Category Archives for Counseling

Natural Remedies to Beat the “Winter Blues”

Winter is the time of year we love to keep cozy, spend time with family and friends, and eat lots of good food. For some though, it can be a time of increased sadness. Comfort food is more often consumed along with decreased physical activity, which can lead to low mood and energy, increasing the risk of depression. Seasonal Affective Disorder (S.A.D) affects more than half a million Americans each year and is a recognized form of clinical depression, commonly referred to as the “winter blues” or “winter depression.” Stressful life events, family history, or other emotional issues may contribute to S.A.D. Women are more commonly reported to have S.A.D. However, it may occur with anyone, regardless of age or gender. winter blues

Symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder

Recognizing the symptoms is the first step in seeking the proper treatment. Symptoms can vary from person to person and range from mild to severe, usually occurring between the months of September and April. People generally experience more severe symptoms between the months of December and February.

Symptoms typically include:

  • Negative thoughts and feelings of sadness
  • Irritability
  • Poor appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Increased food cravings
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Social isolation
  • Sleep disturbances

 

Scientists believe vitamin D deficiency due to lack of sunlight may be one of the causes of S.A.D. This is because of vitamin D deficiency preventing a part of the brain, known as the hypothalamus, from working properly. In turn, the disruption in the function of the hypothalamus leads to an imbalance in circadian rhythms. When circadian rhythms are out of balance, melatonin and serotonin levels can be affected.

People with S.A.D have been noted as having higher levels of melatonin, causing sleep disturbances and fatigue. Serotonin (the happy hormone) levels may decrease due to this lack of sleep, causing mood disturbances. So, what are some ways we can combat this? Consider the following natural remedies.

Natural Remedies to Beat the “Winter Blues” (or S.A.D) winter blues

  • Exercise Regularly – Exercise increases the brains feel-good chemicals, reducing feelings of depression. Studies have shown walking just 20-30 minutes can boost your mood and energy!
  • Get some Vitamin D – Taking a vitamin D supplement can help boost mood and immunity. A doctor or nutritionist can recommend a proper dose.
  • Sleep – Rest is vital to emotional health. Avoid excess sugar and caffeine to promote restful sleep. Try going to bed at the same time each night and waking up at the same time each morning.
  • Get Outside –Take advantage when the sun does decide to peek through during winter months. Bundle up and ask a friend to go on a short walk or hike. It can do wonders for your mood overall wellness!
  • Talk It Out – Discussing your feelings with a trained counselor can help you overcome feelings of sadness. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is recommended to promote positive thinking and behaviors. It can help you approach situations differently, turning your BLUE thoughts into TRUE thoughts.
  • Practice Self-Care – Spend time doing something you enjoy. Treat yourself to a massage. Finding ways to relax and be more mindful reduces stress, helping boost mood.
  • Healthy Eating – Comfort foods are easy to reach for when feeling sad. Sweets and excess carbs may produce good feelings short-term. Unfortunately, this can turn into a downward spiral, causing low mood and an imbalance in hormone levels. Leafy greens, protein, and healthy carbohydrates can help boost mood and energy, reducing symptoms of depression. Talking with a nutritionist can help guide you through a meal plan to fit with your personal lifestyle.

If you’re interested in further support with mood, diet, and lifestyle changes, Makin Wellness offers a holistic, integrative approach to therapy and nutritional counseling. Encompassing mind, body, and spirit, we give consideration to the whole person. Contact us today for a free 15-minute consultation ! winter blues

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017, Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assited treatment and relationship counseling.  M

Laura Stewart, BA, CHN Makin Wellness

Laura Stewart, BA, CHN Makin Wellness

Mindful Eating Over The Holiday Season

“The most precious gift we can offer anyone is our attention. When mindfulness embraces someone, they will bloom like a flower.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

What is mindfulness? To be mindful is to be focused, having an awareness of yourself, others, and your surroundings. It is enjoying the moment. Our thoughts may shift momentarily to the past or future, but with mindfulness we are able to bring our focus back to the present. In being mindful, we give consideration to the present needs of ourselves and others, helping promote a peaceful environment. Thus, we can have more meaningful connections with others. It’s also helpful in making the most of our time. 

Time off of work. Time spent with loved ones. Time to rest. Time to EAT! It’s that time of year when we’re especially thinking of how we’re going to be spending our time, what leisure activities we’ll be engaging in, and of course, what we’re going to be eating. With it being the holiday season, grocery stores offer an array of sweets and meal ideas. How can you know which ones to choose? Mindful eating

Whether you’ll be cooking or enjoying the fruits of someone else’s labor, being mindful of your food choices will make for a healthier, happier time off of work and a more enjoyable time spent with loved ones. After all, who wants to be stuck with an upset stomach from overindulging, instead of enjoying time off? So what does mindful eating entail?

Like mindfulness, mindful eating involves an awareness and being in tune with yourself, your body, and how you’re feeling. Taking account of how you’re feeling enables better decision making when it comes to food choices. Having an awareness and being in tune with your body helps to avoid eating on autopilot.  Instead of eating out of habit, it’s eating out of choice. Moving our minds to the present helps us make better choices, since we surely can’t make choices in the past or future.

In being present and mindful, we can stay in tune with our feelings. Take note of when you’re feeling hungry and when you’re feeling full. Honor your hunger by eating when you feeling hungry, and stopping when you feel full. Consider the following simple tips and tools you can use in eating more mindfully. Mindful eating

Mindful Eating Tips:

  • Drink two cups of water before a meal – Often we feel hungry when we’re dehydrated. By drinking water before a meal, it’s likely to consume 90 less calories.
  • Sit down to eat – Take time to eat slowly, enjoying each bite. Chew 20-30 time to support healthy digestion
  • Everything in moderation – A favorite philosophy of mine is to “eat what you want as long as you eat what you should first.” Limiting portion size allows you to enjoy different foods without depriving yourself. Filling up on fruits and veggies, and eating smaller servings of carbs and starches ensures you’re getting your nutrient dense foods.
  • Three Phase Eating – Three phase eating includes three courses. Eating veggie and fruit dishes in the first course, followed by starchy vegetables and grain dishes in the second course, helps avoid filling up on excess calories by getting nutrient dense foods in first. In the third course, eat anything else you would like! (in moderation of course) This is referred to as “crowding out,” meaning to fill up your plate with the good stuff (aka nutrient dense), so there won’t be much space for anything else (aka junk foods).

Following these simple tips promotes healthy digestion and overall wellness, helping you have a more enjoyable time over your holiday. We hope you have lots of time to rest, relax, and rejuvenate while making meaningful connections with others during your time off! Mindful eating

If you’re interested in further support with diet and lifestyle changes, Makin Wellness offers a holistic approach to nutritional counseling, encompassing mind, body, and spirit, giving consideration to the whole person. Contact us for a free 15-minute consultation and start your wellness journey today!

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assited treatment and relationship counseling.  Mindful eating

Times of Tragedy ~ Supporting Others Through Acts of Kindness

The recent tragedy in our own city of Pittsburgh at The Tree of Life Synagogue has left so many of us speechless, with deep feelings of sadness and loss. This senseless act of violence has shook and impacted people far beyond our city. We are left asking why. Why has this happened? What would provoke someone to do such a horrific act of violence? Feelings of helplessness and hopelessness leave many feeling even more defeated. What can we do now?

Through this difficult time, seeking and offering support is especially necessary. While we are deeply impacted by this terribly negative, tragic event, we can come together as a city, making a positive impact on the lives of others. Small acts of kindness, through words and deeds can leave a large impact, providing the support that is so needed. No one ever needs to grieve alone! kindness

Cruel and inhumane acts stem from a lack of love. But love always trumps hate. Love is a perfect bond of union. Fred Rogers left an incredible legacy in this regard. He believed in the importance of community and the power of relationships. He encouraged others to be accepting of others, although having differences. Meaningful connections with others helps promote love and a sense of being cared for, which is especially helpful through times of tragedy.

In tragic times, Rogers offered these words of comfort and wisdom:

“When I was a young boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” “To this day, especially in times of disaster, I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.” – Fred Rogers

Often, it can be difficult to find the right words when offering comfort in times of tragedy. Compassion and empathy is always a good place to start with the myriad of emotions a person can experience through loss. Sometimes a listening ear is all that’s needed. Simple acts of kindness, like offering a meal or helping in other practical ways can help immensely. kindness

We can all have a positive impact in our cities and our homes, by contributing to an emotional environment of kindness and generosity versus an environment of hostility and criticism. kindness

“Kindness is the noblest weapon to conquer with” – Thomas Fuller

Makin Wellness is glad to offer trauma and crisis counseling to those impacted by the tragedy that took place at The Tree of Life Synagogue. Our deepest condolences go out to all those involved and impacted by this tragedy. Please contact us for more information or if you would like to schedule a free 15 minute consultation.

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assited treatment and relationship counseling. b

 

 

Bipolar Disorder – Causes & Alternative Treatments

Mental illness is becoming more and more common among all ages. According to the World Health Organization, over 450 million suffer from mental illness worldwide. Suicide rates have increased by 60% in the last 45 years, with 90% having a diagnosable mental disorder. Anxiety disorders, depression and mood disorders like bipolar disorder have similarities, yet require different treatments. A person with depression often has some type of anxiety, while a person with anxiety often shows some symptoms of depression.

Brain health plays an integral part in all types of mental disorders. Bipolar disorder in particular, is unique in comparison to anxiety and depression. Manic episodes of bipolar may include high energy, reduced need for sleep, and loss of touch with reality. Depressive episodes of bipolar may include low energy, decreased motivation, and loss of interest in daily activities. Treatment typically is lifelong, involving a combination of medication and psychotherapy. Lets look further at the causes and complexities of this disorder. bipolar disorder

Causes

Most researchers agree there are physical and environmental factors that contribute to bipolar disorder. While a person may have been born with a predisposition, for many a stressful life event or upbringing triggers the illness. Studies show a low or high level of a particular neurotransmitter such as serotonin, norepinephrine or dopamine is involved in mood disorders – affecting the overall balance of how these chemicals work together. Stress levels also play a role with increasing stress causing cortisol levels to rise. In turn, these high cortisol levels alter brain function and communication.

The Prechter Bipolar Research Program at the University of Michigan performed a study which found more people with bipolar disorder have a history of childhood trauma than those without the disorder. These traumas were associated with changes in self-control and attention. Childhood traumas such as emotional abuse or neglect has shown to affect mood, impulse control, cognitive function, and feelings of self-worth – all of which are associated with bipolar disorder. bipolar disorder

The study showed higher levels of saturated fats had an association between certain levels of fat molecules in the blood and mood. Patients taking an antipsychotic also showed less diversity of microbes in the gastrointestinal tract. Bad microbes in the gut can create gut inflammation, which may cause depression and other brain ailments and imbalances. It has been noted that those who have daily mood swings have food allergies or hypoglycemia. With brain health being so dependent on gut health, it is essential to provide the body with proper nutrients to provide greater harmony between mind and body. Lets look further at some alternative treatments to support mental health and overall brain health. bipolar disorder

Alternative Treatments

Dr. Drew Ramsey, author of “50 Shades of Kale,” says omega 3’s, vitamin D, B vitamins, zinc, iron, and magnesium all play a vital role in brain health. Ramsey notes that kale provides 134% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin C, 684% of vitamin K, 206% of vitamin A, and more. It is of utmost importance to eat nutrient rich foods to help support a healthy gut such as, cruciferous vegetables, bananas, beans, artichokes, blueberries, polenta, kimchee, saurkraut and tempeh. Slow digesting foods that are high in fiber such as beans, oats, brown rice, and other fruits and vegetables are all supportive to brain health. Folic acid, B12, and glutathione has shown to be deficient in manic depressive patients. Diet changes, supplementation, and alternative treatments can be used in conjunction with other therapies. Bipolar disorder can be successfully managed through a strong support system, psychotherapy, and lifestyle changes. It is always best to discuss any treatments with your health care provider. Consider some practical ways to support mental health.

Tips to Support Mental Health

  • Take care of your body – Eat nutrient dense meals, avoid excess alcohol, drink plenty of water, exercise, and get enough sleep.
  • Spend time with others who support you – People who have strong family or social connections are generally happier and healthier.
  • Learn coping skills – Take a walk in nature, journal, and practice self-care by spending time doing something you enjoy.
  • Quiet your mind – Mindfulness and relaxation techniques helps improve your state of mind and promotes a positive outlook on life.
  • Acupuncture – Symptoms of mood swings can be alleviated with acupuncture by helping to balance the energetic qi (chee) within various body systems and minimize the frequency and intensity of mood swings. Medical Wellness Associates offers acupuncture and other homeopathic therapies for a variety of conditions, helping to support balance between mind and body.
  • Aromatherapy – Essential oils promote balance between mind and body. Oils like lavender, bergamot, frankincense, jasmine, and many others can be used to uplift mood. Contact Makin Wellness for a custom blend to support mental and emotional wellness!

If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety, depression, or other mood disturbances, contact Makin Wellness today for a free 15 minute consultation! Our services include a holistic approach of cognitive behavioral therapy, nutritional counseling, and life coaching.

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assited treatment and relationship counseling. bipolar disorder

Laura Stewart, BA Makin Wellness

Laura Stewart, BA Makin Wellness

Our Open Letter to Pittsburgh About Addiction

Recovery is not easy. It is something that requires effort and energy every day. Recovery is a journey, and the trajectory of that journey depends entirely upon the individual’s level of belief within themselves combined with the efficacy of the treatment they are participating in.pittsburgh addiction

Against popular belief, money, success, fans and living your dream do NOT increase your likelihood of abstaining from harsh drugs or your demons.

The passing of Pittsburgh’s very own Mac Miller illustrates this point. Malcom has been struggling with substance abuse and he just passed away today, September 7th, 2018, as a result of an overdose.pittsburgh addiction

He was only 26 years old.

This touches all of us at Makin Wellness so deeply. I myself have a hard time accepting Mac Miller’s death . In 2012, he mentioned in an interview :

“I’d rather be the corny white rapper than the drugged-out mess who can’t even get out of his house. Overdosing is just not cool. You don’t go down history because you overdose. You just die”

If you are struggling with addiction, PLEASE get help. We can help you get the help you or your loved one is looking for.pittsburgh addiction

We offer medical marijuana assisted opioid outpatient treatment that is backed by research to be effective. Our addiction treatment programs are also holistic , come with secure texting to your therapist and have the option of meeting virtually.

If you need help, we can provide it at Makin Wellness or provide you with a referral to another treatment program that is in network with your insurance (if money or location is an issue). If you need a high or higher level of care than what we can provide, we have powerful connections with the best holistic rehabs , such as White Deer Run  , and can help you get treatment FAST… same day if need be.

If you have any questions or need to talk please call us at (412)-532-1249 or send us an email at info@makinwellness.com . You can book a session here or call this substance abuse hotline 24/7 here : (724) 602-2755 pittsburgh addiction

Sara Makin,M.S.Ed.,NCC

Sara Makin,M.S.Ed.,NCC,LPC

 

About Makin Wellness

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy & coaching centers located in Downtown Pittsburgh and Downtown New Kensington. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again.  Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction, trauma, medical marijuana assited treatment and relationship counseling .pittsburgh addiction

 

 

 

 

 




 

Trauma-Informed Care

Imagine that you are a counselor, and one day a patient comes to you complaining that he always has nightmares. However, when he is telling you about his stories, he seems to be pretty calm which makes you wonder if he is making these up or not. Then you take a look at his medical record and find that he had an abusive family when he was young. In this way, his calm may be a way to avoid past trauma or just simply to protect his inner feelings (camouflage). You would not know this if you do not understand his past trauma. Therefore, it is significant for counselors to understand patient’ background to gain a better understanding of their behavior. trauma

 

Trauma is nothing rare. It is estimated that 70% of the US population has experienced some forms of trauma once in their lives. Different people may have different understandings or definitions of trauma. Usually trauma poses severe physical or psychological threats to the person. It can even be life threatening. Some people may go on to develop the disorder which we call Post-traumatic Stress Disorder. Some common types of trauma are: rape, life threatening incidents, etc.

http://www.ptsdunited.org/ptsd-statistics-2/

https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=mRtpAgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA62&dq=trauma+informed+care&ots=EhwzXMPrEO&sig=bkHgFc8TC8JxX6XwyPKKei4uwnw#v=onepage&q=trauma%20informed%20care&f=false

 

It is important to understand that when people have trauma experiences, especially in childhood, they may not react the same way as we expect. Therefore, it is important for health professionals to learn about trauma-informed care to better understand patients’ needs. Trauma-informed care is essentially saying when counselors meet new clients, they need to learn about his or her history, especially past trauma so that they will better understand his or her behavior and will then use appropriate coping techniques. According to “Shelter from the Storm: Trauma-Informed Care in Homelessness Services Settings”, trauma informed care refers “generally to a philosophical/ cultural stance that integrates awareness and understanding of trauma, there is no consensus on a definition that clearly explains the nature of TIC.” trauma

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/modern-day-slavery/201707/trauma-informed-care-and-why-it-matters

http://www.traumacenter.org/products/pdf_files/shelter_from_storm.pdf

 

A lot of trauma has a root in childhood experiences. The Adverse Childhood Experiences (According to Psychology today, it measures “associations between childhood trauma, stress, and maltreatment and health and well-being later in life”) scores were found to be highly correlated with a lot of aspects affecting well-being like work performance, emotion control, health and risky behaviors. A higher score is also significantly linked to a person’s health in later life, including heart diseases, cancer etc. Trauma experiences can affect every day functioning, sensation and cognition as well. However, different people may have different copying reactions to specific situation, so when assessing a patient overall well-being, we cannot just compare it to other people’s reaction as trauma is usually biologically based (Some people are more fragile than others).

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/modern-day-slavery/201707/trauma-informed-care-and-why-it-matters

 

Right now, coping strategies for trauma are still poorly understood. In order to understand a person as a whole, we need to understand these victims, otherwise we may interpret their behaviors wrongly. Past trauma affects us not only physically, but also emotionally and psychologically. Thus, we need to put more efforts into educating people about trauma-informed care to avoid re-victimization and to best help the patient. Research has also pointed out that education is “the first and most important step in making services more trauma informed”.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/modern-day-slavery/201707/trauma-informed-care-and-why-it-matters

https://www.samhsa.gov/sites/default/files/wcdvs-lessons.pdf

https://books.google.com/books?hl=en&lr=&id=mRtpAgAAQBAJ&oi=fnd&pg=PA62&dq=trauma+informed+care&ots=EhwzXMPrEO&sig=bkHgFc8TC8JxX6XwyPKKei4uwnw#v=onepage&q=trauma%20informed%20care&f=false trauma

About Makin Wellness :

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy and coaching centers located in Downtown, Pittsburgh and New Kensington, PA. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again. Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction and relationship counseling. Schedule your free consultation with Pittsburgh’s best therapists and coaches to begin your wellness journey today!

Xinyu Lu (Lydia)

Medical Marijuana for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

 

Although marijuana is still categorized as an illicit drug and its applications have been limited, people are now becoming more interested towards its medical benefits. While some states have allowed the use of medical marijuana to treat post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), some states are still waiting for further research to give a more definite answer. New Mexico was the first state to add PTSD as a condition for the use of medical marijuana. A two-year study done with 80 patients from New Mexico Medical Cannabis Program has shown that medical marijuana is associated with alleviating symptoms in some patients according to the Clinician Administered Posttraumatic Scale for DSM-IV. More states are showing a more optimistic view towards medical marijuana. Last November, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo legislated use of medical marijuana for people with PTSD. He said on Veterans Day (A lot of veterans suffer from PTSD) that he will provide any treatment he can for people who are suffering from PTSD. Medical marijuana is now available in New York for other serious illnesses as well, such as HIV and cancer. Representative Sen. Irene Aguilar also said that “PTSD is one of those things we really don’t have great medical treatment for and often people are left on multiple medications with side effects.” medical marijuana

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/talking-about-trauma/201712/medical-marijuana-ptsd

https://news.medicalmarijuanainc.com/colorado-add-ptsd-medical-marijuana-program/

https://hightimes.com/health/cannabis-help-ptsd-patients/

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/cuomo-signs-medical-marijuana-ptsd-veterans-day-article-1.3626193

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02791072.2013.873843?needAccess=trueMore

 

A lot of veterans have supported the study of marijuana and legalization of medicinal cannabis. Elvis Alonzo, who served in the Marine Corps for three years and police department for thirteen years, suffered from severe mental breakdown. He believed that marijuana helped him calm down and sleep better. DeFino, a former soldier with severe injury, switched between different treatment options before he finally found medical marijuana. He said: “I’m able to live a healthy life, sick free, almost pain free and a quality of life to where I’m not thinking about killing myself all the time, it’s really nice to be able to have good medicine in your hands.” He is now growing cannabis at his home, which is approved under Colorado’s recreational marijuana laws. medical marijuana

https://news.medicalmarijuanainc.com/colorado-add-ptsd-medical-marijuana-program/

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/as-vets-demand-cannabis-for-ptsd-science-races-to-unlock-its-secrets/

 

Of this plant’s 120+ active compounds, researchers have generally focused on two of them, tetrahydrocannabinol (primary psychoactive ingredient) and cannabidiol (potential medical benefits). Tetrahydrocannabinol works by binding to specific receptors on brain cells which can ease pain, boost mood, and improve sleeping. Some scientists also believe that it can reduce anxiety by interacting with the amygdala, which is responsible for emotion regulation. A clinical trial performed in Canada demonstrated that Tetrahydrocannabinol lowered the intensity and frequency of nightmares in 30 people out of the 42 patients studied. However, other studies have shown that different doses produce difference effects. Usually, lower doses might be beneficial while higher doses might be harmful.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/as-vets-demand-cannabis-for-ptsd-science-races-to-unlock-its-secrets/

 

We still do not know too much about the other major focused ingredient cannabidiol. Marcel Bonn-Miller, a psychiatry and psychology professor from University of Pennsylvania thinks cannabidiol is more beneficial than Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) when it comes to treating PTSD. He also mentions that people tend to buy products with a high level of Tetrahydrocannabinol, which may actually worsen the symptoms in the long term.

https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/as-vets-demand-cannabis-for-ptsd-science-races-to-unlock-its-secrets/

 

Some veterans are putting their hope on medical marijuana. A 41-year-old veteran Blanchard from Louisiana described his life as follows: “I’d like to be able to just go and enjoy a meal with my family at a restaurant. I have difficulty with that with all the noises, all the movement. I get real anxious really quick.” He really wanted to try medical marijuana as some of his friends from other states considered it incredibly helpful. Louisiana is now making some progress with medical marijuana as well, and marijuana oil (the only thing Louisiana law approves) will become available to patients by the end of this year. medical marijuana

https://www.ktbs.com/news/arklatex-indepth/blanchard-veteran-eyes-medical-marijuana-to-ease-ptsd/article_92238d8c-848a-11e8-9fd3-13fe985ab851.html

 

DISPENSE Magazine seeks to enhance the conversation between patients and medical professionals about medical cannabis. Begining in Autumn 2018, the print magazine will be available in Pennsylvania medical cannabis dispensary lobbies and in the waiting rooms of cannabis-friendly physicians. In print, on podcasts, and at live events, DISPENSE delivers the latest news, medical information and research related to cannabis, Serving as the voice of the Medical Cannabis Society, it is a trusted source of factual and helpful medical news and information.

 

About Makin Wellness :

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy and coaching centers located in Downtown, Pittsburgh and New Kensington, PA. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again. Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction and relationship counseling. Schedule your free consultation with Pittsburgh’s best therapists and coaches to begin your wellness journey today!

 

 

Xinyu Lu (Lydia)

 

Medical Marijuana & Opiod Addiction

In October 2017, President Trump declared the opioid crisis as a public health emergency. The opioid epidemic, which kills more than 100 people every day, is considered “the worst drug crisis in American history” as Trump noted. According to CNN, opioid addiction leads to more deaths than breast cancer. Worse still, access to special medications for people with drug use disorder is very limited—only 10 percent of them get specialty treatments. opiod addiction
https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/29/health/medical-marijuana-opioids/index.html

https://www.solevowellness.com/help-end-opioid-addiction/

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/4/30/17302692/opioid-epidemic-medical-marijuana-painkiller

 

A lot of anecdotes have given hope to the use of medical marijuana in treating opioid addiction. Most anecdotes show that compared to opioids, medical marijuana needs less doses and is more effective with less side effects (especially overdose and over reliance potential). Some also claim that by mixing medical marijuana with opioids, less opioids are needed because medical marijuana can strengthen the effects of opioids. While there is some evidence that medical marijuana can ease pain for chronic pain, little research has been done in this regard. Therefore, we still lack objective data to prove its effectiveness. opiod addiction

https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/29/health/medical-marijuana-opioids/index.html

 

While most studies have pointed that medical marijuana is a non-addictive replacement for opioids, some studies do not find similar outcomes. A study done by Shalev and his research team in 2006 showed that opioids have little influence over rats’ cocaine consumption (While in another study, it showed that opioids have effect on rats’ heroin consumption).

https://www.menshealth.com/health/a19607404/marijuana-drug-addiction-cbd-opioid-cocaine-use/

 

Medical marijuana is not the only non-opioid pain treatment as well; there are more than 200 non-opioid medications according to Stanford University pain specialist Sean Mackey. Also, most researches show correlation instead of causation between medical marijuana and opioid abuse. However, correlation is very different from causation. For example, the consumption of ice cream and drowning are positively correlated. However, does this mean eating ice cream leads to more drowning? Absolutely not. So why they are correlated? Because people are more likely to eat ice cream in summer when people are also more likely to go swimming. The same principle can be applied to medical marijuana and opioids as well. The editors of the scientific journal Addiction concluded as follows: Given these limitations of the evidence, it is premature to recommend the expansion of access to medical cannabis as a policy to reduce opioid overdose risks in the United States and Canada. The research funding is also limited due to federal regulation. Therefore, we still have a long way to go before medical marijuana officially become a treatment for opioid addiction. opiod addiction

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/4/30/17302692/opioid-epidemic-medical-marijuana-painkiller

https://www.menshealth.com/health/a19607404/marijuana-drug-addiction-cbd-opioid-cocaine-use/

 

However, the future is still majorly promising as more people are finding research evidence to support it. Researchers from University of California Irvine wrote that: “In short, our findings that legally protected and operating medical marijuana dispensaries reduce opioid-related harms suggests that some individuals may be substituting with marijuana, reducing the quantity of opioids they consume or forgoing initiation of opiates altogether.”

https://www.menshealth.com/health/a19607404/marijuana-drug-addiction-cbd-opioid-cocaine-use/

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2018/4/30/17302692/opioid-epidemic-medical-marijuana-painkiller

About Makin Wellness :

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy and coaching centers located in Downtown , Pittsburgh and New Kensington, PA. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again. Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction and relationship counseling .

Contact us to schedule a free consultation and learn highly effective stress relieving techniques!

opiod addiction

Xinyu Lu (Lydia)

 

 

 

Women With Addiction

Women tend to be thought of as less likely than men to develop addiction. The gender gap is closing though, with statistics showing 4.5 million women having issues with substance abuse, 3.5 million misusing prescription drugs, and 3.1 million regularly using illicit drugs. According to the CDC, women are more likely to have chronic pain and be prescribed painkillers at higher doses, becoming more dependent than men. Why is there an increase in addiction in women? Consider some of the triggers.addiction

Triggers

Triggers of addiction in women include chronic inflammatory pain like fibromyalgia, stress, exposure to trauma, interpersonal violence, low self-esteem, and social pressures. Women are at high risk for developing PTSD due to traumatic life events, such as sexual abuse and physical attacks, and unfortunately may turn to drugs in seeking relief from this emotional trauma.

Previous blog posts on depression and mental health noted the way women process emotions differently, partly due to brain chemistry. Women are more likely than men to revisit negative emotions and replay events in their mind. In efforts to manage intolerable emotions, women may try to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. Consider another factor related to addiction in women and the important role of hormones. addiction

Hormonal Influence

Hormone imbalance affects motivation, energy, and stress levels. According to drugabuse.com, a study done at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai showed higher estrogen intensifies the brains dopamine reward pathway, creating increased pleasurable feelings. When a woman has higher estrogen and takes a drug, more enjoyment is experienced. Thus, the high is associated with greater enjoyment.

Progesterone – the hormone that prepares the body for pregnancy and regulates the monthly menstrual cycle – has shown to lower drug seeking behaviors. When progesterone levels fall estrogen becomes the dominant hormone, making a woman more susceptible to drug abuse. Researchers noted when people struggling with addiction are given progesterone, the hormone plays a therapeutic role in reducing smoking and cocaine use. addiction

Oxytocin, otherwise known as the “love hormone” is a powerful hormone known to promote maternal and stress reducing behaviors. Oxytocin is released as a nursing mother bonds with her baby and during intercourse. It has also been shown to be released during hugging, helping to decrease stress hormones. In healthy relationships, oxytocin promotes bonding and trust. Therefore, in efforts to recover from addiction, healthy loving relationships are essential. Studies suggest oxytocin therapy may be helpful in reducing drug-seeking behavior and preventing relapse.

Social Pressures

Women are encouraged to be maternal, professional, in control, feminine, and conform to idealized beauty standards. Influences of social media, with terms like “mommy needs wine” or “mommy juice” is celebrated as a way to cope with the stress of motherhood.

Instead of turning to alcohol for relief, choosing nutritious meals, making time for exercise, and spending quality time with loved ones will boost mental health, help to balance hormones, and improve overall wellness. The comparison trap social media presents is dangerous for anyone battling addiction. In seeking to find ways to cope, it is vital for women to feel loved through a positive support system.

Steps to Recovery

Acknowledgement – Recognizing and acknowledging there is a problem is the first important step to recovery.

Consideration – Considering the impact addiction has on your life, friends, and family is necessary in taking action.

Exploring Recovery Options – Consulting with friends and family can help provide needed support to move in the direction best suited to your individual needs.

Early Recovery – Learning coping skills and making changes are essential in this stage. Having a support group and other resources will help prevent relapse.

Long-term Recovery – In this stage of recovery, addicts have overcome a great deal. It is important to keep in mind that it takes a continuous life long effort to guard against relapse. Keeping a strong support system and being alert to triggers is paramount. It is a journey that requires a total transformation of mind, body, and spirit.

addiction

If you or someone you know is suffering from addiction, please contact us to schedule a free initial consultation and get connected with Pittsburgh’s best therapists. We can help you find the resources and support you need in your journey to recovery!

About Makin Wellness :

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy and coaching centers located in Downtown , Pittsburgh and New Kensington, PA. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again. Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction and relationship counseling .

 

 

Professional Women & Mental Health

Professional women hold more roles than meets the eye. Mother. Wife. Caretaker. Laundress. Cook. Housekeeper. Nurse. Car detailer. Teacher. Counselor. And the list goes on. Women wear many hats indeed. Whether a parent or not, women take on many tasks unrelated to work. Adding a part time or full time job to parenting will leave you feeling like a juggler in no time. It’s been said that, “A woman’s work is never done.” Work life balance can become a particular challenge for women. This is especially true if caring for children along with elderly parents. women

Women not only struggle to balance work and family life, they also have additional pressure to prove they’re as good as men in the workplace. According to theguardian.com, due to cultural and societal traditions and expectations, women may face discrimination and harassment. Women’s mental health and well-being may also be affected by lower income, lower status, insufficient benefits, or childcare concerns. While mental health is important for overall health in men and women, mental health conditions like anxiety and depression are shown to be higher in women than men.

A long day of work is physically and mentally draining for anyone. With the extra pressures women encounter, it’s no wonder they’re left feeling drained by the end of the day. There are other issues that are specific to women and their mental health. Things like physical changes and the way women process events compared to men are important when considering how their mental health is affected. women

Physical Changes

Women experience many physical changes throughout life, which has a large impact on their mental health. Hormonal changes, pregnancy, and menopause are all contributing factors that affect a woman’s mental health. The changes a woman’s body goes through may cause many discomforts. Pregnancy or other hormonal changes may cause things such as headaches, tiredness, mood swings, irritability, forgetfulness, or difficulty focusing. Fatigue and stress may increase these symptoms. Finding ways to balance hormones is key to minimizing these health concerns, as hormonal issues can affect physical and mental health.

Eating disorders are also shown to be common in young women due to societal pressures such as body image. This not only may cause a number of serious physical problems, but can also contribute to anxiety and depression.

The Way Women Process Emotions

Women have been shown to dwell on stressful events and remember details more vividly than men. This may be due to the fact that women’s limbic systems are larger than men’s. It makes sense that women are known to be more in touch with and expressive of emotions, since the limbic system is the center for emotional responsiveness, motivation, memory, formation and integration, and olfaction (sense of smell). It’s the limbic system that is responsible for emotional memory, causing us to connect a certain smell with a past memory.

The limbic system is closely connected to the prefrontal cortex. The prefrontal cortex is responsible for planning complex cognitive behavior, personality expression, decision making, and moderating social behavior. This prefrontal-limbic connection is said to be strengthened by practicing mindfulness. These particular systems are of clinical relevance to a psychotherapist; therefore a professional counselor can be helpful in providing support through cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness practices.

Due to having a larger limbic system, women may spend more time discussing a stressful event in more detail, thinking about it longer, and quite possibly making it more difficult to let go of negative emotions due to revisiting emotional memories more than males. According to psychologytoday.com, females are said to “absorb more sensorial and emotive information than males.” Meaning, women sense information from all five senses of what is going on around them, while also retaining that information more than males.

What Can Be Done to Support Women’s Mental Health in the Workplace?

Managers and other leaders can take some of the pressure off by being open about the issue of mental health. Hence, creating a culture where it is acceptable to communicate openly about it and provide resources to find the needed help. Employees who feel comfortable talking about it are less likely to wait until they are in a mental health crisis.

Mental health should be as much of a priority as physical health, having it checked regularly. Corporate health programs help employees by assessing and finding resources to support mental health; thus benefitting both the organization and the well-being of employees. women

Tips to Minimize Anxiety and Stress to Restore Mind-Body Balance:

  • Share responsibilities – Whether at work or home, delegate some responsibility where you’re able to. It can help to lighten your load and ease some stress.
  • Make connections with like-minded, supportive individuals – Positive minded people help to relieve stress while making circumstances seem less challenging.
  • Tune in to and be true to yourself – Taking time to do the things you enjoy with friends and family can improve self-esteem, helping you to tune into yourself and be your best self.
  • Get enough sleep – Sleep is vital to performing at your best and is essential for mental health. It is best to wind down an hour before bedtime, turning of all electronics. Perhaps try reading a good book with a cup of chamomile tea. Lavender oil can also be used to promote restful sleep.
  • Eat a balanced diet – Avoid too much caffeine or sugar during the day and close to bedtime, as these can increase anxious feelings. Eating nutrient dense foods will keep your physical and mental health more in balance.
  • Get outdoors/Exercise – Making it a priority to get outside each day for 20-30 minutes. Take a short mid-day break or go for a walk. Sunlight provides vitamin D, supporting physical and mental health.

If you are having difficulty managing work-life balance and want to process the underlying reasons with a trustworthy professional, schedule a free initial consultation  with us to get connected with Pittsburgh’s best therapists!

About Makin Wellness :

Founded in 2017 , Makin Wellness is Pittsburgh’s premier therapy and coaching centers located in Downtown , Pittsburgh and New Kensington, PA. The company’s mission is to help people heal and become happy again. Makin Wellness specializes in depression, anxiety, addiction and relationship counseling.

 

1 2 3 4