So much of my work, whether in individual counseling with clients or directing the day-to-day programming of their clinical experience in rehab, has been about the business of helping people in recovery improve their mental health.
More than a decade of work in the field of addiction treatment has reinforced, for me, that taking care of your mental health is a critical component in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. It is one of the most important factors in achieving long-term sobriety and living a happy and fulfilling life in the process.
What Is Mental Health?
But if mental health is so important to recovery, what is it really? Mental health refers to the state of our emotional, psychological and social make-up — the interrelated thoughts, feelings and behaviors that heavily influence our life choices and experiences, the way we handle stress and our relationships with others.
In this sense taking care of our mental health is a whole lot more complex than other forms of physical hygiene that are good for us, like washing hands before meals or taking a daily multi-vitamin. Here are some pointers for how to take care of your mental health when you’re in recovery. Continue reading Attending to Your Mental Health During Addiction Recovery
As a counselor, I am usually the one who asks the questions. I often joke that I get paid for each question I ask. That’s why I ask so many good questions.
Recently a client asked me a perplexingly simple question I didn’t have an answer for.
My client previously discussed how she believes her family is “dysfunctional.” We then talked about the word, it felt like a psycho babble cuss-word. That is, when you are mad at someone, you call them dysfunctional. The word has taken on many meanings in our culture, including someone who is:
- Unable to handle life
- Poor at relationships and intimacy
- Being an emotional mess
- Not normal
- Not like the rest of us
As a therapist I confront this concept every time it comes up in conversation. It is a word that creates a wasteland of comparison, judgment, shame, and the conclusion that we are a messed up, abnormal person. Continue reading Therapy and Becoming the Person You Want to Be
I have worked as a counselor for more than 25 years. For 11 of those years I have worked as an Addiction Therapist. I teach on the Psychology of Addiction, but my experience is not only from my day job or my academic role.
I have had bouts of addiction to food and I have been diagnosed with clinical depression. Growing up, my father was an alcoholic. The impact of a childhood lived with a parent who is addicted to a substance can have long lasting echoes.
Addiction is personal for me. I care a great deal about people who suffer from addiction and long for freedom. What I would like to share with you is some of the lessons I have learned as a therapist who specializes in addiction and recovery. Continue reading 11 Lessons for Success in Addiction Recovery
Guest Blog by Dr. Helen Nasser / Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the National Institute of Health
Drinking a glass of scotch or eating a piece of cake — these are the types of behaviors many of us take enjoyment in. The vast majority indulge in these behaviors on occasion. For some of us, these behaviors become more than casual indulgences and can develop into alcoholism or overeating.
Continue reading Addiction: Why do some people become addicted, while others do not?