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personality disorder

How is Emotional Well-Being Related to Personality Disorders?

From the moment you were born, your experiences, genetic, and environmental factors started to guide the development of your unique personality. If you’ve spent even a little bit of time with babies as young as one year old, you’ve probably noticed their personality starting to shine through. Shy, outgoing, generous, and adventurous – it can be amazing all the shapes and sizes personalities come in. Research is still ongoing to determine when our personalities stop evolving, and some studies point out that they may be more fluid than we once thought, continuously changing throughout adulthood.

According to the American Psychiatric Association, personality is defined as “the way of thinking, feeling and behaving that makes a person different from other people.” It’s this abstract thing that attracts or repels us from another person. Some have a personality disorder, meaning that their way of thinking, feeling, and behaving is unhealthy in a significant way. This may prevent them from maintaining functional relationships with others and themselves.

Types of Personality Disorders

The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that almost 10% of the adult population in the United States have some sort of personality disorder. Some variations include:

  • Paranoid Personality Disorder (characterized by extreme paranoia and the belief that others want to demean, harm, or threaten them)
  • Schizoid Personality Disorder (avoidance of social activities and interaction, expresses a limited range of emotions)
  • Antisocial Personality Disorder (persistent disregard for morals, manipulates others)
  • Borderline Personality Disorder (intense fear of abandonment, tumultuous relationships)
  • Histrionic Personality Disorder (narcissism, constantly seeking attention, acting dramatically)

The American Psychological Association explains that the causes of such disorders are not certain, however, there are some associated risk factors. Family history and dysfunctional genes linked to traits like aggression, anxiety, and fear play a major role in some of these conditions. Childhood sexual trauma and verbal abuse have also been found to increase the chances of developing Borderline, Histrionic, or Paranoid personality disorders in adulthood.

Reflecting on Your Emotions

Among many personality disorders is the central issue of abnormal emotional expression and/or instability. The inability to manage and convey your emotions appropriately can make your relationship with yourself and others feel like a rollercoaster. There are basic ways, though, that you can start getting a handle on your emotions today.

Ensuring your daily, basic needs are being met is an essential first step. For example, consider developing a practical routine that you can commit to; it can help ground and focus your emotional and physical energy. Integrating fun exercises, well-balanced meals, consistent sleep patterns, and uplifting hobbies in your schedule can set the foundation for your physical and mental well-being.

Due to the nature of personality disorders, you might find it especially important to carve out time to sit down quietly and reflect on your emotions, reactions, and thought patterns. Introspection can help you identify things that bother you or that you’d like to change. Write these thoughts down and ask yourself why they came up. Don’t be afraid to embrace yourself, even if you don’t like what you find during this exploration. All humans have flaws.

You don’t need to wait until you are alone to do some soul-searching. In fact, a lightbulb moment may come to you during heated moments of conflict. The next time you’re in a sticky situation, ask yourself: what are the impacts of my emotions? Perhaps emotional outbursts are causing constant disruptions at work and school, and strife with family and friends. These troubles may lead you to start drinking or using drugs. It is in these moments that you have the power to pause and identify these behaviors for what they are.

Living With Your Disorder is Possible  

Through introspection, you might realize that you need some extra help getting through this difficult time. That’s perfectly okay! Depending on your personality disorder, there are various treatments available to help you manage and overcome it. Psychotherapy is one option that involves discussing your emotions, thoughts, mood, and behaviors with a clinician. There are a few different kinds:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy
  • Interpersonal Therapy
  • Family-focused Therapy

Here, you have the opportunity to develop social skills and coping mechanisms that put you in control of your disorder, not the other way around. Your therapist can help you replace unhealthy thoughts and perceptions with positive ones, examine your childhood to identify the root cause of the disorder and manage interactions with family and friends. Antidepressants, mood stabilizers, antipsychotics, and anti-anxiety medications are additional options to treat some of the symptoms of these disorders. A residential treatment program may be the best option for some.

Personality is the abstract stuff that makes each individual unique and special. It is the embodiment of the way we think, feel, and behave. Impacted by everyday experiences, environmental factors, and genetics, our personalities evolve. Some have a personality disorder, meaning that their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors are disruptive and potentially harmful to themselves and others. Some aren’t aware of the disorder, while others simply try to get by. Don’t be ashamed if you are experiencing the challenges of a personality disorder. There are programs with understanding and experienced therapists that can help you figure out how to manage your condition. Located in San Diego, California, Achieve Concierge has just that. We understand how hard it is to struggle daily with a disorder that affects almost every interaction. We also know that some days you may urgently need to see a therapist while in the grips of an episode. We can help you today: (858) 221-0344.

anxiety and addiction

Ways to Recognize Anxiety and Addiction

The line between worrying and having an anxiety disorder occurs when a person experiences emotions more significant than the event that triggered the anxiety in the first place. Anxiety disorders disrupt your ability to function in your everyday life. The limbic system’s response to stress disrupts daily life.

Our fight or flight reaction comes from the limbic system in our brain. The limbic section of our brain is where researchers found addiction stems. This part of the brain also regulates mood, attention, parts of rage, memory, and sex. Addiction is more significant in individuals diagnosed with an anxiety disorder than those without an anxiety disorder.

There are three types of anxiety disorders. Each type includes symptoms that occur at varying levels. Not everyone has the same intensity of feelings or the same triggers. The types of anxiety disorders are:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorders
  • Social Anxiety

Distinctive symptoms identify each type of anxiety disorder. Anxiety disorders can occur alone or with another anxiety or mental health disorder. Many times anxiety disorders and depression co-occur. Talk with your therapist about the symptoms you experience to determine if you have an anxiety disorder or a combination of anxiety and depression. The signs of each type of anxiety disorder are distinctive. The symptoms of panic, generalized, and social anxiety are as follows:

Panic Disorders Symptoms:

  • Attacks of fear
  • Excessive worry about the attacks of fear returning
  • Loss of control over feelings of fear
  • Avoidance of places where fear attacks happened

Generalized Anxiety Disorder includes:

  • Experiencing fatigue
  • Feeling restless or on edge
  • Tense muscles
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty Concentrating
  • Problems falling asleep or staying asleep

Social Anxiety Symptoms:

  • Feeling anxious because interacting with others is difficult
  • Have difficulty with making friends or keeping friends
  • Avoiding people
  • Being overly worried about being judged
  • Difficulty speaking, blushing or sweating when others are near
  • Feeling violently ill in situations of interaction with people

Self-Medication

“Maybe my addictive tendencies weren’t limited to my zest for things I could drink. Like maybe (I learned while working with my therapist), I had broader issues with control and addiction and using substances to dial down my anxiety. And maybe self-medication is an unsafe way of trying to quiet the noise of a mental health disorder. And maybe alcoholism also runs in the family.”

― Anne T. Donahue, Nobody Cares

The urge to self-medicate feelings of anxiety with alcohol or drugs is strong because drinking or using provides temporary relief. Unfortunately, drinking or using substances causes long-term damage to the brain, while it relieves anxiety symptoms.

Alcohol or substance consumption can be benign in the beginning. Using alcohol or substance use relieves anxiety. The brain’s effect is building receptors that depend on alcohol or a substance to induce relaxation or feeling calm. Over time tolerance to alcohol or substances occurs, and more is needed to achieve the same feeling of calm once produced by a small amount. Repeated drinking or substance use leads to addiction.

Continued drinking or substance use affects our lives. We take chances we wouldn’t usually make, such as driving under the influence or engaging in risky behavior. Individuals can also experience a loss of interest in sports or hobbies or neglect their responsibilities when drinking or using overtakes normal activities. Alcohol or substance dependence can change our relationships.

Our family and friends can react to our changed behavior by adopting roles that disrupt family dynamics. Our alcohol or substance dependence shifts how we see our position in the family. We can distance ourselves, become manipulative, or become dependent on others to cover for us.

Seeking help for an anxiety disorder and addiction is the first step in learning how to spot triggers and employ healthy coping mechanisms. Beginning treatment isn’t easy because it means your body will be withdrawing from alcohol or drugs. The medical staff in a treatment center will monitor your body’s response to withdrawal and begin to work with you to identify the root of your anxiety.

Recovery programs are available. An assessment of our needs and the level of care required will occur at the first appointment. There are two primary forms of treatment: in-patient and out-patient.
In-patient treatment means a patient checks into a treatment or medical center for around the clock care for a specified amount of time. The length of stay at an in-patient facility depends on a patient’s need for medical, therapeutic, and social responsibility.

Out-patient care doesn’t necessitate a person staying at a facility. A patient attends therapy and group sessions according to their treatment plan. There are several types of outpatient treatment. Patients may meet one or two times a week for two to three hours. Intensive outpatient programs often consist of two to three days a week, from 3 to 4 hours. The highest level of outpatient care is partial hospitalization. These programs meet 5 to 7 days a week for 4 to 6 hours a day.

Anxiety disorders are treatable. Through therapy, medical intervention, and gene testing, we understand how anxiety disorders and addiction are linked. Understanding our brain’s genetic composition affects how we respond to stress, and our environment is essential for comprehensive care. At Achieve Concierge, we focus on the patient as an individual. Every person has symptoms that are unique to their emotional and physical ability to cope with anxiety. After an initial diagnosis, we involve you in your treatment plan and can adjust prescriptions if a diagnosis of another mental health disorder occurs. We believe each patient needs to receive comprehensive care to be successful in their recovery journey. We offer gene testing, therapy, and medical services, meeting the patient’s needs. If you have any questions, please contact Achieve Concierge: (858) 221-0344.

Family Roles in Addiction

Family Roles in Addiction

Families play an essential part in the process of addiction recovery. Each family member’s role creates a unique pattern that affects the whole family unit. Recognizing the roles that family members play is integral in helping an individual face their addiction.

Ideally, in treatment, the family would be involved, but there may be a reluctance for some members to participate. Not every treatment center includes the family in the patient’s therapy treatment. Treating the person struggling with addictive behaviors as a whole person helps them redefine who they are and find their new place in their family.

There are six family roles in regards to addiction. Family members may take on more than one role, depending on their coping skills and what they can offer. It is essential to recognize the positions adopted by individual family members in order to better understand the dynamics that exist in the family.

The Addict

The addict is the core of a family’s attention. Discussions, actions, decisions, and energy are centered around helping the addict receive care from other family members. The role of the addict forces others to fill a void left by the addict’s alcohol or substance dependence.

Family members adopt roles they believe will smooth out the imbalance in their unit. As each family member takes on their role, the addict will display forms of emotions such as guilt, shame, and stress. In some cases, the addict will drink or use substances more because of the feelings mentioned.

The Hero

The hero wants to help the family look good to those on the outside. They want to appear as if everything is perfectly fine in their family, so they act positively when they are with others. They smooth over any action or behavior the addict displayed while in public. The act of being calm and positive in public may ease family members’ minds, thinking the hero is doing well. However, the hero can feel a degree of pain and isolation.

The Jester

There is usually a member of a family who uses humor to deflect feelings. They tell jokes, play pranks, and do other things to alleviate tense or negative situations. Jesters can appear to be superficial, but they use their jokes as a means to protect them from feelings of hurt, shame, and embarrassment. They usually have a hard time understanding why their family member is addicted and understanding how they can effectively help.

The Scapegoat

The line between the jester and the scapegoat may blur in some families. The scapegoat uses humor and constructs situations meant to draw attention away from the addict. The acts of the scapegoat are often dramatic. They want solutions to problems. Their need to fix situations and interactions comes from not being able to fix addiction.

The unruly behaviors caused by the scapegoat are fixable unlike the addict’s alcohol or substance dependence. The family can focus their attention on finding solutions to the scapegoat’s problems rather than dealing with addiction issues, where it can seem like there are no solutions.

The Caretaker

The caretaker puts all of their energy into making things okay. They, like the hero, want to present a unified, happy family to the public, despite the turmoil going on at home. They make excuses for the addict and find ways to protect the addict from the harm they are causing to themselves.

In many ways, the caretaker is an accomplice. The caretaker swoops in when the addict is in trouble or might suffer from their use. They believe they must help, but their help actually ends up harming the addict. The effort to protect and rescue the addict is harmful because it distorts the addict’s reality of addiction.

If the addict is consistently being protected from their choice to use or drink, they never feel the effect their behavior has on their family. The caretaker feels loyalty and love for the addict. However, their feelings of fear regarding what may happen to the addict are misplaced. The caretaker needs to free themselves from any responsibility they may feel towards the addict.

The Family

Addiction can scar a family. The effects of addition leave pain, shame, guilt, fear, and anger. The roles family members play in order to maintain a sense of normalcy ultimately hurt everyone and can cause the addict to dive deeper into their addiction. As a result of the roles of addiction, there is a need to involve family members in addiction treatment therapy sessions.

The family as a unit can suffer without these codependent roles. Without the assumed roles, family members may not know how to act around the addict before, during, and after treatment. Comprehensive treatment includes the family. When undergoing treatment, the addict is learning about who they are and their role in their family. They gain self-confidence, tools to cope with stress, boredom, anxiety, depression, and other feelings.

By addressing the family as a whole, therapy can help the family cope, push negative feelings away, and focus the proper amount of attention on the addict. Family therapy may reveal the foundation of each family member’s role. We all have a part to play in our families.

Addressing the roles we play is vital to working toward our own recovery or the recovery of a family member. Asking questions, facing realities, and admitting we need help are strengths. With this strength, we find who we are and who we will become.

Addiction affects everyone in the family. Facing a loved one’s addiction isn’t easy. The first impulse of the family, when faced with addiction, is to ignore it or hide it. Neither reaction is a long-term solution to their loved one’s alcohol or substance dependence. Taking on roles diminishes the family’s ability to help the addict. Instead, the roles adopted by the family hinder treatment, increase the use of alcohol or substances, and can delay the family from seeking help. Every family member needs to understand their role and how they can help not only themselves, but the addict, as well. Recovery is not a process that is achieved alone. Family members are essential in helping an addict succeed, once they complete treatment. Including family members in individual therapy sessions built around addressing their roles and feelings towards the addict strengthens the recovery process. To learn how you can be involved in supporting your loved one, contact Achieve Concierge by calling today at (858) 221-0344.

Cycles of Depression: Hope in Treatment

Cycles of Depression: Hope in Treatment

Depression is complicated. There is often a fear of vulnerability. Complicating it, even more, is the anxiety of being labeled. Then there is the advice given by friends and family. Despite the well-intentioned words, there remains a lack of understanding of how crippling depression is. People who suffer from depression are often masters of disguise.

The need to keep up appearances pushes them to drive away their feelings. For many, the promise of comfort found in substances is tempting. The first few times creates a sense of well-being. Unfortunately, people often believe that continued use will help them keep depression away.

Depression

Depression occurs commonly across the world. Those who are affected by depression are young and old, male and female. Complex interactions in social, biological, and psychological situations can contribute to depression. Adverse life events, such as loss of a loved one or a job, as well as trauma, can all contribute to depression—and feelings of depression can also layer on top of existing feelings of depression.

There are two types of depression: the World Health Organization defines the types of depression and their symptoms depending on the number and severity of symptoms; a depressive episode can be categorized as mild, moderate, or severe. A key distinction is also made between depression in people who do or do not have a history of manic episodes.

Both types of depression can be chronic (i.e., over an extended period) with relapses, especially if they go untreated.

Recurrent depressive disorder: this disorder involves repeated depressive episodes. During these episodes, the person experiences a depressed mood, loss of interest and enjoyment, and reduced energy—leading to diminished activity for at least two weeks.

Many people with depression also suffer from anxiety symptoms, disturbed sleep, and appetite, and may have feelings of guilt or low self-worth, poor concentration, and even symptoms that cannot be explained by a medical diagnosis. Depending on the number and severity of symptoms, a depressive episode can be categorized as mild, moderate, or severe.

An individual with a mild depressive episode will have some difficulty in continuing with ordinary work and social activities, but will probably not cease to function completely. During a severe depressive episode, it is unlikely that the sufferer will be able to continue with social, work, or domestic activities, except to a limited extent.

Bipolar affective disorder: this type of depression typically consists of both manic and depressive episodes, separated by periods of normal mood. Manic episodes involve elevated or irritable mood, over-activity, pressure of speech, inflated self-esteem, and a decreased need for sleep.

Depression may lead to suicidal thoughts. Many people seek relief from depression by using alcohol or drugs. However, using alcohol or substances increases suicidal ideations, rather than decreasing those thoughts.

Depression and Alcohol or Substance Abuse

Feelings of depression are, at times, overwhelming. People, seeking to ease feelings of sadness, hopelessness, or stress can turn to alcohol or substances. The use of alcohol or substances can temporarily mask those feelings; however, using alcohol or substances doesn’t address the root of depression. Alcohol, drug, or marijuana users soon become dependent on these substances in a never-ending cycle.

Continued use of alcohol, drugs, or marijuana can increase feelings of depression. Talking to a therapist, a doctor, or joining a support group can help individuals begin to actually address their depression. For treatment to be successful, finding the right therapist is essential.

Treatment for Depression

The World Health Organization explains the types of treatments for depression:

Health-care providers may offer psychological treatments such as behavioral activation, cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), or antidepressant medication such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) and tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs). Health-care providers should keep in mind the possible adverse effects associated with antidepressant medication, the ability to deliver either intervention (in terms of expertise, and/or treatment availability), and individual preferences. Different psychological treatment formats for consideration include individual and/or group face-to-face psychological treatments delivered by professionals and supervised lay therapists.

Myra’s Story

Myra, an addict, shares her struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts.

Myra sought help after her first attempt at suicide. While in treatment, Myra developed a greater understanding of the causes and manifestations of depression, and learned how to address those causes. She felt empowered. Unfortunately, Myra wasn’t comfortable asking her therapist about a new medication, because her current prescription didn’t alleviate her feeling of depression.

She didn’t feel better and began to wonder if therapy or medication would work. Two years later, she attempted suicide again. During the two years before her second attempt, Myra stopped going to therapy and neglected to take her medication for depression.

Finding the Right Fit

The next time Myra decided to seek help, she chose a treatment center that matched therapists with their clients’ needs. Myra sat in the office of her therapist and talked about everything but her suicidal ideations. Each session was a time to chat, talk about her career, family, and explain to her therapist how she didn’t have time to give in to depression.

Myra was good at keeping up appearances until one day she realized she was tired of pretending to be okay. Myra trusted her relationship with her therapist, and she opened up. She told her therapist about her episodes of depression. Together, they addressed Myra’s depression disorder. Myra and her therapist discussed what triggers her feelings of depression, her previous prescriptions, and what she used to alleviate her feelings of depression.

Her therapist explained that Myra had Treatment-Resistant Depression. After speaking with the doctor, Myra and her therapist agreed that including Spravato to her treatment would benefit her—a medication prescribed by a doctor for those with Treatment-Resistant Depression. Myra saw improvements in her depression after combining Spravato, therapy, and an antidepressant.

Depression is a common psychological illness and is treatable. Influences such as the death of loved one, job loss, and other life changes increase the chance of depression. Stress from trying to hide or address depression on your own adds to depression. It’s okay to acknowledge the signs of depression, including a lack of interest in hobbies, places, or people. The search for help is possible by reaching out to others. Talking with someone about feelings of depression should help alleviate those feelings. Feelings of depression can be addressed through comprehensive care. If you were previously in treatment for depression, but it didn’t work, there is an answer. Treatment-Resistant Depression isn’t something you have to live with. Addressing Treatment-Resistant Depression is possible with prescriptions such as Spravato. Specialized care tailored to meet each individual’s needs can create a positive experience in therapy. Treatment for depression offers hope. Contact Achieve Concierge today: (858) 221-0344.

10 Self-Care Activities to Combat Depression

10 Self-Care Activities to Combat Depression

Coping with depression during a global pandemic and being unable to leave home can take an emotional toll on just about anyone. As the world begins to open up, it’s important to do little things that bring you joy and comfort while adjusting to new social norms and a new way of life.

Taking care of yourself needs to be as important as taking care of your family, work, bills, or any other responsibilities. Here are some ideas that you can implement in your life now to start living a happier and healthier reality.

 1. Surf the Internet

The endless resources on the internet make it easy to take up a new hobby, learn a new skill, or entertain yourself with a good TV show or movie. While surfing the internet, it could also be beneficial to look for more ways to implement self-care that works for you. For example, you can join an online chat room, seek inspirational quotes, or read success stories from other individuals who also have a depression diagnosis.

 2. Go Out to Eat with Friends

Is there a local restaurant you’ve been dying to try? Now is a great time to ask your friends if they’d like to meet up and grab a bite to eat! As the world begins to open back up after the coronavirus pandemic, eating out is just one way to get back into old routines and social habits. Call your local eateries and ask for a reservation to have a sit-down experience again! This is also a great way to get you out of the house if you are feeling down.

 3. Rearrange the Furniture in Your Home

It’s always nice to give the place you are so familiar with a little shake-up or change of scenery. Move things around, try a new paint color, or add a rug to a room. Changing your home — even if they are minor changes — is an excellent way to get yourself into a mindset of seeing things from a different perspective.

 4. Try Arts & Crafts

There are plenty of tools locally and online to teach someone a new artistic talent. Through video streaming platforms, you can find painting tutorials, candle-making videos, or blogs that teach you how to crochet and knit. Find a creative outlet that allows you to complete an original art piece to signify your artistic ability and your achievement of completion.

 5. Just Say “No”

Many of us find saying no to plans or events to be extremely difficult. Finding your strength to decline invitations might be just what you need to heal yourself mentally or take a personal self-care day. It’s okay to say no to plans that do not seem all that fun to you. Just make sure that you do not isolate yourself all the time — spending quality time with friends and family is important.

 6. Clean Up

Many people find a clean space to be cathartic. Even a quick 10-minute tidy-up around your main living area or workspace could be the motivation you need to feel calmer, more at peace, and grounded.

 7. Practice Good Hygiene

For some, it could be challenging to get out of bed and start your day. Consider taking a hot shower, washing and styling your hair, and putting on an outfit that makes you feel stylish and ready for your day. Getting prepared is a great motivation to get outside and do something fun and productive.

 8. Start a Blog

Starting a blog on any platform website and writing about whatever makes you happy is a great way to practice self-care. Write about your experiences, your cat, your job, funny posts you saw on social media — whatever you choose to write about could be an excellent release of emotion. It could even show you a new creative talent you never knew you had.

 9. Allow Yourself a Movie Day

Spend an entire day in your pajamas with some popcorn and candy and binge-watch that TV show or movie series you have been dying to see. Take the time to kick back, turn off your phone, and dive into a fictional world. It’s okay!

 10. Watch the Sunrise

Find out when the sun will rise in your city and set your alarm extra early. Grab a blanket and a pillow, pour a cup of coffee, and go to a comfortable location with a non-obstructed view. Listen to your feel-good playlist and watch the world wake up. It’s a brand-new day.

Managing a depression diagnosis is complicated. If you try many self-care techniques and still don’t feel like you’re receiving the treatment you need, Achieve Concierge can help. Our outpatient treatment facilities for depression are staffed by expert medical personnel and feature state-of-the-art therapies, so we can offer our patients tailored treatment options for their depression symptoms. To learn more, call us today at (858) 221-0344.