Author: Justin Mckibben
Remember the movie Forrest Gump? If not, I am so very sorry. Spoiler alert: it’s about a southern gentleman (Tom Hanks) who tells the incredible story of his amazing life to total strangers while waiting on a bench. He taught the world that life was like a box of chocolates, and that going for a run once in a while will change your life.
While on that bench, Forrest shares a lot of himself, and it has a pretty deep impact on some of the random folks he sits next to. Not to mention all the people watching the film who were moved by the experiences and emotions he shares.
Well this whole idea of making friends on a bench and soothing the soul by opening up to the strangers you sit with has taken new life in a place very, very far from the little park in Georgia that Forrest found himself in. The ‘Friendship Bench’ program in Zimbabwe is changing lives for those struggling with mental illness. A recent study proves that even just sitting on a bench and talking to a new friend can improve your mental health symptoms.
The Beauty of the ‘Friendship Bench’
The program is carried out by Zimbabwean lay health workers, who give brief but effective psychological treatment to the public. Instead of a big medical office, you find them conducting their problem solving therapy sessions on simple wooden seats. These health workers, or community “Grandmothers” carry out this practice with a personal touch in several major cities in Zimbabwe. The benches themselves are located on the grounds of health clinics.
The lay health workers are trained to listen and support patients living with common mental disorders such as:
The beauty is in the simplicity of the system, and the fact that it is showing to be so influential for countries where access to modern mental health treatment is limited or even nonexistent.
Studying this Solution
The study of the ‘Friendship Bench’ was published in JAMA. As a randomized controlled trial funded by the Government of Canada through Grand Challenges Canada, multiple sources contributed to the trials, including:
- The University of Zimbabwe
- The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine
- King’s College London
After a six month period, following six weekly sessions of “problem solving therapy” on a ‘Friendship Bench’ with a health worker, data showed a significant difference. The severity of depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts was noticeably reduced. This is based on locally validated questionnaires:
- The Shona Symptom Questionnaire (SSQ)
- Patient Health Questionnaire (PHQ)
- Generalized Anxiety Disorder scale (GAD)
The Big Results of the ‘Friendship Bench’
According to the research:
- 50% of patients who received standard care still had symptoms of depression– Compared to only 14% who participated in the Friendship Bench (based on PHQ)
- 48% of patients who received standard care still had symptoms of anxiety- Compared to only 12% who received Friendship Bench care(based on the GAD)
- 12% of patients who received standard care still had suicidal thoughts- Compared to 2% who used the Friendship Bench program(based on SSQ)
The Friendship Bench intervention was also shown to be well suited to improve health outcomes among highly vulnerable individuals. Out of all the ‘Friendship Bench’ program participants:
- 86% were women
- Over 40% were HIV positive
- 70% had experienced domestic violence or physical illness
With CDN being granted $1 million in funding from Grand Challenges Canada earlier this year, the ‘Friendship Bench’ program has since been expanded to 72 clinics in the cities of Harare, Gweru and Chitungwiza (total population 1.8 million). The plan is for this growing movement to keep expanding. In 2017, the team plans to focus on extending the model to other vulnerable populations, including youth and refugees.
The Need for New Methods
Forgive me if my math and comparison is a little off, but I tried to put all this in perspective.
Zimbabwe has a population of 15 million. 25% of the primary care patients suffer from depression, anxiety or other common mental disorders. In a country with 15 million, there are only 10 psychiatrists and 15 clinical psychologists!
In comparison, (hypothetically) if even only 1/4 of the population of Zimbabwe suffers from a mental health disorder… That is still 3,930,000 people. Even if you could split them up between 25 mental health professionals evenly, it’s still 157,200 patients per person!
26.2% of adults over 18 in America suffer from mental health disorders. That’s 57.7 million people out of 318.9 million people (population as of 2014). If the United States had such a cripple mental health care system, it would be catastrophic.
At the end of the day, holistic treatment is all about healing mind, body and spirit through innovative and effective strategies. The value of sitting down with another human being and getting the support and therapeutic connection we need is paramount. Therapy can come in all shapes and sizes, and developing a unique and personalized treatment program can make all the difference. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call now. We want to help.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
By Cheryl Steinberg
Public support for the use of psychedelic drugs in a therapeutic setting is rapidly growing, as we’ve already reported. Cases such as the use of LSD to treat depression and possibly addiction are indications of that. MDMA has been used to treat PTSD. There’s ayahuasca-assisted therapy to treat drug addiction. LSD for cluster headaches and psilocybin for nicotine addiction.
Well, the latest news on the alternative medicine front has to do with the therapeutic use of MDMA – the pure form of the club drug Ecstasy – for use in treating specific situations involving a psychological disorder. The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has just approved the first clinical trial using MDMA in psychotherapy sessions in order to treat anxiety in people who are also suffering with life-threatening illnesses, researchers told Al Jazeera on Tuesday.
So, as it stands, MDMA is not being used to treat anxiety, alone; rather anxiety in people who are already sick.
The DEA approved the project on Friday, says Brad Burge, the communications director for the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS). He added, “The tide has changed for psychedelic research.” MAPS is a California-based nonprofit research group that is sponsoring the study. Researchers at MAPS study medicinal uses for psychedelics as well as marijuana.
On the MAPS website, the distinction between Ecstasy or Molly, which are street names for MDMA, and actual, pure MDMA. The stuff sold on the street and in clubs is often “cut” with other drugs and chemicals so as to bolster profits for dealers, putting the user unknowingly at risk. But, the MAPS website says, pure MDMA has been proven “sufficiently safe” when taken a limited number of times in moderate doses.
First Clinical Trial for MDMA Use in Therapy
Unlike psychedelics such as LSD and psilocybin, MDMA does not produce hallucinations, which is some people may find disturbing. Rather, MDMA can be induces feelings of calm, trust and confidence, all of which can be extremely useful for people suffering from anxiety due to life-threatening illnesses, when used in combination with psychotherapy.
The clinical trial will be held in Marin, California, and has purposely been designed to take place in a psychologist’s office, instead of a hospital setting, Burge said. The patients will lie on a couch with a therapist nearby who will lend support and facilitate conversation.
The trial will consist of 18 subjects who have been diagnosed with life-threatening illnesses and who suffer from anxiety as a result. The participants will attend psychotherapy sessions over the course of several months, with MDMA being incorporated in only some of those sessions, in order to facilitate the process, Burge said. The outcome will be measured at the end of the sessions by the patient’s self-reporting and the therapist’s assessments regarding whether using the drug helped to reduce people’s anxiety.
Of MDMA, Burge said, “It opens [patients] up and makes them more comfortable with the therapist while reducing fear and making them more able to talk about difficult emotions.”
If this pilot clinical trial is a success, MAPS has plans to continue the research with larger studies that involve more participants as well as different approaches. For now, though, the goal of the researchers is to establish basic safety and effectiveness.
The trial is part of a larger $20 million plan to make MDMA an FDA-approved prescription medicine by 2021, Burge said. MAPS is the only organization in the world funding MDMA-assisted psychotherapy trials, he added.
Changing the Stigma
Researchers hope to add to and bolster already-existing (and growing) evidence that psychedelics have legitimate therapeutic uses — as well as to challenge the stigma that has demonized them as harsh drugs that destroy the mind.
“That’s what the really good science shows, despite decades of propaganda and government misinformation,” Burge said. “Just a couple weeks ago, a phenomenal study showed that there are no long-term associations between psychedelic use and mental illnesses.”
That study was published this month in the Journal of Psychopharmacology. In addition, a recent report by Johns Hopkins Medicine showed that the use of psychedelic drugs, specifically psilocybin and LSD, could reduce psychological distress and suicidal thinking.
Addiction and mental illness are often co-occurring conditions in substance use disorder cases. Luckily, there are specially-equipped, intentionally-designed treatment programs that offer dual diagnosis treatment and therapy. These programs, such as the one here at Palm Partners, are adept at treating all conditions simultaneously so that healing can start and the recovery process can be begun. Please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 today.
Cognitive behavioral therapy in drug treatment is the most common type of therapy in drug rehab; it can be used in group therapy and individual therapy.Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), when used in drug treatment, is based on the idea that feelings and behaviors are caused by a person’s thoughts, not on outside circumstances and events.
People are not always able to change their circumstances but, CBT says, they can change their thoughts thus changing how they feel and behave. As for drug addicts, this therapeutic approach brings awareness the way they behaved and felt when using drugs and alcohol. With cognitive behavioral therapy in drug treatment, they can change these destructive behaviors and develop new, healthy ones.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Drug Treatment: What is CBT?
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) refers to behavior therapy, cognitive therapy, and therapy based upon a combination of basic behavioral and cognitive principles. It is a “structured, short-term, present-oriented psychotherapy for depression, directed toward solving current problems and modifying dysfunctional (inaccurate and/or unhelpful) thinking and behavior.”
CBT has been shown to be effective in treating a variety of conditions, including mood, personality, eating, substance abuse, and psychotic disorders. Evidence-based treatment, where specific treatments for symptom-based diagnoses are recommended, has favored CBT over other approaches such as psychodynamic treatments.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Drug Treatment: Mood Disorders
It’s quite common for people who struggle with substance use disorders, such as addiction, to also be suffering with mental illness, such as a mood disorder (i.e. depression, anxiety). Therefore, the most successful programs offer dual diagnosis treatment. Dual diagnosis treatment approaches treating the client for both of their conditions simultaneously for the best treatment outcomes.
Because CBT is useful in treating clients when it comes to addiction as well as those with mood disorder, cognitive behavioral therapy in drug treatment for those with a dual diagnosis is a valid, beneficial and therefore often-used approach.
Most therapists working with patients dealing with anxiety and depression use a blend of cognitive and behavioral therapy. This technique acknowledges that there may be behaviors that cannot be controlled through rational thought, but rather emerge based on prior conditioning from the environment and other external and/or internal stimuli.
Mainstream cognitive behavioral therapy assumes that changing maladaptive thinking leads to change in affect and behavior as well as emphasizes changes in the client’s relationship to maladaptive thinking rather than changes in thinking itself. Therapists use CBT techniques to help clients challenge their patterns and beliefs and replace what they call “errors in thinking such as overgeneralizing, magnifying negatives, minimizing positives and catastrophizing” with “more realistic and effective thoughts, thus decreasing emotional distress and self-defeating behavior.”
Modern Cognitive Behavioral Therapy in Drug Treatment
Modern forms of CBT include a number of diverse but related techniques such as exposure therapy, stress inoculation training, cognitive processing therapy, cognitive therapy, relaxation training, dialectical behavior therapy, and acceptance and commitment therapy. Some practitioners promote a form of mindful cognitive therapy which includes a greater emphasis on self-awareness as part of the therapeutic process.
Cognitive behavioral therapy in drug treatment has six phases:
- Assessment or psychological assessment;
- Skills acquisition;
- Skills consolidation and application training;
- Generalization and maintenance;
- Post-treatment assessment follow-up.
CBT is “problem focused,” meaning that it is used to address specific problems as well as “action oriented” – the CBT therapist assists the client in creating specific strategies in order to address the identified problems.
If you are struggling with a psychological disorder and/or substance use disorder, CBT and dual diagnosis treatment can get you on the path to health and recovery. At Palm Partners, we employ CBT methods as well as several other approaches to treatment, including holistic methods, in order to help our clients reach successful outcomes of their cognitive behavioral therapy in drug treatment program. Please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to speak with one of our knowledgeable and compassionate Addiction Specialists; we are available 24/7.
Mental Illness and Substance Abuse Treatment in Sarasota, FL: Dual Diagnosis
By now, it’s quite well-known that mental illness and substance abuse, such as addiction, often overlap. And because these are actual medical conditions recognized by health care professionals, specialized treatment has been developed to treat these simultaneously. This type of treatment is known as ‘dual diagnosis’ and it involves the use of several therapeutic approaches in order to more successfully treat both co-occurring disorders. Mental illness and substance abuse treatment in Sarasota, FL is the answer.
Mental Illness and Substance Abuse Treatment in Sarasota, FL: Location
Sarasota, FL is located in the southern portion of Florida, on the west coast of the state. Not far, on the east coast, is Palm Beach County, which is recognized as the Recovery Capital of the world. That being said, there is a large recovery community and high saturation of mental illness and substance abuse treatment in Sarasota, FL, specifically. Much of this has to do with the atmosphere. Simply put, the climate and surroundings of serene and sunny South Florida are ideal for attending a mental illness and Substance Abuse treatment.
Mental Illness and Substance Abuse Treatment in Sarasota, FL: Evaluation
A team of specialists, such as a psychiatrist, therapist, medical doctor, nurses, and case worker will all work together to make a treatment plan for you, with the information gathered during your evaluation. This will help to determine the course of treatment, such as medications and modalities of therapy, that will go into your care while you’re at the facility for mental illness and substance abuse treatment in Sarasota, FL.
When you first arrive at the facility for mental illness and substance abuse treatment in Sarasota, FL, you will sit down with an intake specialist who will ask you some questions about both your mental health history as well as your substance abuse history. You will also be given a drug screen to determine what substances are in your system at the time of admission. All of this information – both what you report as well as the results of your drug screen – is protected by confidentiality laws that are outlined in a piece of federal legislation called HIPAA.
Mental Illness and Substance Abuse Treatment in Sarasota, FL: Detox
A medical detox is often necessary as being physically dependent on certain substances can lead to health risks when you try to stop. A medical detox means that a team of health care professionals will monitor your condition as well as administer certain medications in order to ensure your comfort and safety throughout the detox process.
Detox lasts the first couple of days to a week during your stay at the mental illness and substance abuse treatment in Sarasota. During this time, you will meet with each of your care specialist team members, including the psychiatrist and physician. This way, you can be prescribed and given any medications they deem necessary in the course of your care.
Mental Illness and Substance Abuse Treatment in Sarasota, FL: Rehab
Rehab takes place over the next 30 days and is a time where you will begin to feel better both physically and mentally/emotionally. The substances you were abusing will be getting out of your system while the therapeutic medications such as anti-depressants and anti-anxiety prescriptions can begin to help you feel better, without the interaction of the other drugs you had been using.
Also during this time, you will begin to reap the benefits of both individual and group therapy sessions, where you will learn important information regarding the disease of addiction and how substance abuse and mental illness often coincide. As well, you will learn vital, life-saving tools that important to the recovery process.
Mental Illness and Substance Abuse Treatment in Sarasota, FL: Outpatient
An intensive outpatient program (IOP) usually follows the rehab stage of mental illness and substance abuse treatment in Sarasota, FL. Attending an IOP is a step down level of care that is not quite as intensive as the rehab phase of treatment yet it offers some structure as well as ongoing therapy with a therapist and in peer groups. The point of an IOP is to continue to offer some support while you begin to reestablish your life: getting or returning to your job, rejoining your family, attending family matters, etc.
Mental Illness and Substance Abuse Treatment in Sarasota, FL: Continued Care
While attending the outpatient program, you will continue to work with a case worker as well as your therapist and psychiatrist, all of whom will assist with creating an aftercare plan that is tailor-made just for you. And because it is dual diagnosis – substance abuse and mental illness treatment in Sarasota, FL, having a program of continued care is not only a good idea; it’s also a requirement – by law – that ensures you will be set up with certain medical specialists so as to continue with both your therapeutic treatment as well as with your prescribed medications.
In search of mental illness and substance abuse treatment in Sarasota, FL? Palm Partners is an accredited dual diagnosis treatment program right in the heart of Palm Beach County that serves people both locally and from all parts of the U.S. Give us a call today toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to speak with an Substance Abuses Specialist 24/7.
There is a phrase often thrown around that is used to quite colorfully describe many addicts and alcoholics by some of our more self-aware character flaws. Being an Egomaniac with an Inferiority Complex is a special type of personality based on practically opposite perspectives of the ego often associated with alcoholics and addicts. First, let’s look at what those two separate terms mean.
- Egomanic- known as someone suffering from an obsessive preoccupation with one’s self, and applies to someone who follows their own ungoverned impulses and is possessed by delusions of personal greatness and feels a lack of appreciation.
- Inferiority Complex– an unrealistic feeling of general inadequacy caused by actual or supposed inferiority in one sphere, sometimes marked by aggressive behavior in compensation.
So basically, an egomaniac with an inferiority complex is someone who is obsessively preoccupied with their own unrealistic feeling of inadequacy, and it’s safe to assume they behave aggressively and impulsively to over compensate with delusions of personal greatness to mask insecurity.
Now that we can better understand the idea of the egomaniac with an inferiority complex, we can examine some of the indicating attributes that can typically be credited to this specific style of substance abuser or addict.
Often time’s people who have a tendency to exaggerate details and events do so for reasons closely associated with egomania and inferiority. They may be trying to overemphasize themselves to others to promote their worth and image, while secretly fighting the feeling of ‘less than’.
Those who openly and frequently ridicule others and put down everyone around them in ways ranging from minor insults to extreme aggressive judgment can be showing signs of being an egomaniac with an inferiority complex. By behaving this way they are trying to expose the defects in others to draw the attention off of whatever personal defect they are avoiding at the time, and doing so in a way that they feel will seem attractive to others.
- Fishing for Compliments
Egomaniacs love compliments, and people with an inferiority complex usually find it pretty easy to belittle themselves. So when someone with both wants to get their best results, they may talk down about themselves to others to get a little extra attention and admiration. When you say how ugly you are just so people tell you you’re pretty, you are feeding the self-pity, and at the same time inviting praise that you secretly crave.
- Hyper Sensitive
People who seem too tense or sensitive to the opinions of others also exhibit signs of egomania and an inferiority complex. If you find yourself taking everything said about you too seriously and obsessing over what someone may have pointed out as a flaw, then you are perpetuating the critical self-image. At the same time, you are being absorbed by the thought of yourself and how you can possibly appear to be better to others.
- You Hate Losing
To an egomaniac with an inferiority complex losing means you ARE a loser! It makes you feel that you are less than, and it exposes your weakness or faults to others to judge you. You hate losing because it tarnishes the reputation you want people to see, and it hurts you deeper to know that you are a failure. But losing is not failing, it’s learning.
- Problems with Paying Attention
Those who have a hard time really listening to people at all and holding conversations can be showing signs of being an egomaniac with an inferiority complex. Either they are not interested enough in what it is you have to say because it’s not about them, or they are having an internal dialog obsessing about how they should respond, what their response will say about them, or what they look like while listening. Instead of being in the present they are worried or focused on themselves. Instead of listening, they just wait for their turn to talk.
The false conception of being inferior, the obsession of the negative ego, or the combination of both can be symptoms of the types of toxic behavior and character defects that make up the disease of addiction or alcoholism. Learning to understand the personality traits and how to grow out of them is a huge part of the recovery process. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135