Motivational Interviewing Questions for Substance Abuse

Empowering an individual to take responsibility for his own recovery can be a very powerful tool for someone with an addiction to drugs or alcohol. A technique known as motivational interviewing was designed to do just that. The motivational interviewing questions for substance abuse focus on the individual’s own reasons for changing, in a non-confrontational manner.

Motivational Interviewing Techniques

The concept of the motivational interview was originally developed by Drs. William Miller and Stephen Rollnick as part of an approach for treating alcohol addiction. Many decades later, healthcare professionals use the method as a way of encouraging individuals who are struggling with substance abuse to make a positive change in their lives.

Rather than being confrontational about someone’s addiction, the motivational interviewing technique is designed to help the person understand more about his substance abuse and why he needs to get help. These conversations can sometimes become emotionally charged. The goal is to encourage the person to talk about making a change, seeking addiction treatment, and staying on track for a successful recovery.

The approach is particularly useful as many people have mixed feelings about making a change in their life, even when they recognize it may be a change for the better. The motivational interviewing technique enables the individual to discuss this ambivalence, helping them to see their own reasons for resisting and for needing to make a change.

Basic Principles

The components of motivational interviewing are encompassed in the acronym OARS – Open-ended questions, Affirmations, and Reflections. An open-ended question is one that cannot be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” The answer becomes part of the overall discussion. An affirmation will recognize the individual’s strengths, encouraging him to use those strengths when seeking help for substance abuse.

A reflection demonstrates that the person asking the questions has been listening with intent. They will reflect on what they hear in the answers, giving the individual the opportunity to correct them if necessary. The question asker expresses empathy when doing so, connecting with the individual by making them feel heard and understood.

Motivational Interviewing Questions

Encouraging the individual to discuss their substance abuse and their need for treatment can be a matter of asking the right questions. It is important to note, though, that there aren’t any wrong answers on the individual’s part.

Motivational interviewing is all about empowering that person to take responsibility for their own actions. The goal is to have the individual talk about his own concerns, feelings, ideas, and plans, rather than to have someone else tell him how he should feel or what he should do.

Examples of questions that can be asked include:

  • Tell me about your concerns or difficulties related to your drug use.
  • Tell me a little about your drug use. What do you like most about the drugs you use?
  • What’s positive about these drugs for you? And what’s the other side?
  • What are your worries about using drugs?
  • Tell me what you’ve noticed about your drug use. How has it changed over time?
  • What things have you noticed that concern you, that you think could be problems, or might become problems?
  • What have other people told you about your drug use?
  • What do you think other people are worried about in regard to your drug use?
  • What makes you think that you may need to make a change in your drug use?
  • Tell me what concerns you about your drug use. Tell me what it has cost you. Tell me why you think you might need to make a change.
  • What would be the likely consequences if you continue to use drugs or alcohol?
  • What might be the negative consequences of giving up drugs?

This last question, in particular, will help the individual discuss what they fear about making a significant change in his life.

Addiction and Mental Health Support for Men

At PACE Recovery, we optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your addiction to drugs or alcohol and your mental health issues. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

The professionals at PACE understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

Family Systems Therapy in Addiction Treatment

Just as an individual’s addiction affects other family members, the interactions of those family members may have also have an impact on the individual’s addiction. Family systems therapy in addiction treatment addresses the interdependence, healthy or otherwise, of each member of the family.

The Importance of Family Members

Researchers emphasize the importance of involving family members in the treatment of addiction, recognizing that it can have a positive impact on client engagement as well as on psychiatric functioning and the potential for relapse. It’s been found that family discord, stressful parent-child interactions, or living with a partner who is addicted to drugs or alcohol can result in a substance use disorder in the individual experiencing these situations.

Understanding these factors, especially the importance of family member interactions, can enhance the effectiveness of addiction treatment. Family systems therapies work on the premise that changing the family interaction model through improved communications and a renewed connection through a sense of loving care can result in improved patterns of interaction. This can then lead to effective treatment for an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Family Systems Therapy

Family systems theory was developed by Dr. Murray Bowen, a psychiatrist, who included eight interlocking concepts based on his research. These concepts include topics such as differentiation of self, emotional cutoff, and sibling position that can impact an individual and their family members. The theory is essentially one of human behavior. It views the family as an emotional unit and describes the unit’s complex interactions.

Although people can feel distant or disconnected from their family, it is probably more feeling than fact, according to Dr. Bowen. A family’s nature is that the individual members are intensely connected emotionally. The connectedness and reactivity of each member of the family makes all the members interdependent. As a result, when one person’s functioning experiences a change, it is typically followed by reciprocal changes in the other members’ functioning.

Addiction and the Family System

Family systems therapy in addiction treatment can help the individual understand how his family has impacted him, as well as how his addiction has affected other members of his family. Dr. Bowen’s family systems perspective describes addiction as the “outcome of a system having exhausted its capacity to manage anxiety and stressors.”

Even though the individual who is addicted is the one who is “symptomatic,” the substance use disorder is viewed as a family symptom, as all of the significant members in the family system play a part in the way each one functions in relation to the others. When anxiety is elevated within the family, the symptom of addiction will erupt. In turn, the individual’s addiction will increase the level of anxiety in those family members who are dependent on that person. As Dr. Bowen stated, “The process of drinking to relieve anxiety, and increased family anxiety in response to drinking, can spiral into a functional collapse or become a chronic pattern.”

Focusing on the Challenges of Being Human

The family systems theory does not simply focus on what causes issues for one individual, but rather on the bigger picture of the patterns within the family system. The theory is concerned with the challenges of being human within these family relationships instead of being focused on a mental illness. There is no room within family systems therapy for seeing victims and villains in relationship networks.

The individual is invited to see the world through the lens of each family member within their system. This helps them to move beyond blame so they can see the relationship forces that have set each family member on their own paths. They will help them avoid the attempt to find fault and instead work toward a unique path that will enable them to move forward in a mature and healthier life.

Addiction and Mental Health Support for Men

At PACE Recovery, we optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your addiction to drugs or alcohol and your mental health issues. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

The professionals at PACE understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

Personality Disorder Treatment | Types of Personality Disorders

A personality disorder may exist when one or more personality traits becomes so inappropriate for the situation and so pronounced that they disrupt an individual’s ability to function on a daily basis. There are several different types of personality disorders, each with their own symptoms. Personality disorder treatment typically consists of therapies designed to address those symptoms.

Defining the Personality Disorder

Everyone has specific personality traits, those ways of thinking and reacting that make them who they are. These traits are usually relatively stable, particularly in adulthood. A personality disorder exists when these traits become rigid and maladaptive, impairing the individual’s ability to function at work or to interact appropriately with other people.

An individual with a personality disorder can experience significant distress because they are not able to adjust socially. In fact, their distress is one of the primary reasons they may seek personality disorder treatment.

A personality disorder will usually start to become evident in late adolescence to early adulthood. The individual’s symptoms will vary, depending on the type of disorder, as to their severity and in how long they persist. Some symptoms may even resolve themselves over time.

Approximately 10% of the general population has a personality disorder. There seem to be no clear distinctions in terms of socioeconomic class, race, or sex, although men outnumber women who are diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder by six to one. In clinical settings, women outnumber men who are diagnosed with borderline personality disorder by three to one.

Types of Personality Disorders

There are many types of personality disorders, with their own symptoms and behaviors. These are categorized into three different clusters:

  • Cluster A – Odd or eccentric behavior
  • Cluster B – Dramatic, erratic, or emotional behavior
  • Cluster C – Anxious, fearful behavior

Cluster A

Schizoid Personality Disorder – withdrawn, solitary, distant, emotionally cold, distant, absorbed with their own thoughts and feelings.

Paranoid Personality Disorder – interpreting others’ actions as demeaning or threatening; untrusting, unforgiving, and prone to anger or aggression.

Schizotypal Personality Disorder – odd or eccentric manners of speaking or dressing; outlandish or paranoid beliefs; difficulty forming relationships.

Cluster B

Antisocial Personality Disorder – ignoring normal rules of social behavior; impulsive, callous, and impulsive; a history of irresponsible behavior, aggression, and possibly even violent relationships.

Borderline Personality Disorder – unstable in a number of areas, including mood, behavior, relationships, and self-image.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder – an exaggerated sense of self-importance, seeking constant attention; prone to extreme mood swings between insecurity and self-admiration.

Cluster C

Avoidant Personality Disorder – hypersensitive to rejection, excessive social discomfort and fear of criticism; very hurt by others’ disapproval.

Dependent Personality Disorder – exhibiting a pattern of submissive and dependent behavior, relying on others to make their decisions for them; requiring excessive reassurance and easily hurt by criticism with a strong fear of rejection.

Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorder – striving for perfection, never satisfied with their achievements; orderly and methodical but inflexible and unable to adapt to changing situations.

Personality Disorder Treatment

Psychosocial therapies are the most effective treatment for these disorders. When an individual is seeking treatment and is motivated to change, both individual and group psychotherapy can be effective in addressing the disorder. Medications may help control specific symptoms in certain cases, to control anxiety or depression, for example. However, the personality disorders themselves are typically not responsive to drugs.

Complicating treatment options are disorders that may co-occur, such as substance use disorders, eating disorders, depressive disorders, or anxiety. These conditions will need to be treated together to address the symptoms of each.

The first step in personality disorder treatment is to help the individual recognize that their issues are not caused by anything external, but rather by their own internal traits. Then it is necessary to reduce the distress caused by the disorder.

The mental health professional will work with the individual to help decrease the behaviors that are considered to be socially undesirable and that keep them from being able to adapt to social settings appropriately. Therapy can also aid in modifying the personality traits that are causing problems for the individual and for those around them.

Mental Health Treatment for Men at PACE

If you are experiencing personality disorder symptoms, it is time to reach out to the professionals at PACE Recovery. We optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your mental health and any substance use issues you may also have. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

At PACE, we understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

Male Body Dysmorphia | Body Dysmorphia Symptoms

It’s natural to want to look your best whenever you can. It’s also understandable when you have something you just don’t like about the way you look. When you look in the mirror, you may think “I wish I had curly hair” or “I wish I had straighter hair.” When you look in the mirror several times an hour and are obsessed about what you perceive as an imperfection, you may have male body dysmorphia.

Body Dysmorphic Disorder

A body image disorder, body dysmorphia is characterized by constant and intrusive preoccupation with a slight defect, or an imagined defect, in your appearance. People who have the disorder usually find fault with their skin, hair, nose, stomach, or chest. Even though the imperfection, if it exists, is minor, the individual with body dysmorphia will consider it to be prominent and significant, which will cause them severe emotional distress and challenges with functioning on a daily basis.

People who have body dysmorphic disorder think about their flaws for hours every day and cannot control their negative thoughts about themselves. They won’t believe anyone who tells them they look fine. They live in constant fear that others will notice what they perceive to be their physical flaw.

Under-Recognized and Under-Diagnosed

Body dysmorphia occurs in about 2.5% of males in the US and 2.2% of females. The disorder can affect people of any race, ethnicity, socioeconomic class, and almost any age. Two-thirds of individuals diagnosed with body dysmorphic disorder experience the onset of the disorder before the age of 18.

However, scientific research studies have shown that the disorder is under-recognized and under-diagnosed. Individuals who have male body dysmorphia may not want to talk about their body image concerns, even when the disorder has affected them to the point that it is the reason that they seek mental health treatment.

One study revealed some of the explanations individuals with the disorder offer about why they are hesitant to speak up about it. The study participants said they were too embarrassed, were afraid of being judged negatively, didn’t know there was a treatment for the disorder, didn’t think it was a big problem or didn’t want to know the disorder was a problem, and believed that they were the only ones who had the disorder.

Body Dysmorphia Symptoms

Most people with body dysmorphic disorder perform a compulsive or repetitive behavior in an attempt to hide their flaws. They also constantly try to improve their flaws, even though any relief they find will be temporary. Other symptoms include constantly checking mirrors or avoiding mirrors, camouflaging the area thought to be imperfect with clothing or hats, excessive grooming, excessive exercise, and excessively changing clothes.

Muscle Dysmorphia

A subclass of male body dysmorphia is muscle dysmorphia, which primarily affects men. Even though the individual probably has a build that’s average or more muscular than average, they perceive themselves as less muscular and smaller than they are in reality. Men who lift weights or participates in bodybuilding competitions are more commonly affected by this disorder.

Men with muscle dysmorphia are typically considered to be very muscular by other people, since they routinely engage in activities that build muscles. However, the men themselves will see their bodies as lacking in muscle and even small in comparison with others. A man with this disorder will constantly lift weights, use anabolic steroids or other drugs to enhance their performance, skip social activities so they can spend more time exercising, or avoid social situations that will draw attention to their body, such as swimming.  

An eating disorder called orthorexia is also associated with this type of male body dysmorphia. Orthorexia is an obsession with eating healthy foods. These individuals will eat very regimented diets, becoming fixated on choosing the perfect foods to the extent that it will disrupt other areas of their lives.

Mood Disorder Treatment for Men at PACE

If you are experiencing symptoms of male body dysmorphia, it is time to reach out to the professionals at PACE Recovery. Asking for help is a sign of strength and is the first step toward improved mental and physical health. We optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your mental health and any substance use issues you may also have. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

At PACE, we understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

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