Monday, January 26, 2015

MARIJUANA ADDICTION AND ITS EFFECTS

Marijuana addiction affects millions of people across the world. Find out more about addiction symptoms and how to quit marijuana if you’re currently using.

Daily or almost daily use of marijuana increased from 5.1 million people in 2005 to 8.1 million people in 2013. But the debate of whether or not marijuana addiction is even possible is still going strong. To further understand why marijuana can actually be addictive, we must take a look at how marijuana affects the body.
What happens when you get high?
The use of marijuana produces pleasurable feelings which include euphoria, relaxation and increased appetite. However, people who smoke or otherwise consume marijuana may also experience negative short term effects. These include anxiety, paranoia, difficulty thinking, impaired memory and poor attention. In addition, cognitive and sensori motor abilities are affected, meaning that driving and other potentially dangerous situations put you at an increased risk of accidents. Other potential side effects from marijuana are as follows:
Possible cancer risks: Laboratory research suggests that marijuana is a carcinogen, and long-term cannabis users have symptoms similar to people who smoke tobacco. However, there is not conclusive evidence of the connection between marijuana use and cancer in humans.
Respiratory health effects: There is considerable evidence that smoking marijuana regularly does adversely affect the respiratory system. Symptoms include chronic bronchitis, coughing, and wheezing. These negative effects on respiratory health may play a role in disease formation, including cancer.
Brain processing slows: There's also evidence that long-term cannabis use produces varying impairment in memory, attention, and the processing of complex information. These effects are more pronounced with longer usage, and may diminish after discontinuing use.
Reproductive health effects: Marijuana usage may also cause ill-effects on the reproductive system of both men and women. In animal studies, consumption of marijuana is linked to lower sperm count and lower testosterone production. In female animal subjects, disruptions to the ovulatory cycle have been found.
Infant risk of exposure to marijuana: In addition, there is evidence to suggest that human children exposed to cannabis in utero may have reduced cognitive functioning including attention span and memory deficits.
In addition to these negative effects, long-term marijuana usage also affects the brain. Studies with animals have found that marijuana affects the reward centers of the brain in much the same way tobacco, alcohol, and cocaine do.
So – Is marijuana addictive? When deciding whether a substance is addictive or not, a number of factors are taken into consideration. Does the substance have psychological and physical effects? Do users find it difficult to discontinue use, and report failed attempts at quitting? Are there withdrawal symptoms when discontinuing use?
Marijuana does fit these criteria, and one major study found that 9% of marijuana users become dependent. Being dependent means that it is difficult for the chronic smoker to function in daily life without using marijuana. This may be due to a combination of physical and psychological dependence. And when a person is driven to get high by this dependence, it can be classified as marijuana addiction.
Who becomes the 9% affected by marijuana addiction?
One of the chief risk factors for any addiction is mental health. Whether you experience mental health problems due to acute stress (stressful job, relationship struggles, etc.) or you have a long-term mental health issue, this puts you at increased risk of addiction for all substances, including marijuana.
Another risk factor is genetics. Studies of twins have shown a link between usage patterns of marijuana or cocaine and genes - which means that if someone in your family suffers from addiction, you may be at an increased risk for marijuana addiction.
But certainly addiction doesn't form without the initial use of a substance. With marijuana, it starts off that smoking a joint may help take the edge off your anxious feelings, or help get your mind off your problems. But getting high is not a solution to any mental health problems, including stress, and may actually make you feel worse. As you spend more time using cannabis, you will spend less time making the changes in your life that will actually make you feel better.
How do I know if I am addicted to marijuana? Consulting a trained clinician is the most definite way to determine whether you have a marijuana addiction, as marijuana addiction symptoms vary for each person. You may also consider the following questions useful in determining whether or not you might be addicted:
1. Do you find it hard to go a day without using marijuana?
2. Do you frequently use marijuana to reduce stress and relax?
3. Do you often use marijuana to get rid of boredom?
4. Do you miss work or school because of your usage?
5. Do you have relationship problems related to your usage?
6. Do you have financial problems related to your usage?
7. Do you have negative health effects related to your usage?
8. Have you tried to discontinue usage, and failed?
9. Do others tell you that you have a problem, and you disagree?
10. When you are not using marijuana, do you spend a lot time thinking about when you will next get high?
If you have answered several of these questions with a ‘yes', you may have a marijuana addiction.
What can I do to quit marijuana?  Marijuana addiction poses particular challenges. Chief among them is the growing social acceptance of marijuana use. As a result, people around you may not understand the extent of your problem. Some people are capable of smoking marijuana regularly without developing dependence.
For those in whom marijuana does form dependence, however, it means that your brain is used to being high. And when you stop smoking, your brain has to adjust to not having the myriad of substances released by cannabis into your system – leading to withdrawal symptoms.
Withdrawal symptoms often include irritability, grumpiness, sleep disturbances, anxiety, and loss of appetite. While not as pronounced as the withdrawal symptoms accompanying acute alcohol or opioid use, they are nonetheless unpleasant and may make quitting difficult. For this reason, many who make the choice to give up marijuana attend an addiction treatment centre.

For best results, you may wish to consider a residential marijuana addiction treatment option. Shafa Home offers holistic, research-based treatments and has helped hundreds of addicts into addiction recovery. Let us know if you or a loved one is struggling with marijuana addiction or any other substance abuse problem.
(These articles are the sole property of “The Cabin Chiang Mai”, they are its original authors.)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

HARM REDUCTION VS ABSTINENCE-BASED RECOVERY

Which is better - harm reduction or abstinence-based recovery? Each have benefits, but one is definitely stronger than the other.

When discussing addiction one thing is certain: addiction is devastating not only to individuals, but also families, communities, and society at large. The havoc that addiction wreaks has reached epidemic proportions, leaving leaders around the world with decisions to make regarding how to combat its negative effects.
In order to be treated and recover from addiction most treatment centres and 12-step programmes such as the original Alcoholics Anonymous, assert that abstinence is essential. But more recently, in order to address the wide reaching and severe consequences of drug addiction, programmes that aim to reduce the harm caused by addiction without encouraging abstinence have been developed.
 Harm reduction approaches are often solely equated with programmes that provide addicts with clean needles and education about safer drug use, which were first introduced as the spread of HIV and AIDS became a major public health concern. Because of this association, harm reduction models are criticised for enabling addicts and seen as a waste of resources that could be spent on rehabilitating those suffering from alcoholism and drug addiction through abstinence-based addiction treatment centres.
A more Comprehensive look at Harm Reduction : While the media highlights programmes such as the safe-injection site and other large scale needle exchange programs, there is much more to harm reduction than programmes developed to combat the spread of HIV. A harm reduction approach to addiction recovery could be said to encompass any strategy that seeks to reduce the damage caused by addiction, less of course, complete abstinence.
The Harm Reduction Therapy Centre in USA, advocates for an approach to counselling and addiction treatment that does not see abstinence as the end goal or only option. HRTC helps clients set small achievable goals in relation to their substance use, often first in the form of moderation. While this approach doesn't deny that abstinence may be the healthiest option for some people, especially for those who are severely dependent, it does acknowledge that addiction falls along a continuum and abstinence may not be possible or desirable for everyone. It seeks to meet people where they are, and allows the client to open the discussion about using substances in a healthier way-- whether that means in moderation or quitting altogether.
Methadone maintenance therapy is a harm reduction technique that has helped many people live more manageable lives and reduces the severe harm that intravenous heroin use causes in all areas of peoples' lives. While still arguably controversial, methadone maintenance has become an acceptable and life-saving form of treatment for some individuals. But, methadone maintenance is not intended to be a lifelong solution, rather a method of harm minimisation that can help individuals later achieve complete abstinence.
Many assert that offering approaches to addiction treatment that are not focused on total abstinence are necessary and positive for the community for the following reasons:
To get more people into treatment. The stigma of labelling oneself as an alcoholic or addict keeps many people from seeking treatment in the first place. Fear is a huge part of addiction, and by offering an alternative to the 12 steps, or an alternative to abstinence only, it is thought that more people may take that first step to get help. Further drug replacement therapies such as methadone maintenance are a manageable first step for many who want to free themselves from a life of addiction.
Prevention. Harm reduction approaches to therapy can help people assess and moderate their drug and alcohol consumption perhaps before they become completely dependent or addicted, which may prevent new cases of addiction. Not only preventing more severe cases of addiction, but preventing the spread of HIV through clean needle programs makes for safer communities.
Addiction as a Disease and Abstinence-Based Recovery: One of the problems with a harm reduction approach, especially in terms of supporting moderation is that addiction is often characterized by a desire yet inability to reduce consumption of drugs. Addiction is a disease that follows a predictable pattern. While moderation may be possible for some people or for a period of time, the nature of addiction makes consuming in moderation an extremely difficult goal, which some suggest is equally as difficult as achieving complete abstinence - yet not as physically or emotionally rewarding.  
Another argument for harm minimisation is that this approach meets people where they are, is less stigmatizing as it accepts people who are not ready to stop using drugs altogether, and provides resources that reduce an addict's negative impact on themselves and society. Harm minimization is also frequently thought of as a budget-friendly option for governments to put in place when they can't afford to send a large percentage of the population into residential rehab to achieve abstinence. However, evidence shows that people do not have to enter alcoholism and drug abuse treatment voluntarily, or be ready for treatment in order to be successful in recovery. In fact if many people attribute non-voluntary abstinence-based treatment to saving their lives, stating they would have likely died from their addiction before they were “ready” to change.
When we look at harm reduction more comprehensively we can see that abstinence-based addiction treatment almost always encompasses some form of harm minimisation techniques, and often harm minimisation programmes, such as methadone maintenance, are meant to be a stepping stone towards total abstinence. Many addiction counsellors incorporate a motivational interviewing approach even within abstinence-based treatment. This stage of change approach is sometimes associated with harm minimisation, but in counselling it is possible to “meet clients where they are,” while still asserting abstinence as a necessary aspect of treatment.

While programs aimed at reducing the spread of HIV and AIDS through promoting “safer” drug use are achieving that worthwhile goal, the quality of life of those suffering from addiction is still failing. At Shafa Home we support complete recovery from addiction, as “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.”  Shafa Home is the best alcohol and drug rehab India has to offer and we believe that recovery can be accomplished through abstinence-based addiction treatment.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Camping up the great outdoors: Trip to Sanajay Van

Shafa  always advocates the idea of residents to get socially reintegrated.  As a resident moves ahead in his treatment and becomes senior; he not only garners privileges based on his accountability but also get ready for reintegration back into society. It helps him practise what he has learnt from treatment; and is a very important phase of the treatment. Away from the safety net of the Shafa  facility; and in the open hostile world; it is a test of true grit and mettle for our resident. In our ongoing series of organising adventure camp to train our residents in survival skills, 19 members from Shafa   went on a camping trip on Sunday, the 18th January to Sanjay Van; a deciduous forest located 25 km away in the backdrop of Qutab Minar.

The chilly Sunday morning, was warmed up as we pulled into ‘Bikanerwala’ for breakfast and relished ‘chhole bhature’ and ‘garam chai’, a specialty of that shop. By the time our team reached Baba Gorakhnath Temple, our starting point, it was 9 ‘o clock. There, our team met the adventure sports enthusiast and the organiser of the camp, Mr. Ron. After a round of cleaning up the locality by picking up all the plastic and other waste material we could find; Ron divided us into two teams with two captains. The teams decided their names, as “Aravali Rangers” and “Bulls”. The first challenge given to us was to reach a spot called “Dreams Rock” on the map within 50 minutes. At this point, both the teams went into Sanjay van via separate directions carrying their necessities.
“Bulls” emerged as the winning team in the first challenge. However, this was not it. The next challenge was to build a shelter on the rock using only bare necessities. Both the teams were elated as they managed to get their tents up, kind of like a mini achievement. Once the tent was up we cooked maggi using just one matchstick, as was the challenge given to us by Ron. Ron guided us on the principle of “Leave No Trace”; meaning that once we have used up the place for fire etc. We were to leave no trace of it behind.Both the teams did a good job this time.
Next activity was to climb a rock blindfolded. This was an activity where building trust on one’s companion was necessary and was the best part of the day. The member climbing the rock could not see a thing and only relied on the directions given to him by his companion. Everyone tried the activity under strict supervision and thankfully nobody was hurt during the challenge. By the time we finished these activities it was lunch time – so we cleared the place, leaving no trace and went to a beautiful spot for lunch. After lunch, we took a small nap and returned to Baba Gorakhnath Temple while listening to soft music on the way.

A final cup of tea with Ron and his associates along with a discussion on what could have been different this time was the perfect ending to our camping experience before calling it a day. Hopefully, Shafa   residents would continue to immerse themselves into a whole new world of Mother Nature!

Monday, January 19, 2015

Back to School: Rise in Abuse of “Study Drugs” Leads to Addiction

As everyone from kindergärtners to college students head back to school for a new semester this year, it is important to bring to light a rising trend: “study drugs”. Of course you won’t see any kindergärtners taking study drugs, but high school students and especially college and university students are at high risk for abusing these drugs.

Dexedrin, Adderall and Ritalin are the most well-known study drugs. For those who aren't familiar with these drugs, they are prescription drugs geared to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and/or attention deficit disorder (ADD). People who suffer from ADD/ADHD, a psychiatric disorder, find it hard to concentrate on one task and get distracted easily. The difference between ADD and ADHD is that the latter shows signs of hyperactivity while the former does not. Regardless, however, one thing all of these people tend to have in common, is difficulty focusing on school work.
Dexedrin,Adderall and Ritalin are stimulants, a type of cognitive enhancer that allows those with ADD/ADHD to focus ‘normally' on tasks at hand, including school work. Since the 1970s however, there has been a lot of discussion about whether or not doctors are too quick to label bored, fidgety children as having ADHD. In India, psychologists have noted that up to 14% of children between 4 and 17 years of age have been diagnosed with ADHD – which means these children have been prescribed medication, usually Adderall or Ritalin. Therefore there are a significant number of youngsters in each level of school who have access to, and take these drugs.
It is unclear as to when the trend picked up popularity, but at one point, students who did not have ADHD/ADD clearly tried the medication and found that it gave them a new energy, an alertness and the capability to power through study sessions or papers easier than before. What helps a student with ADHD study at a regular level is said to help other students study at an above-average level. And when students are feeling under pressure to get good grades, the chances of them trying the drugs rise.
A 2011 study of health students in a university found that over 90% of students who had used these drugs without a prescription did so to “focus and concentrate during studying.”

The problem with this, however, is that these drugs can cause psychiatric and physical dependence – especially in those who have not been diagnosed with ADHD/ADD. Stopping use after a period of frequent using can make the user feel like they don't function properly without the drug. Short-term side effects of the drug include sleeplessness, headaches, irritability and depression. Long-term effects include nervousness and a decreased sex drive.
Not only does this drug abuse cause health problems and potentially addiction, using prescription drugs without a prescription is illegal. If you suspect that someone you know is abusing “study drugs”, pass along this information. Grades are important – but what's more important is your health (and staying out of jail). If you know someone who has an addiction problem, contact a professional for guidance on how to handle the situation properly, and get them the help they need. 

(These articles are the sole property of “The Cabin Chiang Mai”, they are its original authors.)

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

CODEPENDENCY AND ADDICTION: SYMPTOMS AND TREATMENT

Healing from addiction is difficult for every addict, but when codependency and addiction occur together, recovery can be even more difficult. Here, you will learn what codependency is, the relationship between codependency and addiction, and treatment for codependency with and without addiction.
First, let's consider the basics:
What is Codependency? Codependency is a relationship pattern which sees one person putting another's needs before their own. When codependency and addiction occur together, the two behaviours can reinforce one another.
To further explain, we'll say that two people are dating. The first person has an addiction to alcohol. In codependent relationships, this is the “addict.” The second person focuses on the other's needs to the extent that they do not think about their own. This person is known as the “caretaker.” The pattern of behaviour that occurs between the two is known as “codependency.”
Codependent behaviour can extend even further, so that one person is even making significant decisions for the other, telling them what to think, and ultimately limiting their ability to act independently. In this case, codependency and addiction directly contribute to maintain unhealthy behavior.
What causes codependency?

Codependency was first noticed in the 1950s by psychotherapists treating clients with alcoholism. They found that often a spouse or partner helped to maintain the addictive behaviour. As far as individual causes, therapists now consider a range factors which contribute to codependent behaviour. These include chemical imbalances in the brain, childhood experiences, current life situation, addiction history and past relationships.
What are the Symptoms of codependency? People who have codependent behaviours often have the following symptoms:
Low self-esteem due to deeply held feelings of shame, guilt, inadequacy, and a need for perfection.
A need to make other people happy and a difficulty saying “no.”
Difficulty creating healthy boundaries and distinguishing responsibility for actions.
A need to control situations, people, and their own feelings.
Poor communication skills.
Obsessively thinking about other people and their own anxieties and fears.
Their own dependency on other people.
Fear of and issues with intimacy.
Negative and painful emotions such as depression, resentment, and despair.


Codependency and Addiction
Codependency and addiction are often closely related, as codependency was first associated with partners of alcoholics. Today, addiction is still one of the most common associations of codependency. How does this work?
People with a drug or alcohol addiction often have a range of problems stemming from their addiction. These may include:
·         Issues with work and money
·         Problems with other relationships
·         High-risk behaviours
·         Constant need for emotional support.

The codependent partner does what they can to support the addict through all of these trials and tribulations. There may be token gestures to help the addict get clean, but the addictive behaviour is not resolved, and the difficult life circumstances continue.
Indeed, the codependent often helps the addict to engage in harmful behaviours, helps to clean up and cover for them. They may also provide money and other support.
Codependency is not always associated with addiction, but for those who are addicts, there is often a codependent. And, in many cases, the codependent often engages in addictive behaviour themselves. It may happen that people in this situation both engage in codependent behaviour. More frequently, however, one person will have the more severe addiction issues, and the other will support them.
To learn more about the relationship between codependency and addiction, please see this resource.
Treatment for Codependency :
When neither partner has an addiction, treatment usually occurs when a couple is having significant problems maintaining their already challenging relational patterns.
In the case of addiction, treatment often occurs when the addict has some form of crisis and is forced to make major life changes. Such crises may include medical treatment resulting from dependence, legal or criminal proceedings, or instabilities such as relationship and work problems. Frequently, because of the addiction, treatment for codependency occurs at an addiction treatment centre.
In either case, treatment is complicated because the codependent partner does not see the harm their behaviour causes. In fact, they view their actions as helping their partner and do so as an expression of their love. For this reason, it is important to diagnose and treat codependency and addiction together.
The challenge in treatment is to objectively look at the behaviours of the codependent and how they affect the health, happiness, and well-being of their partner in multiple areas of life. These include emotional life, work life, relationships, physical health, and overall well-being.
Treatment is administered as a combination of individual therapy and couples therapy, depending on the needs of the client. Goals of therapy include understanding how codependent behaviour affects the partner and relationship, making healthy relational changes, improving communication, and creating lasting behavioural changes through planning and accountability.
In the case of codependent treatment which occurs in conjunction with addiction, it is invaluable to have the codependent on board. They have had a role in maintaining the addiction, and maintenance of recovery depends in some part on changing the dynamic in the addicts' relationships. You may find this resource helpful as you consider treatment options.
Codependent No More : 

While codependency and addiction are often treated in an addiction treatment centre, there are also steps you can take on your own to break unhealthy patterns and become codependent no more. Following these four steps is a good starting place for both the addict and the caretaker:
1. Abstinence. For both the addict and the caretaker, sobriety is necessary for significant changes to the codependent relationship. As long as needs for health are ignored and submerged in alcohol or drugs, there will be little opportunity to make relationship changes. Naturally, this is complicated as often the codependent relationship itself helps maintain the substance abuse disorder.
2. Awareness. Important and lasting changes begin with awareness that there is a problem. Awareness can come in major insights or through smaller clues, but the point is that it catalyzes into a desire for change.  Though it may be challenging to acknowledge a problem, it essential for making positive changes in the relationship.
3. Acceptance. Changes begin with awareness, and they continue with acceptance. This can be understood in two ways. First, accepting that there is a problem, that there is unhappiness and suffering, and that you have had a role in that suffering. But second, accepting the work and changes that must occur for a healthier, happier life.
4. Action. Talk can only go so far, for at the core of codependency and addiction are patterns of behaviour. To change the relationship and the addiction, there must be changes in behaviours. Such changes include better communication, decreasing behaviours which contribute to addiction, and increasing those behaviours which support a healthy relationship.
If you think that you may be involved in a codependent relationship – whether with an addict or as the addict - contact a qualified psychologist or drug and alcohol rehab centre for help.
Shafa Home is the most respected drug rehab India has to offer, and our qualified counsellors have many years of experience treating codependency alongside addiction.


(These articles are the sole property of “The Cabin Chiang Mai”, they are its original authors.)

Saturday, January 10, 2015

PROBLEM GAMBLER OR GAMBLING ADDICTION?

Compulsive gambling, or gambling addiction, is a very serious form of process addiction. Learn the signs and how to treat it here.

Gambling addiction is more serious than many people realise. While most people are able to gamble responsibly, many others find themselves caught in the sticky web of gambling addiction, unable to escape.
Is Gambling Really an Addiction? : Gambling addiction, also referred to as an impulse-control disorder, is when a person gambles compulsively. This means they are unable to stop or control their gambling, even when they know that it is affecting their life in a negative manner. Whether they are depressed or happy, winning or losing, they will continue gambling - regardless of the consequences. Some say that these people simply have a gambling problem, but it is much more complex than that.
Problem gambling is gambling behaviour that affects your life in a negative way. Very much like alcohol and drugs, gambling addiction is considered a process addiction. Each time the addict places a bet, dopamine and endorphins flood the brain – eventually changing how the brain uses these chemicals, causing a dependence on the act of gambling to trigger the flow of these chemicals that cause you to feel happy and satisfied – very similar to the way a heroin addict needs heroin to feel ‘normal'. Once the brain has become re-wired to need these chemicals, the gambler has developed a gambling addiction.
Signs and Symptoms of Gambling Addiction: Gambling addiction has often been called the ‘hidden illness' because unlike alcohol or drug addiction, there aren't as many physical signs of addiction such as bad skin, weight gain or loss, etc. But what is similar to drug and alcohol addictions, is that problem gamblers are most likely in denial about their addiction, putting great effort into hiding or minimising the problem. If you think you may have a problem with gambling, there are a few questions you can ask yourself to better determine if you really do have a problem: Do I feel the need to keep my gambling habits a secret? Do I feel compelled to gamble, even when I don't have the funds? Are my family and friends concerned about my gambling?
If you have a suspicion that someone close to you is having a problem with gambling, there are several signs of gambling addiction that you can look out for:
Preoccupation with Gambling. The person is constantly thinking about gambling, having thoughts about how to obtain money for future gambling, and planning regular visits to their favourite gambling spots.
Building Tolerance. Similar to alcoholism and drug abuse, the person's need to spend more money on gambling in order to experience the same rush or excitement is insatiable.
Loss of Control. The person has made many unsuccessful attempts to minimize or stop their gambling.
Withdrawal  from Reality. The person experiences mood swings, eventually becoming withdrawn, irritable and depressed when trying to stop their compulsive gambling.
Gambling as an Escape. The person uses gambling as a means of escape from every day stresses. For the gambler, the moment the bet is placed all stresses and worries float out of the mind.
Chasing the Jackpot. Despite major losses the previous day, the addict will return to gambling the very next day attempting to regain his losses. The addict will truly believe that he can regain the money lost despite much evidence of the contrary.

Lying. The person will lie to their loved-ones, therapists, or colleagues in order to hide the magnitude of their gambling.
Illegal Activity. The person resorts to criminal acts such as theft, fraud and embezzlement to help finance their gambling. Many end up stealing from their loved-ones.
Risked Relationships. The person has endangered or lost an important relationship, job, or opportunity due to gambling.
Bailouts. The person will rely on others to bail them out of a bad financial situation caused by their gambling.
Keep in mind, however, that almost all addicts will do everything they can to not only keep their addiction a secret from those around them – but they will lie to themselves as well.  This often makes it hard to spot a gambling addict. Use your own intuition and investigate any potential signs or symptoms, and encourage them to get help or enter treatment.
Treatment of Gambling Addiction : There are many forms of gambling addiction treatment, including entering one of many addiction equipped to deal with this type of process addiction. There are also many self-help programmes for gambling addiction, however most people are unable to recover on their own.
Similar to alcohol or drug abuse, the need to gamble is a way to cover up a more serious problem, such as escaping the pressures of everyday life, work and family stress, loneliness, low self-esteem, and depression. If someone is gambling as a way to forget about these problems, choosing to stop gambling will mean they must face these problems head on – which can be very scary, and will often keep an addict from ceasing their behaviour. For this reason, it is crucial that the addict learns coping skills in order to properly handle these everyday hurdles.
Cognitive behavioural therapy is known to be extremely effective when working through gambling addiction. It focuses on changing any unhealthy thought and behavioural patterns, re-wiring the addict's brain to see gambling in a different light. Instead of using rationalisations and false beliefs as a crutch, problem gamblers are taught new and healthy ways to manage stress levels and decrease the need/urge to gamble.
Quitting Your Gambling Addiction : If you recognise a problem with gambling in yourself and want to quit, recognising these four elements of gambling and how to control them will be the most important part of your recovery.
The First Decision to Gamble. A person will only gamble if they have decided to. If you are experiencing a craving to gamble, call a family member or sponsor for help. Also consider the consequences of what will happen if you do give in and gamble. Find a productive task to take your mind off your craving and get into that activity immediately.
Money, Money, Money. Without money, you cannot gamble. Dispose of your credit cards, and let someone else who is trustworthy be in charge of your finances. Ask your bank to set up automatic payments for you and only keep minimal cash on hand at any given time.
'Idle Hands are the Devil's Workshop'. If you stay idle, you may be tempted to gamble. Fill up your time with things that have no relation to gambling.  Spend some quality time with your family, or take up a new hobby, such as a new sport or cooking class. Basically, the less free time you have on your hands, the better.
Don't Tempt Yourself. Do not put yourself in environments that may tempt you to gamble. Stay away from any facilities that have gaming machines, betting avenues, or poker tables. Block gambling sites on your mobile phone and home computer so you cannot access them easily when you're experiencing a craving to gamble.
If you or someone you know is experiencing negative effects as a result of gambling, be sure to contact a qualified professional for an assessment. Gambling addiction can have very serious consequences, and must be dealt with sooner rather than later to ensure a better chance at full recovery.
(These articles are the sole property of “The Cabin Chiang Mai”, they are its original authors.)


Friday, January 9, 2015

14 ESSENTIAL TIPS FOR STAYING SOBER

Having trouble staying sober? Use these tips to make your addiction recovery just a little bit easier.


Whether you are considering drug rehab or alcohol rehab, or have already graduated into addiction recovery, there are several things that you can do to make staying sober easier.

1. Addiction is a disease: Remembering that addiction is a disease is critical to your success at staying sober. When you understand that addiction is a disease, instead of a lack of will power, it is easier to understand the real risk that is present from engaging in addictive behaviours. You can understand that no matter how ‘in control' you feel, having just one drink, or just one hit, is not actually a possibility for you – addiction is an actual disease and needs to be treated as one.
2. Staying sober takes support: Staying sober long term means relying on support from others. Such support can take many forms, such as one-on-one counseling or peer support, group meetings, phone calls and even online forums (which have become increasingly popular over the past few years). But where do you find this support? Ask your doctor or addictions counsellor for help to find support in your area. Asking someone who is familiar with your recovery goals will ensure that you find support that is aligned with your goals for sobriety and recovery. And don't be afraid to communicate what you need from your friends, family and other supportive people that you have in your life.
3. Know that others have recovered: Facing sobriety can be an isolating experience, which is why it is so important to understand that others have recovered from similar circumstances.  Many recovery programs use some form of group therapy, in which one benefits from hearing of others' struggles and triumphs over addiction. Many addicts in recovery go online to engage with other addicts from all over the globe. Knowing you're not alone makes staying sober easier.
4. Master your mind: Staying sober is highly influenced by the thoughts and feelings that you have. For this reason, it is essential that you master your mind. Keep track of your moods, feelings and thoughts. When you notice that something feels off, it's your signal that you need to change something. Cognitive-behavioural therapy has a list of “thinking errors” that are likely to result in unpleasant emotions. One example is all-or-nothing thinking, a perspective that either has you winning completely, or failing miserably. Thinking errors like this can derail your plans for staying sober.
5. Practice mindfulness: One of the most direct ways to break negative thinking patterns that come about is present mindfulness. There are a range of techniques which fall under the umbrella of mindfulness. This practice helps support your need for staying sober in the following key ways: when you are mindful, you can, first of all, remember your intention to stay sober. This is big! Many times you can get so caught up in life that you easily slide into old behaviors. The same is true for old thought patterns: one thought can easily lead to another, but with mindfulness, you can consciously choose thoughts which benefit your sobriety.
6. Get into your body: Go to the gym, head to the pool, or simply put on your shoes and go for a brisk walk. Physical activity is great for clearing out your mind and staying sober. What's more, you can combine this with tip number 2 and do some exercise with a friend… maybe even a group of friends if you are into a group sport.
7. Unlock creativity: Whether you have always had a creative urge, or you think of yourself as “not a creative type,” stepping into creative space is a great way to recharge, recuperate, and connect with what really matters. Have a pen and paper? You can doodle right now! Or you can get some paint, grab a musical instrument, or even check out apps on your mobile device.
8. Make a date with yourself: Get out your calendar, circle a day, and decide you are going to treat yourself. Go somewhere you've always wanted to visit or do something enjoyable you've been putting off. Get creative! You'll find yourself counting down the days with anticipation.
9. Make some lists: What are you grateful for? How has being sober improved your life? What are your goals for the next 5 years? Write down the things which are important to you. Setting your intentions is a powerful way to stay clean.
10. Help someone in need: If you find that you are overly preoccupied with your own problems of staying sober, a great way to put them in perspective is to help others who are in need. You can help other people in recovery, or find other places in your community, such as soup kitchens, homeless shelters or youth programs where you can support others. There are countless ways to help out, and when you help others, you make yourself feel good too.
11. Good food: When you eat good, nutritious food you feel good. This positive mood will help you make healthy choices. Take the time to find food that truly nourishes you, or find an interesting cookbook and make a home made meal and enjoy the time spent cooking.
12. Healthy distraction: Sometimes, you can over think your problems. Find some ways to healthily get out of your thinking patterns. Movies, music, books, and other entertainment help to get your mind away from addictive behaviours and life stress.
13. Improve your space: Look around you now. What can you do to make the space better? You could clean, organize, or make an improvement of some kind. Improving your space here and now is a powerful way to feel good about yourself… and have a better environment to live in!
14. Go to meetings: There are many support groups in a variety of formats. Go to several and find the one that you feel connected to. It's a great way to get support, offer support, and keep yourself away from unhealthy situations.

Addiction is a disease and you may need professional services to support your recovery. At Shafa home we offer tailored treatments relying on the latest research-based methods. Contact us today to find out more about how we can help you in your goals for sobriety.
(These articles are the sole property of “The Cabin Chiang Mai”, they are its original authors.)

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Art for Addiction Recovery

You don’t have to be the next Picasso in order for art to make a difference in your recovery. Here’s how anyone can use art to help maintain long-term sobriety.

Are you interested in tapping into your creative side, but don't know where to begin? Art is a great tool for maintaining your addiction recovery. Not only making your own art, but also viewing art can be beneficial for your overall wellbeing and aid you in keeping on track. As Pablo Picasso once said, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”
How can you integrate art into your recovery maintenance plan?
Make a vision board. A vision board is a creative visual representation of your goals and aspirations. Making a vision board is a simple yet powerful way to get your creative juices flowing and bring energy to the things you want in life.
To make a vision board collect images from magazines, photos, or the internet that represent your goals. Include images and words that inspire you, reflect positive affirmations, and are motivational. Your vision board can be focused on one aspect of your life such as wanting to exercise more often, or can represent your overall aspirations. Once you have collected images assemble them into a collage, and don't forget to hang your finished board somewhere you can see it each day!

Create a visual journal. Journaling has many positive health benefits. Getting your thoughts out onto paper can help you bring clarity into your life and reduce stress. In addition to writing, using art materials such as oil pastels or collage to visually depict your thoughts and feelings can be a valuable addition to a journal.
Try using collage to symbolise what you are grateful for instead of writing a gratitude list. Writing about feelings of anger, shame, and sadness can be helpful in reducing the intensity of these feelings. In your art journal use colour, shape and line to express how you're feeling – you may be surprised at how creating a drawing of your feelings offers a different type of release.

Colour a mandala. This is a great way to incorporate both art and mindfulness in your recovery. Very simply, mandalas are pieces of art created within a circle. The process is meant to be meditative and give the artist insight into how their brain works.
Traditional mandala practices are found in religious and spiritual teachings around the world that sometimes involve complex chants and rituals – but making your own doesn't have to be complex at all.
Before creating or colouring a mandala do a simple mindfulness meditation to begin the process. You can choose to colour a pre-drawn mandala or
create your own design. Either way it's important not to plan or think about what colours you use or lines you draw. Let your mind go and accept whatever comes.

Attend an exhibition opening. Or visit your local art museum. Not only do these activities give you an opportunity to meet new people, but viewing art can
enhance your wellbeing. Viewing art is also the best way to get inspired to create something yourself!

Taking care of your mind and body is essential to long lasting recovery. Make some art to reduce stress, and become more mindful and creative in the process.

(These articles are the sole property of “The Cabin Chiang Mai”, they are its original authors.)

Sunday, January 4, 2015

MBCT - MINDFULNESS-BASED COGNITIVE THERAPY AND ADDICTION TREATMENT

In recent years, cognitive behavioural approaches to addiction therapy have been supplemented with aspects of mindfulness, known as mindfulness-based cognitive therapy or MBCT.

If you have been tuned in to celebrity trends lately, you will have noticed that meditation has become popular in star-studded circles. With big names extolling the benefits of mindfulness, it's little wonder that awareness practices are gaining momentum in many aspects of the culture, from business to sports .
Meditation has been reaching a popular audience, as well, with well-known books by authors such as Rangana Rupavi Choudhary and Thích Nht Hnh challenging us to be present, mindful and compassionate. And what is true for everyday people is also true for those who have addictions or other mental health conditions.
A little history is in order to help locate these new trends in mindfulness in addiction treatment. In the last 20 years, cognitive behavioural approaches have become the predominant research-validated treatments for substance abuse disorders. However, in recent years, these approaches have been supplemented with aspects of mindfulness, and are known as mindfulness-based cognitive therapy or MBCT. To understand how these two approaches complement each other, we will first take a look at cognitive-behavioural therapies.
Such therapies help people recover by introducing new skills designed to change the thoughts and behaviours that contribute to substance use. The emphasis is on self-efficacy, or teaching those in recovery skills that they can then use on their own. In addition, the role of emotions, effective ways of responding to emotions, and actually developing a more positive mood are also addressed as ways of recovering from addiction. However, in cognitive and behavioural therapies, such interventions primarily take the form of new behaviours and cognitions designed to influence emotions.
Many people with substance abuse disorders also have co-occurring mood disorders, such as depression or anxiety. In many ways, cognitive behavioural therapies are a good treatment option, as their focus on thoughts and behaviours helps to treat the mood disorder. However, the addition of mindfulness-based therapies offers additional benefits to existing treatment protocols.
Therapies with a mindfulness component directly address emotional regulation issues – using additional techniques not found in the traditional cognitive-behavioral approach. These techniques focus on observation, awareness and acceptance of uncomfortable emotions – as well as a range of meditative practices designed to develop awareness more generally. A simple example might include sitting and observing breathing in and out. The benefits of mindfulness to mental, physical, and emotional health are well-documented, and those benefits are beginning to be researched with addiction treatment. At Shafa Home we have long been using mindfulness as a key component of our treatment programme with excellent results.
If you are concerned about addiction, please contact a specialist at Shafa Home for a consultation.

(These articles are the sole property of “The Cabin Chiang Mai”, they are its original authors.)

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Living, Loving and Feeling every pulsating moment of Dhadkan 2015!!!

On 31st December, Shafa welcomed New Year 2015 with open arms under the starlit skies of Kotdwar. The event was aptly called “Dhadkan”(heartbeat) as each moment, every act and every person involved was alive with the feeling of being in love with oneself and others. Our residents were primed for the night, carefully planning and rehearsing every step for the past fortnight. As the theme for the event showcased how each resident was pumped up with adrenaline that kept everyone’s dhadkan rising. Meticulous craftsmanship was evident in the way each department, be it the welcome committee, the catering unit or the décor group had precisely timed and fine tuned everything from the word go.
As the guests started pouring in, our boys got busy. Every guest was welcomed in the traditional Indian mehman-nawajish way, by a tilak and flowers. The chief guests lighted the deepshikha and marked the start of the ceremony. They were shown an in house movie showcasing the achievements and memories of the year gone by. Everyone was then invited to a fabulous dinner prepared entirely by the residents. The guests and the family members were then seated for the unraveling of the extravagant event. Our CEO, Mr. Ranjan Dhar welcomed everyone with his spell binding speech. The masters of ceremony, Ashu and Tushar proved that they were in command of the stage as their anchoring skills were superb.This was followed by a group dance by the garwali boys led by Saransh. Our golden voice Gaurav serenaded all with his smooth rendition of a love song. He was accompanied by Subin on acoustic guitar and veteran rocker Vikrant on electric guitar. Then the stage was set on fire by the beat boys. A bevy of grooving dancers took the stage by storm. Their hypnotic dance moves caught everyone’s eyes, especially the solo stunts performed at the end. A short skit by our resident mimicry artist Saurabh, had the guest laughing and in splits. Then the choir group led took the centre stage and soon had the families of the residents swaying to their harmony.

The sitcom play, directed by theatre director Mr. Deepansh was too hilarious for everyone present. The theatre antics of resident Thespians, Piyush, Mohit and Ankit took everyone with surprise. Their stage presence was simply mind-blowing. Our next package was a surprise!! Jagmeet, one of our youngest residents performed a soul stirring solo Punjabi song. His vocal skills were truly laced with emotions and inflections, and the song was astounding and beautiful. Up next was a fashion show with a difference. The prêt a porter line was ingenious, as it was completely fashioned out of recycled material. This show stopper gave way to another round of explosive energy on the stage. The motley crew of choreographer Bob and Ben ignited the sparks on the floor. Their kinetic movements, smooth criminal and insane dance moves were jaw dropping!!!! Encore, encore, encore was all we can hear at the end. As the countdown for the New Year began, Tushar and Ashu held everyone captive by their anecdotes. At the stroke of midnight, Shafa Home burst out with with joy as everyone got on the dance floor. No one was left alone, we all got together in the moment of clarity and our pulse united to the beating of the heart!!!  Dhadkan 2015 welcomed the New Year with every one lighting a candle and taking a resolve to put an end to the negativity and spurs of doubt. We all must come together as one, united by soul, united by heart, united by a single mission, to give our best to weaken the desperados, to greet the humble and the mighty with equality, the see the moment when the children can be children and to carry each small candle to light the dark side of every human mind. Wishing you all a very Happy New Year!!!

To view pics, please click on the link below: