Therapist

Alcohol Abuse

There are many symptoms of alcohol abuse. It is a progressive disease that does not discriminate age, race, gender, education or social status. Recognize some of these signs in friends, family and possibly yourself. Don't make excuses if you exhibit these signs to warrant them as just the occasional drinker:

    Stage 1:

  • social drinking once a week
  • drinking more than and faster than your associates
  • memory blackouts

  • Stage 2:

  • Loss of control
  • Protective of alcohol supply
  • Solitary drinking
  • Tremors
  • Decreased tolerance
  • Drinking before breakfast, on weekends and weekdays

  • Stage 3:

  • Delirium Tremens (DT) or shaking frenzy: is the casual act of withdrawal from alcohol
  • Vague fears
  • Sleeplessness
  • Death


Self-Harm or Cutting

Many young adults and teenagers may cut themselves because they are experiencing some sort of depression, self-identity issue, a form of immediate release of pleasure, dealing with difficulty and emotional pain. They conduct it in secrecy on their arms or legs thinking that it will relieve it in some way and can become addictive.

It is found that persons who cut themselves even suffer from an eating disorder, and possibly have a history of sexual, physical or verbal abuse. Many are overachievers and perfectionists. Cutting begins as a protective strategy or defense to their environment and is their way to gain control of their life.

Self-Harm can also be associated to a psychiatric problem such as anxiety disorder, bipolar, borderline personality disorder and schizophrenia. Many psychiatrists believe that self-harm or cutting has a similar effect to cocaine and other drugs that release endorphins to create a feel-good feeling.

    Signs of Self-Harm or Cutting

  • Small linear cuts on forearm, upper arm or legs
  • Words cut into their body like fat or ugly pertaining to body image issues
  • Words cut into their body like loser, stupid or failure pertaining to issues at school or their personal relationships in life
  • Unexplained cuts and scratches that appear regularly
  • Mood changes like depression or anxiety
  • Out of control behavior
  • Changes in relationships and communication
  • Change in academic performance

  • If treatment isn't sought, over time cutting escalates by occurring more frequent and a higher number of cuts; the more blood the better. Self-harm is not a problem that youths simply outgrow as they have fewer resources for dealing with stress factors and fewer coping mechanisms.



Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder, despite huge advances, much remains to be learned about this condition that affects millions of Americans with its extreme mood swings from depression to mania, it used to be called manic-depressive disorder. Bipolar disorder is very serious and can cause risky behavior, damaged relationships and careers, and even suicidal tendencies.

Although bipolar disorder is more common in older teenagers and young adults, it can affect children as young as 6. Bipolar disorder and ADHD are being diagnosed more often in American children and teens. There are some similarities in symptoms. Bipolar disorder often runs in families, and researchers believe there is a genetic component.

Bipolar disorder affects men and women equally, as well as all races, ethnic groups, and socioeconomic classes. Although bipolar disorder cannot be prevented, early recognition of bipolar warning signs and seeing your doctor regularly can allow you to monitor your mood and medications and keep the illness from escalating. There are many symptoms and various types of bipolar.

    Mania Symptoms

    • Excessive happiness
    • Excitement
    • Irritability
    • Restlessness
    • Increased energy
    • Racing thoughts
    • High sexual drive
    • Tendency to make grand and unattainable plans

    Depression Symptoms

    • Sadness
    • Anxiety
    • Loss of energy
    • Uncontrollable crying
    • Change in appetite
    • Extreme weight gain or loss
    • Increased need for sleep
    • Difficulty making decisions
    • Thoughts of death and suicide

    All types of Bipolar involve depression and mania.

    • Bipolar 1: manic episode and abnormal behavior
    • Bipolar 2: similar to B1 but up moods never reach full mania
    • Cyclothymic disorder: mild mood disorder
    • Mixed bipolar: moods alternate between elevated and depressed; experiences of mania and depression simultaneously
    • Rapid-cycling bipolar: 4 or more episodes of mania and depression within a year.

    If Bipolar disorder becomes complicated, self-injury, self-mutilation and harm is an individuals attempt to cope with overpowering negative emotions like anger, and frustration and is a repetitive act.



Suicide

The third leading cause of death among young adults between the ages of 10 and 24, suicide is a significant issue but there are things you can do like find out if the individual has a suicide plan and the means to do it, state you will do whatever is necessary to prevent it, Be ambivalent as most people do not want to die, tell the individual that they do not have to solve their problem on their own, acknowledge that although suicide is one solution to their problem but it is not the only one and not the best solution, remove potentially harmful means of suicide like guns, knives and prescriptive and potentially harmful medications and finally remind them that death is final and emphasize is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.

    Mania Symptoms

      Several factors can put a young person at risk for suicide:

    • History of previous suicide attempts
    • Family history of suicide
    • History of depression or other mental illness
    • Alcohol or drug abuse
    • Stressful life event or loss
    • Easy access to lethal methods
    • Exposure to the suicidal behavior of others
    • Incarceration

      These signs may mean someone is at risk for suicide. Risk is greater if a behavior is new or has increased and if it seems related to a painful event, loss or change.

    • Talking about wanting to die or to kill oneself.
    • Looking for a way to kill oneself, such as searching online or buying a gun.
    • Talking about feeling hopeless or having no reason to live.
    • Talking about feeling trapped or in unbearable pain.
    • Talking about being a burden to others.
    • Increasing the use of alcohol or drugs.
    • Acting anxious or agitated; behaving recklessly.
    • Sleeping too little or too much.
    • Withdrawn or feeling isolated.
    • Showing rage or talking about seeking revenge.
    • Displaying extreme mood swings.

      Additional Warning Signs of Suicide

    • Preoccupation with death.
    • Suddenly happier, calmer.
    • Loss of interest in things one cares about.
    • Visiting or calling people to say goodbye.
    • Making arrangements; setting one's affairs in order.
    • Giving things away, such as prized possessions.

    Seeking assistance is the first preventative measure, as one needs to see a doctor or mental health professional.




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