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2 Things You Must Do If You Love Someone Suffering From Addiction

2 Things You Must Do If You Love Someone Suffering From Addiction

If you have a loved one going through addiction recovery, it can be difficult on your emotions. Drugs aren’t the only things people can get addicted to – and you know this first hand. People can suffer from video game, pornography, sex, gambling, and other legal pleasures. The American Society of Addiction Medicine says that addiction is when you become dependent on a substance or behavior so badly that it disrupts your daily life and relationships with other people. You’ve seen how your loved one’s addiction to a substance or behavior has warped his/her sense of self and ambitions – it’s pretty much destroying his/her life.

Ironically, it’s more heartbreaking when your loved one is trying to recover from addiction – that’s when you see him/her suffer the most as he/she goes through withdrawal symptoms. The good news is there are things you can do that are proven to ease your loved one’s journey into healing and beating his/her addiction.

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1. Make a Vow to Remind Him/Her He/She is Precious Every Single Day

Addiction makes someone feel powerless, like they’re a slave to their addiction. They also feel worthless because of their perceived weakness to overcome their battle with what they’re addicted to. What makes it worse is the stigma your loved one has to carry that addicts are criminals without self-control who don’t deserve sympathy.

You, and any licensed medical professional know better – addiction is a disease and not the fault of the patient. Drug detox programs often try to educate loved ones that addiction patients deserve help and support because they’re not in control anymore – their addiction has biochemically hardwired their brains to force them into the seemingly inescapable cycle of dependency.

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That’s why it’s important to empower your loved one and remind him/her he/she is special and priceless to you and so many others. Everyday strengthen his/her fighting spirit by letting him/her know who he/she is, that he/she can beat his/her addiction, that he/she means the world to you.

Make a vow: For every day your loved one fights his/her addiction, you say to him/her: “You’re precious to me and life wouldn’t be the same without you. I want the old you back. You can beat this because you’re the most powerful person I know to fight something like this.”

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2. Cook All His/Her Meals

Psychologists now say that what you eat affects your mental health.[1] Psychologist, Emily Deans, M.D. says that eating fast food, junk food, and a typical Western high-sugar, high-fat diet shrinks your hippocampus, which is the part of your brain that helps prevent depression and dementia. Studies also show that people who eat a wholesome nutritious diet have a lower risk of depression.

Addiction preys on depression, and being depressed can make addiction recovery multiple times harder for your loved one. In fact, depression is both a hallmark symptom of addiction and withdrawal. You can help fight your loved one’s depression by making sure he/she only eats home-cooked, wholesome meals. Preventing him/her from eating junk food means you’ll help his/her hippocampus fight his/her depression by nurturing it with nutritious food.

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Bulgarian professor, Hristo Mermerski, who’s famous for inventing a recipe that’s enjoyed success in putting cancer patients in remission, advises to enrich your daily meals with omega-3 fatty acids for a healthy lifestyle and overall better mental health. He says that omega-3 fatty acids have been found to play a major role in brain biochemistry.

You don’t have to stand by and watch as your loved one suffers through withdrawal. Be proactive and fight with him/her by doing these two things! If you do these as steadfastly as your loved one fights to recover, you’ll boost his/her chances of recovery significantly.

Featured photo credit: skeeze via pixabay.com

Reference

[1] Psychology Today: Does a Wester Diet Shrink the Brain?

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Last Updated on June 6, 2019

Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

Science Says Silence Is Much More Important To Our Brains Than We Think

In 2011, the Finnish Tourist Board ran a campaign that used silence as a marketing ‘product’. They sought to entice people to visit Finland and experience the beauty of this silent land. They released a series of photographs of single figures in the nature and used the slogan “Silence, Please”. A tag line was added by Simon Anholt, an international country branding consultant, “No talking, but action.”

Eva Kiviranta the manager of the social media for VisitFinland.com said: “We decided, instead of saying that it’s really empty and really quiet and nobody is talking about anything here, let’s embrace it and make it a good thing”.

Finland may be on to something very big. You could be seeing the very beginnings of using silence as a selling point as silence may be becoming more and more attractive. As the world around becomes increasingly loud and cluttered you may find yourself seeking out the reprieve that silent places and silence have to offer. This may be a wise move as studies are showing that silence is much more important to your brains than you might think.

Regenerated brain cells may be just a matter of silence.

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     A 2013 study on mice published in the journal Brain, Structure and Function used differed types of noise and silence and monitored the effect the sound and silence had on the brains of the mice.[1] The silence was intended to be the control in the study but what they found was surprising. The scientists discovered that when the mice were exposed to two hours of silence per day they developed new cells in the hippocampus. The hippocampus is a region of the brain associated with memory, emotion and learning.

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    The growth of new cells in the brain does not necessarily translate to tangible health benefits. However, in this instance, researcher Imke Kirste says that the cells appeared to become functioning neurons.

    “We saw that silence is really helping the new generated cells to differentiate into neurons, and integrate into the system.”

    In this sense silence can quite literally grow your brain.

    The brain is actively internalizing and evaluating information during silence

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      A 2001 study defined a “default mode” of brain function that showed that even when the brain was “resting” it was perpetually active internalizing and evaluating information.

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      Follow-up research found that the default mode is also used during the process of self-reflection. In 2013, in Frontiers in Human Neuroscience, Joseph Moran et al. wrote, the brain’s default mode network “is observed most closely during the psychological task of reflecting on one’s personalities and characteristics (self-reflection), rather than during self-recognition, thinking of the self-concept, or thinking about self-esteem, for example.

      “When the brain rests it is able to integrate internal and external information into “a conscious workspace,” said Moran and colleagues.

      When you are not distracted by noise or goal-orientated tasks, there appears to be a quiet time that allows your conscious workspace to process things. During these periods of silence, your brain has the freedom it needs to discover its place in your internal and external world.

      The default mode helps you think about profound things in an imaginative way.

      As Herman Melville once wrote,[2]

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      “All profound things and emotions of things are preceded and attended by silence.”

      Silence relieves stress and tension.

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        It has been found that noise can have a pronounced physical effect on our brains resulting in elevated levels of stress hormones. The sound waves reach the brain as electrical signals via the ear. The body reacts to these signals even if it is sleeping. It is thought that the amygdalae (located in the temporal lobes of the brain) which is associated with memory formation and emotion is activated and this causes a release of stress hormones. If you live in a consistently noisy environment that you are likely to experience chronically elevated levels of stress hormones.

        A study that was published in 2002 in Psychological Science (Vol. 13, No. 9) examined the effects that the relocation of Munich’s airport had on children’s health and cognition. Gary W. Evans, a professor of human ecology at Cornell University notes that children who are exposed to noise develop a stress response that causes them to ignore the noise. What is of interest is that these children not only ignored harmful stimuli they also ignored stimuli that they should be paying attention to such as speech. 

        “This study is among the strongest, probably the most definitive proof that noise – even at levels that do not produce any hearing damage – causes stress and is harmful to humans,” Evans says.[3]

        Silence seems to have the opposite effect of the brain to noise. While noise may cause stress and tension silence releases tension in the brain and body. A study published in the journal Heart discovered that two minutes of silence can prove to be even more relaxing than listening to “relaxing” music. They based these findings of changes they noticed in blood pressure and blood circulation in the brain.[4]

        Silence replenishes our cognitive resources.

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          The effect that noise pollution can have on cognitive task performance has been extensively studied. It has been found that noise harms task performance at work and school. It can also be the cause of decreased motivation and an increase in error making.  The cognitive functions most strongly affected by noise are reading attention, memory and problem solving.

          Studies have also concluded that children exposed to households or classrooms near airplane flight paths, railways or highways have lower reading scores and are slower in their development of cognitive and language skills.

          But it is not all bad news. It is possible for the brain to restore its finite cognitive resources. According to the attention restoration theory when you are in an environment with lower levels of sensory input the brain can ‘recover’ some of its cognitive abilities. In silence the brain is able to let down its sensory guard and restore some of what has been ‘lost’ through excess noise.[5]

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          Summation

          Traveling to Finland may just well be on your list of things to do. There you may find the silence you need to help your brain. Or, if Finland is a bit out of reach for now, you could simply take a quiet walk in a peaceful place in your neighborhood. This might prove to do you and your brain a world of good.

          Featured photo credit: Angelina Litvin via unsplash.com

          Reference

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