Category: Counseling Blog

Identifying the Stages of Addiction

People do not become addicts overnight. Instead there are four specific stages that result in the disease. Understanding the signs that occur when someone becomes addicted helps you understand, cope and, hopefully, assist the individual. The more you know about substance abuse issues, the more likely you will be successful in communicating with the addict and getting him/her into a recovery program.

Identifying the Stages of Addiction

Experimentation is the first stage of the process by which someone becomes addicted to a legal or illicit substance. You might notice that your friend or family member stays out later, socializes with new people and is not forthcoming with details of his nights out. Many times there are no noticeable signs of a developing addiction, and, for many people, this experimentation does not result in abuse.

Regular use of a mind-altering substance marks the second stage of addiction. This consistent use begins to show itself in patterns as it becomes ritualized. At this point, your loved one might engage in risky behavior such as driving while under the influence of a substance. He often reacts irritably, becomes less dependable and make some poor decisions.

When the person reaches the third stage of addiction, he continues to use/abuse despite serious ramifications. His regular use increases to the point that he is unable to function well in society. He might be arrested in connection to his substance use/abuse (for impaired driving or possession). This is the stage in which close personal relationships dissolve, loss of employment often occurs and abusers result to extreme means to obtain their drug of choice.

In the fourth and final stage, physical addiction is apparent with the user experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not able to obtain the drug in a specific time period. The addict continues to compulsively use despite continued and worsening ramifications of that use. Significant changes have occurred in the user’s brain and body. Attempts to abstain completely from the drug can result in death due to chemical dependency. Comprehensive medical treatment is necessary at this time for the addict to successfully recover. Contact us to discover helpful therapy and counseling programs in the Greater Dallas area.

How Mental Health and Depression Affect Your Immune System

When you are focusing on your immune system, you may think they only factors are diet and exercise. Though these can be huge factors in how your immune system handles issues in the body, they are not the only things to change. You also need to focus on your mental and emotional health as well. If you do not see the connection these two aspects have to your immune system, consider the following ways that your mental health can affect you.

How Mental Health and Depression Affect Your Immune System

Anxiety Symptoms

One of the leading ways that mental health can affect your immune system is through anxiety symptoms. The symptoms of anxiety, such as fatigue, can lead your body to mimic the symptoms of a cold or flu. That sends your immune system into overdrive. This means that it is focusing on what it believes to be a cold or flu instead of other issues in the body. When a real issue occurs, the immune system is broken down from focusing on the false cold that your body is triggering due to anxiety.

Inflammation

When you have mental health issues from depression and anxiety, you may start to notice issues such as body fatigue. This body fatigue can lead to issues of inflammation and swelling in your muscles and joints. This is usually due to the body becoming tired and then reacting by not wanting to move as much or just feeling drained. The inflammation can lead directly to your immune system trying to counteract the inflammation and pain caused by that inflammation. This overload on your immune system as it tries to counteract the inflammation can cause the system to be fatigued and reduced in effectiveness.

Sleep Issues

When you have mental health issues, you may find yourself sleeping a lot. This is likely due to depression and the effect that depression has on your body. Even though you are sleeping a lot, you may still feel tired. This is because the sleep you are getting is not deep sleep and is therefore not restful. Your body is not getting the rejuvenation it normally would from sleep. That means your digestive system, immune system, and other systems of your body are not resting either. When it does come time for your immune system it will be to fatigued to do any good, thus leading to increased illness.

Constant Tension

Mental health issues such as anxiety and tension can lead to having your body tense all the time. This leads to migraines, tension headaches, lack of sleep, and the feeling of aches and pains throughout the day. As you start having multiple symptoms from the constant tension, your body will try to react. This reduces the effectiveness of your immune system and overall makes illness more likely.

These are only a few of the ways that your mental health can have a direct affect on your physical health and directly to your immune system. By taking on some daily habits focused on giving you better mental health, you can counteract the issues with your immune system and help it to function in a more stable manner. Contact us today to learn more!

Couples in Crisis and Christ

You start a relationship with love and optimism flowing abundantly through your veins. It is alive and well in your spirit as you exchange your wedding vows. You feel untouchable by tragedy or crisis. So long as you have one another, you can conquer anything. What a beautiful moment in life this is.

Couples in Crisis and Christ

However, life rolls on and things happen. One of you loses a job or addiction takes up residence in your home. Perhaps someone has been unfaithful or there’s been the loss of a child. Regardless of the details of how you arrived, you find yourselves plummeted into despair, grief and crisis. Suddenly, that euphoric perfect memory of the day you said your vows seems foreign and distant. You want to quit. You want to walk away because the pain is too great or the struggle too difficult. In this moment of fight or flight, you have a choice. You can choose to succumb to the negative despair or; you can choose to unify and set a course to overcome your adversity together.

Crisis, no matter how it looks, is an immense opportunity for personal and mutual growth together. Overcoming a crisis requires self discovery, willingness, hard work and an attitude of perseverance for both you and your spouse. Many take heart in knowing that they are not alone. As Christians, we are not guaranteed an easy path. In fact, the Bible tells us otherwise. John 16:33 tells us: “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world”.

There is comfort knowing that Christ has already conquered all of it! Allow this passage to fill you with reassurance and confidence that we can overcome whatever life has thrown our way, in Him. Sometimes we need some extra help in bearing the burden, that’s why we are here to help. As a resource in times of trouble, please do not hesitate to contact us today.

The Process of Blended Families

You take fruit and add some ice cubes, perhaps a little sugar and yogurt and proceed to annihilate these individual items into a smooth and delicious concoction. While the finished product is wonderful and satisfying, the actual blending process can be violent. It requires each individual ingredient be decimated, in order to become part of a cohesive item.

The Process of Blended Families

The same is said for blending families together. It is an arduous task with several players whose roles have all changed. Mom has become not only mom to her own children, but also step-mom to new little people. Step siblings are now learning to coexist with each other. Then, there are the exes. Every individual person in the equation is at a different time and place in their personal growth and now expected to acclimate to the new consistency of their lives.

Some are reluctant to change and revolt causing friction in the newly formed family unit. At times, two different parenting styles collide and outbursts of “you’re not my real mom” or “I don’t have to listen to you”; erupt as a result. These statements can arouse bitterness, anger and hurt feelings. And while everyone’s feelings are valid, it is a tough road to walk on your own.

Remember to give yourselves time to grow together as a family. The old proverbial saying that ‘Rome was not built in a day’, rings true in this situation. Remember that everyone is adjusting. Be patient with one another. Be loving to one another.

If you find yourself and your newly blended family, facing troubles, do not give up! There is hope. Just remember, there are no perfect people or perfect solutions and you are not alone. We are here to help!

Contact us today to set up an appointment.

Anxiety Counseling for Adults, Adolescents, and Children

Anxiety is a term used to cover a good number of disorders, including Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, and several others. Recent studies have shown that anxiety is the leading mental health issue in North America, affecting nearly a third of the adult population — in conservative estimates. Many people let their anxiety go undiagnosed, untreated, and unknown. Many don’t realize what anxiety is, assuming that living with fears of the irrational, unknown, and social interaction on a daily basis is normal. This is where anxiety counseling could bring hope.

Anxiety Counseling for Adults, Adolescents, and Children

Oftentimes, as it is with many mental health issues, anxiety disorders are undetectable from the outside, and many people won’t speak of it. In the culture of today’s world, when everything from politics to daily life is hotly disputed and argued over, anxieties flourish, and will continue to do so until something turns the tide. Many people turn to alcoholism, recreational drug usage, and other unhealthy coping mechanisms in an attempt to control it — but only 10% of those affected by anxiety will seek or receive treatment for this condition.

Family Restoration Counseling Services can help you change the tide of anxiety in your life. With counseling for children through adults, our trained counselors will help you work through fears, anxieties, and worries. Equipped with progressive, healthy coping methods and avenues for healing, we give our time and attention to you as an individual, not another number on the chart. Your complete confidence can be placed in our confidentiality and care.

To learn more about our counseling services and the help we can provide, contact our counselors to begin the process of finding your own healing.

Quick Anxiety Release

Anxiety is becoming more and more of a household word these days. That is largely because the condition is increasingly common for people from all walks of life and across all age groups. One of the most common things people will recommend for someone having anxiety, from family and friends to doctors, is to breathe slowly and deeply. What happens if the person experiencing anxiety isn’t able to do this? In fact that scenario is quite common.

Quick Anxiety Release

When a person is experiencing anxiety they often don’t have much control over their breathing pattern. There is hope though, and we are here to help. In the meantime if you are experiencing anxiety here is a quick and easy trick. The yogic tradition calls it breath of fire or skull polishing breath. In this breathing exercise you focus only on the exhalation. It is particularly effective when someone is experiencing anxiety because it helps to release some of the pent-up anxious energy that one might be carrying with them.

To start you can either sit on your shins or stand. So, find a comfortable place to sit on your shins or stand. Open your mouth slightly and exhale quickly and powerfully while you pull your belly in. As if you were trying to blow out a particularly stubborn candle. Don’t think about the inhalation, that will happen naturally. Do this repeatedly for about 20 exhalations, stop and take a couple of slow normal breaths, then repeat. Once you have done a second set try to take a couple of slow deep breaths through the nose. You will likely find that you are able to do that now that you have release some of the anxiety.

How can I help, when I don’t understand?

When you’re in a marriage, you work as a unit.  But what happens when the unit isn’t functioning like it should?  Depression can cause friction between married couples.  When your spouse is depressed you may feel like you have failed them.  If you have never dealt with depression yourself, then you might not understand the feelings your spouse is going through.  But don’t worry, the professionals at Family Restoration Counseling Services can help you both.

How can I help, when I don’t understand?

If your spouse is depressed, there are a few things they need to know from you:

  • Your spouse needs to know that you are there for them regardless of how dark things might get.
  • They need to know that you are on their side and you function as a team.
  • Your spouse needs to know that there is nothing they cannot tell you.
  • They need to know that your home is a judgment-free zone.
  • They need to know they are loved for exactly who they are.

You as the spouse need to know:

  • You as the spouse need to know that sometimes there is no particular reason for the depression that they’re in.
  • You as the spouse need to know that it’s not something they can “snap out of”
  • You as the spouse need to know that it’s not about you. They might say things that are hurtful, but they don’t mean to hurt you. And usually feel guilty afterward
  • You as the spouse need to know that your significant other might feel like a burden and they do not want to worry you with their feelings of depression.

Keep in mind, things that seem simple to you might feel overwhelming for them.  Confrontation can make them shut down.  And if things don’t make sense, then that’s ok.  Work together as a team and allow Family Restoration Counseling Services to help your spouse regain their life and maximize your marriage.  Don’t wait to live your life together, contact us today.

Addiction Recovery: Fighting Family Denial

“She ate something that made her sick,” rationalizes the mother of an alcoholic. “He just went a little overboard,” says an uncle about his passed out nephew. It is not uncommon to hear parents and loved ones attempt to justify an addict’s damaging behaviors. From an outsider’s perspective, these reactions seem counterproductive. However, for a family that deeply loves their struggling brother or aunt, facing the reality of an addiction can be emotionally overwhelming.

Addiction Recovery: Fighting Family Denial

The mixture of feelings families may feel toward their afflicted loved one can lead to family denial. Families might feel resentful while protective, hurt but loyal, afraid but heroic. These emotions contrast and confuse; denial unconsciously becomes the solution, or perhaps more accurately, a coping mechanism.

Next to this bundle of emotions, denial can also mitigate the financial worries that come with helping a loved one. By remaining in a state of denial, the family is free from the time-consuming and costly burden of seeking medical treatment for their family member. Additionally, denial protects the family from the social burden of having “an addict” in the family. It may be a form of saving the family’s reputation.

As you can see, denial is a powerful mechanism that inhibits healing. To enter into the recovery mindset, family denial must first be dismantled. Like a thick vine hurting a tree, denial blocks growth.

4 Strategies for Pushing Through Family Denial

1. Facts. Write down facts connected to the addiction. Once the gravity of the addiction is documented and organized it is much easier to see the problem clearly. We may be able to compartmentalize or ignore memories of recent arrests, but on paper, the arrests become unbiased and factual, showing the problem in a more logical light.

2. Communication. Be open and curious about the “alleged addiction.” It’s easy to fall into denial when you don’t ask questions. Simple questions like, “What took you so long in there?” or “Why are you so sleepy?” can help disable denial for both the family and the addict. This helps the addict see his/her impact on his/her environment. His/her behavior is not unnoticed. Also, being curious can shed light on the depth of the addiction.

3. Respect. By respecting each other, a family can strengthen their sense of trust and closeness. Once trust is established, the road to recovery is less painful. Avoid judgmental thinking; focus on understanding and kindness. It is important that a family not associate addiction with shame, otherwise both the family and the addict are less likely to face the addiction.

4. Learn. Families must prioritize knowledge and strategy rather than emotions like fear or resentment. By recognizing that knowledge instead of denial enables improvement, family members can become empowered and more likely to succeed at reaching or encouraging recovery.

Denial blurs reality; it makes accurate diagnosis or recovery impossible. The first step to healing is noticing the wound. Getting through family denial is crucial for recovery. Do you have questions? Feel free to contact us for help.

Help for Coping with Grief and Loss

Coping with loss is an unfortunate part of life that sadly most people will encounter at some point. If you have lost a loved one, don’t suffer alone. Seek professional help. Losing a loved one is life changing and learning how to proceed after a loss is naturally overwhelming. There are a few things that you can do for yourself at this difficult time.

Help for Coping with Grief and Loss

First, seek counseling even if this is your first time. It is helpful to talk about your feelings with someone who understands the stages of the grieving process. Be open to the idea of therapy.

Second, keep in mind that we all grieve at a different pace and in different ways. Some people stay strong for a long time and experience immense sorrow later in the process. Others are overcome with emotion right away. No matter how you feel, be kind to yourself. Do not put pressure on your self to rush through the grieving process.

Third, establish a new normal for yourself. This will take place gradually and with the help of a counselor. You will make new routines and traditions. There will be tough times ahead.

Although you are suffering, you are not alone. Grieving is complex and can be scary at times. At other times it can seem like you will never find peace. Counseling helps to clarify the stages of grief and make them understandable and consequently more bearable.

For more information or to schedule an appointment please contact us today. We are here to help you cope with your loss.

Marital Infidelity Is A Sign of Underlining Problems

Marital infidelity is perhaps the worst thing that can happen in a marriage, with the exception of the death or serious illness of a child or either spouse. The risks of entering into an affair are significant, both on an emotional level and in other ways. The breakup of a marriage as a result of an affair can be damaging on a number of levels.

Marital Infidelity Is A Sign of Underlining Problems

According to an article in Psychology Today, most people enter into extramarital affairs because they are dissatisfied with their marriage. They are not getting enough sex or emotional support. Some are curious for new experiences, or they want revenge for something the other spouse did to them. In a way, an extramarital affair is an attempt to self-treat something that is wrong in the marriage.

However, while many marriages do survive an affair, many don’t. The act involves lying and betrayal that often are too serious to forgive. Apparently, the worst move one can make if one is feeling dissatisfied is cheating.

Apparently, the best reaction to dissatisfaction is attempting to communicate with the other spouse and see if the issues can be resolved. Often the services of a professional counselor, someone trained in helping couples to get their marriages back on track, will be of great benefit. Seeing a therapist is a signal that you are serious about salvaging your marriage and that you love and respect your spouse enough not to take the path of marital infidelity. Taking that first step can restore happiness and romance to your relationship.

For more information contact us.