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beat the holiday blues

Tis the season to be jolly, unless you’re just not feeling it. Many people experience the holiday blues instead of holiday joy this time of year. If you are one of them, you can learn some ways to beat the holiday blues and form a few new traditions in your sobriety.

What are Holiday Blues?

While others are singing, baking, and wrapping presents, you may just want to sleep and wait for the holidays to be over. You feel sad instead of glad. Your sadness may be related to stress, financial strain, fatigue, not being able to be with your family, or unrealistic expectations. When you have the holiday blues, you may experience headaches, overeating, insomnia, and the desire to use drugs or alcohol.

The COVID Effect

This year, especially, you may be upset about not being able to be with your family or anxious about your financial situation. When you are experiencing this type of stress, your holiday blues can get worse. The uncertainty, isolation, and loss of your normal routine and traditions can have a major effect on your mood during the holidays.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created a change of plans for many people. Young adults, especially, who have recently moved out on their own are facing a holiday season without family gatherings. For people who are feeling the loss of normalcy, the holiday blues can plunge them into depression as they feel additional stress on top of an anxiety-filled year.

Staying Healthy

One way to beat the holiday blues is to take care of yourself. This year, the need to stay safe and healthy is even more important. Being away from friends and family members during the holiday can make your blues worse but know that it’s okay to stay home and remain appropriately distanced. Most people across the country are doing the same.

You need to do what’s best for you, including eating healthier foods and getting enough sleep. Try to stay active and take care of your physical health to lessen your fatigue, anxiety, and sadness.

Steps to Beat the Blues

Taking steps to address your fear and stress is particularly important. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) recommends that you should:

  • Be realistic. Realize that you can’t please everyone during the holidays, including finding just the right presents.
  • Stop worrying about how things should be. Don’t compare yourself to others that you might see with perfectly decorated homes or that seem to have perfect families.
  • Focus on your own mental and physical well-being. Even though it is the season of giving, you still need to take care of yourself. Give yourself some downtime, away from the stress of the holidays and the coronavirus. Spend time meditating, doing yoga, or getting some exercise.
  • Give your traditions some extra thought. One of the reasons you may have the holiday blues is because of unrealistic expectations. Think about the things you believe you have to do. Make a list of reasons why you engage in holiday traditions as well as a list of reasons why you shouldn’t. Remember that you have a choice in how you choose to celebrate the holidays.

New Traditions

Making new traditions in your sobriety can help you beat the holiday blues. For example, you can spend some time volunteering to help others. Volunteering can help you feel better about yourself, particularly when you are giving of your time to help those who are not as fortunate as you. Help out at a food bank or volunteer to help distribute gifts to children.

Going outside, getting some fresh air, and exercising can help your mental and your physical health by boosting your mood and lowering your stress. Go for a walk, find a scenic trail for a hike, or ride your bicycle on a new path as part of your new holiday tradition.

Gather with your friends and family virtually. Alternate plans for seeing those close to you could become part of your new traditions. If you have elderly family members who are also alone during the holidays, a Zoom call will be a great way to stay in touch while keeping everyone safe.

Find Help at South Miami Recovery for Help

When you need help for mental health or substance use issues, the professional team at South Miami Recovery offers evidence-based therapies for your recovery. We know that your well-being is of the utmost importance during the COVID-19 pandemic. South Miami Recovery offers HIPAA-compliant telehealth services so you can get the treatment you need now. Contact us today for help. Call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055.

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Florida DUI facts

December has been designated as National Drunk & Drugged Driving Prevention Month, or as it has become known more recently, National Impaired Driving Prevention Month. This time of year is typically filled with holiday parties. Although there should be fewer parties this year, alcohol sales have increased during COVID-19 so driving under the influence (DUI) continues to be a major concern. That makes it all the more important to understand Florida DUI facts and to take steps to avoid impaired driving.

What is Impaired Driving?

Driving under the influence means that you are impaired because of drug or alcohol use. Even though DUIs are typically associated with drunk driving, impaired driving can also be the result of drugs, either prescription or illegal. In fact, in Miami/Dade County in 2019, drugs other than alcohol were involved in about 18% of motor vehicle driver deaths. These other drugs were often used in combination with alcohol.

National Drunk & Drugged Driving Prevention Month has been designated as a time to raise awareness of the consequences of driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, whether those consequences involve fines, jail time, injury, or even death. Although the numbers have been declining somewhat, in 2019 over 28 million people in the US, 11.2 percent of all residents ages 16 and up, drove under the influence of alcohol or illicit substances at least once.

Florida DUI Facts

More than 10,000 people in the United States die each year in crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. In the state of Florida, 7,573 people were killed in crashes involving an impaired driver from 2009-2018.

In 2018, a study was conducted that found that 2% of adults in Florida reported driving after drinking too much in the past thirty days. In 2019, 60.8 arrests for DUI were made for every 100,000 people in the Miami/Dade County area. Nationally, that number was 1.7%. There was a total of 32,177 DUI arrests in Florida reported in 2018. Of these arrests, 69 were juveniles and 32,108 were adults.

DUI Offenses in Florida

Beyond the dangers of impaired driving that include property damage, serious injury, and death, when you are arrested for a DUI in Florida you will face additional serious consequences. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) states that under Florida law, Driving Under the Influence (DUI) of alcoholic beverages, chemical substances, or controlled substances is one offense, proved by impairment of normal faculties or an unlawful blood alcohol or breath alcohol level of .08 or above.

Even if a DUI arrest and conviction is your first, you can be subject to fines of not less than $500 and no more than $1,000. If your blood/breath alcohol level (BAL) is .15 or higher, if there was a minor in the vehicle with you, that fine increases to not less than $1,000 and not more than $2,000. In addition, you could face imprisonment for not more than six months, unless your BAL is .15 or higher or if there was a minor with you, in which case the term could increase to not more than nine months.

Ignition interlocks are required for convicted repeat offenders and first-time convicted offenders with particularly high BALs. Florida is one of 14 states, including Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Washington, Wisconsin, and Wyoming, that have 24/7 sobriety monitoring programs or pilot programs at the state or county level for repeat offenders.

A Persistent Public Health Issue

Driving while impaired continues to be a complex and persistent issue, for traffic safety as well as for public health. According to the CDC, in 2018, 12 million people in the US, or 4.7% of the population age 16 years and older, reported driving under the influence of marijuana during the past 12 months, and 2.3 million, or 0.9%, reported driving under the influence of illicit drugs other than marijuana during that time. In 2019, over 5% of high school students who drive reported they had driven after drinking alcohol.

This December, it is particularly important to be aware of these Florida DUI facts and to take the time to understand more about the effects of impaired driving. The latest data shows that alcohol sales during the pandemic have increased. If you are turning to drugs or alcohol to deal with the stresses of COVID-19 or any other issues in your life, know that help is available.

Contact South Miami Recovery for Help Now

Driving while impaired is dangerous and can even be deadly. During National Drunk & Drugged Driving Prevention Month, and throughout the year, you can turn to the professionals at South Miami Recovery for help overcoming your addiction to drugs or alcohol. You deserve to enjoy true freedom from active substance dependency, so you can live a safer and healthier life.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, we want you to stay safe and healthy, so we offer HIPAA-compliant telehealth services to help you get the treatment you need now. To learn more and to sign up for telehealth substance abuse services, contact us today. Call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055.

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COVID will change the holidays

2020 has brought change to many of our normal routines. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected much of our everyday lives as we are staying home more, keeping our distances from others, and struggling with a number of new challenges. When you have a better idea of what to expect this Thanksgiving and how COVID will change the holidays, you will be better able to cope and may even find some new ways to celebrate the season.

Reconsider Family Gatherings

The CDC explains that as the COVID-19 epidemic is worsening, small household gatherings are an important contributor to the rise in COVID-19 cases. The organization recommends celebrating virtually with members of your family or friends who do not live in your home. In-person gatherings that bring together family members or friends from different households, including college students returning home, pose varying levels of risk.

To participate in or host lower risks activities for Thanksgiving you can:

  • Host a virtual dinner and share recipes with your friends and family via a video chat
  • Enjoy a small dinner with the people who live with you
  • Prepare a special dinner with traditional family recipes for family and neighbors, especially people who are at higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19, and deliver them in a safe, appropriately distanced manner
  • Watch football games, parades, and movies from the safety of your home
  • Do your holiday shopping online instead of in person, as you might traditionally do on the day after Thanksgiving or the following Monday.

Coping with Your Feelings

When thinking about how COVID will change the holidays, you may wonder how you will be able to cope with these new challenges. You have already experienced more isolation this year due to the pandemic. Mental Health America (MHA) suggests that figuring out your emotions about the upcoming holidays can make things feel less overwhelming. Most people are feeling a lot of different ways at once right now, which is hard for our brains to process and understand.

This year has been a difficult year for many reasons. Some of your distress is likely related to things other than the holidays. It is completely normal for you to be feeling a bit more emotional than usual right now. Take some time to sort through your emotions in whatever way is most productive for you – you can journal, talk to a friend, or just spend some quiet time alone thinking. Once you have a better idea of the specific feelings you’re experiencing, you can start making plans to cope with them.

Acknowledge What You Feel You’ve Lost

While the holidays are mainly about thankfulness and celebration, this can also be a really hard time of year, even during normal circumstances. If you’re missing a loved one, think of ways to honor them during your festivities. If you’ve lost a job or had to drop out of school, take the time to recognize the challenges that came with that. Even if you haven’t lost anything concrete, we’ve all lost our sense of normalcy this year – it’s okay to grieve that during this time.

Continue to be Grateful

It may seem more difficult than usual to express gratitude at Thanksgiving and throughout the holiday season, given the challenges you may have experienced this year and knowing how COVID will change the holidays for you and your family. There is still plenty to be thankful for, though. Make a conscious effort to regularly identify some things that you’re grateful for. It can be something as broad as your health, or something as specific as your favorite song playing on the radio the last time you got in the car.

Start New Traditions

Change is hard, but it isn’t always bad. There are still ways to celebrate the season with your loved ones, even if you must give up some of your favorite traditions. Find creative ways to adapt. Or start new traditions – they may even add more meaning to your holiday season.

Help for Your Mental Health and Addiction During COVID-19

The holidays will be different this year. The professionals at South Miami Recovery are here to help you learn coping skills and to help you get started toward your recovery. We realize that your well-being is of the utmost importance during the COVID-19 pandemic. South Miami Recovery offers HIPAA-compliant telehealth services so you can get the treatment you need now. Contact us today for help. Call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055.

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support a loved one in addiction recovery

You are understandably worried about your loved one’s health and well-being. When your family member has a substance use disorder, you may be even more concerned about how to help them. Family involvement is important as is an understanding of how to support a loved one in addiction recovery.

Expect Challenges

When your loved one is struggling, it is natural for you to be very concerned and to want to help as much as possible. However, understand that there is a fine line between being helpful and enabling your loved one. When you enable someone, you may believe that you are protecting them but you may actually end up supporting their negative behavior.

It can be difficult to help a person you care about who has an addiction. Your family member may not agree that they have a problem or may not want to change what they are doing. They may also be engaging in addiction as a way to avoid dealing with another problem in their life.

There is no easy or quick way to help a person with an addiction. Overcoming addiction requires great willpower and determination. If your loved one does not want to change their behavior, trying to persuade them to get help is unlikely to work. What you can do is take steps to help your loved one make changes in the long term. It’s also important that you get the support you need to cope with a loved one who has an addiction.

Family involvement in the addiction recovery process for your loved one means that you should focus on helping, not on threatening, criticizing, or expecting immediate change. Instead, respect your loved one’s privacy, be honest with them, and focus on building trust.

Trust is Key

When you talk to your loved one about their addiction, keep in mind some key points around building and maintaining your trust level.

  • Different perspectives. While you may only want to help your loved one, they might think you are trying to control them. These feelings can lead a person with addiction to engage in their addiction even more.
  • Stress can make things worse. Your loved one likely uses their addictive behavior (at least partly) as a way to control stress. If the atmosphere between the two of you is stressful, they will want to do the addictive behavior more, not less.
  • Trust goes both ways. Building trust is a two-way process. Trust is not established when you continue to put up with unwanted behavior.
  • Understand the role of consequences. People with addiction rarely change until the addictive behavior begins to have consequences. While you might want to protect your loved one, resist the urge to try to protect someone with addiction from the consequences of their own actions.

The exception to allowing for consequences is if your loved one is doing something that could be harmful to themselves or others—for example, drinking and driving.

Family Involvement is Complex

When you want to support a loved one in addiction recovery, your family will play a complex role. You can be a source of help to the treatment process, but you also must manage the consequences of your family member’s addictive behavior. Individual family members will be concerned about your loved one’s substance abuse, but you also have your own goals and issues.

Your family members may have a stronger desire to move toward overall improved functioning in the family system, which will help compel your loved one to seek and/or remain in treatment, even through periods of ambivalence about achieving a sober lifestyle. However, your loved one must also clarify boundaries between dysfunctional family members, including possibly detaching from family members who are actively using, which can actually alleviate stress on your loved one and create emotional space to focus on their addiction recovery.

Family Involved Therapy

Family‐involved therapy attempts to educate families about the relationship patterns that typically contribute to the formation and continuation of substance abuse. A family educational approach includes psychoeducation to teach the family about substance abuse, related behaviors, and the behavioral, medical, and psychological consequences of use.

Take Care of Yourself

One of the most important ways to support a loved one in addiction recovery is to understand what they are going through in their addiction. Educate yourself about addiction and alcoholism, particularly as it relates to the family as a whole. The more you know about the dynamics of a family affected by addiction, the more you will be able to offer your family member understanding, encouragement, and support.

You can also get help for yourself by participating in mutual support groups such as Al-Anon or Nar-Anon. Many family members of people with substance use disorders have found that joining an Al-Anon Family Group can be a positive, life-changing experience.

You and Your Loved One Can Find Help at South Miami Recovery

Addiction affects the entire family. At South Miami Recovery, we provide help for you and your loved one for a successful recovery. Our family therapy approach decreases your loved one’s chance of relapse and can help promote their long-term recovery. We offer HIPAA-compliant telehealth services during COVID-19 so you and your loved one can get the help you need now. To learn more, contact us today. Call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055.

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fight the stigma around mental illness

The week of October 4-10 is Mental Illness Awareness Week. Although it is critical to understand the signs and symptoms, as well as the options for help, throughout the year, we take this week to truly emphasize the need to fight the stigma around mental illness.

Advocates Working Together

The theme of Mental Illness Awareness Week in 2020 is “What People with Mental Illness Want You to Know.” There are many things to know about mental illness that will help fight the stigma of the condition. Primarily, it is important to understand that mental illness affects everyone, either directly or indirectly, through family, friends, or co-workers. Stigma around mental illness is just as widespread.

Each year, during the first week of October, the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), along with other participants, work together to educate the public and provide support. Since 1990, when Congress first officially established Mental Illness Awareness Week, advocates have worked together to sponsor activities, large or small, to educate the public about mental illness.

You Are Not Alone

NAMI’s year-long awareness campaign is focused on the theme “You Are Not Alone.” The statistics reinforce their theme:

  • 19.1% of US adults experienced mental illness in 2018 (47.6 million people). This represents 1 in 5 adults.
  • 4.6% of US adults experienced serious mental illness in 2018 (11.4 million people). This represents 1 in 25 adults.
  • 16.5% of US youth aged 6-17 experienced a mental health disorder in 2016 (7.7 million people).
  • 3.7% of US adults experienced a co-occurring substance use disorder and mental illness in 2018 (9.2 million people).

The Effects of Mental Illness

Mental illness can affect many aspects of a person’s life. People with depression have a 40% higher risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases than the general population. People with serious mental illness are nearly twice as likely to develop these conditions. In addition, 19.3% of U.S. adults with mental illness also experienced a substance use disorder in 2018 (9.2 million individuals).

When making the effort to fight the stigma around mental illness, it’s also very important to understand that it’s okay to talk about suicide.

  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among people aged 10-34 in the U.S.
  • Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the U.S.
  • The overall suicide rate in the U.S. has increased by 31% since 2001
  • 46% of people who die by suicide had a diagnosed mental health condition
  • 90% of people who die by suicide had shown symptoms of a mental health condition, according to interviews with family, friends and medical professionals.

How to Fight the Stigma

A number of strategies undertaken during Mental Illness Awareness Week and throughout the year can aid in fighting the stigma surrounding mental illness. The first is to become more fully educated about the topic. Take steps to learn more about mental illness, about the shame many people feel that keeps them from seeking help, and about ways they can access helpful mental health programs.

Another step is talk about it, bring it out in the open. Part of the stigma results from people who think they have to hide it or not bring it up in conversation. This only adds to the unnecessary shame and embarrassment of admitting they have a problem and that they want to seek help for it.

Mention it in conversation. Instead of saying “I had a bad day yesterday,” go with “I was having some depressed or anxious feelings yesterday.” This may be a much harder conversation to have, but it is an honest one that opens the doors for others who are struggling to relate.

As part of the conversation, ask questions. Don’t assume a close friend staying home from work is because of the flu but try not to pry. It’s a fine line, but those who struggle with their mental health will more often than not appreciate the occasional “How are you really doing?” from someone they care about. Even if they’re ok, you just made it known you’re someone that is safe to come to with this kind of thing.

Bring Mental Illness Out into the Light

Stigma thrives on secrecy and darkness. No one should be ashamed of a mental health condition. When we bring stories of struggles with mental illness out into the light, the stigma weakens and eventually dissipates. When people with mental health conditions share their struggles and their experiences of emotional suffering, others will understand it better.

The most important way to fight the stigma around mental illness is to stop perpetuating it. Insulting someone by saying they’re “crazy” or “nuts” actually, although inadvertently, perpetuates the stigma. Likewise, so does judging someone who has been in therapy or who is seeking help for a mental health condition. The decision to pursue treatment is a positive step and should be encouraged and supported.

South Miami Recovery is Here to Help

At South Miami Recovery, we understand that mental illness and substance abuse can have a complicated relationship. Our professional staff includes licensed mental health professionals and certified substance abuse therapists. We offer HIPAA-compliant telehealth services as well as safe outpatient services during COVID-19 so you can get the help you need. To learn more, contact us today. Call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055.

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help for parents of addicted children

When your child has a substance use disorder, you naturally have concerns about their well-being as well as your own. Addiction affects the entire family. It doesn’t matter if your child is a teenager or a grown adult, as a parent you still worry. There is help for parents of addicted children, including guidance on talking to your kids and support groups for you and your family.

Kids and Alcohol

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), about 10 percent of 12-year-olds say they have tried alcohol, but by age 15, that number jumps to 50 percent. Additionally, by the time they are seniors, almost 70 percent of high school students will have tried alcohol, half will have taken an illegal drug, and more than 20 percent will have used a prescription drug for a nonmedical purpose. The sooner you talk to your children about alcohol and other drugs, the greater chance you have of influencing their decisions about drinking and substance use.

Watch for Warning Signs

Your child may be addicted to drugs or alcohol if he or she exhibits several of these signs at the same time, if they occur suddenly, or if some are extreme in nature.

  • Mood changes: flare-ups of temper, irritability, and defensiveness
  • School problems: poor attendance, low grades, and/or recent disciplinary action
  • Rebellion against family rules
  • Friend changes: switching friends and a reluctance to let you get to know the new friends
  • A “nothing matters” attitude: sloppy appearance, a lack of involvement in former interests, and general low energy
  • Alcohol presence: finding it in your child’s room or backpack or smelling alcohol on his or her breath
  • Physical or mental problems: memory lapses, poor concentration, bloodshot eyes, lack of coordination, or slurred speech.

Find Help, Not Blame

SAMSHA also advises parents that it can be difficult to believe that your child could be caught up in alcohol use and in need of professional help. Do not feel bad if you did not see the warning signs until your child was in trouble or until someone told you about the problem. When most parents find out about their child’s drinking, they feel shocked and stunned and wonder where they went wrong.

In getting help for a child who drinks, the first thing to do is to try not to blame yourself or your child. The important thing is to act now to find the best available services to help your child stop using alcohol and begin building an alcohol-free future.

Support for Parents and Families

Support groups for those addicted to drugs or alcohol offer a safe place to share and to find encouragement. Parents of addicted children also have support groups available to them that provide a safe place for them to get additional help. Support groups for parents and families include Al-Anon, Nar-Anon, and Families Anonymous.

Families Anonymous is a 12 Step fellowship for the families and friends who have known a feeling of desperation concerning the destructive behavior of someone very near to them, whether caused by drugs, alcohol, or related behavioral problems. As the parent of an addicted child, you are encouraged to attend such a meeting, even if you only have a suspicion of there might be a problem with drugs or alcohol.

The Nar-Anon Family Group offers fellowship for those affected by someone else’s addiction. As a Twelve-Step Program, they offer help by sharing experiences, strength, and hope. The only requirement for membership is that there be a problem of addiction in a relative or friend. Their program of recovery is adapted from NA and uses their Twelve Steps, Twelve Traditions, and Twelve Concepts.

A support group like Al-Anon can help you learn how to cope with the challenges of your child’s drinking. Al‑Anon members come to understand problem drinking as a family illness that affects everyone in the family. By listening to Al‑Anon members speak at Al‑Anon meetings, you can hear how they came to understand their own role in this family illness. In fact, research shows that when problem drinkers enter a recovery program, their chances for success are improved when they are supported by family members who are in a family recovery program such as Al‑Anon.

You Can Find Help at South Miami Recovery

At South Miami Recovery, we support parents of addicted children as well as the individuals who are addicted to drugs or alcohol. Through our family therapy program, we guide the family unit throughout the recovery process. We offer HIPAA-compliant telehealth services during COVID-19 so you and your loved one can get the help you need now. To learn more, contact us today. Call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055.

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focus on your well being during the pandemic

You are not alone in feeling stressed and uncertain as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. These are challenging times and your emotions are understandable. There are ways to shift your energies now, though, that can help you feel better about yourself and your situation. You can learn how to focus on your well-being during the pandemic, so you regain your confidence and optimism.

A Mix of Emotions

The stress that you are experiencing during the coronavirus outbreak can leave you with:

  • Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
  • Changes in sleep or eating patterns
  • Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
  • Worsening of chronic health problems
  • Worsening of mental health conditions
  • A temptation to use alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs – which will only worsen your situation.

New Normal State

It is perfectly normal to have a low motivation level and to be distracted now. Even though the pandemic has been in everyone’s lives for several months, it is still a new and different environment and it is taking everyone time to adapt. In the meantime, go easy on yourself. Be realistic in the goals you set, for yourself and for those around you. Take steps to lay a solid foundation for your mental health. Focus on what you can control instead of what you cannot.

Establish and Keep a Routine

During the pandemic, routines have been disrupted. You may no longer drive to work every day. You may have kids that are attending school remotely. Even going to the grocery store looks and feels different. Work on establishing a new routine, given the changes in your life. Maintain that routine each day to give yourself a new sense of normalcy.

A routine will help you manage anxiety and will help you to adapt more quickly to this current reality. Create clear distinctions between work and non-work time, ideally in both your physical workspace and your head space. Find something to do that is not work and is not virus-related that brings you joy. Working in short bursts with clear breaks will help to maintain your clarity of thought.

Go for a Walk

Physical exercise, outdoors in a healthy and safe space, can help you reduce stress. Find a trail in a park or just take a walk around the neighborhood where you can maintain social distances from others and enjoy the fresh air. Focus on the positive as you walk (or run), noticing the sunshine, the birds, and the flowers. Yes, it really will help you to focus on your well-being during the pandemic if you stop and smell the roses along your way!

Eat Healthier

During the pandemic, more people are preparing their meals at home. This is a great time to try out some new healthy recipes as you become more mindful of how you nurture your body. Although it is natural for you to crave snacks and junk food when you are staying home and stressed out, when you become more aware of how you’re feeding your body, it can go a long way toward helping you focus on your well-being during the pandemic.

Check Your Online Time

Many people are staying home all day, working from home, and attending school from home, which means they are online most of the day. When you need to focus on your well-being, you need to take breaks from your online time.

It is especially important to reduce the time you spend on social media and on reading the news, which will only stress you more. Go offline and read a book or watch an entertaining movie, to take your mind off the pandemic for a while.

Stay in the Present

The practice of mindfulness can help you focus on your well-being during the pandemic, as it helps you manage uncertainty. Mindfulness is a moment-by-moment awareness of your thoughts, feelings, physical sensations, and surrounding environment. Practicing mindfulness means that you pay attention to your thoughts and feelings without judging them and that you tune into what you’re sensing in the present moment instead of rehashing the past or worrying about the future.

Keep a Journal

When you write all your fears and uncertainty in a journal, your anxiety level will drop as you do so. The very act of putting everything in writing can help reduce your stress level. Start by making a list each day of what is going well. Focus on the positive things you’ve been able to enjoy while staying home, for example, but know that your journal is a safe place to record all your emotions and feelings.

Contact South Miami Recovery for Help During COVID-19

At South Miami Recovery, we offer you evidence-based therapies to help you in your recovery, including mindfulness therapy. We know that your well-being is of the utmost importance during the COVID-19 pandemic. South Miami Recovery offers HIPAA-compliant telehealth services so you can get the treatment you need now. Contact us today for help. Call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055.

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addicted to crystal meth

The coronavirus outbreak has challenged virtually everyone across the country. For those with substance use disorders, however, COVID-19 can be particularly dangerous. Primarily a virus that affects lung function, what COVID-19 means for those addicted to crystal meth is that they are especially vulnerable to serious health effects. It is now more important than ever to seek help for a crystal meth addiction.

COVID-19 Attacks Lungs and Heart

There are currently almost 3.8 million cases of COVID-19 in the US, with over 140,000 deaths. Those numbers continue to rise daily. Scientists are learning more about how the virus works as the disease progresses. They now know that it can be an illness of both the lungs and the heart.

Primarily, COVID-19 has been considered to be an illness of the lungs. Research has found, though, that up to 20% of patients with COVID-19 have signs of heart injury, whether or not they have respiratory symptoms. Scientists believe there may be a variety of reasons why a respiratory infection can inflict so much damage on the heart, including the widespread inflammation the infection causes, the possibility that the virus directly infects and injures the cardiovascular system, and the overall stress the infection puts on preexisting heart conditions.

Crystal Meth Also Affects Lungs and Heart

Crystal methamphetamine is a form of methamphetamine, a stimulant drug, that looks like glass fragments of shiny, bluish-white rocks. Health effects from crystal meth use include increased breathing, increased heart rate, higher blood pressure, higher temperature, and an irregular heartbeat, in addition to decreased appetite, anxiety, confusion, insomnia, mood problems, violent behavior, paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, weight loss, and severe dental problems.

In fact, meth can increase the risk of heart disease, irregular heartbeat, and a decreased ability of the heart to pump blood. A research study also showed that when methamphetamine is used and distributed in the body the lungs absorb more methamphetamine than any other organ, including the brain and heart. It is believed that the ability of methamphetamine to accumulate in the lungs can make lungs more vulnerable to infections and other negative effects.

These studies suggest a negative impact from regular methamphetamine use on both the heart and lungs, which may put individuals who are addicted to crystal meth at greater risk of becoming infected with COVID-19 and of developing more severe symptoms.

COVID-19 Challenges for Crystal Meth Addicts

Although COVID-19 is primarily considered to be a respiratory infection, the heart and breathing systems are highly dependent on each other to be able to function properly. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified people who have serious underlying heart conditions, including cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, to be at higher risk for severe complications from COVID-19 infection.

People who smoke drugs also experience higher rates of respiratory conditions like chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, and both of these are related to increased risk of more severe COVID-19 complications. Maintaining overall heart and lung health are important considerations to reduce the risk for the more negative consequences of COVID-19.

Dr. Nora Volkow, Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), says that patients with already compromised lung conditions may be at higher risk for more severe complications from COVID-19. Specifically, people who smoke or vape, or who are addicted to crystal meth or opioids may face heightened risk.

In addition, chronic opioid use already increases the risk of slowed breathing due to hypoxemia, which can lead to cardiac and pulmonary complications that may result in overdose and death. Dr. Volkow stresses the need to be alert to the possibility of increased risks for adverse COVID-19 outcomes in people who are addicted to crystal meth.

Crystal Meth Addiction and Treatment

Crystal meth is highly addictive and extremely dangerous. When someone is addicted to crystal meth, not only is the potential for COVID-19 complications more serious but the long-term health effects can also be devastating.

As crystal meth is an addiction that is difficult to treat, someone who has decided to try to get clean and sober needs professional assistance to ensure the withdrawal process is safe. Withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue
  • Severe depression
  • Psychosis
  • Intense drug cravings.

The most effective treatments for crystal meth addiction are behavioral therapies, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy, which helps the patient recognize, avoid, and cope with the situations likely to trigger drug use.

South Miami Recovery Can Help When You or Your Loved One is Addicted

The effects of the COVID-19 outbreak can be very serious. When you or a loved one is also addicted to crystal meth, there can be devastating effects to your heart and lung function. At South Miami Recovery, we offer the crystal meth rehab services you or your loved one need to detox safely and continue through a successful recovery. We offer HIPAA-compliant telehealth services as well as a wide array of outpatient addiction treatment services to those who need it most during these uncertain times, following CDC guidelines for your health and safety. To get help contact us today. Call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055 or fill out our confidential form here.

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finding happiness in any circumstance

Happiness may seem a difficult thing to find during the COVID-19 pandemic. While you are being told to stay home and maintain social distances from others, you may be struggling with how to achieve happiness within yourself. During Mental Health Month, it’s important to know that finding happiness in any circumstance is possible. A professor of psychology at Yale University, Laurie Santos, has examined the Science of Well-Being and offers a number of ways to help you find that elusive happiness, even during the coronavirus outbreak.

Going About It the Wrong Way

Professor Santos is a world expert on happiness. She developed a course, the Science of Well-Being, two years ago for overly stressed Yale students. Today it seems even more applicable, given the anxiety and uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus. Santos says, “It’s well known that living through hard circumstances can make us happier because it teaches each of us to be grateful for so many things in life.”

Santos also believes that we can be happy when we are stuck at home during a virus pandemic. She says that happiness does not depend on circumstances and that we typically pursue happiness in the wrong way. While many people try to find constructive ways to spend their time while they are home, those are not necessarily “happiness-making practices.” Santos emphasizes that “with a little time and the right practices [as long as we have a roof over our head and our basic needs met], we can thrive in whatever situation we are in.”

The Secrets of Contentment

There are three basic habits of people who are capable of finding happiness in any circumstance:

  • Social connections: People who are happy think about other people more than they think about themselves and make the effort to reach out. They also tend to engage in random acts of kindness that are designed to benefit other people.
  • Gratitude, self-compassion, and being present: In academic studies, gratitude is consistently at the top of the list of things that make us truly happy. Along with gratitude, we need to practice not being too hard on ourselves and being present in the moment, limiting our regrets about the past and our worries about the future.
  • Healthy habits: Exercise, nutrition, meditation, and adequate sleep all play a part in healthy lifestyle habits that will contribute to our happiness even while we’re stuck at home during a pandemic.

Post-Traumatic Growth

The stress of the current situation can affect both our mental and our physical health. A condition called post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can develop in people who have experienced a shocking, scary, or dangerous event, such as the effects of the pandemic. Professor Santos says that although post-traumatic stress if often talked about, “there is also a lot of work on post-traumatic growth.”

She adds that, “Just like we have a physical immune system, there is evidence that we have a psychological immune system. When things get bad, we rationalise, we figure it out, we are actually a lot stronger and more resilient than we think. We learn better habits and come out better on the other side.”

The Science

Santos developed the course, the Science of Well-Being, to teach students that finding happiness in any circumstance is possible. The course, as well the podcast series called The Happiness Lab, are even more relevant to those who struggle with maintaining their mental health during the coronavirus outbreak. Santos says, “If Covid-19 has taught us anything, it’s that we need to be scientific about the interventions we take in life. People don’t want platitudes, they want evidence-based ways to protect not only their physical health, but their mental health too.”

The Science of Well-Being identifies the habits that we can work on during our time at home. Exercise, for example, is important for both physical and mental health and can be done in small, 20-minute sessions. Exercising can be simply dancing to an upbeat, happy toon, whether or not anyone is looking!

Getting the right amount of quality sleep also benefits us, mentally and physically. We can take steps to ensure a good night’s sleep, including not taking electronic devices to bed. Recognizing and recording our change of attitude and our gratitude can also help us develop a sense of happiness in our current circumstance.

Contact South Miami Recovery for Help During COVID-19

At South Miami Recovery, we address all facets of your addiction recovery, including your spiritual, physical, emotional, and mental health. During the pandemic, we offer HIPAA-compliant telehealth services so you can get the treatment you need, while staying safe and healthy. We continue to provide the outpatient addiction treatment services you need during these uncertain times. To learn more and to sign up for telehealth substance abuse services, contact us today. You can also call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055.

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cope with triggers during a pandemic

Stress and anxiety are common reactions to a pandemic such as the coronavirus outbreak that we are currently experiencing. During Mental Health Month, it is timely to review some tips for coping. In particular, it is important to understand how to cope with triggers during a pandemic, to prevent a relapse and to stay safe and healthy throughout the outbreak.

Triggers During a Pandemic

Under normal circumstances, your triggers might involve contact with people or a visit to a location that reminds you of your previous substance use and addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that stress cues linked to the drug use (such as people, places, things, and moods), and contact with drugs are the most common triggers for relapse. When you are staying at home and following social distancing guidelines, though, you may not have that same exposure.

During a pandemic, your triggers may be more related to loneliness or boredom. Your fear, stress, and anxiety may also be triggers for you as you remain isolated during the coronavirus outbreak. When you are not able to freely do the things you are used to doing every day, including accessing your addiction treatment program, these feelings can increase. You should take steps now to learn how to cope with triggers during a pandemic.

What Feeds Your Feelings

Dr. John Sharp, a board-certified psychiatrist on the faculty at Harvard Medical School and the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, advises taking a breath and working toward separating out where your feelings are coming from, as a way to cope with the anxiety and fear that may be triggers for you. Dr. Sharp suggests:

  • Try saying this, for example: “Of course, I’m more concerned than (my roommate/my friend/my family), because I’m practiced at feeling anxious or helpless.”
  • The next step is to recognize that the percentage of feelings that stem from the past do not have to govern how you necessarily feel in the present. Try saying this out loud: “Well that was then, this is now.” A simple statement like this can actually open the door to some significant relief.
  • Gently remind yourself of this crucial separation, cleaving the past from the present. And kindly and reassuringly remind yourself that you have the resources — both internal and external — to manage your feelings and reactions in the now. This is crucially important.

Practical Ways to Cope

When loneliness or boredom become triggers for you, you can find constructive ways to cope with those feelings as well. These stress management strategies can also become practical ways for you to cope with triggers during a pandemic.

  • Be kind to yourself. Remember that you’re not alone in your struggles.
  • Maintain a routine. Even if you’re stuck at home, try to stick to your regular sleep, school, meal, or work schedule. This can help you maintain a sense of normalcy.
  • Take time out for activities you enjoy. Read a good book, watch a comedy, play a fun board or video game, make something—whether it’s a new recipe, a craft, or a piece of art.
  • Get out in nature, if possible. Sunshine and fresh air will do you good. Even a walk around your neighborhood, if it can be done safely, can make you feel better.
  • Find ways to exercise. Staying active will help you release anxiety, relieve stress, and manage your mood. Cycle, hike, or walk, maintaining your social distance from others.
  • Avoid self-medicating. Using alcohol or other substances to deal with the pandemic is not the answer. Focus on the progress you’ve made and on your continuing recovery efforts.
  • Take up a relaxation practice. When stressors throw your nervous system out of balance, relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and yoga can bring you back into a state of equilibrium.

Access Treatment via Telehealth

Stay connected with your addiction treatment and support groups. Continuing consistently with your program can help you cope with triggers during a pandemic. Behavioral therapies, in particular, can help you handle stressful situations and various triggers that might cause another relapse. Behavioral therapies can also enhance the effectiveness of treatment medications and help you remain in treatment longer.

South Miami Recovery Offers Telehealth Services During COVID-19

Continuing your addiction treatment during the pandemic can help you cope with triggers and prevent a relapse. South Miami Recovery offers HIPAA-compliant telehealth services so you can get the treatment you need, while staying safe and healthy at home. We will continue to provide a wide array of outpatient addiction treatment services to those who need it most during these uncertain times. To learn more and to sign up for telehealth substance abuse services, contact us today. Call South Miami Recovery at 305.661.0055.

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Telehealth is now offered for all our services. South Miami Recovery will continue to follow the CDC guidelines regarding COVID-19.
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