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. 

Why Do People Steal in Early Recovery?

Substance abuse leads to a host of bad behaviors, including deception and petty theft. However, you may be surprised to learn that these misdeeds aren’t limited to active addiction. At PACE, we have observed that some young men first begin to shoplift in early recovery. Today, we’ll discuss this counterintuitive form of self-sabotage, the psychological principles behind it, and alternatives for those seeking to stop stealing.

Examples of Stealing in Early Recovery

While most associate theft with dire need, the reality is that many people in early recovery aren’t stealing because of poverty or economic disadvantage.

To illustrate this point, consider that commonly pilfered items include teeth whitening kits, laundry detergent, spices, energy drinks, over-the-counter medications, cell phone charging cables, sunglasses, clothing, and snack foods. Not essentials or valuables.

In fact, the following three points are true of most post-treatment shoplifting cases:

  • People steal products they do not need.
  • Stolen items often carry little or no value.
  • People in early recovery can usually afford the items they take.

Career criminals orchestrate high-value heists with accomplices. Those stealing after treatment operate differently; they shoplift alone and without prior planning. This spontaneous behavior then leads to strong feelings of guilt and shame. Why, then, do young men in recovery decide to take things that do not belong to them?

Psychological Reasons for Stealing

This pattern of behavior makes more sense when considered from a neurological perspective. The brain’s limbic system is responsible for rewarding survival-oriented actions like eating. Drinking heavily or taking drugs rewires this part of a person’s mind, along with another crucial structure: the prefrontal cortex (PFC). The PFC handles higher-order thinking, judgement, and self-control.

When these two areas are compromised, the brain has one priority—getting a dopamine hit through any means necessary.

For most people in active addiction, this means using drugs or alcohol. But when these substances are off the table in early recovery, stealing becomes an appealing replacement. Newly sober men often turn to theft as a form of sensation-seeking. The rush of taking a risk can become an unhealthy source of stimulation after treatment.

Troublingly, when someone steals and evades legal consequences, “getting away with it” may make him feel invincible. It’s important for men who believe this to know that most major retailers build cases on shoplifters over time. While they may not be stopped by security officers on their first, second, or third visit, arrest is likely after crossing a certain threshold of theft.

Finding Healthy Stimulation in Recovery

Fortunately, young men in recovery have access to alternative forms of entertainment. Below are a few safe and legal activities for thrill-seekers who want to stay sober.

  • Exploring new cities, countries, and natural settings
  • Taking a trip with nothing pre-planned
  • Going bungee jumping, rock climbing, or ziplining
  • Riding a roller coaster
  • Playing a team sport
  • Making new friends
  • Watching horror films
  • Getting a motorcycle or jet ski
  • Surfing
  • Skydiving
  • Running a marathon
  • Climbing a mountain

If you’re concerned about a pattern of theft after treatment, help is available. PACE Recovery Center offers dual diagnosis care to men at all stages of recovery. Our residential and outpatient mental health programs provide structure and clinical insight to clients diagnosed with emotional issues and co-occurring substance use disorders. Contact our admissions team to learn about our California treatment center.

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.

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