Tag Archives: triggers

Preventing A Relapse


We made it to the last few days of July! Did a particular topic resonate with you? Do you know someone who could benefit from the advice shared one the past several weeks? All the hard work can go to naught, if we don’t know how to prevent a relapse. 

Relapse is a term usually referring to alcohol and drugs. However, it can be applied to any habit. Maybe you stuck to your diet for weeks, and then overindulged at an office birthday party. Maybe you went 10 years without a cigarette, and then bought a pack when you broke up with your boyfriend or girlfriend. Remember that your ultimate success in developing healthy habits is more important than any backsliding. Think of relapses as part of a process, rather than unpredictable events. If you pay attention to what you’re feeling and thinking, you may be able to avoid a setback.

Try these techniques:
  1. Deal with emotions. Your feelings may be the first sign that you’re headed for a fall. Accepting your anger and sadness will help you find new and more constructive ways of managing them.
  2. Build support. Surround yourself with family and friends who will encourage you and give you useful feedback. Let them know how they can help you. You might want to search for support groups in your community or participate in forums online.
  3. Know your triggers. You sometimes need to limit contact with old friends who engage in the habit you’re trying to break. Certain places or situations could also make you vulnerable to relapsing.
  4. Wait it out. What if you have an urge to go on a shopping spree or bite your nails? Try waiting 5 or 10 minutes to see if it passes. It’s a quick solution that often works.
  5. Seek moderation. Being too strict with yourself can backfire. A restrictive diet makes junk food look more tempting. Allowing yourself a low-calorie dessert like fruit could help you avoid binging on donuts and cheesecake.
  6. Focus on consequences. Before you take a step backwards, think through what will happen. Is wasting time on social media causing you trouble at work?
  7. Practice self-care. Protecting your physical and mental wellbeing is essential for reaching your goals. Eat sensible amounts of whole foods, exercise regularly, and make sleep a top priority.
Recovering From a Relapse

If it’s too late to prevent a relapse, you can still turn things around. Put your mistakes behind you and keep building on the progress you’ve already made. Some or all of these strategies will help you get back on track.

  1. Face the truth. It can be difficult to admit that you’ve relapsed. Be honest with yourself and take accountability for your decisions.
  2. Remember your purpose. It may help to think about your original reasons for making changes in your life. They may be so compelling that you’ll be ready to try again, or you may need to find another source of motivation.
  3. Forgive yourself. Be kind and compassionate toward yourself, especially while you’re struggling. Use your self-talk to boost your confidence. Let go of the past and concentrate on what you can do today.
  4. Break it down. Trying to make lifelong commitments may seem overwhelming. Pick a time frame that’s realistic for you. You might aim to sustain your new habits for a single day or even an hour at a time.
  5. Take action. Regain momentum by taking a positive step forward immediately. If you’re trying to stop overspending, leave your credit cards at home unless you’re planning to make a specific purchase. If you want to cut down on complaining, start a gratitude journal.

Think of relapses as a learning opportunity that helps you to find out more about yourself. Each time you temporarily lose a little ground, you gain more insight into what you need to do to make positive changes in your life.

Use these free worksheets to help you sty focused.

To Your Success,
Juan

Emotional Eaters, Stop Here


Do you feel like you have a never-ending battle with the scale? Are you tired of gaining weight that stays with you forever? The cause of your weight gain might be emotional overeating. A complex topic, with essential, easy to recognize elements.

Emotional overeating is defined as disordered eating that is characterized by the compulsion to eat even if you’re full. It tends to be a response to negative emotions or thoughts. It’s also seen as a coping strategy for those who are under stress or who have suffered abuse. Food often provides comfort for emotional eaters. But the comfort is only temporary! Emotional overeating can sabotage your diet and weight-loss goals. It can also negatively affect your health. Luckily, there are easy steps you can take today to stop emotional overeating!

Try these strategies:

  1. Figure out your triggers. In many cases, emotional overeating is triggered by an event, thought, or feeling. If you can figure out your triggers, then it will be easier to take control, and stop them from encouraging you to overeat.
    • The most common triggers are stress and negative emotions. Other triggers can be difficult days at work, fights with your family or spouse, and issues with friends or coworkers. Therapy may also help you deal with triggers.
  2. Try to eat only when you’re hungry. Teach your body to accept food only when you’re really hungry instead of viewing it as a constant source of comfort.
    • This step will take time because changing your eating habits is challenging. However, you can take small steps to make dietary modifications. Learn to listen to your body and pay attention to real hunger pangs.
  3. Create alternative plans. For example, if you know that you overeat after a difficult meeting at work each week, then plan ahead and try to prevent it. Try substituting a more positive action that also brings you comfort or reduces your stress.
    • By creating alternative plans that don’t involve eating, you will be setting yourself up for diet success. For example, you can plan a long walk or gym workout after work to get rid of stress. Instead of turning to your fridge and ice cream after an argument, you can binge watch your favorite TV shows or get on the phone with a friend.
    • The key is to find other ways to deal with stress and negative emotions.
  4. Surround yourself with people who care. One of the main reasons many people turn to emotional overeating is because they feel like they don’t have a support network. Do you feel alone and isolated? Reach out to family, friends, coworkers, and others for help. Build a strong support network around you that can help you deal with negativity and stress. Find those whom you can call or visit without worrying that you’re intruding or upsetting them. In turn, be open to offering them support, too.
    • Explain to friends or loved ones about emotional overeating so they can understand why you overeat. Discuss effective techniques that can motivate you to stick to a diet or exercise plan. They can remind you of these techniques when you need help, without being authoritarian or critical, to help you get back on track. 

Emotional overeating doesn’t have to control your life. You can fight it and overcome it with these easy strategies. With any luck, this post serves as a catalyst to reach out and seek help

To Your Success, 
Juan

Things You Likely Didn’t Know About The Types Of PTSD


Welcome back!

Although major symptoms are similar across the board, there are different types of PTSD. Depending on type, symptoms may be more severe or long-lasting, or they may require different types of therapeutic treatments. Given how detailed my last two posts concerning the subject matter might be, don’t be afraid to take it all in small, bite sized pieces.

COMPLEX PTSD
PTSD may have become more familiar to the common person, but there is a lesser-known variation of PTSD called complex PTSD (c-PTSD). The traditional form of PTSD may emerge after a single traumatic event. An example may be a life-threatening car crash. A person who lived through a car crash may find themselves afraid of driving, avoid getting in the car or driving in traffic, and have other symptoms associated with PTSD.

C-PTSD, on the other hand, is the result of repeated or ongoing traumatic events. Those who develop c-PTSD may have suffered ongoing childhood abuse, neglect, or repeatedly witnessed violence acted out on someone else.  C-PTSD is more often associated with people who experience trauma in their childhood. It affects development, since they’re exposed to trauma during a highly developmental time in their life. This term is not in the DSM-5, but it is a term that mental health workers use to help describe the difference between someone who has experienced a single traumatic event, and one that has experienced chronic trauma, especially in childhood. 

Symptoms of c-PTSD are similar to PTSD, but they also include additional behavioral differences:

  • Negative self-view. Those with c-PTSD may think very poorly of themselves or may carry ongoing feelings of guilt, shame, and helplessness.
  • Trouble controlling or regulating emotions. An explosive temper, given easily to sadness, or even have feelings of depression or suicidal thoughts.
  • Difficulty developing or maintaining relationships. Trouble trusting others and will avoid starting relationships.
  • Dissociative symptoms. Disconnected thoughts, memories, actions, difficulty concentrating, and identity.  Some develop alternative identities. It’s a brain’s defense mechanism that tries to escape reality. Some people may also suffer from amnesia. Therapy can help people diagnosed with c-PTSD, but it’s usually a longer process and takes more effort from a therapist and patient to undo the damage done in childhood.

POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS
PTS or Post Traumatic Stress is actually not a type of PTSD, but it could be a precursor for it.  Those with PTS experience many of the same symptoms as PTSD such as avoidance or nightmares. The difference is that those who suffer from PTS experience those symptoms with less severity and for a shorter period of time. People with PTSD will continue showing those symptoms for longer periods of time and with greater intensity. 

According to Dr. James Bender of the Deployment Health Clinical Center: PTS is a common, normal, and often adaptive response to experiencing a traumatic or stressful event. Common occurrences, like car accidents, can trigger PTS as well as more unusual events like military combat or kidnapping. Almost everyone who experiences a scary situation will show at least a few signs of post-traumatic stress. Symptoms from PTS will subside after a few days and they won’t interfere with a person’s life in any meaningful way. The traumatic event may make them more careful in the future, but it won’t stop them from living their life normally.

COMORBID PTSD
Those with comorbid PTSD are people who have both PTSD and another mental disorder. In this case, someone may have PTSD and depression, or PTSD and generalized anxiety disorder. Anxiety, depression, and substance abuse are the most common types of comorbidity with PTSD. It’s estimated that as much as 80% of people with PTSD have another co-occurring psychiatric disability.

Thanks for being here! Your readership of my blog is much appreciated, and I hope it has been a learning experience thus far. PTSD sufferers often exhibit risky behaviors, which often affects their relationships-the focus of the next post.

Hope to have you!

To Your Success,
Juan

Prenatal Depression: Protect You & Your Baby


prenatal depression

Pregnancy is a time of hope, love, and joy. However, for many women, it can also be a time of prenatal depression, it is common and occurs more often than you might think. It can even happen to you! Please do not to ignore the signs and symptoms. Your life and the life of your baby is worth it.There is LOT of talk about post natal depression, due to many high profile stories in the news, however,  there is not enough attention being given to the period before While one post offering a summary of prenatal depression, the hope is that it will serve as a reference, and open up more discussion

Here is what  you need to know:

  1. Understanding prenatal depression. It’s estimated that one out of every four women will experience depression. Prenatal depression occurs during pregnancy and can be triggered by many factors.
    • In many cases, both patients and doctors ignore possible symptoms because hormone changes is often the focus. However, this type of depression can be dangerous for both the mother and child.
  2. Common signs: thoughts of death and suicide.
    • The pregnant woman may have ongoing and recurring thoughts about killing herself or others. She may also have thoughts about harming the baby, the father, and even try to do something violent. Other signs of prenatal depression include never-ending feelings of sadness, hopelessness, anxiety and guilt
  3. Depression triggers. Some medical experts believe that hormone and body changes during pregnancy can trigger depression, but there are other causes as well.
    • Relationship issues are also a common trigger, because the mother may feel she isn’t getting enough support. She worries how the child will change the relationship after birth
    • Complications during pregnancy can also trigger depression. If the mother is on bed rest or worried about losing the baby, it leaves the door open for feelings of depression to creep in. The joy of carrying the child is replaced with anxiety, worry, and fear.
  4. Potential issues for the baby. Although some mothers are able to continue to take care of their bodies during depression, others struggle to eat healthy food or avoid alcohol and other harmful substances.
    • Suicidal behavior is another major risk for the baby. A woman who suffers from prenatal depression is more likely to try to kill herself or the child.
    • Drinking and smoking are also concerns because some women will turn to them for comfort.
    • It’s important to recognize that a woman who has prenatal depression may not be making the best decisions for her baby.
  5. Treatment options. These will vary, it’s important to discuss them with your doctor.
    • Women with prenatal depression can find help through therapy.
    • Both individual and group therapy sessions may be necessary. Discuss these options with your doctor and work out a schedule that fits your needs. Find sessions that welcome pregnant women.
    • You may also benefit from some medications, but there are restrictions because drugs can affect the baby.
    • Support groups have helped some women with prenatal depression.
    • In addition, reducing stress and eliminating issues causing anxiety can help.
    • Adjustments to diets, exercise, and lifestyles is also helpful.
    • The most important step is to seek help and not ignore the symptoms. Doctors and therapists can determine the best treatment plan on an individual level. 

Prenatal depression is a real issue and shouldn’t be ignored. If you or someone you love show these signs, seek treatment right away. Medication and talk therapy can help, after weighing the medication risks with your medical provider. If your insurance does not cover treatment, there is usually free resources available. Though not always easy to find, the effort is worth it. 

Untreated pre natal depression leads to a host of issues, including but not limited to, missing important check ups, problems during labor and delivery, poor nutrition etc.  No one should have to suffer alone and fight without help. Call 911 right away if immediate harm to the mother or unborn baby is obvious.

Learning about prenatal depression could save a life – or two.

To Your Success,
Juan