite New Year’s resolutions to eat better and lose weight, people buy the greatest amount of food and calories after the holidays, finds a study led by a University of Vermont researcher.

The study, published by PLOS ONE, finds consumer spending on food increases by 15 percent over the holiday season (Thanksgiving to New Year), with most of the increase attributed to higher levels of junk food.

But shoppers buy the greatest amount of food after New Year – the equivalent of a nine percent increase in calories above holiday levels, says Prof. Lizzy Pope of the University of Vermont, who led the study as a post-doctoral researcher at Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab.

“People start the New Year with good intentions to eat better,” says Pope, who recently joined UVM’s Dept. of Nutrition and Food Science. “They do pick out more healthy items, but they also keep buying higher levels of less-healthy holiday favorites. So their grocery baskets contain more calories than any other time of year we tracked.”

The findings are surprising given the holidays’ reputation for overeating – and suggest that people need better strategies for shopping under the sway of “res-illusions,” the research team says.

The researchers recommend that consumers use written grocery lists to deter impulsive junk food purchases; substitute as much junk food as possible with fresh produce and nutrient-rich foods, and split grocery baskets visually to ensure nutritious foods represent at least half of your purchases.

Background and methods

The authors of the study, New Year’s Res-Illusions: Food Shopping in the New Year Competes with Healthy Intentions, are Lizzy Pope (University of Vermont), David Just (Cornell University), Brian Wansink (Cornell University), and Drew Hanks (Ohio State University).

“We wanted to see how New Year’s resolutions and the end of the holiday season impact grocery shopping habits – how much food people buy, and how many calories the foods contain,” says co-author David Just, Cornell University.

More than 200 households in New York State were recruited to participate in the seven-month study of grocery store spending behaviors, from July 2010 to March 2011.

To identify shopping patterns, researchers split the data into three periods: July to Thanksgiving represented participants’ baseline spending (how much the average shopper regularly spends per week on groceries), Thanksgiving to New Year’s was considered the holiday season, and New Year’s to March the post-holiday period.

Foods were categorized as healthy or less healthy based on a nutritional rating system used at participating grocery stores.

“Despite New Year’s resolutions to eat healthier, people tend to hang on to those unhealthy holiday favorites and keep buying them in the New Year,” says co-author Drew Hanks, The Ohio State University, who worked on the study as a post-doctoral researcher at Cornell.

“Based on these findings,” Hanks adds, “we recommend that instead of just adding healthy foods to your cart, people substitute less healthy foods for fresh produce and other nutrient rich foods. The calories will add up slower and you’ll be more likely to meet your resolutions and shed those unwanted pounds.”

Source: http://www.psypost.org/2015/01/despite-resolutions-people-buy-food-new-year-30609

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How Exercise May Help to Eliminate Depression

By Gretchen Reynolds

how-exercise-may-help-to-eliminate-depressionExercise may be an effective treatment for depression and might even help prevent us from becoming depressed in the first place, according to three timely new studies.

The studies pool outcomes from past research involving more than a million men and women and, taken together, strongly suggest that regular exercise alters our bodies and brains in ways that make us resistant to despair.

Scientists have long questioned whether and how physical activity affects mental health. While we know that exercise alters the body, how physical activity affects moods and emotions is less well understood.

Past studies have sometimes muddied rather than clarified the body and mind connections. Some randomized controlled trials have found that exercise programs, often involving walking, ease symptoms in people with major depression.

But many of these studies have been relatively small in scale or had other scientific deficiencies. A major 2013 review of studies related to exercise and depression concluded that, based on the evidence then available, it was impossible to say whether exercise improved the condition. Other past reviews similarly have questioned whether the evidence was strong enough to say that exercise could stave off depression.

A group of global public-health researchers, however, suspected that newer studies and a more rigorous review of the statistical evidence might bolster the case for exercise as a treatment of and block against depression.

So for the new analyses, they first gathered all of the most recent and best-designed studies about depression and exercise.

Then, for perhaps the most innovative of the new studies, which was published last month in Preventive Medicine, they focused on whether exercise could help to prevent someone from developing depression.

The scientists knew that many past studies of that topic had relied on people providing reports about how much they had exercised. We human beings tend to be notoriously unreliable in our memories of past workouts, though.

So the researchers decided to use only past studies that had objectively measured participants’ aerobic fitness, which will rise or fall depending on whether and how much someone exercises. Participants’ mental health also had to have been determined with standard testing at the start and finish of the studies, and the follow-up time needed to have been at least a year and preferably longer.

Ultimately, the researchers found several large-scale past studies that met their criteria. Together, they contained data on more than 1,140,000 adult men and women.

Among these million-plus people, the links between fitness and mental health turned out to be considerable. When the researchers divided the group into thirds, based on how aerobically fit they were, those men and women with the lowest fitness were about 75 percent more likely to have been given diagnoses of depression than the people with the greatest fitness. The men and women in the middle third were almost 25 percent more likely to develop depression than those who were the most fit.

In a separate study (some of the scientists were involved in each of the reviews), researchers looked at whether exercise might be useful as a treatment for depression. In that analysis, which was published in June in the Journal of Psychiatric Research, they pooled data from 25 past studies in which people with clinically diagnosed depression began some type of exercise program. Each study had to include a control group that did not exercise and be otherwise methodologically sophisticated.

The pooled results persuasively showed that exercise, especially if it is moderately strenuous, such as brisk walking or jogging, and supervised, so that people complete the entire program, has a “large and significant effect” against depression, the authors wrote. People’s mental health tended to demonstrably improve if they were physically active.

The final review offers some hints about why. Published in February in Neuroscience and Biobehavioral Reviews, it took on the difficult issue of what happens within our bodies during and after exercise that might affect and improve our moods. The researchers analyzed 20 past studies in which scientists had obtained blood samples from people with major depression before and after they had exercised. The samples on the whole indicated that exercise significantly reduced various markers of inflammation and increased levels of a number of different hormones and other biochemicals that are thought to contribute to brain health.

Read More: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/16/well/move/how-exercise-might-keep-depression-at-bay.html

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Everyone occasionally feels blue or sad. But these feelings are usually short-lived and pass within a couple of days. When you have depression, it interferes with daily life and causes pain for both you and those who care about you. Depression is a common but serious illness. Many people with a depressive illness never seek treatment. But the majority, even those with the most severe depression, can get better with treatment. Medications, psychotherapies, and other methods can effectively treat people with depression.Some types of depression tend to run in families. However, depression can occur in people without family histories of depression too. Scientists are studying certain genes that may make some people more prone to depression. Some genetics research indicates that risk for depression results from the influence of several genes acting together with environmental or other factors. In addition, trauma, loss of a loved one, a difficult relationship, or any stressful situation may trigger a depressive episode.

Professional Development Resources is a Florida nonprofit educational corporation 501(c)(3) approved to offer continuing education by the American Psychological Association (APA): the National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC); the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB); the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA); the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association (ASHA); the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR); the Alabama State Board of Occupational Therapy; the Florida Boards of Social Work, Mental Health Counseling and Marriage and Family Therapy, Psychology & School Psychology, Dietetics & Nutrition, Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology, and Occupational Therapy Practice; the Ohio Counselor, Social Worker & MFT Board and Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology; the South Carolina Board of Professional Counselors & MFTs; and by the Texas Board of Examiners of Marriage & Family Therapists and State Board of Social Worker Examiners. We are CE Broker compliant (all courses are reported within one week of completion.

 

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People with Anxiety Perceive the World Differently

By Lindsay Holmes

anxiety-859370_640Sufferers of anxiety view the world in fundamentally different ways.

People who still believe the outdated notion that mental health conditions are “all in a person’s head” have yet another reason to stop believing the myth: According to a new study in the journal Current Biology, those with anxiety perceive the world differently — and it stems from a variance in their brains.

It all comes down to the brain’s plasticity, or its ability to change and reorganize itself by forming new connections. These inherent changes in the brain dictate how a person responds to stimuli, and researchers from the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel found that people diagnosed with anxiety are less likely to be able to differentiate neutral or “safe” stimuli from threatening ones.

The scientists found that those with anxiety experienced lasting plasticity long after an emotional experience (aka a “stimulus”) ended. This means the brain was unable to distinguish new, irrelevant situations from something that’s familiar or non-threatening, resulting in anxiety. In other words, anxious individuals tend to overgeneralize emotional experiences, whether they are threatening or not.

Most importantly, researchers noted, this reaction is not something that an anxious individual can control, because it’s a fundamental brain difference.

For the study, researchers trained individuals to associate three specific sounds with one of three outcomes: money loss, money gain or no consequence. In the next phase of the study, participants listened to approximately 15 tones and were asked to identify whether or not they’d heard them before.

The best way to “win” the tone-identifying game was for participants to not confuse or overgeneralize the new sounds with the ones they heard in the first phase of the study. The study authors found that subjects with anxiety were more likely than non-anxious subjects to think a new sound was one that they heard earlier.

This occurrence wasn’t due to an impairment in learning or hearing. It happened because they perceived the earlier tones, which were linked to an emotional experience of money loss or gain, differently than the other participants.

Researchers also discovered that during the exercise, people with anxiety displayed differences in the amygdala, the region of the brain that’s associated with fear. The findings may explain why the disorder develops for some people and not others, according to the authors.

“Anxiety traits can be completely normal, and even beneficial evolutionarily. Yet an emotional event, even minor sometimes, can induce brain changes that might lead to full-blown anxiety,” lead researcher Rony Paz said in a statement.

The new research is a sound reminder that a person is hardly responsible for having a mental illness; surmounting evidence shows mental health conditions have genetic and physiological underpinnings. A 2015 study found that anxiety may be hereditary, while other research suggests depression may be an inflammatory disease.

However, despite this growing body of research, there’s still a sizable stigma surrounding mental illness. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, only 25 percent of people with a mental health disorder feel like others are understanding about their experience. Original Article

 
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Posted by on March 7, 2016 in Anxiety, General

 

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Psychedelics Creating A Mental Health Paradigm Shift

By Carolyn Gregoire

psychedelicsIs American medicine on the brink of a psychedelic revolution?

It’s seeming more and more likely. A scientific review of the existing research into the therapeutic applications of psychedelics, published last week in the Canadian Medical Association Journal, highlights the enormous potential of substances like LSD, psilocybin (hallucinogenic mushrooms) and MDMA (the active ingredient in Ecstasy) for treating a host of mental health issues, including post-traumatic stress disorder, addiction, anxiety associated with terminal illness and depression.

While the research is still young, the small, preliminary studies highlighted in the review have shown that positive results can come from short courses — or even single sessions — of psychedelic-assisted psychotherapy.

“The studies are showing big effects,” Dr. Matthew Johnson, a behavioral pharmacologist at Johns Hopkins University and one of the study’s authors, told The Huffington Post. “The exciting thing isn’t just that these drugs work for something that we already have treatment for. It’s that they’re getting big effects on disorders for which we have very poor treatment.”

HuffPost Science caught up with Johnson, who has conducted extensive research on the therapeutic applications of psilocybin and other hallucinogens, to learn more about how psychedelics could fundamentally change the way we treat mental illness.

Some people are calling psychedelics a “paradigm shift” in mental health care. Do you agree? 

“Paradigm shift” is an appropriate term. It’s often overused in science, but this really is the case. There are fundamental differences in the approach of existing medication and psychedelic treatments, so that’s why we call it a different paradigm.

This is truly medication-facilitated therapy. So much of the data suggests that it’s the nature of the subjective experience that one has while under the effects of the substances that determines the long-term benefits — it’s not just taking the substance. Psychedelics open a door to the mind, and then what’s behind that door is really all about the participants and the intention that they bring to the session.

The fact that the effects last beyond the time that you take the medication — that’s really a new paradigm in psychiatry.

Research has looked at psychedelic treatments for a range of mental health conditions. Are there any areas that you’re particularly excited about, or that look especially promising? 

I hate to say everything! [laughs] I’m really impressed by the research in the three big categories — psilocybin and LSD for cancer-related anxiety and depression, psilocybin for addiction and MDMA for PTSD. There’s even some preliminary, limited research on obsessive-compulsive disorder that looks promising.

The study we conducted on psilocybin for cigarette smoking at Johns Hopkins had a very high success rate — 80 percent of people were abstinent after six months, which is really off the charts compared to typical treatments. And with alcoholism, a pilot study found a strong effect as well.

It’s really the magnitude of the effects that’s exciting.

These studies have shown that patients often achieve lasting results after just a few sessions, and one study even found a single session of psilocybin to produce lasting personality changes. How is it that these substances can have such powerful effects? What’s going on in the brain?

We don’t know exactly how yet, but we suspect [there may be] some lasting changes in the way different areas and processes in the brain communicate or synchronize with each other. We suspect there is some level of fundamental reorganization.

What are some potential dangers of taking these drugs? Are “bad trips” a concern? 

There are risks to all medical interventions, so the relevant question is, “What’s the balance of potential benefit to risk?”

In terms of so-called bad trips, we really encourage the participants in our studies to consider these [as] challenging effects that they can learn from as they integrate these difficult psychological experiences.

Things do happen, but they’re relatively rare. We’re very mindful, and as a field, we’ve been very responsible with monitoring and safeguarding these sessions. About a third of participants taking a high dose of psilocybin will at some point in time during the session have what you might call a bad trip. It’s going to be aversive — the person may be very frightened — but in the context of this type of trial, when they’re on the couch and being monitored, the person can’t do something stupid. We don’t see any evidence of prolonged psychiatric reactions or harm, or of the person “not coming back.”

However, people with active psychotic disorders or a strong predisposition for such disorders should not receive these treatments. We can reliably select out these individuals through careful psychiatric screening.

These drugs were researched extensively in the 1950s and 1960s, but funding stalled when the substances were classified as dangerous and lacking in medical value. Are scientists still facing these challenges? 

This is really the biggest challenge, but I’m not concerned, because everything is on track right now. There’s been very little governmental funding for research on these types of therapeutic compounds, but we’re hopeful and we think it’s very likely that this is going to change.

This a very new area, so an initial reluctance is very understandable and we’re letting the data speak for itself. It takes time.

Besides Johns Hopkins, what other institutions are leading the way? If people are interested in participating in clinical trials, what can they do? 

Hopkins has by far conducted the most extensive psilocybin research in the U.S. UCLA published a study on 12 cancer patients, and NYU recently conducted a study of about 30 cancer patients. [The] University of Alabama at Birmingham has initiated a psilocybin trial for cocaine dependence with a couple of dozen folks. At Hopkins, we have administered over 500 doses of psilocybin over the last 15 years. For psilocybin outside of the the U.S., hundreds of volunteers have received psilocybin at the University of Zurich, and Imperial College in London has published a few small studies recently.

If you’re interested in taking part in clinical trials, look up psilocybin or MDMA on clinicaltrials.gov.

We’re still at the early stages of this research. How far are we exactly from psychiatrists being able to use psychedelic-assisted therapy with their patients? 

In the context of tightly controlled therapeutic trials, the answer is “now.” In terms of standard clinical care, it depends on the context. We’re farthest along with research on psilocybin for cancer-related anxiety and depression. That’s the closest to a phase 3 study, which, if successful, could lead to approved subscription use under fairly narrow conditions. Other, further research would then explore the boundaries of that treatment.

[Editor’s note: Phase 2 trials are when the drug is given to a larger group of people than in the initial trial to monitor its effectiveness and safety. Phase 3 trials are used to confirm efficacy, further evaluate side effects and determine usage guidelines.]

Then there’s addiction. Early trials for cigarette smoking and alcohol have been conducted and look very promising, so the next steps are phase 2 trials, which are currently underway.

It’s not black and white, but I would expect that within the next 10 years there will be prescription use [for psilocybin and LSD], at least for cancer-related indications. Article Source

 
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Posted by on December 15, 2015 in General, Mental Health

 

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Five Lies Ruining Your Mental Health

By Amy Morin

jin-li-683231_1920One in five Americans experience a mental health problem in any given year. Yet many people suffer with their symptoms in silence.

The stigma that continues to surround mental health problems prevents individuals from getting the help they need.

It’s a common problem I’ve seen in my therapy office. People often waited years to seek help. Even though their symptoms were treatable, they were afraid to tell anyone about the symptoms they were experiencing.

Some of them feared a mental health diagnosis could affect their careers. Can I still teach if I have depression? If people know I have anxiety, will they assume my business is failing? Do I need to tell my boss I’m taking medication?

Others worried that they’d get labeled as crazy. Will other parents let their children come to my home if I go to counseling? If my neighbors see me in the waiting room, will they treat me different?

Many of them had legitimate concerns. Despite ongoing efforts to educate the public about mental health, many misconceptions remain. Before the stigma can be stopped, these five mental health myths need to be debunked:

1. You’re either mentally ill or mentally healthy.

Similar to the way a physically healthy person may still experience minor health issues-like bad knees or high cholesterol-a mentally healthy person may experience an emotional problem or two. Mental health is a continuum and people may fall anywhere on the spectrum.

Even if you are doing well, there’s a good chance you aren’t 100% mentally healthy. In fact, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates only about 17% of adults are in a state of optimal mental health.

2. Mental illness is a sign of weakness.

As someone who trains people to build mental strength, I sometimes receive backlash from individuals who claim the phrase “mental strength” somehow stigmatizes mental illness. Those comments come from people who automatically assume people with depression, anxiety, or other mental health conditions are “mentally weak.”

Mental strength is not the same as mental health. Just like someone with diabetes could still be physically strong, someone with depression can still be mentally strong. Many people with mental health issues are incredibly mentally strong. Anyone can make choices to build mental strength, regardless of whether they have a mental health issue.

3. You can’t prevent mental health problems.

You certainly can’t prevent all mental health problems-factors like genetics and traumatic life events certainly play a role. But everyone can take steps to improve their mental health and prevent further mental illness.

Establishing healthy habits–like eating a healthy diet, getting plenty of sleep, and participating in regular exercise–can also go a long way to improving how you feel. Similarly, getting rid of destructive mental habits, like engaging in self-pity or ruminating on the past, can also do wonders for your emotional well-being.

4. People with mental illness are violent.

Unfortunately, when mental illness is mentioned in the media it’s often in regards to a headline about a mass shooting or domestic violence incident. Although many violent criminals are frequently portrayed as being mentally ill, most people with mental health problems aren’t actually violent.

The American Psychological Association reports that only 7.5% of crimes are directly related to symptoms of mental illness. Poverty, substance abuse, unemployment, and homelessness are among some of the other reasons why people commit violent acts.

5. Mental health problems are forever.

Not all mental health problems are curable. Schizophrenia, for example, doesn’t go away. But most mental health problems are treatable.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports between 70 and 90% of individuals experience symptom relief with a combination of therapy and medication. Complete recovery from a variety of mental health issues is often possible.

Getting Rid of the Mental Health Stigma

Even though suicide is the tenth leading cause of death in America, most public service announcements and government education programs focus solely on physical health issues, like cancer and obesity. Raising awareness of mental health issues and debunking the common misconceptions could be instrumental in saving lives.

Amy Morin a psychotherapist, keynote speaker, and the author of 13 Things Mentally Strong People Don’t Do, a bestselling book that is being translated into more than 20 languages.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/amy-morin/5-lies-ruining-your-mental-health_b_8566556.html

 
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Posted by on November 24, 2015 in General, Mental Health

 

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Mental Illness Stigma Can Often Be a Barrier to Treatment

By Mary Elizabeth Dallas, HealthDay Reporter

Mental Illness and StigmaThe stigma often associated with mental illness prevents many people from getting the care they need, new research shows.

Although one in four people has some form of mental health disorder, the study found that in Europe and the United States, up to 75 percent of those affected do not receive the treatment they need. If left untreated certain mental health problems — such as psychosis, depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder — could get worse, researchers warned.

“We now have clear evidence that stigma has a toxic effect by preventing people seeking help for mental health problems,” Dr. Graham Thornicroft, senior study author at the Institute of Psychiatry of King’s College London, said in a college news release. “The profound reluctance to be ‘a mental health patient’ means people will put off seeing a doctor for months, years, or even at all, which in turn delays their recovery.”

For the study, published Feb. 25 in Psychological Medicine, the researchers collected information from 144 studies involving 90,000 people around the world.

Stigma ranked as the fourth highest of 10 barriers to care. Aside from the stigma of using mental health services or being treated for mental illness, the participants also reported feelings of shame and embarrassment as reasons for not seeking care. Others were afraid to let anyone know they have a mental health issue or were concerned about confidentiality.

Some people with mental illness either felt they could handle their problem on their own or believed they didn’t actually need help, the study also found.

Among those most affected by the stigma associated with mental illness were young people, those from minority ethnic groups, members of the military and health care professionals.

“Our study clearly demonstrates that mental health stigma plays an important role in preventing people from accessing treatment,” Dr. Sarah Clement, lead study author, also with the Institute of Psychiatry, said in the news release.

“We found that the fear of disclosing a mental health condition was a particularly common barrier,” Clement said. “Supporting people to talk about their mental health problems, for example through anti-stigma campaigns, may mean they are more likely to seek help.”

More information

Visit the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health to find out about help for mental illnesses.

Original Article: http://health.usnews.com/health-news/articles/2014/02/26/stigma-of-mental-illness-remains-barrier-to-treatment

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This CE test is based on the book “Anger Management: The Complete Treatment Guidebook for Practitioners” (2002, 320 pages). A comprehensive state-of-the-art anger management program and a must-have manual for the practitioner. The authors are distinguished researchers, teachers and practitioners in the field of anger management, and their book offers a detailed, research-based and empirically validated “anger episode model.” This indispensable resource for human service professionals emphasizes how to help clients understand, manage, and prevent unhealthy anger. The book is packed with detailed procedures, examples, exercises, and client handouts.
Self-defeating behaviors are negative on-going patterns of behaviors involving issues such as smoking, weight, inactive lifestyle, depression, anger, perfectionism, etc. This course is designed to teach concepts to eliminate these negative patterns. The course is educational: first you learn the model, then you apply it to a specific self-defeating behavior. A positive behavioral change is the outcome. Following the course, participants will be able to identify, analyze and replace their self-defeating behavior(s) with positive behavior(s). The course also provides an excellent psychological “tool” for clinicians to use with their clients. The author grants limited permission to photocopy forms and exercises included in this course for clinical use.
Everyone occasionally feels blue or sad. But these feelings are usually short-lived and pass within a couple of days. When you have depression, it interferes with daily life and causes pain for both you and those who care about you. Depression is a common but serious illness. Many people with a depressive illness never seek treatment. But the majority, even those with the most severe depression, can get better with treatment. Medications, psychotherapies, and other methods can effectively treat people with depression.Some types of depression tend to run in families. However, depression can occur in people without family histories of depression too. Scientists are studying certain genes that may make some people more prone to depression. Some genetics research indicates that risk for depression results from the influence of several genes acting together with environmental or other factors. In addition, trauma, loss of a loved one, a difficult relationship, or any stressful situation may trigger a depressive episode. Other depressive episodes may occur with or without an obvious trigger.This introductory course provides an overview to the various forms of depression, including signs and symptoms, co-existing conditions, causes, gender and age differences, and diagnosis and treatment options.
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Posted by on October 27, 2015 in Mental Health

 

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Being Numb Means Never Growing or Changing

Staying Numb Means No Change

By Justin Lioi, LCSW, Relationships and Marriage

Some people drink a lot, smoke pot a lot, or work a hell of a lot.

While for many people, these activities might indicate a clinical addiction that needs to be directly addressed, for many others, these—and other activities—may be used to avoid discomfort.

A few of the most common issues people find themselves trying to avoid include:

  • Disappointment in relationships (or the lack of a relationship)
  • Feeling used at a job or unenthusiastic about work
  • Remembering something painful they would rather forget

Anyone who grew up with a pet hamster probably noticed how it would spend its day running in place on a wheel. Well, we can be like that, too. We can run and run as we try to hold off feelings of discomfort. The problem is, once we stop, we’re still on the wheel. We’re more exhausted, but we’re still in the same cage.

The Numbing Process

Some people I work with experience anger issues, but many others experience what appears to be the opposite: They go numb.

Through the anesthesia of their choice, they attempt to cordon themselves off from feelings. This can actually be effective for a certain amount of time. In fact, many people swear by this technique. Often, they’re proud of they way they “compartmentalize” so well!

Yet, feelings find a way to come out.

If you deal with discomfort by going numb, you’re hiding two things: You’re warding off the initial feeling, and you’re growing more worried of what will happen once that feeling emerges.

  • If you allow yourself to get angry, will you insult or hurt someone?
  • If you allow yourself to grieve, will you ever find your way out?
  • If you allow yourself to be scared, will you ever be strong again?
  • If you let others know you’re sad, will they say, “Get over it,” or tell you that you’re too needy?
  • If you let others know you’re angry at them, will they disappear?

Avoiding Feelings to Protect Our Relationships

Numbing is sometimes used to protect the status quo in our relationships with other people.

We are constantly changing and the world around us is constantly changing. Numbing, however, keeps things just as they are.This is often easier to see in others than ourselves. Can you think of a person who has a girlfriend, a parent, or a friend that they are always making excuses for? Maybe you question how and why they continue to keep this person in their life?

If they really considered the way that person treated them, they might need to say something or make some real changes in the relationship. Avoiding the negative feelings and continuing to run on the wheel means that someone doesn’t have to risk change. Change is scary, and it can sometimes be painful, so many people choose to avoid the risk.

Resistance to Change

We are constantly changing, and the world around us is constantly changing. Numbing, however, keeps things just as they are.

It’s hard to keep things the same when we live in a changing world. Both the people we love and the people we hate are changing. Maybe these changes aren’t big ones, and maybe people don’t change in the way we’d like them to change, but no one is static.

When we’re drunk, the world might seem OK. When we’re high, we can’t help laughing. When we’re at work six days a week, 10 hours a day, we are accomplishing something and stressing about something that has nothing to do with us. We’re running on a hamster wheel that we perceive is protecting us, but we’re not feeling what’s actually going on around us.

It’s not by accident that transitions—birthdays, breakups, funerals, graduations—are often surrounded with alcohol. We’re scared during these times, even if the transitions lead to something exciting. There’s nothing necessarily wrong with this. Fear can be adaptive when we’re actively taking part in the transition to something new. It’s unhealthy, however, when we’re OK with being stuck on the hamster wheel.

© Copyright 2015 by Justin Lioi, LCSW, therapist in Brooklyn, NY. All Rights Reserved.

Original Article: http://www.goodtherapy.org/blog/staying-numb-means-staying-unchanged-0910154

 
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Posted by on September 16, 2015 in General, Mental Health

 

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