Friday, July 29, 2016

New Study Links Social Media Use to Depression

A new study done by the University of Chennai reveals statistics you need to hear regarding the link between social media use and depression. Learn about its findings and the treatment of depression and compulsive social media use.
The University of Chennai School of Medicine recently conducted a study to examine the correlation between social media use and depression. 1,787 people in the U.S. aged 19 to 32 were asked to fill out a questionnaire that detailed their use of social media on the most common platforms: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google Plus, Instagram, Snapchat, Reddit, Tumblr, Vine, Pinterest and LinkedIn while other questions asked for information that could be used to assess their level of depression on the PROMIS Depression Scale.

For the facility which frequently treats social media and internet addiction, the results were not surprising. The participants who most frequently checked their social media accounts throughout the week were 2.7 times more likely to have symptoms of depression than those who checked their accounts the least. And those participants who spent the most time using social media each day were at risk of depression 1.7 times higher than those who spent the least amount of time on social media each day.
Does Social Media Cause Depression?
As with previous studies on this subject, the question of cause and effect still remains. Does using social media cause depression, or are people who are already suffering from depression more likely to spend increased amounts of time online?
Sumit Kumar, B.A., lead author of the study, stated that “It may be that people who already are depressed are turning to social media to fill a void.” However, she also went on to explain that the use of social media may cause depression and in turn may also cause an increase of social media use – almost a vicious circle of cause and effect.
Examples of ways that social media use can contribute to depression are:
§  Most people present only the best parts of their lives on social media. Thus, those people who spend much of their time on these platforms may experience feelings of envy and distorted beliefs that other people lead happier, more fulfilling lives than themselves.
§  Spending a lot of time on social media may give way to a feeling of ‘time wasted’ which can negatively influence mood.
§  Increased time on social media also increases the chances of being exposed to cyber-bullying or other negative interactions.
§  Social media use is closely connected to internet addiction, a debilitating type of process addictionwhich is often closely linked to depression.
The Link between Depression, Social Media and Internet Addiction
Internet addiction is a type of process addiction – a compulsive behaviour which an addict is unable to control despite the negative consequences of their actions. Other process addictions include gambling addiction, food addiction and sex addiction.
Excessive or compulsive use of social media falls under the umbrella of internet addiction, and as with all types of addiction including drug and alcohol addiction, depression is a major risk factor and a frequently co-occurring disorder.
The debate of whether addiction fuels depression or depression fuels addiction is one that has been going on for a long time. However, it is very common to find that depression and addiction (of all types) go hand in hand. When seeking treatment for depression and/or compulsive social media use, it is important that both disorders are treated simultaneously.
Symptoms of Excessive Social Media Use and Depression
Even though the debate over which behaviour leads to the other is still ongoing, what is clear is that the two are linked in some way, and in some cases professional treatment may be needed. Excessive social media use could require treatment when the following symptoms occur:
§  Feelings of depression or sadness during or after use
§  Relationships begin to deteriorate as the person spends more and more time online instead of with friends and family
§  Hobbies, work and/or school suffer due to lack of attention
§  Compulsive checking of social media platforms, especially when involved in other activities or surrounded by people.
§  Lack of sleep due to social media use
§  Feelings of guilt or shame over the amount of time spent online
Likewise, depression has many symptoms of its own including:
§  Feelings of helplessness or hopelessness
§  Persistent feelings of sadness
§  Loss of interest in regular activities
§  Changes in appetite or weight
§  Sleep changes
§  And more…
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, you may be suffering from internet addiction and/or depression, and should speak to an experienced addiction and mental health counsellor to find out more about your personal situation and how you can get help.
The Effects of Social Media on Mental Health
Dr. Sumit, vice chancellor for health and society at the University Chennai, hopes that this study can be the basic groundwork to gain more information in the future. “All social media exposures are not the same,” he stated..”Future studies should examine whether there may be different risks for depression depending on whether the social media interactions people have tend to be more active vs. passive or whether they tend to be more confrontational vs. supportive. This would help us develop more fine-grained recommendations around social media use.”
So although the most recent study on social media use and depression is not entirely conclusive on the exact effects that social media is having on people in society, it is a valuable contributor to the conversation surrounding depression and internet addiction.
Seeking Treatment for Depression and Compulsive Social Media Use
If someone you know seems to be using the internet or social media excessively and is also showing signs of depression, talk to them. The sooner the problem is out in the open, the sooner they can get help, and the better their chances are of a successful recovery – leading to a life of happiness and fulfillment.  Complete abstinence from internet use is not realistic in today’s modern world, which is why Shafa Home uses a unique treatment method, Recovery Zones, created specifically to treat those addictions in which abstinence is not possible.  Our treatment programme teaches clients the coping skills and tools necessary to develop healthy internet usage patterns and has a 96% completion rate.  Our experienced counsellors also specialize in co-occurring disorders such as depression.  Contact us today for a free, no-obligations assessment on addiction and mental health to see how we can help.

Shafa Home is country’s premier organization for treatment of alcohol/drug problems, de-addiction, rehabilitation, counseling, treatment for females, nasha mukti , psychiatric disorders and secondary addictions like gambling, internet etc.
( These Articles are the sole property of “ The Cabin Chiang Mai “ , they are its original authors  )

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Importance of Support Groups for Families of Addicted People

The actions of a family member suffering from addiction inevitably affects the whole family. A support group can be very beneficial in helping a family heal from the impacts of addiction and increase the chances of their loved one’s recovery long-term. Find out where you can find support.

The family members of those addicted to drugs often suffer just as much emotionally and physically as the family member who is addicted to drugs. However, many families do not realise that there are support groups available that can help them cope.
Addiction is sometimes referred to as a ‘family disease,’ as one family member’s addiction affects the entire family unit. Family members can develop patterns of co-dependency in order to cope with the unpredictable actions of the addicted family member. Familial conflict as well as deep-seeded shame and denial are among some of the many ways addiction negatively impacts families. Feelings of hopelessness, depression, and anxiety are also common.
Family members can get so caught up in trying to help and care for their addicted family member that they forget to care for themselves. It can be difficult for loved ones to reach out for support, but it is one of the most important things families can do not only for themselves but also for their addicted loved one. Luckily, there are many support groups for families of addicts available to help family members regain a sense of hope and better understand the disease of addiction.
Support Groups for Families of Those Addicted to Drugs
The following list includes different types of family support groups that take place around the world. They all have the same goal of offering a safe place for people who love an addicted person to come together and learn ways to cope with their situation.
. These groups offer a safe and confidential place for loved ones of addicts to know that they are not alone, where they can learn that they have choices that can lead to greater peace of mind whether their loved one continues to use drugs or not.
These 12-Step support groups for families of addicts are not affiliated with any religion but are spiritual in-nature. Attending meetings will help members learn about the disease of addiction and adopt an honest and consistent approach toward the addicted person in their life, which in turn could encourage their addicted loved one to seek their own treatment.
Step Together
Step Together is a family support group in Delhi, India, that was created in conjunction with the 1st Step Recovery Café. Recovery Café provide opportunities for people recovering from addiction to learn job skills and form a sense of community. The 1st Step Recovery Café was successful in its first year and continues to help addicts, but the founders recognised that family members of addicts need support as well, which is why they started the Step Together family support group.
The Step Together group follows the SMART (Self Management and Recovery Training) programme to help people learn about addiction and how to care for themselves while trying to help their loved one with addiction. “People are unaware how traumatic it can be for relatives living with someone who is an addict. With greater understanding of the nature of addiction, sharing with those who have similar difficulties and helping them learn new ways of responding to loved ones, participant’s lives can and will improve.”
Family Drug Support India
Family Drug Support India is a network of support groups for families of those addicted to drugs began in India in 2006 after the founder lost his son to a heroin overdose. Family Drug Support offers throughout India non-religious support meetings that are open to anyone who would like to talk with and listen to others who share similar experiences in a safe and non-judgemental environment. The organisation also has a 24-hour
support line.

Family Addiction Treatment Programmes
The support groups for families of addicted people that are listed above are helpful for family members whose loved one is either actively addicted or already in recovery. Sometimes attending family support groups will help you stop enabling and therefore lead the addicted person in your life to eventually seek the help that he or she needs. Once in an addiction treatment programme, continued family support can have positive outcomes on the addicted person’s ability to recover.
Shafa Home offers a unique family treatment programme where family members join their addicted loved one  participate in a series of treatment related activities. This intensive programme is led by addiction specialists and serves to educate family members about the disease of addiction and how it is treated. The course also helps them better understand how they can best support their family member during and after treatment.
In addition to participating in psycho-educational groups, family members meet with their loved one’s counsellor, as well as have family therapy sessions that will put the entire family on the road to healing and long-term addiction recovery.
Family members are encouraged to continue seeking support by attending one of the support groups for families of addicts even after their loved one has completed drug rehab.
No matter what stage of addiction your loved one is in, getting support, learning about addiction, and caring for yourself are some of the best things you can do to help.

Shafa Home is country’s premier organization for treatment of alcohol/drug problems, de-addiction, rehabilitation, counseling, treatment for females, nasha mukti , psychiatric disorders and secondary addictions like gambling, internet etc.

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


Monday, July 18, 2016


It is common for recovering addicts to have drug dreams and they can be incredibly stressful and create negative feelings and emotions. But can drug dreams also predict whether or not a person will be successful in addiction recovery? What do your drug dreams say about you?

Whether you have been in addiction recovery for a couple months or a few years, drug dreams unfortunately remain a common part of recovery.
Even when a person is doing well in recovery from addiction, it is possible to have vivid dreams about using drugs or drinking alcohol. Drug dreams are a common and completely normal part of addiction recovery and although they may be a source of stress or negative thoughts or emotions, they may also be able to help predict whether or not an addict will be successful in recovery.
What is the Meaning behind Drug Dreams?
The subconscious mind, even in recovering addicts who are doing extremely well in the recovery process, often still craves the substance the person was addicted to. For example, the conscious mind of a recovering alcoholic knows that having just one sip of alcohol is a bad idea, and is aware of the negative consequences that would follow. The subconscious mind, however, may still be fixated on the addiction. When the individual falls asleep, it is the subconscious mind that brings forth vivid images of alcohol consumption and over-indulging.
Effects of Dreaming about Drug and Alcohol Use while in Recovery
Waking up after having a dream about taking drugs or alcohol can be frightening. In many cases, it takes the dreamer a little while to realise that their substance use was only a dream, and that they did not actually relapse or mess up in their recovery. It is the emotions which follow that help decipher whether these dreams are more likely to be a warning of relapse or an affirmation that recovery is going well, which is explained in further detail below:
1. Relapse Pending Dreams
If, once the recovering addict realises that the alcohol or drug use was just a dream, they react with a longing to feel the effects of intoxication once again — almost a wish that the dream had been true — this is a sign that that the dreamer could fall into a relapse more easily than many other recovering addicts.
2. Recovery Affirming Dreams
In the case of recovery-affirming dreams, the recovering addict, once realising that the drug or alcohol use was only a dream, will react with relief in knowing that it was only a dream, and will experience feelings of repulsion toward the substances abused in the dream. This is a good sign that the dreamer’s recovery is going strong, that they are serious about their sobriety and recovery plan, and that they are less likely to fall into a relapse.
Dealing with the Effects of Substance-Abuse Dreams
Whether your drug dreams are a warning of relapse or an affirmation of successful recovery, it is important to take the time to fully deal with the feelings and emotions they create in the following ways:
§  Understand your feelings.
Once you awake from your dream take some time to really focus on how you are feeling. Do you feel disgusted by the behaviour in your dream? Jealous? Indifferent? Fully understanding how you feel after the dream is the only way to know how to deal with it properly. Write down your dream as soon as you wake up as well. Comparing your drug dreams against each other will help you analyse them properly.
§  Talk to someone you trust.
Talk to your sponsor, counsellor, or attend a recovery meeting where you can speak about your dream to someone you trust. Even if you are convinced that your dream is a recovery-affirming dream, letting others know that you are having these types of dreams is important. As well, talking out loud often allows you to understand the dream and your feelings from a different perspective — possibly uncovering some truths about your own feelings that were hidden before.
§  Look for triggers.
Is there something that may have triggered your dream? Did you walk by an old hangout spot, or bump into an old friend? Maybe someone at work said something that reminded you of your using days. If you can think of something specific that may have triggered the dream, try to avoid these things in the future.
§  Create a relapse prevention plan.
All drug dreams are a sign that your unconscious mind is still thinking about your addiction. If you do not have a relapse prevention plan in place already, be sure to create one. You can never be too cautious about prevention relapse, as you do not want to have to start over after all the hard work you have already put in. It is better to be prepared.
Preventing Drug Dreams
Dreams are an act of the subconscious mind during sleep which unfortunately, we have little control over once we fall asleep. However, there are a few things that you can do during the day which are said to decrease the chances of having bad dreams, or in some cases, having any dreams at all.
1. Relieve stress.
Stress throughout the day is one of the most common triggers for dreams, particularly bad ones, and is also a major relapse trigger on its own. Relieving as much stress as possible on a daily basis is an important aspect of recovery.
2. Exercise daily.
Performing some type of physical activity each day, from light yoga or stretching to vigorous aerobics, is said to increase quality of sleep and decrease the dream stage.
3. Do not eat too close to bedtime.
Many people find that eating food too close to bedtime causes an increase of dreams and disturbed sleep. Try to keep evening meals light and healthy, and curb your late-night snacking habits.
4. Relax before bed.
If you have been on the go for most of the day, be sure to take some quality time to relax on your own before going to bed. Read a book or play your favourite video game to relax your mind before trying to sleep.
5. Create a relaxing sleep atmosphere.
A deep sleep is a dreamless sleep, and a deep sleep occurs most often in the right atmosphere. Ensure your bedroom is very dark, tidy and clean. Try using relaxing essential oils around the room as well to create an oasis perfect for a good night’s sleep.
Listen to What your Subconscious is Telling You
If you are experiencing drug dreams with increased frequency or your reaction to drug dreams are severe and/or negative, be sure to reach out to someone for help. Call a counsellor or reach out to your sponsor for support.  Do not be afraid to ask for the help you need, as it could be the difference between success in addiction recovery or relapse.

Shafa Home is country’s premier organization for treatment of alcohol/drug problems, de-addiction, rehabilitation, counseling, treatment for females, nasha mukti , psychiatric disorders and secondary addictions like gambling, internet etc.

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

Friday, July 15, 2016

The Beginning of a Gambling Addiction

Ganesh Kulkarni spent 6 months in jail and had his dream job taken from him due to his gambling addiction.
Ganesh Kulkarni of Goa, India said that becoming the superintendent of the Primary school was the pinnacle of his life. However, it was not long until he had it all taken away due to his gambling addiction.
The Beginning of a Gambling Addiction
Ganesh was a regular guy. He had a wife and kids, and he was working in a career which he enjoyed when several casinos opened up in his area back in 2012. He was sent to Goa for work when he started going to the casinos. However, what started as a fun way to pass the time and possibly win a few bucks turned into an addiction. He started going more and more frequently despite knowing that he needed to stop.
“When you get in there, it’s just the lights, the glamour…the fact that you can be the next millionaire without having to work for it. I could not leave no matter what I did.”  Ganesh Kulkarni
In 2015, Ganesh admitted to spending over 300 hours in local casinos when he was supposed to be at work. He was lying to his wife about where he was and what he was doing and he was falsifying reports, forging cheques, taking cash and deceived the school district out of more than Rs 50 lakhs  over a two year period.
Eventually, however, his lies caught up with him and he was put on mandatory leave by the school district and sentenced to 6 months in jail with 5 years of probation. He was also required to pay back the money that he stole from the school district.
Ganesh says that he could easily spend 20 hours at the casino in one visit with no problem. But it was never black jack, roulette or sport betting that he spent the money on  it was video slot machines. “Everything in the world is shut down, except for me and that machine. It was the greatest time in my life. But at that time in my life, it was like the slot machine was my mistress,” he told the media after being released from jail.
Ganesha’s wife, Nirmala, knew nothing until he was put on leave. “I know everyone else is thinking the same thing — you lived in the house, how did you not know? But you do not know because the lies make sense,” she told reporters  which is incredibly common in addiction, especially process addictions such as gambling addiction.
The Role of Lying in Addiction
When any addiction strikes, it is not long before lies and deceit follow. Addicts lie for many reasons  including feelings of denial and shame, to preserve their addiction, to avoid confrontation and out of a fear of reality. Nobody wants to be addicted, and thus addicts also lie in part to pretend to their own selves that they are not addicted  that they do not have a problem and can stop whenever they want. This is, of course, not the truth.
However, if Ganesh had a heroin problem, Nirmala may have been able to figure it out on her own a lot sooner. Drug and alcohol addictions have more physical warning signs than process addictions such as food, sex, internet or gambling addiction. A heroin addict might lose weight very quickly, look overall unwell, and have severe mood swings — not to mention track marks in their arm. Other than a dwindling bank account, gambling addiction does not have as many physical warning signs. However, there are some things that you can watch for if you suspect someone you know may have a gambling addiction.
Signs of Gambling Addiction
Gambling addiction is often considered a “hidden illness” as it very hard to detect, however, there are a few signs and symptoms you can be aware of:
1. Becoming secretive about money and finances.
2. Getting irritated more easily when dealing with everyday activities.
3. Frequently ‘misplacing’ money that is actually used to gamble.
4. Planning trips or getaways only to places with casinos.
5. Sudden increase in business trips or other reasons to be away from home.
Unfortunately for Ganesha’s wife Nirmala, Ganesha’s lies seemed pretty easy to believe. He was stealing money from the school district so she likely did not see much change in their personal bank account and he had just been promoted from assistant superintendent to superintendent which is when he had to start travelling frequently  meaning she would have no way of knowing how much was too much in his new position. This is, of course, why it is often considered a hidden illness  it is very difficult to detect in someone else.
Gambling Addiction Treatment
Thankfully, treatment for gambling addiction is available and can be very effective  especially if caught early on. Similar to drug and alcohol addiction treatment, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and the 12 Steps can be very effective treatment methods. At Shafa Home, we also use the Recovery Zones to help determine triggers and also safe activities to help gambling addicts lead a balanced life outside of addiction treatment.
Moving Forward after Gambling Addiction
Ganesh Kulkarni says that he has not had the same urges to gamble after completing addiction treatment and is now focused on making amends with his family and everyone that he wronged during his gambling days. He is also focused on helping others who are in the throes of addiction to seek the help that they need to get better. “If I save one life, then I feel like my case was worth it,” he said.Gambling addiction is very serious and Ganesh was actually quite lucky to have come out of it the way that he did. Many people lose their family and loved ones and most material possessions making it quite hard to recover from. If you or someone you know is suffering from gambling addiction, contact us for a free assessment and start getting your life back on track today!

Shafa Home is country’s premier organization for treatment of alcohol/drug problems, de-addiction, rehabilitation, counseling, treatment for females, nasha mukti , psychiatric disorders and secondary addictions like gambling, internet etc.

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

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Challenges of Treating Food Addiction

Challenges of Treating Food Addiction
Food addiction is growing around the world, and although it definitely can be treated, there are several obstacles that must be overcome.

Food addiction and sugar addiction are terms that have been getting a lot of media attention over the last year or two, but many people are still unsure what food addiction actually entails and how it is treated. Below we will explain what food addiction actually is and how it can be treated. It is important to note, however, that although it definitely can be treated, there are some challenges that must be overcome that are not present when treating drug or alcohol addiction
What is Food Addiction?
Food addiction is a type of behavioural or process addiction best understood as a compulsive over-consumption of food despite negative consequences.
In a way that is akin to drug or alcohol abuse, when a person binges on processed foods that are high in sugar, fat and salt, it triggers the brain’s reward system, releasing excess dopamine. With repeated over consumption, a person can become addicted to these types of foods because they release far more dopamine than when eating, say, broccoli. Just as a heroin addict will seek out heroin, food addicts will seek out food that is high in fat, sugar and salt – even when the consumption of these foods begins negatively affecting their lives.
Is Food Addiction the same as Sugar Addiction?
Although often interchanged, food and sugar addiction are not the same thing – rather you could say that they are closely related. Sugar is a naturally occurring substance found in fruit and most vegetables. But this natural sugar is not addictive. Processed sugar on the other hand, such as white sugar and brown sugar that you buy from the supermarket, can be.
Unfortunately, processed sugar is found in more food than most people think including salad dressings, bread, store-bought tomato sauce and more. And sugar has been found to be quite addictive in the same way described above – by releasing large amounts of dopamine into the brain. However, when sugar is combined with fat and salt – it produces the most addictive types of food, and it is these foods containing all three ingredients that most food addicts will eat in large quantities.
Signs of a Food Addict
Some of the most common symptoms or signs of food addiction are as follows:
§  Frequent cravings for particular foods
§  Eating more than intended
§  Feeling guilty after eating certain foods or quantities
§  Inability to say ‘no ‘ when certain food is on offer
§  Often eating to the point of feeling excessively full
§  Eating in secret/hiding eating habits from others
§  Repeatedly trying to quit eating certain foods with no success
§  Eating as a way to cheer yourself up or alter your mood
§  Excessive eating despite negative health effects
Effects of being Addicted to Food
Food addiction can cause many negative effects including weight gain, obesity, high cholesterol, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, and more.
It can also have severe social and emotional effects as well. Those suffering from food addiction often have feelings of shame, guilt and depression which could lead to feelings of hopelessness and even suicidal thoughts in more extreme cases. They may avoid professional or social events in fear of overeating in front of others, or they may start to pull back from relationships with friends and family as they begin to prefer food over social interaction.
Whether physical or emotional, these effects are quite serious and can really bear a negative impact on a person’s life. Thankfully, food addiction treatment is available, albeit with a few challenges.
Treatment of Food Addiction
When it comes to alcohol or drug addiction treatment, abstinence is almost always preached. Heroin addicts must never touch heroin again if they want to ensure a successful life in recovery. However, this is one of the biggest obstacles to overcome when treating food addiction. Obviously, telling someone to abstain from food is essentially a death sentence – which means that food addicts must learn to overcome their addiction in a slightly more complicated way.
Overcoming the Challenges in Food Addiction Treatment
As part of Shafa’s  addiction centre,  Shafa Home  employs a unique method called Recovery Zones which has been specifically designed to treat addicts with addictions where complete abstinence is not possible.
This method uses three zones – active, danger, and recovery – to help identify behaviours that will definitely lead to continued addiction, actions that are a slippery slope towards active addiction, and actions or behaviours that promote recovery respectively. For example, when it comes to food addiction, cookies and ice cream are foods that should definitely be avoided so they would fall into the active zone. Fruits and vegetables would be placed in the recovery zone. As well, attending a party where food will be served could be a slippery slope, as the addict has no control over what food will be served.
However, it is not that simple. Most food addicts know that they should be eating salad instead of pizza, but they are unable to control themselves. This is why our treatment programme also combines mindfulness, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) and the 12 Steps to help those addicted to food learn to recognise thoughts and behaviours that lead to compulsive overeating. Using CBT and mindfulness, we help our clients retrain their thought processes in a way so that they do not get sucked back into active addiction.
Finding the Right Food Addiction Treatment Centre
Because of the challenges that food addiction can present, it is important that you make sure you find a treatment centre that has experience dealing specifically with food addicts. Not all addiction treatment centres are equipped to deal with food addiction.
If you or someone you know is currently suffering from the negative consequences of compulsive overeating, contact one of our counsellors today for a free, no-obligations assessment to see how we can help you get your life back on track. Remember, the sooner that you get help for your addiction, the better your chances are for a successful and long-term recovery.

Shafa Home is country’s premier organization for treatment of alcohol/drug problems, de-addiction, rehabilitation, counseling, treatment for females, nasha mukti , psychiatric disorders and secondary addictions like gambling, internet etc.

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