A crackdown on unethical practices throughout the country that take advantage of individuals and families suffering from substance use and mental health disorders in South Florida has brought several unethical and illegal sober living homes, labs and treatment centers to a halt. Although some operators and associates are now in jail or under investigation, there is still work to do. This is a welcomed move in the right direction. At Lifeskills South Florida we have been paying close attention to the recent spotlight placed on the Florida treatment community by the media, and for those seeking help, we are here to provide true, ethical quality care. (more…)
Alice Saltzman, Certified Yoga Instructor at Lifeskills South Florida, knows firsthand what it means to take health and fitness seriously and make it a priority in one’s life. “I was a heavy teenager; I was bullied and teased in high school, and as an adult, I made a conscious decision to live a healthier lifestyle through yoga and nutrition. When I discovered yoga it was the first place I discovered within me that I felt completely safe relaxed and calm.” Her goal at Lifeskills South Florida is to take her passion for a healthy lifestyle and help clients learn to implement changes in their lives while in treatment so they can be successful in their overall recovery from mental health and substance use disorders.
Those in mental health and addiction professions often overlook their “self-care” while focusing on others and before it’s too late it takes a toll on their mental and physical health. Interventions, emergencies, ”on-call schedules,” and crisis management with clients and their families are just a few work-related stressors that can lead to poor self-care.
The first step in mental health recovery is seeking treatment. Your treatment journey is supported by clinicians, therapists, and nutritionist, but the most important support is that from your family and loved ones. (more…)
Cognitive processing therapy (CPT) is a type of cognitive behavioral therapy that is evidence-based and has been proven to effectively treat individuals struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Post-traumatic stress disorder is characterized by anxiety from previous traumatic events. The most common symptoms of PTSD include nightmares, flashbacks of the event, depression and increased irritability. Cognitive processing therapy will typically take place over a period of 12 sessions with a therapist and aims to retrain the brain to think differently about the traumatic event.
Co-occurring Disorders, also known as Dual Diagnosis, are on the rise and affect between 7-9 million people in a given year, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA). When a person is dually diagnosed, it means that they are suffering from a mental health disorder and a substance abuse disorder at the same time. More than 50% of individuals with an addiction to drugs or alcohol also have a mental health disorder.
Dual diagnosis is a medical term that describes an individual that is actively battling both a substance abuse disorder as well as a co-occurring mental or behavioral health disorder. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), between 7 and 9 million people struggle with both mental disorders and substance abuse during any given year. In fact, more than 50% of individuals that have an addiction to drugs and alcohol also suffer from disorders that often include depression and other mood disorders, anxiety, personality disorders and trauma.
Cognitive remediation therapy (CRT), sometimes referred to as cognitive enhancement therapy, is a treatment method with the goal of helping an individual improve their memory, attention, organizational skills and information processing. This type of therapy was developed to help individuals struggling with psychiatric disorders like schizophrenia, eating disorders, ADHD and traumatic brain injury. Cognitive remediation therapy is often completed in a computer-based classroom setting.
The National Alliance on Mental Illness has continued to lead the effort to reduce the stigma around Mental Illness until we define it as Stigma free. Other mental health foundations are also bringing awareness by focusing on the theme of “Give” in their education efforts: Give your time, your words your presence. By exploring this theme of give we are able to break stigmas that have plagued our family and friends that struggle with mental illness.
Why can’t we slow down? We spend a lot of our time wrapped up in what makes us feel good, how others perceive us and what is going to help us get ahead. Often, we are moving so fast through life that we forget about those who struggle with depression, anxiety, bipolar and other similar diagnoses, especially when it does not directly affect us. We become intolerant of those that cannot keep up or cannot understand or explain what’s wrong with them. Our society has evolved into a fast paced race for self-actualization. We often miss the importance of spending quality time with others.
Taking the time out of your fast paced day to give back to others will bless you and the person you are helping. Giving your time can be in service work. Or making a phone call to that friend you lost contact with or just in prayer for another. Anyway you choose to give your time, do so mindfully with all your focus being on the act you are choosing to do.
Are you quick to judge or offer unwanted criticism to others? Often people who struggle with mental illness are already fighting society’s stigma that is associated with having a mental illness. They are not capable of managing the emotional toll it takes to live with the criticisms of their loved ones. Our words carry the power to build or break someone down and, for the person struggling with mental health issues, hurtful words can cut deeply. They can contribute to feelings of hopelessness. The golden rule also applies to communication, “If you cannot say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” While you may think that your constructive criticism is helpful, it may not be your place to offer such advice.
When you feel the desire to be judgmental that is when you should take the opposite approach. Instead, think about how you can offer positive affirmations and words of encouragement as it applies to the conversation at hand and your desire to help. Often, validation of other’s feelings and situations or just listening without words can help more than anything we might say or do.
Being present is the third part of the goal of giving in this effort to impact the stigma of Mental Illness. When spending time with others, we should be mindful of our actions, words and quality of time. Being physically there while your mind is somewhere else is not the same as being emotionally present. People desire to make a connection and without your undivided attention they are unable to connect with you. The person who struggles with mental illness already has trouble connecting emotionally with others. When you are present with them, it gives them an opportunity to connect to you by modeling this behavior.
What are some techniques for being mindful and present? Don’t squeeze in time with the person struggling with mental illness. Make purposeful time in your schedule to be with them, because they will pick up on it if you are waiting to get to your next appointment. Second, focus on the conversation by listening to what they are saying or sitting with them in silence, because just being available is part of making this connection. Lastly, turn your phone, electronics and distractions on silent or off. It is hugely important that they feel like the priority when you are with them, even if you aren’t sure whether or not they appreciate you being there. Doing this last tip with consistency will translate over time and help them understand that you are a support they can trust.
Rachel Rowitt, Ed.D, LMHC, CAP has worked in the field of clinical psychology for 15 years. She is a freelance writer who specializes in educating the community about the effects of mental illness, addiction and how to make effective changes. She has been affiliated with Lifeskills, a residential treatment facility for mental illness and addiction, for over 5 years.
Do you ever feel panicked because you are unsure of why your parents, friends and spouse make statements or behave strangely towards you? Frustration that your loved one doesn’t understand you, may feel like they are giving up on you. Thoughts that may cross your mind ; “Are they abandoning me?” and “Are they hurting me on purpose?” This can lead you to look for ways to get rid of these intense emotions and awful thoughts. Cutting, alcohol and drug addiction, promiscuity and other self-destructive behaviors become unhealthy ways of coping with feeling unloved and not accepted.
Often times, your loved one doesn’t realize why you are panicking, behaving in self-destructive ways or how they may be hurting you. The miscommunication and lack of understanding can cause terrible storms in your life. Learning to manage your emotional response and being mindful will help you stop unhealthy coping patterns and help you become more effective in your relationships.
Dialectical Behavioral Therapy can help you stabilize your emotions, manage uncomfortable feelings and learn to respond rather than react to situations. It is important to observe, describe and participate in the emotion that you are experiencing before jumping to conclusions such as your loved one is abandoning you. This will help to decrease your initial panic when things seem uncomfortable in your relationships.
Lifeskills South Florida has an adult residential treatment center, as well as an outpatient treatment center in Delray Beach, Florida, that can help you or a loved one face the challenges of substance use disorders, while stabilizing mental health issues, and managing personality disorders. The Lifeskills South Florida residential offices are located in Deerfield Beach, Florida and can be reached at 844-749-1560.