For many people, the holidays are a time for sharing and giving. But for alcoholics, it can be dangerous because the urge to drink may be enhanced. This is especially true for the alcoholic in alcoholic families. Parties and holiday activities involve the use of alcohol and many people receive alcohol as a gift. People who are lonely may have the urge to drink.
We live in a drinking society with certain activities that promote the use of alcohol and are glorified in the media. Examples include sports: the Superbowl and the World Series to name a few. Many liquor ads show young people having fun with handsome actors and actresses. This is to promote the idea if we drink a certain brand or beverage we will be transported to an exotic backdrop where everyone is having a great time. Reality is much different. Holiday beer and beverage ads do not show all the problems that alcoholism and excessive drinking cause. People who are not alcoholic can enjoy a few drinks and the closeness that is a component of social drinking.
The holidays can be a dangerous time for the alcoholic. One can easily be fooled by the celebrating spirit of the holiday season and forget that alcohol has an adverse effect on them. Even people who don’t have a drinking problem can drink too much during the holiday season and get into trouble.
The alcoholic can still enjoy the holidays without drinking.
Here are some tips on having a sober, safe, and fun holiday season:
- Do not go where others are drinking if you have the urge
- Call a sober friend if you are feeling lonely
- Go to a 12-step meeting
- Go to a safe place if you are wanting to drink
- Ask your host for a non-alcoholic drink or bring it with you
- Give reasons as to why you don’t want a drink, you can give any reason you want
- Go out with sober friends to support each other in drinking environments
- Make sure you are not too hungry, angry, lonely or tired (HALT) when you go out
- Go to a sobriety party -many 12-step clubs have sober Christmas parties
Your recovery must be your number one priority regardless of the time of the year. If you look back on other times when you drank during the holidays, you may find that drinking inhibited your ability to have fun. It is the alcoholic’s responsibility to live life on life’s terms without taking a drink.
We at Exult can help by giving you a safe place and encouragement. Please join our Sober Holidays support group if you are interested in having a group to talk to about holiday stress while in recovery. Our group will meet Wednesdays at 6pm. It is free to attend. If you are interested in signing up, please call 469-714-0006 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
James Fox, Exult Healthcare
Last Wednesday, pop singer and television producer, Selena Gomez was admitted to a psychiatric hospital. She is told to have suffered a panic attack after a recent health setback related to her two recent hospitalizations for “low blood cell count” post-kidney transplant. Gomez has Lupus and underwent a kidney transplant in September of 2017 because of Lupus-related complications.
Selena Gomez has been open about her struggles with Lupus–a chronic illness that causes –and with mental health since 2015. Early in 2018, Gomez received outpatient psychiatric treatment to address anxiety. However, Gomez is not the only person whose mental health has suffered as a result of dealing with a chronic illness.
Chronic Illness and Depression
Chronic illnesses of all kinds can cause or worsen depression in the following ways:
- Increased feelings of isolation
- Taking off more time from work, school & social events for treatment and self-care
- Feeling like no one understands your condition
- Increased fatigue in some chronic illnesses may make depression-related fatigue worse
- Inflammation symptoms (in some chronic illnesses such as Lupus) which have some evidence pointing to causing or worsening depression
- Enhanced life, work, financial, and relationship stressors as a result of the chronic illness
Taking control of your mental health can be one piece of dealing with a chronic illness and your overall health. Doctor Heals Mind has a variety of treatments available for depression and other mental health issues. Please check out our depression treatment page to find a solution that best fits your needs.
By: Gabby Lundy, Exult Healthcare
“Going to college is an exciting time in the lives of young people, but for some students depression gets in the way. Whether it’s their first brush with the disorder or not, college can act as a catalyst for the onset of depression in many young people, and, on their own for the first time, the timing couldn’t be worse” – childmind.org
Depression in college students is a topic that is not often talked about but is common for first semester college students. Most of the time, first semester students have a hard time adjusting to a new environment; picking up a heavy work load, being away from home, and have to make new friends. Parents can often worry and try to get involved, but that’s not always easy when a child is potentially living three to four hours away from home. If you have a student that is distancing themselves from the outside world, letting go of their hobbies and ambitions, and acting out of character for more than two weeks it is possible that your college student could be facing depression.
Depression is not always an easy topic to discuss, and most people only think an individual is depressed when they are sad. That is not the case, depression comes in many forms. For some students, it could be that he or she is more irritable, lashes out, and pushes away their support systems (friends, family, significant others). Other students could be indulging in binge drinking or substance abuse to try to “forget about their problems” or “make their problems go away”. It is important to notice the signs and act quickly. Encourage your student to seek on campus help or seek help in their area.
If you are worried about your college student and feel that they are facing depression and do not want to acknowledge it themselves, Exult Healthcare has services that can benefit you. Depression is usually treated with medications, psychotherapy, or a combination of the two. If these treatments do not reduce symptoms, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and other brain stimulation therapies
may be options to explore. However, each case of depression is unique and is treated accordingly. There is never a “one-size-fits-all” for treatments here. Please check out our treatments tab and find out more about how Exult Healthcare can benefit you today.
Written By: Lauren Thompson, Exult Healthcare
Binge eating disorder develops based on a mixture of genetic, environmental and social constructs. The focus on this blog is the social/ family aspect of eating patterns.
Food is such a major component of cultural, social and family dynamics. It is used as part of celebrations, for religious ritualization, cultural events and a learned self-soothing habit. We have cake for birthday parties, a cultural dish to help when you are sick (like chicken soup), and a special treat when you are sad (warm cookies) or a special dinner on major occasions. Having food for every occasion can lend to the use of food as a negative coping skill because it has become a learned behavior. Binge eating / obesity will run in families due to the way food is used to deal with feeling or emotions. Memories are strongly tied to our senses: taste reminds use of a positive experience, the smell of food may remind us of a family member that cooked, and touch could be helping cook a special meal and the sound of a specific food cooking to bring back a special memory.
“From infancy, we establish a connection with our caregivers based on how our most instinctual needs are met. “ (Karges, 2018) One of our most instinctual needs is food and it is a major part of the bonding moments with a mother. According to Hamberg, The sharing of food can increases closeness to others like our parents making our favorite dessert when we are upset or sharing food at times of crisis. The use of food can become a supportive behavior and if no other self-soothing behavior is taught then food become the primary means to sooth self and others. The use of food in as a coping and self-soothing tool within the family can lead to binge eating disorders among members. According to Karges, some ways self-soothing through food is taught is by giving a food as a reward, a bribery to behave a certain way or used to comfort a child in destress. It is like replacing their favorite blanket or toy with a cookie every time they get upset.
There is also a genetic connection with binge eating and comorbid disorders like depression so families have learned to cope with the depression by using food. In the study, Parent binge eating and depressive symptoms as predictors of attrition in a family-based treatment for pediatric obesity, There is a correlation between parental mental illness and binge eating disorder and children developing the same patterns of behavior and diagnosis. If the behavior continues then it will be passed down multi-generationally.
The best way to assist in treating or preventing binge eating disorder is through the family system by changing eating patterns and the use of food in emotional regulation. In order for recovery to become effective the family needs to be involved in treatment to help reduce familial patterns in future generations and to support positive change.
Braden AL, Madowitz J, Matheson BE, Bergmann K, Crow SJ, Boutelle KN. Parent binge eating and depressive symptoms as predictors of attrition in a family-based treatment for pediatric obesity. Child Obes. 2015;11:1659. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4382825/
Hamburg, M. E., Finkenauer, C., & Schuengel, C. (2014). Food for love: The role of food offering in empathic emotion regulation. Frontiers in Psychology, 5. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00032 https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2014.00032/full
Karges, K. (2018). Binge Eating Disorder and Family Patterns of Self-Soothing. Eating Disorder Hope. Retrieved from https://www.eatingdisorderhope.com/information/binge-eating-disorder/binge-eating-disorder-and-family-patterns-of-self-soothing.
Written By: Karen Limme LPC Intern, Exult Healthcare