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Author: Shernide Delva
Yay! You graduated college! Diploma in hand ready to go…
Wait, now what?
That exact question is what college graduates struggle to cope with. Post-college depression is an issue often underestimated and not discussed enough. However,post-college depression can lead to many unhealthy behaviors because of the insecurity and disappointment of entering the real world.
For many, college is a time to make friends, socialize and finish school. Your life is a bit of an educational bubble. You are an adult, yet your routines revolve around your class schedules. There is no need to think about major life decisions, and maybe you brushed things off declaring that you would face those obstacles “after graduation.”
Then graduation happens and the questions swirl. “What am I going to do with my life?” Alternatively, “Will I ever be able to support myself financially?” and even worse “Was this investment worth it?” Of course, everyone is different. Personally, I have no regrets about going to college, but I do struggle with patience and motivation.
Post-college depression is unlike regular depression. Typically, post-college depression has different symptoms than actual clinical depression. Nonetheless, if left unaddressed, it becomes harder to overcome.
Symptoms of Post-College Depression
- Addiction: In college, it may have been normal to go to the occasional crazy party, however after college; some people become addicted to drugs and alcohol to fill the voids in their life. Drinking and drugs become more than just a fun night out. It becomes a full blown addiction.
- Fear: After college, many hesitate to take the next step into their career. For example, you may feel the fear that you will fail and not be successful. Because of this fear, you may avoid getting a stable job, buying a house or making major career decisions. Ultimately, fear prevents you from moving forward. Depression can become worse once a person realizes it has been a year or two post-college and little has been accomplished.
- Loneliness: It is very common to feel lonely after college. In college, you may have had a group of classmates you saw on a daily basis. Maybe you were in clubs and loved going to the campus gym. Now college is over, and your life is nowhere near the same. Your classmates are moving away for job opportunities, and life is staring you in the eyes. Feelings of intense loneliness can be overwhelming during this timeframe.
- Unemployment: The biggest reason for depression after college is the lack of a job. This is a very common symptom. Learning your major was one thing, finding a job in your major is whole other ball field. When the economy is on a decline, it can feel overwhelming trying to find a financially stable job in your major. After months of trying, depression may set in, and you feel hopeless and like a failure. Hang in there and keep trying. This is a very common symptom and just means it is time to consider all your options, even options you would never have considered before. Opening your mind is crucial during this time.
After college, the structure and stability you’ve grown accustomed to are over. The transition can be a piece of cake for some; however others struggle with functioning after college is over. Also, college is a time where depression rates peak and leaving college can make pre-existing clinical depression worse.
How to Overcome Post-College Depression
Now that we know all the reasons for post-college depression, the next step is to understand how to overcome it. Here are seven suggestions to get you on the right path:
- Get a Job: I know, easier said than done. However, this is a crucial problem holding you back from feeling secure in your life. If you have not found a way of making income, take the time to figure out how to do so. Your first job out of college may not be in your field, and that is okay. Life may go in another direction from what you studied at first, but the important thing is to keep your mind open to opportunities. Be creative and find something for now.
- Meet New People: Losing friends after college can be a bummer. The good news is you can still meet new people outside of campus. Work on your socialization skills during this time. Not only is it perfect for making new friends, but it helps with networking. Putting yourself out there is a significant step in overcoming the post-college blues.
- Join Clubs: You can still be in clubs even outside of college. There are plenty of adult groups you can find on social networking websites like Facebook and Meetup. Find a weekly group that focuses on an interest you have. Join a yoga class or volunteer in your community. There is no reason that these activities should stop once you are handed your diploma.
- Set Goals: Setting goals is the best way to overcome depression because it gives you a perspective on where your life is headed. Start out by setting small goals and accomplish them. Then set bigger goals and make a schedule on how to work on those goals each day. Goals help you feel a sense of purpose in your life, instead of feeling hopeless.
- Check in with Old Friends: Guess what? If you are feeling this low after college, chances are your friends are too. Try talking to old friends. Go out for dinner or coffee with some classmates and talk about the challenges you all are having with life after college. You all are going through the same thing and can help each other deal.
- Focus on the Present: Staying in the present is the best thing you can do for yourself. Comparing yourself to others is a recipe for disaster. Someone is always going to be doing better, and vice versa. Think about what you can do in the moment to make yourself happier. Maybe travel for a day or go to the beach. Just because your life is not where you wanted does not mean you cannot enjoy where you are now.
- Try Therapy: If your depression is becoming unmanageable, seek help. There is no reason to live life in darkness. People around you may think you are going through a normal phase of post-college life, but you know if your symptoms are becoming severe. There is no shame is seeking help from a professional. Medication may be an option for you if you need it. If you are more into natural routes, try to look up holistic treatment options for depression. There is no shame in feeling out of control. You are not alone.
Overall, if you are struggling with post-college depression, understand that plenty of people struggle with this condition. Post College is a fantastic time because you are growing and learning about yourself. It can also be a struggle. Do not fall into unhealthy coping mechanisms. Talk to someone about your depression and addiction issues. We can help. Please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
Author: Justin Mckibben
On a few separate occasions we have touch on the ridiculous story of Ethan Couch, the 19-year-old teen who drove drunk back in June of 2013 and caused an accident that killed 4 people, and his infamous Affluenza Defense presented by his attorneys. Couch’s drunk-driving case sparked national outrage after his affluenza defense was actually successful in his initial court case, and the spectacle made some serious headlines.
Wednesday the country was in a new uproar as Ethan “Affluenza Defense” Couch was ordered by a judge to spend the next two years in a county jail for violating the terms of his probation.
4 Terms of Imprisonment
Early news reports explained that State District Judge Wayne Salvant imposed four consecutive 180-day jail terms on Couch for his probation violations; one term for each of the four people who lost their lives when Couch recklessly drove drunk years ago and “almost” got away with it.
Although, even though he was a minor (16 years old at the time of the accident) a lot of people felt like he had pretty much got away with killing four people after he was originally only sentenced to 10 years’ probation. He was also sent to an isolated home near Newport Beach, CA for intensive therapy, which people felt even more upset about because his punishment seemed more like a vacation.
Breanna Mitchell, Brian Jennings, and Holly and Shelby Boyles were all run down by the teen that was discovered to have Valium and a high level of alcohol in his blood. The prosecutors trying to charge the teen with the deaths wanted the boy to be sentenced to 20 years in prison, but he received 10 years of probation with the affluenza defense.
What is the “Affluenza Defense?”
The term “affluenza” was made popular in the late 1990s by Jessie O’Neill who wrote the book “The Golden Ghetto: The Psychology of Affluence.”
Since giving life to the word, it has been used to describe a condition in which children (typically from richer families) grow up with a sense of privilege that makes them experience other hindrances such as:
- Being irresponsible
- Making justifications for poor behavior
- Experiment in drugs and alcohol
Just reading this makes me outraged! It is absolutely astonishing and downright offensive that the affluenza defense even exists!
Basically, to my understanding, this is saying that Ethan Couch should be let off the hook because he has been so predisposed to getting his way and being over-privileged that he just didn’t know any better and has a tough time understanding why the rules apply to him…
Awwwwe, the poor little guy!
I want to see a case where a kid from a place like where I grew up is acquitted of murdering four people with a vehicle because of the “Section 8 Defense”- because he is so poor and ill-equipped to live. We make excuses and let the rich kid get away with multiple homicides because he was too rich NOT to try drugs, but the kids who grow up in drug-dealing neighborhoods should be held to higher standards?
Don’t get me wrong- he was only 13 and should not spend the rest of his life in prison for something he can’t comprehend, but if we are going to start argue in his defense it should not be on the grounds that he’s just too spoiled and we have to let it slide.
Couch squandered his opportunity to avoid jail time and his probation was violated after a video of him playing an underage game of beer-pong surfaced online last December. Judge Salvant gave Couch’s diabolical defense team two weeks to gather evidence for a possible reconsideration of his sentence, and he told Couch outright,
“You’re not getting out of jail today.”
This recent appearance marked the first time Ethan Couch was in an adult court since his case was transferred out of the juvenile system after he turned 19 earlier this week.
While the affluenza defense may be a pretty good indication Ethan Couch could use some treatment and therapy, most people still feel like some real-life repercussions for his completely unconscionable and ultimately lethal actions should be imposed. Some are just content to see him serving any time for what he has done. Two years may not do justice to the deaths of four innocent people, but it’s a start and maybe it will teach Couch something.
Sometimes it takes something terrible to happen before people will make the choice that changes everything, but it doesn’t have to be like that. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll free 1-800-951-6135.
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Author: Justin Mckibben
Back in May of 2015 we first wrote about how a police department in Gloucester, Massachusetts was stepping up with a revolutionary and progressive program on striking back against drug addiction, specifically heroin addiction, by helping addicts find treatment for their addiction instead of arresting and imprisoning them. Now, even more resources have stepped up to the plate, as insurance companies are now offering their help to these police programs to fight addiction.
Recap on the Revolution
Police Chief Leonard Campanello led the charge for change and quickly garnered the support of countless advocates and sponsors. The Gloucester Program started inspiring other law enforcement officials and politicians to rethink the way drug abuse and addiction were being dealt with in their own communities. It started off spreading to other Massachusetts areas, and now several other states are putting in energy and resources to design and initiate similar programs.
The Gloucester Program even went so far as to have police officers knocking on doors of addicts and offering help getting into treatment, while assuring their communities they were not on a witch-hunt to lock up addicts, but instead to give opportunities that would save lives in the presence of a mounting overdose death rate.
Insurance Stepping In
Now that so many people have been inspired by the growing movement to create more compassionate treatment opportunities for addicts in these areas of Massachusetts, health insurers in Massachusetts are deciding to step in and make their own compassionate contribution to help the Gloucester Police Department with their now well-known and highly celebrated program to get heroin addicts off of the streets, out of emergency rooms for heroin overdoses and into treatment.
This new extension of these collective efforts will be officially launching in a pilot program Monday, January 11th. As part of this new pilot program members of the Massachusetts Association of Health Plans will be helping people struggling heroin addiction devise and direct their long-term addiction treatment options the moment they walk through the police station doors.
Since the program has started it offered all people struggling with addiction the chance to report to the police station and ask for help, suggesting they turn in any substances or paraphernalia they may be in possession of without threat of prosecution. Now insurance providers are adding in their resources to help facilitate the process for those who may not have the adequate coverage.
Health insurance companies will be making sure each person trying to escape their addiction has a comprehensive treatment plan in place once they complete a detox program, and they also intend to collect data to track each individual’s progress through addiction recovery and assess the impact of the program.
In the beginning of the Gloucester Program probably the biggest draw for a lot of local officials on the outside looking in was that extra costs had been described as “minimal” for the police department, and have all been paid using some of the city’s drug seizure money. Beyond that the costs of drug treatment for participants, who are Massachusetts residents with no insurance plans or plans covering treatment, were covered by state funding.
This new aspect of the initiative will undoubtedly add more backing to the movement to provide treatment to those suffering in the state of Massachusetts with addiction. In 2015 there was a lot of damage done by drug abuse and heroin addiction, and the country as a whole has been waking up to the reality of these circumstances. We hope to see more politicians, police departments and insurance providers step up to the call to action in helping addicts across America get the help they desperately need.
Taking advantage of this kind of opportunity can be the difference between addiction and recovery for many people. While it may seem like drugs and alcohol have you cornered there is always a way. Palm Partners wants to help you find that way. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135
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.
By Cheryl Steinberg
Everyone experiences a bad night’s sleep from sleep from time to time, you know, those nights when you lie awake for hours trying desperately to go to sleep but can’t. And then you start worrying about how little sleep you’ll get if you fall asleep now or…now; and how awful you’re going to feel tomorrow.
In fact, one-third of the world’s population experience short-term sleeping difficulties. These usually last only a few weeks. But for an unlucky few, these sleep disturbances may last a lot longer and lead to a diagnosis of insomnia.
Insomnia is described as a person’s inability to fall asleep, stay asleep, and/or else wakes up too early at least three times a week for at least three months.
Insomniacs experience persistent tiredness, low energy and difficulties with concentration, attention and memory. They may feel down, stressed or anxious, not only about getting a good night’s sleep but about their ability to do their daily activities.
How Do You Treat Insomnia?
If you are experiencing insomnia, a visit to your doctor might only result in getting a prescription for sleeping pills. But sleeping medications are just a Band-Aid, only providing short-term relief. Furthermore, they can be harmful and are often times highly addictive. For people in recovery from drugs, medications like Ambien are risky.
The good news is that there are other ways to treat insomnia, without the use of these powerful medications. Successful treatment of insomnia requires creating new, healthy sleep habits.
Here are 7 ways to treat insomnia.
#1. Establish a relaxing bedtime routine
Maybe it’s drinking warm milk or a hot cup of tea, or maybe a hot shower and some yoga. Get in the habit of doing things that help you relax and get in sleep mode.
#2. Limit the use of smart devices before bed
Also, using your smart phone or tablet before bed can interrupt your circadian rhythms, which regulate your sleep cycle. Smart phones and even flat screen televisions emit blue light, which is basically translated as daylight by your body, thus your body thinks it’s time to stay up even though it’s now one in the morning and you’re trying to fall asleep.
#3. Keep work and sleep spaces separate
And refrain from using these devices in bed. If you mix your work space with your sleep space, that is, using your bed for both, when you try to fall asleep, your body gets mixed signals about what it’s supposed to be doing: working or sleeping.
#4. Don’t fight your insomnia
If you can’t sleep, don’t stay in bed, tossing and turning and getting more frustrated. Instead, get up and do a relaxing activity, such as reading a book. Go back to bed only when you feel sleepy again.
#5. Web-based treatment
Another credible alternative is web-based treatment. Research from Japan to America shows that, for some people, online insomnia treatment modules may be as effective as visiting a health professional in person. Online programs can help you to practice good sleep hygiene habits, change unhelpful sleeping patterns and reduce the worry that can contribute to insomnia, helping you to get a better night’s sleep.
#6. Exercise regularly
Regular exercise has a bunch of health benefits – too many to name here. But, when it comes to insomnia, getting into a regular exercise routine can help. Besides getting your body to work at its optimum level, it also basically tires you out come evening time.
#7. Talk to your therapist
If you’re still having trouble despite trying all of the things mentioned above, then consider talking to a therapist. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) has been found to reduce sleeping difficulties by 50% on average, and reduces insomnia symptoms to a level where they are no longer considered clinically severe.
The way CBT works is that it re-trains people to view the bedroom as a place of sleeping instead of a place where they lie awake tossing and turning and worrying about not sleeping. CBT also helps people change their lifestyle and sleeping environment, learn relaxation skills and challenge the unhelpful worries and beliefs that contribute to insomnia.
Got a lot on your mind? Have become physically dependent on drugs, even sleeping pills, and are still suffering from insomnia. It’s hard falling asleep with the weight of the world on your shoulders. Once you admit that there’s a problem for which you need help, the rest is easy. Call toll-free 1-800-951-6135 to speak with an Addiction Specialist today.