Observing World Adoption Day

When families welcome a child through adoption, they do their best to provide a loving, stable home environment. Though parents want to do everything in their power to ensure their child grows up happy, healthy and well-adjusted, adoptees’ unique background makes them more vulnerable to developing substance use disorders due to a combination of various factors.

In observance of World Adoption Day on Nov. 9, what are some of the effects of adoption, and how can you overcome them?

1. Adoption Trauma

While adoption can create a new, nurturing family and give a child a better chance to grow up surrounded by caring adults, adoptees experience higher-than-average rates of depression and PTSD and may continue to feel grief and fear throughout their lives.

Many adoptees end up in a much safer environment than they otherwise might have, but that does not necessarily stop them from wondering how their lives could have been different if they had been able to stay with their birth parents. Even children who were adopted as babies and have no memory of their biological family may grow up feeling like something is missing or that nobody understands them.

2. Adverse Childhood Experiences

Being adopted or spending time in the foster system are potentially adverse childhood experiences. ACEs are sources of ongoing stress that can cause chronic toxicity and illness. According to the Centers for Disease Control, at least half of the top 10 leading causes of death link back to ACEs.

Prevailing research suggests that stressful or traumatic events are especially impactful during childhood because they happen while your brain is still developing, before you have the emotional maturity to understand the world around you. As a result, you may have trouble dealing with complex feelings and seek to sweep them under the rug instead of confronting them head-on.

3. Attachment Issues

Attachment is the framework we use to develop relationships with others. Ideally, every child would grow up with at least one nurturing, loving caregiver. However, if trust and connection are lacking, a child’s capacity to form secure and meaningful relationships can suffer. Adoptees who struggle to bond with their new family might fear rejection, be uncomfortable with physical affection and prefer to self-soothe instead.

4. Addiction

If you’ve felt isolated, misunderstood, unwelcome or otherwise “different” your whole life, drinking or drug use might seem like a viable solution to your inner turmoil. While substance abuse may temporarily dull the pain and allow you to avoid dealing with your problems, keeping yourself numbed will prevent you from experiencing the growth you need to become a better version of yourself. The mounting mental and physical health issues will also chip away at your quality of life.

Start Your Healing Journey Today

At PACE Recovery, we have created specialized programming to cater to adoptees’ unique circumstances, needs and concerns. We know the effects of adoption can lead to substance use disorders and long-term mental health issues, and we use evidence-based therapies to help adopted people identify and address the root causes of these illnesses. When you are ready to learn more about personalized men’s-only recovery in California, reach out to us.

Why Are Boys More Likely to Struggle in School?

According to statistics from the U.S. Department of Education, boys of all ages have consistently scored worse than girls in reading for the past three decades. Boys are more frequently held back a grade, diagnosed with learning disabilities and referred to a school counselor.

When it comes to postsecondary education, young men are also less likely to enroll in college and complete a degree program – a trend seen not only in the U.S., but worldwide. What accounts for these gaps, and how can you tell when your son is struggling in school?

Cultural Expectations and Learning Styles Create a Gap

Though scientific evidence has disproven many outdated sexist stereotypes about gender differences, studies have shown some disparities in structural brain maturation in early childhood through adolescence. Parents often reinforce these variations, socializing little girls to be quiet readers and little boys to be energetic adventurers.

When boys begin struggling in school, it might be because prevailing teaching methods aren’t a good fit for their learning style. For example, kinesthetic learners who acquire new information by doing hands-on activities are unlikely to excel in a classroom where the teacher expects students to sit still and take notes from a lecture.

What to Do if Your Son Is Struggling in School

Boys who are struggling in school may begin acting out to express their frustration or impress their peers. They might also skip classes and experiment with other reckless behaviors such as substance use. If you notice a sudden sharp drop in your son’s grades, here are some things you can try.

  • Start a conversation: Adolescence can be a challenging time. Rapidly changing social expectations and a more demanding academic curriculum are hard for many teens to adjust to. You can let your teen know the door is always open when he is ready to talk about these issues. Be sure to listen non-judgmentally without interrupting.
  • Get involved in his school: Schedule meetings with your child’s teachers or join the PTO. Taking an active role in his educational experience is one way you can show your son how much you care and want him to succeed.
  • Offer to get help: Even students who aren’t struggling in school can benefit from meeting with a therapist to help them work through complicated emotions. Or, if your son likes school but is having trouble grasping a specific subject, he might need one-on-one help from a tutor.
  • Pay attention to your feelings: If you are frustrated that your son doesn’t seem to be living up to his full potential, it could strain your relationship. Don’t neglect your emotional needs when you find yourself frequently angry or upset.

Find Structure at PACE Academy

At PACE Academy, we help young men at various stages in their academic pursuits. Clients who have been struggling in school can benefit from the structure, accountability and responsibility our programming instills. Students enrolled in this program will learn valuable life skills and study skills in a single-gender environment that helps them focus on new goals.

As an integral part of our Young Adult Addiction Treatment Program, PACE Academy helps build a solid foundation for future success. For more information on how we can help your family, please contact us.

Isolation on the Rise in Men

While solitude can allow you to relax and spend time with your thoughts, too much social isolation can be unhealthy. Due to the inextricable mind-body connection, people who lack close relationships can become chronically stressed, which can lead to a host of other health problems. Social isolation may also cause or worsen disorders like depression and anxiety.

Why Are Men So Lonely?

Factors such as cultural norms, heavy technology use, gig working and fewer opportunities to socialize have made it more difficult for young men to form close friendships. As a result, they increasingly spend large amounts of time alone or in extremely limited contact with others.

If you lack intimate relationships in your life, you may notice the following problems developing.

  • You avoid get-togethers, including those you formerly enjoyed.
  • Canceling plans to go out gives you a sense of relief.
  • Thinking about in-person interactions makes you anxious or panicky.
  • You’re unwilling or unable to share your feelings with others.

Societal Pressures Are Different for Boys and Girls

Parents of young girls encourage them to be compassionate, communicative and practice active listening skills – all qualities that can forge and nurture emotionally supportive relationships. Often, boys do not receive this same type of socialization, which can make them reluctant to show any signs of weakness or ask for help. As a result of these different cultural expectations, young men are less likely to reach out when they’re struggling or show affection to their loved ones.

Boys and young men crave close connections with their peers, but there is still stigma attached to male vulnerability. Statistically, men are much less likely than women to seek help for mental and emotional health issues due to ingrained gender norms about self-reliance. As a result, they are often more isolated throughout their lives.

Social Isolation Is Unhealthy

Though it’s possible to be alone without feeling lonely, chronic loneliness can become problematic if you don’t have the emotional, mental or financial resources to go out and satisfy your social needs or lack a circle of friends who can provide the benefits of camaraderie.

Research has linked social isolation to various adverse health consequences, including depression, poor sleep quality, diminished executive function, accelerated cognitive decline and impaired immunity at every stage of life. For example, the results of one study suggest lonely people are up to 30% more likely to experience cardiovascular disease, including strokes.

In the absence of encouragement from family or friends, isolated people may also fall into unhealthy habits like drinking, drug use and eating or sleeping too much or too little. These can worsen your feelings of loneliness by impacting your physical and mental health.

Begin Your Healing Journey Today

At PACE Recovery Center, we offer customized programming in a gender-specific environment. Here, you can find a sense of camaraderie and brotherhood among other men who have faced similar challenges, making friendships that can last a lifetime.

Addressing all aspects of the disease of addiction, including related mental health issues, the PACE approach includes 12-step meetings and evidence-based practices. We offer men’s long-term residential treatment in Orange County in a structured program that includes 24/7 access to resources. Contact us today to verify your insurance coverage and learn more about the admissions process.

PACE Recovery Celebrates 10 Years of “Changing Everything”

September 17th marks ten years of PACE Recovery Center. For the past decade, our cutting-edge, evidence-based programming has helped over 1,000 young men turn their lives around. We would like to take this opportunity to celebrate our staff, our programs, and the history of PACE Recovery.

A Decade of Life-Changing Care

PACE is actually an acronym—when broken down, it contains our motto: Positive Attitude Changes Everything. That’s exactly what we’ve been doing since our founding in 2012. Helmed by Founder and Executive Director Lenny Segal, MSW, MBA. PACE Recovery Center offers a variety of programs tailored to the needs of young men in Southern California and beyond.  

From the very beginning, PACE’s recovery team strove to become one of the top drug and alcohol treatment centers in the country. Their dedication and clinical expertise began making waves in the community almost immediately. Word spread, and just two weeks after our grand opening, the house had already filled (and so had the waiting list). This rapid expansion catalyzed the opening of another facility. Today, we have five residential properties that are all state licensed and CARF accredited. PACE is licensed to treat both primary mental health and substance use disorder. To offer our clients the complete continuum of care, we also run several outpatient programs.

As the years passed, PACE helped more and more men struggling with addiction and behavioral health issues. This continuous growth inspired the creation of niche programming unrivaled by any other center in the country.

Unique Programs to Treat the Whole Person

As PACE began dealing with more clients, leadership sought to dig deeper, treating the variety of external factors affecting those hoping to overcome addiction. Men were particularly vulnerable to substance use disorder after a significant loss or traumatic event, for example. They also experienced difficulties as children of adoption, overwhelmed students, and young men with undiagnosed mental illnesses.

To overcome these obstacles, PACE Recovery Center expanded its treatment team to include industry-leading specialists like Neuropsychologist Joanna Savarese, PhD; DBT Therapist Lisa Bahar, M.A., LMFT, LPCC; Nutritionist Kim Conrad, CPT; and Adoption Trauma Expert Brett Furst, PsyD, LMFT. Other staff additions include Clinical Director Will Sanchez, LMFT, SEP; Director of Mental Health Samantha Meyer, PhD; Clinical Psychologist Helen O’Mahony, PhD; and a vast network of primary therapists whose work focuses on trauma, grief, and other niche areas.

We now have a team of 65 employees who support our clients and their families. Together, these clinicians and staff members provide the structure and know-how necessary for in-depth, effective treatment.

Unique programs offered at PACE Recovery include:

  • Inpatient mental health care: The highest possible level of care for those struggling with depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, conduct disorder, and other severe mental illnesses.
  • PACE Academy: A path for young men seeking to succeed in their academic pursuits, including preparation for high school, GED testing, community college, four-year university programs, graduate school, and CAADAC certification.
  • Adoption-related treatment: Addresses the unhealthy coping mechanisms and inconsistent attachment styles common to men adopted as children.
  • Trauma-first programming: Helps clients to process unresolved traumatic events (whether recent or in the distant past).
  • Relapse prevention: Both our longer-term programming and clinical interventions are designed to aid those who have recently used drugs or alcohol after a period of sobriety.

PACE Recovery: Southern California’s Top Addiction Treatment Center

After ten years of clinical excellence, PACE’s team looks forward to a bright future.

“The last ten years have been nothing short of amazing. In my wildest dreams, I never could have forecasted the successes we have had. My motto—which I heard when I got sober 23 years ago—is to do the next right thing. I will continue to practice this for our next ten years. I am incredibly humbled by my amazing treatment team, many of whom have been with me since our inception, and by the professionals and families who have entrusted PACE with their clients and loved ones.”

 – Lenny Segal, MSW, MBA
Executive Director and Founder of PACE Recovery Center

PACE Recovery Center offers a truly innovative, highly effective approach to addiction treatment and mental health care. As we celebrate the tenth anniversary of our founding, we hope that this observance will encourage more young men to find recovery within our walls. No matter what challenge your family is facing, we’re here to help, 24/7. Contact us today to learn more.

Takeaways From National Suicide Prevention Day 2022

September 10 was National Suicide Prevention Day, celebrated across the US to spread awareness about the suicide and mental health crisis that can devastate families. According to the CDC, the national suicide rate increased by 30% from 2000 to 2020. This alarming increase shows the growing need to advocate for suicide prevention, and you might be wondering if there’s anything you can do to spread awareness. Here are some key takeaways from National Suicide Prevention Day to keep in mind as you advocate for mental health and use your voice to help those who are struggling.

Speak With Compassion

Too often, people think that it’s helpful to reframe suicide as a selfish, cowardly act instead of the result of a history of untreated mental health issues. Although it might be tempting to express this attitude since suicide can greatly harm families and communities, it’s important to show compassion to people who have attempted or died from suicide. You won’t be encouraging the act by showing care and sensitivity to those who’ve grappled with it, and eliminating shame and stigma is an essential part to preventing suicide.

Normalize Treatment Methods

Another way to re-frame how you talk about mental health is normalizing therapy as a healthy and shame-free avenue for seeking help. It’s important to recognize the loneliness that people struggling with depression or suicidal ideation must feel, and showing support for seeking therapeutic interventions can make a huge difference for someone struggling.

Support Those Disproportionately Affected

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, in 2020 the suicide rate for men was nearly four times as high as that of women in the United States. One culprit contributing to the dramatic difference could be certain normalized behaviors that influence depression rates in men. For example, according to this article published in the Global Health Action journal, men are less likely to seek out mental health services, or utilize available resources than women. The research also found that there are statistical correlations between male depression with the body image, sexuality, social dominance and self-confidence issues that men often exhibit.

Signs To Look Out For

Because of these behavioral differences in men that greatly skew the statistics on depression and suicide for men, it’s important to pay attention to signs that suggest a man in your life is suffering from depression. This might look like men struggling with their body image, showing signs of confidence problems, or partaking in risky sexual behavior or heavy substance use. These were all behaviors correlated with depression in men according to the study.

How To Advocate

For this reason, you can help by donating to mental health initiatives, and getting involved to elevate programs that help people who are struggling. The Trevor Project, The Hope Squad, and Save.org are all organizations that work to prevent suicide and are need of donors and volunteers.

Behavioral Health Options

If you or someone in your life is struggling with major depression immediate help is important and available.  Contact us today to speak to our knowledgeable admissions team about getting help now.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached by calling or texting 988 if you or someone you know needs immediate help for suicidal ideation.

Observing Recovery Month 2022

In 1784, Dr. Benjamin Rush first proposed the idea that addiction was a disease and should be treated as any other medical condition. Since then, various societies, organizations and government agencies have undertaken the cause of helping people regain their sobriety. In 2022, President Biden made an official proclamation that September was to be known as National Recovery Month. Along with this proclamation, he pledged 26 million dollars to aid in the prevention, treatment and recovery efforts of those who are fighting addictions.

Recovery Month’s Story

Started in 1989 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), Recovery Month was intended not only to raise awareness for substance abuse and underlying conditions, but also to celebrate recovery.

Recovery Month 2022 is now the responsibility of Faces and Voices of Recovery. Instead of a new theme every year, they have decided to adopt a tagline for the entire organization, “Every Person, Every Family, Every Community.’”

They hope that this motto will remind people that no individual, family or location is immune to the effects of addictions and that by coming together we can help all of those who battle substance abuse.

Faces and Voices of Recovery hope that each September they can report on new, effective treatment practices. They also want to encourage and support those who have begun their journey to sobriety and the healthcare professionals that help them.

Observing Recovery Month 2022

There are many ways to observe Recovery Month. It may be as simple as looking yourself in the mirror and reminding yourself how far you have come in your journey to sobriety. If you are not the one in recovery, then hug a loved one who is and tell them you support them. 

If you want a more public way to celebrate, you can visit the Faces and Voices of Recovery website and leave your story. You can also check with your state and local governments. Many of them are offering events to celebrate and encourage those who are in or working towards recovery.

Battling Addiction: A Mental and Physical Journey

While the effects of addictions are often physical, the underlying conditions that led to substance abuse need to be explored and treated as well. It is vital that a recovering addict take the steps to understand any underlying conditions or emotions that contributed to their addiction. At PACE, we use the term recovery for those recovering from substance abuse and behavioral health conditions like anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder and bi-polar disorder. The term “recovery” can be applied to anyone recovering from something personal and profound.

Get The Help You Need

Recovery is a journey that very few people can manage on their own. At PACE, young men come together in a safe environment and find group and individual therapy, camaraderie, unique recreational experiences, and proven treatments to help them become and stay sober. We celebrate Recovery Month each year by recognizing the number of young men and family members we’ve helped jumpstart their recovery and to reflect on how our work has led to successful outcomes at PACE and where we can grow more.

Can You Get Addicted to Benadryl?

What is Benadryl?

Benadryl, also called diphenhydramine, is an antihistamine commonly taken to relieve symptoms of allergies, hay fever and the common cold. The symptoms it combats include skin rashes, watery or itchy eyes, itchy nose or throat, coughing and sneezing. It is also used to treat symptoms of motion sickness such as nausea, vomiting and dizziness.

The US Food and Drug Administration has warned about taking high doses of the drug, as heavy use could result in “serious heart problems, seizures, coma, or even death.” Fatal cases have been reported from those taking more than 20mg/kg. Increasingly, young adults are abusing Benadryl, becoming addicted and are faced with these risks along with mental instability and toxic psychosis.

Dangers of High Doses

 At high doses, users report troubling hallucinations and several have warned about the incidences of mental instability and psychosis caused by Benadryl.  In 2020 a “Benadryl Challenge” on TikTok started trending among teens and young adults to induce these hallucinations. What teens and young adults don’t consider is that the dose they’re taking to  are hallucinate could be life-threatening. Several have been hospitalized and a 15 year old Oklahoman teen who died from the challenge made headlines in 2020.

Yes, Benadryl Can Be Addictive

According to this literary article from the National Library of Medicine, abusers of antihistamines, particularly diphenhydramine, have been shown to exhibit withdrawal symptoms from the drug after heavy use.

There are several first-hand accounts of the drug’s addictiveness as well. One Redditor who tried the drug to combat depression and insomnia commented that they had developed a dependency on diphenhydramine, leading to a diagnosis of sedative dependency disorder.

Benadryl is not the only drug with harmful side effects and addictive properties. For this reason, it’s important to know about the medicines you’re taking, and the risks involved in seemingly harmless drugs.

Warning for Parents

For parents, it’s important to know how to properly store medicines to keep children safe. Check out the FDA’s guide “Think it Through: Managing the Benefits and Risks of Medicines” for more information on drug risk assessment and management.

If your young adult loved ones needs help, Contact Us at PACE Recovery Center to learn about our addiction and mental health programs for young adults.

Adoption and Addiction

PACE Recovery Center is proud to work with expert clinicians who specialize in issues that contribute to substance use disorder. Our own Brett Furst, PsyD, LMFT was recently published by the prestigious National Council for Adoption in this June’s Adoption Advocate. His paper, “The Intersection of Adoption and Addiction,” covers the link between adoption, attachment issues, trauma and the eventual development of a substance use disorder. Below is a brief summary of Dr. Furst’s paper; to read the complete publication, please visit the link at the bottom of this article.

Deciding to open your heart and home to a child by becoming an adoptive parent is one of the most selfless things you can do. Parents of adoptive children may encounter many unique parenting challenges, especially when taking in older children like adolescents. One of these could be the intersection of adoption and addiction.

What Is the Link Between Adoption and Addiction?

Research shows that adoptees are almost twice as likely to have substance use disorders as those who were not adopted. Addiction is a complex illness with many interconnected risk factors, including genetics and environment. Parental substance abuse is a primary reason children enter the foster system. Unfortunately, this family history can predispose them to develop chemical dependency issues.

As the founder of PACE Recovery’s Adoption Center and an adoptee, Dr. Brett Furst describes addiction as a disease primarily rooted in two things – escapism and attachment. Even if you do your best to provide a stable, loving home, an adopted child might still struggle to trust and accept you after all the upheavals they have experienced.

While adoptees desire a sense of connection, they have frequently learned to view close relationships as risky. As a result, they may start searching for ways to escape from challenging emotions like fear and guilt. In these cases, drugs and alcohol could become a coping mechanism to compensate for a perceived lack in an adopted young adult’s life.

Adoption and Trauma

Adoptees often carry a significant burden of trauma, usually starting from a young age. Adverse childhood experiences like abuse and neglect can leave their mark on young people who lack the context or emotional maturity to process what has happened to them.

Adoption tends to cause feelings like loneliness, helplessness, anger and abandonment, even though many adoptive parents spare children from the toxicity and dysfunction created by their birth families. Though they may recognize that their biological parents were unreliable, they could still hope for a reunion. A deep-seated fear of abandonment might also make them anxious that their new family might eventually reject them. These feelings can leave adoptees looking for a release in the form of drugs and alcohol.

Adoption-Related Treatment Specialists

It is not inevitable that adopted children will develop substance use disorders later in life. Even if an adoptee goes on to struggle with addiction as an adult, he can still live a healthy and fulfilling life by seeking treatment.

PACE Recovery has successfully treated many clients who come from adoptive homes. Over the years, we have created specialized programming that caters to adoptees’ unique circumstances, needs and concerns. We use specialized approaches to treat adopted people for the underlying issues that contributed to their substance use or mental health disorder, including attachment-focused therapy.

If you’re an adoptive parent of a young adult man who grapples with substance misuse and drug dependency, healing is possible. Often, clients who come to PACE Recovery have trouble dealing with the ramifications of the trauma and instability men face starting in early childhood. Contact us to learn more about healing your family.

To read the full text of Dr. Furst’s publication, click here.

CPTSD vs. PTSD

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a mental health condition that can affect people who have lived through a frightening or upsetting event, thus sending their instinctive danger response into high gear. PTSD victims struggle with intrusive thoughts and memories, and often change their behavior in ways that allow them to avoid potential triggers. Additionally, some trauma survivors exhibit a more severe form of this disorder known as complex PTSD.

Understanding the Difference Between PTSD and CPSTD

While PTSD can result from a one-time occurrence such as a car accident, complex trauma tends to develop after a series of inescapable, life-threatening events that take place over several months or years. Examples of experiences that can lead to complex PTSD include domestic abuse and serving in combat.

Often, the psychological and developmental consequences of complex trauma are more severe than those that result from a single traumatic experience. That’s why many mental health professionals suggest that the current PTSD diagnostic criteria outlined in the DSM-5-TR don’t sufficiently describe the long-lasting effects of CPTSD.

How Does Complex Trauma Affect Your Overall Health?

Since the brain responds to trauma by going into permanent fight-or-flight mode, trauma survivors are frequently tense, anxious and on edge, even in comfortable surroundings with no threats present. Startling easily and having concentration and memory problems are hallmarks of PTSD and CPTSD. You may also have insomnia and physical effects such as body aches, headaches and digestive problems.

Ultimately, the cumulative effects of CPTSD symptoms can be life-altering and cause significant impairment, affecting your relationships and ability to find and keep a fulfilling job.

Complex PTSD frequently co-occurs with other mental health issues like anxiety and depression. It also overlaps with addiction, as people may use drugs and alcohol to self-medicate their severe symptoms. A dual diagnosis will perpetuate itself in a vicious cycle that makes you feel much worse.

CPTSD Diagnosis and Treatment

Since there is not a specific diagnostic test to determine the difference between PTSD and CPTSD, keep a journal of your triggers, symptoms and their severity so you can describe them to your doctor or psychiatrist.

Some complex PTSD symptoms, like depersonalization, can resemble the characteristics of borderline personality disorder, and a health professional can screen you to rule out similar conditions and get you on a treatment regimen.

Complex PTSD and co-occurring addiction are treatable, and evidence shows that simultaneously addressing mental health conditions and substance use provides the best outcomes. If you’re grappling with a dual diagnosis, a therapist can teach you healthier coping mechanisms to replace drug and alcohol abuse. You may also benefit from enrolling in a residential treatment program, where you can fully focus on your health and well-being.

Why Come to PACE Recovery Center?

At PACE Recovery Center, our treatment philosophy integrates thoroughly researched and clinically proven approaches. Our premier Orange County facility provides residential and outpatient treatment for co-occurring substance use and behavioral health disorders. In our single-gender program, men with complex conditions can benefit from being in a structured environment with 24/7 care and supervision. To learn more, please reach out to our experienced admissions counselors today.

Physical Symptoms of Grief

At some point, everyone loses somebody they love. Whether a parent, friend, or child passes away, the experience of mourning can be all-consuming. You may be surprised to learn that bereavement can be a full-body experience, complete with fatigue, nausea, and listlessness. Here’s what you need to know about the physical symptoms of grief in men.

When Heartache is Real

For decades, researchers have analyzed the impact of grief on the human body. They’ve made a few promising discoveries, summarized here:

  • Grief can increase inflammation, which may exacerbate existing health issues.
  • It increases vulnerability to disease among older adults.
  • Losing someone increases cortisol production, resulting in higher stress levels.
  • Grief intensifies physical pain, appetite loss, and likelihood of blood clots.
  • Experiencing a loss heightens the incidence of “self-medication,” which is the process of drinking or using drugs to escape reality.

Some of these life-threatening symptoms can come on quickly. One 2012 study showed that the risk of heart attack increases by 21 times in the day after the loss of a loved one. It stays six times higher throughout the following week.

“Broken heart syndrome” is another concern. Emotional stress can cause chambers of the heart to expand, triggering physical sensations that mimic a heart attack. While this condition is generally reversible, it should be a clear illustration of the danger faced by men after the death of their partners, friends, or pets.

Physical Symptoms of Grief

Not all physical symptoms of grief are this severe. Most men will experience some level of bodily discomfort as they process a loss. Typically, this looks like:

  • Stomach pain and nausea
  • Loss of appetite and weight fluctuation
  • Difficulty sleeping and nightmares
  • Dry mouth
  • Throat feeling “tight”
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Crying and sighing
  • Aches and pains without physical cause
  • Chest pain and difficulty breathing

The ongoing pain associated with a death in the family can push some men to drink or use drugs. This form of self-medication is both dangerous and destructive. It stops people from moving through the stages of grief, accepting their loss, and deciding to move forward. It also increases the likelihood of developing a substance use disorder or aggravating an existing mental illness. Men who have begun coping in this fashion should contact a licensed dual diagnosis treatment center for immediate care.

How to Find Peace After a Loss

Avoiding the complications of grief requires a bit of self-care. The first step is to surround yourself with a supportive network of friends and family. They can keep you company, pitch in with significant chores, and assist you in some of the biggest challenges faced after a loss (like cleaning out your loved one’s clothes and belongings). Community can make an incredible difference in your experience after a traumatic event.

Next, try to do things that are good for your body and soul. We recommend regularly exercising, which releases feel-good endorphins and alleviates symptoms of depression. Eat healthy, hearty meals and try to avoid binging on comfort foods. Fueling your body properly will empower you to adapt to life after loss.

Finally, remember that professional help is available. Some people experience prolonged or complicated grief, which require intervention from a trained psychologist. Mental health providers can help you to unpack your feelings, open up about your loved one, and resolve complex emotions.

Suffering from Physical Symptoms of Grief?

While it may feel impossible right now, things will get better. Your loved one would want you to live a happy, healthy life free from substance use or mental illness. PACE Recovery Center offers a haven for young men struggling with physical symptoms of grief, addiction, and more. To learn more about our comprehensive, fully individualized programming, contact our admissions office. 

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