1. Denial in Addicts

    June 10, 2013

    denial in addicts

    by Shellee-Kim Gold

    Denial is a state of mind which blocks crucial parts of ourselves from being made aware and analyzed by our conscious processes.

    Although denial is a problem that affects the human condition the world over, denial in addicts is particularly troublesome.

    Denial defined: A defense mechanism

    Denial acts as a defence mechanism, designed to protect us emotionally.  It is the subconscious mind’s way of erecting a barrier to protect us so we don’t feel the pain of things as they are. As a result, we choose not to be honest with ourselves; and, consequently, with others, including those we love the most.

    Yet, we put ourselves through this because we believe we can perform better and keep functioning as normal in our daily lives.

    Don’t get it wrong; denial is not your friend. In fact, denial is your most lethal enemy. It is the number one way in which you can prevent your successful recovery from addiction, regardless of whether you’re already in recovery or have yet to get there.

    Types of denial and the tell-tale signs

    According to the American Psychiatric Association, the first step on the road to recovery is recognition, but the process is but is complicated by denial.

    There are several types and stages of denial that will come up during an addict’s journey to recovery. Making excuses to justify behaviour (to both yourself and others) and self-deception are the hallmarks of addiction denial.

    If you haven’t yet acknowledged you need help, you have likely used some of the following common patterns of denial:

    • You convince yourself you’re cured when you’ve done nothing or little to resolve your problems.
    • You tell yourself your problems aren’t your fault, and blame other people, such as your boss or partner. Thus, you are able to justify your problems and comes up with reasons why you don’t have to deal with them.
    • You constantly compare yourself to others whom you perceive as having worse problems than you. In that way you can convince yourself that you don’t have a ‘serious’ problem.
    • You mentally manipulate others, and feel triumphant when you’ve convinced them of your lies about your addiction; even though a part of you is screaming for help.

    Just because you’ve dealt with the preliminary forms of denial and may be in a treatment programme or are even post-treatment, don’t fall into the trap of becoming smug! Denial can insidiously sneak back into your life when you aren’t paying attention. Be extra vigilant and watch out for the following symptoms of denial and relapse:

    • Arrogance. Holding to the belief ‘it will never happen to me – again’ is an issue. Anyone can slip back into addiction at any time.
    • Even though the person you’re having a relationship with may not be an addict, negative aspects of this union result in you veering off-track from your recovery.
    • Allowing yourself to be sucked back into socializing with old using or boozing buddies. Choose your friends carefully.

    Helpful Tools

    Will power alone will not help in keeping you sober. Here are some tools you can use to stay clean:

    • Practice of daily self-awareness, which will have a positive influence on all other areas of your life.
    • Observe others.  If there are more than a couple of people in your life who share the same thoughts regarding you and your destructive patterns of behaviour, chances are they’re right. Use their perspective to see yourself through different eyes.
    • Keep connected to other recovering alcoholics and drug addicts; they provide essential support.

    Recognising and acknowledging denial is crucial to successfully managing and overcoming addiction. Denial’s opposite is acceptance. Before you can accept yourself, however, you need to understand who you are. Make that a priority and you may find that staying clean becomes that much simpler.

    Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/jessica_digiacomo/5311147795

  2. Different Types Of Anxiety Disorders

    April 17, 2013

    anxiety disorders

    by Tsvetan Petrov

    Everyone feels anxiety at certain point in their life. It’s completely natural to feel anxiety in challenging or dangerous times. That can come when a person is just feeling uncomfortable or in real threatening danger. Spending too much time in that state of anxiety can mean that there is an underlying disorder. Different things can cause these anxiety disorders and each one has their one particular effects.

     Anxiety Disorders – Most Common

    Generalized Anxiety Disorder

    A person that consistently feels anxiety when there is no practical reason to remain in that state might have a generalized anxiety disorder. When a person with this disorder is asked why they’re feeling that way, they won’t be able to answer clearly. The typical bout will take around 6 months. It’s particularly common in women. The anxiety doesn’t go away and continues to eat away at the people suffering from generalized anxiety disorders. That can lead to a number of medical concerns like insomnia, heart palpitations, dizziness, and headaches.


    People with a phobia don’t have consistent anxiety without a trigger. They typically have a very specific trigger for their anxiety. They develop an overbearing fear of something or some situation. That fear can be something close to reasonable or something completely unnecessary depending on the severity. Whenever that fear begins to kick in, the person suffering may experience strong feelings of fear. That includes trouble breathing, heart palpitations, nausea, and shaking. Some of the most popular phobia’s that people have are blood, small areas, animals, and heights. Phobia’s can lead people to make poor decisions in an attempt to escape a high anxiety situation.

    Panic disorder

    People suffering from Panic disorders or agoraphobia will unexpectedly suffer from massive bouts of anxiety called panic attacks. They’ll often include chest pain, dizzy spells, fear, shaking, and discomfort with being alone. Many panic attacks are completely irrational and sufferers often even know that is the case. Often people will go out of their way to not be alone or in a public situation for that reason. Panic attacks can be minor or severe enough that someone may cause self harm.

    Social Anxiety

    Social anxiety is a phobia of social situations. People suffering from social phobia will often suffer symptoms like a panic attack when they’re exposed to public situations. They may become dizzy, shake, feel short of breath, and they may even have heart palpitations. This social anxiety can occur with strangers or close friends. It’s often most severe when the person becomes the center of attention of the group.

    OCD – Obsessive-compulsive Disorder

    OCD is an anxiety disorder that is caused by an obsessive feeling or thought. They often will manage their own anxiety by doing repetitive tasks that don’t allow anxiety to slip in throughout the day. One common example is someone that is OCD about cleanliness. They can feel anxiety at the sight of a little bit of a problem. That will lead to the person cleaning and reordering continuously without any logical end in sight.

    Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

    When a person suffers through a particularly damaging event in their life, they may end up suffering from recurring bouts of that anxiety and stress. That is Post-traumatic stress disorder. It can often be caused by a simple similarity between the damaging event and what is happening (familiar object or person.) The person may suddenly fall back into reliving the events that they suffered through. This can lead to panic attacks, loss of control, and crying. Often people suffering will have less obvious symptoms like avoidance of certain situations and trouble sleeping. Post traumatic stress disorder can start instantly after the event or it can start decades later.

    Anxiety disorders need to be understood to be treated effectively in a healthy way. Many of the methods used to work with an anxiety disorder, not only control the symptoms, but also aim to strengthen the natural mechanisms. A person must be diagnosed and treated accordingly to eliminate the anxiety that they feel.

    Image Credit: Daniel Horacio Agostini

  3. Living Your Life To Its Fullest – Feeding Your Wild Side, Living Your Dreams

    February 2, 2013

    Live your dreams What have you always wanted to do but thought “I could never do that”? In your wildest dreams what would it be?

    Sky diving…skinny dipping…mountain climbing…?

    What would it take for you to actually DO it?

    Be dared…get drunk…?

    What if you just decided to do it? What would that look like? Many people who are diagnosed with Cancer start to live their dreams after they were diagnosed. Living your dreams puts you in a positive vibration which allows you to attract more positive things to you. It is the Law of Attraction: What you think about comes to you.

    Now, you can’t have any of those nasty negative thoughts or self-talk sneak in there, it all has to be positive. The best way to keep the vibration is to imagine that you already have it.

    Remember using your imagination when you were a kid? Well, dig it up again if it has been a long time since you have used it.

    Have you ever thought “what if you died with the music still in you”? Think for a minute with your eyes closed. If you had 4 weeks to live, how would you plan your day…your nights…your weekends…? Who would you be talking with? Where would you go?

    Here are some things to think about to get in touch with your wild side:

    • Make a list of things you always thought about doing. Prioritize it without picking up the pen (The crazier the better)
    • Add to it who you might do it with if applicable
    • Check your bank account and holdings. Don’t bite off more than you can chew
    • Surf the web for groups/associations doing what is on your list
    • Contact your friends and tell them your interests. Find a buddy to do it with or not!
    • Set a date on your calendar to call the contact person or travel agent. Write it in your planner and assign a time to do it – then call!
    • Reward yourself with something fabulous for taking the risk. Write about it in your journal

    Think what kind of wonderful contribution you will have to your family, colleagues, community, and the world when you get in touch with who you really are.

    Start attracting what you really want. Live your wildest dreams. Dare to be the real YOU!