988: Call the Suicide Prevention Hotline

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline has been a resource for people struggling with mental health crises for over fifteen years. Previously, the only way to contact the lifeline was by dialing their 1-800 number. Because this phone number was so long, therapists often encouraged those with severe mental illnesses to program the number into their phone or keep a card on hand to reference. However, as of July 16, 2022, those in distress can now call the suicide prevention hotline, now known as the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, by dialing 988. 

Suicide Prevention Hotline Services

The Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is a resource that anyone struggling with a mental health concern can use. Despite having “suicide” in the name, this hotline offers more than suicide prevention. In fact, according to their website, the lifeline can help with any type of emotional distress including:

  • Depressive or anxious thoughts
  • Side effects of abuse
  • Relationship stress
  • Gender and sexual identity
  • Substance misuse
  • Thoughts of suicide or self-harm

These trained counselors are available 24/7, so people can call whenever they are dealing with an overwhelming event.

Developing the 988 Number

The suicide hotline created this new number to make crisis services accessible to a wider audience. Much like how people recognize 911 as the number for physical emergencies, the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline hopes 988 will become a recognized standard for mental health situations. Alongside this change, they are also working to better serve minority and disabled populations. This includes the Deaf community, LGBTQ+ people, veterans, indigenous populations, and Spanish-speaking communities. 

How the Suicide Hotline Works

When someone dials 988, the service routes the call to a local crisis center, where a trained counselor answers the phone. This ensures the person calling has access to local resources that can help them both during and after the call. The counselor will talk the caller through their situation, provide immediate support, and connect them to resources when appropriate. These calls are confidential, meaning counselors will not share information without the consent of the caller. The only exception to this is if a person is in immediate danger and emergency services are necessary. However, these types of situations only account for less than 2% of calls. 

Mental Health Support Beyond Crisis Lines

The Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is a great resource for anyone managing a serious mental illness. However, this doesn’t replace a need for counseling or residential treatment. Frequently calling the lifeline is an indication that a person’s mental illness is severely interfering with their life. This person likely requires more intensive support. 

At PACE Recovery Center, we offer residential and outpatient mental health support for young men with complex mental health diagnoses. We treat mood disorders, trauma symptoms, anxiety disorders, and personality disorders through a combination of evidence-based therapeutic interventions. Our Southern California center provides a break from the busyness of life for adolescent men. This helps them recover from their mental illness in a safe, comfortable environment. If you know of a young man who would benefit from intensive treatment for a mental health issue, contact us today.

Is Crying Good for You?

Crying is a natural response to the different emotions that humans experience. Whether it’s anger, sadness, happiness, or grief, any emotion can result in shedding a few tears. Men may be tempted to hold back their feelings in an effort to maintain a certain image, but this can do more harm than you might think. In fact, crying can be good for you both physically and mentally. 

Why Do We Cry?

In infants and small children, tears usually signify a physical need or pain that they are unable to communicate through words. However, crying in adulthood has perplexed researchers for centuries. Researchers offer multiple explanations for this phenomenon.

A 2013 study argues that tears are often indicative of a need for support. This theory is consistent with current understandings of why infants cry as well. In adulthood, crying signals that a person has an unmet need or feels helpless. For example, someone who experiences a natural disaster may sob over the loss of their home or belongings. This isn’t necessarily related to the physical loss but could be a feeling of helplessness and uncertainty about the future. 

Other researchers view crying as an effective self-soothing technique. A 2014 study argues that when a person allows themselves to feel emotions in this way, they experience mood improvement and relief. This study focuses more on the inward effects of this act as opposed to it expressing an unmet need. However, both of these articles support the idea that tears serve a greater purpose and can be good for you. 

Benefits of Crying

Crying can have both physical and psychological benefits including:

  • Emotion Regulation: This releases built-up emotions, reducing stress and anxiety about the situation.
  • Increasing Support: Because crying can signal a need for help, this provides an opportunity for others to come alongside the person in distress to support them.
  • Releasing Toxins and Hormones: Some researchers argue that emotional tears are connected to hormones and toxins, so they can help regulate these imbalances. They can also release endorphins which improve mood.
  • Clearing Eye Debris: Pollen, dander, and other particles can get caught in an eye and damage the cornea if they aren’t cleared. Tears are the body’s way of keeping a person’s eyes clean and protected.

Allowing Yourself to Cry

Despite what popular culture may portray, crying is not a sign of weakness. It’s actually the body’s natural response to unexpected or difficult circumstances. There are areas in every person’s life that are outside of their control and difficult to manage. Tears signify a recognition that this is a bigger issue that needs more support. 

As a young man, you may feel like you can’t allow yourself to let go and cry, but remember that this is actually a healthy and normal reaction. Tears help release built-up emotions and can relieve stress. And while this is often good for you, there are also times when this signifies a need for more support. If this happens multiple times per day or for days at a time, it’s time to seek professional care.

Mental Health Support at PACE Recovery Center

Tears in response to difficult situations, pain, or grief are usually nothing to be concerned about. However, if you’re unable to control your emotions, this could be a sign of a deeper issue. Depression and anxiety can create high levels of distress, resulting in uncontrollable tears. 

At PACE Recovery Center, we offer both residential and outpatient mental health treatment. We work with young men to develop coping skills to manage the emotions they are feeling. Our treatment model emphasizes expressing feelings in a healthy way and processing through difficult life circumstances. We understand the healing power of crying and work with young men to foster a positive view of their emotions. If you or a young man you know would benefit from intensive mental health support, contact our Southern California center today.

Signs of a Psychotic Break from Marijuana

Marijuana use has become increasingly more common amongst teens and young adults with the legalization of cannabis in multiple states. Many assume this substance is safe for consumption, but there are a number of negative effects for those who frequently use or misuse marijuana. Included in the list of possible side effects is psychosis. However, knowing the signs to look out for can help someone who is experiencing a psychotic break from marijuana use get the support and treatment they need. 

Effects of Marijuana Use

Cannabis use affects both the mind and body of the person using the substance. While some effects only last for short periods of time, others can have long-term consequences. Immediate effects include:

  • Altered senses (sounds, visual effects, sensitivity to touch)
  • Impaired movement and thought processing
  • Challenges with memory and decision making
  • Hallucinations, delusions

Long-term use can cause symptoms such as:

  • Lasting cognitive impairment
  • Difficulty learning new information
  • Breathing problems
  • Increased heart rate
  • Signs of schizophrenia, paranoia, or hallucinations

Bipolar Disorder and Marijuana

According to a 2017 research analysis, those with bipolar disorder have some of the highest rates of marijuana use among those with mental illnesses. In fact, some studies reviewed in this report note that almost 10% of people with bipolar have a cannabis use disorder. Those with this mental illness may be more likely to use the substance to help regulate their emotions, but it often has the opposite effect. The same research analysis reports that marijuana use can increase the intensity and duration of manic episodes and create rapid cycling between manic and depressive episodes. The substance can also increase suicidal ideation and symptoms of psychosis, resulting in a psychotic break.

What is a Psychotic Break?

A psychotic break occurs when someone loses touch with reality. This usually includes hallucinations, delusions, and paranoia. In the mental health field, professionals refer to this as psychosis or a psychotic episode. This can be a warning sign that a person could develop schizophrenia in the future, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that will happen. In fact, less than one percent of U.S. adults develop schizophrenia, according to the National Institute of Mental Health. Rather, it’s more common that people will exhibit temporary symptoms of psychosis that can be managed through treatment and lifestyle changes. 

Signs of a Psychotic Break from Marijuana Use

Psychosis that comes as a result of marijuana use has similar characteristics to other types of psychotic breaks. Early signs of this include:

  • Insomnia
  • Seeing shadows or objects that others don’t
  • Hearing voices or ringing in the ears
  • Smelling or tasting things that others can’t
  • Difficulty thinking clearly

A full psychotic break will involve both hallucinations and delusions. Hallucinations occur when a person hears, sees, or feels something that isn’t present in reality. Delusions are beliefs that are either untrue, irrational, or based on an altered perception of reality. This can include a person believing they have special powers, are being controlled by external forces, or are on a special type of mission.

Treating Psychosis Due to Marijuana Use

Cannabis use increases the chances that someone will experience a psychotic episode, and those with bipolar disorder are at an even greater risk. At PACE Recovery Center, we specialize in treating young men who are managing substance use and mental health issues. Psychosis can be a terrifying experience, especially when people aren’t sure what’s going on. We help the gentlemen in our program develop coping skills for symptoms they are experiencing while addressing underlying diagnoses contributing to their condition. Our multiple levels of treatment provide support in all stages of recovery. If you or a young man you know would benefit from an integrative treatment program, contact us today. 

Addiction vs. Dependence

Misusing drugs or alcohol frequently results in a person developing a dependence on or addiction to the substance. When providers discuss substance use, these are two commonly used terms. Yet very few people understand the difference between substance dependence and addiction. To further complicate this, people and institutions may use the terms interchangeably. That’s why learning the proper terminology is an important part of the recovery process. Understanding the difference between dependence and addiction empowers sufferers and loved ones alike by promoting clear communication and understanding of addiction recovery. 

What is Substance Dependence?

Someone who is dependent on alcohol or drugs has a significant physical response to substances. Those who have developed a dependence have a high tolerance for drugs or alcohol and often experience withdrawal symptoms if they abruptly stop using. 

Sometimes, people develop this through legal use of the drug. They could have been prescribed a medication for medical or mental health reasons. Over time, their body adjusts to the dosage, requiring more of the prescription to see its effects. As a result, their physician increases the dose, and the person relies more heavily on it. If this occurs, providers will taper a person off of the medication to prevent withdrawal symptoms. 

The Difference Between Addiction and Dependence

While dependence on a substance doesn’t necessarily mean someone has an addiction, there is an overlap between the two. What differentiates one from the other is how the substance impacts a person’s daily life and functioning. Here are some of the key differences between dependence and addiction:

  1. A person can be physically dependent on a substance but not addicted to it. Dependence on medication simply means that a person’s body requires it to function normally. This is strictly a physical need and usually does not affect someone psychologically.
  2. Addiction adds a psychological and behavioral component to substance use. When a person is addicted to something, there are both physical and psychological concerns. That’s why it’s important that treatment models are holistic and address all components of substance use disorders.

While dependence isn’t the same as an addiction, it’s often an indication that a person is more likely to develop a substance use disorder in the near future. 

Treatment for Addiction and Substance Dependence

Dependence alone doesn’t necessitate treatment, but it can be a warning sign of future substance use issues. Because of this, those who are reliant on a drug should be aware of this potential. Once someone reaches the point of addiction, treatment must encompass more than simply removing drugs or alcohol from a person’s system. Substance use disorders are a combination of emotional, physical, and social factors. As a result, those who are struggling require treatment that addresses all of these concerns. A combination of group and individual therapy helps people develop coping skills to combat their cravings while processing underlying issues that contribute to substance misuse. Through holistic treatment, those with a substance use disorder learn to better manage the physical and emotional effects of their disease.

Comprehensive Addiction Treatment at PACE

At PACE Recovery Center, we help young men manage symptoms of dependence while navigating the challenges of addiction. Our residential treatment program provides a space for residents to learn the life skills they need to combat their substance use disorder and live independently. We know that addiction often occurs alongside another mental health issue, so we offer comprehensive dual diagnosis treatment for young men who struggle with co-occurring disorders. If you or a young man you know are struggling with a substance use disorder, contact our California treatment center to learn more about our treatment options.

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