Category Archives: Mental Health

How to Be More Present in Your Everyday Life


As you begin your recovery, you will learn different strategies for managing stressful situations. One of them is mindfulness. The goal of mindfulness is to help you become more present in your everyday life. It’s harder than it sounds! Fortunately, the more you practice being mindful, the easier it becomes.

Tips for Being More Present

Always remember, being mindful takes practice. Here are some tips to help you embrace a more present lifestyle as you return from an inpatient drug rehab in Arizona.

Do One Thing at a Time

Multi-tasking is a skill we often perceive as positive. Right now, however, you need to take things slow. Avoid multi-tasking and instead focus your attention on one thing at a time. If you’re sitting down for lunch, eat your food and that’s it. Don’t try to squeeze in anything else.

Avoid Rushing Through Tasks

People are always in a hurry! But, do you think they are getting any satisfaction when they’re rushing from one place to the next? No. As you go through your tasks, take your time. Focus on what you are doing and make your actions intentional. This is an effective way to decrease impulsive actions.

Don’t Overbook Your Schedule

Boredom is something to avoid in early recovery, but it’s equally important that you don’t overfill your schedule. Otherwise, you might find yourself rushing from one thing to the next. As you build a schedule, leave time for yourself to relax. Also put “spacers” in between tasks in case one thing takes longer than expected. This way, you don’t have to feel rushed.

Stop Stressing About the Future

As a recovering addict, you’re taught to live in the here and now. This is a great approach for all of us. No one knows what the future holds or the circumstances we will be living with. If you find your mind wandering to the future, bring it back to the present. Focus on what you’re doing at the moment and the happiness it brings you.

Listen to Others

How many times do we hear people but don’t really listen? This is a hard skill to master, but it’s one that will make your life sweeter. When someone talks to you, really listen to what they are saying. You can practice this in your 12-step groups. Listening and being present are two great ways to build healthy relationships.

Turn Everyday Tasks into Meditation

A lot of us don’t like things like cooking and cleaning, but you can turn them into opportunities for meditation. If you have to cook dinner, use the time to practice mindfulness. Focus on cooking the meal – don’t try to talk on the phone or watch TV too. Not only will you have time for yourself, but also a delicious meal to serve your family!

Being present is something that you can enjoy for the rest of your life. And, it costs nothing! To discover more about our holistic approach to treating substance abuse, call The River Source.

What are the Six Stages of Change in Addiction?

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In the book, Changing for Good, personal change is discussed. The book was written by researchers James O. Prochaska and Carlo C. DiClemente who studied more than 1,000 people who changed their lives. Though the six stages were initially described for any type of positive change, they are most widely used and accepted in the field of addiction treatment.

Let’s explore what the six stages of change are and how they relate to addicts.

Stage 1: Precontemplation

People in this stage are aware that there are repercussions to their actions, but they justify them to avoid facing reality. Looking at the person from the outside, you won’t see much desire to change, if any. To the individual, using drugs and alcohol is more appealing than not.

Stage 2: Contemplation

People in this stage are not ready to commit to treatment, though they are learning that their choices have consequences. Unfortunately, the slight desire to change is usually put on the back burner. Addicts in this stage are known for saying things like, “When I turn 18, I’ll stop using pot.”

Stage 3: Preparation

In stage three, addicts begin to see that they have choices that can change their lives for the better. Only they can make the decision, but they do not have to go through it alone. If you were to plan an intervention or encourage participation in 12 step groups at this time, your loved one may actually respond positively.

Step 4: Action

This is one of the most important steps because it means that the person has moved on from just thinking about change. Now they are ready to commit. Actual steps are taken such as by seeking treatment, attending 12-step meetings, sticking to a diet and exercise plan, etc. This is also the stage where recovering addicts are capable of letting go of old friends and pursuing healthier relationships.

Step 5: Maintenance

People in this stage have been successful at staying clean and sober. The longer they maintain their sobriety, the more natural it becomes. Recovering addicts are more successful because they are aware of the temptations that can lead to relapse and have a deeper understanding of their addiction.

Step 6: Termination

In the last stage, people can look in the mirror and confidently say that they are a different and improved person. What makes this stage so important is that recovering addicts are happy with where they are and don’t want to return to their old lifestyle. Even though they may have lost or given up things to be clean, they know their current life is better.

It’s possible to go through all of these stages and then start back at the top. If you relapse, for example, you will have to go through the stages again. Many people experience the cycle of change multiple times before they are able to permanently stick to it. What do you think of these six stages? Do you or a loved one fit into any of them?

10 Strategies for Coping with Clinical Depression


Clinical depression is one of the most common mental health conditions that people seek treatment for. It’s also closely linked to substance abuse. Research scientists believe that both genetics and the environment play a role in the onset of depression and addiction. To successfully recover from both disorders, each one needs to be addressed and treated.

If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with addiction and depression, it’s important to manage your symptoms for both conditions. Let’s focus on the strategies that help individuals with clinical depression.

1. Get Educated

Learn about clinical depression and its symptoms. There is a lot of information online or in books, but be careful to choose those from reputable sources. Your doctor is also a good source for information. He or she may request that you take the Burns Depression Checklist or the Depression Anxiety Quiz to better understand your status.

2. Incorporate Medication

Medication is not right for everyone, but it can be helpful for those with severe depression. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are the most common medications prescribed. Unfortunately, these drugs can also cause dependency. If you’re already at risk for addiction, talk to your doctor about what’s right for you.

3. Attend Talk Therapy

Talk therapy is one of the most effective non-medicine treatments for clinical depression. The goal of psychotherapy is to help you be more in control of your emotions. You will also learn how to respond to negative situations in a more positive manner.

4. Discover Stress-Relieving Activities

Stress is a major contributor to depression. By managing your stress levels, you can reduce symptoms of depression. Stress-busting activities come in many forms: yoga, deep breathing, running, reading, writing or bubble baths.

5. Maintain a Social Network

As you go through periods of depression, it’s normal to push people away. Unfortunately, this only brings you down further. Spending time with others prevents you from isolating yourself. Even if you don’t feel like being with others, their presence can offer comfort.

6. Ask for Support

When you have a healthy social circle, you have people to lean on. Let your loved ones know that you need them, even though this may be difficult. Friends and family will remind you that you are not alone.

7. Exercise Daily

Daily activity is good for your mental and physical health. In fact, some research shows that exercise can be just as effective for relieving symptoms as medicine. Exercise releases endorphins in the brain that contribute to being happy. This helps with confidence and stress reduction.

8. Eat Healthy Foods

Nutritious foods release serotonin in the brain. A good diet also regulates sleep patterns and stabilizes the mood. Choose healthy foods that will provide you with essential nutrients and stay away from trans fats, high preservative foods, alcohol and caffeine.

9. Get Rest

Getting adequate sleep each night allows your mind and body to recover. It also improves your mood and energy so that you can deal with stress the next day. Stick to a routine each night so that you give yourself time to unwind and clear your mind before bed.

10. Boost Self-Esteem

Having high self-esteem boosts your serotonin levels. When you’re feeling down, self-esteem is a great way to lift yourself back up. The best ways to increase self-esteem is by practicing things you are good at each day, helping others and showing gratitude.

Are you ready to start your journey to sobriety? Call The River Source and have both depression and substance abuse treated with our successful integrative rehabilitation options.

Recovering from Depression and Substance Abuse

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Dealing with depression while recovering from substance abuse throws a wrench into the mix. Some addicts may have untreated depression that preceded the drug addiction. Others may have developed depression as a symptom of the abuse. Regardless of which order the depression came in, it’s vital that effective treatment is given to both conditions.

Is it Depression…or Just the Blues?

Depression is more than feeling down. It is a serious medical condition that has both physical and emotional symptoms. Depression can impact all aspects of a person’s life, making it difficult to function normally. Some days are harder than others, as the severity of symptoms vary. Still, many people dealing with depression find it hard to get through their days.

Clinical depression requires a medical diagnosis from a qualified medical professional. But, there are a few things you can take note of.

  • Negative thinking. With depression, people do not think positively toward the future. They may be pessimistic and have difficulty concentrating.

  • Negative feelings. Struggling with depression makes it hard for people to enjoy life. Even things that were once enjoyable are found to be burdensome.

  • Negative behavior. Depressed individuals usually isolate themselves from others and doesn’t have much energy to be active. When a person has negative thoughts and feelings, their behavior follows suit.

  • Health Problems. It’s common for depressed individuals to have physical problems such as a decreased immune system and a lack of personal hygiene.

Treating Depression and Addiction

There is a connection between addiction and depression. Even Bill Wilson, cofounder of Alcoholics Anonymous, struggled with depression before he became sober. Fortunately, there are many effective ways to treat depression and substance abuse. However, just because a person stops using drugs and alcohol does not mean the depression goes away.

The reason why it’s so important to treat depression as well as substance abuse is twofold. First, if the depression isn’t treated, the risk of relapse is much higher. A person might complete a treatment program and be ready to commit to a life of sobriety. Unfortunately, if they combat feelings of depression, it will be hard for them to resist the temptation of drugs and alcohol.

Second, untreated depression can make the recovery process less rewarding. Recovery is hard enough on its own, and it’s important that addicts feel the positives along the way. If a person doesn’t get any enjoyment from recovery, they will be more likely to relapse.

Depression? Addiction? Call The River Source

The best time to get diagnosed and treated for depression is when entering an inpatient treatment facility. You or your loved one will be properly assessed, and an individualized treatment plan will be provided based on your needs and goals. To learn more about getting help for a dual diagnosis, call The River Source.

Why Shaming Addicts Doesn’t Work

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It’s incredibly frustrating when a loved one refuses to get help for their problem. In fact, you’ve probably taken their decision not to seek treatment personally. Maybe you became so frustrated that you tried shaming your loved one into rehab. Unfortunately – and understandably – you cannot shame someone into treatment. Not only is it not effective, but also you can do more harm than good.

Let’s look at why shaming addicts does not work and how to resist doing this to your loved one.

Shame and Addiction Don’t Mix. Here’s Why.  

Addiction is not a character flaw. It is a disease of the brain. Still, the stigma surrounding addiction remains prevalent in our society. In other words, people tend to think that the addict has control over their choices. If they can make their loved one feel bad enough, the person will stop. However, an addict does not have control over their addiction.

In fact, research shows that the more shameful an addict feels, the more likely they are to relapse. If you treat someone like they “are bad,” they will think they are bad. We know how much you love and care for your loved one, so refrain from placing shame on them. It can make things worse.

Tips to Prevent Shaming 

It’s normal to feel angry, resentful and frustrated. Still, it’s crucial that you remain in control of your emotions. Sometimes family members don’t realize they are shaming their loved one. Here are some tips to prevent shaming an addict.

  • Educate yourself. Learn about addiction and how it affects the brain. You can gain more compassion for your loved one by understanding how the disease presents itself.

  • Avoid blaming language. Blaming language involves phrases that sound like this: “You wanted to hurt me” or “You threw all your hard work away.” Instead, use “I” statements. For example: “I felt sad when I learned you had used again.”

  • Practice empathy. Addicts need empathy. Take time to learn some of the ways you can show more empathy, such as by being a good listener or understanding why the person reacted in a certain way.

  • Enlist professional help. If your loved one doesn’t respond well to you, enlist help from a professional counselor or addiction specialist. Having a mediator to help guide the dialogue can be helpful early on. As you learn how to better connect with your loved one, the conversation will come more natural.

Communicating with an addict is not easy. However, the last thing you want to do is shame them into getting treatment. It doesn’t work, and it can make things worse. If you would like to talk more about the situation you are dealing with, call The River Source. We may have suggestions to help you manage your relationship with an addict more effectively.

Coping with the Loss of an Addict

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Coping with the death of a loved one is a profound and devastating life experience. We all go through it at some point or another, but dealing with the loss of an addict has unique challenges. Families often feel that they don’t get the support or understanding that they should – almost like their loved one “chose” this path or “asked” for this to happen. Society is more compassionate to cancer or illness than they are an addiction.

If you’ve recently lost a loved one to addiction, you will go through the same stages as anyone dealing with grief. However, there may be other feelings to work through, such as guilt and shame. Talking with your therapist and attending support groups can help you manage these emotions so that you can move forward in your healing.

Stages of Grief

When a loved one dies, it’s normal to go through stages of grief. There’s no right way to grieve. Some people move through the stages slower than others, and some stages take longer to get through. What we now call the five stages of grief – first developed in 1969 by Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross – are:

  • Denial

  • Anger

  • Bargaining

  • Depression

  • Acceptance

Other Symptoms of Grief

Because your loved one succumbed to addiction, you may have other feelings outside the five stages of grief.

  • Guilt. If your loved one passed away from an overdose, you might be feeling guilty that you didn’t intervene to save them. You may also be feeling guilty because you have a sense of relief, which is common in families that have been struggling with addiction for a long time.

  • Shame. Shame sometimes looks like guilt, but it’s different. Guilt is how we perceive ourselves, while shame has to do with how others perceive us. For example, you may be ashamed that your family has been affected by addiction.

  • Fear. If one person in your family has died from addiction, it’s normal to worry about others. Could you lose another child to this disease? What about those who are in recovery – could they relapse?

Where to Find Support

The most important thing right now is that you don’t isolate yourself. Develop a support system that offers the comfort and encouragement you need. Your support system will be unique to you and include people such as friends, family, neighbors, club members, doctors, counselors and clergy members.

Having a support system is necessary, but you also need people who understand what you’re going through. This is where your support groups have a place. In fact, you may feel more comfortable opening up to these members rather than your friends and family. That’s okay. You will appreciate the supportive, non-judgemental environment and also learn from others which strategies are effective for dealing with your emotions.

Call The River Source if you are concerned about a loved one. We have been successful with severe cases of addiction thanks to our holistic approach and naturopathic therapies. We also have support for families.