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The Physical Effects of Depression on Your Body

Posted on: March 19th, 2018 by Serenity Malibu Rehab No Comments

The Physical Effects of Depression on Your Body

When people think of depression they associate the issue mainly with feelings of sadness and pain. While the emotional aspects of depression can be very severe, it is an illness that affects the whole person including their physical body. The changes that an individual experiences as their depression increases can affect everything from their brain to their heart and immune system.

If a person doesn’t get treatment for their depression they are likely to see physical changes in themselves and over time this can even lead to a higher risk of developing physical conditions. It is common for people to have physical symptoms with their depression but they may not realize that it is connected to a mental health issue. An individual’s emotional and physical health are closely related and without psychological recovery, all aspects of a person’s well being can suffer.

Symptoms of Depression in the Body

Depression can cause changes in the way the brain functions which in turn can have an effect on the body. People with depression might complain of a number of physical ailments that may manifest themselves periodically. Their physical symptoms can be just as uncomfortable and unpleasant as their feelings of sadness and hopelessness.

These are some of the common physical problems associated with depression:

  • Headaches or migraines
  • Achiness and soreness
  • Chronic fatigue and a general lack of energy
  • Muscle aches or joint pain
  • Back pain
  • Decreased appetite and dramatic weight loss as a result
  • Increase appetite along with noticeable weight gain
  • Insomnia or oversleeping
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Digestive problems such as nausea or constipation
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness

People with depression can often experience multiple physical ailments or their physical symptoms may change in different periods of time. They may have physical symptoms on their own or have them when they are also dealing with intense feelings of sadness, guilt or anxiety. They may not realize at first that their physical pain is directly caused by and closely related to a mental illness.

Why Depression Affects the Body

What causes a mental and emotional problem to affect the body physically? Depression is a mental illness that is associated with changes in the brain and abnormal functioning of neurotransmitters like serotonin. Levels of serotonin which regulates mood can also have a direct effect on things like sleep, sex drive and appetite.

Serotonin can also affect a person’s threshold for pain so that a depressed person with low levels of serotonin may be more sensitive to pain. They may be more prone to physical aches and things like back pain or they may be more aware of these sensations. Inability to sleep or decreased appetite can also negatively affect the body causing headaches, nausea and other physical symptoms.

Another reason physical ailments are related to depression has to do with how a person’s emotional state can determine their behavior. Their thoughts may be so negative or they may feel so depressed that they are not able to take care themselves. As a result they may neglect to eat right or sleep enough which can create a cycle of sadness and physical pain.

Treating Physical Symptoms of Depression

In order to minimize the physical problems that can result from depression it is helpful to address issues with the brain. Antidepressant medication can help equalize chemicals in the brain so that nerve cell networks can communicate and work more efficiently. Some medications such as Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors or SSRIs help to create more serotonin in the brain so that a person can have a more stable mood.

Antidepressants can also help people with chronic pain and improve appetite problems by making chemical changes in the brain. People with anxiety or insomnia may need other supplemental medications to help them sleep or allow them to feel more calm. A psychiatrist can help determine what combination of medication will be most effective to treat specific symptoms.

In addition to medication, it is crucial to receive psychotherapy from a professional counselor. Talking about emotional issues can help people with depression process their feelings which they may be having trouble expressing to others. Working through emotional issues in therapy can help prevent those problems from manifesting themselves in physical ways.

Getting treatment for depression can minimize the physical symptoms of depression so that the patient can avoid the risks of physical conditions caused by lack of sleep, improper nutrition or other issues. Early intervention is crucial to help reduce physical issues and prevent emotional symptoms from growing in severity.

If you or someone you love is experiencing either physical or mental symptoms of depression then contact a local treatment center or therapist. They can provide information about how to create a treatment plan that can reduce symptoms and improve overall health and wellbeing.

Sobriety and Spirituality

Posted on: March 10th, 2018 by Serenity Malibu Rehab No Comments

Sobriety and Spirituality

Recovering from an addiction can be difficult both emotionally and physically especially if you have had a substance abuse problem for a long time. There are numerous aspects of a person’s health that must be addressed if they are attempting to learn how to live permanently sober. Recovery means focusing not only on mental and physical health but also spiritual wellness.

Spirituality can be a crucial aspect of addiction treatment because it is a part of a person’s sense of purpose and meaning in life. Being healthy in all areas of your life means being in touch with your spiritual side and feeling that you have a place in the world. If someone feels that life is meaningless and they have no spiritual side then they are more likely to revert back to their old behavior.

The important thing to understand about addressing your spirituality in recovery is that it does not necessarily have to be tied to any particular religion. People normally associate spiritual practices with things like Christianity or going to church but every person can find their own spiritual journey. People in recovery can choose organized religion if it is attractive to them but it not a requirement in order to be spiritual.

What is Spirituality?

In twelve step programs, people are asked to recognize a higher power that exists above us. That does not necessarily need to be God in the traditional sense but simply a power that is beyond oneself. This is a way for people with addictions to look outside of their own problems and feel a greater connection to life and the spiritual world.

Spirituality is essentially a personal search for meaning and connection between all things. It does not need to follow an existing path laid out in religious texts but it can be something you can create for yourself. A person’s individual experience can influence their concept of spirituality and it can help them gain their own perspective on life.

People need spirituality because without it, it can be hard to connect with more than just yourself. Spiritual beliefs help us feel connected to everyone and everything in the universe. Most spiritual practices whether based on organized religion or not, are grounded in love and compassion.

Addiction and Spiritual Issues

One of the reasons spirituality is so important for sobriety is that addiction can take away our ability to be spiritual. It can make people feel self-centered, disconnected and focused on their own pleasure or avoidance of pain. The isolation that people experience while they are addicted can drain them of their spiritual feelings of connection to others.

People who are addicted to a substance find that their sole purpose throughout every day is to continue using. It becomes such an intense focus that there is no room to explore their own inner life, beliefs and ability to connect. An addict can also find it hard to grow and change in a way that helps them develop spiritually because their routine is centered around obtaining and using drugs.

Another aspect of addiction that can take away from spiritual life is that inability to maintain close relationships. Connecting with others is a crucial part of human existence and is essential for our spiritual life. Addicts often lose relationships, distance themselves from the people in their lives and as a result find it hard to connect with anyone besides themselves and their drug use.

Creating a Spiritual Practice

In order to remain sober, an addict in recovery must start to develop or reconnect with their own spirituality that may have been damaged. They can begin to explore new kinds of spiritual beliefs, ideas or their own feelings about spirituality that they discover. There are many different ways to be spiritual and being about to find what works for you can take time.

As people in recovery explore different spiritual beliefs they should begin to develop their own spiritual practice that will keep them grounded and connected. A spiritual practice can be as simple as a short meditation every day or writing in a journal about spiritual thoughts. It means taking some time out of the day to tap into your spiritual life and reflect on your connection to everything around you.

Being spiritual can make the experience of recovery and life in general much more meaningful. If you feel disconnected from the reasons why you choose to be sober, a spiritual practice can help you reconnect with your sense of purpose. Practices such as gratitude meditation can be extremely beneficial throughout recovery to keep you on track.

If you are receiving treatment for addiction, make sure to talk to your therapist or other type of mentor about spirituality and how you can get involved in a spiritual practice to stay sober.

Clean and Serene: 5 Habits for a Healthier Lifestyle

Posted on: February 20th, 2018 by Serenity Malibu Rehab No Comments

Clean and Serene: 5 Habits for a Healthier Lifestyle

Health can be a positive and uplifting thing to focus on and living a healthy lifestyle does not have to be difficult to accomplish. Sometimes people lose sight of their health and get into harmful behaviors without realizing the toll that it takes on their mind and their body. A healthy lifestyle can transform your life and make you feel happier and more stable while also preventing many illnesses.

These are some important habits to focus on if you want to live a healthier lifestyle

1. Avoid cigarettes, alcohol and drugs

Most people intuitively know that these substances are harmful to their health. Cigarettes, alcohol and other drugs contain toxins that harm the body and also affect mental health. And worst of all these substances are addictive and can cause numerous problems in your personal life.

If you are interested in living a healthier lifestyle the first step would be to quit or dramatically minimize the use of toxic and addictive substances. Quitting can be challenging but ultimately you will feel better mentally and physically without them. You can’t live a clean and healthy life with these substances in your body.

2. Focus on Nutrition

What you eat can be a major factor in your overall health because foods can either be harmful or healing. When you think about the food you eat, it can be helpful to focus on foods that are going to provide you with the nutrients you need. Food is fuel and you need plenty of vitamins, fiber, carbohydrates and protein for your body to operate at its best.

The foods that provide the most nutrients that your body needs are fruits and vegetables, lean protein, whole grains, legumes and healthy plant-based fats. Avoid any foods that are high in sugar or saturated fat because these can be damaging to your body. Although it can be difficult to eat perfectly all the time, making sure you get the nutrients your body needs can help you improve your health.

3. Stay as Active as Possible

Many people live sedentary lifestyles because of their job or a busy schedule but our bodies need to be active in order to be healthy. Sitting most of the day can wreak havoc on your health so try to schedule as much activity as possible into your routine. This could be as simply as going for a walk or biking to work so that you get some exercise in.

Ideally you will want to incorporate some cardio, strengthening and flexibility exercises into your schedule to maintain optimal health. Things like jogging, yoga, hiking, swimming and biking are all great exercises that can keep you healthy. Try to find an activity that you really enjoy so that exercising feels less like a chore and something you can actually look forward to.

4. Reduce Stress and Get Plenty of Sleep

Many people don’t realize the impact that stress can have on both our physical and mental health. Taking some time out of the day to practice a stress reduction technique such as meditation, yoga, deep breathing or mindfulness can have a very positive impact on your health. Stress can build up every day so make sure to find ways to reduce stress that seem to work for you.

Minimizing stress can also help improve your sleep which is another important aspect of your health. Many people are cutting back on sleep in order to get more done during the day but this can catch up with you eventually and lead to major health issues. Make sure to get at least eight hours of sleep every night and maintain a regular sleeping schedule that doesn’t change too dramatically.

5. Maintain Relationships

One aspect of health that people often forget is that we need close relationships in order to feel grounded, peaceful and centered. Maintaining and strengthening your relationships is one of the most important aspects of good mental health. Make sure to stay connected with close friends, relatives, your partner and your coworkers so that you don’t feel isolated and stressed out.

Talking to friends, laughing with them and sharing your personal feelings can relieve a lot of tension and prevent the kind of negative emotions that can affect your health. If there is any conflict in your relationships, try to find a way to resolve those issues so that you experience more harmony in your life. Having a support system of people around you can help reinforce your healthy habits and make it easier to stay positive.

Although living a healthier lifestyle can seem like a big change for some people, taking it one step at a time can make it more manageable. Focus on one aspect of your health at a time so that you can achieve your goals and keep expanding your healthy habits.

Getting Up and Trying Again: How to Get Back on the Road to Sobriety

Posted on: February 16th, 2018 by Serenity Malibu Rehab No Comments

Getting Up and Trying Again: How to Get Back on the Road to Sobriety

In a perfect world, everyone who tried to quit an addiction would never slip back into their old habits. However, addiction is a disease that can stay with a person the rest of their life even if they think they have beaten it. Relapse is a reality that many people have to deal with but it doesn’t mean that sobriety isn’t possible for them.

If you have tried to quit in the past but started to get involved in substance abuse again then you are probably dealing with a lot of different emotions. People who relapse often feel ashamed, disappointed in themselves and less hopeful that they can ever be permanently sober. These feelings are normal and you can work through them as you start the process of getting back on track.

The important thing to remember is that even though you may have faltered it doesn’t mean that you can’t live a sober life in the future. It also doesn’t mean that you should learn to drink or use drugs moderately instead of being completely sober. The only thing you can do is start over again and get back into the routine of support groups, sober living and treatment if necessary.

Going Back to Meetings

It your choice whether you feel you want to enter a treatment center again or simply start going back to twelve step meetings. In most cases, it depends on the severity and length of the relapse. If you have been drinking or using drugs again for several years then attending treatment again might be a good option to start over with recovery.

For those that feel their relapse did not lead them to completely revert back to their old lifestyle, going to meetings every day, talking to loved ones and attending therapy sessions can be helpful in getting back on track. It is crucial to be completely honest with everyone about your relapse and avoiding hiding details that you might be ashamed about. If you are candid about the situation you have more opportunity to learn from the experience and get useful advice from others.

As you attend meetings daily make sure to talk with people who are on the right track with their sobriety and use them as an example. You can always ask what habits they use to stay sober and what they do when they are struggling with temptation. Although your relapse may feel like a failure, it is actually a chance to learn more about strategies for being sober and expand your knowledge.

While you are learning about sobriety from others think about what aspects of your habits contributed to you relapsing. What mistakes did you make in the past? Did you fail to set up an adequate support system or not make use of a sponsor?

Don’t dwell on the mistakes you made in the past but choose to learn from them so that you don’t repeat them in the future. Understanding what caused you to relapse and really analyzing what happened can help prevent it from happening again. Take the chance to really study what your triggers are and develop some new and better strategies for dealing with them.

Forgiving Yourself and Moving Forward

After you take the time to understand why you relapsed and what you need to change in the future you can work on forgiving yourself for what happened. People often feel a deep sense of shame and failure that can stay with them for some time after they relapsed. You should know that relapse is just something that happens to many people on the road to recovery even if they put in their best effort to be sober.

Recovery is simply a learning process and there are bound to be missteps and mistakes as you learn how to adapt to life as a sober person. Don’t beat yourself up about relapsing and accept that you are a human being and therefore are imperfect like everyone else. Have compassion on yourself and the situation you are in so that you don’t bring yourself down with negative feelings.

The positive thing about moving forward after a relapse is that you already have at least some experience being sober. You already understand the basic routine and simply need to make some adjustments so that you can maintain your sobriety. Try to simplify your life again and focus on the foundations of sobriety that you learned while you were in rehab.

Even though relapse can be a learning experience it is important not to dwell too much on the past and just try to move forward as much as possible. Think about the future and what you want to accomplish as a sober person. Make sure to surround yourself with support and focus on your daily goals so that you can keep moving forward on the road to sobriety.

5 Ways to Support Your Friend in Recovery

Posted on: February 13th, 2018 by Serenity Malibu Rehab No Comments

5 Ways to Support Your Friend in Recovery

People in recovery need an extensive support network of friends, mentors, peers and family members to keep them on track with their sobriety. If your friend is entering rehab or has recently completed treatment then they will need lots of compassion and understanding throughout the process of learning to live sober. It can be confusing for friends who don’t know what to do or how to handle their friend’s recovery.

Here are 5 ways that you can be supportive of someone who has recently become sober:

1. Be Accepting and Avoid Judgement

If you have never had an addiction yourself then you might not fully understand all the shame, guilt and pain that this person is going through. If they make mistakes or are struggling in the beginning, try your best to reserve any judgement. They might be extra sensitive to criticism or negativity so make sure that you are positive and uplifting as much as possible.

The important thing is to show them that you accept their decision to quit and don’t judge     their past issues with addiction. People in recovery don’t want to feel alienated or different from you and your group of friends. If you express love and understanding for their situation then they will feel much more comfortable in their sobriety.

2. Be a Good Listener

People in recovery are going through a lot of ups and downs and need someone there to talk to. If you can be a friend that they can rely on to call when they are going through a tough time then it will be a big help to them. Just listening to their problems and offering a sympathetic ear is a great way to stay supportive.

As they are learning how to handle their sobriety it can be helpful to make yourself as available as possible. Having someone available to help them can be a major factor in preventing relapse. As long as you actively listen, avoid judgement and let them work through their issues you can be a great friend to them.

3. Encourage Healthy Habits and Create a Sober Environment

If you yourself still drink or occasionally use drugs, try not to discuss these things or have bottles and paraphernalia around when they are in your home. Never bring your friend to a bar or a party that involves a lot of drinking. Although eventually they will be able to handle being in those environments, it is best for them to be in a substance-free environment in the early stages of recovery.

Make sure to encourage your friend to maintain their healthy habits by eating healthy meals with them or cooking together. You can go to the gym together, play sports or do something active that will keep their mind off of their problems. Think of fun activities you can do together that don’t involve alcohol and can help you stay connected and healthy.

4. Join a Support Group

It is likely that your friend is attending regular support group meetings where they can interact with other addicts and talk about their issues. There are also support groups that cater to the friends and loved ones of people in recovery so that they can talk to others and learn more about how to handle the situation. Support groups are a way to connect with others experiencing similar problems and gain helpful knowledge and advice so that you are better equipped to help your loved one.

There may be aspects of having a friend in recovery that can be stressful or difficult to deal with because it takes an emotional toll on you. Going to a support group gives you an opportunity to talk about these difficulties to people that understand and are going through many of the same feelings. You can meet other people and make friends that can help you with your role as the supporter of the addict.

5. Educate Yourself about Relapse Warning Signs

Even when friends and loved ones do everything they can to help someone in recovery, the reality is that addiction is a complicated disease. Relapse is a possibility that you must be prepared for in case you need to be available to help your friend. The more you learn about relapse the more you will be able to be of service to them if they should reach a point of crisis.

Make sure that you are familiar with all the warning signs associated with a relapse or an imminent relapse. You should also learn what actions you need to take in order to minimize the damage and get them back on track. Relapse can be devastating but it does not mean that they have to give up on being sober.

As you help your friend with their recovery, keep in mind that being supportive of their efforts and just being there for them can be the most beneficial way to help them stay sober.

Serenity Malibu rehab is a luxury addiction treatment center located in beautiful Malibu, California.
(424) 835-6094
6021 GALAHAD DR Malibu, CA 90265 US
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