a-new-chapter-of-my-life-begins

Evidence-Based Addiction Treatment Explained

This is an interesting article I found on: www.psychcentral.com

See credits below.


12-step programs are an incomplete approach and do not meet the requirements for evidence-based treatment because they lack biomedical and psychological components, and they use a one-size-fits-all approach.

When looking for treatment for addiction, there is a lot of information out there and countless opinions. Friends, family, doctors, researchers, and people in recovery all have their own beliefs about what you need to do to get well.

Unlike in other areas of healthcare, addiction treatment is often deemed “effective” based on anecdotal reports. In fact, most people who seek or are forced into treatment do not receive health care that is aligned with evidence-based practice.

A frequently-cited definition comes from a 1996 article in the BMJ Medical Journal: evidence-based “means integrating individual clinical expertise with the best available external clinical evidence from systematic research.” Other definitions also include the patient’s individual circumstances, preferences, expectations, and values.

These variables are not necessarily constant, and there is no one-size-fits-all solution; any list of evidence-based treatments is going to include a wide variety of approaches.

What Is Addiction?

In the United States, addiction is still treated more as a crime than as a chronic illness or disorder. Until that perspective changes, treatments will not meet their full potential and will not be as effective as they could be. Addiction, or substance use disorder (SUD), is a chronic medical condition that has remissions, relapses, and genetic components.

Are Relapses Normal?

A relapse is not a failure but a symptom. The brain of a person with SUD has gone through neurobiological changes that increase the risk of relapse because the damaged reward pathways stick around much longer than the substances stay in the body. Stressful events and other painful life experiences can trigger that maladaptive coping mechanism and cause a relapse.

For other chronic illnesses we would consider a relapse to be an unfortunate symptom of the disease, and we might call it a recurrence instead of a relapse. When successfully managed, the condition is considered to be in remission. Remission is a term that is relatively new in addition treatment; substance use disorder was not always believed to be a disease but rather a moral failing and a problem of willpower. We now understand that addiction is a chronic medical condition and that remission is the goal of treatment. Remission, as defined by the American Society of Addiction Medicine, is “a state of wellness where there is an abatement of signs and symptoms that characterize active addiction.”

What Is Successful Addiction Treatment?

Let’s take a look at what it means to have an effective treatment outcome in terms of addiction. The primary goal is usually abstinence or at least a “clinically meaningful reduction in substance use.” To measure effectiveness, we must look at how and if treatment improves the quality of life for the patient. Improving quality of life is the aim when treating all chronic conditions that have no cure.

Evidence-based therapies do not support the notion of “hitting bottom.” As with any chronic disease, early intervention is going to provide the best outcomes.

Even more effective than early intervention is prevention because SUDs are both preventable and treatable…

Find out more about evidence-based treatment — including different therapies, holistic care, and whether 12-step programs are evidence based — in the original article What Is Evidence-Based Addiction Treatment? at The Fix.

View Original Article

Hope you enjoyed reading this article.
Please feel free to share!

Narcissistic Families: Growing Up in the War Zone

This is an interesting article I found on: www.psychcentral.com

See credits below.


When you are raised in a narcissistic family it can feel like there is no help.

Parents who are narcissistic are often self-focussed. They will relate to their children as “self-adjuncts” serving to support them and their image of themselves.

Do something that reflects well on them and you are suddenly the Golden Child. Make a mistake, ask for help or express your vulnerability, and you are on your own or worse, ridiculed.

Children in this situation learn quickly that their needs are unwelcome. Because they are raised to ignore, undermine or suppress their natural sense of who they are, they become alienated from their authentic selves. It can take a lot of work in therapy to unravel this masking process and reveal the true self.

Often this fragile and undermined true self will be associated with intense shame.

Parents who are narcissistic will normally shame a child for asking for her needs to be met, because they are considered inconvenient. Having an imperfect, needy child can bring the narcissist back in contact with their own denied vulnerability, the unfolding shame causing them to become hostile and shaming towards their child. This temporarily rids them of their shame and puts it into the child, who becomes a convenient long-term container for the parent’s unconscious projections.

This shaming process is intensely destructive for young children — the younger they are, the more damaging it will be. Narcissistic parents often don’t provide the soothing and reassurance needed by the child to cope with the overwhelming emotional states accompanying these shame experiences. A child in this situation will develop their own coping mechanisms, usually leading to the splitting off of traumatic memories around the abuse and sometimes, dissociation.

Shame is the fundamental weak spot for narcissists.

Their vulnerability around shame will make them project it onto others, including their children.

Because they are hardwired for attachment, all children will gravitate towards an attachment figure, working to maintain a relationship with parents and looking for support, soothing, nourishment and validation. But the narcissistic parent is often unable or unwilling to provide the emotional validation needed by the growing child. They will be too caught up in their own needs to be attuned to their child or to provide the sensitive responses which help children learn to understand their own emotions.

In some cases these narcissistic parents will be overwhelmed by their own history of trauma.

Being confronted by the emotional needs of a child can bring up painful, sometimes dissociated memories of their own infancy and childhood. These experiences will be more than enough to prevent them from being able to empathize with their children.

A child in this environment soon learns that their emotions are overwhelming for the parent and will unconsciously lose contact with their genuine responses and feelings, understanding that these are likely to be met with hostility.

Narcissistic families often operate in an atmosphere of enmeshment and secrecy, where there is a lack of healthy boundaries and open dialogue. Communication will be unclear, perhaps tangential. Those who ask for what they want will soon learn that this is not welcome. Emotions will not be verbalized, but will be acted out (or “behaved”) sometimes with violence or verbal abuse. At times, addictive behaviors will be used to mask the pain of underlying feelings, making the parent even less available to their children.

A narcissistic home can at times resemble a war zone, with hidden traps and exploding emotions.

The non-narcissistic parent will be desperate to avoid triggering their partner, hoping that things will be OK, but never really knowing what they will come home to.

Often the non-narcissistic parent will deny their own emotions and dependency needs, tiptoeing around the narcissist in a misguided attempt to manage the destructive anger that can tip over into violence and abuse.

For young children, the unpredictability and unspoken tension of a home like this can be particularly harmful. Most children who experience these environments will develop trauma responses, including the complex trauma response.

As adults, these children will often be unaware of the trauma they experienced. They will be vulnerable to depression and anxiety — and loneliness. Some will find a way to manage their unacknowledged pain through addictions. Others will be left wondering why they find it hard to relate to others — or to trust.

It is only through psychotherapy that these neglected children will come to understand themselves and eventually come to terms with the pain of their past.

Narcissistic Families: Growing Up in the War Zone

Related Articles

View Original Article

Hope you enjoyed reading this article.
Please feel free to share!

5 Myths and Facts About Drug Rehab

This is an interesting article I found on: www.goodtherapy.org

See credits below.


Drug abuse is a serious health concern. Overdose-related deaths in the United States have reached epidemic level. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimate an average of 130 people die from opioid overdose each day. This number doesn’t take into account deaths related to other drugs, which may increase this number.

Any drug use can become dangerous. Marijuana, now legal for medicinal and recreational use in many states, may help relieve pain, chemotherapy side effects, and symptoms of mental health concerns such as anxiety and posttraumatic stress. Research has also suggested marijuana may help treat addiction in some people. But despite these potential benefits, it can become addictive and could have health effects such as short-term memory impairment, impaired brain function, and respiratory health issues, among others.

Recreational use of illegal substances, even short-term use, can have serious health effects, including anxiety, paranoia, depression, suicidal thoughts, hallucinations, nausea, increased heart rate and blood pressure, and more. There’s also a risk of death due to overdose or complications. Long-term use of certain drugs could increase risk of violent behavior and may lead to legal trouble. Abusing drugs can also lead to drug dependency, or addiction.

Rehab can help people who’ve reached their absolute low work to overcome addiction, but it can also help people begin to break free of addiction before it significantly impacts their lives.

If you’re experiencing addiction, you’re not alone. According to statistics from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, more than 20 million Americans experienced a substance abuse disorder in 2014. Addiction can be difficult to overcome, no matter how hard a person tries. Professional support, in the form of inpatient or outpatient drug rehab, can benefit many people living with drug addiction.

Myths about drug rehab are plentiful. If you’re considering rehab for yourself or a loved one, making sure you have all the facts will help you make a more informed decision. Here, we present five common myths about drug rehab and the facts to counter them.

Drug Rehab Myths and Facts

Myth: Only wealthy people go to rehab.
Fact: Anyone can go to rehab.

It’s true that drug rehab can become expensive. Some people may not even consider inpatient rehab an option, believing it to be out of their budget. But the cost of drug rehab can depend on a number of factors, and there are rehab options for a range of budgets. See our article here for a more detailed explanation of rehab costs.

Some drug rehab centers offer low-cost or sliding-scale fees, based on your income. According to the 2012 National Survey of Substance Abuse, 62% of rehab facilities charge based on a sliding scale. Facilities may also offer payment programs or other types of financial assistance to people in need. Many drug rehab centers accept insurance, though not all insurance providers cover rehab.

When considering rehab, talk to your insurance provider and the rehab facility you’re interested in to get a better idea of the cost involved. Some centers may be able to work with you or refer you to another quality center that is more affordable. If the cost of inpatient rehab is a barrier, you might also consider outpatient drug rehab programs.

Myth: Rehab is for when you hit “rock bottom.”
Fact: You can begin recovering from addiction at any time.

Many people go to rehab when no other treatment option has worked. Often, they’ve lived with addiction for many years. Rehab can help people who’ve reached their absolute low work to overcome addiction, but it can also help people begin to break free of addiction before it significantly impacts their lives. Research suggests early intervention helps improve treatment outcomes.

Addiction not only contributes to emotional and physical health concerns, it can also lead to homelessness, unemployment, debt, and breakup or divorce. Choosing to enter rehab when you first find yourself becoming dependent on substances can help you begin the recovery process before addiction can have more of an effect on your life.

Myth: Rehab is only for people who can’t quit on their own.
Fact: Anyone experiencing addiction can get help in rehab.

The idea that addiction only happens to weak or flawed people is widespread. It might seem logical: Many people experiment with drugs, but not everyone becomes addicted. But drug abuse alters brain chemistry and affects cognitive function, leading to cravings for the substance and eventually addiction. Certain factors, including genetics, can increase a person’s risk for addiction.

Although a person might choose to try drugs, they don’t choose to become addicted. Once addicted, many people can’t stop using drugs without professional help. Needing rehab isn’t a sign of weakness. Changes in the brain resulting from addiction can make it extremely challenging, if not impossible, to stop using drugs without the support of health care providers trained in addiction support.

Whether you’ve tried to stop using drugs and relapsed or are just beginning to realize you may have a problem with substance abuse, rehab can help you begin recovery.

Myth: Rehab will prevent a person from relapsing.
Fact: Relapse is common, but treatment can help reduce its impact.

Between 40 and 60% of people dealing with addiction will relapse, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. While rehab may help reduce your risk of relapse, completing a drug rehab program doesn’t guarantee you’ll never relapse.

But rehab still has benefit. Research shows rehab can help by helping you develop skills to resist cravings, making relapse less likely. If you do relapse, the length of the relapse may be shorter. People who participate in treatment programs such as rehab also tend to relapse fewer times than people who don’t. Rehab can also lead to improvements in your relationships with friends, family, and loved ones. Developing stronger bonds with people you care for can also decrease the likelihood of relapse.

Myth: Rehab doesn’t work if you force someone to go.
Fact: Rehab can work even if you don’t want treatment.

Some people choose to enter rehab on their own, but some people experiencing addiction may not see its effects on their life, or they may not believe they have a problem with substance abuse. They may only decide to enter rehab grudgingly, after a court order or intervention from loved ones.

Being issued an ultimatum or feeling otherwise “forced” into rehab could make some people resistant to treatment, at first. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, however, people who feel pressured to overcome addiction in order to maintain an important relationship or avoid criminal charges, for example, often do better in treatment, even though they didn’t choose to enter rehab on their own.

Substance abuse and addiction can have serious, lifelong consequences. But there is help. Drug rehab may seem like an extreme measure, but this is partially due to the many myths surrounding rehab treatment.

Numerous studies support the benefits of rehab for addiction recovery. Inpatient centers provide a safe place to begin the detox and recovery process at any stage of addiction. Some facilities are expensive, but it’s possible to find affordable centers that will work with you to find a treatment program that’s right for your needs and your budget.

Don’t let myths about drug rehab keep you from getting addiction recovery support. Compassionate care is available! Begin your search today at GoodTherapy. Recovery may be a lifelong journey, but you are not alone.

References:

  1. American Addiction Centers. (2019, February 14). How much does rehab cost? Retrieved from https://americanaddictioncenters.org/alcohol-rehab/cost
  2. American Addiction Centers. (2018, October 15). Rehab success rates and statistics. Retrieved from https://americanaddictioncenters.org/rehab-guide/success-rates-and-statistics
  3. Blending perspectives and building common ground. Myths and facts about addiction treatment. (1999, April 1). U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from https://aspe.hhs.gov/report/blending-perspectives-and-building-common-ground/myths-and-facts-about-addiction-and-treatment
  4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2018, December 19). Understanding the epidemic. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/drugoverdose/epidemic/index.html
  5. Leshner, A. I. (n.d.). Exploring myths about drug abuse. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved from https://archives.drugabuse.gov/exploring-myths-about-drug-abuse
  6. Mayo Clinic. (2017, July 20). Intervention: Help a loved one overcome addiction. Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/mental-illness/in-depth/intervention/art-20047451
  7. Mayo Clinic. (2017, October 26). Drug addiction (substance use disorder). Retrieved from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/drug-addiction/symptoms-causes/syc-20365112
  8. National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. (2017). The health effects of cannabis and cannabinoids: The current state of evidence and recommendations for research. Retrieved from http://nationalacademies.org/hmd/reports/2017/health-effects-of-cannabis-and-cannabinoids.aspx
  9. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Drugs, brains, and behavior: The science of addiction. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery
  10. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2018). Is marijuana addictive? Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/marijuana-addictive
  11. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2015). Behavioral health trends in the United States: Results from the 2014 national survey on drug use and health. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/data/sites/default/files/NSDUH-FRR1-2014/NSDUH-FRR1-2014.pdf
  12. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2016). Early intervention, treatment, and management of substance use disorders. In Facing addiction in America: The surgeon general’s report on alcohol, drugs, and health [Internet]. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK424859
  13. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. (2019, January 30). Mental health and substance use disorders. Retrieved from https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help/disorders
  14. Walsh, Z., Gonzalez, R., Crosby, K., Thiessena, M. S., Carrolla, C., & Bonn-Miller, M. O. (2017). Medical cannabis and mental health: A guided systematic review. Clinical Psychology Review, 51, 15-29. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0272735816300939?via%3Dihub
  15. Weber, L. (2015, July 11). How much does inpatient rehab cost? Retrieved from https://addictionblog.org/rehab/inpatient-rehab/how-much-does-inpatient-rehab-cost

© Copyright 2019 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

Original Article

Hope you enjoyed reading this article.
Please feel free to share!

Podcast: Hypersexuality with a Bipolar and Schizophrenic

This is an interesting article I found on: www.psychcentral.com

See credits below.




Hypersexuality is a very common symptom of bipolar mania and a potential symptom of schizophrenia, as well. Both Gabe and Michelle have experienced being hypersexual, but because of their ages and genders, it manifested itself in different ways.

However, their personal differences aside, there is one thing that both our hosts completely agree on. . . Listen now to find out.

SUBSCRIBE & REVIEW

Google PlaySpotify

“Hypersexuality is not a good thing. It was a need that I had to fill.”
– Gabe Howard

Highlights From ‘Hypersexuality’’ Episode

[1:40] What is the correct definition of hypersexuality?

[4:30] The history of sex as we understand it.

[6:45] Why hypersexuality is not a good thing.

[10:00] Being hypersexual in the digital age.

[12:30] Gabe & Michelle explain Sex Bingo.

[16:30] Is hypersexuality a compulsion, like addiction?

[22:00] It’s important to have sex safe, no matter what.

Computer Generated Transcript for ‘Hypersexuality with a Bipolar and Schizophrenic’ Show

Editor’s Note: Please be mindful that this transcript has been computer generated and therefore may contain inaccuracies and grammar errors. Thank you.

Announcer: [00:00:07] For reasons that utterly escape everyone involved, you’re listening to A Bipolar, A Schizophrenic, and A Podcast. Here are your hosts, Gabe Howard and Michelle Hammer.

Gabe: [00:00:18] You’re listening to A Bipolar, A Schizophrenic, and A Podcast. My name is Gabe Howard. I have bipolar.

Michelle: [00:00:23] Hi, I’m Michelle, I’m schizophrenic.

Gabe: [00:00:26] And today we’re going to talk about sex.

Michelle: [00:00:28] Sex? I don’t know if it is gay. What is that? Is this sex ed?

Gabe: [00:00:32] I think that it’s funny that you’re already uncomfortable. The great Michelle Hammer is not uncomfortable about anything, anything until two things happen. A microphone flips on and you think that your mom might be listening.

Michelle: [00:00:46] When I learned sex ed in fifth grade, that video showed me where I was going to grow hair.

Gabe: [00:00:51] Oh, my God. That I… You have left me speechless. You know,… this… it’s…We’re going to talk a lot about specifically hypersexuality, because it’s one of those things that a lot of people with bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, it happens. It’s a part of mania. It’s a part of delusional thinking. It’s something that feels good and then gets twisted, which is mental illness’ is specialty.

Michelle: [00:01:14] I hope you don’t start twisting when you have sex. I hope nothing gets twisted when you start having sex. I don’t want anything twisting on you.

Gabe: [00:01:21] Listen, the way that I have sex is my personal business.

Michelle: [00:01:24] Fine, twist it up. You know, when it when it hangs low tie it in a knot and tie it in a bow. Hang it over your shoulder.

Gabe: [00:01:29] I wish people could see how uncomfortable Michelle is. She is she is as red as my hair right now. Before we talk about hypersexuality too much, we should define it using real words.

Michelle: [00:01:44] OK.

Gabe: [00:01:44] Hypersexuality is defined as a dysfunctional preoccupation with sexual fantasy, often in combination with the obsessive pursuit of casual or non intimate sex, pornography, compulsive masturbation, romantic intensity and objectified partner sex for a period of at least six months. Even its definition doesn’t sound sexy. Yet, people think that it does sound sexy because people think that hypersexuality simply means lots of sex. And it just doesn’t.

Michelle: [00:02:12] It doesn’t.

Gabe: [00:02:13] It doesn’t. But we should also cover what hypersexuality is not. It’s not looking at porn. That doesn’t make you hypersexual. It’s not engaging in fetishes or being aroused by things that maybe you consider to be atypical. It’s not homosexuality. It’s not being bisexual. That’s not hypersexuality, that’s not sexual addiction. That’s none of the things that we’re talking about. Hypersexuality is when you use sex to really regulate your emotions and your feelings. If you have a bad day, you have to have sex. And that’s not normal. Most people don’t consistently utilize sexual arousal as a means of feeling better when having a bad day. Healthy people reach out to friends and their family members for support when they’re upset. If you get upset and the first thing you want is sex, if you have a bad day and the first thing that you want is sex, if you have a good day and the first thing that you want is sex. If all of your high or low emotions, your extreme emotions, are driving you to have sex. That’s what hypersexuality is. We’re going to go off on the biggest tangent the show has ever had. We’re just gonna forget that we’re mentally ill.

Michelle: [00:03:17] Oh, God. Okay.

Gabe: [00:03:17] What is it about sex that makes our society just, I mean, we literally use scantily clad women to sell gum. But talking about sex makes almost everybody uncomfortable. Like, what’s up with that?

Michelle: [00:03:30] I don’t really know what’s up with that. It’s something you’re not supposed to talk about sex. But, we all know what was it? What was that? Salt-N-Pepa? Let’s talk about sex, baby. Let’s talk about you and me. I mean, it obviously has been a problem for a long time if a son had to talk about it.

Gabe: [00:03:45] That’s fair. And that song is like really like you’ve dated me. Like I was in high school when that song came out

Michelle: [00:03:50] I was like in elementary school, or younger, or a fetus. I don’t even know.

Gabe: [00:03:54] I’m picturing like a nine year old Michelle Hammer sing Salt-N_Pepa.

Michelle: [00:03:58] I don’t think I was probably allowed to listen to that song when it came out.

Gabe: [00:04:01] When have you ever only done what you’re allowed to do?

Michelle: [00:04:05] I know. Sneaking watching 90210. Yeah. R.I.P. Luke Perry, R.I.P.

Gabe: [00:04:09] Aww, R.I.P. Luke Perry

Michelle: [00:04:09] R.I.P.

Gabe: [00:04:09] Sadness

Michelle: [00:04:13] Dylan McKay, miss you forever.

Gabe: [00:04:13] You know, 90210 was another show about teenagers who had a lot of sex. You weren’t allowed to watch it because of all of the sex that was in it. And that show was geared toward high schoolers.

Michelle: [00:04:25] But I was much younger than that.

Gabe: [00:04:26] Well, yes, but my point is, is that sex is everywhere. But yet when it comes to talking about sex from a medical perspective, and that’s really where the show is going to end up eventually, I promise. Why do we have such a problem with it?

Michelle: [00:04:41] It’s been a problem throughout society. I know that the beginning of the women’s sexual anything. Back in the day, women would go to the doctor and they would pull out like the vibrator and vibrate on the women’s clit. And then they would have an orgasm. And that’s like a medical thing they used to do because they didn’t know that women actually were supposed to feel pleasure from sex.

Gabe: [00:05:00] It is interesting that you bring that up because that’s absolutely true. A lot of people don’t realize that the modern day vibrator used to be a medical device. It was created in asylums to calm down hysterical women. Hysterical. Hysterectomy. These are words because doctors believed women’s reproductive organs were tied to their mental health. The sex study was started by Kinsey and he started a whole foundation where they polled a whole bunch of people anonymously about their sexual proclivities. The things that they liked, the things that they didn’t like. Kinsey learned so much about sexuality that people just did not understand in the 50s.

Michelle: [00:05:39] Like what?

Gabe: [00:05:40] Like that people like to have sex. Or that women could orgasm or, and this was big, that women masturbated. There was this misunderstanding that women did not like, enjoy, or want sex, that it was a chore for them. It was a marital obligation. It was literally their marital duty.

Michelle: [00:05:57] The lie back and think of England?

Gabe: [00:06:00] Yeah, we believed as a society that this was true. And then we found out through a lot of, thank God for science, that it turns out that women like sex. But a lot of women…

Michelle: [00:06:10] Yeah, good thing for you, Gabe. Thank God. Hey, what would you do if women didn’t like sex?

Gabe: [00:06:14] Well, but see, that’s the thing, though. Our society was so messed up that even though women didn’t like sex, they were still expected to have it.

Michelle: [00:06:23] I see what you’re saying.

Gabe: [00:06:23] We believed as a society that women did not enjoy sex. Yet they were required to do it. And we had phrases like “wifely duties.” This all segues into hypersexuality because there is probably not a more misunderstood symptom. Because the number one thing that people think about hypersexuality is that it’s awesome. They think it’s fun. People think hypersexuality is somehow good. It’s not. We’re gonna talk about a lot of stuff, and some of it we’re not gonna have horrible memories of because, hey, this is our lives. We don’t want to regret everything. But the underlying message in this entire show is that hypersexuality takes from you. It doesn’t give. It just doesn’t. There is a world of difference between having a lot of sex, which is good, and hypersexuality, which is not good. And nobody seems to understand that. Everybody thinks that one hypersexuality is fun and two hypersexuality is not a symptom of a serious problem.

Michelle: [00:07:27] What do you think about that?

[00:07:29] I think that I thought the same thing. I think that I thought that hyper exuality was having a lot of sex. It kind of sounds like it, doesn’t it? Hypersexuality, lots of sex, having sex furiously.

Michelle: [00:07:41] You say you’re hypersexual, yes?

Gabe: [00:07:41] Before medication, before treatment, before everything? Yeah. Yeah.

Michelle: [00:07:47] So you did not enjoy it?

Gabe: [00:07:49] Did I enjoy having a lot of sex? Yes. Because here’s the thing that I want to explain, it was a compulsion. It was a need that I had to fill. So by filling it, I got relief from.

Michelle: [00:08:01] Was the need like you’re so horny or is the need that you want to be with somebody?

Gabe: [00:08:07] Oh, it had nothing to do with the other person. Hyper sexuality has nothing to do with your partner.

Michelle: [00:08:10] So you were just like horny, horny, horny, horny, horny, horny, horny.

Gabe: [00:08:14] I don’t know that I would say horny, horny, horny, horny. Well, I’d say that it’s almost like an alcoholic that has to drink. They’re not thirsty. They’re compelled to do it. Or, you ever take a pack of cigarettes away from a smoker?

Michelle: [00:08:25] Yeah.

Gabe: [00:08:26] They’re just so desperate for that cigarette that they’re not even enjoying it anymore. And they’re yelling at people and they’re screaming and they’re bumming cigarettes off people and they’re angry. And then when they finally get that cigarette, they feel better. But really? That does not look like a person who’s enjoying it. Or are they just compelled? It’s a compulsion. Michelle, you have also been hypersexual. Was it something that you enjoyed or was it something that was required?

Michelle: [00:08:51] It was almost like a fun game.

Gabe: [00:08:53] A fun game?

Michelle: [00:08:54] A fun game. Yeah.

Gabe: [00:08:55] Really? So in your mind, hypersexuality and monopoly are like equivalents.

Michelle: [00:09:01] Yeah.

Gabe: [00:09:02] Were you the hat?

Michelle: [00:09:03] I sure. I don’t know. I don’t know all the characters in Monopoly. I’ve only ever played Monopoly Junior.

Gabe: [00:09:08] I love how you said the “characters” in Monopoly rather than the tokens.

Michelle: [00:09:12] I don’t even know they’re called tokens, but whatever. I am not that familiar with Monopoly. I’m not attracted to the monopoly, man.

Gabe: [00:09:18] But you’re familiar with it?

Michelle: [00:09:19] Nobody ever paid me two hundred dollars for passing “Go.”

Gabe: [00:09:20] Oh, you knew a reference?

Michelle: [00:09:23] Yes. If I got paid two hundred dollars every time when I made a man pass go, I’d have a lot of money.

Gabe: [00:09:30] How much money, Michelle?

Michelle: [00:09:32] More than two hundred dollars.

Gabe: [00:09:34] More than 400 dollars?

Michelle: [00:09:35] Perhaps. Hold up. Here’s our sponsor.

Announcer: [00:09:39] This episode is sponsored by BetterHelp.com. Secure, convenient, and affordable online counselling. All counselors are licensed, accredited professionals. Anything you share is confidential. Schedule secure video or phone sessions, plus chat and text with your therapist, whenever you feel it’s needed. A month of online therapy often costs less than a single traditional face to face session. Go to BetterHelp.com/PsychCentral and experience seven days of free therapy to see if online counselling is right for you. BetterHelp.com/PsychCentral.

Gabe: [00:10:10] We’re back talking hypersexuality. We experienced hypersexuality n very different ways because male and female. But we also experienced hypersexuality differently because generationally, we’re over a decade apart. During my biggest hypersexual times, you know, there wasn’t Tinder. There wasn’t the Internet. There wasn’t online dating services. I had to go out to bars and find people. How was it different for you? Because you just hopped on Tinder and people came to your house?

Michelle: [00:10:37] It’s actually also living in New York City. Tinder can be very easy. You go on Tinder and you put it on one mile radius.

Gabe: [00:10:46] Really?

Michelle: [00:10:46] Yup, one mile radius. So you know who is in the neighborhood and you start getting messages that people you met you meet up with like, oh, you’re in Astoria? I’m in Astoria. Oh, you’re so close. We’re in Astoria over there. Oh, wow. We’re neighbors. Oh, we’re neighbors. That’s so cool. You’re so convenient. Well, I’m like, yeah, this guy doesn’t realize that I put it on one mile radius.

Gabe: [00:11:06] Did you regret it? Like when it was over, did you think, oh, I’m a bad person or did you not care?

Michelle: [00:11:11] Oh, I didn’t care.

Gabe: [00:11:12] That’s interesting. Do you think that is the typical experience of the average female? On one hand, you’re like, oh, I didn’t care. I was fine with it. But yet you are embarrassed by it.

Michelle: [00:11:20] It’s not that I’m embarrassed by it. It’s just there’s judgment about it. I mean, a lot of girls wouldn’t do stuff like that, but I don’t think anyone should judge anybody by what they choose to do as long as you’re being safe. I think what’s more judgmental is that you let a stranger into your home because you never know, you know? Like murders.

Gabe: [00:11:41] Did you learn hundreds upon hundreds of strangers in to your home?

Michelle: [00:11:43] Not hundreds upon hundreds. Are you nuts? I didn’t let hundreds. Come on.

Gabe: [00:11:45] So like dozens?

Michelle: [00:11:47] Possibly. I don’t know.

Gabe: [00:11:49] So you lost count?

Michelle: [00:11:51] Oh, I have no idea. The count. Do you know your count?

Gabe: [00:11:54] Yes.

Michelle: [00:11:55] You know your count?

Gabe: [00:11:55] I don’t know what exactly, but I know that it’s in the hundreds.

Michelle: [00:12:00] I’m not in the hundreds, Gabe, I’m nowhere near the hundreds.

Gabe: [00:12:02] Thanks. That was very judgy.

Michelle: [00:12:03] I wasn’t judging you.

Gabe: [00:12:05] Yes, you were.

Michelle: [00:12:06] Shut up. But I played a game, so I was with a therapist, but not my therapist. Don’t worry. I’ve been with a psychologist, not my psychologist. But I always wanted the trifecta and get a psychiatrist. I haven’t done that, and I don’t know if that’s going to happen. But wouldn’t that be awesome?

Gabe: [00:12:20] This is where you scare me sometimes. Because I had sex with a psychologist. I also had sex with a therapist.

Michelle: [00:12:28] Oh, no.

Gabe: [00:12:29] And I absolutely, unequivocally want to have sex with a psychiatrist.

Michelle: [00:12:33] Oh, my God, no, I’m Gabe.

Gabe: [00:12:35] You know, I call this game sex bingo.

Michelle: [00:12:39] Yes, it is such sex bingo.

Gabe: [00:12:41] Is it healthy, though?

Michelle: [00:12:42] Wait, can we make a game called sex bingo?

Gabe: [00:12:45] I already did. This is my game. I’ve been playing it since I was 19 years old.

Michelle: [00:12:51] And do you have races, different races and religions on your sex bingo?

Gabe: [00:12:55] I really go by like personality traits and or jobs.

Michelle: [00:12:58] Gingers? Brown hair?

Gabe: [00:12:58] I don’t really care about hair color.

Michelle: [00:13:00] Doctor, lawyer?

Gabe: [00:13:02] Lawyer.

Michelle: [00:13:03] I have lawyer.

Gabe: [00:13:05] You have lawyer?

Michelle: [00:13:05] I have lawyer.

Gabe: [00:13:06] I don’t have lawyer. What’s the free spot? Oh, yeah, masturbation. That was a freebie right there.

Michelle: [00:13:14] Your hand.

Gabe: [00:13:14] Your hand?

Michelle: [00:13:16] Or your vibrator.

Gabe: [00:13:18] What do you think of the fleshlight?

Michelle: [00:13:20] I have never used a fleshlight because I’m a woman.

Gabe: [00:13:22] Yeah, that was a stupid question.

Michelle: [00:13:24] Me and my friends were in a bar with a bunch of firefighters one time. And the firefighters, they were saying that one over there, he’s got a fleshlight. So we all started talking to him about his fleshlight. And he’s like, well, you know, with a fleshlight, you don’t have to talk to them before and after.

Gabe: [00:13:39] Wow.

Michelle: [00:13:39] Yeah, that’s what he said.

Gabe: [00:13:40] Did that make him more or less attractive to you?

Michelle: [00:13:43] Much less attractive.

Gabe: [00:13:43] Really?

Michelle: [00:13:45] He doesn’t want to talk to a girl before and after? He’d rather just bone his fleshlight?

Gabe: [00:13:50] This is the core difference, I think, between men and women. Not like across the board. But if a woman said that to me, I don’t want to talk before and after, I’d be like, excellent. This could work. Not any more, though. We have both grown tremendously as people because we do know people who listen to this show and they’re like, oh my God. For example, my wife listens. And if somebody is a first timer listening to the show, they’re like, wait, that guy’s married? Oh, my God. But this was.

Michelle: [00:14:17] Tell her to become a psychiatrist.

Gabe: [00:14:20] This is an excellent idea. You know, you should tell your significant other to become a psychiatrist.

Michelle: [00:14:25] Oh, that’s a good idea.

Gabe: [00:14:25] Oh, my God. Why didn’t we think of this? Oh, my God, what if, now that we are monogamous, our sex bingo should really be about getting our significant other as many jobs as possible.

Michelle: [00:14:37] [Laughter]

Gabe: [00:14:37] We’re gonna have the most successful spouses in the world.

Michelle: [00:14:42] Yes.

Gabe: [00:14:42] Hi. What do you do for a living? I’m a doctor, a lawyer, a psychiatrist, a brain surgeon.

Michelle: [00:14:46] A pilot?

Gabe: [00:14:47] I’m a pilot. I’m an engineer. What is your max number in a day?

Michelle: [00:14:53] Three.

Gabe: [00:14:54] Oh, only three?

Michelle: [00:14:55] Only three.

Gabe: [00:14:57] You only had sex with three people in one day.

Michelle: [00:14:59] I believe.

Gabe: [00:14:59] That’s …

Michelle: [00:15:01] Is that a lot?

Gabe: [00:15:01] No.

Michelle: [00:15:02] I really hope my mom listens to this.

Gabe: [00:15:04] I mean.

Michelle: [00:15:05] Well, let her know.

Gabe: [00:15:06] I’m worried, though, because one of the reasons that I enjoy doing this show with you is because at the end of the day, you’re just as fucked up as me.

Michelle: [00:15:12] Yeah.

Gabe: [00:15:12] But my max number in a day is significantly higher.

Michelle: [00:15:15] Well, I’m not surprised by that one.

Gabe: [00:15:18] Thanks. That’s terrible. You’ve never hired sex workers, though?

Michelle: [00:15:24] No, I have not.

Gabe: [00:15:25] Is that because women just don’t have to? Is it because you didn’t want to? Or is it just because you exist in the age of Tinder?

Michelle: [00:15:32] I exist in the age of Tinder, where it’s free for girls. I wouldn’t even know where to go to get a male sex worker, at all. No, I wouldn’t even know where to go. And why would I do that when Tinder is free?

Gabe: [00:15:44] When you reflect back on hypersexuality, you don’t have the same gut wrenching horror feeling that I do. Why do you think that is? Do you think that you’ve just rejected a lot of societal stereotypes, or the pressure that society gives young women? Do you think this is because you’re such a strong feminist?

Michelle: [00:16:02] I just…

Gabe: [00:16:03] Because I feel awful.

Michelle: [00:16:04] I think it’s just feminism. I need to just see you live your life. You do what you want to do. You don’t feel embarrassed by it. You shouldn’t feel ashamed. Other people, my friends, they’re like, what did you do? And I’m like, I did what I wanted to do. You can judge me. I really don’t care. I don’t care.

Gabe: [00:16:21] For me, one of the things that I dislike so much about hypersexuality is it wasn’t about having fun for me. It was about having sex and while having sex, I would be thinking about when I was gonna be able to have sex again. So I wasn’t even enjoying it in the moment. I had to. I think that’s the thing that maybe a lot of people don’t understand about hypersexuality. I had to. I didn’t want to. I didn’t enjoy it. I had to. I didn’t get any enjoyment from having sex. It was a chore that I had to do.

Michelle: [00:16:51] Mine was definitely not a chore. It was more of a like, kind of, almost a manic kind of a game, really.

Gabe: [00:16:57] So hypersexuality exists on a spectrum much like everything else.

Michelle: [00:17:00] Yeah.

Gabe: [00:17:02] You would say then that maybe you had like hypersexuality lite? And, I’m not judging it in any way. I just, there’s got to be a big difference between somebody who in a 24 hour period is like, hey, I’ll go have sex with three people and now I’m cool. And somebody that says I’ve had sex with 21 people and say, I need more. I need more.

Michelle: [00:17:18] Yeah. That’s a lot different. I wasn’t like craving and craving and craving and craving. It was more just like the thrill of the whole thing.

Gabe: [00:17:26] You know, in addition to the sex act, did you feel that the other person was validating you?

Michelle: [00:17:32] I don’t know. I think it’s kind of hot when somebody, like, wants you. You kind of feel hot when, you know, like I feel hot. I don’t know. You just feel wanted. You feel like, yea, they’re totally into me, you know?

Gabe: [00:17:43] I do. I do. And I think in addition to hypersexuality, I had like co-morbid disorders going on. Because not only did I have to have sex, not only was there this compulsion to have sex, but when somebody was willing to have sex with me, they were telling me I was worthwhile for something. They were saying, hey, you’re not terrible. I needed that reassurance that at least I wasn’t garbage.

Michelle: [00:18:07] And Gabe, can we bring up how you lost your virginity 18 times?

Gabe: [00:18:11] I did. I lost my virginity 18 times.

Michelle: [00:18:13] Tell that story, please. Why did you say it 18 times? And why did they believe you 18 times? Because that is so funny.

Gabe: [00:18:20] I was so desperate to have sex that I would just literally say whatever it took to have sex. And, you know, I was a 500 pound guy. And remember, I don’t have Tinder and none of this stuff existed. I didn’t have the Internet. I didn’t have smartphones. I had to go out to bars and find people to have sex with.

Michelle: [00:18:36] That sounds terrible.

Gabe: [00:18:37] And I still had my personality. I was still charismatic. I was still funny. I was still people were flocked to me. But that wasn’t sealing the deal because I weighed 500 pounds. I weighed, you know, anywhere from 450 to five hundred fifty pounds. And people were just like, yeah, I don’t know. He’s kind of fat. So I came up with, well, frankly, a ruse. I told people that I was a virgin. Then they thought, oh, my God, this guy is so nice. He’s so kind. He’s so funny. Oh, I’ll take his virginity for him. I mean, I’ve got to give him a shot in the world. And once I realized this worked, I did it 18 times.

Michelle: [00:19:10] That’s so funny that you did that.

Gabe: [00:19:13] Is it funny or is it sad or a combination of both?

Michelle: [00:19:16] It’s both.

Gabe: [00:19:17] Yeah, both.

Michelle: [00:19:17] I think it’s so funny that these women would feel like almost bad for you that they would have sex with you.

Gabe: [00:19:23] And that’s an interesting thing to think about as well. You know, women, we don’t think of them as in control of their own sexuality, but they were. And they thought to themselves, hey, you know, I don’t want to date this guy. I’m not even attracted to him. But, you know, he’s a good guy. And I want to give him a favor. We don’t think about it that way with men. You know, men, they have sex with people that they don’t want to date, that they’re not attracted to, etc. all the time because of convenience or desire or whatever. And people are like, oh, that’s perfectly normal. You know, we have these phrases like “men will stick it in anything.” But women? Women are discerning. They’re picky. And the reality is this has not been my experience. I can tell you with having sex with hundreds of people. Women are not picky. They are no pickier.

Michelle: [00:20:06] Some women are picky.

Gabe: [00:20:06] Of course, and some men are, too. I’m telling you, men and women think about sex much more alike. Again, in my experience, then people think.

Michelle: [00:20:18] Have you ever had sex in public?

Gabe: [00:20:20] Like with an audience watching?

Michelle: [00:20:21] No, not with an audience, but like maybe like in the woods, or by a lake, or just outdoors?

Gabe: [00:20:27] I don’t think that I’ve ever had sex outdoors like outside. But I’ve had sex in pretty much every bar bathroom in Ohio.

Michelle: [00:20:33] Eww, a bathroom? That’s disgusting.

Gabe: [00:20:36] But what are you going to do? You meet somebody. Where are you gonna go?

Michelle: [00:20:39] I’ve never had sex in a bathroom.

Gabe: [00:20:41] That is surprising.

Michelle: [00:20:42] Never.

Gabe: [00:20:43] Really?

Michelle: [00:20:44] Really.

Gabe: [00:20:45] I feel bad that I’m thinking you’re lying.

Michelle: [00:20:48] No, I’m really not lying. I’ve never had sex in a bathroom.

Gabe: [00:20:50] See, but again, you were meeting people like online so you could meet in like apartments or anything.

Michelle: [00:20:54] I didn’t. Yeah. Yeah, I see that. I see what you’re saying.

Gabe: [00:20:56] You know, you got to play this scenario.

Michelle: [00:20:58] Yeah?

Gabe: [00:20:58] So you’re horny. You’re out on the prowl. The local band is playing.

Michelle: [00:21:03] Bom bom bom bom.

Gabe: [00:21:05] It’s 1 a.m. and you’re into the person and you’re horny right now. That’s why you’re there. And they’re horny right now. That’s why they’re there. And they’re like, hey,.

Michelle: [00:21:14] I mean, I’ve done some on the dance floor make out. That’s what me and my friends in the city, we used to call it D, and no. D.F.M.O. Yeah, that’s it. DFMO. Dance floor make out.

Gabe: [00:21:21] So I did that except change dance floor make out to bathroom fuck session.

Michelle: [00:21:27] [Laughter]

Gabe: [00:21:29] Listen, on one hand, I’m not completely horrified by my past, but I want to make it clear these memories are largely showing how out of control I was and how desperate I was. And I am very lucky. I did practice safe sex. I always had condoms. I never had sex without protection. I was very, extraordinarily careful. But I know a lot of people that were very extraordinarily careful that still acquired a sexually transmitted disease or even worse, a baby.

Michelle: [00:21:59] Are you calling babies bad?

Gabe: [00:22:00] I’m not calling babies bad, but I’m saying that somebody that is so desperate and so out of control that they would have sex with a stranger in a bar at 1 a.m. and then those two have a baby?

Michelle: [00:22:11] Yeah, they shouldn’t be having a baby.

Gabe: [00:22:12] Yeah. What are the odds of good parenting there?

Michelle: [00:22:14] Yeah I see what you’re saying there.

Gabe: [00:22:15] And again, I was an untreated bipolar, hypersexual, desperate, and having sex with strangers in a bar. Does that sound like father material to you? Like when we think of our dads, is that what we’re thinking about?

Michelle: [00:22:27] Yeah.

Gabe: [00:22:27] We’re thinking about like stable, has a job, loving, caring.

Michelle: [00:22:31] You know, what’s funny about the whole thing? Is that my mom and my dad have been together since they were 14. My mom says she’s only ever been with my dad. And then I’d look at myself and I’m like, we are not the same person, at all. When I was first diagnosed at 18 with bipolar, I guess my mom looked up the symptoms and hypersexuality is a symptom of bipolar. I remember being on the phone with my mom and she was like, okay, Michelle, don’t be too promiscuous. Don’t be too high, too over sexual because I know that’s a symptom of bipolar. Okay. You know, don’t be too promiscuous. And I was like, don’t worry, mom, I’m not. That’s like what she said. She says, oh, you’re bipolar. Don’t be too promiscuous, Michelle. That was like her number one thing. Nothing else about the symptoms. Nothing else. But don’t be too promiscuous.

Gabe: [00:23:15] It shows you our misunderstanding of sex, sexuality and how we relate to it in the world. There are so many people that still believe that sex is only for marriage, and there are many people who believe that sex should not be enjoyable. That is just so sad because that’s the number one thing that I hate about hypersexuality. It made sex not enjoyable. I don’t know what the wrap up for this is because we’ve talked about it, about making sex a game. We’ve talked about, you know, having sex with strangers in bars. We have good memories of it. We have bad memories of it. We have different feelings of it based on our ages and our gender.

Michelle: [00:23:51] I have one question for you. That therapist and psychologist, did they know you are bipolar?

Gabe: [00:23:56] Yes.

Michelle: [00:23:56] Because the therapist and psychologist I boned did not know I was schizophrenic.

Gabe: [00:24:01] Well, they knew.

Michelle: [00:24:03] No, they didn’t.

Gabe: [00:24:03] Were you wearing your schizophrenic.NYC shirt?

Michelle: [00:24:07] No, I was not. No, I was not. No. One was before schizophrenic.NYC existed and one was after. And then after that, they found me on Facebook or Instagram. Me was like, okay. He’s like. And then he finds that I had some. He said that he thought he might have known, but he wasn’t really sure because he was like at one point he did seem he I was talking to myself and he goes. I don’t know who you’re talking to, but I’m over here. And I was like, oh, I’m sorry about that one.

Gabe: [00:24:34] And let’s be very, very clear. I feel the need to put up like a giant disclaimer. Gabe Howard and Michelle Hammer never, ever had sex with their own medical providers. They’ve always been perfectly appropriate. That said, it does happen. So don’t. It would be wholly irresponsible of any practitioner to have sex with a patient.

Michelle: [00:24:57] Yeah.

Gabe: [00:24:57] And if you’re the patient, report it immediately.

Michelle: [00:24:59] Yeah. That should not happen. Don’t do that. Don’t do that.

Gabe: [00:25:03] That’s the kind of thing that will set you back.

Michelle: [00:25:04] Yeah, that’s a bad idea. Don’t do that. Don’t.

Gabe: [00:25:07] Yeah, don’t do that.

Michelle: [00:25:08] Don’t do that.

Gabe: [00:25:08] And we are talking about people who held that job, but they certainly were not ours. We were not their patient.

Michelle: [00:25:14] Yes, I was not. Not their patients. Not their patients. But if I could find a psychiatrist.

Gabe: [00:25:21] Thank you, everybody, for tuning into this episode of A Bipolar, a Schizophrenic, and a Podcast. We hope that you learned some small thing about hypersexuality. And if there’s anything that you can relate to, if there’s any message that we want to send, it’s that you are not alone. Michelle and I went through it. We got help. We’re thankful that we don’t have to go through it again. And we are now monogamous and enjoying sex. Not with each other. We will see everybody next week.

Michelle: [00:25:44] Let’s talk about sex, baby, Let’s talk about you and me. Let’s talk about all the good things and the bad things that may be. Let’s talk about sex. Let’s talk about sex.

Announcer: [00:25:54] Announcer: You’ve been listening to A Bipolar, a Schizophrenic, and a Podcast. If you love this episode, don’t keep it to yourself head over to iTunes or your preferred podcast app to subscribe, rate, and review. To work with Gabe go to GabeHoward.com. To work with Michelle, go to schizophrenic.NYC. For free mental health resources and online support groups, head over to PsychCentral.com. This show’s official web site is PsychCentral.com/BSP. You can e-mail us at [email protected]. Thank you for listening, and share widely.

Meet Your Bipolar and Schizophrenic Hosts

GABE HOWARD was formally diagnosed with bipolar and anxiety disorders after being committed to a psychiatric hospital in 2003. Now in recovery, Gabe is a prominent mental health activist and host of the award-winning Psych Central Show podcast. He is also an award-winning writer and speaker, traveling nationally to share the humorous, yet educational, story of his bipolar life. To work with Gabe, visit gabehoward.com.MICHELLE HAMMER was officially diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 22, but incorrectly diagnosed with bipolar disorder at 18. Michelle is an award-winning mental health advocate who has been featured in press all over the world. In May 2015, Michelle founded the company Schizophrenic.NYC, a mental health clothing line, with the mission of reducing stigma by starting conversations about mental health. She is a firm believer that confidence can get you anywhere. To work with Michelle, visit Schizophrenic.NYC.Podcast: Hypersexuality with a Bipolar and Schizophrenic

Related Articles

View Original Article

Hope you enjoyed reading this article.
Please feel free to share!

a-new-chapter-of-my-life-begins

Should Mental Health Determine Pain Treatment Options?

This is an interesting article I found on: www.psychcentral.com

See credits below.


Patients with a mental health condition might have a hard time accessing opioids for pain relief, while patients with unexplained pain are often referred to psychiatric care, which does little to alleviate their symptoms. Finding treatment can be frustrating and humiliating.

Four years ago, Dez Nelson’s pain management clinic demanded that she complete a visit with a psychologist. Nelson was surprised, since she had no history of mental illness, but she didn’t feel that she could push back on the request.

“Of course I said okay — I didn’t want to lose my treatment,” Nelson told The Fix. “I was not happy about it, but I did it.”

Nelson, 38, went to the appointment and had a mixed experience with the psychologist. She hasn’t been back since and the pain clinic hasn’t asked her to visit a psychologist again. Still, Nelson said that the experience highlighted — yet again — the discrimination pain patients face.

“It was a condition of my continued care,” she said. “It seemed like they’re bringing it up in a beneficial light, as part of a multi-pronged approach to pain care. But I don’t think [mental health treatment] should be forced on a patient who doesn’t think they need it.”

Chronic pain and mental illness are among the most stigmatized conditions in modern medicine. The conditions frequently intersect and change the way that patients are cared for and treated. Patients who have a mental illness might have a hard time accessing opioids for pain relief, while patients with unexplained pain are often referred to psychiatric care, which does little to alleviate their physical symptoms. At the same time, research suggests there is a strong connection between mental health and pain: depression can cause painful physical symptoms, while living with chronic pain can cause people to become depressed.

All of this makes treating chronic pain and mental illness complex and frustrating for doctors and patients alike.

A Mental Health Diagnosis Affects the Way Your Doctor Treats You

Elizabeth* is a professor in her mid-thirties who had undiagnosed Lyme disease for eight years. Her Lyme contributed to the development of an autoimmune disease that has led to widespread inflammatory and nerve pain throughout her body. Elizabeth also has bipolar disorder. Despite the fact that she has been stable on medication for a decade, her mental health diagnosis complicates her pain treatment.

“Doctors’ demeanor changes when I tell them my medications. When I say I have bipolar disorder, it’s a whole different ballpark. To them that’s clearly a risk factor and red flag for drug abuse,” Elizabeth said.

Opioids are one of the few treatments Elizabeth has found that works to alleviate her pain. But she also takes benzodiazepines on an as-needed basis to control her anxiety (usually once a week). Even though Elizabeth is well aware of the risk of combining the two medications and knows better than to take the two pills together, doctors refuse to prescribe both. They don’t seem to trust her not to abuse them.

“I could tell them that I wouldn’t take them together. But that’s not a valid choice,” Elizabeth said.

While doctors were extremely cautious about this drug interaction, they didn’t focus on another drug-related risk: medications that are used to treat nerve pain can cause adverse reactions in patients with bipolar disorder. No one warned Elizabeth of this danger, and she ended up being hospitalized for psychosis after a long stretch of stability.

“The doctors didn’t talk about it because it’s just a side effect, not a liability concern,” she said.

On the flip-side, Elizabeth has experienced psychiatric providers who were skeptical of her pain diagnosis.

“They wrote in my chart that I had a delusion that I had Lyme disease,” she said…

Find out more about the complications of treating pain in patients with mental illness, the dangers of confusing one’s body with one’s psyche, and the “time bomb” of untreated pain in the original article Should Your Mental Health Determine How Your Pain Is Treated? at The Fix.

Should Mental Health Determine Pain Treatment Options?

Related Articles

View Original Article

Hope you enjoyed reading this article.
Please feel free to share!

a-new-chapter-of-my-life-begins

Pregnancy and Addiction: Overlooked and Undertreated

This is an interesting article I found on: www.psychcentral.com

See credits below.


If one needs proof that addiction is a disease and not a moral failing, look into the eyes of a woman who knows her behavior is harming her baby but still can’t stop.

With one in three individuals with opioid use disorder passing through the criminal justice system annually, court dockets across the country are overflowing with cases of illegal behavior fueled by addiction. Though such cases wrangle with the complexities of punishing individuals afflicted with what is increasingly seen as a disease that erodes free will, they are the bread and butter of the legal system.

However, the recent Pennsylvania Supreme Court case known as In the Interest of L.J.B. adds another level of intricacy to the court’s decision-making process. The question asked in the case—Does drug use during pregnancy constitute child abuse?—is unpleasant to contemplate, but it is one of absolute importance.

The defendant in the case, a woman referred to as A.A.R., tested positive for illicit opioids, benzodiazepines, and marijuana when she gave birth to her infant, L.J.B., in January 2017. L.J.B. then required 19 days of inpatient treatment for drug withdrawal and was placed in the custody of Children and Youth Services, which alleged that her mother’s drug use during pregnancy was child abuse. On December 28, in a 5-2 decision, Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court ruled in favor of L.J.B.’s mother, stating that Pennsylvania’s child abuse law clearly excludes fetuses in its definition of a child. While the issue may be settled in Pennsylvania, there is little doubt that similar cases will be heard across the country amidst the opioid epidemic.

Pregnant Women with Opioid Addiction—Overlooked and Undertreated

The case of L.J.B. and her mother has drawn national attention to women who simultaneously carry a child and the burden of an addiction—a group that has often been overlooked or ignored in the national discussions about the opioid epidemic. Few individuals in our society bear such a stigma as these women. As an addiction psychiatrist, I’ve heard harsher judgment passed on these patients—even from fellow healthcare workers—than on any others. This stigma permeates our medical and legal systems, creating dire consequences not only for these women, but also for their unborn children.

Pregnancy is unparalleled in its ability to motivate women towards healthier behavior, but approximately four percent of pregnant women still use addictive drugs. When I’m asked to evaluate a woman who is pregnant, I know her disease is severe before I’ve even laid eyes on her. If one needs proof that addiction is a disease and not a moral failing, look into the eyes of a woman who knows her behavior is harming her baby but still can’t stop. There is no better example of the ability of a chemical to overpower the deepest-rooted human instincts.

A recent report released by the CDC revealed that opioid addiction among women in labor quadrupled from 1999 to 2014, signifying the need for immediate action. Opioid addiction during pregnancy can create many problems for mother and child, including preterm labor, neonatal abstinence syndrome, and even fetal death. Tragically, pregnant women with addictions are less likely to receive prenatal care.

Aware of society’s disdain, many don’t want to be stigmatized at the doctor’s office. Some mothers-to-be can’t even find a physician willing to treat them, and others are afraid of being reported to authorities due to laws that have arisen out of prejudice and misinformation…

Find out more about what Dr. Barnett has to say about how harsh laws can harm the mother and child, how we can help pregnant women with their addictions, and more in the original article Pregnant and Scared to Get Treatment: When Conception Meets Addiction at The Fix.

Pregnancy and Addiction: Overlooked and Undertreated

Related Articles

View Original Article

Hope you enjoyed reading this article.
Please feel free to share!

Counselling in Hebden Bridge

Which Should We Treat First: Mental Illness or Addiction?

This post was imported from www.psychcentral.com

View Original Article


Substance use can alter behaviors, moods, and personalities so severely for people with addiction that without specialized knowledge and experience, it’s difficult to determine underlying causes such as mental illness or trauma.

I credit psychological intervention for pushing me into recovery from alcoholism.

Addiction is a mental illness, but is it one that needs to be treated before anything else? Or should we be stopping people from hitting their addiction bottom and helping them recover from their comorbid conditions concurrently?

What Is Addiction?

Before we can discuss treatment, we need to understand what addiction is and how it is defined. The two major guidelines for diagnosing mental health conditions around the world are the DSM and the ICD. The DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) is the standard diagnostic tool for mental health conditions in the United States and often used in North America. The ICD (International Classification of Diseases) is endorsed by the World Health Organization and often used in Europe.

In the DSM-5, substance abuse and substance dependence are combined under the same name of substance use disorder, which is diagnosed on a continuum. Each substance has its own sub-category, but behavioral addiction is also in the DSM-5, with gambling disorder listed as a diagnosable condition. Other similar entries, such as internet gaming disorder, are listed as needing further research before being formally added as a diagnosis. In the ICD-11 there is a subset of mood disorders called “substance-induced mood disorders,” which are conditions caused by substance use. To qualify for this category, one must not have experienced the mood disorder symptoms prior to substance use.

Hypothetically, a person who has alcohol-induced mood disorder might find health with abstinence alone, but substance use disorders do not occur in a vacuum and no one can go through the experience of addiction without it altering their mind and body, sometimes irreversibly. With enough time, substance-induced disorders change the function of the brain and alter emotion regulation. That doesn’t mean that addiction will cause another mental disorder; addiction is a mental disorder.

Not everyone with an addiction is concurrently experiencing another mental disorder. Substance use can alter behaviors, moods, and personalities so severely for people who are addicted that without specialized knowledge and experience, it’s difficult to determine what, if any, underlying cause is responsible for the changes. Drugs, even those that are prescribed and used as directed, can have side effects that seem to mimic the symptoms of other diagnosable conditions. These effects can also appear if a person is in withdrawal. Because of this inability to isolate co-occurring conditions, there was a time when it was popular for doctors and clinicians to first treat substance use disorders before exploring the possibility of other mental illnesses.

That is no longer considered the best approach to care…

So, what is considered the best approach then? Keep reading for more information about therapy to recognize addiction, integrated treatment, the consequences of discriminating against people with substance abuse disorder, and more over at the original article Addiction or Mental Illness: Which Should You Treat First? at The Fix.

Which Should We Treat First: Mental Illness or Addiction?

Related Articles

View Original Article

Hope you enjoyed reading this post.
Please feel free to share!

counsellor-gareth-parry-hebdencounselling-co-uk

The Value of a Relapse

This post was imported from www.psychcentral.com

View Original Article


 

Utter the seven-letter word relapse in recovery circles and the room grows silent. Why did it happen? How did it happen? How much sobriety did she have? How long did she stay out? If a person had years of sobriety accrued, it is expected that the clock be reset – as if they had never stopped drinking. Call me a rebel, but this is too black and white for my taste. While I realize the need to recognize and commemorate consecutive days of sobriety, recovery from addiction is rarely straightforward or neat. More often than not, it’s a messy, ongoing journey of learning and coping and healing that includes its share of falls. Relapses are a sometimes-necessary part of the adventure. In fact, I’m glad mine happened. Here’s why.

My five-day experiment

The summer before last I experimented with alcohol after 28 years of sobriety. Having quit drinking before I was legal, I always questioned whether or not I was truly an alcoholic. Maybe, I thought, my binge drinking between the ages of 15 and 18 were merely a form of high school rebellion. It seemed a valid question. I couldn’t relate to many of the testimonies in twelve-step group meetings because I hadn’t really lost anything as a result of my drinking, except for some pride after initiating a stupid cat fight under the influence.

One July evening after everyone had gone to bed, I stared at the Heinekens in the fridge. Maybe I am normal, I thought to myself. Maybe I can have the occasional cocktail and join the fun. So with shaking hands, I pulled one out of the fridge, opened the bottle, and reacquainted with my long lost friend.

Nothing terrible happened. I stopped at one. So the next night I tried it again. For the first 48 hours of my experiment it seemed as if I had joined the ranks of the social drinkers. Hallelujah! However, by day three, I began to obsess about my next drink. On day four, I smuggled a six-pack of Coors Light into a park to drink alone. On day five, I considered stopping by the liquor store to buy a bottle of vodka to keep in the trunk … you know, in case I needed a fix.

The next day, by coincidence or divine intervention, a friend who is a recovery alcoholic stopped by the house during his run. He has never done this before or since. I confessed to him the details of what I was up to and he told that he was picking me up for a meeting the next day.

A bathroom break, not a start over

“Is there anyone here with 24 hours of sobriety?” the meeting chair asked at the end. I wasn’t sure whether or not to raise my hand. As the folks in the room saw it, I had about 26 hours of sobriety. However, by my standards, I had been sober 28 years and one day. I went with their math and waltzed sheepishly to the front of the room to claim my chip.

That day was an important milestone for me. I haven’t drank since. However, I wasn’t celebrating a day of sobriety. I was commemorating all the wisdom and perseverance and courage that had kept me sober for over a quarter of a century. All the sweat and hard work of the 28 years of sobriety that preceded my 24-hour chip were on display in that moment. Nothing was lost. I don’t believe a person starts over if they pick up a drink. I view it more like a bathroom break, where you look at yourself in the mirror and ask, “What the hell am I doing?” and then resume your place in line to get a table.

Progress is uneven

Perhaps some people have linear recoveries. They drink. They stop. They find happiness and peace. But I have yet to meet such a person. The recovery patterns for most of us entail a dance of up-and-down movements, right-to-left adjustments, a pirouette and a plié – with the hope that we are moving forward. Much like a walking labyrinth that guides you out before in, recovery is typically more spiral or circular than it is square. Just when we think we’ve encroaching on home base, we are thrown out to left field.

“Progress, not perfection” rings true with all of my addictive behavior. I don’t have to get it down the first time, the second time, or even the 52nd time. Gradual baby steps towards the goal of serenity and peace are enough. On those days when I engage in codependent behavior or reach for something to relieve my pain, I remind myself that it’s not the fall but the rebound that counts. Healing consists of catching myself and trying over and over and over again, sometimes as many as 50 times a day. It’s the journey and effort that matter in recovery, not a perfect score card.

Lessons of a relapse

Relapses teach us invaluable lessons if we are open to learning. For example, before my experiment, I regarded my decision to stop drinking much like I did eliminating gluten and sugar from my diet. My relapse demonstrated the seriousness of addiction, that sobriety is a life-saving action, not a healthy choice. Abstaining from a cocktail isn’t in the same category as foregoing a brownie or piece of bread. For addicts, alcohol hijacks your brain, whispering false promises in your ears. If you’re not careful, the self-destruction can erode all aspects of your life.

My relapse also taught me that abstinence isn’t about willpower and discipline. It has nothing to do with personal character or emotional resilience. Recovery is about humility, about admitting powerlessness and relying on other people and a higher power for strength and guidance. The healing power is found in the shared experience of others, in tapping into a community of support.

The pain underneath the addiction

I dare say that my relapse was life-transforming in that it forced me to discover what was driving the addiction. I began intensive psychotherapy and probed more deeply into every aspect of my life, asking the question, What’s going on here? My soul-searching efforts resulted in a stronger sense of self. As a result I can better identify the pain that makes me susceptible to addictive behavior.

I’m certainly not saying relapse is all good. Some people can’t get clean again after they start drinking or reengage in an addiction. It is a risk, for sure. However, if you are able to end your addiction and return to recovery, relapse can open the door to a better understanding of your addiction and, therefore, to a stronger recovery. I don’t believe you start over if you pick up a drink. I believe you pause and begin again with a new perspective.

The Value of a Relapse

Related Articles

View Original Article

Hope you enjoyed reading this post.
Please feel free to share!

Counselling in Hebden Bridge

Podcast: How to Change Your Psychological Identity

This post was imported from www.psychcentral.com

View Original Article


 

We all know that addiction, severe depression, and other conditions change our personality. What few know, however, is just how deeply ingrained that change can be, and how difficult (and scary) it can be to try to become “ourselves” again. In this episode, we examine such changes through the experiences of our guest, who overcame depression and addiction, and now helps others do the same.

Subscribe to Our Show!
The Psych Central Show Podcast iTunes The Psych Central Show Podast on Spotify Google Play The Psych Central Show
And Remember to Review Us!

About Our Guest

David Essel, MS, OM, is a number one best-selling author (10), counselor, master life coach, international speaker and minister whose mission is to positively affect 2 million people or more every day, in every area of life, regardless of their current circumstances.

His latest #1 best seller, FOCUS! SLAY YOUR GOALS…THE PROVEN GUIDE TO HUGE SUCCESS, A POWERFUL ATTITUDE AND PROFOUND LOVE, was selected by the influential blog “FUPPING” as one of the top 25 books that will make you a better person!

David’s work of 38 years is also highly endorsed by the late Wayne Dyer, “Chicken Soup for the Soul” author Mark Victor Hansen, as well as many other celebrities and radio and television networks from around the world.

He is verified through Psychology Today as one of the top counselors and life coaches in the USA, and is verified through Marriage.com as one of the top relationship counselors and coaches in the world.

David accepts new clients every week into his 1-on-1 programs from around the world at www.davidessel.com

PSYCHOLOGICAL IDENTITY SHOW TRANSCRIPT

Editor’s Note: Please be mindful that this transcript has been computer generated and therefore may contain inaccuracies and grammar errors. Thank you.

Narrator 1: Welcome to the Psych Central show, where each episode presents an in-depth look at issues from the field of psychology and mental health – with host Gabe Howard and co-host Vincent M. Wales.

Gabe Howard: Hello everyone and welcome to this week’s episode of the Psych Central Show podcast. My name is Gabe Howard and with me as always is Vincent M. Wales. And today Vince and I will be talking with David Essel. David is a number one best selling author, counselor, master life coach, international speaker and minister whose mission it is to positively affect 2 million people or more every day in every area of life, regardless of their current circumstances. David, welcome to the show.

David Essel: Oh gosh, it’s great to be with you, Gabe and Vince. Looking forward to our conversation today.

Gabe Howard: This is wonderful. And just to clarify real quick before we get going… Two million people every day.

David Essel: You know, we don’t believe in tiny goals, do we?

Gabe Howard: No we don’t. Thank you so much for being here.

Vincent M. Wales: That’s a lot of people. So let me ask you… you know there are an awful lot of people out there who do similar things to what you do. And you’ve been helping people for what 30 years? Something like that? That’s that’s a long time. What makes your story about your healing different from the others?

David Essel: The reason in the world of personal growth and mental health addiction recovery and more… the reason why there are 700 million authors, basically, in this industry is the same reason why there’s so many authors in the auto repair industry, and you know personal growth industry in general is massive, but people need to hear different voices and I may be saying the same thing the late Wayne Dyer said and people, X percentage of people would grab Wayne’s words and change their lives and then there’s other people that may not connect and Wayne and I were very good friends when he was alive. And then there are people that may not quite connect with him but they might connect with the way that I talk or the way that I write or the videos we do, so I don’t know if it’s as much “What’s the big difference?” as we need to have different voices out there with different experiences. I know one of the advantages in the world of mental health that I have is that in my background I came from extreme alcoholism and cocaine addiction for years, which was caused or the underlying cause of many addictions is depression and an inability to deal with emotions in life. I went through a severe clinical depression, suicidal, to the point where that I had to get extreme medical care and you know all these things, guys, happened while I’m doing the same work I’m doing today. So not only is my energy different than a lot of other people that do the same work, the words I use might be a little different, but unlike some people that write about these topics that we’re going to talk about that have not experienced extreme mental illness or challenges or anything else, addiction, that I’ve gone through, I think that’s one of the advantages that I bring, too. Because I’ve been on those sides of the fence that are very daunting, extremely scary, and have come back and I think that’s an advantage that our work has that some other people may not be able to go that deep or as deep as we go because they’ve never personally experienced these things,which I don’t wish on anyone, but the end result is is that the empathy and compassion that I can have for people in the world struggling with mental health or addiction is is incredible because I was there. I’m very grateful for the work that I’ve done to remove myself from some of these challenges and also extremely interested in helping as many other people as we can work their way through this stuff.

Vincent M. Wales: Fantastic.

Gabe Howard: When we’re doing research for the show, one of the things that came up a few times that I thought was interesting is that you said it’s scary at first to heal from depression. And I wanted to know what you meant by that. Can you explain that a little more?

David Essel: Well you know when we have some type of a mental health challenge like a depression, we create an identity around it and that that identity is very powerful. We… it’s scary to let go of something you’re comfortable with, even if it isn’t healthy. In other words, let’s say that, during the depression, we create an identity well when we talk to our loved ones or our family, it’s always based on how we’re not feeling that great today, how we don’t have the motivation to go to the gym, how we don’t don’t don’t don’t don’t. When you repeat those phrases either vocally to the outside world or in your head, over the course of months and years we create an identity. The identity says, this is who I am. I’m a depressed person. So to walk away from that identity and then not have people saying to you on a daily basis, Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry, this is such a hard day. Or, come on, we know you can move through this or have you tried this or have you tried that? When we’re doing all these things, thinking we’re helping the depressed person, we’re actually deepening their identity. We are… the compassion and empathy that I think we should all have in the beginning turns into this thing where the depressed person actually looks and will latch on to certain individuals who will also deepen their identity as a depressed person. So when I say it’s scary. it’s like. if we’ve been in a depressed state for a number of years. we don’t know what it’s like to live with a little bit of lightness. a little bit of inner peace. a little bit of joy. and while lightness. inner peace and joy. guys, sounds like three really great things… to the depressed person, it’s like moving to Afghanistan. We don’t know what it’s like. We don’t know the terrain. We don’t know the customs. We don’t know anything other than our identity as a depressed person. So that is frightening. And it’s the same thing with the world of addiction. You know, coming from a serious addiction background, myself, I didn’t know what it was like to go out to dinner without having drinks before I left my house. I didn’t know what it was like to go to sleep at night without multiple drinks to put me to sleep. So it’s scary to walk away from an identity that you’ve held on to for years and to walk into a new life. And that depressed person, of course, at the core wants to be happy and healthy, is so comfortable in their little zone that getting outside of it can seem unbelievably threatening. And we’ve worked with some people that, once they’ve overcome, quote unquote, their depression and started to feel better, missed all of the accolades of people saying, how are you today and we hope you’re getting better and have you tried this. Some people will slip back into the old identity just to get the attention. so it can be scary. Healing on any level can be scary for people that have long term identity based on some condition.

Vincent M. Wales: We get comfortable, even if it’s something that should be uncomfortable. It’s familiar to us. So, you know, you’re right, it is hard to leave it. And that’s that’s pretty sad when you think about it.

Gabe Howard: Well especially if it’s all you’ve ever known.

Vincent M. Wales: Right.

Gabe Howard: As longtime listeners know, I thought about suicide from a very young age. In fact, I don’t remember ever not thinking about suicide and I thought that everybody did. I thought that weighing the pros and cons of life and death was just like a normal thing to do because there’s no mental health education, nobody challenged this belief in me, and then of course that’s not OK. Eventually, I went to a psychiatric hospital, was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and I learned about mental health and mental illness and and that all got fixed. So that was wonderful except, here I am at 26 years old, and for the first time ever, it occurred to me that I could die. And I didn’t want to die. So that was a scary thing. And I just became ultra paranoid about everything. So even though this led to greater potential for my future and you know now I’m 42 and everything is wonderful. You know for a couple of years, it was just really hard. My entire identity was wrapped up in this way of thinking. I knew no other way to think. And it sounds like that’s what you’re describing there.

David Essel: Oh it’s exactly. Gabe. what I’m describing. And you know it doesn’t even have to be from birth. I mean someone could hit a real challenging mental health crisis in their 20s, 30s, 60s, 70s, 80s. It doesn’t take more than about six months of something very extreme of PTSD, high anxiety, bipolar, schizophrenic disorder… It doesn’t take more than six months for the subconscious mind to create an identity that says, this is who I am. To our listeners that maybe have loved ones that struggle with depression, but they haven’t, to hear what we’re talking about, that it’s scary to not be a depressed person, doesn’t make sense. But a lot of conditions in this world – addiction and mental health disorders – don’t make sense. So if you’re listening because you have loved ones that are struggling and we’re talking about people that who are depressed, they create an identity, and they want to stay in their identity, even if it doesn’t sound logical, it’s very true. So understand that when you’re dealing with your loved ones that they may be trying to hold on at some unconscious or subconscious level to their title, to their identity as a depressed person in order just to survive, because they have nothing that they can even compare it to. And let me make this differentiation between the conscious and the subconscious mind. So the conscious mind that the mind says, you know, I’ve been feeling down, I’m always blue, I’ve lost my joy for life, nothing sounds good to eat or to drink and no activities that I used to do sound good anymore. And it’s dragging myself out of bed in the morning and so many of the symptoms of clinical depression that I just mentioned. Wen we have all those things going down and we live with ourselves on a daily basis, that subconscious mind picks up the pattern. We’ll never get out of this. Life is too hard. It’s too challenging. No one understands me. No one could possibly understand me. There is nothing that works. I’ve tried several medications, the side effects are worse than… And it’ll go on and the subconscious will grab that identity that we are a depressed person, and because we’ve rethought it so many times and talked about it so many times and gotten that validation from the outside world – I’m so sorry you’re struggling – that the subconscious then, because it’s so powerful, will hold on and fight like heck for that person to stay in that depressed identity. You know, we work with people that, in the beginning, they were on the correct medication, they were doing the correct coping mechanism skills that we gave them, we have them doing all kinds of exercises on emotion for depression. We believe in our experience in the world of depression that about 90 percent of it is caused by unexplored or submerged emotions like rage and anger, resentments, shame, guilt, like we really believe about 90 percent of depression is caused by emotions that have not been vented, that haven’t had no place to escape. So the subconscious continues to grab onto these thoughts and as that person starts to feel better, they start to see the world open up. There is a percentage that will actually try to retreat back into that depressed identity to get the validation and the feedback from the outside world that they are used to. So again, while it may not make sense to the person that’s never personally struggled with anything we’re discussing tonight, it doesn’t have to make sense to be real and hopefully some of this information that we’re sharing will make it easier for us to understand that person struggling without having to judge them or without having to placate them and keep them in that stuck identity.

Gabe Howard: We’ll be right back after these words from our sponsor.

Narrator 2: This episode is sponsored by BetterHelp.com, secure, convenient and affordable online counselling. All counselors are licensed, accredited professionals. Anything you share is confidential. Schedule secure video or phone sessions, plus chat and text with your therapist whenever you feel it’s needed. A month of online therapy often costs less than a single traditional face-to-face session. Go to BetterHelp.com/PsychCentral and experience seven days of free therapy to see if online counselling is right for you. BetterHelp.com/PsychCentral.

Vincent M. Wales: Welcome back everyone. We’re here talking with David Essel. You’re not the first that I’ve heard talk about depression being caused by unexpressed emotions, specifically anger is what I’ve heard in the past, so I’ve always found that pretty interesting. I never considered myself an angry person. It takes a lot to get me angry, as Gabe can attest. But when I when I stopped to think about it, I did have a lot of repressed anger, just unexpressed, and that I just would fight down and everything. And it often was that way because there was no target. It was just general, you know, free floating kind of anger with nothing to aim it at. So that was an interesting thing. So you talked a lot about the subconscious versus the conscious mind here, and of course, a lot of us have always heard things like well, you know, subconsciously, yada yada yada. We’re responsible for this and this is what’s causing that. The subconscious, in other words, just sounds like a negative thing but is there a positive aspect to it?

David Essel: Oh gosh, Vince, that’s that’s a great question. And you know, we believe in life that whole concept of yin yang is is absolute perfection. There is an opposite to everything. So if the subconscious that we’re talking about tonight from a negative point of view, keeping us stuck in an identity as a depressed person, then it must also be, there must also be a powerful side of the subconscious. And and there is. Thank God. Because the subconscious works on patterns, whatever you feed it or whatever you’re around listening to or whatever you’re watching or the people you’re hanging out with, they’re all sending messages to the subconscious constantly about someone’s right, someone’s wrong, conspiracy theories, you know, your weight gain is genetics and all this other kind of stuff. When a depressed person can break the chains of an identity based on being depressed and they can start to heal, if they’ll stay with the daily exercises and the possible medication that they may be on that they can stay with the program long enough, they can turn that subconscious mind from battling to hold onto an identity that I am a depressed person or I am a suicidal person. We can actually turn that around, guys, that you can use the subconscious as your greatest ally in the world. Now when I say subconscious, I want to make something else clear, too. We look at subconscious responses and a term that we always use is a subconscious response is a knee jerk reaction. That’s the easiest way to describe it. So someone is talking to you about your mental illness and they say, hey you know I just read the story about this person in some other city that used this new therapy and it was incredible. Now, to most people who are struggling with depression, the immediate response is, well it might work for them, it would never work for me, I’ve tried everything. That happens so fast that it’s not a conscious decision to reply like that to this person. It’s a knee jerk reaction. It’s a defense mechanism, and it happens instantaneously without us even thinking about it. Now the cool thing is, and I’ll sort of jump tracks here over to the world of addiction, for twenty-five plus years, I knew myself as a raging alcoholic, but I was in denial, so I didn’t call myself a raging alcoholic… a cocaine addict, and I was in denial with that, too. For twenty-five plus years, my identity was all about addiction, but I didn’t use the word addiction on myself. I said, this is the way I relax. This is what successful men do. So I created a subconscious identity to protect my addiction so I never had to end it. Now when I ended it, guys, there were three parts of my recovery that were the scariest… It was like living a nightmare. The first was going to a treatment center and knowing that, as of noon when I checked in, I would not have access to any alcohol or drugs. And it scared the hell out of me. The next time I was extremely afraid was the day that I came home, thirty-two days later. And now I was free. I had the freedom. I could go to the store. I could go to my local dealer. I could do whatever I wanted to and that was outrageously scary. And then the third scariest time was basically the next year. When I was changing my identity. I wasn’t drinking. I was doing really heavy duty emotional work with several counselors. But I was still afraid to go to dinners or to go anywhere… I was based in fear. And over time and a lot of work – and that was a number of years ago – the fear totally was gone. The subconscious mind we turned around to be an ally where I am a completely recovered person. We don’t even talk about the word addiction, anymore. I don’t believe that I’m a “recovering” alcoholic. I believe I have fully recovered, which is a pretty strong statement, but we can back it with tons of information, if needed. But the subconscious, now, I go to parties, I go out to dinner, I’ll go to funerals, I’ll go to weddings, I’ll officiate weddings and funerals, and where in the past, it was just really normal for me to look for a glass of wine or someone to offer it right away, now the subconscious has turned around so much, guys, that there’s not even an interest. When the last great depression hit, in 2006, 2007, and I was sober back then, I lost everything. And I over-bet on the real estate industry, I had everything on the real estate industry, and I lost my shirt, as they say. In that time of going through those years, of accumulating all of this wealth and losing it in a matter of a year, completely losing everything… It would have been a great opportunity, if the subconscious hadn’t been so wholly turned around, for me to drink or to do cocaine or do something to get out of the pain. But when you learn the correct coping mechanisms, and the subconscious is turned around, the thought of having a drink never even enters your mind. And that’s the beauty of the subconscious, is that if you’re willing to do the work – which about 90 percent of people in this world (now listen to this) are not willing to do – you can go ahead and take wherever you are with your addictions, with your challenges and with the correct help, and in some cases, as you guys know, the correct medication – which can be really hard to get that correct dosage and the correct medication – but if you’re willing to do the work, we can heal so deeply and turn that subconscious mind that used to have an identity as a depressed person or I can’t do this because I have this other mental health issue or I have an addiction… we can turn that around and find out what freedom truly feels like.

Gabe Howard: I think I understand what you’re saying because, for example, when I work with doctors, social workers, psychologists, people that work with people with, you know, severe and persistent mental illness, you know, bipolar, schizophrenia, major depression… I always ask them what are their goals for their patients. And, oftentimes I get pretty stereotypical answers. They want them to be med compliant, they want them to stop pushing back in therapy, they want them to be on time, they want them to not complain about the wait of the waiting room, they want them to pay the bills on time. You know, a lot of stuff like that, that is all very good things. I mean, I understand why they want them to, you know, take their medicine as prescribed and be on time and not cause a problem in the waiting room, but I pointed out that there’s a disconnect there because their patient’s goal is to go to Hawaii. Their patient’s goal was to get married, is to have a job. They’re not going to see you to be compliant with the treatment that you prescribe. They want the treatment so they can get on with the rest of their life. And it seems like what you’re saying is if the doctors sort of subconsciously believe that the goal is to be compliant, they’re going to subconsciously push that compliance onto their patients. That’s going to make their patients unhappy because they don’t feel that their medical staff understands that their goal isn’t to be compliant. Their goal is to go to Hawaii. And the doctors don’t realize they’re doing this, the medical staff, they don’t realize they’re doing it, they’re not bad people. So yeah, if your knee jerk reaction every time something bad happens is to drink, that is in fact problematic… or however it fits into, you know, anxiety, depression, etc.

David Essel: Yeah. Interesting comment that you just made, too, Gabe, about, you know, do we as professionals, do we understand what someone’s going through? And again I’ll say it’s probably one of the edges that counselors, therapists, psychiatrists who have struggled themselves have. A number of years ago, I started working with a young schizophrenic man, and I still work with them to this day. And when… you know, our traditional sessions for 18 and up is an hour, 17 and lower is a 30 minute session. So, you know, he was they were really struggling with finding the right medication. He would be in the session with me but not there present for about 80 percent of the session. He would be drifting off and, you know, the voices were coming and thoughts were coming and he couldn’t stay… he couldn’t concentrate, just could not concentrate. So I said to his parents one time, I said, hey listen, I love your son, by the way. I’ve worked with him. We do great work together. But I want to make a recommendation, and this is going against all protocol that we’ve been trained with, but I want to do 15 minute sessions. That’s it. I can see that this is a strain on him. I can see that this isn’t what he wants. Now, he walks out of the sessions telling you, mom and dad, that you know he wants to continue to work with David. But I said in the sessions it’s different. So if you’re willing, and thank God they were… guys, we went to 15 minute sessions. This young man blossomed. Right now – and I’m getting shows as I say this – the last time I saw him was three weeks ago because his family went on a vacation. He is now in his… I think he’s 24. He’s in college. He’s going to get an associates degree. Now, it’s going to take him… I think he’s been at it for about three years. I think it’s going to take him another year. Now, he will never live outside of the house, he’ll always live with mom and dad, but for this kid, this young man… and it goes right to what you’re saying, Gabe, it’s like, you know, when we asked him what was his goal, his goal was to finish school. Now according to everyone else that had worked with him, that was an impossibility. He couldn’t go to college, for all the different challenges that he had. And yet, in a year he’s going to graduate. When I saw him just before the Christmas break, the last time I saw him, he was ecstatic. Now he doesn’t show ecstasy like I might or someone else might. But you could see it in his face and his eyes how proud he was that he was able to do this, you know, and able to accomplish something that everyone had told him he couldn’t do. And I think it’s because we modified, extremely modified the program to fit him, not what statistically programs are supposed to be like. Does that make sense?

Vincent M. Wales: Yeah yeah. And that’s that’s a great story. Great story. Thank you. Thank you. Let’s talk about anxiety for a second. What kind of things have you got to say about that?

David Essel: First let’s look at the volume. You know, 40 million people on a daily basis in the U.S. alone struggle with depression and/or anxiety. It’s an interesting topic because we’ve heard over the years that there’s been a continual increase in anxiety in our society and people are blaming social media, and it definitely has a role in it for sure. When we talk about anxiety, and I just had a brand new client this week start, and he came in and he’s filled with anxiety. Now he has a high pressured sales position, so everyone who has always told him, all the counselors he’s worked with,you know, it’s genetically based or it’s something, it’s just you put so much pressure, you’re so competitive, you’re so you’re this, you’re so that… and I just met with him one time, we had our first session, and I asked him – because this is, I think, a missing link with anxiety – I asked him was his grandmother, grandfather, mom, dad, sister, brothers, aunts or uncles… Was there anyone in his life when he grew up that couldn’t relax? That was always on the move. That was always trying to accomplish the next ABCDE. And he looked at me and he started laughing and I said, What’s so funny? He goes, You just called my mother out. I said, Well let me tell you something. In our opinion, and we’re just one opinion of 40 years in the personal growth industry, 30 years in counseling and coaching, he said we see anxiety being created by the core family element between the age of zero and 18 much more so than a genetic link. And what we mean by that is… we’ll go back to the subconscious mind. From zero to 18, we’re in an environment where mom can’t sit down. She’s always up and moving. She can’t relax. She’s always doing that. It might seem productive, you know, that she’s dusting now and she’s sweeping next and she’s picking up this next and she’s got TV’s on one room and and a radio on and another room. That might seem like a productive use of time. Actually it’s an example of a full-blown anxiety episode. So this young man was raised in an environment where it was normal to not relax. It was normal to be hyper-competitive. It was normal that, when friends or relatives were coming over, that that house was freaking spotless. It was normal that all of this anxiety that was produced, not on purpose, but by mom, and she’d probably modeled her mom or dad… he took on because of the environment he was raised in. And right away when I see… when I can when I can pull someone out of, you know, this must be genetic, and everyone wants to use those words, genetic. So with anxiety, a large percentage we see that people – just like almost everything we’re talking about tonight, guys, is that people, when we’re not taught how to deal with emotions, when we’re not asked to go deeper, when we’re not exploring what could be the cause of this depression or anxiety other than the fact that it could be genetically related, that we’re losing out on helping millions of people a day to heal. So anxiety is real. The condition is real. A huge number of people are affected by it. But we have seen in our practice so many people heal from it, get off of their medications, live super productive lives when they learn how to deal with underlying emotions that they didn’t even know were there. Or they can start to see constructively that, oh my god, I’m repeating my dad’s alcoholism or I’m repeating my uncle’s whatever it might be. There are so many conditions that are created in this incubator called zero to 18 and I think that information is crucial to get out because, once again, going back to what I talked about a little while ago, this gentleman that came in the other day, he said, I’ve been diagnosed with full-blown anxiety attacks, panic attacks. I have them once a week. And now we’re going to get to the core and find out what is causing them. And a big part of it could be he’s just repeating the way his mom reacted to life, and if he continues doing that, it’s going to get worse. But we’re gonna help him break through it, for sure.

Gabe Howard: That is wonderful. Thank you so much. We’ve only got a couple of minutes left, is there any final thoughts that you want to leave us with? Where can we find you? Obviously the show notes will have your web page and all of that stuff. But, you know, there’s just so much that we didn’t get a chance to talk about. Can you give us the 30 to 60 second overview of of everything that we can know about you?

David Essel: Absolutely, Gabe. First of all I want to thank you and Vince for having me on, and for our listeners… you know, we offer a lot of free stuff. And that’s – again, how do you reach 2 million people a day, is that you’ve got to be creative, so – if your listeners want to get on our daily video e-mail list – it’s called David Essel’s Daily Video Boost – where we talk about these type of topics, where we talk about what causes depression and what are some of the potential cures and everything else that we’ve discussed today… All they have to do is go to the Web site, which is TalkDavid.com and sign up for the Daily Boost, it’s free. They’ll also find our link for our YouTube videos. Thirteen hundred videos, there’s a lot of videos on depression anxiety et cetera there. So if they just go to TalkDavid.com, they can find out where they can get all the free information, and then if they wanted to do something with the work that we do, they could let us know with an e-mail.

Gabe Howard: That would be wonderful. Thank you so much. And thank you, everybody, for tuning in this week. And remember you can get one week of free, convenient, affordable, private, online counseling anytime, anywhere by visiting betterhelp.com/psychcentral. We will see you all next week.

Narrator 1: Thank you for listening to the Psych Central Show. Please rate, review, and subscribe on iTunes or wherever you found this podcast. We encourage you to share our show on social media and with friends and family. Previous episodes can be found at PsychCentral.com/show. PsychCentral.com is the internet’s oldest and largest independent mental health website. Psych Central is overseen by Dr. John Grohol, a mental health expert and one of the pioneering leaders in online mental health. Our host, Gabe Howard, is an award-winning writer and speaker who travels nationally. You can find more information on Gabe at GabeHoward.com. Our co-host, Vincent M. Wales, is a trained suicide prevention crisis counselor and author of several award-winning speculative fiction novels. You can learn more about Vincent at VincentMWales.com. If you have feedback about the show, please email [email protected].

About The Psych Central Show Podcast Hosts

Gabe Howard is an award-winning writer and speaker who lives with bipolar and anxiety disorders. He is also one of the co-hosts of the popular show, A Bipolar, a Schizophrenic, and a Podcast. As a speaker, he travels nationally and is available to make your event stand out. To work with Gabe, please visit his website, gabehoward.com.

Vincent M. Wales is a former suicide prevention counselor who lives with persistent depressive disorder. He is also the author of several award-winning novels and creator of the costumed hero, Dynamistress. Visit his websites at www.vincentmwales.com and www.dynamistress.com.

Podcast: How to Change Your Psychological Identity

Related Articles

View Original Article

Hope you enjoyed reading this post.
Please feel free to share!