Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Mindfulness and Trauma

mindfulness and traumaFor those who have experienced trauma, practicing mindfulness can help increase self-compassion, allow you to get back in touch with the present moment and reduce the extent with which you feel controlled by unpleasant thoughts or memories. It’s also been study-proven to reduce symptoms of PTSD.

Yet, for some, it can also bring up painful and overwhelming emotions and even intensify symptoms of traumatic stress. This is why it’s crucial to speak with your therapist or addiction counselor before trying any mindfulness activities on your own.

Beyond meditation, there are some everyday ways to bring mindfulness to your life. For example, you can practice mindfulness while you’re taking a walk, showering, cooking, eating, knitting, doing chores or even writing in a journal. Doing so will help you to stay focused on the task at hand and distract your mind from any negative thoughts, triggers or anxiety. 

In addition, many experts use somatic mindfulness with those who have experienced trauma. Good defines somatic mindfulness as the “ability to step back from what your nervous system is telling you. You step back, observe it, feel every bit of it. Then you consciously decide what you want to do instead of automatically falling into long-standing patterns and the behavior they dictate.”

Here is an example of a somatic mindfulness exercise called “grab and let go,” adopted from
  • Stand still and let your eyes defocus.
  • Slowly step one leg forward, planting first your heel and then your whole foot on the ground. Shift your weight forward onto the front foot, without your back foot leaving the ground.
  • As you step forward, reach your arm forward, fingers outstretched.
  • As your foot lands, close your hand into a fist like you’re grabbing something.
  • As you’re doing this motion, breathe in.
  • Step back and bring your foot back next to the other one. Release and open your hand and bring your arm back to your side.
  • As you release, breathe out.
  • Stand still for a minute. Pay attention to your body sensations. Where do you feel a sense of flow, aliveness or tingling?
Trauma Treatment for Women
At Rising Roads, we understand that trauma resolution means more than just talking about your traumatic experience. We utilize proven techniques, including Somatic Therapy, to help you stop running from the emotions and feelings of trauma and begin to heal. To learn more about our trauma treatment for women, call today: 866-746-1558.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Female Veterans and Mental Health

female veteran
With Veterans Day coming up this weekend, we thought it would be a good time to take a look at some of the mental health challenges facing female veterans. In fact, the peer-reviewed journal Women's Health Issues (WHI) recently released a new "Special Collection" on women veterans' health, with a focus on mental health.

Here are some of their findings along with some additional facts about female veterans and substance abuse from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs:

  • Women are now the fastest growing subgroup of U.S. veterans, with numbers expected to rise dramatically in the next 10 years.
  • Compared to male veterans, female veterans had similar rates of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), higher rates of anxiety disorders and depression, and significant mental health and medical co-morbidities.
  • For both genders, multiple deployments and post-deployment relationship disruption were associated with increased risk for PTSD.
  • Approximately one out of five women veterans reports military sexual trauma.
  • Barriers to women's utilization of the VA healthcare system included economic, organizational, and patient factors such as poor health.
  • Though more men than women veterans are treated for substance abuse, the number of women veterans admitted to treatment programs has been on the rise.
  • More than half of women veterans are treated for alcohol abuse and more than one-fifth for cocaine use, followed by opiates, marijuana and other drugs.
Trauma Resolution at Rising Roads
If you’re a female veteran looking for a safe, non-judgmental place to address your addiction in relation to your trauma, look no further. Our Orange County recovery facility treats PTSD and substance misuse concurrently since one drives the other. As women break the trauma-addiction cycle, they experience personal, spiritual and relational growth. To learn more about our Trauma Treatment for women, call today: 866-746-1558.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

What to Say (And Not Say) to a Loved One with a Substance Use Disorder

It’s not easy talking to a loved one with a substance use disorder. It’s a sensitive subject and you can easily say the wrong things, even if you have the best intentions. Yet it’s important to learn to communicate effectively. This way, you can truly help someone you love journey toward lifelong sobriety. Here are a few things to say (and not to say) when talking with your loved one:
  • Say: Things will get better. Taking the time to remind your loved one to have hope is helpful and motivating. Communicate that a life of addiction is not the only way and that there is in fact a better way to live.
  • Don’t say: You will never change. This type of pessimistic talk can discourage your loved one from changing in the right direction. With proper guidance and support, it is possible for someone to recover from addiction.
  • Say: It’s not your fault. Addiction is a disease and reminding your loved one of this can help convince her to get help or stay the course. Along these lines, it’s also helpful to talk your loved one about how recovery is her responsibility.
  • Don’t say: Why can’t you just stop doing drugs or drinking? If it were that easy, no one would be struggling with a substance use disorder nor need help to break their addiction.
  • Say: I love you and you’re not alone. Letting your loved one know that you love them and won’t give up on them can provide the motivation and confidence needed to stick with recovery.
  • Don’t say: I am so ashamed of you. Your loved one is likely struggling with self-worth, low self-esteem, shame and guilt without you dropping a shame bomb. A comment like this can cause your loved one to use to numb these negative emotions.
Getting Help for Addiction
Our gender-specific addiction treatment creates an optimal environment for the lady in your life to facilitate change and continue growth. To learn about our addiction treatment for women, call us today: 866-746-1558.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Mental Health: Coping With the News

Whether via social media, television or radio, we’re often bombarded by all of the tragic, violent and disturbing things happening in our world today. This can certainly take a toll on our emotional health, and this is especially true if you have a history of trauma and/or are also struggling with a co-occurring mental illness. In fact, according to Stephanie Dowd, PsyD, a clinical psychologist in the Anxiety and Mood Disorders Center of the Child Mind Institute, there’s a higher risk factor for anxiety [and related issues] for “someone with a traumatic experience in their background.”

If this sounds like you, experts, say that your first step is to just accept your reactions. This means that if you find yourself reacting strongly or getting very upset over the news, remind yourself that it’s ok. These are your emotions and you deserve self-compassion.

While we can’t simply shut out what’s going on in the world, we can learn ways to safeguard our mental health when the news creates extra stress and anxiety. For example, you may want to avoid any visual images and just stick with written word. Here are a few more ways to cope:
  • Find the good. “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me ‘Look for the helpers; you will always find people who are helping,” said Mr. Roger’s. In 2012, after the Newtown tragedy, this quote went viral – and for good reason. Focusing on the helpers allows you to find hope, faith and humanity amid the disturbing headlines. And it may even become the inspiration you need to offer your services or time to your local community.
  • Reach out for help. Calling a trusted family member or friend is always wise when your emotions are fragile. Arrange a time to meet for coffee or to go for a walk and talk about how the news is making you feel.  If the event is bringing up a painful memory or you’re experiencing triggers, make sure to seek support from your counselor or health care professional.
  • Engage your senses. Whether you meditate, soak in a bath or listen to relaxing music, engaging your senses can help provide some quiet time away from the stress and sadness.
Minding Your Mental Health During Recovery
At Rising Roads, we focus on the unique needs of women in recovery. We help our female clients discover new coping strategies to manage (not run from) their emotions, so they can continue to heal and reclaim healthy, sober lives. To learn more about our programs, call today: 866-746-1558.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Why Women Have Higher Rates of PTSD

PTSD and women

Did you know that women have double the rate of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as men? The lifetime prevalence of PTSD is 10-12% in women and 5-6% in men. What’s more, PTSD tends to last longer in women – 4 years versus one. 

Interestingly, women have been found to experience fewer traumas than men (by a third) and yet their risk of PTSD is higher. This may have to do with the type of trauma, note experts. For example, men who experience combat trauma, accidents, natural disasters and disasters caused by humans are more likely to experience PTSD. For women, sexual abuse, domestic violence and sexual assault are most often to blame. Roughly one out of every 6 women has experienced attempted or completed sexual assault or rape in her lifetime and these victims are more likely to be diagnosed with PTSD than nonsexual trauma survivors.

“Sexual traumas are prevalent and particularly toxic to mental health,” Melanie Greenberg PhD, wrote in an article on Psychology Today. “Sexual abuse typically begins at a young age, when the brain is still growing, leading to a lasting impact on emotion regulation and fear response.”

Do You Know the Signs of PTSD?
Dr. Greenberg said that among survivors of sexual trauma, she often sees high levels of fear and vigilance, shame, and self-blame. Other symptoms, which most often interfere with daily living, can include: 
  • Nightmares, flashbacks an frightening thoughts.
  • Avoiding and shutting out thoughts and feelings related to the trauma.
  • Angry outbursts, feeling “on edge,” being hyper-vigilant for threat or trouble sleeping.
  • Feeling excessive guilt, blaming yourself unreasonably, having difficulty remembering aspects of the event, seeing yourself or the world negatively.
PTSD and Addiction
About 80 percent of women seeking addiction treatment also have a trauma history, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. And this number doesn’t include women who can’t or refuse to seek help for substance use disorders. Since trauma and addiction often coexist, we offer a dual-focused program to help women begin to restore their well-being and look ahead to lasting recovery. To learn more about our trauma treatment program, call today: 866-746-1558.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Learning to Be Teachable in Recovery

A big part of recovery and relapse prevention is being teachable. Your willingness to learn from past mistakes, take direction from counselors and peers and open your mind to learning new things will help you grow in sobriety. It will also help you to build a fulfilling, sober life and be your best self. A big part of being teachable is being humble – some experts even say the words teachability and humility can be interchanged.

Here’s why. When you’re teachable you will…
  • Be more aware of your limitations, knowledge and abilities.
  • You’re not afraid to regularly ask for help, instruction, guidance and advice.
  • You learn from anyone and everyone you can.
  • You listen to others carefully and patiently with a desire to learn their experiences.
  • You’re ready to move out of your comfort zone, try something different and make mistakes. 
  • You don’t give up when you fail but seek help and try again.
The good news is that you can learn to be teachable – and these steps will benefit your recovery, too:  
  • Try something new. Whether you learn to cook, knit or speak a different language, do your best to step out of your comfort zone and seek new experiences. The more you learn, the more you’ll get in touch with yourself and the better you’ll relate to others. 
  • Make time for reflection. Take a few minutes each night to reflect on and journal about your day. What stayed the same? What was different or better or worse? Answering these questions honestly will help you become aware of any areas that need improvement. 
  • Surround yourself with positive people. The right supports will help you grow and learn in daily life. How can you tell if someone is helpful or harmful? Ask yourself how the person makes you feel? For example, energized and inspired or tired and negative?
  • Pick up a book. Reading is a great recovery activity that can help you learn new things and gain a fresh perspective – while taking time to relax and decompress.
A Place for Personal Growth 
At Rising Roads Recovery, we provide a safe, support environment that allows our female clients to learn life skills and flourish in their new sober lives. Let us help you or someone you love find the path to your happy destiny. To learn about our programs and services, call today: 866-746-1558.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Study: Diet Affect Women's Mental Health More Than Men's

Mediterranean dietWe all know that what you eat can play a big role in your recovery as you work to replenish your body from the damage of addiction and live a healthier life. A new study shows a particularly strong link between diet and emotional well-being, especially for women. 

Researchers surveyed nearly 600 people about their eating habits and mental health and found that diet had a stronger effect on well-being for women than it did for men.

"The biggest takeaway is that women may need a larger spectrum of nutrients to support mood, compared to men," Lina Begdache, an assistant professor at Binghamton University and lead author of the study, said in a press release. "These findings may explain why women are twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety and depression and suffer from longer episodes, compared to men."

The study, published in the journal Nutritional Neuroscience, found that a Mediterranean diet and lifestyle were most closely linked to mental well-being for women. 

According to the Mayo Clinic, key components of the Mediterranean diet include: 

  • Eating primarily plant-based foods (fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes and nuts).
  • Replacing butter with healthy fats like olive oil. 
  • Flavoring foods with herbs and spices instead of salt. 
  • Eating fish and poultry at least twice a week and red meat only a few times a month.
  • Making meal time enjoyable with family and friends.
  • Getting plenty of exercise.

The bottom line: This study gives us yet another reason to make sure food is a joyful, nutritious part of your recovery and your life. You’ll have more energy and emotional balance – both essential for lasting sobriety.

Healthy Eating at Rising Roads Recovery
We are staffed to support all of our clients in the exploration of themselves and their relationship to food. We are lucky to have a registered dietician as well as women who are in recovery from food related issues that can help you find a path to healthy eating. To learn more about our nutritional guidance and cooking classes, call today: 866-746-1558.