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5 Effective Ways to Combat Substance Abuse

5 Effective Ways to Combat Substance Abuse

Although most people have to hit rock bottom in order to recognise that they are totally dependent on a substance to function, there are other easier routes to recognise addiction and substance abuse. These routes require serious self-assessment such as honestly acknowledging the fact that a certain substance helps you combat boredom, be more confident or function properly from day-to-day and without that substance, your anxieties, fears and loneliness come rushing.

Once you recognise – through self-awareness or hitting rock bottom – that you have an addiction problem, the next step is combating this scourge with the techniques outlined below.

1. Choosing the Cold Turkey Route

Going ‘cold turkey’ is the method of combating addiction by sequestering oneself from anything or the triggers that get you to seek calm through a substance. This technique involves considerable effort on your part such as moving to another town or a cabin in the woods where you have no acquaintances or dealers on hand to feed your addiction.

From personal experience, anyone addicted to hard drugs will find the cold turkey route to be highly effective but difficult. The difficulties stem from withdrawal symptoms – stooling, anxiety, agitation, paranoia and fear – which last for approximately 2 weeks. After the first 14 days, these symptoms subside and you can now proceed to functioning as a new being.

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2. Long-term Rehabilitation Works

Unlike what you see in the movies, the probability of a 21 day stay at a rehab centre keeping an individual of drugs is rather low due to the fact that addiction totally hijacks the brain. This is not to say that rehabilitation centres and the therapy that comes with them do not work but an extended stay in a long-term rehab facility is your best bet of tackling serious addiction problems.

During extended stays, you will be taken through the 12 steps program and also be provided with complimentary activities needed to wean the brain of the harmful endorphins substance abuse trigger.

3. Beat Addiction and Anxiety with Animal Therapy

Substance abuse and the addiction that comes with it creates an emotional void and physiology issues that lead to one becoming overtly attuned to only their needs. Animal therapy helps combat this physiological problems by giving you something else to think about aside oneself which is caring for or bonding with your favourite animal or pet.

Equine therapy has been highlighted as a viable option of curing addiction alongside other traditional means. And it involves close contact with horses were the patient acts as its primary care taker.

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4. Visualize your Triggers through Virtual Reality Therapy

For those who find comfort interacting with tech devices, the use of virtual reality headsets have proven to be an effective method of combating addiction. It is important to note that this method does not consist of replacing one addiction with another but involves working with a counsellor who employs the use of virtual drugs via VR headsets, to trigger a patients need for the release drugs/alcohol provides.

Once that need is triggered, the counsellor or therapist gets a front row seat in observing how one reacts to his or her triggers and this gives the therapist real-time information to help you combat your addictions.

    5. Align yourself through Yoga

    Substance abuse leads to out-dated or skewed behavioural patterns due to ones reliance on external factors to feel both physical and psychologically complete. To combat this reliance, it is important to work on reconnecting with your old self – the periods you functioned normally without a crutch – and this can be achieved through Yoga.

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    Yoga combines three factors: breathe work, physical posturing and meditation with the goal of aligning your mind, body and spirit together in peace. This alignment helps realign the entire being to its default setting thereby helping addicts re-develop healthy behavioral patterns.

    It is important to note that every sufferer of addiction reacts to treatment in different ways. Therefore, going the extra mile to fight your addiction by combining two or more of these techniques is recommended to permanently kick any addiction. Also do not forget that a relapse isn’t the end of the world and with a solid support system built around you, you will ultimately end up beating your addictions.

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    Image Credits:

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    Virtual Reality

    Featured photo credit: Aral Tasher via stocksnap.io

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    Last Updated on October 29, 2018

    What Causes Brain Fog? (7 Things You Can Do to Prevent and Stop It)

    What Causes Brain Fog? (7 Things You Can Do to Prevent and Stop It)

    Brain fog is more of a symptom than a medical condition itself, but this doesn’t mean it should be ignored. Brain fog is a cognitive dysfunction, which can lead to memory problems, lack of mental clarity and an inability to focus.

    Many often excuse brain fog for a bad day, or get so used to it that they ignore it. Unfortunately, when brain fog is ignored it ends up interfering with work and school. The reason many ignore it is because they aren’t fully aware of what causes it and how to deal with it.

    It’s important to remember that if your brain doesn’t function fully — nothing else in your life will. Most people have days where they can’t seem to concentrate or forget where they put their keys.

    It’s very normal to have days where you can’t think clearly, but if you’re experiencing these things on a daily basis, then you’re probably dealing with brain fog for a specific reason.

    So what causes brain fog? It can be caused by a string of things, so we’ve made a list things that causes brain fog and how to prevent it and how to stop it.

    1. Stress

    It’s no surprise that we’ll find stress at the top of the list. Most people are aware of the dangers of stress. It can increase blood pressure, trigger depression and make us sick as it weakens our immune system.

    Another symptom is mental fatigue. When you’re stressed your brain can’t function at its best. It gets harder to think and focus, which makes you stress even more.

    Stress can be prevented by following some simple steps. If you’re feeling stressed you should avoid caffeine, alcohol and nicotine — even though it may feel like it helps in the moment. Two other important steps are to indulge in more physical activities and to talk to someone about it.

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    Besides that, you can consider keeping a stress diary, try relaxation techniques like mediation, getting more sleep and maybe a new approach to time management.

    2. Diet

    Most people know that the right or wrong diet can make them gain or loss weight, but not enough people think about the big impact a specific diet can have on one’s health even if it might be healthy.

    One of the most common vitamin deficiencies is vitamin B12 deficiency and especially vegans can be get hid by brain fog, because their diet often lacks the vitamin B-12. The vitamin B12 deficiency can lead to mental and neurological disorders.

    The scary thing is that almost 40 % of adults are estimated to lack B12 in their diet. B12 is found in animal products, which is why many vegans are in B12 deficiency, but this doesn’t mean that people need animal products to prevent the B12 deficiency. B12 can be taken as a supplement, which will make the problem go away.

    Another vital vitamin that can cause brain fog is vitamin D. More than 1 billion people worldwide don’t have enough vitamin D in their diet. Alongside B12 and vitamin D is omega-3, which because of its fatty acids helps the brain function and concentrate. Luckily, both vitamin D and omega-3 can be taken as supplements.

    Then there’s of course also the obvious unhealthy foods like sugar. Refined carbohydrates like sugar will send your blood sugar levels up, and then send you right back down. This will lead to brain fog, because your brain uses glucose as its main source of fuel and once you start playing around with your brain — it gets confused.

    Besides being hit by brain fog, you’ll also experience tiredness, mood swings and mental confusion. So, if you want to have clear mind, then stay away from sugar.

    Sometimes the same type of diet can be right for some and wrong for others. If you’re experiencing brain fog it’s a good idea to seek out your doctor or a nutritionist. They can take some tests and help you figure out which type of diet works best for your health, or find out if you’re lacking something specific in your diet.

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    3. Allergies

    If you have food allergies, or are simply a bit sensitive to specific foods, then eating those foods can lead to brain fog. Look out for dairy, peanuts and aspartame that are known to have a bad effect on the brain.

    Most people get their calories from corn, soy and wheat — and big surprise — these foods are some of the most common foods people are allergic to. If you’re in doubt, then you can look up food allergies[1] and find some of the most common symptoms.

    If you’re unsure about being allergic or sensitive, then you can start out by cutting out a specific food from your diet for a week or two. If the brain fog disappears, then you’re most likely allergic or sensitive to this food. The symptoms will usually go away after a week or two once you remove the trigger food from the diet.

    If you still unsure, then you should seek out the help of your doctor.

    4. Lack of sleep

    All of us know we need sleep to function, but it’s different for everybody how much sleep they need. A few people can actually function on as little as 3-4 hours of sleep every night, but these people are very, very rare.

    Most people need 8 to 9 hours of sleep. If you don’t get the sleep you need, then this will interfere with your brain and you may experience brain fog.

    Instead of skipping a few hours of sleep to get ahead of things you need to do, you’ll end up taking away productive hours from your day, because you won’t be able to concentrate and your thoughts will be cloudy.

    Many people have trouble sleeping but you can help improve your sleep by a following a few simple steps.

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    There is the 4-7-8 Breathing Exercise, which is a technique that regulates your breath and helps you fall asleep faster. Another well-known technique is to avoid bright lights before you go to sleep.

    A lot of us are guilty of falling asleep with the TV on or with our phone right by us, but the blue lights from these screens suppresses the production of melatonin in our bodies, which actually makes us stay awake longer instead. If you’re having trouble going to sleep without doing something before you close your eyes, then try taking up reading instead.

    If you want to feel more energized throughout the day, start doing this.

    5. Hormonal changes

    Brain fog can be triggered by hormonal changes. Whenever your levels of progesterone and estrogen increases, you may experience short-term cognitive impairment and your memory can get bad.

    If you’re pregnant or going through menopause, then you shouldn’t worry too much if your mind suddenly starts to get a bit cloudy. Focus on keeping a good diet, getting enough of sleep and the brain fog should pass once you’re back to normal.

    6. Medication

    If you’re on some medication, then it’s very normal to start experiencing some brain fog.

    You may start to forget things that you used to be able to remember, or you get easily confused. Maybe you can’t concentrate the same way that you used to. All of these things can be very scary, but you shouldn’t worry too much about it.

    Brain fog is a very normal side effect of drugs, but by lowering your dosage or switching over to another drug; the side effect can’t often be improved and maybe even completely removed.

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    7. Medical condition

    Brain fog can often be a symptom of a medical condition. Medical conditions that include inflammation, fatigue, changes in blood glucose level are known to cause brain fog.

    Conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, anemia, depression, diabetes, migraines, hypothyroidism, Sjögren syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, Lupus and dehydration can all cause brain fog.[2]

    The bottom line

    If you haven’t been diagnosed, then never start browsing around Google for the conditions and the symptoms. Once you start looking for it; it’s very easy to (wrongfully) self-diagnose.

    Take a step back, put away the laptop and relax. If you’re worried about being sick, then always check in with your doctor and take it from there.

    Remember, the list of things that can cause brain fog is long and it can be something as simple as the wrong diet or not enough sleep.

    Featured photo credit: Asdrubal luna via unsplash.com

    Reference

    [1]Food Allergy: Common Allergens
    [2]HealthLine: 6 Possible Causes of Brain Fog

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