The Truth About Self-Harm Among Young Men

Although self-harm behaviors are typically associated with girls and young women, boys and young men also experience self-injury in significant numbers. In fact, the effects can be even more devastating in males. The truth about self-harm among young men is important to uncover, particularly during Self-Harm Awareness Month.

Emotional Distress in Young Adult Men

Self-harm is not a mental illness itself, but self-harm behaviors indicate a need for better coping skills. These behaviors can include cutting, burning, or hair pulling. When someone hurts themselves on purpose, it is a sign of emotional distress. Self-harm may be associated with a mental illness such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, borderline personality disorder, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The incidence of self-harm is more prevalent in teenagers and young adults, although anyone of any age can engage in self-injury. People at the highest risk are those who have experienced neglect, abuse, or trauma.

Self-Harm Among Young Men

The image of cutting or other self-harm behaviors tends to be associated with young white females. However, between 35 and 50 percent of self-injurers are male. The number has been difficult to pinpoint because male self-injuries are probably underreported or misrepresented. While females are more likely to engage in cutting, males are more prone to bruise themselves, have others hurt them, or hurt themselves while using drugs or alcohol.

The reasons behind the behaviors differ somewhat between females and males also. Research has found that self-injury is associated with depression and anxiety in similar ways for both males and females. Differences lie in areas such as spirituality concerns, borderline personality disorder symptoms, drug use, and sexual assault, which are primarily associated with females, and substance use disorder, associated more with males.

Research has also found an association between self-harm behaviors and physical aggression among males. Females who engage in self-harm behaviors may exhibit anger, hostility, and verbal aggression, but not necessarily physical aggression.

Self-Harm and Suicide

The act of self-harm is not always a suicide attempt, but the actions and mental status of young men who engage in these behaviors may be a strong predictor of later suicide attempts. One study of 1,466 students at colleges in the US over a three-year period found that those individuals who self-injured at the beginning of the study and who did not report suicidal thoughts or plans at the time, but then engaged in 20 or more self-injuring behaviors, were 3.4 times more likely to have attempted suicide by the end of the study.

Men commit suicide at higher rates than women. In 2018, the suicide rate among men was 3.7 times higher than among women. The total suicide rate in the US has increased 35% from 1999 to 2018.

Men and Treatment for Self-Harm

One of the reasons that self-harm may be more typically identified with women than with men is that men are less willing to report their behavior or to seek treatment for it. The truth about self-harm among young men is that treatment is critical to address their mental health and physical health, to help them develop healthier coping skills, and to reduce the likelihood of suicide.

Research studies regarding self-harm and gender have been limited, as few have examined clinical populations. Females significantly outnumber males in clinical populations, as males feel more of a stigma around seeking mental health treatment in general and treatment for self-harm in particular.

In clinical studies, it has been found that females report an earlier age of onset than males, but males report higher self-injury frequency each day with greater pain intensity. Men have also reported a lower intensity of emotions before and after they self-harm.

Help for Young Men at PACE

Contrary to what many people may believe, asking for help is actually a sign of strength. If you have been engaging in self-harm behaviors, particularly if you are also dealing with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, 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 substance use issues. 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.

Receiving a Mental Health Diagnosis in Adulthood

You or your loved ones may have recognized the symptoms of a mental health concern, so you made the right choice by seeking a diagnosis for your struggles. Now you need to consider the impact of receiving a mental health diagnosis in adulthood, including the range of emotions you might be experiencing now. Understanding how mental health affects men, as well as understanding how to overcome the stigma of seeking treatment, is critical for you. The important thing to keep in mind is that you are not alone and help is available.

Diagnosis in Adulthood

The onset of most mental health disorders usually happens during the first three decades of life. Mood, anxiety, and substance use disorders, along with psychotic disorders, often emerge during adolescence and early adulthood; however, effective treatment is usually not sought until many years later. Intervention and treatment during the early stages of the mental health disorder may help reduce the severity and/or the persistence of the primary disorder and help prevent secondary disorders that may result.

Mental Health Stigmas for Men

Although diagnosis and treatment is critical for mental health in adulthood, many men do not seek help. There is a stigma attached to a mental health diagnosis and men tend to feel that stigma even more than women. A number of studies have been done on the effects of receiving a mental health diagnosis for men. Although men experience a higher rate of suicide, they are much less likely to seek out treatment for mental health or substance use disorders.

The World Health Organization, in a 2018 report, emphasized that cultural stigma around mental health issues is one of the chief obstacles for people admitting they are struggling and for them to seek help. In a separate study of 360 respondents with direct experience with depression or suicidal thoughts, published in the Community Mental Health Journal, more males than females said they would be embarrassed to seek formal treatment for their depression.

Major Mental Health Disorders Affecting Men

Seeking treatment after receiving a mental health diagnosis in adulthood is critical, for both mental health and physical health in men. The Mental Health Association (MHA) has identified five major mental health problems affecting men, including:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Psychosis and Schizophrenia
  • Eating Disorders

In addition, researchers found that the suicide rate among men in the US is about four times higher than that for women. Although women are more likely to attempt suicide, men are more likely to succeed in their attempts. Almost 31% of men have suffered from a period of depression at some point in their life. At least 9% of men in the US have feelings of depression or anxiety daily. One in three men have taken medication because of their feelings. Only one in four have spoken to a mental health professional.

Mental Health’s Effects on Adults

The National Alliance on Mental Health (NAMI) states that 1 in 5 adults experienced a mental illness in 2019, with 1 in 20 experiencing a serious mental illness. Mental health issues in adults can create other issues, such as with physical health, career and family, and substance use.

Individuals diagnosed with depression have a 40% higher risk of developing cardiovascular and metabolic diseases than the general population. The rate of unemployment is higher among adults in the US who have mental illness, as compared to those who do not. Of those adults who have been diagnosed with a mental illness, 18.4% also experience a substance use disorder.

Other findings include the fact that alcohol dependence is twice as high in men than in women. Also, men are more than three times as likely to be diagnosed with antisocial personality disorders than women. When a man develops a substance use disorder and has received a mental health diagnosis, the diagnosis is referred to as co-occurring disorders. Overcoming the stigma of mental health and substance use treatment is critically important for those with this dual diagnosis.

Dual Diagnosis Support for Men

At PACE Recovery, we optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your mental health and substance use 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.

Eating Disorders Among Young Men | National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

February 22-28 is National Eating Disorders Awareness Week. Although eating disorders are typically associated with women, eating disorders among young men are also a serious concern. Eating disorders can result in major issues that can affect both the individual’s mental and physical health.

Spotlight on Eating Disorders

National Eating Disorders Awareness Week is designed to shine the spotlight on eating disorders by providing education, spreading a message of hope, and providing lifesaving resources to those who need them the most. This year’s message invites “every body to have a seat at the table.” One goal of the designated week of awareness is to build a movement that will support those affected by eating disorders, including men.

Types of Eating Disorders

Eating disorders are serious and often fatal illnesses that are associated with severe disturbances in an individual’s eating behaviors and related thoughts and emotions. Common eating disorders include anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge-eating disorder.

When someone sees themselves as overweight even when they are dangerously underweight, they have anorexia nervosa. Individuals with anorexia nervosa severely restrict the amount of food they eat, often exercise excessively, weigh themselves repeatedly, and/or may force themselves to vomit or use laxatives to lose weight. People with anorexia nervosa experience the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder. Some die from complications associated with starvation. Others die of suicide.

An individual who has recurrent and frequent episodes of eating unusually large amounts of food and feeling a lack of control over these episodes has bulimia nervosa. Their episodes of binge-eating are followed by forced vomiting, excessive use of laxatives or diuretics, fasting, excessive exercise, or a combination, as they try to compensate for their overeating. People with bulimia nervosa can be underweight, normal weight, or overweight.

When a person has lost control over their eating, they have binge-eating disorder. Unlike bulimia nervosa, their binge-eating episodes are not followed by purging, excessive exercise, or fasting, so people with binge-eating disorder often are overweight or obese. Binge-eating disorder is the most common of the eating disorders in the US.

Eating Disorders and Men

The stereotype around eating disorders is that they usually affect women. However, one in three people struggling with an eating disorder is male. Binge eating, purging, laxative abuse, and weight loss fasting are almost as common in men as in women. In the US, eating disorders will affect 10 million men during their lives. Given the stereotype and the cultural bias, though, men are less likely to seek treatment.

Eating disorder prevalence among men and boys is such that males make up a significant percentage of those diagnosed with the most common disorders:

  • Anorexia Nervosa – 25%
  • Binge Eating Disorder – 36%
  • Bulimia Nervosa – 25%

In addition, men with eating disorders often suffer from comorbid conditions such as anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders.

Body Image Differences

Eating disorders among young men often concern their image of their own body. The way that males view their bodies is typically different than body image for women. In men, body image may involve muscularity, as muscle-enhancing goals and behaviors are common among young men and boys. The male population that may have an elevated risk of developing an eating disorders include athletes as well as racial, ethnic, sexual, and gender minorities.

Gender-Specific Treatment for Men with Eating Disorders

Men and boys are typically undiagnosed or under-diagnosed and they may fear the ramifications of seeking help for their disorder. Because of the stereotype, the social stigma, and different needs and dynamics, treatment for eating disorders among young men should be gender-sensitive and gender-specific.

Many of the assessment tests are filled with language geared toward women and girls, which has also led to misconceptions about the nature of these disorders in males. When they do seek treatment, men and boys can feel out of place when the program is predominantly female. An all-male treatment environment is more conducive to the specific needs of men with eating disorders.

Support for Men at PACE Recovery

Eating disorders can negatively impact your physical and mental health and may lead to an addiction to drugs or alcohol. At PACE Recovery, we offer gender-specific treatment options to optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your addiction to drugs or alcohol and 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.

Addressing Complex Childhood Trauma After Adoption

You’ve adopted a child and are ready to make them part of your family. You want to provide a nurturing home, realizing that may have been something that was missing from the child’s life previously. When your adopted child shows signs of trauma, you want to know the best way to help them and to help your family as a unit. Addressing complex childhood trauma after adoption can be challenging but is necessary to guide all members of your family through the healing process.

Childhood Trauma

Some stress in a child’s life can actually help them develop new skills and help their brain to grow. For example, they may be nervous about riding a bike without training wheels for the first time or going to a new school. However, there can be traumatic events in the child’s life that cause their bodies, brains, and nervous systems to adapt in an effort to protect them.

Traumatic events in a child’s life can include neglect, abuse, poverty, separation, bullying, witnessing violence, or erratic parental behavior that is affected by addiction or mental illness. Being in the child welfare system, being placed in foster care, or being placed with an adoptive family can become another traumatic event for a child.

Trauma can result from a stressful experience that overwhelms the child’s natural ability to cope. Just as in adults, the events can cause a “fight, flight, or freeze” response. The trauma can result in physical changes to the body, including a faster heart rate and higher blood pressure. It can also cause changes in how the brain perceives and responds to the world, even when that world now involves a loving father reaching out to include the child in their new family.

Your Child’s Behavior

It can be unsettling and frustrating as a parent when your child “acts out.” It is important to remember that the child’s trauma could result in distrusting or disobeying any adults, feeling disconnected from reality, and increased aggression. Children who are in danger engage in these behaviors to protect themselves. Even after they are in a safer environment, living with a loving adoptive family, their brains won’t necessarily recognize that the danger has passed.

Your child’s behavior may be a result of that learned response to stress. It may take time for the child’s brain and body to learn how to respond in more appropriate ways when they are in a new, safe environment. They will need to learn that they can relax and that their “fight or flight” response is no longer necessary.

Addressing Trauma After Adoption

Children are resilient. With your help as their adoptive father, they can recover from complex childhood trauma. Learn as much as you can about any trauma they may have experienced. Then take the following steps to address the trauma, to help everyone heal.

Identify Trauma Triggers. Be aware of whether something you say or do, or something in your home that may seem harmless, could actually be triggering your child’s trauma reactions. Watch for patterns of behavior or reactions and note what seems to make your child more anxious or results in an outburst. Take care to help your child avoid these triggers until you are able to help them process their trauma and heal.

Be available, emotionally and physically. While it may be difficult, given the child’s potentially aggressive behavior, let them know you are there for them by giving them attention, encouragement, and comfort. You may need to spend extra time with your adopted child as a family. Your child may just need a loving, trusting hug.

Respond but don’t react. Do what you can to calm your child by lowering your voice, acknowledging your child’s feelings, and being honest and reassuring. Don’t take your child’s behavior personally. Help your child find words and more acceptable methods of expressing their feelings. A professional counselor can help with this step as well.

Take the time to listen to your child. Don’t force your child to talk about their experiences but when they are ready to express their feelings, give them your focused attention. Help them process their stress by encouraging them to practice slow breathing, listen to calming music, or repeat positive statements such as “I am safe now.” Most importantly, be patient as your child works through the changes in their life and realizes they are in a secure, loving environment now.

Encourage your child’s self-esteem. When your child has experienced complex childhood trauma, they can have difficulties with their self image as well. You can work with your child to help them to have more positive experiences that will increase their resilience. They can participate in school activities, sports groups, volunteer efforts, and other experiences that will help them feel better about themselves.

Secondary Traumatic Stress

When you are parenting a child who has experienced complex childhood trauma, it can put a strain on your relationship with the child, your relationship with other family members, and on your own physical and mental health. When you are affected in this way by someone else’s trauma, you may be experiencing secondary trauma.

You may need help yourself, to work through the effects of secondary traumatic stress. Self-care, skills training, social support, mindfulness and other stress reducing activities, as well as professional counseling and therapy can be beneficial to you and your family. Strategies such as psychotherapy can help ensure your well-being and provide the resources you need to work with your adopted child and their complex trauma.

Specialists in Adoption-Related Addiction Treatment

When you’re the father of an adopted child who is struggling, healing is possible for you and your family. You are not alone. You have resources available to you, such as the adoption-related treatment program at PACE Recovery. Our unique adoption-specific program can facilitate healing and healthy, productive discussions around adoption, attachment styles, and treatment for mental health issues or substance use.

Today, please contact us to learn more about our mental and behavioral health specialized services for parents of adopted children. Call the PACE Recovery Center team at 800-526-1851 to learn how we can help you or a loved one heal and lead a healthy life in recovery.

The Relationship Between Addiction and Bipolar Disorder

addiction and bipolar disorder

Substance use disorders and mental health issues are often intertwined. One may lead to the other or one may significantly impact the other. There is a relationship between addiction and bipolar disorder that can lead to serious consequences if both conditions are not properly treated.

Bipolar Disorder

Everyone has ups and downs at some point in their lives. You may feel happy and then something might happen that will make you sad or angry. These types of mood swings are normal and typically don’t affect you for extended periods of time. However, bipolar disorder causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, and can impact your ability to function for months at a time. In years past, bipolar disorder was also known as manic-depressive illness; it is a condition with potentially severe symptoms.

When bipolar disorder is not treated, it can result in poor job performance, damaged relationships, and even suicide. When the disorder is treated appropriately, people who have it can lead full and productive lives. There are approximately 5.7 million adults in the US – about 2.6 percent of the population – who have been diagnosed with the disorder.

Addiction and Bipolar Disorder

Substance use disorders are common among people who have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. In fact, some researchers have found that addiction and bipolar disorder are so often diagnosed together (a phenomenon known as comorbidity) that it may almost be regarded as the norm. The relationship between addiction and bipolar disorder is something of a vicious cycle.

Addiction to alcohol has been found to be most prevalent (42%) among individuals with substance use disorders, followed by those who use cannabis (20%), and those who use other illicit drugs, such as opioids (17%). Although bipolar disorder is diagnosed equally in males and females, males have higher rates of lifetime substance use disorders.

Addiction to drugs or alcohol has also been found to be one of the causes of bipolar disorder. People who have had no prior history with bipolar disorder have been known to develop it after years of substance abuse. Extended and excessive use of drugs or alcohol rewires parts of the brain and can severely affect mood and behavior.

Likewise, people who have bipolar disorder are seven times more likely to develop a substance use disorder. Over half of the individuals diagnosed with bipolar had a substance abuse issue at some point in their life.

Worsening Symptoms

For someone with bipolar disorder who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, the mood swings associated with the disorder can become severe. In addition, individuals diagnosed with both disorders experience a higher number of poor judgment decisions, longer episodes of emotional instability, and an increased number of suicide attempts. Their worsening emotional swings could include severe irritability and hostility toward those around them.

Diagnosis Challenges

The relationship between addiction and bipolar disorder is so closely linked that it can be difficult to diagnose co-occurring bipolar disorder and substance use disorder. Bipolar disorder alone has multiple different subtypes and varied presentations. Many patients are incorrectly diagnosed with depression alone.

When someone is addicted to central nervous system stimulants such as cocaine and amphetamines, it can lead to a sense of euphoria along with an increased energy level. These symptoms are very similar to those in an individual experiencing mania and hypomania.

On the other hand, misuse of alcohol and benzodiazepines can imitate depressive symptoms. When someone who is addicted is experiencing withdrawal, those symptoms can also be very similar to the depressed or mixed phases of bipolar disorder.

Treatment

Not only is diagnosis sometimes difficult for people with addiction and bipolar disorder but finding effective treatment can often be just as challenging. The two co-occurring disorders can result in devastating consequences, including social and economic issues, making treatment for both even more critical. Treatment should integrate medication management, cognitive and behavioral therapies, and a continuity of care that will help ensure both disorders are treated together successfully.

Dual Diagnosis 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 mental health issues, such as bipolar disorder. 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.

Alcohol Consumption by Generation

alcohol consumption by generation

Trends tend to shift with each generation, and that includes drinking habits. External circumstances can impact decisions on a generational level, as can the attitudes of the day. Social media has a significant influence on younger generations especially. The trends of alcohol consumption by generation are no different; they are unique to those considered to be Gen Z, Millennials, and Baby Boomers, as well Gen X and older consumers.

Six Generations

In 2021, there are six living generations, each with distinctly different characteristics. Of course, the generalized traits of each generation are just that – a profile based on how they tend to act, eat, and drink. A generation is defined roughly every 18 years, although some spans are a bit shorter.

The youngest generation today is called Generation Alpha. They were born between 2010 and the current date. Generation Z was born between 1996 and 2009; Millennials (or Gen Y) were born between 1977 and 1995; Generation X was born between 1965 and 1976; Baby Boomers were born between 1946 and 1964; and the oldest generation alive today, the Silent Generation, was born before 1945.

The Younger Generation & the Social Media Effect

Some studies have found that the younger generations, particularly the Millennials and GenZers, are drinking less than their older counterparts. This is due in part to the fact that they fear what will happen when they lose control when drinking and how their actions will appear on social media platforms such as Snapchat, Facebook, and Instagram.

These younger generations are concerned about their health as well, but are mainly influenced by a wider cultural shift that younger people have accepted as normal: that of being watched on social media. As a result, the sales of non-alcoholic beer and cocktails are on the rise.

In early 2019, it was reported that the sales of non-alcoholic beer have grown by 3.9% on average for the past five years, while beer sales overall have remained mostly flat. Non-alcoholic brews are now the fastest-growing segment in the beer industry.

Younger Generations Drinking Less

A 2018 report prepared by Berenberg Research found that GenZers around the world, along with their millennial counterparts, are drinking less than older generations did at their ages. The report also found that the Gen Z generation was drinking over 20% less per capita than millennials, and that the millennials were drinking less than Baby Boomers and the Gen X generation did at the same age.

The report also found that 64% of those respondents in Gen Z said they expected to drink alcohol less frequently when they grow older than the older generations do now. They cite health concerns, as well as concerns about hangovers and worries over how they will be judged when they drink.

A Different Type of Alcohol

The Berenberg Research report also found that members of Gen Z prefer spirits such as vodka or gin over wine or beer. That makes Gen Z the first generation of note to prefer other types of alcoholic drinks to beer. According to the researchers, the younger generations appear to appreciate the perceived quality of other options. They see beer, especially that produced by larger, national brands, as inauthentic and unappealing.

Baby Boomer Generation Trends

Contrasting with the younger generations, the baby boomers tend to enjoy their alcohol consumption much more than the generation that precedes them. Researchers have found a steady increase in alcohol use and binge drinking in the generation that is mostly comprised of individuals in the 65-plus demographic. It appears that many in the baby boomer generation have embraced the mistaken notion that moderate drinking is good for them.

There has also been an increase in alcohol use disorder, indicating mild, moderate, and severe abuse of alcohol. Binge drinking, which for men means consuming five or more drink in about two hours, has increased from 12.5 percent to 14.9 percent among the baby boomers, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). Binge drinking accounts for about half of the 88,000 deaths caused by excessive drinking in the US annually.

COVID Increases by Generation

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, alcohol sales and consumption has increased significantly across all generations. In a study published in September 2020, a 54% increase in national sales of alcohol for the week ending March 21, 2020, was reported, as compared with 1 year before. Additionally, alcohol was consumed one day per month more by three out of four adults on average. The mean age of participants in the study was 56.6, with over half of the total participants in the 30-59 age range.

The trend is disturbing and could lead to dangerous consequences. In addition to the negative health implications of alcohol consumption itself, excessive alcohol use may also lead to or worsen mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression, which may also be increasing because of the pandemic itself.

Gender-Specific Addiction and Mental Health Treatment

One of the unfortunate outcomes of the challenges of 2020 is a significant rise in drug and alcohol misuse. Additionally, more people than ever are battling anxiety and depression. If you are struggling with substance abuse or mental illness, please contact PACE Recovery Center to learn more about our programs and services. We offer gender-specific treatment for men who have a desire to turn their life around. Recovery is possible, and we can help.

Everyday Mental Health Strategies for Men During COVID-19

mental health strategies

These trying times have clearly highlighted the link between mental health and our overall well-being. Men’s mental health is an important – but often overlooked – concern in American society. While both genders experience mental illness, men face unique challenges in the pursuit of emotional wellness. Today, we’ve compiled a list of helpful everyday mental health strategies during the COVID-19 pandemic.

How Men Experience Mental Illness

The symptoms of men’s mental illness depend on each person and their condition. However, there are a few signs that are more common and easy to spot. They include changes to mood or energy levels, irritability, aggression, feeling “on edge” or emotionally “flat,” and obsessing over thoughts or behaviors. Physical indicators of a mental health crisis are unexplained aches and pains, risky behavior, substance abuse, isolating from others, and changes to sleeping and eating habits.

Several different factors impact men and their experience of mental illness. They include…

Societal Expectations. Men’s issues may develop from the tenets of toxic masculinity. Traditional gender roles cause many young men to believe that they should:

  • Avoid talking about (or openly displaying) their emotions
  • Support the family, while not needing any support themselves
  • Demonstrate masculine traits like control and strength
  • Rely on others without outside assistance

Higher Suicide Rates. While women are more likely to attempt suicide, men are more than 3.5 times more likely to die from a suicide attempt.

Difficulty Seeking Help. Men are much less likely than women to seek help for addiction, trauma, and depression. Mental Health America asserts that a combination of societal norms, downplaying one’s symptoms, and a reluctance to open up can contribute to this phenomenon.

Prevalence. Schizophrenia (90% men) and substance abuse are key men’s mental health concerns. Depression, anxiety, and PTSD are more common among women than men; however, as stated above, men are much less likely to seek help.

Mental Self-Help for Men During COVID-19

Post-traumatic stress is a disruptive response to a life-altering event like COVID-19. Fortunately, research has shown that there is another potential outcome for survivors: post-traumatic growth. Among military personnel, firefighters, and EMTs, connection has the potential to transform troubling events into deep bonds. These friendships enable us to band together against a larger challenge. This approach is uniquely applicable for men, who often experience worsened mental health symptoms due to increased isolation and a reluctance to reach out or open up. Here are our top tips for fostering connection during COVID-19.

Get in Touch with Your Feelings

Men tend to repress their emotions; resist this urge and focus on feeling your feelings instead. During COVID-19, we are all feeling more depressed, anxious, and fearful than ever before. There’s no shame in admitting it. Journaling can be a great way to start analyzing your day (and how you feel about it) while still maintaining privacy. Once you become comfortable with identifying your emotions, you can start relaying them to others and asking for the right kind of mental health support.

Reach Out (To Anyone!)

Technology has allowed us to have deep conversations with our loved ones from halfway across the world. While you may not be able to see your parents or friends in person, they’re only a video call away. Whether you hop on the phone, send a text, or write a letter, try to be intentional about staying connected with your friends and family. Do your best to be open and honest about how you’re doing; you may be surprised by how much it helps.

Practice Introspection

You don’t have to be a meditation expert to benefit from some reflection. Many of us who have gone through addiction may find it difficult to think about ourselves. While looking inward can be uncomfortable, this type of check-in can assist you in identifying mental health issues before they spiral out of control. Take some time to understand yourself today.

Do Something to Help Yourself

If you’ve gone through treatment, you know that taking action is a vital part of recovery. You also know that it isn’t an easy thing to do. However, taking little steps to improve your life can make an incredible difference in your mental health. Think of meaningful ways to better your circumstances that don’t require a ton of effort, then start scaling up. Clean out your fridge. Run a load of laundry. Plant a small garden. Create a daily routine. Go to a meeting. Make a therapy appointment. These actions can transform your life.

Mental Health Support During the Pandemic

At PACE Recovery, we understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation, political unrest, 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 services, contact our Admissions team.

Recovery 2021: Stay Positive

recovery

Christmas is now behind you, which means you only have one more major holiday in 2020. As we have pointed out in the past, navigating significant days of the year can be challenging in recovery. It’s vital to put your program’s needs before all else to protect your progress.

Many of us are looking forward to starting a new year. 2020 has been the most challenging year in living memory for every American. The COVID-19 pandemic has complicated all of our lives in a myriad of ways; social distancing, isolation, and financial hardship have plagued millions of Americans. Many American’s mental health has suffered as well; the rates of depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, and substance abuse have skyrocketed.

No one had a playbook for coping with a global pandemic. If you struggled in 2020, please know—you are not alone. Everyone has suffered in one way or another. Hopefully, you have managed to maintain a positive outlook despite the nearly 20 million cases of coronavirus and more than 300,000 lives lost.

It would be nice if we could say that everything will get better in short order; there is a vaccine, after all. However, experts tell us that it could be many more months before the average American can acquire a vaccine. As such, each of us must continue to practice the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.

Please continue to wear face masks when in public, especially if you are traveling or are within six feet of individuals you do not live with currently. Regular hand washing and sanitizing can also help prevent the spread and contraction of the coronavirus. If we all do our part, we could see a drastic improvement in the coming months. Please remember, this too shall pass.

A Positive 2021 in Recovery

As mentioned above, 2020 has been the most challenging year on record; it’s understandable if your spirits are dampened. Most Americans have had to spend the holiday season away from their loved ones because of COVID-19. The most wonderful time of the year spent in isolation was anything but uplifting. It’s essential to do everything in your power to maintain a positive attitude.

Instead of thinking about everything we lost in 2020, think about how this year has made your recovery more robust. Every person working a program had to make drastic changes. Recovery depends on fellowship; this year, everyone had to join forces from afar to keep addiction at bay. Men and women learned that it is possible to stay accountable without seeing others in person. Thankfully, video conferencing provided a platform for attending meetings at home. It’s hard to imagine where we would be without computers and cell phones.

Each of you had to overcome unparalleled adversity in 2020. If you were able to keep your recovery intact, then your program was made stronger. You learned how to cope with hardship and put your recovery first despite a deadly virus spreading across the country. You have much to be grateful for today. It’s easier to stay positive if you practice an attitude of gratitude. Before the year ends, take some time to thank all the people who were instrumental to your recovery in 2020.

We have more challenging months ahead of us, but there is hope on the horizon. Keep putting your recovery first and do your best to stay positive. Don’t let negativity take hold of your life. If you find yourself feeling down, reach out to your support network for guidance. Others in the program will share how they have managed to stay optimistic amid hardship.

PACE: A Positive Attitude Changes Everything

One way to lift your spirits is to think about what you would like to accomplish in 2021. Perhaps you have already started thinking about resolutions; maybe you want to quit smoking or finish your education. Maybe 2021 is the year you would like to clear some of your debt or get right with the IRS. Anything is possible for individuals working a program of recovery.

Achieving your goals is aided by staying positive; let positivity be a driving force in your life. A positive attitude changes everything.

Please contact PACE Recovery Center if you or a male loved one struggles with drugs, alcohol, or mental illness. We offer specialized clinical treatment for men to address all components of addiction and mental health. We are adhering to all public health guidelines to ensure that our clients begin their journey of recovery in a safe environment.

The Gentlemen of PACE Recovery Center wish you a Happy New Year!

Addiction Recovery: Christmas 2020

addiction recovery

Working a program of addiction recovery teaches men and women how to overcome obstacles. Christmas is this Friday; it’s a holiday that can be challenging for those in sobriety. Many individuals in early recovery are celebrating their first significant holidays clean and sober. They must do all that they can to keep their program intact.

It goes without saying that this holiday season has been like no other. Many will have to contend with isolation and feeling cut off from their support network. During standard times, you might attend several meetings in person during Christmas. However, COVID-19 has made it difficult for many meeting houses to host in-person meetings. Fortunately, you can continue to put your recovery first despite the obstacles presented by the pandemic.

Some, certainly not everyone, will decide to travel this week. Hopefully, such people will adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines to protect their health. The coronavirus is still out there, disrupting people’s lives. More than 18 million Americans have tested positive, and more than 320,000 lives have been lost. Please do everything in your power to prevent contracting the coronavirus.

If you decide to travel this Christmas, please be sure to have a plan to protect your recovery. Having a schedule in place that includes the meetings you plan to attend will be helpful. Set check-in points throughout your day; checking-in with your sponsor or other members of your support network will help you remain accountable.

Never leave anything to chance in recovery. Those traveling may find themselves in situations that can jeopardize one’s program. Being in strange environments or in a setting where people are drinking could trigger a relapse. If you find yourself in a risky situation, get to a safe space or call for help immediately. Remember, the helping hand of addiction recovery is always just a phone call away.

A Lonely Christmas in Addiction Recovery

For those spending Christmas in relative isolation, it’s beneficial to still stick to your recovery routine as best as possible. Even if you’re not attending holiday gatherings, problems can still arise. You may find yourself feeling lonely or disconnected from your peers in the program. It can be easy to start wallowing in self-pity.

Take steps to avoid boredom this Friday. Again, it’s crucial to have a schedule. You will still want to attend meetings, even if you plan to participate virtually. At this point in the pandemic, you probably have experience protecting your addiction recovery by attending meetings online.

This Christmas Eve and Day, meetings will be happening around the clock. You may want to attend multiple 12 Step meetings on a given day. You can never participate in too many meetings. The nice thing about virtual 12 Step meetings is that you can hop online at a moment’s notice. If a problem arises or you begin to feel shaky in your recovery, open your computer or grab your smartphone and log on.

The more meetings you attend, the less lonely you will feel. Remember, isolation is no friend to recovery. We understand how challenging it has been to maintain a program of recovery this year. However, you know it’s possible through utilizing all the tools at your disposal.

If isolation starts to make you feel down on yourself, take a moment to compose a gratitude list. Think back on all the things in life you are grateful for to gain some perspective. Gratitude lists are highly beneficial tools; they remind you that you have many things to be thankful for even when you feel disconnected. Throughout the day, turn to your list to ground yourself.

Recovery is a gift. Never forget how far you have come, and you will be able to get through another day clean and sober. Take time to let people in your support network know how important they are to you. When you prioritize an attitude of gratitude, good things continue to happen in life.

A Christmas in Recovery

If you are struggling with drugs, alcohol, or mental illness, please contact PACE Recovery Center. The holiday season could be when you decide to break the cycle of addiction and change your life. We offer gender-specific treatment for men who are interested in turning their life around. Please know that we are strictly adhering to CDC guidelines to protect the health and safety of our clients.

Addiction Recovery: A Year In Review

addiction recovery

As the year inches closer to a conclusion, most Americans are looking forward to 2021. This year has been extraordinarily challenging, and life as we know it has changed drastically. We have all had to make enormous sacrifices in order to safeguard our health and safety. Those of you in addiction recovery have also had to change how you work a program.

2020 has been a year that technology has been indispensable; without video conferencing platforms, it would have been nearly impossible for most people to keep their recovery intact. Addiction recovery programs rely on working closely with others to make progress. If you are unable to connect with others, it isn’t easy to stay accountable. Smartphones and computers have become outlets of accountability.

There is no way of knowing when life will resume some semblance of normality. Thankfully, the fellowship rose to the occasion; countless men and women across the country organized thousands of virtual 12 Step meetings. You can now attend a meeting and share your experience, strength, and hope from your home or on a morning walk.

Take a moment to recognize the gift that is virtual Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Online 12 Step meetings are a novelty worth being grateful for today. In recovery, expressing gratitude is always beneficial.

Addiction Recovery: A Year in Review

The end of the year is an excellent opportunity to look back and acknowledge your progress. Every day clean and sober is an accomplishment, to be sure, but there are other things worth taking stock of as you close out the year. You can ask yourself, ‘have I practiced the principles of recovery in all my affairs?’

Are there areas of your life that could use adjustment? Are you on track to achieve your short and long-term goals? Are you doing everything in your power to maintain a positive attitude, even when times are challenging?

The truth is that there is always room for improvement, but it’s still worth your time to review your successes. Taking stock of your big and small accomplishments is empowering. The activity is a reminder of why you do the work—day in and day out.

Maybe you have celebrated a recovery milestone; perhaps 2020 is when you got a year sober, or perhaps it was five years. This might have been the year when you first achieved 30, 60, or 90 days of sobriety.

Not every milestone is measured in years. 2020 might have been the year that you began paying it forward by sponsoring. Carrying the message and walking others through the Steps for the first time is a significant achievement. Becoming someone’s sponsor is worth recognition; it’s a sign that you are fully enmeshed in a program of addiction recovery.

Staying Positive Matters

With all the challenges we’ve faced this year and continue to push through, it’s easy to become disillusioned. Working a program of addiction recovery can be complicated by outside influences such as losing a job; tens of millions of Americans are currently out of work. Maybe you lost your job this year and have found it challenging to maintain a positive attitude. Perhaps you find it challenging to see some higher plan in the adversity you face.

It’s understandable to look back at the previous 350 days and despair. However, you must continue to put your addiction recovery first despite hardship. It’s critical to do everything in your power to maintain a positive attitude, especially when it’s darkest before the dawn. Simply trusting that the sun also rises will help.

Times are hard for countless Americans right now, but we are in this together. This too shall pass, remember that and you will be alright. We know it’s trying to keep a sunny disposition when facing adversity, but a positive attitude changes everything.

If you keep putting your addiction recovery first and your best foot forward, an opportunity will present itself eventually. Now more than ever, it’s essential to lean on the fellowship for support and guidance. If you need help, ask for it; trust and believe that another member will rise to the occasion.

Some men see things as they are and say why—I dream things that never were and say why not.” —George Bernard Shaw

Gender-Specific Addiction and Mental Health Treatment

One of the unfortunate byproducts of 2020 is a significant rise in drug and alcohol misuse. What’s more, more people than ever are battling anxiety and depression. Hardship begets despair.

If you are struggling with substance abuse or mental illness, please contact PACE Recovery Center to learn more about our programs and services. We offer gender-specific treatment for men who have a desire to turn their life around. Recovery is possible, and we can help.

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