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Friday, March 16, 2018

Study: Could Mindfulness Meditation Prevent Major Depression?

Mindfulness meditation prevent depression
By now you’re likely familiar with the fact that depression and addiction often go hand and hand – you or someone you love may even be suffering from both. But what if we told you that mindfulness mediation could help prevent major depression? Well, that’s what researchers set out to prove in a new study published in the Annals of Family Medicine. 

For the study, researchers selected 231 adults with subclinical depression, which is defined as the presence of depressive symptoms that are not yet severe or persistent enough to warrant a diagnosis of major depressive disorder (MDD), according to researchers. The study participants were split into two groups: The first group took part in a two-hour mindfulness mediation session once a week for 8 weeks; the second group received usual care. The patients were recruited from 16 outpatient clinics in Hong Kong. 

The results: The mindfulness meditation group showed fewer depressive symptoms – MDD was diagnosed in 10.8 percent compared to 26.8 percent in the usual care group. 

What Is Mindfulness Mediation and How Can it Help Your Recovery?
Mindful meditation is a psychological practice that helps us to be “fully present, aware of where we are and what we’re doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what’s going on around us,” according to Another definition: It helps give us a necessary pause so we approach daily life with warmth and kindness – not judgment – toward ourselves and toward others. 

Being more mindful can certainly help your recovery. For one, it will prevent negative thoughts, feelings and emotions from distracting you or interfering with lasting sobriety. Here are a few more of the study-proven benefits: 
  • Better emotional control
  • Less anxiety 
  • Reduced anger and increased compassion
  • Greater self-awareness
  • Improved focus and impulse control
  • Deeper spiritual connection
Finding Holistic Treatment for You
At Complete Harmony, we encourage the use of many different cutting-edge techniques to help clients heal the mind, body and spirit, including mediation. To learn more about our treatment center and our approach to addiction recovery, call today: 866-930-4673.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Study: Smartphone Addiction — Hyper-social, Not Anti-social?

Are you constantly checking your phone, texting or scrolling through social media? Smartphone addiction has been in the news more and more, with many experts believing this type of behavior to be antisocial. New research, however, is looking at smartphone addiction in a new way – wondering if it’s a sign of being hyper-social?

In the new review, researchers believe the most addictive smartphone functions share a common theme: they tap into the human desire to connect with other people.

The desire to watch and monitor others — and also to be seen and monitored by others — runs deep in our evolutionary past, explained professor Samuel Veissière, a cognitive anthropol
ogist, in a statement. Social media is a way for us to find meaning, goals and a sense of identity.

“There is a lot of panic surrounding this topic,” said Veissière. “We’re trying to offer some good news and show that it is our desire for human interaction that is addictive and there are fairly simple solutions to deal with this.”

Still, the researchers agree that the pace and scale of hyper-connectivity can push the brain’s reward system to run on overdrive, leading to unhealthy addictions. 

So what are these "fairly simple solutions"? Experts says turning off push notifications and setting up appropriate times to check your phone can go a long way toward helping prevent smartphone addiction.  

And, above all, we need to “start having a conversation about the appropriate way to use smartphones,” noted Veissière. “Parents and teachers need to be made aware of how important this is.”

Complete Harmony CA Rehab
If compulsive cell phone use is a problem that co-occurs with your drug or alcohol addiction, Complete Harmony’s team of practitioners and addiction specialists can help. Join our family and begin to live life on healthier terms, without the need for technology overload. Dial 866-930-4673 to inquire about our dual-diagnosis programs, or speak with a counselor about developing a customized recovery program for your needs. 

Friday, February 23, 2018

Chronic Drinking Linked to Dementia

A study of nearly one million adults in France found a link between chronic drinking and early-onset dementia.

Researchers, using data from the French National Hospital Discharge database, found that of the 57,000 cases of early-onset dementia (younger than 65), the majority (57%) were related to chronic heavy drinking. Alcohol use disorders were diagnosed in 16.5% of the men with dementia and 4% of the women with dementia — over twice as much as in those without dementia for both sexes, according to the study.

"Given the strength of the association, what is the most surprising to me is that alcohol use disorders had received so little interest in dementia research and public health policies," Dr. Michael Schwarzinger, a researcher at the Transitional Health Economics Network in Paris and a leading author of the study, told

According to the researchers, there are multiple ways heavy alcohol use can lead to dementia, including:
  • Ethanol and its byproduct acetaldehyde are known to have a toxic effect on the brain that can lead to long-term structural and functional brain damage.
  • Heavy alcohol use can lead to a condition called hepatic encephalopathy, characterized by a loss in brain function due to increases of ammonia in the blood caused by liver damage.
  • Heavy drinking often correlates with smoking habits and/or depression, also factors for dementia onset. 
People outside of France should take these findings seriously, too, Dr. Schwarzinger told “While the rate of alcohol use disorders is lower in the USA, it remains substantial enough to be considered a major risk factor for dementia onset."

Help for Alcohol Addiction
If you or someone you love has an alcohol abuse problem, know that you’re not alone. Our team has helped hundreds of patients detox and restore their whole body using holistic therapies for symptom management and improved wellbeing. To learn more, call today: 866-930-4673.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Few Depression Patients Seek Treatment

Here’s some depressing news: Only one-third of those newly diagnosed with depression follow through on doctor’s orders, according to a Kaiser Permanente study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine

Using electronic health records, insurance claims and demographic data, the researchers studied nearly 250,000 patients who received a new diagnosis of depression in primary care settings in five large health care systems between 2010 and 2013. Only 35.7 percent initiated antidepressant medication or psychotherapy within 90 days of their diagnosis. The numbers were slightly more promising among those diagnosed with more severe forms of depression, with roughly about half starting treatment. 

Depression is a highly treatable condition, and it’s estimated that 16 million Americans experience at least one depressive episode per year.

What’s behind this non-compliance? The reasons ranged from stigma to challenges accessing behavioral health services, said Beth Waitzfelder, PhD, lead author and investigator of the study, in a statement.

And this is despite a growing effort nationwide to detect and begin treating depression during primary care visits. “Over the last decade, there has been a growing effort to raise awareness about mental health and to integrate mental health care into primary care,” said Dr. Waitzfelder. “This is a positive development, since most people receive care from primary care providers. However, our study shows there is a lot more work to do to understand why many depressed patients do not begin treatment.”

Depression and Addiction: Getting Help
A depression diagnosis may exist prior to substance abuse, or develop as a side effect of drug and alcohol dependency. When you're struggling with a mental illness and a substance use disorder, rehabilitation may seem like an impossible journey. Using traditional and holistic therapies, Complete Harmony has a proven history of successfully addressing a dual diagnosis. To learn more, call 866-930-4673.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Disorders More Common Than Believed

More children than previously thought may have some type of disability caused by maternal drinking during pregnancy, according to a new study published in JAMA. Researchers suggest that 1.5 to 5 percent of U.S. children — up to five times previous estimates — have a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder. To put things in perspective, that's as common as autism, which impacts roughly 1.5 percent.

Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders (also called FASDs) can range from moderate to severe and include cognitive, behavioral and physical difficulties, according to the Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention: 
  • Abnormal facial features, such as a smooth ridge between the nose and upper lip 
  • Small head size
  • Shorter-than-average height
  • Low body weight
  • Poor coordination
  • Hyperactive behavior
  • Difficulty with attention
  • Poor memory
  • Learning disabilities
  • Speech and language delays
  • Intellectual disability or low IQ
  • Poor reasoning and judgment skills
  • Sleep and sucking problems as a baby
  • Vision or hearing problems
  • Problems with the heart, kidneys, or bones
The study, funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, evaluated nearly 3,000 students as well as some of their mothers. More than a third of the children’s moms declined to answer questions about drinking during pregnancy.

“When you identify a kid with FASD, you’ve just identified a mom who drank during pregnancy and harmed her child,” Susan Astley, director of the Fetal Alcohol Syndrome Diagnostic and Prevention Network at the University of Washington, who was not involved in the study, told The New York Times.

Health authorities in the United States have pretty clear warnings when it comes to drinking during pregnancy: don’t do it. A 2015 American Academy of Pediatrics report said “no amount of alcohol intake should be considered safe” during any trimester. In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, advised sexually active women who are not using birth control to “not drink alcohol at all.”

Even a small amount of alcohol can seriously affect a baby, said Dr. Astley. “There’s probably no two women on the planet who drank the same amount on the same day of pregnancy. And alcohol doesn’t impact every fetus in the same way.”

The researchers hope that these findings will serve as a wake-up call for moms-to-be: “Alcohol can damage every system of the body,” Dr. Svetlana Popova, a senior scientist at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health’s Institute for Mental Health Policy Research in Toronto and a co-author of an editorial about the new study, told NYT. “We have to scream about this problem to the world.”

Getting Help for Alcohol Abuse
If you have a drinking problem and are pregnant or considering pregnancy, we can work together to create a plan to help you live a happy and alcohol-free lifestyle. To learn more about our holistic addiction program, call today: 866-930-4673.

Friday, February 2, 2018

Building a Healthy Heart After Substance Abuse

It’s Heart Health Month, held each year to remind Americans to learn about the impact the heart has on one’s overall health, as well as the lifestyle factors that can promote a healthy heart. 

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women, so it’s never too soon to start caring for this vital organ. Certainly getting help for drug or alcohol abuse is a great step. Both drugs and alcohol can pose very serious risks to your cardiovascular health, increasing your risk for heart attack and stroke. 

Here’s a look at how to best care for your ticker after years of abuse from addiction. Perhaps the best part, these tips from the American Heart Association (AHA) can work double-duty and benefit your overall recovery, too: 

Get active. If you get at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity each day (like brisk walking), five times per week, you can almost guarantee yourself a healthier and more satisfying life while lowering your risks for heart disease, stroke and diabetes, according to AHA.

Watch your cholesterol. Too much bad cholesterol (LDL) can form plaque in your veins and arteries – and these blockages can lead to heart disease and stroke. Firstly, if you don’t know your numbers, schedule a visit with your doctor to get checked. If your numbers are high, engaging in moderate exercise, avoiding tobacco smoke and eating a heart-healthy diet can help.

Manage high blood pressure. High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Again, get your numbers checked and make an effort to follow these steps from the AHA:
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet, including reducing sodium
  • Get regular physical activity
  • Maintain a healthy weight
  • Manage stress
  • Avoid tobacco smoke.
Pay attention to your diet. Healthy foods are the fuel our bodies use to create the energy we need to thrive and fight diseases, notes AHA. So do your best to load up on veggies, fruit, low-fat dairy, fiber-rich whole grains, and lean meats including fish.

Nutrition Planning at Complete Harmony
Helping clients plan healthful meals to enrich their body and mind is just one of the many features of our hybrid addiction treatment. By integrating conventional and holistic recovery approaches, we help restore balance to the whole person. To learn more, call: 866-930-4673.

Friday, January 26, 2018

5 Ways Yoga Helps Recovery

A regular yoga practice may not be for everyone – but everyone can give it a try. Here are five ways this ancient practice can help you on the road to recovery: 

1. You’ll feel calmer. Perhaps the most widely known benefit of yoga is its ability to reduce stress and anxiety, which can interfere with your recovery and even trigger relapse.

2. You’ll have greater self-awareness. Yoga can put you in a state of calm and focus so you can reflect on where you are and where you want to be in your recovery. It also teaches you to be more self-aware – but without judgment or reaction – and this can certainly help you better manage any negative feelings you’re having.

3. You’ll handle cravings better. Again, this greater self-awareness brought on by yoga can give you an edge when it comes to identifying and managing any drug or alcohol cravings. 

4. You’ll be in a better mood. The deep breathing exercises taught in yoga have been found to boost mood (lowering stress hormones) and lessen depressive symptoms. In fact, one study found that a specialized set of breathing exercises called Sudarshana Kriya Yoga (SKY) helped people during detox for alcohol dependence. SKY uses three types of seated breathing: victorious breath (a slow deep breathing), bellows breath (a forced inhalation and exhalation) for 12 to 15 minutes, and cyclical breathing of slow, medium and fast cycles for 30 minutes, according Psychology Today.

5. You’ll become more confident. Yoga challenges you mentally and physically and can help build confidence in your body and your ability to set and reach recovery goals. 

Making Yoga Part of Your Addiction Treatment
Stepping out of the confines of traditional rehab programs, Complete Harmony empowers clients to achieve and maintain sobriety through the use of holistic therapies and non-12-step alternative approaches. To learn more about our complementary therapy approaches, including yoga, call us today: 866-930-4673.

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