(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Shernide Delva
*Trigger Warning* This piece discusses trigger warnings. Please avoid if you are uncomfortable with the idea of questioning whether or not trigger warnings should exist.
The use of trigger warnings has become more mainstream. Now, some are wondering if this generation has taken it too far. Are we overdoing the trigger warnings?
In case you do not know, a “trigger” is something that triggers a negative or uncomfortable reaction. “Trigger Warnings” work to warn people the content they are about to see or read could make them uncomfortable. Trigger warnings give people the option of avoiding content that could cause emotional distress.
Recently, many have observed that society has become more socially conscious or “politically correct.” Whether or not that is a positive thing is a manner of opinion. However, the use of “trigger warnings” have undeniably increased in use.
Initially, trigger warnings spawned from post-traumatic stress disorders. Those who suffer from PTSD benefit from these warnings because they are more sensitive to sensory input. Anything from a film or piece of media might trigger a person with PTSD and cause them to suffer PTSD symptoms. It could be as simple as a sound or smell, physical space, a particular object, or a person. Anything that reminds the mind of a past trauma can result in PTSD symptoms. A person with PTSD may find trigger warnings helpful because it helps them avoid situations that trigger their PTSD symptoms.
The problem with trigger warnings is that everyone is affected differently. Even arbitrary things can be triggering for someone. It is natural for people to be more sensitive to things than others. We all come from a diverse background and upbringing. The question is whether protecting people from possible triggers is beneficial. Everyone is different. If everyone has one, should they all be accommodated? Are we becoming overly sensitive to other people’s “triggers?”
Do Trigger Warnings Help Those With Mental Health Issues?
An article in The Atlantic thoroughly questions whether or not trigger warnings are beneficial to those who have mental health challenges like anxiety and depression. The author argues that trigger warnings create a “fortune telling” society in which people prepare for the worse every time they speak. The act of “fortune telling” involves “seeing the potential danger in an everyday situation.”
On some college campuses, students demand trigger warnings for classic novels like The Great Gatsby and Catcher in the Rye. They argue that the sexually explicit content, violence, and language of these books should come with a trigger warning. As an avid reader, I find the concept of this unusual. While it is true that some students will react more to the content than others, are trigger warnings helping or hurting these developing students?
PTSD and Anxiety: Do Trigger Warnings Benefit Them?
For those who suffer from PTSD, like Molly Miller, trigger warnings have prevented her PTSD episodes and have helped her live a more manageable life.
“Some people feel like trigger warnings coddle sensitive people. I don’t see it that way. I see trigger warnings as a common courtesy to help prevent sufferers of PTSD, like me, from reliving our trauma. I recognize it is not fail-proof, and getting upset by our memories is a part of life. But what is so wrong with making an effort?” She wrote.
On the contrary, author Samuel Barr described his experience with PTSD. At the age of ten, Barr was abused by an older boy. He was left emotionally devastated and suffered PTSD because of the experience. He talks about how he spiraled “downward into a deep depression.” Still, Barr does not believe his mental health condition should warrant a trigger warning. Until he learned to stop seeing himself as a victim and finally received helped, he was forced to tip-toe in society. He says he believes this trigger warning mindset is not beneficial.
“Trigger warnings are one of the latest fads in an ongoing cultural obsession with glorifying victimhood, and as a former victim, I can confidently say there is nothing glorious about it. Contrary to the noble intentions of its supporters, trigger warnings do more to harm people with trauma backgrounds than help them.”
Should We Embrace Them?
Furthermore, Barr believes people should face their trauma rather than run away from them. These warnings will only continue to get out of hand and affect those who produce content in the first place.
“If you start warning, for one thing, you have to decide which unpleasant thing is worth a trigger and which isn’t. That isn’t a position an editor should be in,” stated Jessica Coen, editor at Jezebel magazine.
Johnathan Heidt, the author of “The Coddling of the American Mind,”says we are entering a climate where we presume the worse about the fragility and vulnerability of others. He describes this as vindictive impulsiveness which is “ a culture in which everyone must think twice before speaking up.”
Does this help anyone? Once again, that question can be debated, however for some mental health conditions, it can cause more harm than good:
“According to the most-basic tenets of psychology, helping people with anxiety disorders avoid the things they fear is misguided,” he continues.
Trigger Warnings and Addiction Treatment
When dealing with addiction treatment, addicts who seek treatment come from all types of background and find they are more sensitive to certain things than others. Professionals in the addiction field work to help those seeking treatment develop the tools to lead a healthy life in recovery.
In treatments, clients learn what triggers could result in a relapse. When It comes to addiction, triggers are a very real thing. A person, place, event, or unresolved mental health are triggers in addiction. Therapists help addicts understand what their triggers are. Ultimately, each person has to decide whether to avoid all their triggers or try to overcome them.
For those early in recovery, facing triggers can be a very dangerous idea. Therefore, trigger warnings appearing before photos or content that could raise temptation might be helpful. However, years into the recovery, triggers may not be triggering at all.
Everyone should play an active role in helping others feel comfortable and safe. Sometimes it is good to be aware of how you affect other and what types of things affect you emotionally. You may have to navigate life avoiding triggers and paying more attention to the positives. In recovery, you learn the tools you need to succeed. Take it a day at a time. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
Author: Shernide Delva
There are an estimated 21 million people in forced or coerced human trafficking worldwide. That number is just an estimate. Human trafficking can happen anywhere at anytime. It is going on in our backyards, and most of us are unaware of it. Because we are unaware of it, it becomes an unspoken problem. Now, a newly released app plans to combat this epidemic. All it requires is users take photos of their hotel room.
Just by taking pictures of your next hotel room, you can take a small step in helping victims of sex trafficking around the world. The new app is called TraffickCam and allows those traveling to upload photos of their hotel room around the world.
“You just enter your hotel room and your room number. You take four pictures, and you submit them to the website,” Washington University Researcher and TraffickCam developer Abby Stylianou said at a Human Trafficking Town Hall. “And then those become part of the pipeline that law enforcement can use to track down where the victims are being trafficked.”
The hotel room photos go into a database that over time will help law enforcement locate where human trafficking is occurring. Pictures of Hotel rooms are matched against a police database.
“Right now there are pictures posted every day. Hundreds of pictures, in every city around the United States, posted online, that show victims of trafficking, in hotel rooms posed on beds,” she said.
Stylianou says the idea sparked from the times authorities have asked the public to identify a hotel room where human trafficking took place. Often, someone was able to identify the hotel room from the photo.
Now, this app aims to collect hotel room photos in advance. So the next time you check into a hotel room, take pictures of your room and upload them using the app. After all, it is only one extra thing to do on top of your Snapchats and fancy food Instagram pictures. The app is free and available for both iOS and Android devices.
Human Trafficking and Substance Abuse
Substance abuse and human trafficking, unfortunately, go hand and hand. Estimates indicate that between 40 and 85 percent of all prostitutes are drug users. What the media often does not portray is the fact that many victims are not addicts before being traffic. However, when found, these victims are left with drug addictions and dependencies.
There a few ways that substance abuse and human trafficking intertwine. It can be a product of recruitment, control or coping:
- Recruitment: Victims will sometimes end up in human trafficking before any drug abuse. This scenario is very common in the sex industry. Men and women turn to prostitution to support their drug dependencies. Traffickers use this as leverage to obtain workers.
- Control: Traffickers will force drug use on victims as a mean of control, so they get what they want.
“In some cases, a prostitute will be forced by a pimp or other person to take drugs to ensure that they do as they are told… This is particularly true in the case of young people and children” (DARA).
Sadly, this method of control is even used on children as well. Children are sometimes forced to take drugs or drink alcohol, so they are more manipulated into having sex or performing sexual acts without consent. Trafficking victims are often forced to take drugs like heroin or meth because they eventually become dependent on these substances. Traffickers gain control of their victims this way because soon the victims will feel they need to fund their addiction. Now, their addiction binds them to their exploitation.
- Coping: Drugs can be a method of coping for victims. Victims of human trafficking may use drugs as a way to numb their pain. Day after day, abusing substances allow victims to deal with the reality of their life and work. Substance Abuse is used “as a way to be able to continue to do the degrading and often violent work” (DARA). Some victims also use drugs in the aftermath to reduce their post-traumatic emotional distress.
As you can see, human trafficking is a major problem across the board. The fact that an app like this could help law enforcement find the location these horrible acts are taking place is a step in the right direction. If you or someone you know has gone through a similar traumatic experience and is struggling with any form of dependency, the time is now to call for help. Do not try to do this alone. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Justin Mckibben
Mental and emotional strength and stability are not always easy to develop, although many would say it is easier to fake. While some people do legitimately have a stronger sense of self naturally, others will live off a pattern of protecting themselves mentally and emotionally through acting tough. Acting tough may meet your needs as far as a quick fix, boosting the ego as a defense mechanism. Still, the tough act is not a strategy that is sustainable.
Mental strength is not to say you are stronger or smarter than anyone. Lacking in mental strength does not mean you don’t have the same capacity for thought and understanding, it just means when the pressure is potently applied there is more of a chance that you will suffer. Some people think that the tough act will help them improve their mental strength. However acting tough just fakes strength while not allowing people to grow.
Here are some differences between mental strength and putting on a tough act.
The tough act typically has that element of outward ego that proclaims the individual as the best thing breathing. The person will have an overcompensating confidence that insists upon itself. However the truth behind it is the person is overrun with their insecurities. They refuse to expose any weakness, which hinders connection with others.
People with mental strength will actually admit to their faults and invest energy and time into self-improvement. These people realize that while they may fall, they are still able to grow.
When it comes to falling down, the person using the tough act will insist that failure is not an option. They will never surrender or accept defeat, which means they cannot learn from their losses. The irony is that this attitude rarely prevents people from losing. Meanwhile it blocks them off from trying something new later because the ego fears the loss.
People who have mental strength understand that every failure is just a stepping stone to greatness. Mentally strong individuals view every shortcoming as an opportunity to learn what doesn’t work and build off their new perspective. These people know they fall so they can learn how to get back up.
- Denying the Self
The tough act has a pretty recognizable symptom in most cases- the individual only expresses their emotions when it comes to anger. This person will deny their pain, sadness, fear and even excitement. When it comes to pain they would rather grit and bear it then let anyone see them sweat. This again prevents them from growing through their pain and even from setting boundaries.
Mental strength will show itself for what it is. When this person feels fear or sadness they will be honest with others and with themselves. But just because they express these feelings doesn’t mean they let them dictate their lives. Their ability to be self-aware and expressive lets them monitor how their emotions impact their behaviors and their relationships.
This is probably one of the most common traits of people who try to act tough as oppose to actually having mental strength. The tough act will have someone trying to appear as if they are in control, having power over others and dominion over any situation. They try to force their will onto people and circumstances to make sure things go their way because it creates an illusion of strength and superiority.
However, true mental strength comes from having self-control, not controlling others. This individual wants to understand and manage their emotions by directing their own thoughts and perspective because they understand that they are only responsible for their own reaction to any given situation. They know their strength comes from their ability to adapt, not from trying to force life to go their way.
For people who rely on the tough act, it is not to say you have no mental strength, it just means you could build on it holistically to determine where you rely on a misguided ego instead of developing your mental and emotional muscles. The more practice you actually put into exercising mental strength the more you will let go of the act. By changing your strategy and adopting a new attitude toward these feelings you actually better prepare yourself for the journey ahead. When the tough gets going, the tough act doesn’t cut it without the mind to follow through.
In recovery from drugs and alcohol, mental strength is something we have to learn in order to grow and flourish. It is not always easy to break these habits, but if we can separate from the substance and get the foundation we need we have a great shot at becoming stronger than we ever thought possible. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
The most utilized drug treatment programs are 12-step fellowship programs
like Alcoholic Anonymous (AA), and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). However, there are many ways out there to achieve an optimal life in recovery. Some of these methods are very controversial. Even if they work for some people, the risks are often too high. Still, it is important to note that they are
other programs out there. Therefore, if you find that you are struggling with your treatment program
, it may be time to expand your support network. Do any of these programs appeal to you?
5 Controversial Addiction Treatments
- Moderation Management (MM)
Moderation Management aims to help those who are in the early stages of “problem drinking.” Those who go to meetings like MM are not usually “alcoholics” The program focuses on tackling behaviors and helping participants make lifestyle changes. As the name suggests, the emphasis is on moderation rather than be an abstinence-based program.
The Controversy? MM is not for everyone, and some people risk harm by trying to moderate their alcohol use, instead of focusing on an abstinent-only lifestyle. The organization is upfront in stating 30 percent of its members move on to abstinence-based programs. Even Audrey Kishline, one of the founder of Moderation Management left MM for abstinence-based programs like AA. Kishline made headlines when she was arrested driving blackout drunk and killing a 12-year old girl and her father. She served 3 ½ years in jail before being released. She admitted in a 2006 Dateline interview that she may have elevated the program as a way to “legitimize” her drinking behavior, and she says MM can work for someone “as long as they’re not truly an alcoholic.” Kishline was found dead in her Mother’s home on December 19th, 2014. Though it was never confirmed, it was widely believed to have been a suicide.
- SMART Recovery
Smart Recovery stands for Self-Management and Recovery Training. SMART is a worldwide support network known in the recovery community as the main alternative to AA. It is a four-point program based on abstinence. The ultimate goal of SMART is helping followers learn to lead a more balanced, structured life. It diverges from AA because it avoids the “powerless” ideology. Instead, techniques such as motivational interviewing and cognitive behavioral therapy are used.
The Controversy? The main controversy about SMART is the notion that addicts are not “powerless” over their addiction. This separates it from AA which emphasizes the powerless aspect in the first step. SMART recovery is about empowerment. Some criticisms of SMART are that the program is far too broad and deters other programs like AA. However, the organization states it is perfectly acceptable to use SMART alongside other sobriety aids, and even encourages it.
- Emotional Freedom Technique (EFT)
EFT is known more commonly as “tapping.” This technique involves just that: tapping on a series of pressure points while talking through challenges you are facing— for example, an addictive urge. The technique has roots in Eastern acupressure and combines that knowledge with Western psychotherapy. Tapping can also address the root causes of addiction.
The Controversy? Some argue that it’s nonsense. Although small studies have shown very promising results, there is no science-based explanation on why or how the technique works. Some worry that people with serious mental condition will become over-reliant on the method. Still, the technique is mostly harmless, so it is worth a try.
Neurofeedback allows the ability for you to see your brain waves on a computer screen in real time. Thus, you can learn to alter certain brain rhythms through continuous feedback. This form of treatment has been used traditionally for PTSD, however now it is being used in rehab centers and some psychological clinics. Accumulating evidence supports its effectiveness for conditions like insomnia, anxiety and depression.
The Controversy? Too new. It’s only been around for a short time and only has recently been used for addiction treatment. The research on the effects remain mixed and only time will tell if this will become the next best treatment.
- Hallucinogens/ Psychedelics
Hallucinogens and psychedelics are the next methods that some researchers believe to be effective in treating addiction. Ibogaine is a psychedelic substance that’s illegal in the U.S. However, in other countries, it is used to treat addiction to opiates, alcohol, and other substances. Ibogaine is thought to work by dampening the brain’s reward pathway. It is found to be particularly effective in lessening the effects of withdrawal.
Hallucinogens like magic mushrooms and ayahuasca have been considered a potential treatment for drug addiction. Ayahuasca is a healing brew traditionally used by indigenous peoples in the Amazon. The thinking is the drug can affect the brain cell receptors that control addiction. On a more spiritual level, people report having a healing experience or spiritual awakening that they believe to clear them of their past struggles.
The Controversy? Well… they are drugs, for one, so that is considered quite the unorthodox treatment option for drug addiction. Furthermore, because they are illegal, it is difficult for scientific studies to be approved to validate their effectiveness. The research is still ongoing and remains misunderstood.
Did anything stand out to you? While 12-step fellowships work for many people, everyone is different. It is important to understand all your options and the risks associated with them. Ultimately, the greatest risk is not seeking help at all. Get help today. Do not wait. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
By: Justin Mckibben
Every once in a while we have an opportunity to share some of the amazing and emotional testimonies of transformation from our Palm Partners alumni. So many of these men and women have experience such an awesome change in their life and a change in perspective that they cannot wait to share with us their gratitude and share how they learned through us to overcome the many aspects of their adversity.
This week a wonderful woman Doris recently became a Palm Partners Alumni, and wanted to share a letter that she wrote to the Palm Partners staff, and asked that we type it up and publish it for her. She talks about how not knowing what she was walking into ended up helping her recognize the turmoil in herself, and the desire to get better that brought her on this journey. One of the most rewarding parts of this for us is to acknowledge the amazing people that make an impact every day on the lives of people who desperately need hope, helping them find it when all seems lost.
So below is the letter Doris wrote.
When I walked in Detox for the very first time, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
I was scared, beyond broken and completely miserable with life the way I’d been living it. The next 5 days were hard, I kept pushing through it. I never knew just how difficult it would be. A lot of pain, soul-searching and coming to terms with my disease. After 5 days I was placed at Palm Partners. I was taught by Doug and Heidi how to begin to forgive myself through the “Dickens Process,” which was completely awesome! It was so surreal, I never realized just how many people I hurt while on that path. I’m taking with me all of the things that were taught here.
I would like to thank God for leading me in the right direction.
I’d like to thank Todd from admissions, who answered that 3 AM phone call and gave me HOPE, which put me on that airplane 3 days later.
Thanks to all the clients, men and women, that were there every step of the way, lending an ear or a shoulder to cry on.
Thanks to ALL employees that helped me get to this point of my recovery, especially Tristen- he always makes me want to smile- and Paula, my therapist. I appreciate all of your help. And Sandy.
A BIG thanks goes to all the techs. You all deserve a raise because you all put up with 10 kinds of hell every day and night!
Much love goes out to each and every person that was involved in my treatment. I am forever grateful.
Keep Sharing the Message
We are always happy to share the powerful breakthroughs that our clients get to have while attending treatment, just like we love hearing about the personal connections they make with their therapists. As more men and women like Doris complete the program and move on to change and inspire in their life, we celebrate their success and thank them for the part of the journey we get to be present for.
We know there are so many more Palm Partners alumni out there with talents, stories and experiences to share, and we encourage you to contact us and be part of the message that may help countless others. You never know how many lives you can touch, and how many people could make the choice that saves their life because of something that you choose to share. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135. We want to help. You are not alone.