10 Anxious Behaviors That May Actually Be Trauma Responses | Psychology Today

7. Constantly apologizing, even for things that aren’t your fault.
— Read on www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/invisible-bruises/202205/10-anxious-behaviors-may-actually-be-trauma-responses

Alcohol Consumption During A Pandemic

Written By Granite Recovery Centers
Clinically Reviewed By Cheryl Smith MS, MLADC

During times of stress, people often reach for alcohol. A substance long-relied upon for social relief, celebratory occasions, and for pleasure, it is also used as an escape mechanism, or to cope with difficult times, tiring days, or distressing situations. The latter scenarios are played out in all pockets of society—from mothers clamoring for their ‘wine-thirty’ after a long day with their kids, Wall Street financiers hitting the bar after work for whiskey sours, college students partying nonstop after finals week, to union workers gathering at a pub for beers after their shift is done. This socially accepted, popular way to unwind releases inhibitions and temporarily abates worry and anxiety from the day, week, month, or year. In cases of extreme use, these drinking patterns increase and evolve in severity, and problems begin to crop up. This is recognized as Alcohol Use Disorder, which wreaks havoc in the drinker’s life and for everyone around them.

So, naturally, in a year like 2020, faced with the blistering reality of the COVID-19 global pandemic, people are reaching for the bottle more often than not. There is considerable fear of the unknowns surrounding the virus, and it is a time unlike anything we have ever experienced. We don’t know when or if things will ever return to normal.

In order to better understand the dangers posed from indulging in a ‘quarantini,’ or recognizing trouble curtailing alcohol intake, we broke down why people are drinking so much right now, why it could lead to consequences, and what you can do if you or a loved one can’t stop.

During times of stress, people often reach for alcohol. A substance long-relied upon for social relief, celebratory occasions, and for pleasure, it is also used as an escape mechanism, or to cope with difficult times, tiring days, or distressing situations. The latter scenarios are played out in all pockets of society—from mothers clamoring for their ‘wine-thirty’ after a long day with their kids, Wall Street financiers hitting the bar after work for whiskey sours, college students partying nonstop after finals week, to union workers gathering at a pub for beers after their shift is done. This socially accepted, popular way to unwind releases inhibitions and temporarily abates worry and anxiety from the day, week, month, or year. In cases of extreme use, these drinking patterns increase and evolve in severity, and problems begin to crop up. This is recognized as Alcohol Use Disorder, which wreaks havoc in the drinker’s life and for everyone around them.

So, naturally, in a year like 2020, faced with the blistering reality of the COVID-19 global pandemic, people are reaching for the bottle more often than not. There is considerable fear of the unknowns surrounding the virus, and it is a time unlike anything we have ever experienced. We don’t know when or if things will ever return to normal.

In order to better understand the dangers posed from indulging in a ‘quarantini,’ or recognizing trouble curtailing alcohol intake, we broke down why people are drinking so much right now, why it could lead to consequences, and what you can do if you or a loved one can’t stop.

Please click here: Alcohol Consumption During Pandemic to read the complete article.

What to Know About Binge Drinking

By James Gamache

Jim is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) and Licensed Masters Level Addictions Counselor (MLADC). He has been working in the field of mental health/addiction treatment since 1995. Jim earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Services from Springfield College in 2000, and a Masters Degree in Social Work from Boston University in 2002. In 2002 Jim was hired by the Mental Health Center of Greater Manchester holding the position of Clinical Case Manager. From 2004-2019, Jim was employed at WestBridge Inc. During his time at WestBridge, Jim held the following positions; Clinician, Team Leader, Director, & Chief Operations Officer. In 2019 Jim transitioned employment to GateHouse Treatment Center as the Clinical Director for 10 months. In October of 2020 Jim transitioned to Granite Recovery Centers and is currently serving as the Senior VP of Clinical Services and Quality Assurance.

Alcohol has been around since ancient times. Its use has been traced back 10,000 years, when it was first consumed for its psychoactive effects. Today, it fuels a billion-dollar industry and is socially accepted almost globally, having become a major part of human recreation and consumption. 

While many things about this drug have changed in the last 10,000 years (like flavoring, alcohol content, and most definitely the packaging), some things about it remain the same. It is still a mind-altering substance, can affect the brain both long-term and short-term, and can be addictive. When consumed too often, in copious amounts, and recklessly, it can severely alter a person’s life, and the lives of those around them. 

One of the dangerous forms of alcohol use is binge drinking, which is drinking a large amount in a brief period. If a person makes this a habit, this pattern of abuse can eventually result in a serious addiction. 

Please click here: Alcohol Abuse and Binge Drinking to read the complete article.

Depression Treatment That Shows Results in About 5 Days!

‘It Saved My Life’: Depression Treatment Is Turning Lives Around in Five Days

By Lesley McClurg

After 40 years of fighting debilitating depression, Emma was on the brink.

“I was suicidal,” said Emma, a 59-year-old Bay Area resident. KQED is not using her full name because of the stigma of mental illness. “I was going to die.”

Over the years, Emma sat through hours of talk therapy and tried countless anti-depression medications “to have a semblance of normalcy.” And yet she was consumed by relentless fatigue, insomnia and chronic nausea.

Depression is the world’s leading cause of disability, partly because treatment options often result in numerous side effects or patients do not respond at all. And there are many people who never seek treatment because mental illness can carry heavy stigma and discrimination. Studies show untreated depression can lead to suicidal ideation.’This study not only showed some of the best remission rates we’ve ever seen in depression, but also managed to do that in people who had already failed multiple other treatments.’Shan Siddiqi, a Harvard psychiatrist

Three years ago, Emma’s psychiatrist urged her to enroll in a study at Stanford University School of Medicine designed for people who had run out of options. When she arrived, scientists took an MRI scan to determine the best possible location to deliver electrical pulses to her brain. Then for 10 hours a day for five consecutive days, Emma sat in a chair while a magnetic field stimulated her brain.

At the end of the first day, an unfamiliar calm settled over Emma. Even when her partner picked her up to drive home, she stayed relaxed. “I’m usually hysterical,” she said. “All the time I’m grabbing things. I’m yelling, you know, ‘Did you see those lights?’ And while I rode home that first night I just looked out the window and I enjoyed the ride.”

The remedy was a new type of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) called “Stanford neuromodulation therapy.” By adding imaging technology to the treatment and upping the dose of rTMS, scientists have developed an approach that’s more effective and works more than eight times faster than the current approved treatment.

A man wearing a business suit holds a thin metal object over a woman's head who is seated in an office.
Nolan Williams demonstrates the magnetic brain stimulation therapy he and his colleagues developed, on Deirdre Lehman, a participant in a previous study of the treatment. (Steve Fisch)

A coil on top of Emma’s head created a magnetic field that sent electric pulses through her skull to tickle the surface of her brain. She says it felt like a woodpecker tapped on her skull every 15 seconds. The electrical current is directed at the prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain that plans, dreams and controls our emotions.

“It’s an area thought to be underactive in depression,” said Nolan Williams, a psychiatrist and rTMS researcher at Stanford. “We send a signal for the system to not only turn on, but to stay on and remember to stay on.”

Nolan says pumping up the prefrontal cortex helps turn down other areas of the brain that stimulate fear and anxiety. That’s the basic premise of rTMS: Electrical impulses are used to balance out erratic brain activity. As a result, people feel less depressed and more in control. All of this holds true in the new treatment — it just works faster.

A recent randomized control trial, published in The American Journal of Psychiatry, shows astounding results are possible in five days or less. Almost 80% of patients crossed into remission — meaning they were symptom-free within days. This is compared to about 13% of people who received the placebo treatment. Patients did not report any serious side effects. The most common complaint was a light headache.

Stanford’s new delivery system may even outperform electroconvulsive therapy, which is the most popular form of brain stimulation for depression, but it requires both general anesthesia and a full medical team.

“This study not only showed some of the best remission rates we’ve ever seen in depression,” said Shan Siddiqi, a Harvard psychiatrist not connected to the study, “but also managed to do that in people who had already failed multiple other treatments.”

Siddiqi also said the study’s small sample size, which is only 29 patients, is not cause for concern.

“Often, a clinical trial will be terminated early [according to pre-specified criteria] because the treatment is so effective that it would be unethical to continue giving people placebo,” said Siddiqi. “That’s what happened here. They’d originally planned to recruit a much larger sample, but the interim analysis was definitive.”

Mark George, a psychiatrist and neurologist at the Medical University of South Carolina, agrees. He points to other similarly sized trials for depression treatments like ketamine, a version of which is now FDA-approved.

He says the new rTMS approach could be a game changer because it’s both more precise and faster. George pioneered an rTMS treatment that was approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration for depression in 2008. Studies show that: It produces a near total loss of symptoms in about a third of patients; another third feel somewhat better; and another third do not respond at all. But the main problem with the original treatment is that it takes six weeks, which is a long time for a patient in the midst of a crisis.’I wake up now and I want to come to work, whereas before I’d rather stick a sharp stick in my eye.’Tommy Van Brocklin, civil engineer

“This study shows that you can speed it all up and that you can add treatments in a given day and it works,” said George.

The shorter treatment will increase access for a lot of people who cannot get six weeks off work or cover child care for that long.

“The more exciting applications, however, are due to the rapidity,” said George. “These people [the patients] got unsuicidal and undepressed within a week. Those patients are just clogging up our emergency rooms, our psych hospitals. And we really don’t have good treatments for acute suicidality.”

After 45 years of depression and numerous failed attempts to medicate his illness, Tommy Van Brocklin, a civil engineer, says he didn’t see a way out.

“The past couple of years I just started crying a lot,” he said. “I was just a real emotional wreck.”

So last September, Van Brocklin flew across the country from his home in Tennessee to Stanford, where he underwent the new rTMS treatment for a single five-day treatment. Almost immediately he started feeling more optimistic and sleeping longer and deeper.

“I wake up now and I want to come to work, whereas before I’d rather stick a sharp stick in my eye,” said Van Brocklin. “I have not had any depressed days since my treatment.”

He is hopeful the changes stick. More larger studies are needed to verify how long the new rTMS treatment will last.

At least for Emma, the woman who received Stanford’s treatment three years ago in a similar study, the results are holding. She says she still has ups and downs but “it’s an entirely different me dealing with it.”

She says the regimen rewired her from the inside out. “It saved my life, and I’ll be forever grateful,” said Emma, her voice cracking with emotion. “It saved my life.”

Stanford’s neuromodulation therapy could be widely available by the end of next year — that’s when scientists are hoping FDA clearance comes through. Nolan, the lead researcher at Stanford, says he’s optimistic insurance companies will eventually cover the new delivery model because it works faster, so it’s likely more cost-effective than a conventional rTMS regimen. Major insurance companies and Medicare currently cover rTMS, though some plans require patients to demonstrate that they’ve exhausted other treatment options.

The next step is studying how rTMS may improve other mental health disorders like addiction and traumatic brain injury.

“This study is hopefully just the tip of the iceberg,” said Siddiqi. “I think we’re finally on the verge of a paradigm shift in how we think about psychiatric treatment, where we’ll supplement the conventional chemical imbalance and psychological conflict models with a new brain circuit model.” In other words, psychiatrists will use electricity instead of talk therapy and drugs to treat mental health disorders.

Broken Hearts By Jenna Fletcher

When a person has a broken heart, it is important that they take care of themselves. Simply remembering to eat and drink enough throughout the day and talking to others when possible are important steps in taking care of oneself.

Sometimes, however, a broken heart is not healable with self-care. In these instances, a person may wish to speak with a mental health professional.

This article discusses self-care for a broken heart and when to contact a professional for help.

A broken heart occurs when a person experiences loss. Most often, people use this phrase to describe how someone feels after the breakdown of a romantic relationship.

However, this is not the only cause of a broken heart. A person may also experience similar feelings after:

  • the death of a family member
  • a friendship ending
  • the loss of a job or opportunity
  • child loss or infertility
  • the loss of a pet
  • any other loss that affects a person’s emotional well-being

Experiencing these events is very stressful, particularly if the loss happens unexpectedly.

Continue reading “Broken Hearts By Jenna Fletcher”