July 11th, 2019 by Sydney Digital
June 5th, 2019 by Sydney Digital
How might Alcohol Addiction affect friends and family?
What is alcohol addiction?
Alcohol addiction, now known as alcohol use disorder (AUD), is a condition in which a person has a desire or physical need to consume alcohol, even though it has a negative impact on their life.
Alcohol is one of the most popular addictive substances in the world. Some people can control how much they drink, but others have risk factors that prevent them from drinking responsibly. When these people become addicted to alcohol, they’re often referred to as ‘alcoholics’.
This expression, of establishing someone as an ‘alcoholic’, is increasingly seen as an unhelpful and negative label. Health professionals now say that a person has an alcohol use disorder (AUD).
According to the Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW), in 2018, 1 in 6 Australian adults (17 percent of the population) had an alcohol use problem.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), globally, 3.3 million deaths every year result from the harmful use of alcohol.
What are the symptoms of alcohol addiction?
A beer or a glass of wine is a common way many Australians choose to wind down at the end of a day.
But how much is too much?
How do you know when you’ve crossed the line to alcohol use disorder (AUD)?
Drinking “in moderation” means having no more than one standard drink a day if you’re a woman, and no more than two standard drinks if you’re a man.
In Australia, a standard drink is any drink containing 10 grams of alcohol, regardless of container size or alcohol type (e.g beer, wine, spirit). This is equivalent to:
- 30 mL of spirits (40% alc. vol)
- 100 mL of wine (13% alc. vol)
- 285 mL of full strength beer (4.8% alc. vol)
Another way to look at your drinking habits is to think about how much you have during an average week.
For women, “heavy” or “at risk” drinking means more than seven drinks per week, or more than three in any day.
For men, it’s more than 14 drinks in a week, or more than four in a day.
It is important to point out, that the number of drinks and the frequency of consumption is not the only way to consider a person’s relationship with alcohol.
How a person uses alcohol is a strong indicator as to whether alcohol is part of a healthy or unhealthy habit.
For some, drinking to socialise is part of their positive life balance. Individuals that have AUD, instead use alcohol to cope with their issues. They seek alcohol as a way to avoid and escape their adversity.
The following are symptoms which may point to a person having AUD or a problem with alcohol:
- An interference with work, school, family, and/or other responsibilities as a result of alcohol consumption
- Continuing to consume alcohol despite the negative impact it is having on one’s relationships
- Engaging in risky behaviour after drinking, such as fighting, driving, swimming, or operating machinery
- Over time, requiring more alcohol to achieve the desired intoxicating effects
- worrying about when you’ll be able to have your next drink
- sweating, nausea or insomnia when you don’t drink
- drinking alcohol, or wanting to, when you wake up in the morning
- consuming alcohol regularly on your own, or trying to hide your drinking
- fighting with friends and family about your drinking or going out
As alcohol becomes a problem, it takes precedence over all other activities. The above reactions to alcohol’s influence can incur negative relationship effects, if a person seeks to confront others, or isolate themselves instead. This can make it challenging for friends and family members to help those with alcohol addiction.
While there is no exact formula to determining whether or not someone suffers from AUD, it is important to identify and address the alcohol addiction symptoms provided above. No matter how minor a drinking problem may seem, alcohol abuse symptoms should not be ignored by friends and family members.
To help identify these symptoms in yourself, the Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) is a 10-item screening tool developed by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to assess alcohol consumption, drinking behaviours, and alcohol-related problems.
“The Alcohol Use Disorders Identification Test (AUDIT) is a tool we use to assess alcohol consumption, drinking behaviours, and alcohol-related problems in our client admissions process. The AUDIT has been validated across genders and in a wide range of racial/ethnic groups and is well-suited for use in primary care settings. This allows us to confidently assess the client’s current state prior to them arriving on site.” – Paul Francis, Admissions Manager (Palladium Private)
There is also a tool known as CAGE – a questionnaire that measures the severity of a drinking problem.
If you answer “yes” to two or more CAGE questions, you should seek professional medical assistance.
The four CAGE screening questions are:
- Have you ever felt you should cut down on your drinking?
- Have people annoyed you by criticising your drinking?
- Has there been a time that you felt bad or guilty about your drinking?
- Have you ever had a drink first thing in the morning to steady your nerves or get over a hangover?
What are the causes of alcohol addiction?
Most addictive substances, including alcohol, affect the pleasure and reward centre in the brain. Alcohol manipulates this system, which drives repeat behaviours of enjoyment. When people become addicted, their brains are chemically rewired to desire alcohol.
“We know that about 50 percent of the risk is genetic,” Dr. Kenneth Leonard, Research Institute on Addictions (DrugRehab.com). “The best predictor is actually family history. Tt looks as though there are many, many genes that carry the risk.”
Research has shown a close link between AUD and biological factors, particularly genetics and physiology. While some individuals can limit the amount of alcohol they consume, others feel a strong impulse to continuously use the drug.
For some, alcohol gives off feelings of pleasure, encouraging the brain to repeat the behaviour.
Repetitive behaviour like this can make you more vulnerable to developing alcohol addiction.
There are also certain chemicals in the brain that can make you more susceptible to alcohol abuse. For instance, scientists have indicated that alcohol dependence may be associated with up to 51 genes in various chromosome regions.
If these genes are passed down through generations, family members are much more prone to developing drinking problems.
In recent years, studies have explored a possible connection between an individual’s environment and risk of AUD.
These environmental factors could include a person’s proximity to alcohol retail stores or bars – affecting their chances of alcohol addiction.
Another environmental factor, income, can also play a role in the amount of alcohol a person consumes. Contrary to popular belief, individuals who come from affluent neighbourhoods are more likely to drink than those living below poverty.
A recent annual consumption habits poll showed that roughly 78% of people with an annual household income $75,000 or more consume alcohol. This is significantly higher than the 45 percent of people who drink alcohol and have an annual household income of less than $30,000 (Gallup).
Social factors can contribute to a person’s views of drinking. Your culture, religion, family and work influence many of your behaviours, including drinking.
Family plays the biggest role in a person’s likelihood of developing AUD. Children who are exposed to alcohol abuse from an early age are more at risk of falling into a dangerous drinking pattern.
Starting college or a new job can also make you more susceptible to alcohol addiction. During these times, you’re looking to make new friends and develop relationships with peers. The desire to fit in and be well-liked may cause you to participate in activities that you normally wouldn’t partake in.
Different psychological factors may increase the chances of heavy drinking. Every person handles situations in their own unique way. However, how you cope with these feelings can impact certain behavioural traits.
People with high stress, anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions are more vulnerable to developing alcohol addiction. In these types of circumstances, alcohol is often used to suppress feelings and relieve the symptoms of psychological disorders.
Over time, drinking can become habitual and lead to an AUD. The more you turn to alcohol to ease feelings of pain and hardship, the more your body becomes tolerant to the drug and relies on its effects.
Co-occurring alcohol abuse and mental health conditions, like depression, can cause an array of serious side effects. In order to overcome these issues, each one should be treated separately by a medical specialist.
What are the health effects?
Alcohol addiction causes physical, psychological and social side effects. The most common signs of Alchohol Use Disorder include continuing to drink despite negative consequences and prioritising drinking over anything else. The disease can also be diagnosed based on other behaviours and health effects.
Health Effects of Alcohol
Most people enjoy drinking alcohol because of its euphoric effects. Alcohol is rapidly absorbed in the body, and once it enters the blood stream, it quickly makes its way to the brain.
How long alcohol stays in your system is dependent on a number of factors, from when you last ate to your gender and weight (drugrehab.com).
As the alcohol binds to the brain’s GABA receptors, it has a relaxing effect. Your inhibitions drop and you become more talkative and more self-confident.
Alcohol also boosts the levels of the feel-good chemical serotonin in the brain. This contributes to the happy, buzzed feeling you get after having a drink or two.
As alcohol affects different parts of the brain, other changes occur – mainly to do with language, judgement, emotions, movement and balance clouding your reasoning and thinking. You may have trouble seeing, hearing or remembering things, too, and become less sensitive to pain.
Continuous, long-term alcohol consumption can also lead to permanent changes in brain chemistry. Frequent and excessive alcohol consumption damages an area in the back of the brain called the cerebellum. This can result in poor coordination and balance. Also difficulty walking or a tremor and involuntary back-and-forth eye movements known as nystagmus (reachout.com).
Chronic, heavy drinking can contribute to high blood pressure, heart disease, irregular heartbeats and heart failure. One way alcohol contributes to the development of heart disease is by raising the level of certain fats in the blood called triglycerides, which contributes to coronary artery disease.
Alcoholic beverages also affect the gastrointestinal system. Alcohol can cause damage to the mucosal lining of the oesophagus (Barrett’s oesophagus) and inflammation of the stomach lining (gastritis). It can also alter the muscular contractions of the small and large intestine (intestinal bleeding), organ problems within the liver and pancreas (pancreatitis, liver damage).
As an individual becomes more intoxicated, these euphoric sensations often give way to darker moods and emotions, such as sadness, anger, aggression and irritability.
Chronic alcohol use alters brain chemistry and can result in mental illness. Repeated, heavy use of alcohol can cause anxiety. People with anxiety often deal with feelings of worry, nervousness and unease about upcoming events or situations.
In addition, alcohol and depression are closely associated. In America, about 20 percent of adults with an anxiety or mood disorder. These include depression, are addicted to alcohol or another drug (ADAA).
Risks of mixing Alcohol
Some people who are addicted to alcohol mix the substance with other drugs. But alcohol can cause dangerous interactions with over-the-counter drugs and some everyday substances, such as caffeine. When people mix alcohol with illicit or prescription drugs, the interactions can be life-threatening.
Combining alcohol with some illicit drugs can cause long-term organ damage. Just as mixing alcohol with certain prescription pills can cause a fatal reaction. Even some over-the-counter supplements can cause major health problems when mixed with alcohol.
Alcohol addiction commonly co-occurs with drug addiction. People addicted to multiple substances — referred to as poly-substance use disorder — may be more likely than people addicted to a single substance to experience negative consequences.
What are the social effects ?
Alcohol use disorder within a family is a problem that can destroy a marriage or drive a wedge between members. That means people who drink can spend the family budget, cause fights, ignore children, and otherwise impair the health and happiness of the people they love.
Of married couples who get into physical altercations, 60-70 percent abuse alcohol (americanadictioncenters.org). In time, family members may even develop symptoms of codependency, inadvertently keeping the addiction alive, even though it harms them.
Friends and family members of those suffering from AUD can face the repercussions of their loved one’s condition. Alcohol addiction causes legal, financial and relationship problems. Individuals with alcohol addiction often struggle to have healthy relationships with loved ones.
A person with AUD may try to shield their family from the impact of alcohol abuse by distancing themselves. Unfortunately, isolation does little to protect family members from the financial and emotional side effects of alcohol addiction. Neglect can also have a negative impact on loved ones.
Research shows that families affected by alcohol addiction are more likely to have low levels of emotional bonding, expressiveness and independence.
Couples that include at least one member with AUD have more negative interactions than couples that aren’t affected by alcohol addiction, according to research from the University at Buffalo Research Institute on Addictions.
Furthermore, individuals with AUD are often in denial about their condition. This means they can underestimate how much they drink or the problems that drinking causes. This deterioration of awareness, and by extension trust, damages relationships. It can also make it difficult for the family to manage social situations.
Alcohol addiction can also inflame relationship stressors.
As a result, the time, effort, and resources formerly dedicated to life-sustaining activities. These include working and spending time with the family, are disrupted. Initially, a person may think that abusing alcohol will help them deal with these stressors. As they continue to drink a lot, however, this abuse can turn into dependence on the substance.
As the National Council on Alcohol addiction and Drug Dependence discusses, the following are some of the ways in which problem drinking affects family members, friends, employers, colleagues and others:
Neglect of important duties:
Alcohol impairs one’s cognitive functions and physical capabilities. This can likely result in neglect of responsibilities associated with work or home life. These side effects inhibit healthy and constructive communication that can be used to resolve conflict.
Needing time to nurse hangovers:
Alcohol has various short-term side effects, such as hangovers. The physical state of a hangover may be temporary. But it can significantly disrupt a person’s ability to meet commitments as well as invite unhealthy behaviours, such as poor eating and a lack of exercise.
Encountering legal problems:
Drinking can increase a person’s likelihood of getting into fights, displaying disorderly conduct in public, driving under the influence, and becoming involved in domestic disputes or violence.
The inability to stop at will:
Alcohol is an addictive substance and can lead to physical dependence. Although a person who is physically dependent (i.e., has an increased tolerance among other side effects) is not necessarily addicted, ongoing drinking is a slippery slope that can lead to addiction.
Addiction is an expensive condition. Depending on the type of alcohol a person drinks and how much they drink, a person addicted to alcohol may spend between $500 and $2,000 on alcohol each month. That can be a major drain on a family budget.
Other financial problems may be the indirect result of an alcohol addiction. An arrest for driving under the influence can cost thousands of dollars in fines, court fees and car insurance increases. A car accident can make a person incur tens of thousands of dollars in health care or vehicle replacement costs.
The biggest hit to a family budget may occur when someone with an alcohol addiction loses their job because of their condition. Even a temporary loss of income can have a devastating impact on a family.
Work productivity can also suffer from alcohol abuse. Finances are about more than the dollars earned; they also include earning potential. Studies show that drinking can affect work or academic productivity at every phase of working life.
Employees who binge drink or drink heavily are prone to absenteeism or presenteeism (i.e., being at work but underperforming). Long-term drinkers may have to exit careers earlier than planned in order to manage health problems.
Children and extended family members, as mentioned, can become codependent on a loved one’s alcohol abuse, or at least be significantly affected.
According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP), one in every five adult Americans resided with a relative who abused alcohol in their adolescence. In the study, it was also found that these people have a greater likelihood of having emotional troubles compared to children who grew up in sober homes.
Early exposure to an alcohol abuser can also increase the child’s propensity to have a problematic relationship with alcohol. Research has found that children of individuals who abuse alcohol are four times more likely to abuse alcohol themselves.
As the AACAP explains, children are in a unique position in relation to a parent or caregiver who is addicted to alcohol. Drinking can become a source of confusion for the child. It can lead to a lack of parental support, and by extension, the absence of a parental figure.
Furthermore, children can notice radical changes in behaviour and emotion. This can include volatile discrepancies from happy to angry. Without proper identification, a child may falsely believe that they are the cause of these mood swings. Self-blame, guilt, frustration, and anger can emerge as the child tries to understand why the parent acts this way.
How to help a family member with alcohol addiction
Many people who struggle with alcoholism do not enjoy the experience. Some people are high-functioning, meaning they perform well at work and maintain relationships, and some people more obviously struggle with alcohol dependency.
Regardless of the severity of alcoholism, it is often hard for anyone suffering from this condition to admit they have a problem.
Close friends and family may notice a loved one struggling, even if they only exhibit subtle problems, such as mood swings or continual stomach upset.
When a person notices that someone they care about may be struggling with alcoholism, it is important to proactively support the person.
This means learning more about AUD and include getting them professional help. Getting started on this road can be difficult for friends or family. This is because alcohol use disorder impacts relationships, and sometimes, loved ones may not know exactly what is happening.
Below are some of the steps advised by Healthline on how to approach a loved one for help:
Step 1. Learn about alcohol use disorder
Before you do anything, it’s important to know whether your friend or loved one has an alcohol addiction. Alcohol use disorder, or alcoholism, is more than just drinking too much from time to time.
Sometimes alcohol as coping mechanism or social habit may look like alcoholism, but it’s not the same. People with alcohol use disorder don’t drink in moderation, even if they say they’re only having one drink.
Step 2. Practice what you’re going to say
Let the person you care for know that you’re available and that you care. Try to formulate statements that are positive and supportive. Avoid being negative, hurtful, or presumptuous.
Using “I” statements reduces accusation and lets you be an active participant in the discussion. It may be helpful to bring up a specific concern. Rather than saying, “You’re an alcoholic — you need to get help now,” you can say, “I love you and you’re very important to me. I’m concerned about how much you’re drinking, and it may be harming your health.”
Prepare yourself for every response.
No matter the reaction, you should stay calm and assure your person that they have your respect and support.
Step 3: Pick the right time and place
Choose the right time to have this important conversation. Have the conversation in a place where you know you’ll have quiet and privacy.
You’ll also want to avoid any interruptions so that you both have each other’s full attention. Make sure your person is not upset or preoccupied with other issues.
Most importantly, the person should be sober.
Step 4: Approach and listen with honesty and compassion
If the person does have an alcohol problem, the best thing you can do is be open and honest with them about it.
Hoping the person will get better on their own won’t change the situation.
Tell your loved one that you’re worried they’re drinking too much, and let them know you want to be supportive. Be prepared to face a negative reaction. Try to roll with any resistance to your suggestions.
The person may be in denial, and they may even react angrily to your attempts. Do not take it personally. Give them time and space to make an honest decision, and listen to what they have to say.
Step 5: Offer your support
Realise that you can’t force someone who doesn’t want to go into treatment. All you can do is offer your help. It’s up to them to decide if they’ll take it.
Be nonjudgmental, empathetic, and sincere. Imagine yourself in the same situation and what your reaction might be.
Your friend or loved one may also vow to cut back on their own. However, actions are more important than words.
Urge the person to get into a formal treatment program. Ask for concrete commitments and then follow up on them.
You may also want to see if other family members and friends want to be involved. This can depend on several factors, such as how serious the situation is or how private the person may be.
Step 6: Intervene
Approaching someone to discuss your concerns may involve helping them understand how you’re feeling. This makes it important that you present them with viable options to consult for help.
Some of these options may include suggesting a support group, behavioural counselling options, therapy counselling, or supportive wellness-retreats.
However, as it is difficult to diagnose the severity of an individual’s alcohol dependence on your own, it might prove useful to get a professional opinion before approaching the individual with the options above.
How Palladium Private can help
At Palladium Private, our approach is quite different to anything you may have tried before. Our immersive therapy does provide a full suite of care, counselling and in an environment that is recovery-friendly.
We consider alcohol abuse to be a coping mechanism. We believe that people who deal with stress properly and have a healthy level of self-worth are unlikely to abuse alcohol, even if they have the gene for alcoholism. This means we don’t believe that hereditary genes dictate how you react to substances.
However, if you have underlying stress conditions and they are not identified and corrected, these may result in turning to alcohol in times of despair or trauma.
The Palladium Private Program provides a set of coping mechanisms that can be used to break this cycle permanently.
These include reprocessing old events to deal with grief and regret and learning how to measure self-esteem and self-worth properly
These both make for an incredibly effective combination.
We cannot change what happens to you in life, but we can teach you how to react to life events in a different way, which will cut off this cycle of behaviour at its source.
Our qualified therapists use evidence-based techniques to teach you how to adopt new behaviours, apply and entrench them and engage in new ways of thinking.
Our programs offer change that is lasting because our unique range of therapies go deep to the underlying root cause.
The Palladium Private Program is supported by Rational Emotional Behaviour Therapy (REBT), CBT and ACT along with other client-specific techniques chosen on a needs basis.
Our program is underpinned by Mindfulness Training. This has been in use for a long time but has only been scientifically explained in the last two decades.
Your treatment is accompanied by nutritious meals, personal trainers, yoga teachers and spa and massage therapists – so your body can also undergo healing.
Places in our programs depend upon availability. We ask that you contact us to check for the next available window.
May 13th, 2019 by Sydney Digital
Private Health Retreats: Drug Rehab Programs
According to the World Health Organisation, drug addiction (either prescription or illicit) is the most stigmatised condition of labelled mental illnesses. This is why private drug rehab programs are increasingly being sought after for their discretion
Addiction is a chronic condition characterised by drug seeking and use that is compulsive, or difficult to control, despite harmful consequences. The initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people. But repeated drug use can lead to brain changes that challenge an addicted person’s self-control and interfere with their ability to resist intense urges to take drugs (drugabuse.gov). These changes in the brain can be persistent – which is why drug addiction is considered susceptible to triggers. This is where people in recovery from drug use conditions are at increased risk for returning to drug use even after years of not taking the drug.
Using any type of recreational drug – be it nicotine, street drugs or medicine – can affect you emotionally, physically, socially and/or financially.
The compounding nature of recreational drug use has affected thousands of Australians, impacting those who take them and those closest to drug users.
Addiction is a physical and/or psychological need to use a substance, often caused by regular continued use. This means that while we might use substances to relax or have fun, they can quickly become a coping mechanism. They can also become a means to dull emotional/physical pain. In reality, drug addiction is a complex condition, and quitting usually takes more than good intentions or a strong will. Drugs change the brain in ways that make quitting hard, even for those who want to.
Fortunately, drug rehab programs know more than ever about how drugs affect the brain. And have found treatments that can help people recover from drug addiction and lead productive lives.
To assist with your own or a loved one’s screening of your condition it is important that you are aware of methods that may help. Palladium Private have created the Drug Use Disorders Identification Test (DUDIT) to provide a gauge of your current condition.
Symptoms of Drug Addiction
Some substances are more addictive than others. Depending on the individual, some are more likely to become addicted to a substance. This depends on mental, physical and lifestyle factors. If you think you or someone you know might be developing an addiction, signs to look out for include:
Regular substance use
Missing work and becoming unreliable
Having trouble sleeping
Experiencing rapid mood changes
Having trouble concentrating or making decisions
Avoiding people who don’t use drugs
Behaving dishonestly with friends and family
Being in debt and spending money you can’t afford
Having relationship problems
Participating in dangerous activities due to drug use
Drug Abuse and how it effects the Brain
Most drugs affect the brain’s “reward circuit,” causing euphoria. They can also flood it with the chemical messenger dopamine (lifeline.org). A properly functioning reward system motivates a person to repeat behaviors needed to sustain a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating and spending time with loved ones. Surges of dopamine in the reward circuit cause the reinforcement of pleasurable but unhealthy behaviours like taking drugs. This can lead people to repeat the behaviour again and again.
Gradually the brain adapts by reducing the ability of cells in the reward circuit to respond to it. This reduces the high that the person feels each time. Especially compared to the high they felt when first taking the drug—an effect known as tolerance (drugabuse.gov).
They might take more of the drug to try and achieve the same high. These brain adaptations often lead to the person becoming less and less able to derive pleasure from other things they once enjoyed, like food, sex, or social activities.
Long-term use also causes changes in other brain chemical systems and circuits as well, affecting functions that include:
These changes in a user’s brain chemistry can lead to major alterations in mood and activities. They can even eventually transform this dependency into a mental condition.
It can be hard to tell which condition came first – drug addiction or mental illness. Having a mental illness can make a person more likely to abuse drugs. This can make their symptoms feel better in the short-term. Using drugs can also make the symptoms of mental illnesses worse and make treatment less effective (SANE).
Types of Drugs
There are three main kinds of drugs. Each of which can cause different physical and mental reactions, and effect individuals differently. These are also characterised by drug rehab programs.
Heroin, cannabis, alcohol and other depressants slow your breathing and heart rate down. In small quantities can make you feel happy and relaxed.
But while they can provide a short-term sense of pleasure, they also bring on feelings of anxiety or depression in some people. Regular long-term use can negatively affect your mood, making it harder to cope with everyday life.
Speed, ice, cocaine, ecstasy and other stimulants increase your heart rate, body temperature and blood pressure. It can give you a temporary ‘buzz’ which makes you feel more confident, motivated and energetic.
However, they can also have a number of side effects including stomach cramps, headaches, dizziness and feelings of anxiety, paranoia and aggression.
LSD, ketamine, magic mushrooms and other hallucinogens cause you to hear and see things that aren’t really there.
As a result of hallucinogens, many experience unpleasant changes to their reality as a result. This can cause anxiety, depression, paranoia and psychosis in those susceptible to mental health problems.
The effect each of these types of drugs has on the user depends on their BMI and the amount and intake regularity. All three have the potential to be both physically and mentally addictive.
Drug Rehab Programs and Treatment
Addiction is treatable and can be successfully managed. People who are recovering from an addiction will be at risk for relapse for years and possibly for their whole lives. Research shows that combining addiction treatment medicines with behavioural therapy ensures the best chance of success for most patients.
Treatment approaches can be tailored to each patient’s drug use patterns. With any co-occurring medical, mental, and social problems mitigated to lead to continued recovery. These approaches include full immersion residential programs of between two to five weeks. During this stay, residents benefit from psychological treatments. These are tailored daily activities and freedom from any triggers or addictive substances.
Residential treatment also takes a holistic approach involving a combination of three daily components.
These are mental/emotional therapy, physical/flexibility, and relaxation/detoxification. This approach is known as BioPsychoSocial.
This is supported by experienced people who facilitate long lasting positive change to your mental state. An example of your team at Palladium Private will often include psychologists, counsellors, personal trainers, massage therapists, mindfulness trainers and more.
Residential Drug Rehab Programs Compared To The 12 Step Program
There are many residential programs for various addictions and compulsive behaviours. These range from those that focus on Cognitive Behavioural Theory (CBT) to Interpersonal Psychotherapy. All emphasise steps to reduce the stigma often associated with rehabilitation. A certain stigma as conveyed by Hollywood and segments of the 12 Step Program.
Some aspects of programs that require surrendering to a higher power can be extreme. They encourage you to share your faults, be labelled an addict and then repent for your addiction.
Residential Retreat Programs, such as Palladium, do not view clients, nor do they label clients as addicts.
This directly coincides with the residential retreat view on drugs and alcohol. Instead of viewing drug and alcohol addiction in this light (as taught in the 12 Step Program), Palladium look at the relationship that the client has to drugs and alcohol. Then seek to understand why such addiction has occurred. This requires deeper and more intensive psychotherapy in a retreat setting. And provides the ability to uncover the root cause of the mental health condition. Palladium focus less on the alcohol and/or drug use which is viewed as a coping strategy the person employs.
Residential treatment combines professional help, a trigger-free environment and insightful activities. These seek to help one achieve and maintain freedom from substance abuse. These three factors seek to provide a consistent and safe environment. One that promotes sharing individual journeys and empathising with others’ progress.
The use of support people and community groups is present in both the 12 Step Program and Residential Retreats. This helps create a shared sense of community that helps keep addiction in check. This allows each individual to realise their actions, and share their journey and progress with others in similar situations.
Supportive aspects of the 12 Step Program might work for some. Palladium still seek to help clients through a more understanding and empathetic method of rehabilitation. The 12 Step Program has its merits. But, the Palladium Private Method seeks to provide thoroughly researched immersion techniques. These aim to better understand the condition, not label it as a one-dimensional illness.
Residential Retreats For Drug Rehab
Drug rehabilitation facilities, use a reality-based mindset technique. This is based on Cognitive Behavioral Theory (CBT), Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT), Gestalt and Rational Emotional Behaviour Therapy. This educational program is delivered in a retreat environment. One that focuses on the holistic healing of the mind and body.
Residential detox solutions use steps to promote consistent recovery.
Below are Palladium Private’s four major rehab components:
- During your pre-program assessment, you may be deemed to require a withdrawal program due to existing alcohol and/or drug use. Your program may start with a short stay 5-14 days at a local registered private hospital. Once completed you will then progress to the retreat to commence your Palladium Program. Palladium will commence a general check-up with a local GP once onsite. This is to review medication and undertake tests to identify areas that need addressing.
- Some clients will require a chaperone at night for their first three nights at Palladium, if needed. This is to make sure you feel safe and supported as you integrate with the program.
A nutritious diet is further provided. This will supply the body with the essential components it needs for detoxification. Gentle exercise and massage will assist in removing toxins from the body.
- You will be provided with a detox box, steam room and mineral hot pool. This is in conjunction with the psychological therapies we select for each client.
Addiction is a coping mechanism. Behind the addiction is the root cause that creates the mental conditioning. Palladium’s qualified therapists examine the core beliefs or trauma that led you to think the way you do. These include factors that led to your addiction. Without examining these beliefs, you may return to former habits when under stress and pressure. This might start the cycle of rehab and detox once again.
A key factor in our clients’ success, is their desire and commitment to making a change in their life. If they are willing and able to learn and apply the steps and techniques, we give them, there will be a positive, permanent change in their life.
Please note that Palladium Private does not offer programs for clients who solely wish to lower or cease their prescription drugs. Clients need to stay on their medication until a physician advises otherwise. This can be discontinued before our program (with time allowed for underlying effects to surface and be controlled). Or stay on their medication throughout their program. If clients reduce their medication as a by product of their program, this is also a positive outcome. We may see clients lower or cease their medication during or after their residential program. This is completed in consultation with a GP and never recommended or advised by Palladium staff.
April 2nd, 2019 by Sydney Digital
Clinical depression is an illness and a medical condition. It significantly affects the way someone feels, causing a persistent lowering of mood – often in the form of feeling very sad, scared or withdrawn. It interferes with the way a person goes about their everyday lives and can make it hard to cope.
Depression is often accompanied by a range of other physical and psychological symptoms that can interfere with the way a person is able to function in their everyday life. The symptoms of depression generally react positively to treatment.
What Causes Depression?
There are a number of possible causes of depression. Some people have a genetic predisposition to depression, which can then be triggered by a stressful situation in life.
Depression can also:
Be a reaction to a distressing situation like loss or stress (reactive depression). Some women experience depression following the birth of a child (post-natal depression).
Be part of an illness like bipolar disorder in which the person experiences extreme moods – very high and very excited or very low and depressed.
Sometimes occur without any obvious trigger – sometimes the person may be affected so much that they experience the symptoms of psychosis and are unable to distinguish what is real.
Affect children and teenagers – this can show itself in different ways to depression in adults, and they are best helped by a doctor who is a specialist in this area.
What Does It Really Mean?
Depression is more than feeling a little sad, it is a medical condition that can have a devastating effect on the life of someone affected by it. It can deprive them of the ability to take pleasure or interest in things, making them feel cut off from the world and alienated from family and friends. Often, everything in life is seen in a negative way.
Once diagnosed, for the great majority of people Depression is a very treatable condition (SANE). Understanding that these symptoms may be signs of a medical condition which can be successfully treated, is a ﬁrst big step in ﬁghting back against Depression (health.org).
What Are the Symptoms of Depression?
Depression has a variety of symptoms and will affect everyone in different ways.
Feeling extremely sad or tearful
Feeling emotionally flat or numb
Disturbances to normal sleep patterns
Loss of interest and motivation
Feeling worthless or guilty
Loss of pleasure in activities
Anxiety or consistent shortness of breath
Changes in appetite or weight
Loss of sexual interest
Physical aches and pains
Impaired thinking or concentration.
You may be thinking:
‘my problems are too difficult to solve’
‘life is too hard’
‘everything’s going to go wrong’
‘I’m no good’
‘it’s all my fault’.
Perhaps you’re having changes in:
Ability to find enjoyment and pleasure in things
Quality of sleep (sleeping a lot, waking up a lot, or insomnia)
Appetite or weight
Interest in sex
Concentration and remembering things
Drinking or use of drugs.
What Do People Experience if They Have Depression?
People who have experienced Depression describe it as feeling far away inside yourself; feeling as though your senses have been deadened, ﬁnding great difﬁculty doing things which used to be easy or enjoyable. Even something as straightforward as getting up in the morning and having a shower can seem impossibly challenging.
Although many people with depression feel sadness, it feels much more severe than emotions that come and go in response to life events. The symptoms of depression can last for months or years and can make it difficult or impossible to carry on with daily life. It can disrupt careers, relationships, and daily tasks such as self-care and housework.
It may feel like:
There’s no pleasure or joy in life
A person with depression may not enjoy things they once loved and may feel like nothing can make them happy.
Concentration or focus becomes harder
Making any kind of decisions, reading, or watching television can seem taxing with depression because people can’t think clearly or follow what’s happening.
Everything feels hopeless, and there’s no way to feel better
Depression may make a person feel that there’s no way ever to feel good again.
Self-esteem is often absent
People with depression may feel like they are worthless or a failure at everything. They may dwell on negative events and experiences and be unable to see positive qualities in themselves.
Sleeping may be problematic
Falling asleep at night or staying asleep all night can feel nearly impossible for some people with depression. A person may wake up early and not be able to go back to sleep. Others may sleep excessively, but still wake up feeling tired or unrefreshed, despite the extra hours of sleep.
Energy levels are low to non-existent
Some people feel like they can’t get out of bed, or feel exhausted all the time even when getting enough sleep. They may feel that they are too tired to do simple daily tasks.
Food may not seem appetising
Some people with depression feel like they don’t want to eat anything, and have to force themselves to eat. This can result in weight loss.
Food may be used as a comfort or coping tool
Although some people with depression don’t want to eat, others can overeat and crave unhealthy or comfort foods. This can lead to weight gain.
Aches and pains may be present
Some people experience headaches, nausea, body aches, and other pains with depression.
Depression is a real mental illness
Those who have depression cannot simply decide to stop feeling depressed. Unlike typical sadness or worry, depression feels all-consuming and hopeless.
What Are the Different Types?
Major depression is sometimes called major depressive disorder, clinical depression, unipolar depression or simply ‘depression’, and is the most common form of depression (Beyond Blue). As noted above, symptoms of depression interfere with all areas of a person’s life, including work and social relationships. Depression or melancholia, can be described as mild, moderate or severe.
This is the term used to describe a severe form of depression where many of the physical symptoms of depression are present. One of the major changes is that the person starts to move noticeably more slowly (Black Dog Institute). They’re also more likely to have a depressed mood that is characterised by complete loss of pleasure in all activities, objects or forms of sustenance.
Antenatal and postnatal
Women are naturally more exposed to an increased risk of depression during pregnancy (known as the antenatal or prenatal period) and in the year following childbirth (known as the postnatal period).
The causes of depression during this period are often complex and the result of a combination of factors. In the days immediately following birth, many women experience ‘baby blues’, or general stress adjusting to pregnancy or a new baby (healthdirect.org). These occur in 80 percent of women, but are different from depression.
Depression is longer lasting and can affect not only the mother, but her relationship with her baby, the child’s development, the mother’s relationship with her partner and with other members of the family.
Almost 10 per cent of women will experience depression during pregnancy. This increases to 16 per cent in the first three months after having a baby.
Cyclothymic disorder is often described as a milder form of bipolar disorder. The person experiences chronic fluctuating moods over at least two years, involving periods of hypomania (a mild to moderate level of mania) and periods of depressive symptoms, with very short periods (no more than two months) of normality between (Beyond Blue). The duration of the symptoms are shorter, less severe and not as regular, and therefore don’t fit the criteria of bipolar disorder or major depression.
Personal Stories of Depression
Anxiety & Depression
“So there has to be something out there that’s going to give me the tools I need to approach life in a different way. Where I will be a better mom. The mom that my child deserves.”
Life was, to sum it up, pretty crap. I had dug a hole that was really deep. Was diagnosed with depression at the age of 16, and picked up anxiety along the way somewhere. And was just not in a great place. Yeah. I’d turned to emotional eating after having severe postnatal depression, and would binge drink somewhere along the lines as well. And yeah, really didn’t see my own value.
The self-esteem was non-existent to a point where I really would just question, why am I here?
It felt like I didn’t belong. It was a mistake for me to have been born, and everything I did and the way I’d go about anything was always wrong. And I was just a muck up. So I would torture myself internally, with the way I thought, and with feeling.
And I just … I really did not like who I was turning into, even more so when I was starting to see signs of anxiety in my own son. That was what really got through to me of saying, okay, I need to be able to help him. But I’m not able to do that when I can’t even work through my own stuff. So there has to be something out there that’s going to give me the tools I need to approach life in a different way.
Where I will be a better mom. The mom that my child deserves.
Once I came here, the day one, gosh. It certainly is overwhelming. It’s a daunting experience to be on my … well, for me, on my own. I was petrified. The thing that I’d picked up along my way was that I couldn’t show how I actually felt. So, I remember when my sister-in-law left, I started to cry. Then I realised, it was lunchtime. I have to go and face all these people. And I don’t want them to know what I’m going through, so I just pulled it all back, and went in as if it was fine. And I rang my husband in tears and was like, I just want to come home. I’d had enough. It was information overload. But I persevered because I knew I owed it to myself to finish what I’d started.
The reason I didn’t leave even though I felt like it, and I knew it was important to stay, was because there was still more that I needed to gain.
If I had have just gone then I would have only been running away from it, instead of facing it head on and actually dealing with it. So, I couldn’t have taken away what I’ve got with me today if I’d left early.
My personal growth was dramatic. In the way that I … I can honestly sit here and say that I’m 100% worthy. I always have been, I always will be. Nothing can take that away from me. It’s my birth right, and it’s a fantastic feeling to know. It has changed so much where I can’t say that I’ll be 100% cured, but I know my triggers now. I can look out for when those voices start back, and be able to go, hang on. I’m looking through whatever lens it may be here, and then do what is known as an upgrade. So it won’t hold me back any longer. I move forward now.
Yeah, I am so pleased that, now that I’ve been through the experience, I can return home a different person. My family will notice for sure when I walk through the door, just how much I have changed. And see it in me. And now I’ve got the tools with me that I can start spreading. I’ll start with my family for sure. And while raising young children, I think this has yeah, been an amazing opportunity.
PTSD & Depression
“Waking up at night in pain. Trying to deal with that, and then not having a good night’s sleep. Having problems with flashbacks to the accident and other more unpleasant intrusive thoughts became more troublesome.”
February this year I had quite a serious motorcycle accident, where I had a heap of injuries that included a fractured pelvis and some spinal injuries and fractures in my lower limbs. That was sorted out in a month in hospital, but I’ve needed ongoing surgery and had a lot of problems with persisting pain. What they’re calling in these days … they call it post-traumatic stress disorder, from the accident. It’s been causing me a number of problems.
The motorcycle accident was quite a serious one.
There was quite a significant concern that I could have died from it. I spent a month in hospital, then 12 weeks where I wasn’t able to put any weight … I was wheelchair bound, effectively. After I got mobile again and things were happening, and even returning to work part-time, it was dealing with the pain. Waking up at night in pain. Trying to deal with that, and then not having a good night’s sleep. Having problems with flashbacks to the accident and other more unpleasant intrusive thoughts became more troublesome.
That’s when I thought it would be a good idea to … I felt there was an opportunity to come here in a time that suited me. I’m really glad I did that.
I’d come here twice before, more than three years ago. Three or four years ago, I suppose. At that time I had bowel cancer and was busy trying to come to terms with that.
I think that one of the things … why it’s been valuable the third visit, and it came after the second visit, is it really doesn’t hurt for any of us to have stuff repeated. Being reminded of stuff and having reinforced the importance of continuing to do some of the strategies that you’ve learned here when you go home, and the importance of continuing to do that … I think I found that reinforced and I think I’ll be in a position to continue to do that when I do get home, to help me deal with what’s going to be an ongoing problem for a while.
The staff here have been fantastic, from the time of ringing up to check on my availability and what might be appropriate to me, and that follow up phone call.
The program that was designed … I must confess, I didn’t understand all the different names of what was on offer product-wise, but it certainly was … what was designed for me, I felt was individualised in a very good way to suit my particular problem.
I think what has been really valuable for me was the holistic approach, with looking after your body and your mind. But also dealing with patterns of thinking and the way you’re behaving, that are starting to get into bad behaviours … be that alcohol or overusing drugs or whatever happens to be some of the consequences of that chronic pain. This is a good place to be dealing with that.
I’d have no hesitation in recommending for people with a wide range of problems, it would be better to … I’d love to be able to stay longer. It doesn’t fit in just at the moment. Even the time that I’ve spent here, I’ve found very valuable. It’s helped dramatically with me dealing with the problems that I’ve been having.
Addiction & Depression
“I guess life moves along pretty quick and you do your best to roll along with it, with what you know. But what I knew wasn’t exactly working for me and I guess I was taking drugs and drinking to deal with stress.”
I’ve spent probably the last 15 years or so, half my life, doing drugs, alcohol, stuff like that. 2012, was not a good year for me. I ended up, before Christmas, separated from my wife and two kids. Been together 10 years so it’s was a rocky two and a half months from there. Was feeling pretty down in the dumps when I decided to come here.
Basically what was going on for me; I’ve run a business since I was 18. My life was pretty stressful before I had two kids, which I had back to back boys. I guess life moves along pretty quick and you do your best to roll along with it, with what you know. But what I knew wasn’t exactly working for me and I guess I was taking drugs and drinking to deal with stress.
I guess for a while a lot of family and friends were telling me that I did need to do something different, go somewhere to sort of fix my life up, if you will. I wasn’t listening. I’m a pretty stubborn person. Doesn’t matter how many times someone tells me something, if I don’t believe it myself, it’s not true. And it’s actually born out of necessity to come here. I’m very glad I came.
I guess when I came here, I was pretty down in the dumps. This place has made it really easy, not to forget about those things, but to realise that there’s a bigger picture.
I guess I still have my sadness when I think about my boys and that I’m here and not over there with them, being a dad. But all in all, I think the benefits for yourself outweigh any of those emotions.
Since I’ve been here the organic food, the exercise, all the health-based stuff, I feel a lot fitter and healthier. I look better in a week since I’ve been here. And that’s obviously helps to build you up, makes you feel good about yourself, which is all part of it.
If I’ve been here a week and sort of feeling like this, I’m excited to see how I’ll feel another three weeks in. If I can be showing this much in a week, and feel this healthier in a week, then another three weeks on top of that can only … I’m interested to see where it goes and where it takes me.
The stories above shed light on the hardships that many of our clients experience daily at Palladium Private. Our retreat seeks to mitigate the effects of depression through immersive therapy – helping to create value around the joys of all that life, love and opportunity have to offer.
Our program is specifically designed for people who are suffering from depression, anxiety, PTSD and/or alcohol/drug dependency. We appreciate that many of these conditions are non-exclusive, and can combine to make it hard for the individual to cope.
The Palladium Program commences with a residential stay of between two and five weeks. During this time, we are committed and determined to make long term permanent changes, for good in people’s lives.
For long term change to begin, we customise daily schedules for you and limit the distractions with the outside world. We teach you how to really understand the core thinking behind stress and emotional symptoms leading to unwanted behaviour like addiction, depression and anxiety.
Find out more about the Palladium Private journey here.
February 25th, 2019 by Sydney Digital
What is anxiety?
Feeling anxious in certain situations can help us avoid danger, triggering our ‘fight or flight’ response for survival. It is how we’ve evolved to keep ourselves safe. However, there are times where we become overly worried about perceived threats – when things that may or may not happen affect us on an emotional level. When your worries are persistent or out of proportion to the reality of the threat, and get in the way of you living your life, you may have an anxiety disorder (Black Dog).
The American Psychological Association (APA) defines anxiety as “an emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts and physical changes like increased blood pressure”.
When our anxiety levels are heightened, we have intense feelings of worry or distress that are not easy to control. Anxiety can interfere with how we go about our everyday lives, and make it hard to cope with ‘normal’ challenges. These ‘bouts’ or ‘intense periods’ can be a result of a multitude of scenarios that contribute to anxiety. Two of the most notable scenarios are workload stress, and social anxiety.
Anxiety is the most common mental health condition in Australia. Up to one-third of women and one-fifth of men will experience anxiety at some point in their lives (Beyond Blue).
The type of anxiety that occurs before a presentation, playing in a big sporting event, starting a new job, or doing exams at school, are not what is being referred to above.
Usually, once we’ve overcome a stressful situation, our worries and nervous feelings calm down and disappear. But, what if this worry stays with us even after a stressful situation has passed?
Fear, distress and feelings of dread can take over. We can experience severe anxiety that can last for a long time. When we have this level of anxiety, we might start to worry about things that others don’t find stressful. But we might not realise that anxiety is taking control of our everyday lives.
This is why it is important to know how to recognise signs of anxiety in yourself or a loved one.
What causes anxiety disorders?
Anxiety disorders are thought to be caused by a combination of factors. Most people who get anxiety probably possess a genetic vulnerability to develop an anxiety disorder. This can be innate in an individual’s personality traits, meaning that responses to stressful life events may trigger the condition or make it worse. This is why it is important to identify, prepare and confront your anxiety in order to take progressive steps to recovery.
The triggers of anxiety vary from person to person, and are often the cause of a particular past life event. These common stressful life events include:
Being in an unpredictable new situation such as a change of school or workplace, or travelling overseas.
Break-up of a relationship.
Experiencing the death of somebody close.
Financial or work problems.
Experiences during early childhood.
Excessive drug or alcohol use.
Physical health problems.
When the initial incident of occurs, it can express itself physically as well as psychologically, and also affect behaviour. Recognising this behaviour is the key to realising anxiety symptoms within yourself or someone you know.
These changes in how someone feels, thinks, and acts can then start to interfere with their ability to live a normal life, to work, and to relate to other people (SANE).
To find out more about the broad symptoms of mental health and how they affect individuals differently, see our comprehensive: Guide to Mental Health.
How do I know if myself or someone I know has Anxiety Disorder?
It’s understandable that people will change their behaviour to try to avoid distressing symptoms of Anxiety disorders. This can result in an individual not doing the following: identifying the root cause of their anxiety, preparing by seeking help, or confronting their anxiety through regular and habitual development.
It is this reluctance to participate in any of the above steps that can compound an individual’s symptoms – whether they be your own or present in someone that you know. To be aware of these symptoms is to initially watch out for the physical signs associated with anxiety. Following deeper inquisition of how you or the other person are feeling, and what they might be experiencing, will sometimes then alert you to their deeper thoughts.
Those with Social anxiety disorder, for example, will avoid situations where other people are present. This can lead to an absent social life, experiencing great loneliness, and even stopping them from working. Because if this, anxiety disorders are often accompanied by Depression. This means both will need to be treated when the individual takes preventative steps to recovery (our detailed breakdown of Depression can be found here).
Below is the anxiety experience of one of our clients at Palladium Private.
Sam’s struggles and progress during his anxiety allude to the three steps mentioned previously – with emphasis on how he managed each step.
While each individual is different, his anxiety might be similar to what you or someone you know is experiencing at the moment. If so, the process that he undertook could work for you as a guideline to recovery.
An interview with someone who has anxiety
How long ago were you at Palladium?
“In October 2018, so about 5 months ago now.”
How are you feeling now?
“I’m going good, just a couple rough days here and there, but overall at about 95%.”
And what are you doing now?
“I’m in Brisbane at the moment. Not long after I got out of Palladium, I got offered a job up in the National Parks in Clairemont since January.”
To get an idea of the start of your journey, how would you describe your state of mind, mentality or emotions – a year or a few months before the retreat?
“I struggled with my mental health for over 10 years. It got to the point where, leading up to Palladium I tried to kill myself a couple times. A week before I got into Palladium, I tried again – and that’s what pushed my family to look at options for my mental health, and that’s where Palladium came into play.”
What was the process like for you at Palladium?
“I was given a few places to decide between. But chose Palladium for the simple fact that they offered the group therapy every afternoon. For someone like me, who actually struggled with people and talking to people, it was because of the communication group and the individual therapy that I chose Palladium.”
Was that because of the Anxiety – interacting with people every day, and needing to re-introducing yourself to communal environments?
“My self-esteem was the biggest issue actually. And I do like people, but I still just struggled to have a conversation, and talk to people in that aspect. I would stop putting myself out there in that environment, so that struggle wouldn’t come up again.”
When you realised this, who was it that contacted Palladium?
“It was a family member first – my brother’s partner that got in touch. At that time, I shut down completely – I was in my room for 12 hours a day or in and out of hospitals, so I really couldn’t function well enough to be able to make that decision on my own.”
So to re-kindle your communication with others, was there anything aside from the group therapy that you feel helped you?
“For sure. I found all the team there to be top notch. Carmel the massage therapist was incredible, so to was Pat, I was quite sad to see him go when he left – mainly because we got along really well. I got along with all of the chefs as well, plus Stacey and also Nicole were great helps throughout the whole thing. I have actually seen Carmel since leaving for a remedial massage – she was a therapist on her own.
There wasn’t a staff member that I didn’t enjoy being around. Even Shaun the groundskeeper, I had many chats with and enjoyed his company.”
Aside from the communications groups and the staff, were there any therapies, that you found challenging?
“I found, in all of the activities that were offered, I didn’t want to go to art therapy at the start. But I did push myself, and actually got a lot out of it – which I found really helpful to me to express how I was feeling in a different way, a more creative way.
Once you’re in there, you can actually go quite deep. Which is what I found hard at first was that I couldn’t draw, and everyone else could really well. As soon as I let go of that fear of being good enough, you start to become more involved and take something from the activity”.
And from when you started, how long did it take for you to feel more comfortable?
“Probably the second day I was still apprehensible of being there in a totally different environment – but even after the first couple hours I was starting to acclimatise. Trying to join in with things that I was comfortable with – but also taking time to roam a little because when I was young I liked the outdoors.”
Did the staff or seeing other people in a similar place to you have an effect on how long this took?
“yep, to help me feel safe, and to push myself. I knew everyone was there for similar, but different reasons. Which is very likely going into that environment – and made it a lot easier, because of the community.”
Were there any major experiences or learnings that you took away from the Retreat, or occurred while you were there – namely through your sessions or personal treatments?
“Lisa was my therapist, and was an amazing help throughout the whole process. She was great for finally helping me talk about all those 10 years that had happened before the retreat.”
Have you finished all of your calls with Lisa?
“I’ve finished all of my after-care as of now. I would go back and see Lisa, but I just can’t afford it at the moment – I’d love to see her on a weekly basis but finances won’t allow that.”
That’s a really good point you make, which is why we’re doing this – to make all the Palladium content more accessible through the content that we are doing. Were there any exercises that you did with Lisa that helped you the most?
“I’d have to say the overall experience that I had with her, and just how she listened and was there as a helper. I’ve been to many psychologists over my years – and just going in to see how she operated, was good at the start because I had experienced that before. But until I let go and put my trust into her it was, the way that she listened and her as a person that made my stay that much more worthwhile.”
How did you find getting back to your life outside of Palladium in reference to the tools that you took with you etc.?
“That’s something that I feel Palladium should put more emphasis on. Actually leaving Palladium after four weeks, because there wasn’t as many tools by way of integrating back into a normal lifestyle, where there are all of these triggers around.
I got home and I didn’t watch TV for two and a half weeks, because I couldn’t watch it after being at Palladium where TV wasn’t accessible. Which wasn’t bad in any way, actually more good than bad, but I don’t think I was ready to either.”
Do you think then, in ways of tools, that worksheets or reminders here and there would work?
“I wouldn’t involve the people that had just gotten there, but for the people that have been at the Retreat, I’d start involving some sort of program in terms of their daily activities. Where they are informed that they will be leaving, and these are certain things that they are going to experience going back.”
That’s really good to know. Thank you. Since leaving Palladium and your first few weeks at home, how have you found the last few months? Do you do set reminders, or do daily check ins with yourself?
“I got into a book by Eckhart Tolle He’s a legend, and his book, The Power of Now, is by my bedside, and I’ve pretty much been reading him every chance I get.
“But also a lot of mindfulness and sitting by myself and meditating. Just paying attention to living in the now. And that’s one thing that I really took on board with my stay is that I can’t change my past, and I shouldn’t want to either.”
Do you feel that once situations arise, pertaining to your previous anxiety, do you handle them differently?
“Definitely. I used to struggle with my anger, had really bad anger problems. I made the staff at palladium fully aware of my anger problems, and I wouldn’t take anybody’s behaviour, and I would lash out and deal with it the way I have always known.
And have been around people that have pushed my buttons so to speak – understanding that they’re just making my ego upset and not me as a person. And I have started to take a step back and take a different perspective.”
Do you still have any anxieties or issues communicating?
“I’ve had a lot of anxiety since I’ve been in Clairmont, and having people around me which has been really tough. In a way I have felt that I’ve lost a bit of what I have learnt from Palladium since I’ve been here. But I am doing pretty good considering.”
How does your family feel?
“Some of my family members are never going to change. I’ve put somethings in place for them. This has been a bit difficult. I’m living my life not to someone else’s expectations. That’s the toughest thing about going back to certain family members that trigger you. And it’s hard to reframe them because they are your family members.
Which is why it is important I understand that some people aren’t able to understand, because they haven’t been through what I have been through – and that’s ok. I just don’t speak and don’t action what I used to because It’s falling on deaf ears now.”
Anxiety disorders are treatable
Treatment for an anxiety disorder doesn’t just deal with immediate symptoms. It also helps tackle the triggers for symptoms and other contributing factors. To reduce or eliminate anxiety, learn to control it with practical steps you find work for you. With the right process for you, you will feel better mentally, emotionally, and physically.
Reducing anxiety in your life
There are lots of things you can do for yourself to help reduce feelings of stress and anxiety. These could involve picking up a book like Sam, or even getting physical exercise.
The experience of having an Anxiety disorder varies from person to person. Managing symptoms can often be difficult, to help this – discuss with your treating health professional what you can do to help yourself. This will help you learn like Sam, what works and what doesn’t.
Understanding is power
The more we understand about Anxiety disorders, the better prepared we are to start dealing with them. Understanding the symptoms, causes, and symptoms of anxiety can help us to tackle it better. This is what we aim to achieve at Palladium to help equip our guests with the right mindset to learn about their condition.
Learning to tolerate uncertainty
Many anxious people feel a strong need to ‘know for sure’ about situations or about the future. This often just isn’t possible.
Do what you can to accept that things often are uncertain, and to ‘wait and see’ – to embrace the uncertainty of the future is hard, but it starts with accepting your past.
Many people affected by Anxiety disorders find it helpful to meet and talk with others who have had similar experiences.
Discussing symptoms and tips for dealing with them in a relaxed, understanding environment such as this can be a great support in recovery from anxiety.
You can contact the SANE hotline at 1800 18 SANE (7263) or the SANE Online Helpline for details of a group in your area, or take the Black Dog online Anxiety Self-test.
Learn to recognise the warning signs
Learn to recognise the warning signs, so you can re-assess your situation and try to nip the anxiety in the bud – much like Sam when reassessing situations from a different perspective.
Think about what happens when you start to feel anxious. If you often feel like you are going to have a panic attack on public transport, for example, make a list of how you feel and what happens to your body when this happens.
Alongside this, make a list of how you could manage these symptoms – such as slow breathing or thinking about something very positive, for example (Black Dog).
Build on what you know helps
You probably already have some healthy ways of helping yourself feel less anxious. Recognise and build on these.
Every time you worry over a past event that might reoccur in the future, stop and focus on the here-and-now. Immerse yourself in the moment.
Some people find it helpful to have a mantra (a helpful, inspiring phrase) or powerful mental image to help them do this: for example, imagining their life as a vast sphere and the worry as a tiny speck beside it.
Break problems down to tackle them
When you feel anxious it can seem like there’s no way out from problems that trouble you. Try to take a fresh approach which helps you look at the problem from a different angle, so that stress and worry can be reduced.
If something is troubling you, try not to dwell on it but write it down in black-and-white. Then write down all the different ways you could tackle it.
Consider which is the most realistic and useful, and what practical steps you could take to carry it out.
It’s likely your GP, psychologist or other treating professional will talk to you about breathing slowly as a way of dealing with anxiety.
This can be a surprisingly simple and effective way of helping your body relax and switch off the tense ‘flight or fight’ emergency response which anxiety triggers.
Take a slow breath in for six seconds, hold it briefly, then breathe out slowly. Don’t rush the breaths, and repeat for a minute or so (SANE).
Being physically healthy is good for our mental health
Our physical and mental health interact continually. Getting enough sleep, eating healthy meals, and avoiding recreational drugs and excessive alcohol not only does your body good, but will make you feel good too.
Too much caffeine can contribute to feeling anxious, so try reducing or even giving up coffee or other drinks which contain caffeine.
Physical exercise is also a proven way of improving mood, probably because of healthy changes this brings about in the body and brain. This doesn’t have to mean going to a gym, but can be something as simple as riding a bicycle to work or taking a brisk walk for half-an-hour or more a few times a week.
Make time to relax and think
Make time every week to do things you enjoy and which relax you. Going for a walk, meditating during your lunch break, having a massage, listening to music or simply immersing yourself in reading or watching a movie can help calm you and reduce anxiety.
People affected by Anxiety disorders are often hyper-alert a lot of the time, so it’s good to deliberately tell yourself that your mind and body are ‘off duty’ and have a right to relax.
Don’t be too hard on yourself or others
Try to develop a habit of being flexible rather than over-demanding on yourself or others. Don’t try too hard to be perfect in everything you do – instead take a step back and try to see things from their point of view and why they might be acting the way they do.
Remember that you’ll never be able to control everything that happens around you, or what other people do and think, so why not accept this and concentrate on enjoying just being yourself.
December 17th, 2018 by Rebecca Feldman
What Is Mental Health?
Mental health and Mental ill-health are increasingly being used interchangeably, despite meaning vastly different things.
Everyone has mental health, just as everyone has health. Mental ill-health, is the condition in which one’s mind is influenced both physiologically and emotionally. To the extent that it interferes with a person’s cognitive, emotional and social abilities. Just like good mental health doesn’t ensure the absence of symptoms, Mental ill-health isn’t a perpetual state of everyday life. These symptoms often resolve with time, or as the person’s situation changes. When mental ill-health persists, however, it can lead to a number of mental illnesses, these include but are not limited to; Depression, Anxiety, Trauma/PTSD and Addiction.
The presence of one or more of these illnesses can lead to prolonged changes in a person’s thoughts, feelings and behaviours. This ineffable state of being, that feels like it can’t be adequately described, can come into fruition at any stage of a person’s life. It can be the byproduct of a traumatic event or have no root cause at all.
It is this gradual or sudden ill- health, that is thought to arise from the interaction of genetic vulnerability and stresses in life (Headspace).
This vulnerability-stress model accommodates for varying intensities of mental ill-health, or condition. And may be brought on by the level of ‘stress’ we experience. An encompassing term, for the degree of possible exposure a person has to a ‘trigger’. These ‘triggers’, or external pressures vary from; viruses in the womb, through to early childhood experiences, later drug use, or a highly distressing event.
In the course of a lifetime, not all people will experience a mental condition, but most will struggle or have challenges with their mental health. This means that mental health and mental illness are two dimensions that can exist independently of each other (Psychology Today). You can thus have low mental health without having a mental condition, and could, at any time, represent two different points on the dimensions. Furthermore, our state on either dimension is fluid and not static – changing based on our circumstances.
The most important aspect of this difference, is recognising when someone does have a mental condition, and taking the corrective steps to improve their well-being. Comprehensively understanding mental illness is thus the first stage in discovering how beneficial help can be to an individual.
Understanding Mental Illness
The difference between mental illness and mental ill-health is the severity by which the person is effected, and the degree to which it is diagnosed. Mental conditions vary in how long they effect people; sometimes a single episode, sometimes a lifelong condition. They also vary in severity; sometimes transitory, sometimes causing physiological disability requiring long term support (SANE). Regardless of these two factors, the earlier the individual can seek help, the more beneficial for long-term recovery.
It is also important to note that while mental ill-health is debilitating, mental conditions have a far larger area of effect on the person’s everyday life. This is apparent before an individual seeks help – often through isolation or dependence. And once an individual seeks improvement – through realising and committing to combat nuances in their life that have been effected. This area of effect can also impact friends and family.
Often, the support system around these people deteriorates as the condition worsens. This can lead to a compounding decline in mental health.
The conditions that mental conditions encompass, can significantly affect how a person feels, thinks, behaves, and interacts with other people – with each condition varying from the next. It is important to understand the symptoms of each condition – for yourself or a loved one – prior to seeking help. This can greatly increase the base amount of care that someone receives, if they ever become detached or have just experienced a traumatic event.
The most common mental conditions, covered below, allude to the intense and often debilitating nature of ‘sickness’ within the mind. Explained is the way that sickness effects both psychological and physiological properties within victims. Often disrupting normal rhythms of the mind, and supplanting everyday tasks with strenuous activities. This, coupled with the
non-physical state associated with mental illness, means that any awareness is vital.
Depression is a phenomenological condition that is the result of a genetic vulnerability, usually caused when a combination of recent events and other longer-term or personal factors are met with triggering circumstances.
The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality. Depression is a condition that seeps away vitality, when conducting simple tasks through to experiencing inescapable moments of anguish. It can be the gripping sensation of not being able to do anything because it may be too strenuous, or just simply because you can’t bear the thought of doing it.
Hard to interpret and even harder to articulate, this mental condition alters the mind and often defines who people are.
Andrew Solomon expresses this in his TED Talk ‘Depression, the secret we share’ by referring to depression as a “lifted veil” – an awful sense of clarity, can cause an ensuing flood of despair. Furthermore, Black dog institute states that individuals may be having thoughts such as, ‘my problems are too difficult to solve’ or ‘it’s all my fault’. To which they say, there is a different route to recovery for everyone along the journey – one must willing though, to always keep in their mind what they are working towards.
Currently 3 million Australians are living with anxiety or depression in 2019 (reachout.com). A vicious cycle of repetitive sadness that disables individuals from connecting with the broader community around them. With almost one in every seven Australians effected by varying degrees of depression, there is a high chance that someone you know or are close with, suffers from the condition.
It is thus paramount to be able to recognise symptoms in someone else – or even yourself – for the individual to fight it early. These symptoms include (Beyond blue):
Anxiety, apathy, general discontent, guilt, hopelessness, loss of interest, loss of interest or pleasure in activities, mood swings, constant stress or sadness.
Agitation, excessive crying, irritability, restlessness, or social isolation
early awakening, excess sleepiness, insomnia, or restless sleep Whole body:
excessive hunger, fatigue, or loss of appetite
Lack of concentration, slowness in activity, or thoughts of suicide
When any of these symptoms persist for 2 weeks or more, it is important to seek a mental health professional. If you think that you or someone you know may be experiencing depression, completing the Beyond Blue checklist is a quick, easy and confidential way to give you more insight (Beyond Blue)
An anxiety disorder is a medical condition characterised by persistent, excessive, and sometimes overwhelming worry. When left unchecked, anxiety disorders can take multiple forms, and can amalgamate into depression, addiction or other mental conditions. A person may experience more than one anxiety disorder at a time – often having symptoms for other illnesses simultaneously – as it often latches onto a ‘crutch’ or form of harmful support. This can lead to experiences with depression mixed with anxiety, or use of alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism.
1 in every 14 people in Australia are effected by Anxiety.
Anxiety’s conditions often have a neglected requirement of high mental health services, with very few people who often need treatment actually receiving it. With the effects of anxiety often leading to hardship within employment, relationship breakdowns or depletion of focus, one’s mental state often requires direct and purposeful treatment to heal over time.
Below are the most common disorders that can be attributed to anxiety. While they vary, positive reinforcement of progress is key:
Generalised anxiety disorder (GAD)
GAD is characterised by persistent worry that the person realises is excessive or unrealistic. It can be about almost anything – money, work, mental health, relationships or being harmed.
Panic disorder involves frequent sudden attacks of intense fear (panic attacks). These may occur when a person feels ‘trapped’. They may even feel as if they are about to die.
Social anxiety disorder
Social anxiety disorder involves intense anxiety associated with social situations. This characteristically influences how often a person interacts with others. There is an intense fear of embarrassing oneself in public or being scrutinised by others.
Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD)
OCD is the occurrence of intrusive thoughts about unpleasant occurrences. OCD is highly distressing for the person experiencing it and for those who care about them.
Phobias are intense, irrational fears about specific objects or situations. Examples include; a fear of heights, storms, dogs, enclosed spaces, snakes or spiders, where the danger is greatly overestimated.
In her talk “How to cope with anxiety”, Olivia Remes of the University of Cambridge shares her vision on how to treat and manage this mental health condition. She claims that anxiety is often swept under the rug and neglected as a source of weakness. And because most are unaware of what an anxiety condition is, individuals might be conducting everyday tasks, but doing so with an overwhelming fear of failure.
Many believe that It’s natural to worry during the stressful times we all experience from time to time in life. Someone with an anxiety or related disorder feels excessively and persistently anxious in a way not keeping with the situation they are in.
Understanding how anxiety disorders ‘work’ then, is an important first step in taking control of the condition and getting better. Anxiety disorders are thought to be caused by inherent genetic vulnerabilities to develop an anxiety disorder. Further inherited personality traits and responses to stressful life events, may trigger the condition or make it worse.
Common stressful life events include (SANE):
Being in an unpredictable new situation such as a change of workplace. break-up of a relationship.
Experiencing the death of somebody close.
Financial or work problems.
Experiences during early childhood.
Excessive drug or alcohol use
Physical health problems.
Conditioning for an anxiety disorder doesn’t just deal with immediate symptoms, and can involve psychotherapy, medication or retreat conditioning. It also helps tackle the triggers for symptoms and other contributing factors. You can learn to control anxiety so its effect on your life are reduced or even eliminated. The first step is acknowledgement.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a reaction that can develop in people who have experienced a traumatic event. This event threatened their life, safety, or sanctity or that of others around them. This could be a car or other serious accident, physical or sexual assault, war or torture, or disasters such as bushfires or floods. As a result, the person
experiences feelings of intense fear, helplessness or horror – with little respite when feelings of remission occur (Beyond Blue).
25% of people develop PTSD when exposed to traumatic events.
Traumatic events are not limited to violence or direct trauma. E.g. the death of a loved one can also lead to PTSD. People with PTSD live with a mental condition triggered by memories that dictate their behaviour. Without the proper treatment, sufferers of PTSD experience the effects of a treatable condition, not weakness.
Effects are the intense recollection of specific memories, often linked with certain visual, oral or audible triggers. These triggers might activate intermittently or consistently – interfering with the individual’s ability to carry on with menial tasks, work and relationships.
PTSD is identified by four main symptoms (NHS UK):
Flashbacks of the traumatic event through intrusive memories or nightmares – often leading to physical symptoms such as sweating, heart palpitations or panic attacks.
Feeling emotionally numb or disassociation from events that are unfolding.
Feeling anxious and ‘jumpy’ for no direct reason, with Heightened vigilance correlated with the experience.
Avoiding reminders of the event – whereby the person deliberately avoids actions or objects that might incur a sensory trigger.
Many people experience some of the symptoms of PTSD soon after a traumatic event, but over time recover on their own. Hence, treatment does not usually start until a few weeks after a traumatic experience. However, getting help early can quicken recovery. During recovery, individual’s learn to manage their response in unavoidable situations that previously would have triggered flashbacks. It is a process that involves overcoming one’s fears, like any mental condition, while facing such experiences with anticipation of conditioning.
Addiction can directly cause or result from mental health conditions that incur drug or alcohol addiction. One that is too difficult to control, despite harmful consequences. The initial decision to take drugs can be a direct result of any of the above mental conditions. With repeated drug use, often leading to irreparable physical alterations that challenge an addicted person’s self-control. This can further interfere with their ability to resist intense urges to consume substances.
Alcohol and drug addiction can eventually lead to a drug-induced Phycological illness. Which when combined with a natural predisposition to a psychotic illness, may trigger the first episode in what can be a lifelong mental condition. Using drugs or alcohol as a crutch can also make the symptoms of mental conditions worse and make treatment less effective.
People with a mental health condition experience addiction problems at far higher rates than the general community.
Those with mental conditions are 50% more likely to struggle with a drug or alcohol problem (lifeline).
Whether you, or someone you know is struggling with addiction or coping with relapse, a support system must be established before any permanent damage is incurred. There are a number of ways that you can go about getting help for addiction or substance abuse (Drugabuse.gov):
The person undertakes detoxification processes. Predominantly run at residential centres or in community circles, this treatment requires commitment to program steps.
Sharing experiences and providing support for each other can be a good way of finding ways of dealing with drug use.
First, Information is power. Understanding what causes you to take drugs, as well as the effect they will have on your mind and body, can help you decide what to do about your drug use. Coming to the realisation or knowing whether your alcohol and/or drug use is influencing yourself, or effecting those around you, can be even more difficult if you have a mental condition. It becomes harder to know whether what you are feeling is a result of your mental condition or drug taking.
Below are some thoughts you might have as to whether your drug use may be becoming a problem:
I often feel that I must have alcohol or the drug.
A lot of what I do during the day revolves around substance taking.
I would rather spend money on alcohol or drugs than pretty much anything else.
I need alcohol or drugs to get through a tough situation.
These days I need to use more alcohol or drugs to get the same effect.
I feel guilty about how much I use alcohol or drugs.
People make comments about how much I drink, smoke or use street drugs.
Alcohol and drugs can trigger symptoms and even contribute to causing a mental condition. Conditions can also make it more likely for you to develop an addiction. The combination of alcohol and drug problems and mental conditions a dangerous one. Serious repercussions for yourself or those around you can result from misuse of substances, with dependency often attributed to a mental health imbalance.
Making an informed decision when seeking help for any mental condition, means understanding the different methods of recovery. Varying types of conditioning will vastly improve the path you or a loved one takes. This can mean relapse and recovery for the individual, but also the formation of a goal that remains consistent.
The journey towards this goal can take the shape of numerous treatments and therapies mentioned below.
Designed exclusively to fully immerse the individual, retreat based programs limit distractions while providing holistic support to each guest. For the duration of an individual’s stay – usually two-five weeks – treatment involves a combination of: mental/emotional therapy, physical/flexibility, and relaxation/detoxification.
Conducted by highly trained staff – including support staff and psychologists – retreats focus on both mind and body, to achieve total health. This further encourages lasting positive change.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) approaches, emphasise that an individual’s cognitions play a significant role in the development and maintenance of emotional and behavioural responses to life situations (SAGE). Often used to treat PTSD, CBT models focus on the form of meanings, judgments, appraisals, and assumptions associated with specific life events. This method of treatment assumes cognitive processes are known by oneself. Our thinking determines how we respond to environmental cues, and cognitions can be targeted, modified and changed.
Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
Acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) is an action-oriented approach to psychotherapy. It stems from traditional behaviour therapy and cognitive behavioural therapy. Clients learn to stop avoiding, denying, and struggling with their inner emotions. Instead, they learn to accept that these deeper feelings are appropriate responses to certain situations. And that they should not prevent them from moving forward in their lives. With this understanding, clients begin to accept their issues and hardships and commit to making necessary changes in their behaviour. This is present with however the individual feels during a given situation.
Gestalt therapy is a experiential approach, that helps individuals focus on the present. This help to understand what is currently occurring, rather than what they may perceive to be happening. It claims that current perceptions are reflective of past situations. Clients are encouraged to experience memories, through re-enactment within a safe environment (Psychology Today). Through the gestalt process, clients learn to become more aware of how their own negative thought patterns, and how behaviours are blocking true self-awareness and making them unhappy.
Schema therapy seeks to address enduring maldaptive themes that develop during childhood or early in one’s life. Schemas are deep unconditional beliefs about oneself, one’s relationship to others and one’s relationship to the wider environment (SCMTherapy). Schema Therapy has found to be clinically effective in forensic populations, addictions, eating disorders and other chronic psychiatric conditions. It involves an assessment phase, emotional awareness and experiential phase, and behavioural change stage.
Motivational interviewing is a counselling process that helps people resolve negative feelings and insecurities. It seeks to find the
internal motivation they need to change their behaviour. Motivational Interviewing is a practical, empathetic, and short-term process. The system takes into consideration how difficult it is to make life changes. Often used to address addiction, it prepares individuals to enact the change necessary within other treatments.
Emotionally Focused Therapy (EFT) is a short-term form of therapy that focuses on adult relationships and attachment/bonding. The therapist and clients look at patterns in certain relationships close to the individual. The process then creates a more secure bond – to develop more trust and move each relationship towards a healthier, more positive outcome.
Couples and families in distress are seeking to improve their relationships. Often, individuals are dealing with anger, fear, loss of trust, or sense of betrayal in their relationship. With the development of sensorimotor psychotherapy, a client is able to examine how past traumatic experiences are affecting them physically. This form of trauma treatment addresses physical symptoms, especially those of a dissociative nature such as bodily anaesthesia or impaired motor Functions. This can cause difficulties in emotion regulation, cognitions, and daily functioning. Sensorimotor psychotherapy includes; stabilisation and symptom reduction, working with traumatic memory, and re-integration.
Arts and Creative Therapies
Art therapy involves the use of creative techniques such as drawing, painting, collage, colouring, or sculpting to help people express themselves artistically and examine the psychological and emotional undertones in their art. With the guidance of a specialised therapist, clients can analyse the nonverbal messages and metaphors found in their art. This can lead to a better understanding of their feelings and mental health, helping identify and resolve deeper issues.
The Palladium Private Program has been specifically designed for those who are suffering from depression, anxiety, PTSD and/or alcohol and drug dependency. Our commitment to care means that we actively pursue long term permanent changes with all guests. This is present through all of the aforementioned treatments – as customised daily programs promote sustained wellbeing. From initial support through to aftercare services, our experience in holistic health assists to make individual’s new thinking patterns permanent.
Qualified psychologist sessions continue via phone for up to 3 months after you have left the residential part of your program. These go over what you have learnt and make sure you are applying it for maximum effect once you return home. This solidifies your mental health and thinking patterns to supports them. All whilst they become a permanent neural network in the brain so that you become more and more competent dealing with stress and emotion.
Verdant forests sweep tranquil mountain settings that surround our Sunshine Coast Hinterland. Cozy accommodation and supportive staff, further complete our luxurious retreat. Helping to regain guest’s inner strength, while letting go of negative energy.
While no one knows what it’s like to be you, each individual’s stay is uniquely tailored to their needs. Immersed in a tranquil, inclusive environment, you’ll be provided the basics to rebuild a healthy form of confidence and fulfilment.
Learn more below about how you or a loved one can start your recovery journey today.
December 10th, 2018 by Rebecca Feldman
Mindfulness is a word we hear quite often these days and although it is a relatively new concept for many, like meditation, it has actually been around for a very long time. So let’s take a moment to look at what mindfulness is, what it isn’t and what it can bring to the table from a mental health perspective.
What this guide covers
- What does it mean to be mindful?
- The difference between mindfulness and meditation
- The benefits of mindfulness
- Ways to practise it everyday
- How mindfulness can help with anxiety & depression
What does it mean to be mindful?
Mindfulness is the practice of being in the present moment. Rather than dwelling on the past or worrying about the future, it is a state of awareness of one’s current sensations, thoughts, bodily state and environment, experienced in a totally objective and non-judgmental way.
Learning to be mindful involves learning to transport yourself into this state where you step back from your normal emotional reactions to things and see life more objectively, without getting swept up in the feelings.
To attain a state of mindfulness, you need to practice on a daily basis, sitting in a quiet place and focusing on your breathing and the sounds and sensations around you. Over time, you will learn to tune out the constant chatter of your thoughts and be aware only of the present.
Mindfulness vs meditation
All this might sound a bit like meditation and in fact that’s what it is. Mindfulness can be practiced both informally and formally. Informally, it’s a general awareness of the world and formally, it’s a type of meditation known as mindfulness meditation. Which is one of the most popular forms of meditation.
The goal of becoming truly mindful is to learn to be able to exist in the present naturally, without needing a formal meditation exercise, to the extent that you’re so aware of the now that when confronted by life’s challenges, you’re able to take a step back and react objectively rather than emotionally.
Benefits of mindfulness
So what is the point of all this mindfulness you may ask? What use is it in our everyday lives? According to those who practise it, mindfulness has a range of benefits including;
- Body awareness – by knowing your internal emotional state, you are better able to regulate your own emotions.
- Focus – mindfulness improves your ability to focus on a task without being distracted by your thoughts.
- Self-perception – mindfulness increases self-knowledge, which in turn increases self-esteem and self-acceptance.
- Physical wellbeing – mindfulness meditation has been shown to have health benefits such as reduced blood pressure and cortisol (stress hormone) levels.
Mindfulness is also believed to have other benefits such as improving memory, stress management, satisfaction with relationships and quality of life.
Ways to practise being mindful everyday
A mindful person focuses on the present moment and sees things as they are, rather than influenced by past experiences or future fears. Some simple ways to encourage mindfulness into your everyday life can include;
- Observation – focus on a natural object in your environment and explore every aspect of it visually, as if you are seeing it for the first time.
- Listening – listen to a song objectively, without any preconceptions (i.e. regardless of whether you like it or not).
- Awareness – stop and consider a daily task you are performing to attain a greater appreciation of the intricacies that go into making it happen.
- Immersion – rather than labouring at a chore just to get it over with, fully immerse yourself in the process and experience it like never before.
There are also more formal ways to practise mindfulness such as those espoused in tai chi, yoga and zen and the best way is to experiment with various formal and informal activities until you find your own way to be fully in the moment.
Can mindfulness help with anxiety and depression?
People who suffer from anxiety and depression are exposed to a lot of negative thoughts, feelings and beliefs about themselves. Teaching them to think in the moment is believed by many professionals to be a way of helping them to recognise what it is happening to them and to use that awareness to engage in a different way.
Mindfulness allows for more adaptive reactions to challenging situations and a lot of research has been done into whether it can help to reduce anxiety and depression.
And the results are very promising. Mindfulness is now starting to be used in the treatment of some mental illnesses and institutions such as the Oxford Mindfulness Centre are currently researching the efficacy of mindfulness as a therapy for depression.
Other examples of the increasing interest in the powers of mindfulness include the work of Harvard researchers who are using scans to determine whether mindfulness can change the brains of those with depression and the growing use of Mindfulness-Based Cognitive Therapy (MBCT) as a therapeutic tool; a program which was developed over a decade ago to treat people with histories of depression.
If you suffer from anxiety or depression and are exploring the potential benefits of mindfulness on the advice of your therapist, a peaceful retreat may be just what you need.
Palladium Private is a private mental health provider that tailors their programs to facilitate each client’s rehabilitation process. To find out more about how Palladium Private compares with other services and what a mental health retreat can do for you, click here.
December 3rd, 2018 by Rebecca Feldman
According to Beyond Blue, 1 in 3 Australians, or up to 40% of the population will experience a panic attack at some time in their life. This is an anxiety condition involving feelings of stress or fear triggered by being in a particular situation.
Different people will experience a panic attack differently and the level of severity also ranges from feeling like you are experiencing a mild breakdown to being convinced that you are about to die.
In this guide we will look more closely at what it feels like to have a panic attack, the possible symptoms you are likely to experience and steps you can take if you are having panic attacks and don’t know what to do about them.
What does a panic attack feel like?
Ask most people who have panic attacks or have had them in the past and they will tell you that one of the main fears a panic attack engenders is the fear of losing control. Your brain convinces you that you are losing control of your mind and/or body and something bad is about to happen which you can do absolutely nothing about.
This can create an overwhelming sense of panic in which your heart starts racing and you begin to experience symptoms such as nausea, chest pain, sweating and shortness of breath.
You can’t understand why this is happening to you and this increases your sense of anxiety even more and with your thoughts rushing at you like freight trains, you begin to feel like you are losing your sense of reality and identity.
There is nothing you can do, resistance is useless, you are completely trapped and the end is coming; these kind of thoughts assail you one after another until you are helpless, paralysed and completely terrified.
Fortunately, although it seems like an eternity for the sufferer, all this happens in just a short period of time and after a few minutes your brain and body begin to calm down through sheer mental and physical exhaustion.
What are the symptoms?
Although everyone’s reactions can be different, if you experience at least four of the following symptoms during your episode, you are likely to have experienced a panic attack;
- Shortness of breath
- A choking sensation
- Chest pain
- Hot or cold sensations
- Numbness or tingling
- Heart palpitations
- Feeling detached from yourself
- Fear of losing your mind
- Fear of dying
The thing about a panic attack is that you don’t experience these feelings in isolation, but are overwhelmed by them all at once, which is what makes the experience so terrifying.
What causes panic attacks?
It is believed that panic attacks are derived from the brain’s natural ‘fight or flight’ response to danger; a primitive survival mechanism left over from when our ancestors needed to be able to respond quickly in life-threatening situations such as being eaten by sabre-toothed tigers.
Today, family history, biological factors and past trauma or ongoing stress can also be contributing factors and if you are experiencing panic attacks regularly, it could mean you have an anxiety condition.
Panic attacks can also perpetuate further anxiety if the sufferer begins avoiding situations where attacks have occurred. They become trapped in what is known as a ‘panic loop’ where fear of having another attack creates a form of anxiety of its own.
What to do if you’re having panic attacks
Things you can do yourself to lessen the impact of your panic attacks on your life include adopting calming habits such as breathing techniques and yoga and meditation exercises to help relax your body and mind.
Reaching out to friends and family is also a good idea, especially when you feel like a panic attack might be imminent, as they can help to calm you when you need it most and can provide an objective viewpoint to help you keep things in perspective.
Because panic attacks are about fear of losing control, one of the most effective things you can do if you feel an attack coming on is to actually surrender to the experience. If you stop fighting it, then you’re no longer adding to the anxiety that feeds the attack and it may dissipate more quickly than would otherwise be the case.
And if you feel that taking some time out in a peaceful environment may be part of the solution to your problem, Palladium Private is a private health retreat that tailors programs to their clients’ needs in order to facilitate their rehabilitation process. To find out more about how Palladium Private compares to other services and what a health retreat can do for you, click here.
November 26th, 2018 by Rebecca Feldman
It’s no exaggeration to say that many of us have become dependent on technology. These days, most of us have a smartphone, which travels everywhere with us and without which we feel frantic and vulnerable.
And our screen fixation doesn’t end there. At the office, many of us stare at a PC or laptop all day, then stream videos on our tablets on the train ride home, view several hours of tv in the evening and end the day by checking in with our social media before going to sleep.
But while technology is a wonderful thing, providing instant information and communication, all this screen time can have a downside as well. So we thought we’d take a look at the potential problems associated with too much technology and how taking a break from our screens can benefit our mental wellbeing.
What this guide covers
- The extent of the problem – the amount of time Australians are spending staring at their screens.
- Impact on mental wellbeing – what effect this may be having on our mental state.
- Benefits of taking a break – how less screen time can help get us back on track.
- How to have a break from technology – tips on how to reduce our daily technology consumption.
Time Australians spend on their screens
According to the latest Australian Video Viewing Report by Regional TAM, OzTAM and Nielsen, the average Australian home contains 6.6 screens including TVs, tablets and smartphones.
And a recent ‘Screen Time’ report by Lonergan Research found that Australians spend more time watching these electronic devices than we do eating, commuting, working and exercising combined.
The report also found that over three quarters of millennials surveyed were concerned about their wellbeing from spending too much time on their screens, citing sore eyes, lack of sleep and feeling unproductive.
And this is backed up by findings in Deloitte’s annual Mobile Consumer Survey report, which reveals that 44% of Australians think their smartphone use is a problem and are trying to reduce their screen time.
Impact on mental wellbeing
‘Nomophobia: fear of being without access to a working cell phone.’ (Merriam-Webster)
So what are the problems associated with overuse of technology? According to a number of studies, too much screen time can lead to;
- The inability to process emotion and to feel deeply, due to the emotional anaesthesia our technology produces.
- The inability to think creatively because the glut of data we consume leads to us filtering rather than retaining or analysing information.
- The exacerbation of anxiety and depression from too much screen time instead of participating in positive activities such as exercising and socialising.
- Lack of sleep due to exposure to blue light (which suppresses the release of sleep-inducing melatonin), leading to an increase in feelings of worry and stress.
Benefits of a digital detox
A digital detox is a break from technology, which can mean going cold turkey or simply reducing the amount of screen time we’re exposed to in our daily lives. The benefits of doing so can include;
- Less stress and more time to stop and smell the roses.
- Greater creativity and ‘mindfulness’ due to less time being spent on trivial distractions.
- Healthier relationships from actually talking to friends and loved ones face to face.
- Improved physical health by unplugging, getting up and getting moving.
- Improved sleep due to less blue light exposure and more melatonin exposure.
- Less anxiety when FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) is no longer an issue.
How to take a break from technology
So, presuming there is a case for taking a break from technology, the question then becomes what is the best way to go about it? If you don’t think you can handle giving up your devices altogether for any length of time, there are a number of smaller sacrifices you can make that will reduce your screen time without causing you to have withdrawals. These might include;
- Only answer work calls and emails during working hours.
- Send your calls to voicemail and only check them at certain intervals throughout the day.
- Delete redundant apps and unsubscribe from all but essential blogs and mailing lists.
- Limit the time you spend on distractions such as social media and gaming to once a day.
- Ban devices such as phones and tablets from certain areas of your home such as the bedroom and the dinner table.
- Try reading a good old fashioned book for a change instead of your Kindle.
- If you can’t bear to be without your smartphone, try putting it in Aeroplane Mode for a while.
- Do an activity where you can’t have your phone with you such as swimming, an exercise class or going to the cinema.
Being able to spend time away from the screen will help to improve your mental wellbeing and put you in touch with the real world again. And if you’re serious about disconnecting from your phone and connecting with yourself, you might like to consider a retreat with Palladium Private. Whether you’ve been suffering from anxiety, depression, dependency or trauma, our health retreat programs can provide you with a new lease on life.
Music is a powerful tool. It can help boost your mood as well as mend a broken heart. For centuries, music has played an important role when it comes to our ability to cope through life’s greatest highs and lows. It’s only been in recent years that research has suggested music can help combat depression and anxiety, along with a host of other mental health issues. Music therapy is one technique administered by health care professionals to help support people as they strive to improve and gain control over their mental health, functioning, and well-being.
What is music therapy?
Music therapy is a clinical and research-based practice in which music is used to enhance a person’s overall mood and well-being. Music therapists are trained to incorporate a range of music-making methods as they support and work with their clients to achieve good mental health. Music therapy is a creative and holistic approach to healing, as well as the development of constructive and positive coping strategies. It has proven to play a big role in helping patients recover from negative events and experiences as well as those suffering post-traumatic stress syndrome (PTSD).
When to use music to help
Music is said to enhance intelligence and focus, improve mental health, and boost the immune system as well as self-esteem and confidence. It can be used to relax, to boost and lift our mood, or to improve concentration. Music can also be used to aid in insomnia, helping to encourage and induce a deeper sleep. Many people have expressed how music is a form of ‘escape’, and can quickly and effectively transport them to a better time, place, or memory. Here are six benefits that music therapy can have on your mental health:
- Improve focus on work or study: There have been numerous studies proving that listening to classical music helps the mind to focus. Music with a tempo of 60 bpm (beats per minute) increases the brain’s ability to process information. There have also been studies suggesting that EDM (electronic dance music) helps sharpen focus while studying.
- As a form of expression: Music is a wonderful way of expressing emotion and creativity without having to say anything. Whether it’s playing a playlist of your favourite songs with friends or strumming your guitar, music is the perfect non-verbal way of expressing emotions that are too complex to talk about.
- To lift the mood: Playing uplifting songs has a profound effect on the brain, stimulating it to increase feel-good hormones which boost our mood.
- To boost confidence: Subliminal and ambient music such as binaural beat music is proven to assist in anxiety and low-confidence. Using alpha waves from 8-14 Hz help the mind get into a more sharpened and confident state of mind. Listening to binaural beat and isochronic tone music is ideal when you’re feeling nervous or fearful. It is believed that the brain syncs to the new frequency introduced by the binaural beat, altering your ‘brain state’ to a more happy, confident sense of being.
- To relax: Meditative music has a cathartic effect on us, improving our mood and inducing relaxation of both the body and mind. Research has shown the calming sounds of piano, nature, and string-instruments are very effective in helping you to relax.
- To express anger or negative emotion: Music is an incredible vehicle to help us process negative emotion. Listening to ‘angry’ music can be therapeutic when we’re dealing with stress and anger.
Types of music therapy
There are different types of music therapy to utilise, depending on specific cases and treatment strategies. Anyone can benefit from music therapy, including those suffering from depression, anxiety, substance abuse, autism, neurological diseases, personality disorders, insomnia, and dementia. Because music evokes positive emotions and stimulates reward centres in the brain, music therapy is used to alleviate patients through:
- Singing or chanting
- Playing musical instruments
- Dancing to music
- Relaxing and meditating to music
Music therapists have numerous techniques to help patients heal. Music therapy can be administered individually, or in group therapy sessions which also help to create a sense of community between clients, forming connections and a supportive hub encouraging self-expression and exploration.
A lifeline to better health
Palladium Private is a private mental health provider that tailors programs to their clients in order to facilitate their rehabilitation process. To find out how Palladium Private helps you through your complete rehabilitation process, call 1300 573 095 or click here.