Recovery & Wellness Series – Drug Testing for Safer Communities – July 9

Learn how CoRR partners with Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics to bring quality, rapid testing to Nevada County. This evening will cover the latest and greatest, trends in substances of abuse, and how testing works to support individual and public health and safety.

Dr. Leo Kadehjian, Palo Alto, California With Siemen’s Healthcare Diagnostics

Dr. Kadehjian is an independent biomedical consultant in Palo Alto, California, primarily lecturing and writing on the clinical, scientific, regulatory, and legal issues in drugs of abuse testing.  He has provided consulting services for a wide variety of both private and public sector drug programs.  Clients have included IBM, Exxon International, Texaco, General Motors, Amtrak, Pfizer, Air New Zealand, Syntex, Siemens/Syva, the U.S. Federal Courts, and numerous state corrections agencies and local drug courts.  He has special experience with on-site testing programs and provides oversight of the U.S. Federal Courts’ on-site drug testing programs.  An internationally recognized speaker, he has earned an Outstanding Speaker recognition from the American Association of Clinical Chemistry and has provided expert testimony in court and labor arbitration.  He has also provided judicial education including nationally broadcast live satellite television seminars for the Federal Judicial Center and serving on the faculty of the National Judicial College lecturing on the neurobiology of addiction and drug testing issues.  He has also conducted workshops for occupational physicians and other clinical providers.  He is a member of the International Association of Forensic Toxicologists, the Society of Forensic Toxicologists, the California Association of Toxicologists, the American Association of Clinical Chemistry, the American Chemical Society and the Society of Hair Testing.

Born and raised in Boston, he received his Bachelor’s degree in Organic Chemistry from M.I.T. in 1972 after initial studies at Harvard University, and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Stanford University in 1977.  After several years of bio-organic and toxicological research, he served as Manager of International Medical Affairs for Syva.  In that position, he lectured extensively around the world.  Since then he has established his own biomedical consulting business with private and public sector clients worldwide.

header - SIEMENS

 

The Campus
180 Sierra College Drive, Grass Valley, CA 95945

Space is limited so please RSVP right away to reserve your seat. mkelley@corr.us

Continuing Education Credits now available for the upcoming Recovery & Wellness Series:

Community Recovery Resources is approved to provide two (2.0) continuing education units (CEU’s): Prescription Drugs: Questions & Trends
BBS #PCE2459
CCAPP #5-01-456-0217.

July 9th, 2015
5:30pm – 7:30pm
The Campus
180 Sierra College Drive, Grass Valley, CA 95945

Download Flyer HERE

CoRR, the CoRR Alumni Association and the Coalition for a Drug Free Nevada County are pleased to present a one-of a kind FREE community Recovery & Wellness Series, formerly known as the Recovery Enrichment Series. The focus of this bi-monthly series is to provide FREE education, information, and life enrichment for our amazing community.

These events are absolutely FREE to attend and open to anyone who would like to attend. Space is limited so please RSVP right away to reserve your seat ~ Melissa Kelley 530-273-9541 ext. 226; email – mkelley@corr.us – Online RSVP form BELOW

RSVP Form deactivated

July 10: Meeting with Drug Court Professionals, Law Enforcement, and Behavioral Health regarding drug testing, pplication, practives, and drug-free workplace policy. Please contact Melissa Kelley to RSVP to this meeting.

Holiday Tips

the holiday season can be one of the most difficult times of the year

With competing demands for time and unrealistic expectations, the holiday season can be one of the most difficult times of the year. Holidays present a dizzying array of demands — parties, shopping, baking, cleaning and entertaining, and trying to afford it all, to name just a few. During this time, we strive to stay grounded in our health and recovery. We’ve offered some practical tips to help think about the holidays and plan ahead.

Practical Tips

  1.  Maintain your healthy habits: Don’t let the holidays become a free-for-all. Overindulgence only adds to your stress and guilt. Have a healthy snack before holiday parties; continue to get plenty of sleep and physical activity.
  2. Take a breather: Make some time for yourself. Spending just 15 minutes alone, without distractions, can refresh you and help you handle demands. Take a walk at night and stargaze. Listen to soothing music. Find something that reduces stress by clearing your mind, slowing your breathing and restoring inner calm. Set a timer on your smartphone to remember to take time off!
  3. Create a list: Make a list of people you can call if you feel like drinking or using. This list must consist of people who will support you and prevent you from drinking/using; it might be your sponsor. This tip applies any time of the year. Don’t tough it out. Don’t give yourself an excuse to do something to jeopardize your recovery.
  4. Steer Clear. Stay away from all the slippery places you once drank or used. Be selective about what invitations you accept. If your family members are big drinkers or have other addictions, you may wish to steer clear of those celebrations. Kindly and confidently reminding your family and friends of your commitment to health and safety is the most important way to show them you love them; it can ease the challenge of bowing out of holidays. If you are going to be in a situation where alcohol or other drugs are present, mentally rehearse your actions.
  5. Have an attitude of gratitude. One of the best ways to turn the holiday blues around is to write a list of blessings. Write it each morning. It might seem silly at first, but by the time you hit ten, you’ll be much happier. You might give thanks for your recovery days; counting up the days can afford a measure of comfort and peace. This is a big achievement and one that you’ve worked hard for.
  6. Have back-up plans ready. If you’re prepared with a reasonable response when you’re at a party and getting ready to leave and someone asks you to stay, it’s not only less stressful, it’s also essential. You’ve got an easy out, no one’s feelings are hurt, and you’ve been true to your recovery.
  7. Spend your time with your recovery community. These friends will understand the impact of the holidays better than anyone. The truth is that those in recovery aren’t any more immune to depression and loneliness than someone who’s never had a problem with alcohol or other drugs. Thousands of people of all ages experience loneliness and depression during the period from Thanksgiving to New Year’s. But the difference is that you since you are in recovery, have an automatic support network of your recovery community and 12-step sponsor and group members.

Remember, the holidays are a stressful time but they can also be a time of gratitude, joy, love, and connection.

Also remember, a successful recovery maintenance effort is based on good preparation. Being aware of some of the warning signs that could lead up to relapse can make all the difference in maintaining sobriety through the stressful holiday season and throughout the year.

Warning Signs

  1. Urges: Identify your thoughts or self-talk that support these feelings and behavior. Don’t ruminate on the urge…acknowledge the craving and move on.
  2. Feelings: When feelings of anger, resentment, or self-pity start to dominate your thinking…remind yourself that these feelings, although real in the moment, will pass if you don’t act on them.
  3. Boredom: An area of high risk is boredom and lack of energy; nothing seems fun anymore. Replace these thoughts with entertaining ideas. Throughout the holiday season, 12-Step groups often offer marathon meetings, meals, fellow-shipping, and sobriety inspired activities. Find out if this is offered near you.
  4. Isolation: Often people who experience negative feelings and thoughts around the holiday season turn to isolation and don’t reach out to supportive individuals. Consider, when these thoughts and feelings come up, that perhaps there are others experiencing similar feelings. By reaching out and surrounding yourself with others who may need support, you avoid isolation and welcome bonding on a healthy level. 

Useful Resources

Exercise For Health

By Trish Hartman

Regular exercise can help protect you from heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, noninsulin-dependent diabetes, obesity, back pain, osteoporosis, and can improve your mood and help you to better manage stress. Check with your doctor before beginning any exercise regimen to see how much exercise is right for you.

Regular physical activity may reduce the risk of developing or dying from some of the leading causes of illness and death in the United States.

Specific Health Benefits of Exercise:

  • Heart Disease, Blood Pressure, and Stroke: Strengthening your heart muscle through exercise can prevent heart disease, lower blood pressure, and improve blood flow.
  • Noninsulin-Dependent Diabetes:  Reduces body fat associated with high blood pressure and can help control and even prevent diabetes.
  • Obesity: Reduces body fat, preserves muscle mass, and increases the body’s ability to effectively process calories. Since obesity is a major contributing risk factor for many diseases, proper nutrition and exercise can help control weight and mitigate risk factors.
  • Back Pain: Increasing muscle strength, endurance, flexibility, and posture through regular exercise can mitigate back pain and contributing factors of pain such as obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes.
  • Osteoporosis: Bone loss associated with aging can be prevented through regular weight-bearing exercises.
  • Psychological Effects: During exercise, the brain releases chemical messengers that not only stimulate the reward center of the brain but create a sense of happiness throughout the body. The release of this “happy” chemical messenger reduces anxiety and depression and helps with managing stress.
  • Better Concentration: Exercise stimulates all parts of your body and that includes your brain; you will experience better memory and increased concentration
  • Better Sleep: When you exercise you use more energy and as a result, you sleep better at night. You will fall asleep faster and sleep deeper resulting in better rest.
  • Less Stress: Life is just more stressful than it used to be. You work longer hours, family expectations are higher and you are expected to do more all day long. Exercise gives you a time to release stress and frustrations that makes it easier to deal with life.

Exercise may improve depression without drugs. In one study that pitted brisk walking or jogging against the antidepressant sertraline (Zoloft) or a combination of the drug plus the exercise, after 4 months, all three groups had about the same improvement in their depression, but at 6 months, the people who kept up the exercise, had the lowest rates of remission.

Exercise may help prevent colon cancer. Getting regular exercise can lower your risk by up to 25 percent; a half-hour walk, four times a week, is all it takes. And if you’re a regular meat-eater, cutting back on red meats and processed meats such as hot dogs, sausage, and lunch meats can also help. Experts at the National Cancer Institute estimate that people who eat red meat or processed meats twice a day most days increase their cancer risk by 24 percent; eating it once a day raises risk by about 20 percent above normal. It prevents and relieves constipation. A way to get things moving is to get yourself moving. Exercise can reduce straining and speed the passage of food through your digestive system. For some people, it cuts the odds of becoming constipated by about 40 percent.

Exercise may prevent strokes. Increase your heart rate. Just 30 minutes a day of exercise strenuous enough to get your heart beating faster can reduce your risk of stroke 20 percent. Exercise harder and watch the risk drop another 7 percent. (Check with your doctor about what amount of exercise is right for you.)

 

Navigating Relationships

By Jeff Jones

My experience working with couples confirms my belief that relationships are difficult to navigate. There is a great deal of passionate emotion stirring at our core when our relationships are not going smoothly. Relationships in recovery are even more difficult. Not only is the relationship often in stormy seas, it’s as if the person in recovery is steering two ships—that of their recovery, and that of their relationship. A few new navigational tools for our relationships can help us get all the people in our life moving in the same direction and focusing toward the same goal: peaceful, loving, joyful clean and sober relationships.

We can start by applying the familiar recovery saying “one day at a time” to our relationships. This means looking at each other in a fresh, new way. And it involves some re-training of our brain because we tend to be “wired” by experiences we have in life, mostly when we are growing up, especially traumatic experiences. If I had a traumatic experience of a dog knocking me down when I was three years old, I will still have some wiring in my brain that reacts when I see a dog today, some 50 years later. My “thinking” brain may be able to overcome that wiring with thoughts like “I’m safe, the dog is not going to hurt me, it’s on a leash.” But my “old” brain is still reactive and I can feel the adrenaline course through me when I see a dog.

Likewise, our relationships are scattered with little traumas, many of which don’t sound traumatic, but to the old brain, it’s as if our survival is threatened when the person we love and hope loves us back is critical toward us (trauma!), doesn’t respond when we ask a question (trauma!), looks at us the wrong way (trauma!), teases us (trauma!) or ignores us when we come home (trauma!). See, these things don’t sound very traumatic, do they? But, that old part of our brain just wants to be loved and to have our love accepted and when this doesn’t happen we feel scared. And, we begin to make a fearful pattern in our brain associated with that person. So each time we see this person, we are a bit afraid of what might happen, and we may act out in some defensive ways that protect us.

The good news is the brain is amazingly resilient and capable of growing new neuropathways with different thoughts and novel experiences. It takes practice, just like recovery—being consistent with meetings, thinking positive thoughts about yourself, avoiding triggers, working your program.

Many people new to recovery expect those around them to accept their clean lifestyle and to be excited for them only to discover lingering doubts, lack of trust, and skepticism from their loved ones. You long for people to see you as you are right now. Clean. Sober. Free. Working hard. You feel invalidated and shamed when they bring up past behaviors from your using days and you cry out for others to see how far you’ve come. What’s happening is that the wiring in their brains attached to you includes all those old behaviors of yours when you were using. And they are a bit afraid, rightfully so.

Have a dialogue with your loved ones about the importance of your recovery program, the details of what you are doing, and explain how recovery works. Admit that your recovery has upset the ship by shifting the system your family and your relationships were accustomed to. Ask your loved ones to join with you and give them specific actions they can do: Attend appropriately matched 12 step meetings to learn more, help hold you accountable in loving ways, ask them to see you as you are today—and promise to do the same for them.

We need to look at each other anew without all the old baggage attached, letting go of old hurts and disappointments, dropping expectations and entitlement. We need to look at each other as if this is a new day, a new person we are interacting with. Because it is. You are not the same person you were yesterday, and each day brings new possibilities. Your partner is not the same person he or she was yesterday either. If you continue to hold onto the brain pattern attached to them that brings up fear, you will not allow them to grow. This requires some self work, reminding yourself and your brain that this is now. Here. Present time. What is it you are seeing? Hearing? Feeling? Who is this person sitting across from you? Become interested and curious about how the day’s activities may have changed them. What new thoughts did they have today? What made them smile today?

Get on the same page by sitting down and having a conversation about your vision for your relationship. Write it out in present tense (e.g.. We meditate for 10 minutes each day. We treat each other with respect. We attend meetings together.). Post it somewhere easily viewed each day. Then commit to doing this as a partnership– together.

Recovery is said to be individual—we can only work our own program. This is true and yet we live in relationships, and we recover in relationships—groups, meetings, counseling, therapy. The world is in a relational paradigm.

 

 

 

Express Yourself

By Sommer Wadman

The motivation to dance comes naturally to human beings, as we are moveable creatures. Tune into an upbeat song on the radio in the presence of a two-year-old, and watch their face light up, hands wave and bodies bounce! This concept applies equally to visual arts.  Give a toddler a crayon and he or she will naturally start to scribble!

As we grow, art-making progresses from a flurry of off-beat wiggles and undefined scribbles, to images, shapes, words and experiences that mold our perception of the world.

In fact, the creative arts, (drawing, painting, sculpture, drama, dance, music, etc…) are not only a great way to create something beautiful, but also a fun and inspiring way to relieve stress and enhance creativity.  Accessing the arts at any age is a simple way to maintain or develop skills relating to problem-solving, teamwork, communication and healthy coping.

Visual and performing arts can lead to positive self-expression, and assist in building confidences.  When art is inspired by persons’ individualized interests, ideas, emotions, needs or preferences, the accomplishments are most rewarding and self-esteem is boosted. Research suggests that when people have opportunities to explore and express who they are, they gain confidence that translates into success, both in adolescence and throughout adulthood.

Paint it, dance it, sing it, BE IT! Here are some of the perks of expressing yourself artistically:

  1. Take it as YOU like it – Who says you’ve got to have bucket loads of artistic talent to do anything arts-related? The simple act of participating in an art project – however simple – can bring lots of enjoyment. You may even uncover hidden talents or rediscover a love or passion from your past.  Don’t be afraid to try new things!!  Consider second chances.
  2. Say what you can’t say – Feeling stressed? Overwhelmed and at a loss for words? Try letting it all out on a piece of paper, playing music or creating a sculpture! Focusing on artistic expression has many benefits: it takes your mind off your negative emotions and in addition, it allows you to express these feelings in a healthy way.
  3. Work it out – Rather than brooding and letting stress, sadness, or anger get the better of you, transform it into something else. Go on, bang some drums, create a collage, paint with abandon, or sing to your heart’s content!

    The act of creating art stimulates brain activity and triggers those creative juices essential to help you think beyond boundaries and gain new perspectives. Performing (physical) arts such as theatre, dance, and music call for stamina, flexibility, and bodily awareness.
  4. Create relationships – One of the most important, and enjoyable aspects of participating in the arts are the social connections you make. Enjoying the process of art-making collaboratively engenders not only friendship but the invaluable experience of supporting each other.
    More than a meeting of like-minds; the act of being involved in a community and culture of art, can expand your horizons and enrich your mind.

Remember, art is a simple way of expressing yourself.  Choose a form of expression that you feel most comfortable with at first.  Give your thoughts and feelings a forum for release. Paint it! Grab some sidewalk chalk and doodle on a warm day. Dance it! Groove your way around your daily chores. Sing it! Grab a hairbrush or broomstick and belt it out. Whatever the form of expression that fits you best… BE IT!

 

 

Embracing Emotional Wellness

By Jeff Jones

Being emotionally well is more than just handling stress. It also involves being attentive to your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, whether positive or negative.

People who are emotionally healthy are in control of their emotions and their behavior. They are able to handle life’s challenges, build strong relationships, and recover from setbacks. But just as it requires effort to build or maintain physical health, so it is with mental and emotional health. Improving your emotional health can be a rewarding experience, benefiting all aspects of your life, including boosting your mood, building resilience, and adding to your overall enjoyment of life.

What is emotional health?

Mental or emotional health refers to your overall psychological well-being. It includes the way you feel about yourself, the quality of your relationships, and your ability to manage your feelings and deal with difficulties.

Good mental health isn’t just the absence of mental health problems. Being mentally or emotionally healthy is much more than being free of depression, anxiety, or other psychological issues. Rather than the absence of mental illness, mental and emotional health refers to the presence of positive characteristics. Similarly, not feeling bad is not the same as feeling good. While some people may not have negative feelings, they still need to do things that make them feel positive in order to achieve mental and emotional health.

Emotional wellness is about finding and maintaining our emotional equilibrium, our feeling rheostat. Emotional wellness is tied up in our ability to self regulate; To bring ourselves into balance when we fall out of it. Balance is that place where our thinking, feeling, and behavior are reasonably congruent; where we operate in an integrated flow.

When our emotions are out of control, so is our thinking. When we can’t bring our feeling and thinking into some sort of balance, our life and our relationships show it. Emotions impact our thinking more than our thinking impacts our emotions. Our limbic system, where we experience and process emotion, actually sends more inputs to the thinking part of our brain, i.e. the cortex, than the opposite. (Damassio)

The essence of Emotional Wellness is good self-regulation.

Self-regulation means that we have mastered those skills that allow us to balance our moods, our nervous systems, our appetites, our sexual drive, our sleep. We have learned how to tolerate our intense emotions without acting out in dysfunctional ways, clamping down or foreclosing on our feeling world or self-medicating.

Addiction and compulsive, unregulated behaviors reflect a lack of good self-regulation. To maintain our emotional equilibrium, we need to be able to use our thinking mind to decode and understand our feeling mind. That is, we need to feel our feelings and then use our thinking to make sense and meaning out of them.

 

How Do We Learn to Self Regulate?

We identify the problem to seek the solution

  • Nature and Nurture: Each tiny interaction between parent/caretaker and child actually lays down the neural wiring that becomes part of our brain/body network.
  • As the parent interacts with the child, the child learns the skills of relating and regulation which are then laid down as neural wiring.
  • The child takes this new learning into their world of relationships, experiments with it, gets continuing feedback and continues to lay down new wiring based on what they are seamlessly picking up from their environment and the relationships in it.
  • Early experiences knit long-lasting patterns into the very fabric of the brain’s neural network. (Lewis) And these neural patterns form the relational template from which we operate throughout life.
  • As children, if we get frightened or hurt, for example, we look to our mothers, fathers and close people to soothe us, to help us to feel better, to bring us back into balance.
  • We learn to “tolerate” our intense feelings when we’re young and as we get older, “holding environment”
  • When our skills of self-regulation are well learned during childhood, they feel as if they come naturally, as if we always had them.
  • When they are not well learned, we may reach to sources outside of ourselves to restore the sense of calm and good feeling that we cannot achieve ourselves, namely drugs, alcohol, food, sex, gambling and so on.
  • The ACOA (adult child of an alcoholic) /ACOT (adult child of trauma) syndrome can reflect problems with early attachments or relationships. Children who learn the skills of relating and regulation from unstable parents internalize unstable patterns.

What is the Limbic System?

The limbic system is the body/mind neural network that governs our emotions. Our moods, appetite and sleep cycles are some of the areas of functioning that fall under its jurisdiction.

The limbic system sets the mind’s emotional tone, filters external events through internal states (creates emotional coloring), tags events as internally important, stores highly charged emotional memories, modulates motivation, controls appetite and sleep cycles, promotes bonding, directly processes the sense of smell and modulates libido. (Dr. Amen)

Our emotions circulate throughout our bodies as brain/body mood chemicals that impact how we feel.

When we have problems in our deep limbic system they can manifest as moodiness, irritability, clinical depression, increased negative thinking, negative perceptions of events, decreased motivation, floods of negative emotion, appetite and sleep problems, decreased or increased sexual responsiveness or social isolation. (Dr. Amen); an impaired ability to regulate levels of fear, anger, and sadness, and may lead to chronic anxiety or depression; substance or behavioral disorders; problems in regulating alcohol, eating, sexual or spending habits. All of this is what impacts our emotional wellness.

How is emotional wellness undermined?

Emotional trauma can have a negative impact on early development. It can both interfere with our ability to use our thinking brains to decode our emotions and it can create problems in our limbic systems. Our limbic systems get set on “high” we are over sensitized to stress and hence, we overreact to it.

Our bodies don’t really distinguish between physical danger and emotional stress/distress.

The natural fear response associated with our fight/flight apparatus will cause the body to react to physical or emotional “crisis,” by pumping out sufficient quantities of what are known as “stress” chemicals, like adrenaline, to get our hearts pumping, muscles tightening and breath shortening, in preparation for a fast exit, or a fight.

But for those where the family itself has become the “saber-toothed tiger”, for whom escape is not really the issue, these chemicals boil up inside and can cause physical and emotional problems. Family members may find themselves in a confusing and painful bind, ie., wanting to flee from or attack, those very people who represent home and safety. If this highly stressful relational environment persists over time, it can produce what is called cumulative trauma.

Because the limbic system governs such fundamental functions as mood, emotional tone, appetite and sleep cycles, when it becomes dysregulated it can affect family members in far-ranging ways.

Problems in regulating our emotional inner world can manifest as:

Homes that aren’t calm, that are in, what we might, call chronic chaos, undermine our body’s ability to maintain a regulated state. Over time, we lose the ability to tolerate intense emotion so that we can think about what we’re experiencing on a feelings level. At the most extreme level thought and emotion become disengaged. When this happens, our thinking selves and our feeling selves become out of balance, split off from each other. This undermines our ability to use our thinking to understand what we’re experiencing on a feeling and sensory level. At the most basic level, we lose touch with ourselves.

Healthy Cravings Are Good

By Kim Oxarart

Most of us have difficulties with cravings. I know I do. One thing I have found to be most helpful is not to take away my favorite foods, but to crowd them out. Many dieticians and nutritionists give their clients a list of foods to avoid and foods to eat; this turns many people off to nutrition. People think they’ll have to give up what they usually eat in favor of a diet they know is “good” for them but that they don’t enjoy. The food is giving them something they need.

One of the most effective methods to overcome habitual consumption of unhealthy foods is to simply crowd these foods out. It’s hard to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables a day and binge on cookies at the end of the day. The body can only take so much food. By filling your body with healthy nutrient-dense foods, it’s only natural that cravings for unhealthy foods will lessen.

By eating and drinking foods that are a healthier choice earlier in the day, you will naturally leave less room and desire for unhealthier choices. This becomes much more evident when you increase your consumption of water. Just grab a container, fill it with water and begin sipping it steadily throughout your morning. As the day continues, you’ll have less room for coffee and soft drinks. Really, it’s that simple.  Just drinking water crowds out unhealthy beverages, eating healthy foods can crowd out junk foods.  When the intake of nutritious foods increases, such as dark leafy greens and whole grains, your body will have less room for processed, sugary, nutrient-deficient foods.  And the great thing is that once you start adding these foods into your diet, your body will naturally begin to crave them.  The trick is to make sure you have access to healthy meals and snacks at all times, especially when you are at work or traveling.  It takes a little practice to make all this happen, but it’s definitely possible…and worth it.

Kim’s TOP 10 Favorite Nutrient Dense Foods

  1. Chia seeds – Chia seeds were a staple of the Aztecs. Their warriors and messengers would carry pouches of these nutrient-rich seeds that allowed them to run long distances with little other food. Chia seeds are an excellent source of soluble and insoluble fiber, protein, essential fatty acids, and more. Chia seeds lower blood pressure, reduce cholesterol, boost energy, aid in healthy weight loss, reduce inflammation, and help the body remove toxins.
  2. Kale – Dark leafy greens, in general, are some of the best foods to eat. They come stocked with chlorophyll, iron, calcium, vitamin A, fiber, vitamin C, B vitamins, magnesium, potassium, copper, vitamin K, and plenty of antioxidants. Kale also boasts sulfur-rich phytonutrients that have been linked to fighting inflammation, cancer, heart disease, and microbial infections. Kale is also rich in lutein and zeaxanthin, compounds that promote eye health. Kale has been linked to lowering cholesterol too.
  3. Pomegranate – One of the oldest known fruits, found in writings and artifacts of many cultures and religions, the pomegranate is an original native of Persia. This nutrient-dense, antioxidant-rich fruit has been revered as a symbol of health, fertility and eternal life. Pomegranates contain high levels of flavonoids and polyphenols, potent antioxidants offering protection against heart disease and cancer.
  4. Almonds – Nuts are very good for you in a moderate amount. They are pretty caloric dense, but the fats in nuts are the healthy monounsaturated kind that lower cholesterol, protect against inflammation, help the body use fats to slim down, and aid in the absorption of many beneficial nutrients. These healthy fats are also vital to brain function, boost energy, and keep the skin young, hydrated, and blemish-free.
  5. Ginger – Historically, ginger has a long tradition of being very effective in alleviating symptoms of gastrointestinal distress. In herbal medicine, ginger is regarded as an excellent carminative (a substance which promotes the elimination of intestinal gas) and intestinal spasmolytic (a substance which relaxes and soothes the intestinal tract). Modern scientific research has revealed that ginger possesses numerous therapeutic properties including antioxidant effects, an ability to inhibit the formation of inflammatory compounds, and direct anti-inflammatory effects.
  6. Turmeric – Turmeric (Curcuma longa), the bright yellow of the spice rainbow, is a powerful medicine that has long been used in the Chinese and Indian systems of medicine as an anti-inflammatory agent to treat a wide variety of conditions, including flatulence, jaundice, menstrual difficulties, bloody urine, hemorrhage, toothache, bruises, chest pain, and colic.
  7. Mung beans – This food is low in Saturated Fat and Sodium, and very low in Cholesterol. It is also a good source of Protein, Thiamin, Niacin, Vitamin B6, Pantothenic Acid, Iron, Magnesium, Phosphorus and Potassium, and a very good source of Dietary Fiber, Vitamin C, Vitamin K, Riboflavin, Folate, Copper and Manganese. Mung beans help ease high cholesterol, slow replication of certain cancer cells (e.g. breast cancer), regulates hormonal activity (post-menopausal), and promotes healthy blood sugar levels with diabetes.
  8. Maca – Maca helps your overall health in a number of ways. It supplies iron and helps restore red blood cells, which aids anemia and cardiovascular diseases. Maca keeps your bones and teeth healthy and allows you to heal from wounds more quickly. When used in conjunction with a good workout regime you will notice an increase in muscle mass. Maca is rich in vitamin B vitamins, C, and E. It provides plenty of calcium, zinc, iron, magnesium, phosphorous and amino acids. Maca promotes sexual function, women’s health and mood, increases energy, promotes healthy skin regeneration, increase mental energy and focus, and may alleviate anxiety, stress, depression or mood swings.
  9. Brown rice – For people worried about colon cancer risk, brown rice packs a double punch by being a concentrated source of the fiber needed to minimize the amount of time cancer-causing substances spend in contact with colon cells, and being a good source of selenium, a trace mineral that has been shown to substantially reduce the risk of colon cancer. Selenium is an essential component of several major metabolic pathways, including thyroid hormone metabolism, antioxidant defense systems, and immune function.
  10. Quinoa – Quinoa is a grain-like seed that has a nutty flavor. It can be used in place of rice or pasta in many dishes and there are plenty of good reasons to do so. Quinoa is rich in protein, essential fatty acids, iron, magnesium, and manganese. Quinoa contains the amino acid lysine which is often lacking in other grains. It is also gluten-free. The antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients in quinoa also make it a likely candidate for cancer risk reduction in humans and decreased risk of allergy. The low-allergy potential of quinoa—coupled with its relatively high digestibility—has also made it a food of special interest in the diet of children and toddlers.

Tips For Teens and Parents Too

As a young person you are faced with many challenges.  However, very few have the potential to affect your life in a more significant way than the decisions you make about alcohol and drugs.  The decisions you make about alcohol and drugs will influence your health, your grades, your relationships, your job or career, or your freedom.  Not to be too dramatic. . . but these are life and death decisions.

Bottom line – you are responsible for your own safety…what are you going to do?

Connect with other youth making healthy decisions

Before we review our Ten Tips for Prevention–Youth, there are two important points to be aware of:

Age of First Use of Alcohol and Drugs

Using alcohol and drugs before the brain has fully developed increases your risk for future addiction to alcohol and drugs dramatically.  Young people who start drinking alcohol before age 15 are 5 times more likely to develop alcohol abuse or dependence than people who first used alcohol at age 21 or older.  Research for drug use and drug addiction have found similar results. Learn about our Adolescent Services

Family History of Alcoholism or Drug Addiction

Whether a person decides to use alcohol or drugs is a choice, influenced by their environment — peers, family, and availability.  But, once a person uses alcohol or drugs, the risk of developing alcoholism or drug dependence is largely influenced by genetics.  Alcoholism and drug dependence are not moral issues, are not a matter of choice or a lack of willpower.  Plain and simple, some people’s bodies respond to the effects of alcohol and drugs differently.  If you have a family history of alcoholism or addiction, you are four times more likely to develop a problem. Learn about our Family Services

So then, as a young person, what can you do to protect yourself and reduce the risk of alcohol and drug problems?

Ten Tips for Prevention–Youth

  1. Don’t Be Afraid to Say No:  Sometimes, our fear of negative reaction from our friends, or others we don’t even know, keeps us from doing what we know is right.  Real simple, it may seem like “everyone is doing it,” but they are not.  Don’t let someone else make your decisions for you.  If someone is pressuring you to do something that’s not right for you, you have the right to say no, the right not to give a reason why, and the right to just walk away.
  1. Connect With Your Friends and Avoid Negative Peer Pressure:  Pay attention to who you are hanging out with.  If you are hanging out with a group in which the majority of kids are drinking alcohol or using drugs to get high, you may want to think about making some new friends.  You may be headed toward an alcohol and drug problem if you continue to hang around others who routinely drink alcohol, smoke marijuana, abuse prescription drugs or use illegal drugs.  You don’t have to go along to get along.
  1. Make Connections With Your Parents or Other Adults:  As you grow up, having people you can rely on, people you can talk to about life, life’s challenges and your decisions about alcohol and drugs is very important.  The opportunity to benefit from someone else’s life experiences can help put things in perspective and can be invaluable.
  1. Enjoy Life and Do What You Love –  Don’t Add Alcohol and Drugs:  Learn how to enjoy life and the people in your life, without adding alcohol or drugs.  Alcohol and drugs can change who you are, limit your potential and complicate your life.  Too often, “I’m bored” is just an excuse.  Get out and get active in school and community activities such as music, sports, arts or a part-time job.  Giving back as a volunteer is a great way to gain perspective on life.
  1. Follow the Family Rules About Alcohol and Drugs:  As you grow up and want to assume more control over your life, having the trust and respect of your parents is very important.  Don’t let alcohol and drugs come between you and your parents.  Talking with mom and dad about alcohol and drugs can be very helpful.
  1. Get Educated About Alcohol and Drugs:  You cannot rely on the myths and misconceptions that are out there floating around among your friends and on the internet.  Your ability to make the right decisions includes getting educated.  Visit Learn About Alcohol and Learn About Drugs.  And, as you learn, share what you are learning with your friends and your family. Attend our Family Recovery Education Series
  1. Be a Role Model and Set a Positive Example:  Don’t forget, what you do is more important than what you say!  You are setting the foundation and direction for your life; where are you headed?
  1. Plan Ahead:  As you make plans for the party or going out with friends you need to plan ahead.  You need to protect yourself and be smart.  Don’t become a victim of someone else’s alcohol or drug use.  Make sure that there is someone you can call, day or night, no matter what, if you need them.  And, do the same for your friends.
  1. Speak Out/Speak Up/Take Control:  Take responsibility for your life, your health and your safety.  Speak up about what alcohol and drugs are doing to your friends, your community and encourage others to do the same.
  1. Get Help:  If you or someone you know is in trouble with alcohol or drugs, get help!  Don’t wait.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health

When substance abuse is complicated by mental health problems

When you have both a substance abuse problem and a mental health issue such as depression, bipolar disorder, or anxiety, it is called a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis. Dealing with substance abuse, alcoholism, or drug addiction is never easy, and it’s even more difficult when you’re also struggling with mental health problems, but there are treatments that can help.

With proper treatment, support, and self-help strategies you can overcome alcohol abuse or drug addiction, get the symptoms of depression or anxiety under control, and reclaim your life.

In a dual diagnosis, both the mental health issue and the drug or alcohol addiction have their own unique symptoms that may get in the way of your ability to function, handle life’s difficulties, and relate to others. To make the situation more complicated, the co-occurring disorders also affect each other and interact. When a mental health problem goes untreated, the substance abuse problem usually gets worse as well. And when alcohol or drug abuse increases, mental health problems usually increase too.

What comes first: Substance abuse or the mental health problem?

Addiction is common in people with mental health problems. But although substance abuse and mental health disorders like depression and anxiety are closely linked, one does not directly cause the other.

  • Alcohol or drugs are often used to self-medicate the symptoms of depression or anxiety. Unfortunately, substance abuse causes side effects and in the long run worsens the very symptoms they initially numbed or relieved.
  • Alcohol and drug abuse can increase underlying risk for mental disorders. Mental disorders are caused by a complex interplay of genetics, the environment, and other outside factors. If you are at risk for a mental disorder, drug or alcohol abuse may push you over the edge.
  • Alcohol and drug abuse can make symptoms of a mental health problem worse. Substance abuse may sharply increase symptoms of mental illness or trigger new symptoms. Alcohol and drug abuse also interact with medications such as antidepressants, anti-anxiety pills, and mood stabilizers, making them less effective.

Addiction is common in people with mental health problems

According to reports published in the Journal of the American Medical Association:

  • Roughly 50 percent of individuals with severe mental disorders are affected by substance abuse.
  • 37 percent of alcohol abusers and 53 percent of drug abusers also have at least one serious mental illness.
  • Of all people diagnosed as mentally ill, 29 percent abuse either alcohol or drugs.

Source: National Alliance on Mental Illness

5 Ways to Encourage the Ones You Love

  1. Show genuine interest. This may be the most effective and sincere way of encouraging others. Let them know you care. Express genuine interest by asking questions. Get them talking. With some hope and luck, this can lead to positive action. But don’t be fake about it and don’t go overboard.
  2.  Acknowledge what’s important to them. When you acknowledge what’s important to others, you provide a form of affirmation and validation about who they are and what they’re doing. Whether they can admit it or not, each of them deep down craves this acknowledgement. The affirmation and validation is like nitro for their confidence and self-esteem.
  3. Say “You’re doing a great job”. Nothing worth doing is ever easy. If it’s easy, then it’s not worth doing. Worthwhile things always takes time and effort. One good way of providing encouragement is simply by saying “Well done” or “Congratulations”. These magical Words of Encouragement at the right time can make all the difference between “keep going” and “give up”.
  4. Say “Thank you”. Common courtesy. Good manners. That’s what this tip is about. It’s only natural to expect a reward after hard work. It’s only natural to thank someone when they do something for you. You can start now. Thank your wife after she cooks a nice meal. Thank your friend for lending you that Stargate DVD. A simple thank you lets others know what they have done is worthwhile and meaningful to you.
  5. Offer to lend a hand.Waiting for someone to ask you for advice is passive. You can be proactive by offering to lend a hand. If that person sees that you are willing to commit your own time and energy in their interests, they will be more committed to seeing it through and less likely to give up themselves.