Month: August 2017

Coping Skills. Know Them, Use Them, Enjoy them

Trauma

What do drugs, exercise, deep breathing, overeating, journaling and chocolate cake all have in common?

These are all examples of coping skills, albeit they are not all healthy coping skills (I do not condone some of those), but none the less they are all utilized by people as coping skills. What are coping skills you may be thinking, I am glad you asked!

A coworker at a behavioral health hospital once told me the difference between us (the staff) and the patients was one critical element, our coping skills.

 

A coping skill is essentially a method an individual employs to affectively minimize, control and handle stressful situations (or triggers, see more information on those here). You utilize coping skills without even realizing it, but to truly hone in on our coping skills enables us to have strategies to control our behavioral and psychological reactions to events. As my Mother likes to say, “it is not what happens to you that matters, it is how you react to it”.

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Triggered. What this word really means for millions of people

Trauma

Social media comments and memes criticize and ridicule others by saying “triggered” and laugh it off as emotional weakness. This word has become a meme in itself and is often said with a tone of sarcasm. Yet, the concept of psychological triggers is not only very real; it is an integral part of treatment plans and recovery. As a patient, one is often asked to identify their triggers and their coping skills. As a provider, one can better assess why a patient reacts the way they do by isolating their triggers.

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A slave to Opioids and its Comorbidity with Behavioral Health

Addiction

 

Recently, you may have noticed President Trump identified opioid addiction as a national emergency. Tales of young men and women dying of overdose, destroyed families and disheveled faces wrought with the pain of addiction are thrown around your monitors. Perhaps you know someone who has battled the beast of opioid addiction or maybe you know this beast all too well.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of death involving an overdose of opioids has shown an upwards trend over the past few years with no signs of that slowing down. Additionally, approximately 20% of all overdose related deaths are unable to pinpoint a specific drug (CDC, 2017). In my years of interacting with drug addicts, it is common to see the comorbidity of drug abuse alongside a behavioral health diagnosis such as depression, bipolar, anxiety or a range of other debilitating conditions.  What often began as self medicating to feel “normal” turns into an all-consuming drug addiction where normal simply means numb, not puking and running away from the root cause.

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