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What is Depression?

July 16, 2013  |  Article by Jeffrey C. Anglin, Addiction Counselor

Everybody gets the blues.  When the dog dies, you lose a job or a boyfriend, a check bounces, the roof leaks, you get sick, your team loses – you feel down, sad and empty.   In a relatively short time though, you bounce back.  You get better because the circumstance changes, you take some action or your feelings just go away. For some of us, though, things don’t get better.  Our mood is persistently sad.  We lose interest or pleasure in activities that we once enjoyed. We experience a significant change in appetite or body weight.  We can’t sleep or sleep too much.  We don’t have any energy.  Feelings of worthlessness or inappropriate guilt are complicated by difficulty thinking or concentrating.  We have recurrent thoughts of death or suicide. If you have five or more of these symptoms during the same two-week period, you meet the diagnostic criteria for Major Depression.  … Read More

Cravings in Early Recovery

July 12, 2013  |  Article by Jeffrey C. Anglin, Addiction Counselor

I have great respect for those of you in the early stages of recovery from addiction.  You have given up your drug of choice, which has served as your primary coping mechanism for years, perhaps decades.  At the same time, like an arm that’s been in a cast for months, your emotional maturation has atrophied from lack of use.  The emotional “muscles” that sober people use many times a day are simply not available to you. During the first three to six months, expect a good degree of emotional discomfort.  The recovering addict must really just “gut it out” until the brain begins to recover and new coping skills develop.  (It should also be noted that different drugs have different recovery curves.  While it takes more time to get addicted to alcohol, its damage to the brain tends to be less than more powerful chemicals such as methamphetamine or cocaine.) … Read More

What’s the Difference Between Fear and Anxiety?

July 8, 2013  |  Article by Jeffrey C. Anglin, Addiction Counselor

“Is your seatbelt buckled?” “Yes.” “Can you see out the window?” “Yes.” “Can you hear the engine getting louder?” “Yes.” “We’re going to be taking off soon.” “OK.” It’s 1988, and I’m accompanying my daughter on her first plane flight.  My entire focus is to ensure she feels safe. “Can you feel us beginning to move?” “Yes.” “Now, things outside the window are starting to get smaller.” “OK” “There’s no need to be afraid.” “What is there to be afraid of?”   Hm.  Well, if she wasn’t afraid of flying before, she will be now. See, my daughter wasn’t afraid of flying because the thought never occurred to her.  Her father wouldn’t take her anyplace that was unsafe, by any unsafe means.  That was all she needed to know. Through my good intentions I had potentially encumbered her – for life – with my own anxiety.  Fortunately, her resilience and … Read More

Alcohol Abuse and Domestic Violence

July 6, 2013  |  Article by Jeffrey C. Anglin, Addiction Counselor

Domestic violence is the use of intentional verbal, psychological, or physical force by one family member (including an intimate partner) to control another.  In the United States, a woman is beaten every 15 seconds.  At least 30 percent of female trauma patients (excluding traffic accident victims) have been victims of domestic violence, and medical costs associated with injuries done to women by their partners total more than $44 million annually. Ten years ago, the Florida Department of Children and Families established guidelines for providers of domestic violence services.  Although well intentioned, it adopted a wrong-headed premise that likely prevented some batterers from recovering, and left women at risk. The mistake was to define every batterer through the Duluth Model of power and control.  The model’s core assumption is that women and children “are vulnerable to violence because of their unequal social, economic, and political status in society.”  While this is certainly … Read More

More Women Than Ever Are Dying From Prescription Drug Abuse

July 5, 2013  |  Article by Jeffrey C. Anglin, Addiction Counselor

Picture a drug addict who dies from an overdose of prescription medication. What gender is the addict? If you answered male, you’d be right, but new evidence suggests that more women are dying from drug overdoses than ever before. More women now die of overdoses from pain pills like OxyContin than from cervical cancer or homicide.  In fact, a new analysis of federal data has found that deaths in recent years have been rising far faster among women, quintupling since 1999.  The number of men who are dying also continues to increase, but at a much lower rate. Another suprising fact is that older women are more at risk than younger ones.  And while in the past drug overdoses have been disproportionately an urban problem that afflicted minorities, more whites than blacks are dying from prescription drug overdoses.  Asians and Hispanics had the lowest rates. Deaths among women have been … Read More

Alcohol and Suicide

July 4, 2013  |  Article by Jeffrey C. Anglin, Addiction Counselor

“It’s Larry,” said the nurse, handing me the phone. No other introduction was needed.  Larry was a Viet Nam vet who was a frequent patient at the hospital where I worked. It was 8 p.m., I had a unit full of psychiatric patients and he wanted to be admitted. Larry was drunk, which he and I both knew would keep him from getting a bed here tonight.  I wasn’t entirely conscious of it at the time, but something was different.   “I feel lost,” he said. Thirty minutes later Larry shot himself in the head with his military revolver. This was almost twenty years ago, but it feels no less tragic  today than it did then.  Suicide is a therapist’s worst nightmare, perhaps because so little is really known about why people kill themselves. One thing that we do know for sure is that alcohol plays a role in suicidal thought, … Read More

Your Stress is Killing You!

July 2, 2013  |  Article by Jeffrey C. Anglin, Addiction Counselor

It has been said that the lowest common denominator of mental health is self-esteem.  When people feel better about themselves, they just enjoy life more.  Perhaps a byproduct of good self-esteem is one’s feelings of resiliency toward life.  Einstein is supposed to have said that the most important question a person can answer is, “do I live in a hostile or a benevolent universe?”   This begs the question, “What can I expect from my future?” Stress is experienced when you feel that environmental demands tax or exceed your adaptive capacity, resulting in psychological and biological changes that may place you at risk for disease. Note the key word: feels.  My perception of my capacity to handle stress is what matters.  The process of therapy is to align one’s perceptions with the reality of one’s capacity.  In my experience – ironically – most people who come to therapy because of stress … Read More

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