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Friday, October 28, 2016

8 Surprising Facts About Depression

If you or someone you love is suffering from depression, you know all too well that the mental illness is far from black and white. In fact, depression is quite complicated and researchers are constantly learning more about its symptoms, treatment, and prevention. Here are some surprising facts to keep in mind. 

1. It’s a leading cause of disability. And it’s estimated to affect 350 million people, according to the World Health Organization. 

2. It can hurt – literally. While depression is a mental illness, it can impact your body too. In fact, headache, stomach problems, shortness of breath, and general physical tension can all be symptoms of depression, according to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH). Chronic pain can be another sign.

3. It may make you cranky. While feeling sad, empty, or hopeless are often hallmark symptoms of depression, persistent irritability can also be a sign. Shouting, losing your temper, or constantly being ticked off at your loved ones and the world around you are all red flags. One study sponsored by NIMH showed that people with signs of irritability had higher rates of co-occurring substance abuse.

4. It has different triggers. Depression can develop without any obvious cause, but it can also result from a trauma or stressful live event or if a close family member has been depressed

5. It’s more common in women. This is likely due to certain biological, hormonal, and social factors unique to females.

6. It’s linked to your gut. More and more research is pointing to the complicated relationship between the brain, the central nervous system, and the “good” bacteria in the gut, which could contribute to depression.

7. It eases with exercise. Being active is perhaps one of the best remedies when it comes to easing depression symptoms. And you don’t have to run a marathon; just walking 30 minutes per day can do wonders for your mood.

8. It often feeds a substance use disorder. About 20 percent of Americans with depression also have a substance use disorder (SUD), and about 20 percent of those with a SUD also have an anxiety or mood disorder, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America.

Are You Struggling With Depression and Addiction?
Co-occurring conditions like depression may exist prior to substance abuse, or develop as a side effect of drug and alcohol dependency. Using traditional and holistic therapies, Complete Harmony has a proven history of successfully addressing the secondary health challenges that complicate substance abuse. To learn more, call 866-930-4673.

Friday, October 21, 2016

New Instagram Tool Offers Mental Health Support

Social media can be a great space for support but it can also fan the flames of many mental health issues, including body image and eating disorders. In fact, despite efforts by Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram, sites continue to crop up touting anorexia or bulimia – referring to these pathologies as “ana” and “mia,” for short. 

Instagram has taken great strides to combat this trend and even created an official policy that bans images or hashtags (like #thinspo, short for the pro-anorexia phrase “thinspiration”) promoting self-harm. Recently, the social media company took it a step further by creating a tool that addresses these cries for help. 

Developed in coordination with the National Eating Disorders Association and National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, the tool allows users to anonymously flag posts about self-harm or other mental health issues. The user who posted the troubling image will then receive this message: "Someone saw one of your posts and thinks you might be going through a difficult time. If you need support, we'd like to help." In addition, the user will be given options to contact a helpline, talk to a friend, or get tips. 

"We listen to mental health experts when they tell us that outreach from a loved one can make a real difference for those who may be in distress. At the same time, we understand friends and family often want to offer support but don't know how best to reach out," Instagram COO Marne Levine told Seventeen

"These tools are designed to let you know that you are surrounded by a community that cares about you, at a moment when you might most need that reminder."

Help for Eating Disorders and Addiction
If you or someone you love is battling a mental health issue and substance use disorder, Complete Harmony can help. To learn more about our dual-diagnosis treatment, call: 866-930-4673.

Friday, October 14, 2016

Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?

Vitamin D, or the “sunshine vitamin,” plays a vital role in keeping your body healthy during recovery. In addition to boosting the feel-good hormone serotonin, vitamin D is crucial for your bones, skin, and mental health – and it may even help you fend off that pesky cold or flu this season. 

Unfortunately, if you’re in addiction recovery you may be deficient; drugs and alcohol interfere with your body’s ability to absorb vitamin D. Luckily, a visit to your healthcare provider and few lifestyle modifications can easily boost those levels.

How Can I Tell If I’m Vitamin-D Deficient?
A simple blood test can detect if your levels are low. Signs of a vitamin D deficiency include:
• Chronic ache in your bones
• A blue mood, or feeling depressed
• Muscle weakness
• Excessive sweating
• Daytime sleepiness
• Decreased endurance

How Much Vitamin D Do I Need? 
For most adults, general recommendations are as follows:
• 600 IU for those ages one to 70
• 800 IU for those 71 and older
• 1,000 IU for those with low levels; check with your healthcare provider first

What’s the Best Way to Boost My Vitamin D?
Your best bet: Head outdoors (without sunscreen) for 15 minutes per day and soak up some sunshine. You may also consider adding several vitamin-D rich or fortified foods into your diet, including:
  • Swordfish 
  • Salmon 
  • Tuna 
  • Sardines 
  • Milk 
  • Yogurt 
  • Fortified milk, orange juice, bread, and cereals 
  • Eggs (vitamin D is in the yolk) 
  • Mushrooms 
  • Beef liver 
  • Swiss cheese 
Hybrid Addiction Treatment at Complete Harmony 
Complete Harmony provides clients with an array of holistic modalities that complement the 12-step experience, including nutrition and exercise planning. To learn more about how we can help heal your body, mind, and soul, call us today: 866-930-4673. .

Friday, October 7, 2016

7 Habits for a Healthy Digestive System

Taking care of your digestive health can serve double-duty for those in recovery. It can help heal your body from the years of alcohol or drug abuse and it may improve your mood, too.

Scientists have found that gut bacteria regulate how people think and feel, playing a role in both anxiety and depression. 

Prioritizing some healthy lifestyle habits may be all it takes to improve your digestive health – and some of these steps, like exercising and stress management, are likely already part of your overall recovery plan.

  1. Stick to a high-fiber diet. Incorporating fiber-rich foods, like vegetables, legumes, and fruits, into your eating plan can help prevent constipation and keep things moving through your digestive tract. 
  2. Stay hydrated. Drinking plenty of water also prevents constipation, helping dissolve fats and soluble fiber. 
  3. Load up on yogurt. Probiotics in foods like yogurt and kefir stimulate healthy digestive function and combat the effects of a poor diet and stress.
  4. Sprinkle on cinnamon. A recent study found that the spice lowers temperatures in the stomach, which can help lower the levels of stomach acid and pepsin in the gut. Stick to no more than a teaspoon per day, notes The National Institutes of Health. And, avoid cassia cinnamon (Chinese cinnamon), which contains coumarin, known to affect blood clotting and be toxic to the liver for some people.
  5. Scale back on bad habits. Coffee and cigarettes can interfere with the functioning of your digestive system and lead to stomach ulcers and heartburn.
  6. Make exercise part of your routine. Regular exercise can prevent constipation and promote a healthy weight – both key to good digestive health. 
  7. Be mindful of stress. Yet another reason to add yoga or meditation to the recovery process. Stress and anxiety can kick your digestive system into overdrive. 

Nutrition Planning at Complete Harmony
At Complete Harmony, we help our clients plan healthful meals to enrich their body and mind. By integrating conventional and holistic recovery approaches, we help restore balance to the whole person. To learn more, call: 866-930-4673.

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