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Monthly Archives July 2016

3 Alternative Ways to Treat Mental Illness That Eliminate The Threat of Addiction

Posted by Sue Scheff on July 28, 2016  /   Posted in Mental Illness, Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

PillsFor some people with mental illness, the idea of relying on pharmaceuticals and therapy sessions is not acceptable. Because of concerns about pharmaceutical companies and addictive, dangerous, and expensive medication, more and more people seek alternative treatments for their mental illnesses. The guidance of a trained counselor is important, and there are plenty of counselors willing to work with an alternative treatment plan. Be sure to do your research before starting an alternative treatment. Suggestions based on pseudoscience very easily can lead a well-adjusted individual to a path of increased symptoms and negative side effects. We present a few alternative methods for treating mental illness here, so that you can begin to educate yourself about alternative treatments.

Tried and True Herbal Supplements

If you step into any natural foods store, you are bound to run into a wall of various supplements, all claiming to be beneficial for this or that ailment or illness. While some herbal supplements can help alleviate your symptoms, it is important that you do the research, find valid studies, and make your decision wisely. Some well-tested supplements include St. John’s Wort for minor depression, Kava Kava for panic and anxiety, and tulsi (Holy Basil) for stress.

Be sure to avoid anything that uses homeopathy. The basis of homeopathy comes from the flawed, ancient concept that an ailment can be cured by a herb that would cause the ailment. The substance is then diluted hundreds of times, leaving, at most, a single molecule of the original substance. Though this water “solution” may not cause adverse effects, the cessation of treatment may cause symptoms to return.

Diet and Exercise

As always, improving your diet and scheduling regular exercise can help a number of issues people often experience. For those with mental illness, a good diet devoid of nutritional gaps can work to even out chemical imbalances. The exercise component keeps the body fit while generating endorphins, which boost your mood.

If you decide to take this treatment path, it is important that you work with a counselor. For some people, good diet and exercise simply are not enough to counteract the mental illness. A counselor will be able to monitor your wellbeing and decide whether or not the treatment is effective enough to stand alone.

Psychiatric Service Dogs

A psychiatric service dog differs from a companion animal. While companion animals can be an excellent form of treatment, they help only by providing love, affection, and a reason to get out of bed and get moving. Service dogs are specially trained to perform tasks such as providing pressure during panic attacks, retrieving medication, leading someone from a crowd during a PTSD flashback, and a number of other helpful tasks. Though a service dog alone is not a complete treatment, they can be extraordinarily beneficial for those struggling with mental illness.

Service and companion animals also can provide the added benefit of preventing addiction and suicide. For some people, mental illness is isolating, fostering depression and suicidal thoughts. An animal standing by to provide love while simultaneously offering a reason to live can make all the difference.

The world of alternative treatments can be difficult to navigate. Misinformation is published very easily and falsely backed by poorly conducted studies. The importance of research and professional guidance cannot be ignored. If you want to refuse pharmaceuticals in lieu of a more natural treatment for your mental illness, be sure you are acting responsibly. Get the help of a professional and investigate all claims thoroughly. With these two precautions, it will suddenly become easier to pinpoint a truly effective alternative treatment.

Contributor:

Adam Cook has a strong understanding of the devastation that can be caused by addiction. He recently lost a close friend to an addiction-related suicide. In an effort to better educate himself and to help others, he created AddictionHub.org, a site that provides addiction and mental health resources. When he isn’t working or adding to his website, he’s prepping for his first triathlon.

Image via Pixabay by PublicDomainPictures

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Keeping a Watchful Eye on Your Teens and Their Friends

Posted by Sue Scheff on July 27, 2016  /   Posted in Parenting Teens, Struggling Teen Help, Teen Help, Troubled Teens

Teens55As a parent, the stuff you got away with as a teenager will often come back to haunt you when you have teens of your own. Even if you were a relatively “good” teen who didn’t get into too much trouble, imagining your own children making those same decisions can keep you up at night.

This is especially true when your teenager invites friends over to the house. While you understandably want and need to keep tabs on your kids and their friends, you also don’t want to be the obnoxious parent who is constantly coming into the room or trying to join in their fun. In order to keep an eye and ear on your teens and their guests without having to physically check on them every few minutes, consider the following ideas.

Keep the fun stuff in the main rooms

One of the easiest ways to monitor your kids is to encourage them to socialize in the family or living room. To do this, make sure the electronics, like the TV, game consoles and Blu-Ray players, are located in that room. When the kids are hanging out watching a movie or bowling on the Wii, stay within earshot in an adjacent area of the house. To really encourage your teens to use the room for entertaining, involve them in the decorating process; take them to Ikea or Target to pick out teenager-friendly furniture that they’ll want to use.

Harness the power of your home security system

A great way to keep an electronic eye on visiting teens and your own kids is to use an indoor or outdoor security camera. While you don’t want to announce that you’re using a security system to spy on your teens, it’s perfectly reasonable to check the footage now and then to see what is going on in the backyard or basement.

Be friendly and welcoming

To know your teen’s friends is to know your teen, Reader’s Digest says. When your son or daughter has a friend over, be warm and welcoming, and ask about how school and/or work is going. The more you get to know your teen’s pals, the more you will get a handle on who you can trust and who needs more careful monitoring. Trust your instincts on how much privacy is appropriate; for example, if you know one of their friends has a habit of visiting websites you don’t approve of, don’t allow them to disappear into a bedroom with a laptop.

Use food as an excuse

While you do not technically need an excuse to check on your teens and their buddies — after all, it is your house and you make the rules — you can certainly use the lure of freshly baked chocolate chip cookies or pizza as a way to monitor what is going on. Call everyone down for a snack or knock at the door with a tray of cupcakes or chips and dip, and surreptitiously glance around the room to see what is up.

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