Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Early Periods Tied to More Mental Health Issues as Adults

early periods mental healthCould early menstruation play a role in mental health issues, including depression, eating disorders, anxiety and substance abuse? That’s one of the questions researchers set out to answer in a 14-year study that followed nearly 8,000 U.S. girls from adolescence until their late 20s. 

This isn’t the first study to explore the link. While previous research has linked early menstruation to more severe mental health disorders, little was known about how long these problems persisted. 

Researchers discovered that mental health issues persisted until the girls were in their late 20s and even in their 30s when it came to depression. They found that the younger the girls began menstruation, the higher the risk for depression. Note: Today, the average age of menstruation is 12.5 years old, with one-third of American girls getting their first period by age 8. 

What’s more, early menstruation was associated with an increased risk for antisocial behavior (acting out, rule breaking, delinquency). And, surprisingly, the behavior got worse as they got older. In most cases, antisocial behavior subsides with age.

"It can be very easy for people to dismiss the emotional challenges that come along with growing up as a girl, and say, 'Oh, it's just that age; it's what everyone goes through,'" study author Jane Mendle said in a news release from Cornell University.

But brushing off these issues as "just puberty" could be harmful to the long-term mental health of your child. "If your child is developing earlier than their peers, it's important to pay close attention to how they are feeling—from a mood and behavior standpoint—so that if interventions are needed, such as psychotherapy or medications, we can get those started and hopefully prevent further problems in the future,” said Dr. Ellen Selkie, an adolescent medicine specialist with the University of Michigan, in an editorial accompanying the study.

The bottom line: Early puberty is just one more risk factor to keep in mind when it comes to mental health issues and even substance abuse — and this is especially important if you have a family history of these conditions.

Mental Health and Addiction
Those with a substance use disorder are twice as likely as the general population to suffer from mood and anxiety disorders – and many of these co-occurring disorders predate the start of drug or alcohol use. To learn more about our psychiatric consultations, call us today: 866-746-1558.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Study: Drinking Weakens Muscles in Post-Menopausal Women

You likely know that chronic drinking can damage your liver – but did you know that it can also silently shrink your muscles? 

A new study published in the journal Menopause strongly links drinking to the worsening of sarcopenia, or the substantial loss of both muscle mass and strength. It’s estimated that as many as 15 percent of Americans age 60 and older have sarcopenia.

Why worry about sarcopenia? Possible effects of sarcopenia can include the following: 
  • Decreased muscle strength
  • Problems with mobility
  • Frailty
  • Weak bones (osteoporosis)
  • Falls and fractures
  • Decreased activity levels
  • Diabetes
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Severe menopausal symptoms
  • Middleage weight gain
  • A loss of physical function and independence
For the study, South Korean researchers used the medical records of roughly 2,400 postmenopausal women who were then prompted to fill out questionnaires about their frequency and quantity of alcohol use to assess any signs of problem drinking. For example, they were asked whether they drank alcohol in the morning, had any guilt or concern about their drinking habits or experienced any known alcohol-related injuries. 

Not surprisingly, women who were at risk for alcohol problems also had a higher risk for sarcopenia. In fact, heavy drinkers were more than four times more likely than those in the low-risk group to have sarcopenia.

The good news: Muscle deterioration can be stopped, slowed and even reversed – and, of course, making a commitment to get (and stay) sober is a great first step. Doing your best to lead a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise and a well-rounded diet that includes lean proteins and good-for-you fats will help, too.

Ask About Our Alcohol Abuse Treatment for Women 
Rising Roads Recovery is dedicated to helping women who are struggling with alcohol use disorder and/or a co-occurring mental disorder. Our treatment center was created to inspire women to thrive in recovery. To learn more, call today: 866-746-1558.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

It's National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

It’s National Eating Disorders Awareness Week, February 26 through March 4, and this year’s theme is “Let’s Get Real.” Myths and misconceptions about eating disorders can lead to fewer diagnoses, treatment options and pathways. To help set the record straight, the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) gets real about many common myths:  
  • Myth: Eating disorders are a choice. Patients don’t choose to have an eating disorder. They are bio-psycho-social diseases, which means that genetic, biological, environmental, and social elements all play a role. What’s more, eating disorders commonly co-occur with other mental health conditions like major depression, anxiety, social phobia and obsessive-compulsive disorder. Substance abuse and eating disorders frequently co-occur, with up to 50% of individuals with eating disorders who abuse alcohol or illicit drugs, according to the NEDA.
  • Myth: Eating disorders aren’t that serious. Eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any psychiatric illness and they also come with a slew of health consequences, including heart attack, kidney failure, osteoporosis, electrolyte imbalance and emotional distress. 
  • Myth: Eating disorders only happen during adolescence. Eating disorders are often associated with straight, young, white females, but in reality, they affect people from all demographics. In fact, there’s been a rise in the rates of eating disorders and body dissatisfaction among middle-aged women, notes the NEDA.

8 Signs of Eating Disorders
Could you or someone you love have an eating disorder? The NEDA suggests watching out for the following warning sings: 
• Preoccupation with weight, food, calories, dieting, and/or body image. 
• Development of abnormal, secretive, extreme, or ritualized food or eating habits. 
• Withdrawal from usual friends and activities. 
• Evidence of binge eating, such as the disappearance of a large amount of food. 
• Evidence of purging behaviors, including frequent trips to the bathroom after meals, self-induced vomiting, periods of fasting, or laxative, diet pill, or diuretic abuse. 
• Compulsive or excessive exercising. 
• Discoloration or staining of the teeth. 
• Feelings of isolation, depression, anxiety, or irritability.

Ask About Our Psychiatric Consultations
At Rising Roads, our staff is here to help you take your physical and mental health back. To learn more, call us today: 866-746-1558.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Learning to Love Your Sober Self

There’s no better time to start taking steps to love your new sober self than on Valentine’s Day. 

Whether you’re struggling with feelings of uncertainty or guilt over past deeds, today is the perfect day to begin forgiving yourself and to start moving ahead as you learn to make better, brighter choices in life. 

Devote a few minutes today to showing yourself a little appreciation – you deserve it! A few small gestures can help you build your confidence and learn to love the new sober you! 

Do something that feels good. Nurturing your body is one of the best ways to achieve self love –whether you do some yoga, whip up a superfood-charged snack or just soak in a bubble bath. And don’t forget to nurture your mind, too. Carve out a few moments today to meditate, listen to an interesting podcast or do a crossword puzzle.

Create an enjoy-life calendar. Start today and schedule into each day this week some small thing you would enjoy doing – and make it happen. Some ideas: 
  • Give yourself a pedicure or facial.
  • Call your sister or best friend.
  • Sit down and color or sketch.
  • Try a new recipe.
  • Begin reading a best-seller or self-help book. 
  • Soak up the sun for 15 minutes.
  • Start a new hobby.
Plan your future. Spend some time today setting some future goals (small and big) for yourself. This will give you something to look forward to in your new sober life. Just remember to make them S.M.A.R.T. (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound).

Celebrate a small win. Take a minute today to pat yourself on the back for any recovery milestones or victories that you’ve recently achieved. Write them down and keep them in a mason jar or shoe box so you can reference them on those days that you need some extra encouragement.  

A Sanctuary to Find Self-Love
At Rising Roads, we have crafted an environment that will make each woman feel great about her surroundings, which will help her feel great about herself. To learn more about our programs and facility, call today: 866-746-1558.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Do You Have a Drinking Problem? Questions to Ask Yourself

More than five million women in the U.S. drink "in a way that threatens their health, safety and general well-being," according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Heavy drinking can lead to a host of health complications for females, including liver disease, brain disease, cancer and heart disease. And these effects tend to occur more quickly and last longer in women. What’s more, chronic drinking can put your family, job, relationships and finances at risk. 

If you ever find yourself wondering if you have a drinking problem, you might want to start by answering some of these questions outlined in a recent Women’s Health article. Try your best to be honest, and if you find yourself nodding, question after question, make an appointment with your healthcare professional. 

Here’s a promise: Getting help for alcohol abuse is one decision you’ll never regret. 
  • Does your social life revolve around alcohol? Losing interests in hobbies or people you once socialized with because you’re preoccupied with drinking or finding the next drink is a common sign of alcoholism.  
  • How much do you drink? The rule for women, according to the NIAAA, is no more than three drinks in a sitting and no more than seven per week. But even if you don’t exceed that amount, it doesn’t necessarily mean you don’t have a problem. Alcoholism is a progressive disease, so be on the look out for any upward trends – drinking more or longer than intended, for instance -- notes Women’s Health
  • If you wanted to stop drinking, cold turkey, could you? Ask yourself how many times you’ve really tried to cut back or stop, and failed. 
  • What’s your intention when you drink? “If you need alcohol to survive the day or to function, or if you feel physically compelled to drink, it would be a smart move to start exploring help,” licensed mental health counselor and registered dietitian Anna Ciulla, RD, told Women’s Health. 
  • Has a friend or family member expressed concern? If your mom, sister, friend, spouse or partner expresses concern, listen. Along the same lines, if you notice yourself making excuses for your drinking — “I only drink expensive wine” — it’s time to get help. 
To further assess whether you could have alcohol use disorder, here are a few more questions to ask yourself, notes the NIAAA: 

Have you:
  • Spent a lot of time drinking? Or being sick or getting over the aftereffects?
  • Experienced craving — a strong need, or urge, to drink?
  • Found that drinking — or being sick from drinking — often interfered with taking care of your home or family? Or caused job troubles? Or school problems?
  • Continued to drink even though it was causing trouble with your family or friends?
  • More than once gotten into situations while or after drinking that increased your chances of getting hurt (such as driving, swimming, using machinery, walking in a dangerous area, or having unsafe sex)?
  • Continued to drink even though it was making you feel depressed or anxious or adding to another health problem? Or after having had a memory blackout?
  • Found that when the effects of alcohol were wearing off, you had withdrawal symptoms, such as trouble sleeping, shakiness, irritability, anxiety, depression, restlessness, nausea or sweating? Or sensed things that were not there?
Alcohol Abuse Help for Women
Making the decision to seek help for your own addiction, or helping a loved one to decide to seek help for alcohol abuse, may be the biggest and most important choice of your life. Let us lead the way. To learn more about our rehab services for women, call today: 866-746-1558. 

Thursday, February 1, 2018

Most Women Don't Know Heart Disease Risk

February is American Heart Month – do you know if you’re at risk for heart disease? Well, given that heart disease is the third greatest health problem facing U.S. women – behind mental health and cancer – it certainly can’t hurt to know for sure. 

High cholesterol, diabetes and obesity can all lead to heart disease and stroke. And yet six in 10 women are unaware of their cholesterol numbers, blood sugar levels or body mass index, according to recent poll of more than 1,000 U.S. women.

Ninety percent of the women surveyed said they consider heart-related conditions a serious issue, and more than 37 percent say they have a heart-related condition, such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol, or a history of stroke.

And while awareness among women has increased in past decades, “there is still room for significant improvement,” Dr. Sharon C. Reimold, a cardiologist at UT Southwestern in Dallas, said in a statement.  

“We need to understand more about the attitudes of women toward heart health so they can be proactive in addressing their own personal risks as well as those of their families,” she said.

In honor of American Heart Month, take the time to get your numbers checked. The MinuteClinic, the retail medical clinic of CVS Health, will offer no-cost screenings every Wednesday in February at locations nationwide.

Substance Abuse and Heart Health
Doing cocaine just once could strain your heart, leading to high blood pressure, stiffer arteries and thicker heart muscles. And, in the first hour of smoking pot, a person’s risk of having a heart attack is nearly five times that of non-smokers. Alcohol takes a toll on your ticker, too. In fact, even without traditional cardiovascular risk factors, people are disproportionately prone to cardiac diseases in the setting of alcohol abuse, says researchers. This is especially true for women, who are more susceptible to alcohol-related heart disease than men. 

Get Help – Your Heart Will Thank You!
The best way to protect your heart is to commit to sobriety. And we can help! Reach out today to learn about our recovery services for women. Call: 866-746-1558.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

How Drug Addiction Impacts Your Body

According to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, substance abuse can contribute to more than 70 conditions that require medical treatment. And women are often at greater risk, as their bodies retain chemicals for longer periods of time. 

Here is a look at a few of the major organs impacted by abusing drugs and alcohol. 

Your brain:
  • Memory loss
  • Low IQ
  • Sleep problems
  • Learning difficulties
  • Cognitive problems 
  • Brain damage
Your eyes: 
  • Dilation
  • Hallucinations
  • Conjunctival lesions
  • Corneal ulcers
  • Talc retinopathy
  • Permanent vision loss
Your teeth: 
  • Cavities
  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth loss
  • Gingivitis
  • Periodontitis (gum disease)
  • “Meth mouth”
  • Oral cancer
Your heart: 
  • Rapid or irregular heart beats (arrhythmia) 
  • Sudden increase in blood pressure
  • Endocarditis (inflammation of the heart lining)
  • Dilated cardiomyopathy (enlarged heart)
  • Vascular thrombosis (clots in the coronary arteries
  • Collapsed veins
  • Bacterial infections of the blood vessels and heart valves
Your liver:
  • Drug-induced liver injury (DILI)
  • Drug-induced hepatitis
  • Liver damage
  • Liver failure
Your kidneys:
  • Lesions on the kidneys
  • Rhabdomyolysis
  • Kidney cancer
  • Kidney failure
  • Irregular hormone levels
Your stomach:
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Bowel tissue decay
  • Acid reflux
  • Constipation
  • Ulcers
  • Damage to the digestive system
Your reproduction:
  • Changes in menstrual cycle
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Infertility
Your emotions: 
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Psychosis
Stopping the Side Effects of Addiction
The best way to combat the physical and emotional health consequences of substance abuse disorder is early intervention. Don’t wait. If you or someone you love has a drug problem, Rising Roads can help you get the help you need today. Call: 866-746-1558. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Study: Alcohol-Related ER Visits Soar, Especially Among Women

Between 2006 and 2014, the rate of visits to the ER for alcohol-related issues increased by nearly 50 percent – especially among females and middle-aged drinkers, according to a new study conducted by researchers at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

“In just nine years, the number of people transported to the ED [emergency departments] annually for medical emergencies caused or exacerbated by alcohol increased from about 3 million to 5 million,” said NIAAA Director George F. Koob, PhD, in a statement. 

“These findings are indicative of the detrimental effects that acute and chronic alcohol misuse have on public health, and the significant burden they place on our healthcare system.”

What’s behind the dramatic increase in alcohol-related ER visits? The study authors say it remains a mystery, in part because the same nine-year period showed a mere 2 percent increase in per capita alcohol consumption and only an 8 percent increase in overall ER visits.

"The lowest hanging fruit in terms of hypotheses is that there must be an increase in risky drinking in some people," study author and neuroscientist Aaron White told

Perhaps the most concerning part of the study was that the increase of chronic alcohol misuse-related visits, such as alcohol withdrawal and alcohol-related cirrhosis of the liver, was primarily driven by females (6.9 percent versus 4.5 percent in men, annually). 

“Recent studies suggest that the drinking habits of females and males are becoming more similar in the United States,” said White. “The larger increase in the rate of ED visits among females compared to males provides further evidence of narrowing gender gaps in alcohol use and related harms. This trend is concerning given that females appear to be more susceptible to some of the detrimental health effects of alcohol.” This includes liver damage, heart disease and breast cancer.

According to the NIAAA, women face higher risks than men because:
  • Women typically start to have alcohol-related problems at lower drinking levels than men
  • Women typically weigh less than men
  • Pound for pound, women have less water in their bodies than men do, and alcohol resides predominantly in body water
Alcohol Abuse Treatment for Women 
Rising Roads Recovery is dedicated to helping women who are struggling with alcohol use disorder and/or a co-occurring mental disorder. Our treatment center was created to inspire women to thrive in recovery. To learn more, call today: 866-746-1558.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Street Drugs and Pregnancy: What You Need to Know

Did you know that roughly one in 20 women – or 5 percent – take street drugs during pregnancy? And, according to a recent California-based study, marijuana use among moms-to-be climbed from 4.2% to 7.1% from 2009 through 2016. 

Whether pot, cocaine, heroin or ecstasy, street drugs and pregnancy just don’t mix — and can cause devastating (even fatal) effects before, during, and after pregnancy for you and your baby-to-be. This is because many substances pass easily through the placenta, so the drugs you take during pregnancy, to some degree, reach the baby. In fact, when a baby is exposed to drugs in the womb before birth, he or she can experience severe drug withdrawal immediately or up to 14 days after birth.

Complications caused by street drugs don’t just end after childbirth. Drug addiction can also lead to mental health issues and severely impair your ability to parent. In turn, as the child grows older, his or her physical, mental and emotional development will suffer. 

Risks of Substance Abuse During Pregnancy
Many women who use street drugs may use more than one drug and also have other unhealthy behaviors, like smoking and drinking alcohol, according to the March of Dimes. This makes it a bit tricky to pinpoint exactly how each drug affects pregnancy. Still, there are plenty of adverse health effects linked to these risky behaviors, including: 
  • Infertility
  • Problems with the placenta
  • Preterm labor
  • Miscarriage
  • Stillbirth
  • Premature birth 
  • Low birth weight
  • Smaller-than-normal head size (called reduced head circumference)
  • Heart defects
  • Birth defects
  • Infections, including hepatitis C, HIV (the virus that causes AIDS) and Zika
  • Neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS)
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) 
Addiction Treatment for Moms-to-Be
Pregnancy is the perfect opportunity to take charge of your health and change any patterns of alcohol and/or substance use. At Rising Roads, we understand the unique challenges of women and our female staff can help you start on a healing path toward lasting sobriety. To learn more, call us today: 866-746-1558.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Special Report on Women's Wellness

What does wellness mean to women and what wellness challenges do women face the most? The consumer health website Everyday Health set out to answer these questions and more with a first-of-its-kind survey entitled “Special Report on Women’s Wellness 2017.” The report, which analyzed results from 3,000 women, ages 25 to 65, across a geographic, economic and cultural spectrum, is divided into 11 sections including:  
  • The Stress of Anxiety
  • Harassment Reckoning 
  • Sexual Health and STDs 
  • Sleep
  • Millennial
  • Finances 
  • Work-Life Balance 
  • Body Image and BMI
  • Wellness Predictors
Some of the survey findings include:
  • 50 percent of women reported that stress and anxiety tops their list of wellness challenges.
  • 67 percent of women said they were more likely to stress out or get anxious, compared with 33 percent who said they were more likely to meditate or calm themselves.
  • 81% of women are not getting a good night's sleep on a weekly basis.
  • One third of the respondents, across all age groups, are more afraid of loneliness than a cancer diagnosis.
  • 50 percent feel "loved, cherished, supported or special to someone else."
  • 50 percent laugh out loud weekly, if not daily.
  • 1 out of every 2 respondents worry about the health and wellness of someone else on a daily basis.
  • Nearly 75% of women surveyed claim body and self-image negatively affect their wellness.
  • 69% of women identify financial security as one of the top values that matter most to their overall wellness, with 1 in 2 worrying about their finances weekly.
  • 7 out of 10 women would prefer to be known for their brains over their bodies.
  • 75 percent of survey respondents say they put caring for themselves last
The hope is that these results shed light on how to make women feel empowered and inspired to live their best lives and achieve their highest level of wellness. To this end, along with the results, Everyday Health gathered reactions and tips from more than a dozen health experts. 

One area of particular concern, according to the experts, was selflessness. "It's second nature for women to put everyone else ahead of [us], but when we do that, our own health suffers, Laura Berman, PhD, a world-renowned sex and relationship educator and therapist, popular TV, radio, and internet host, a New York Times bestselling author, and an assistant clinical professor of ob-gyn and psychiatry at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University in Chicago, told Everyday Health.

We can't be our best selves if we are tired, cranky, and miserable. Self-care is our responsibility and our right as human beings.

Take Back Your Health
At Rising Roads our staff is here to help women put their physical and mental health first. To learn more about our psychiatric consultations and addiction treatment programs and offerings, call us today: 866-746-1558.