Psychotherapy and Mental Health

Psychotherapy and Mental Health

The time to rethink therapy is now. Mental health treatment doesn't mean passively lying on the couch talking while your therapist sits and writes notes. Instead, psychotherapy — or talk therapy — is engaging and tailored to meet your needs.

Psychotherapy

You may wonder how psychotherapy works. Psychotherapy is an evidence-based approach to several mental health disorders. People use psychotherapy to define a general process to address harmful thoughts, behaviors, or emotions. While in psychotherapy sessions, your therapist will engage you in verbal and psychological techniques. Your therapy sessions focus on a specific mental health disorder or a stressor in your life.

Your mental health diagnosis determines the type of talk therapy you will receive. This is because there are a wide variety of strategies used to address your specific type of mental health issue. Yet, regardless of your diagnosis, every type of psychotherapy is based on a client-therapist relationship. A healthy therapeutic relationship includes open communication, trust, a healthy dialogue, and working together to overcome harmful thoughts or behaviors.

The field of psychotherapy is considered a separate category in mental health approaches. For this reason, you need to undergo talk therapy with a certified therapist. Therefore, before you begin psychotherapy, make sure your therapist is a licensed expert in their field.

Reasons to Seek Psychotherapy

There are several reasons why people reach out for help with their mental health. If you have any doubts about the cause of physical or emotional issues, you can schedule an appointment with your doctor to rule out potential health issues. A wellness check appointment can determine if therapy could help your physical and emotional health.

You can schedule an appointment with a professionally trained therapist and your doctor. Appointments with a therapist and a doctor can identify and focus on physical and mental health issues. Some reasons to seek help from a doctor or a psychotherapist are:

  • Severe or long-term stress: You may experience pressure from your job, the loss of a loved one, family problems, or relationship issues.
  • Health issues that don't have physical explanations: These symptoms can include loss of appetite, sleep, decreased energy, hopelessness, or a lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed.
  • Your doctor can diagnose a mental health disorder: When you see your doctor, they may suspect you have or diagnose you with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), or other mental health issues.

Most doctors who suspect you have or diagnosed you with a mental health disorder will recommend you go to a therapist. Once a psychotherapist diagnoses a mental health disorder, you can discuss treatment.

Forms of Psychotherapy

The style or type of psychotherapy you receive depends on your therapist's treatment style or the type you need. However, you will receive one of these forms of therapy:

  • Individual therapy: One-on-one sessions with your therapist
  • Couples therapy: Relational therapy for you and your significant other where you work with a therapist together to identify and address damaging behaviors
  • Family therapy: Similar to couples therapy in that it focuses on improving your relationship with loved ones
  • Group therapy: Involves receiving support from a group of people who are working toward building healthy outcomes for common goals

All forms of psychotherapy include various elements. Some of these elements are:

  • Ways to help you become aware of how your thoughts and behaviors can damage your self-confidence
  • Learning to identify and cope with stress by creating healthy problem-solving and coping strategies
  • Journaling your behaviors and emotions to help you connect how each affects the other

Within these forms of therapy are specific approaches for certain types of mental health diagnoses. In addition, each psychotherapy technique focuses on helping you learn healthy coping skills.

Psychotherapy Techniques

The distinct form of psychotherapy used in your therapy sessions is tailored to meet your unique needs. Two psychotherapy techniques often used in sessions include CBT and DBT.

#1. Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) focuses on replacing negative thoughts and behaviors with healthy alternatives. Psychotherapists often use CBT when they diagnose the following:

  • Anxiety disorders: Therapists can combine CBT with medication therapy to help with anxiety.
  • Bipolar disorder: CBT helps those with bipolar disorder learn to identify and change destructive behaviors and emotions. Often, CBT is combined with medication. Your therapist may also decide on using other treatment options to increase the benefits of CBT. Some possibilities are trans-cranial magnetic stimulation (TMS), exercise, and proper nutrition.

#2. Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) evolved from CBT. DBT aims to teach you how to live in the present and build healthy coping skills for stress and emotional upheaval. Psychotherapists developed DBT to address borderline personality disorder (BPD). Over time, DBT evolved and is used to benefit those with:

Psychotherapy is a healthy process that can help you identify and learn how to use healthy coping skills for your mental health diagnosis.

Psychotherapy is an integral part of your goal to build a healthier life. For talk therapy to work, you should have open, honest conversations with your therapist about your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Throughout your sessions, stay true to who you are while allowing yourself to feel your emotions. You can be open to the process without losing yourself. You can work toward your goals when you let go of emotions like stress, grief, depression, or anxiety. Finding healthy ways to move toward your future is possible with the support of the therapists at Crownview Co-Occurring Institute. Our program incorporates evidence-based therapies like TMS, CBT, and DBT with holistic treatments. Your mental and physical health can begin to heal through our comprehensive care programs. We want you to develop the skills necessary to live the life you deserve. For more information, call (760) 477-4754.


What Is Recreational Therapy?

What Is Recreational Therapy?

There is endless information concerning the importance of an individual’s well-being worldwide. Mental health and wellness have become significant concepts today. Of the many available treatment methods that improve one’s mental health, participation in recreational activities can create an array of positive attributes.

Recreational Therapy: Having Fun While Healing

The American Therapeutic Recreation Association (ATRA) defines recreational therapy as a "systematic process that utilizes recreation and other activity-based interventions to address the needs of individuals with illness and/or disabling conditions, as a means to psychological and physical health, recovery and well-being."

The unique feature of recreational therapy that makes it unlike other treatments is recreational modalities in the designed intervention strategies. Recreational treatment is adapted for each person by their past, present, and future interests and lifestyle.

Activities such as listening to music, taking photos, or even getting a massage are fun and relaxing and may seem ordinary. Still, when applied as a strategy toward treatment in mental health, they become tools for a healthy mindset.

Recreational therapists work with clients to set goals and develop plans to meet their needs. Recreational therapy can take place in a variety of settings, including:

  • Assisted living facilities
  • Sports programs
  • Substance use programs
  • Correctional facilities
  • Community centers
  • Hospitals
  • Schools
  • Inpatient and outpatient mental health facilities and programs
  • Skilled nursing facilities

A little help is all that is needed throughout the wellness journey. We encounter incidents such as mental health disorders, injuries, and diseases that make the mental health journey challenging and discouraging. Once the client can cooperate with a recreational therapist, they are more likely to find the peace of mind they strive for.

Benefits of Recreational Therapy

With recreational therapy, individuals with mental health disorders can approach their day with expressive interest that can be used throughout their lives. Clients can learn coping skills, time management, and social skills and discover community resources to help battle these risk factors.

The Journal of American Art Therapy Association noted that scientific studies have implied that an hour of creative activity can reduce stress and positively affect mental health, regardless of artistic experience.

These organized activities initiate a sense of achievement in individuals. Some other benefits of recreational therapy include:

  • Improved physical, cognitive, and emotional needs
  • Enhanced the quality of life
  • Strengthened social connections
  • Improved functioning and independence
  • Reduced symptoms
  • Developed skills for daily living

Activities in Recreational Therapy

The therapist will match the client’s activities to their personal interests. Some of the activities that may be part of a recreational therapy program include:

Massage Therapy

Massage therapy reduces stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain. Massage therapy also releases endorphins and improves self-awareness.

Art Therapy

Art therapy can help individuals discover suppressed emotions and offer a sense of independence while decreasing stress, fear, and anxiety. It can improve the client’s emotional expression, self-esteem, and self-awareness.

Music Therapy

Music therapy helps people manage emotional problems associated with feeling overcome with distress. It allows the individual to put their problems into perspective. Scientific research has revealed that music therapy can influence physiological and psychological processes that improve physical and mental health.

Yoga

Yoga helps increase awareness and concentration because it is a mind and body practice. It teaches clients how to sustain the attentiveness necessary to remain mentally strong and focused. Yoga can also help decrease stress and anxiety and enhance physical and mental health.

Other types of activities that may be used as therapeutic recreations include:

  • Sports
  • Board games
  • Video games
  • Animal interactions
  • Dancing
  • Gardening
  • Creative writing
  • Storytelling
  • Dramas
  • Cooking classes
  • Community excursions

When an activity is therapeutic, it improves the quality of life and well-being. Recreational therapists access the fun associated with the individual’s desired activity and use it as the means of treatment. They identify barriers and develop plans to help clients manage mental health challenges such as anxiety, depression, or other mental health concerns that often reduce the quality of life.

Why Choose Recreational Therapy?

Working with a recreational therapist can increase mood, cognitive abilities, memory, physical health, and self-confidence. Researchers believe physical movement, creativity, and social interaction help provide these extensive health advantages. Therefore, it is safe to say that recreational therapy has a crucial role in mental health treatment.

If you think recreational therapy could benefit you or someone you love, talk with a healthcare provider about the option of employing the power of play to accomplish a positive mindset and healthy mentality.

Finding additional resources for treatment near you is simple. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers the behavioral health treatment services locator to help find mental health services that provide specialty care in your area.

Having fun while improving your mental health is possible. Recreational therapy takes activities you enjoy and transforms them into therapeutic techniques to improve your overall well-being. If you think recreational treatment could benefit you or someone you love, Crownview Co-Occurring Institute in San Diego, CA, is here to help you. We provide the necessary assessments to determine the best course of treatment for your mental health. Our devoted team of professionals can provide each client with advanced care to deliver high-quality treatment services. Here, you will know you are in a safe place that offers kindness and compassion for the healing process. We understand the importance of an individualized approach to treatment, so we develop comprehensive treatment plans unique to each client. We specialize in psychiatric conditions, where clients have the opportunity to learn and practice life skills required to take control of their life. Call (760) 477-4754 today.


Psychotherapy and Mental Health

Psychotherapy and Mental Health

Having the courage to seek mental health services is a significant step and one that is worth celebrating. If you have been looking at treatment options, you have probably come across psychotherapy in the process. The plethora of therapies available can seem vast and confusing when searching for treatment – so, what is psychotherapy exactly?

What Is Psychotherapy?

Psychotherapy, also referred to as talk therapy, is an evidence-based approach to several treatment techniques that help individuals identify and adjust distressful emotions, thoughts, and behaviors.

Psychotherapy is a way to allow individuals to face their mental health issues and symptoms and learn how to process thoughts and behaviors. This encourages new coping skills that manage symptoms effectively.

In addition, psychotherapy can help individuals identify and understand triggers that cause them to act impulsively and create strategies that help control their reactions, improve self-reliance, and enhance conflict communication.

Some of the reasons for seeking psychotherapy include:

  • Displaying symptoms with no physical rationalization, such as fluctuations in sleep or appetite, decreased energy, a lack of interest in activities that were once enjoyable, insistent irritability, worry, or a feeling of discouragement that will not go away
  • Struggling with severe stress from difficulty at a job, family issues, losing a loved one, or relationship problems
  • A recent diagnosis of depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Types of Psychotherapy

Now that you know what psychotherapy targets, it's essential to know the different types of psychotherapy. Since everyone is unique, what works for one person may not work for the next.

Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is a short-term, goal-oriented therapy that links thoughts and actions. It is established through a balanced model of the relationships between cognition, emotion, and behavior.

CBT functions under three aspects of cognition that address how a person thinks, how they behave, and how they cope with trauma. It is intended to support people in modifying thought patterns that trigger unhealthy, unproductive, or unbearable behavior. Therapists often use CBT for individuals struggling with anxiety, depression, stress, or phobias.

Psychodynamic Therapy

Psychodynamic therapy concentrates on how particular past experiences influence their current behavior. It is intended to help people acknowledge and understand negative feelings and inhibited emotions so they can resolve internal psychological conflicts and enhance life experiences, self-esteem, and interpersonal relationships. This therapy is often used to treat individuals who suffer from depression.

Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is a form of CBT that focuses on techniques to change behaviors through acceptance. The primary goal of DBT is to give the client the skills to regulate emotions, manage stress, and enhance relationships. Through DBT, the mind is rewired, and the client learns new ways to approach what were once distressing situations.

Humanistic and Existential Therapy

Humanistic therapy involves two types: client-centered and gestalt. The holistic approach of humanistic and existential focus on the whole person, their positive behaviors, their ability to grow and heal, and finding their self-actualization through self-exploration.

While humanistic therapy focuses on acceptance and growth, existential therapy emphasizes the responsibility and freedom of the client. Individuals with depression, anxiety, or low self-esteem can benefit from humanistic or existential therapy.

Client-centered therapy eliminates the idea that the counselor is the expert, emphasizing care and concern to enable individuals to make their own choices in their reality.

Gestalt therapy focuses on the entirety of a person’s experience, encouraging clients to accept responsibility for themselves and pushing them towards self-actualization and awareness of being in the here and now.

Holistic Therapy

Holistic therapy applies more than one type of therapy. Counselors that use holistic approaches blend different elements to personalize treatments to the client’s needs. Using a holistic approach allows the client to progress psychologically and physically. Holistic techniques encourage a sense of personal fulfillment during treatment, which becomes an inspiration to keep going.

Benefits of Using Psychotherapy

Psychotherapies offer improvement in many aspects of a person’s life. Some of the benefits of applying psychotherapy can include:

  • Increasing understanding of self and others
  • Acknowledging and accepting a broader range of emotions
  • Progressively becoming more adept at confronting challenges
  • Increasing self-esteem
  • Developing the capability to acquire rewarding relationships
  • Increasing confidence in individual abilities

Finding Psychotherapy Treatment

Psychodynamic therapy provides clients with a more profound acknowledgment of their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors so that they can make positive changes moving forward.

To find a psychodynamic therapist, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) offers a behavioral health treatment services locator to assist in finding mental health treatment centers that provide specialty care in your area.

Psychotherapy can be a powerful treatment approach for different mental health conditions. It helps get to the root cause of symptoms and any self-destructive patterns. If you or a loved one struggles with anxiety, depression, borderline personality disorder, co-occurring disorders, or other mental health disorders, Crownview Co-Occurring Institute in San Diego, CA, can help. Our unique program provides individualized quality care with positive and proven outcomes. We develop individualized and comprehensive treatment plans tailored to the needs of each client. The full range of services offered at Crownview Co-Occurring Institute helps our clients take control of their lives. We will support you from crisis to independence in a therapeutic environment with a compassionate team of professionals. Let us help you achieve a long-term recovery with the quality care you deserve. One of our team members is available to answer your questions. Call us today at (760) 477-4754.


How Can I Manage Mental Health at Work?

How Can I Manage Mental Health at Work?

Millions of adults across America experience some form of a mental health disorder. These disorders, including depression, anxiety, and more, do not discriminate when it comes to race, class, gender, or ethnicity; they are equal opportunity offenders.

As mental health awareness becomes mainstream, employers are becoming more mindful about accommodating employees in the workspace. Accommodations can include on-site wellness programs that identify risks and offer supportive resources to employees who need them. There are also other practices to help manage stress which is a great way to improve employees’ health and overall productivity.

How Does Mental Health Affect Businesses and Employees?

Life is full of stressors, some of which may come from the workplace. In our culture of hustle, there is tremendous pressure that we feel from our superiors and that we put on ourselves to succeed. Many people work themselves past a point that is considered healthy to reach their definition of “success,” sacrificing sleep, hobbies, and relationships in the process.

It feels good to earn awards, a bonus, or praise from our bosses. However, when mental health is neglected, it can cause subpar job performance and productivity. Relationships with co-workers and group morale could suffer. In extreme cases, poorly managed mental health could result in job loss. Depression, in particular, is one mental illness that is associated with high rates of unemployment or disability. An estimated 57% of employees experience clinical depression, with this disorder being why employees struggle to complete work tasks about 20% of the time.

How Can I Manage Mental Health at Work?

Depression, anxiety, and other mental health disorders can be challenging, but they are treatable. Following a treatment plan, such as receiving therapy and using medication, is a great way to manage symptoms. In addition, here are some suggestions for staying mentally healthy in the workplace:

Recognize the Signs That Indicate a Problem

Sometimes our bodies recognize challenges before our brains do. For example, a person may experience worsened depression symptoms around the anniversary of a personal loss. There tend to be warning signs when this happens, like dark clouds hovering before a storm. Potential signs could be increased fatigue, taking longer to complete tasks, or difficulties with communication.

How does your mental health disorder affect you? If you start to notice your symptoms worsening, you may want to bring this up with your doctor or employer. Pushing yourself to work harder may seem like a good idea but may aggravate these symptoms.

Make a To-Do List

Organizing tasks into manageable lists can make a mountain of work much more manageable. Prioritize it from “most important” to the less urgent things. You’ll feel better as you physically check items off this list and have an easier time staying on track.

Take Breaks

It may seem counter-productive to take breaks if you’re under a deadline, but it’s good for your mind. Perhaps go on a short walk after finishing a few tasks, read a chapter of a book, or relax in some other way. Your brain will be refreshed when you return to your desk.

Stay Hydrated

This suggestion may seem obvious, but we often don’t realize how dehydrated we are while working. Only after the headache sets in do we remember that we forgot to drink. Keep a water bottle on your desk and make a goal of finishing it over the course of your day. Hydration goes a long way toward helping you focus and reducing stressors.

Avoid Workplace Gossip

The allure of office gossip can be hard to resist and can even be a bonding technique with our co-workers, but it can increase stress and lower morale. You can express your frustrations with a co-worker in a healthy way that doesn’t involve bad-talking someone else and feel better for it.

Try Not to Take On Too Much

If possible, talk to your employer if you start to feel over-extended. Consider your time and current mental health before committing to new projects or job roles. If you want to take on more work, consider the resources you may need to take care of yourself.

Set Manageable Goals

Work can pile on us at times. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by a long list of tasks with short deadlines. You can feel more in control by breaking up these tasks into smaller lists of goals, so your duties don’t feel quite so daunting. Increase your motivation by giving yourself a small reward for completing your goals, such as a piece of candy or lunch at a favorite sandwich shop.

Personalize Your Space

Do you have an office or cubicle? Consider bringing a small plant, a photo of a loved one, a stress ball, or some other small token that makes you feel happy or peaceful when you look at it.

Talk to Your Human Resources Department

Human resources are there to help employees. If there is a situation that worsens your mental health, it’s essential to bring it up. Human resource professionals are obligated to address employees’ mental health conditions by law.

Know Your Triggers

Different people have different “triggers” that can kickstart a panic attack or depressive episode. Perhaps it’s a mandatory staff meeting, a presentation, or a one-on-one dialogue with your boss. Know what your triggers are to engage in a self-care routine beforehand to relax. You could take a walk outside, listen to soft music, have a cup of herbal tea, or do deep breathing exercises. Your doctor may have additional suggestions.

Seek Help When Necessary

Many people with mental health disorders unnecessarily suffer in silence. Keep your employer or doctor in the loop if you feel your symptoms worsen. They can provide you with the tools to cope to do your best work.

Given the amount of time most of us spend at the office, managing our mental health is extremely important for peak job performance. While work can be naturally stressful at times, those with known conditions or disorders must take care to keep themselves safe, mentally and emotionally. Self-care can look different from person to person as some may benefit from medication, therapy, or both. At Crownview Co-Occurring Institute in Oceanside, California, our licensed mental health professionals can work with you to find a treatment plan and a self-care routine throughout your day. Knowing the safeguard measures can help you feel more confident and in control. To learn more about how you can succeed in the workplace with depression, anxiety, or other mental health conditions, call us today at 760.433.4357. You can also fill out a contact form through our website.


Can Mental Health Affect My Sleep?

Can Mental Health Affect My Sleep?

Getting a good night’s sleep is a critical part of being healthy, both physically and mentally. Most of us have experienced the consequences of slogging through the workday after tossing and turning all night. Lack of sleep can make us cranky and affect our overall function. But did you know that a lack of sleep—or even too much of it—can affect mental health? Existing mental health conditions, such as depression or anxiety, can also affect our quality of sleep.

Let’s explore the relationship between sleep and mental health and how to improve both.

What Is the Relationship Between Sleep and Mental Health?

A few psychological conditions can cause sleep issues, whether it’s insomnia or chronic fatigue. The most common disorders or conditions impacting sleep are stress, clinical depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. It could be that mental health conditions worsen our sleep, or separate sleep issues worsen mental health. Conversely, improving mental health can lead to better quality sleep and vice versa.

This circular relationship is why a mental health professional may ask about your sleep habits when filling out a new patient intake form. You should see your doctor if you have difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep for more than a few consecutive nights.

What Are Some Mental Health Conditions That Affect Sleep Patterns?

Let’s take a closer look at how certain mental health conditions affect the quality of our sleep:

Stress

Stress happens to just about everyone at some point. But stress from circumstances outside of brain chemistry can exacerbate other mental health conditions, which leads to tossing and turning at night. Lack of sleep can make it more challenging to cope with even minor difficulties or challenges. Ironically, not being able to sleep in itself is a stressor, and thinking about it can actually make it more difficult to fall asleep.

Depression

Clinical depression has the unique ability to cause chronic fatigue and keep you from being able to fall asleep. It’s also true that insomnia can lead to depression for different reasons. Fortunately, there are treatments available for both. Depression patients with sleep problems can be treated with Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT) or medication.

Anxiety

Lack of sleep can contribute to anxiety—anxious thoughts can keep one from being able to sleep well. Your body may feel physically tired, but when your brain is active and refuses to “power down,” it can lead to insomnia. This vicious cycle ultimately worsens both sleep quality and anxiety disorder.

Bipolar Disorder

Bipolar disorder interrupts sleep in several ways. It can cause insomnia, irregular sleep cycles in which you might wake up several times a night, and nightmares. Bipolar disorder is characterized by manic “highs” and “lows”; a lack of sleep can dramatically worsen both moods. Reduced sleep can exacerbate the depression that accompanies a “low” period, but it can also lead to mania during the “high.” Sleep disturbances tend to precede a manic state. If you’ve been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, your doctor may ask you about your sleep habits as you formulate a treatment plan.

How Can I Improve My Sleep Habits?

Not all sleep conditions are connected to mental health. Still, you should talk to your doctor if you have a diagnosis of depression, anxiety, or bipolar disorder and have difficulty falling or staying asleep. Sleep issues may be exacerbating psychological symptoms or vice versa.

In addition to counseling or medication, your doctor may recommend specific lifestyle changes to cultivate good “sleep hygiene.” Here are some suggestions of changes you can make to help improve your sleep:

Limit Your Naps

It may sound counter-intuitive to suggest not taking a nap when you feel tired, but there’s a good reason. If you sleep too much during the day, you may not be tired when it’s time to sleep at night. However, a “power nap” can be helpful to increase alertness during the day without affecting your nightly sleep hours. Limiting these daytime naps to 20 or 30 minutes is an excellent way to balance a need for rest with a need for at least 8 hours at night.

Stick to a Bedtime Routine

Give yourself a bedtime and a wake-up time. About an hour or so before bedtime, start a series of “wind-down” activities such as reading a book, taking a bath, or having a cup of tea. Aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day, even on weekends, so your sleep schedule stays regular. These nightly routines can help “train” your brain to power down in preparation for sleep.

Limit Caffeine

Don’t worry; you don’t have to give up your favorite caffeinated beverage. However, it is recommended not to consume coffee or soda during the afternoon. This way, the caffeine is long gone from your system by bedtime.

Turn off the Smartphone

The bright light on your phone screen makes it difficult to mentally and physically relax. Setting limits on smartphone use and computers, tablets, and TVs can have a dramatic impact on your sleep. It’s common for people to scroll through social media or watch TV in bed, but we highly caution against this. Your bedroom should be a place for resting, and screens disrupt that rest. You may want to consider getting a separate alarm clock that isn’t connected to your phone to reduce the temptation to use your phone at night.

Sleep is vital to physical and mental health. Most of us are familiar with the feeling of having to navigate through the day in a sort of fog after tossing and turning all night. Hopefully, most of us also know how great it feels to wake up feeling truly rested. Our licensed mental health professionals at Crownview Co-Occurring Institute in Oceanside, California, can help you achieve the latter. Whether your sleep issues are directly connected to existing mental health disorders like depression or anxiety, or your mental health is worsened by lack of sleep, we can help you get to the root of the problem. We can accomplish this by getting to the heart of your troubled sleep rather than simply treating the symptoms. If you struggle with not being able to fall asleep, stay asleep, or sleep too much, we can help. Call us today at (760) 477-4754.


Why We Need to Talk About Men and Mental Health

Why We Need to Talk About Men and Mental Health

Traditionally, men are taught from a young age that they must measure up to a tough façade. But expecting men to be protectors or leaders and correlating them with anger and aggression can be destructive. The tainted belief to “act like a man” has significantly influenced how men perceive themselves and their place in the world.

Men face emotional and physical abuse and need mental health interventions to prevent trauma-related concerns, addictions, or behavioral issues. The problem is the stigma that surrounds men and mental health.

Although more women reportedly suffer from depression every year than men, depression and suicide are the leading causes of death among men in America.

Men are more likely to cultivate a substance use disorder than women, and more men have drug and alcohol dependencies than women. Sixty-two thousand men die from alcohol-related causes every year, while the number of women who die from equivalent causes every year in the U.S. is 26,000—less than half the number of male deaths related to alcohol.

These astonishing numbers show us that men are far less likely to pursue treatment for their mental health issues but still suffer from mental health problems in increased numbers.

The Weight of Men’s Mental Health

American men are exposed to a culture where the standard of masculinity is destroying their mental health. The “boys will be boys” mentality has created a world where men feel they can’t convey any feelings, resulting in men’s difficulty expressing emotions.

These extreme masculine norms are damaging to men’s mental health and other areas of life and can lead to the following:

  • Depression and anxiety
  • Substance abuse
  • Health risks, such as cardiovascular or metabolic disease
  • Dating and interpersonal intimacy issues
  • Interpersonal violence issues
  • Psychological distress issues
  • Discouragement in seeking help
  • Homophobia

When the negative impact is increased mental health issues, substance misuse often follows. Men struggle with depression, anxiety, or other mental health disorders and avoid healthy coping mechanisms because they have been raised to “be tough” and instead turn to alcohol or drugs to numb their pain.

The only way to help men learn that emotions don’t degrade them or make them weak is by instilling that truth at a young age. As a society, it’s crucial to remember that everyone is human, and finding healthy ways to process emotions is essential for all of us, specifically men.

Establishing Social Connections

Some men have a more challenging time establishing social connections. Social networks can act as a barrier against stressful or adverse life experiences on mental health or the onset of mental health disorders, such as depression and suicidal thoughts or behaviors.

Social connections can also increase the probability of individuals with mental health issues seeking professional help. When people have a support system, they feel empowered and encouraged to succeed in their mental health recovery journey.

Warning Signs for Men’s Mental Health

Men and women can experience different symptoms of the same mental health disorder. This observation might reflect differing views of mental health, both among health care providers and men themselves.

Men are more likely to seek help for physical symptoms of mental health disorders. However, they may disregard emotional symptoms, disguising the sadness of depression as anger, irritability, or aggressive behavior. Self-medication with drugs or alcohol is common among men, worsening symptoms and causing the development of other health concerns.

The National Institute of Mental Health lists several symptoms that may be warning signs of mental illness in men, including:

  • Anger, irritability, or aggressiveness
  • Changes in mood, energy level, or appetite
  • Difficulty sleeping or sleeping too much
  • Difficulty concentrating, feeling restless or on edge
  • Increased worry or feeling stressed
  • Misuse of alcohol and drugs
  • Feeling flat or having trouble feeling positive emotions
  • Sadness or hopelessness
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Aches, headaches, or digestive problems without a clear cause
  • Obsessive thinking or compulsive behavior
  • Unusual thinking or behaviors, including high-risk activities

The dangers of ignoring the warning signs only result in negative consequences. As a society, it’s important to remember that everyone is human, and finding healthy ways to process emotions is essential for all of us, especially men. Masculinity needs to be looked at through a different lens. There must be a revolution in changing the American culture where males are more comfortable articulating themselves and how they feel.

Men who may be experiencing mental health issues are susceptible to the isolation COVID-19 produces. This isolation may heighten the precursors of mental illness, therefore adding to the significance of overcoming the barriers to accessing mental health resources among those less likely to seek professional help.

Mental health disorders in men must be reexamined. Men’s mental health must be addressed, and the only way to help is by breaking the stigma surrounding men and mental health. Crownview Co-Occurring Institute in Oceanside, CA, wants to help. We have developed an innovative approach to treating men’s unique challenges when managing mental illness or emotional traumas at CCI. Our personalized treatment plans guarantee that each client receives quality care with effective results. We will support you from crisis to independence at CCI by providing a compassionate team of professionals ready to help you take back your life. Let CCI help you on your way to long-term recovery. Call 760.433.4357 today to learn about our effective treatment programs. If you need assistance and live outside of California, SAMHSA offers the Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator to help find mental health services near you.

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Contact our admissions team to learn how Crownview can help you or your loved one.

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What Are the Signs of Paranoia?

What Are the Signs of Paranoia?

Paranoia is defined as feeling threatened or endangered and often comes with the idea that people are plotting against you in some way. It can be experienced even if the danger isn’t real. If paranoia occurs too often, it can disrupt a person’s life. Paranoia is often a symptom of various mental health disorders such as bipolar disorder, paranoid personality disorder, and schizophrenia.

The Difference Between Anxiety and Paranoid Thoughts

Paranoia and anxiety are closely linked; a paranoid person is likely to experience anxiety. While the two conditions may share overlapping symptoms and can even co-occur, they are not the same. The main difference between paranoia and anxiety is that there are delusional beliefs about persecution, threat, or conspiracy with paranoia. However, with anxiety, these thought processes about others are not present.

What Are the Symptoms of Paranoia?

You may be experiencing paranoia if you experience any of the following:

  • Feelings of aggression, defensiveness, and hostility
  • Have difficulties letting your guard down or relaxing
  • Difficulties with constantly feeling offended, compromising, or accepting criticism
  • Difficulties trusting people and forming meaningful relationships
  • Reading hidden meaning into other people’s behaviors toward you

What Are the Causes of Paranoia?

Paranoia can have many causes, some of which may include:

Not Getting Enough Sleep

The occasional all-nighter won’t cause a mental health disorder with paranoia symptoms. However, the more often you go without sleep, your ability to think clearly will be compromised. Your thoughts can become distorted over time with chronic lack of sleep, making it difficult to discern what is actually happening around you. In extreme cases, long-term insomnia can lead to hallucinations: seeing or hearing things that aren’t real.

Stress

Mounting tension and stress can affect the way you feel about other people or your circumstances. Stress doesn’t have to be negative, like the loss of a job or a loved one. Stress can be triggered even by positive events, like planning a wedding or having a baby. With that stress can come paranoid thoughts and what may or may not happen, even if they are blended with happiness.

Stress can be mitigated by making intentional time to relax. Make space in your day to do something you enjoy, such as reading a book or listening to music. According to Harvard Health Publishing's article “Exercising to Relax,” exercise can also help clear your mind and provide endorphins, which help reduce short-term stress.

Substance Abuse

Paranoia is a known side effect of prolonged drug and alcohol use. The various chemicals in certain substances can damage the brain over time, worsening an already-existing mental health disorder. The paranoia may disappear once the substances leave your system.

However, the longer you keep using, the more frequently you may experience paranoid feelings. Alcohol, in particular, can cause someone to lose their inhibition, making it more challenging to control paranoid thoughts. Long-term drug and alcohol abuse can even cause paranoia to develop into hallucinations. Some people also may have mental health disorders triggered by their substance abuse, in which paranoia is one of many symptoms.

Memory Loss

Dementia or Alzheimer’s disease cause memory loss, which tends to worsen with age. How these conditions affect the brain can increase suspicious feelings about other people. It can affect your ability to trust the people closest to you, and you may suspect them of having bad intentions. This, unfortunately, is part of the disease. Fortunately, your doctor can help you manage these symptoms.

Treatments for Paranoia

A trained, qualified mental health professional can help you determine whether your anxious, paranoid thoughts are valid or a symptom of something deeper. If you suspect that your thoughts are not grounded in reality, then chances are you are right to seek help. Depending on your circumstances and medical background, your doctor may recommend a variety of treatments or lifestyle changes.

Therapy and Lifestyle Changes

A mental health professional may suggest different therapy approaches and lifestyle changes. These can include behavioral therapies, medication, regular exercise, or eating a more balanced diet. All of these things can affect the state of your mental health and help you live healthier overall.

Learn to Combat Your Thoughts

Another suggestion to help yourself cope with paranoid thoughts is to learn to “talk back” to your paranoid, anxious thoughts. Rather than telling yourself that you’re “crazy,” try telling yourself, “This is highly unlikely to happen” or “This is very unlikely to be true” instead. This way of reframing your thoughts is more productive than telling yourself that something is wrong with you.

Talk to a Professional

Even if your paranoia is not the result of a mental health disorder, it may still be helpful to discuss your feelings with a therapist. Talk therapy can be effective in working through difficult emotions.

Having paranoid feelings now and then isn't cause for alarm. However, if these feelings are pervasive and affect your ability to have meaningful connections with others or function in daily life, you may want to consider getting help. The compassionate, knowledgeable staff at Crownview Co-Occurring Institute are well-equipped to help you sort out what is real and what is not. Depending on your circumstances and your medical history, we may recommend a combination of treatments to help you live more productively. Sometimes, simply talking with someone in a safe, non-judgmental space can be helpful in re-training your mind on how to perceive the environment around you. With time and practice, you can learn how to redirect anxious, paranoid thoughts so you can focus on what is real in front of you. If you need to talk to someone about paranoid thoughts, call Crownview Co-Occurring Institute at (760) 477-4754.