Category Archives for Wellness

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

Higher levels of saturated fats also showed an association between certain levels of fat molecules in the blood and mood. Patients taking an antipsychotic 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 further 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 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

Pros and Cons of Medical Marijuana

Medical marijuana has shown benefits such as functional improvements in autism and severe pain conditions. Marijuana is an herb that has been used for thousands of years in traditional, ancient medicine such as malaria, rheumatism, gout, and absent-mindedness. Chinese medicine has used the plant for its medicinal value, versus the intoxicating properties we generally tend to associate it with. medical marijuana

Ayurvedic texts references to cannabis by one of its chief founders of Ayurveda, Dhanvantari. Cannabis is used medicinally only in very small quantities in Ayurvedic medicine. Ayurveda believes marijuana to be an addictive drug, advising it to be used in combination with other herbs, based on the toxic affect it may have on the mind and body. Herbs and plants, like any medicine, may be beneficial for some things, yet still presenting some negative side effects.

The endocannabinoid system is a delicate and complex system of the body, responsible for vital brain functions like appetite, mood, pain sensation, and memory. Endocannabinoids are the naturally occurring chemicals found in our nervous and immune systems. The endocannabinoids then act on various cells and attach to endocannabinoid receptors. While cannabis can work naturally with our endocannabinoid system, cannabanoid misuse can be harmful to our bodies and brain functions.

The Difference Between THC and CBD

Long-term use of cannabis with the active compound of THC has shown to affect the prefrontal cortex of the brain, which is responsible for intellectual ability and decision making skills. THC is the psychoactive component found in marijuana known for creating the “high” feeling typically associated with its use. Immediate and long-term cognitive side-effects include, impaired thinking and reasoning, reduced ability to plan and organize, altered decision-making, and reduced control over impulses. Therefore it should be used with caution under the care of a doctor. CBD has the same chemical constituents as THC, but doesn’t produce the “high” feeling, making it a safer option for children since it doesn’t have the potential harmful cognitive effects of THC. CBD is used to reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression, reduce psychotic symptoms in Schizophrenia, and increase appetite while decreasing pain and nausea in cancer patients. Read more at: www.sepalika.com/living-well/pros-and-cons-of-medical-marijuana. medical marijuana

Benefits of Medical Marijuana

Medical ailments that have shown to respond well to medical marijuana include mood disorders, degenerative neurological disorders such as Dystonia, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), and seizures. Medical marijuana also has the potential to ease pain associated with multiple sclerosis, assist in symptoms of autism, ease tremors in patients with Parkinson’s Disease, and aid with sleep issues. People with nausea from chemotherapy, chronic pain, or those depending on harmful pain-relieving opiods can also benefit a great deal from medical marijuana. medical marijuana

Ethan Nadelmann, Executive Director of Drug Policy Alliance, notes, “New evidence now indicates that the proliferation of medical marijuana laws and dispensaries around the United States is strongly associated with fewer people dying from overdoses involving heroin and pharmaceutical opiods. the most likely reason is that people are finding marijuana more helpful than opiods in managing different types of pain. Doctors are recommended to us cannabis with caution in patients with a history of tobacco or other substance use, at increased risk for heart disease, or have a history of mood or anxiety disorders. Dr. Michael Dworkind recommends using no THC under the age of 24. CBD is a healthier alternative and has shown particularly beneficial in children with seizures. Dr. Dworkind believes it to be a myth that marijuana is a gateway drug, as it is much safer than other addictive drugs. The reason being, a person cannot die from overdose.

Medical marijuana is separated from the recreational use of it as there are not large amounts of THC. Different strains produce different effects and your doctor can decide with is best for your condition. It is safer since the dosage and kind of strain is regulated by the doctor and licensed producer. The doctor follows up every three months and makes any necessary modifications based on a risk/benefit questionnaire. Vaporizing is encouraged as a way of taking medical marijuana since it is a healthier option. Oils and edibles are also available. medical marijuana

More information about the pros and cons of medical marijuana can be found at medicalmarijuana.procon.org.

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

Spa Treatments for Stress Reduction

Imagine yourself walking into an appointment. The atmosphere is peaceful and serene, as you’re warmly greeted and offered a small glass mason jar of strawberry infused water. While you quietly sip your water, the pleasant aroma of essential oils being diffused fills the air. A feeling of calm comes over you without a worry or care on your mind. This doesn’t sound like a visit to the doctor, does it? No. Instead, this is an appointment to receive a relaxing spa treatment. This describes a recent experience at a local spa right here in the Pittsburgh area.

Sage Organic Spa is a modern farmhouse boutique spa located in Upper St. Clair. The owner, Shannon Hindman, loves using all organic products, including therapeutic grade essential oils. She spends much of her time researching ingredients and finding the best products suited to her clients individual needs. Services offered include skincare, massage, body treatments, tinting and lash lifts, and waxing. They are the only spa in Pennsylvania to use the Indie beauty brands, Odacite and LILFOX. Whether you’re interested in a massage, facial, mud wrap, or other body treatment, feelings of renewal and rejuvenation are sure to follow.

Is the spa just a luxury though? You may be surprised to know the benefits go beyond just that of a relaxing atmosphere. Massage and other spa treatments have shown to support both physical and mental health, giving a feeling of overall well-being. Let’s take a closer look at the beneficial effects of spa treatments on the body and mind.

Popular spa treatments include massage, facials, and body wraps with massage being the most popular. According to mayoclinic.org, massage is a powerful tool for a wide range of medical conditions including, anxiety, headaches, fibromyalgia, digestive issues, sports injuries, stress related insomnia and temporomandibular joint syndrome (TMJ).

Massage improves blood circulation, sending oxygen and nutrients through the body and cells, stimulating the lymphatic system and ridding the body of excess toxins. Thus, lymph flow is increased as toxins are removed, in turn boosting immune function. Massage is excellent in reducing stress, pain, and muscle tension. Studies have also shown massage to improve sleep quality. spa treatments

Facials include massage around the neck, arms, hands, and feet. A facial helps to reduce puffiness and inflammation, promotes skin cell renewal, and reduce stress. Facials can also help reduce headaches by releasing tension from the head and neck. With the skin being the bodies largest organ, using organic products is an essential part of optimum skin health. Skincare products are absorbed into the skin and can get into our organs. The ingredients can either be helpful or harmful to our bodies. For clear, radiant skin, it is recommended to get facials four times a year as the seasons change, along with keeping a good skincare routine. This will help detoxify the skin from built up waste and bacteria, which is essential since the skin is the bodies first line of defense against environmental elements.

Mud wraps are another way to help detoxify the body. Indigenous people all around the world have been using clays and muds, for medicinal and aesthetic benefits as they have an abundance of vitamins and minerals. Mud wraps exfoliate and nourish the skin, help ease inflammation, flush out toxins through sweating, and relax and soothe the muscles. Anti-aging, skin toning, and cellulite reduction are some other noted benefits.

Hormones, pollution, stress, and other elements all impact our bodies and the health of our skin. Taking time to care for your skin and body will help reduce this stress. Regular spa treatments have shown a correlation with better sleep quality, fewer sick days, and an overall sense of well-being. Clearly, it is more than just a simple luxury. A little time at the spa is a perfect way to slow down and reflect, feel renewed, and support mind-body balance. Sage Organic Spa provides top notch services with knowledgeable, caring and professional staff who make you feel at ease and calm enough to fall asleep!

If you’re looking for further support with stress management, contact us today at Makin Wellness for your free initial consultation. Our therapists and coaches can aid you on your journey to wellness through a holistic approach with the use of essential oils as an effective way to reduce stress, improve sleep, and boost immunity. Cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness practices, and other techniques utilized in helping clients heal and become the best version of themselves.

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!

spa treatments

Laura Stewart, BA Makin Wellness

Laura Stewart, BA Makin Wellness

 

 

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)

 

 

 

Stress Management

We all have experienced stress in our lives. It not only affects us physically, for example, when we are stressed, we can feel an increased heart and breathing rate, but also psychologically—It can make us listless, disorganized and anxious.

 

So, what is stress?

 

Stanford University professor and Neuroendocrinologist,Robert Sapolsky, puts it this way: “a stressor is anything in the outside world that knocks you out of homeostatic balance.”

 

Different people handle stress differently, so different people define stress in a different way, as you can tell, the meaning of stress can be really subjective. https://healthypsych.com/stress-management-101/

 

A certain level of stress can be beneficial. It enhances our awareness and ensures that our body is readily prepared to face danger. “Fight or flight” is one of our body’s response to danger which basically means that our body is getting ready to either depart as quickly as possible or stay and fight. It is essential to survival and we all have this mechanism since we born. stress

https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/145855.php/

 

Some amount of stress can also motivate us to achieve the goal we want. However, a lot of people now are not in a normal level of stress. According to American Psychology association, in 2015, in the U.S., average stress levels grew from 4.9 in 2016 to 5.1 on a 10-point stress scale. Additionally, there is a big jump in the number of people who have experienced “extreme stress”. 24% of people claim that they have suffered from “extreme stress” in 2014, while in 2013, this number was only 18%.

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/stress-levels-in-the-u-s-continue-to-increase/

 

We all know that excessive amount of stress can affect our health negatively, but how exactly it is going to affect our body. Let us take a closer look through this diagram.

https://www.healthline.com/health/stress/effects-on-body#1

 

As you can tell, stress can affect nearly every part of our body ranging from central nervous systems to digestive systems. What makes it worse is that stress is everywhere in our lives: work, relationships, or even just when you are daydreaming. Therefore, it is crucial that we have some coping skills in mind so that when stressors come, we are able to manage it. stress

 

Here are some coping tips.

 

— Exercise. Exercise is the number one recommended coping mechanisms by health care professions. Even though it is understandable that when you are stressed, all you want to do is lying down and do nothing. Nevertheless, exercise is indeed a good stress releaser. When you exercise, your body will release a chemical called endorphin which kills pain and induces a positive feeling. And you do not have to engage in very intense exercise, small exercise like walking a dog can make a difference.

https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/other-related-conditions/stress/physical-activity-reduces-st

https://www.webmd.com/depression/guide/exercise-depression

 

—Talk. When you are connecting with people, you feel like being understood and supported and this feeling will calm you down and make you feel relaxed. What’s more, you do not necessarily have to talk to someone you know or you do not even need to talk about the things that are bothering you. For example, you can sign up for a volunteer work, and the simple fact that you are making new friends and engaging in new conversation will make you feel much better. stress

 

—Adjust. Adjusting yourself to a way that makes you feel comfortable and in control. Starting to say “no” to things that will push you beyond your limit. Avoiding people and things that make you feel stressed. These are unnecessary stresses that can haunt you for a long time. Keep in mind that you are the one who needs to make sure that you are having a balanced lifestyle.

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/stress/stress-management.htm

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Xinyu Lu (Lydia)

 

How to Communicate Effectively in Relationships

Communication is essential in a relationship because it can either hinder the relationship or make the relationship stronger. However, most people actually do not know how to communicate effectively. A lot of people confuse communication for chatting or just simply getting ideas across. In fact, communication in relationships is about connecting, letting your significant other know that you care, forming a stronger bond and fulfilling each others physical and psychological needs. (https://www.tonyrobbins.com/ultimate-relationship-guide/key-communication-relationships/) communication

Before talking about tips on how to build a satisfying relationship between you and your partner, let’s first take a look at what unhealthy communication looks like: full of negative thoughts and difficult emotion; bad listening skills; lack of understanding of what is going on in your partner’s life. And these poor communication skills can lead to break down of intimacy and trust. It usually happens when all the passion between each other has gone away and you start to pick at their mistakes, which you likely already know. Some harmful communication also happens when you expect your partner to change and they are hoping the same as well. However, these are all better than zero communication. Silence kills whatever relationships it wants, because how can you know what your partner is thinking about when you are not even trying to talk to him or her? https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/communication-in-relationships/#improve communication

 

So, how can you foster healthy communication in your relationship? Here is some advice: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-couch/201501/6-surprising-ways-communicate-better-your-partner

 

➜ Let your partner know that you care about what he or she has to say, which means that you have to put your whole mind into the conversation and listen actively. Listening actively is more than listening with concentration, it actually means interacting and clarifying without acting rude or judgemental.

 

➜ Make sure both sides get a chance to talk. You want to make sure you are not the one who dominates the conversation. Trying to find a balance between talking and listening can ensure a healthy relationship.

 

➜ Share some common memories. Study has showed that couples actually feel closer to each other when they are talking about their common experiences. So, talk about some pleasant or lovey moments you have with you partner and enjoy that moment.

 

➜Give your partner more appreciation, value, and love. Tell them they look pretty and compliment some nice little things they have done for you. Who does not like being respected and praised? But do not overdo it, otherwise you may lose trust from your partner and be labeled as a hypocrite.

https://positivepsychologyprogram.com/communication-in-relationships/#improve

 

➜ Pay attention to your pitch and volume. High pitch sounds anxious and immature and loud volume may scare your partner away, especially in an argument. So, next time, try to talk calmly and be mindful of your pitch and volume.

https://www.tonyrobbins.com/ultimate-relationship-guide/key-communication-relationships/ communication

 

➜ Touch. A study conducted by Alberto Gallace and Charles Spence (2010) have found that touching can make people feel being loved and wanted and bring more positive outcomes. That is to say, while communicating with your partner, having some physical contact can sometimes ease the argument and send positive signals.

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-the-name-love/201405/why-lovers-touch-is-so-powerful

 

Finally, let me end this with a quote from Shannon L. Alder: “When you give yourself permission to communicate what matters to you in every situation you will have peace despite rejection or disapproval. Putting a voice to your soul helps you to let go of the negative energy of fear and regret.”

communication

Xinyu (Lydia) Lu

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 .

 

 

Women and Depression ~ Pittsburgh

Depression is a serious medical condition that can range from mild to severe and is associated with feelings of melancholy, loss of pleasure, low energy, difficulty concentrating, and suicidal thoughts. It is both a brain disorder and a state of mind. How though, can you tell if you’re just feeling sad, or if it’s something more? Depression is more than sad feelings once in a while. It’s when feeling “down” doesn’t go away after a few days, likely interfering with daily activities and interpersonal relationships. It can last weeks, months, or even years. Other signs and symptoms include aches and pains, headaches, cramps, digestive troubles, and difficulty sleeping. More than 19 million people experience depression each year, with the majority being women. Women and depression seem to go hand in hand since women are twice as likely as men to experience depression.  Why is this? Consider the following contributing factors. women and depression

Contributing Factors

There are psychological, genetic, social, and hormonal factors that can all play a part in depression in women. Women experience many hormonal changes throughout their lifetime which can effect mood (see previous post on “Women & Mental Health”). The many roles women take on can also contribute to an imbalance between the mind and body, causing increased stress levels, which may lead to depression if left unchecked.

Hormonal imbalance is usually associated with pregnancy and menopause, but can also be caused by toxins in the body. The foods we eat, the toxins we absorb, and overall stress levels affect body toxicity and hormone balance. Mental and physical health is affected by these toxins. Talking to your doctor or health care provider can rule out other factors, such as medications and medical conditions, like viruses and thyroid issues, that can cause the same symptoms as depression.

Social factors such as work related stress, family responsibilities, societal expectations, and increased rates of sexual abuse and poverty may also contribute to depression in women. Loss of a loved one, loss of  a job, financial struggles, and marital issues are other factors affecting emotional well-being. In the previous post it was mentioned that women are more likely to rehash events in their minds and discuss concerns with others, whereas men are less likely to openly talk about their problems as much. Revisiting negative emotions too often can be harmful due to excessive stress hormones being released. A build up of these hormones can become toxic to the body, both physically and psychologically.

Types of Depression

Women can experience different types of depression in relation to their individual circumstances. Major depression is a severe type of depression where a woman may experience difficulty enjoying things she used to, trouble performing daily tasks, and may have issues with engaging in normal social relationships. It may be accompanied with low self-esteem.

Postpartum depression (PPD) otherwise known as the “baby blues” is typically experienced after pregnancy. Due to a change in hormones and changing responsibilities, a woman may experience postpartum depression.

Persistent depressive disorder  (PDD) is a milder form of depression that extends for a longer period of time, usually lasting a couple years. It can cause difficulty functioning at home and with women being at higher risk for developing it. Brain chemicals like serotonin may be part of the cause as well persistent life stress.

Premenstrual dysphoric disorder is a type of depression around the time of a woman’s menstrual cycle. A woman may experience severe mood swings, anxiety, and negative thoughts, which usually takes place a week before menstruation. women and depression

Prevention

Healthy family relationships and a strong support system through friends and community is of vital importance in prevention. Even women who are prone to depression can find increased resilience and positive coping skills with the proper amount of support and resources.

Eating a healthy diet and getting enough exercise is an absolute must. Taking a 20 minute walk outside can greatly help to improve mood. Please contact us if you are interested in support with lifestyle and diet changes for a free initial consultation with our Holistic Health Coach!

When offering emotional support to someone, it is important to not dismiss their feelings. Instead, show understanding and patience, and encourage them to seek the necessary help, reminding them that with time and treatment they can feel better!

If you or someone you know is experiencing symptoms of depression and would like professional support, please contact us for a free initial consultation today to begin your journey to healing 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.

women and depression

 

 

 

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