Category Archives: Mental Health

Agitated Depression

When you hear the word “depression”, you likely think about a significantly low mood, lack of motivation, or suicidal ideation. However, there are other symptoms of a depressive disorder that may be overlooked. Agitated depression is not its own diagnosis in the DSM-5-TR. Instead, it is a specifier often attached to major depressive disorder and bipolar disorders. Understanding the unique signs of an agitated depressive episode can help you better recognize the potential of an underlying mental illness. 

What is Agitated Depression?

Someone who has agitated depression will exhibit common indicators of depression, like a decrease in energy levels, hopelessness, and a general lack of interest in activities or relationships. The differentiating factor between a standard depressive disorder and agitated depression comes in the presence of persistent irritability. Those who have a form of agitated depression will likely exhibit signs such as:

  • Irritability
  • Outbursts of anger
  • Psychomotor activation
  • Insomnia
  • Racing thoughts

These features may be present in someone with another depressive disorder, but are more pronounced in someone with this specifier. 

How is Agitated Depression Diagnosed?

Any diagnosis of a mental illness requires an evaluation by a mental health professional. This can come from a medical provider, a licensed therapist, or a psychiatrist. To receive an official diagnosis, you’ll need to schedule an appointment with one of these clinicians. They will review your presenting concerns and past medical records, when applicable. They may ask questions about the duration, frequency, and severity of your symptoms to determine what patterns are present. These signs could be physical or emotional, and your provider may want to first rule out an underlying health condition. Generally, a mental health professional will identify the main diagnosis of either depression or bipolar disorder before adding the agitation specifier. 

Depression Treatment

After you receive a diagnosis of agitated depression, the next step is to seek out treatment. Depression can result in suicidal ideation and extremely negative emotions, so this is not something you should attempt to deal with alone. Trained mental health providers can work with you to develop appropriate coping skills to manage your emotions and physical symptoms. You will also work alongside your therapist to process any of the life experiences that contribute to your agitated depression. Some of the most commonly used evidence-based practices for depression include:

You’ll work closely with your therapist and treatment team to determine the best combination of therapies and medication for you. 

Help for Young Men With Agitated Depression

If you are a young adult man experiencing signs of depression and need support, PACE Recovery Center can help. We offer residential and outpatient mental health treatment for men primarily between the ages of 18 and 30 in Orange County, California. Our evidence-based treatment model allows you to participate in multiple types of therapy that support your holistic recovery. We understand that each person has different goals and life experiences, so we work with you to develop a treatment plan that accurately reflects your needs. We support your academic and career aspirations, so you can focus on healing without sacrificing your current or future career. If you’re in need of more support for a diagnosis of agitated depression, contact our Orange County treatment team today.

Borderline Personality Disorder Causes

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental health condition that affects how a person interacts with others, as well as their ability to regulate emotions. BPD can be difficult to diagnose since its symptoms may be attributed to other mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or psychosis. In today’s blog, we’ll explore the symptoms of borderline personality disorder in men. We’ll also discuss the treatment options available for men struggling with this disorder.

Recognizing BPD

There is no definitive test to diagnose borderline personality disorder. Because of this, medical and mental health professionals rely on comprehensive interviews and observations to confirm the presence of BPD. After interviewing the client, the clinician will reach out to his previous providers, family, or friends for stories that provide more insight. They will also review medical records to observe patterns in behavior and symptoms. 

As this medical professional gathers information related to the client’s thoughts and behaviors, they look for key indicators¹ of borderline personality disorder, including:

  • Fear of abandonment by friends and family
  • Drastic changes in perception regarding relationships
  • Distorted self-concept that affects mood, goals, relationships, values, and opinions
  • Lack of impulse control
  • Suicidal ideation or past attempts
  • Intense emotions lasting for a few hours to a few days
  • Uncontrollable anger
  • Feelings of dissociation (disconnection from reality)
  • Paranoia

Causes of Borderline Personality Disorder

Like most mental health diagnoses, it’s difficult to attribute BPD to a singular cause. Instead, there are a few contributing factors that lead to this condition. These catalysts fall into three main categories: genetic, environmental, and cerebral.

Genetic Components

Men who have a family history of mental illness, specifically borderline personality disorder, have a higher likelihood of developing BPD themselves. Studies² have shown that there is an increased risk a child will develop a personality disorder if a close relative also has this diagnosis. 

Environment

A common question about mental illness is whether this is something you are born with or a product of your environment. The truth is, it’s often a combination of both factors. Trauma, instability in the home, and abuse all contribute to a person developing mental health issues like BPD. It’s nearly impossible to point to one event that caused a personality disorder. Instead, mental health professionals look at the broader scope of a person’s life when issuing a diagnosis. 

Brain Function and Structure

Research³ has shown that people with BPD may exhibit physical changes in their brains. These structural and functional differences are especially prominent in the areas that regulate emotion and help control impulses. This research suggests there is a neurological component to borderline personality disorder. However, researchers are unsure if the disorder causes brain changes or vice versa. 

BPD Treatment for Men at PACE Recovery Center

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder or a similar mental health condition, there is help available to you at PACE Recovery Center. Our mental health treatment facility offers outpatient and residential care in Orange County, California. We specialize in the treatment of men, helping them achieve academic and vocational goals while in our programs.

If you’re interested in learning more about our mental health treatment options, contact our admissions staff today.

References:

  1. https://www.nami.org/About-Mental-Illness/Mental-Health-Conditions/Borderline-Personality-Disorder
  2. Czajkowski N, Aggen, et al. A Twin Study of Normative Personality and DSM-IV Personality Disorder Criterion Counts: Evidence for Separate Genetic Influences. Am J Psychiatry. 2018 Jul 1;175(7):649-656.
  3. Katherine S. Pier, MD, Lea K. Marin, MD, MPH, Jaime Wilsnack, MA, Marianne Goodman, MD. The Neurobiology of Borderline Personality Disorder. Psychiatric Times, Vol 33 No 3, Volume 33, Issue 3

Major Depressive Disorder Treatments

A diagnosis of major depressive disorder can feel intimidating and leave you wondering what the next steps are. Often, the mental health provider who gives this diagnosis will talk you through what this means and where to go from here, but if you’re still feeling unsure, let’s talk a little about the implications of and potential treatment options for major depressive disorder.

What is Major Depressive Disorder?

When people think of diagnosed depression, they are most likely thinking about major depressive disorder (MDD). This mental health diagnosis is characterized by a persistent low mood, loss of interest in activities, feelings of guilt or worthlessness, and sleep disturbances among other symptoms. While suicidal thoughts can accompany symptoms of MDD, these thoughts do not have to be present to meet diagnostic criteria. Children and adolescents may also present with increased irritability. 

Receiving a Diagnosis of Depression

Noticing changes in behavior and mood is the first step in pursuing an official diagnosis. If you’re noticing a decrease in desire to complete necessary tasks or a loss of interest in activities you previously enjoyed, start making note of the patterns you see. Are you lacking the energy to get out of bed or losing motivation to attend to your basic hygiene needs? Do you find yourself ruminating over situations, leading to feelings of guilt? If you are noticing changes in someone you love, you may look for more external behaviors. Are they isolating themselves from others more frequently? Do they seem to anger more quickly and become defensive of their actions?

Whether these behaviors are becoming evident in yourself or someone you love, you may want to consider seeking out a depressive disorder diagnosis. The first step in this process is often to talk to your primary care doctor about your concerns. They can help eliminate the potential that health issues may be contributing to your symptoms. After this initial conversation, they will likely refer you to a mental health professional: either a psychiatrist or a licensed psychologist. Either of these professionals will be able to provide necessary testing or evaluations to provide you with a diagnosis, if appropriate. They will also be able to answer any questions you have about major depressive disorder and connect you with any necessary resources.

What Are the Treatments for Major Depressive Disorder?

Once you have received a diagnosis, if you are not already connected with mental health resources, this is the first step in treatment. To provide comprehensive care for those with major depressive disorder, often a variety of treatment modalities are combined. Some of the main treatment options for this diagnosis include:

  • Talk Therapy: Talk therapy can be both in an individual and group setting and provides you a space to process the life events that may be contributing to your symptoms. This is also a space where you can work on developing coping skills to better manage your depression.
  • Medication Management: Many times, mental health professionals will encourage you to start with therapy before introducing medication. There are exceptions to this, though, especially if your symptoms are severe and interfere with your ability to function on a daily basis. This is something you will talk through with your providers to determine what the best course of action is for your specific case. 
  • Residential or Inpatient Treatment: Sometimes, your symptoms may be so severe that your safety is at risk. If this is the case, your treatment team will discuss more intensive options, such as a hospital stay, residential treatment, or an intensive outpatient program. These are decisions you will make together, and you will have the opportunity to discuss any questions you have before this happens. 
  • Coping Skill Development: Outside of your mental health provider’s office, you can also work on developing coping skills independently to manage your depressive symptoms. Some effective coping skills include: journaling, meditation and mindfulness, exercising, engaging in a new hobby or activity, and spending time with friends and family. 

Support for Men with Depression

Participating in a treatment program is vital to properly manage a diagnosis of major depressive disorder, and gender-specific treatment ensures your needs are fully met. PACE Recovery Center offers mental health treatment for men diagnosed with mood disorders, such as depression, both in outpatient and residential settings. Located in Orange County, our treatment model blends group and individual therapy and provides men with the skills they need to fully embrace life and its challenges. Our residential program provides intensive treatment without the distractions of regular life, so you can fully focus on your recovery. We also offer academic support for young men who are still in school but would benefit from our residential program. If you’d like to learn more about our treatment options for mood disorders, like major depressive disorder, contact our team today. 

 

Reference:  Bains N, Abdijadid S. Major Depressive Disorder. [Updated 2021 Apr 20]. StatPearls (Internet), 2022 Jan-. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK559078/

Emotional Symptoms of Stress in Men

Men often bear the burden of responsibility in areas related to work, school, finances, and relationships. When the weight of these starts to compile, it’s natural to start to feel overwhelmed.  But when is this something to be concerned about? And how do you know when to reach out for more help?

What Causes Stress?

We have all experienced changes in our lives that affect our mood, and these can influence how we interact with others and the world around us. When we go through a difficult period or have added responsibilities, our desire to perform well can alter our physical and emotional selves. If you’re experiencing a change in emotions but aren’t sure what is causing it, stress could be the culprit. Some common situations that can increase feelings of pressure include:

  • Added responsibilities at work or school
  • Major life changes (moving, job change, relationship changes, etc.)
  • Legal issues
  • Upcoming deadlines
  • Lack of support in navigating challenges
  • Financial problems

Any of these circumstances can increase anxieties in your life, so it’s important to begin to recognize when you are feeling the effects of stress. 

Symptoms of Stress in Men

If you are managing a situation that could be increasing anxiety in your life, start taking note of how you are feeling on a daily basis. Monitoring your emotions and physical self can help you determine how these changes are affecting you. Specifically for men, the symptoms of managing challenging situations could be more subtle, so taking note of any differences in how you feel can help you pinpoint where you need more support. Common emotions men experience related to stress include:

  • Increased irritability
  • Worry, guilt
  • Depression, mood swings 
  • Racing thoughts, anxiety

Let’s take a minute to look at how each of these appears, specifically in men.

Emotional Responses to Change

Men commonly feel a sense of responsibility for the situations they experience in life, and stress can increase frustration related to these responsibilities. When you are feeling pressure in one area of life, you may find that you have a “shorter fuse” and become angered more quickly in unrelated situations. This could look like increased frustration at tasks incomplete in the home or hostility towards your family members who are not experiencing the same levels of strain. 

You may also notice increases in worry and anxiety. As you try to navigate life changes or challenges, you might fixate on the issue at hand and have difficulty refocusing your mind. Guilt related to the situation may also be an issue, especially if you are spending a lot of time focused on these circumstances. As your mind continues to try to sort through your emotions, you could also experience periods of depression or mood swings as these feelings change. All of these are normal reactions to stress, but it becomes a problem if your emotions are interfering with your ability to complete the tasks you want or need to do. 

Managing Life Stressors

Sometimes changes in life feel like too much, and it feels unmanageable. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by your life circumstances, try some of these tips to better manage your emotions related to stress:

  • Keep a journal to process what you’re feeling
  • Practice deep breathing and meditation
  • Take breaks when completing tasks
  • Prioritize your responsibilities

There are times, though, that professional support is necessary. Outpatient therapy services provide a space for you to work through the emotions related to stressful life events while helping you develop coping skills. PACE Recovery Center offers gender-specific inpatient and outpatient therapy services for mental health conditions and mood disorders. If your feelings of anxiety or mood changes are interfering with your responsibilities in life, contact us today to learn more about our counseling services.

Causes of Insomnia in Males

The inability to fall asleep or stay asleep, even when you feel tired, can be frustrating. Lying awake night after night will eventually leave you chronically sleep-deprived, which can lead you to develop an array of health issues. However, insomnia can also be a warning sign of various illnesses. Learn more about why you might have trouble sleeping and what you can do about it.

Understanding the Sleep Cycle

Doctors recommend active young adults should get seven to nine hours of sleep per night. While sleep quantity is one part of the equation, quality is equally critical. If you spend each night tossing and turning instead of progressing smoothly through the stages of the sleep cycle, you’ll wake up feeling worn-out and irritable instead of energized and refreshed.

In a typical night, a healthy person goes through four to six sleep cycles lasting approximately 90 minutes each. Your ability to transition seamlessly through these cycles multiple times per night is a vital part of getting restorative sleep. People who keep waking up and interrupting the pattern will eventually struggle with excessive daytime fatigue, trouble concentrating and memory issues. Over time, they may also become more vulnerable to developing health problems like high blood pressure, diabetes, a weakened immune system and a loss of balance and coordination.

What Causes Insomnia?

Some sleep disruptions are short-lived and resolve on their own after a few nights. For instance, worries about an upcoming job interview might rob you of a few hours of sleep, but there’s probably no cause for alarm if this issue goes away by itself. Here are some factors that can contribute to long-term insomnia.

Irregular Sleep Schedule

Failure to stick to a regular sleeping schedule may lead to insomnia by confusing your built-in body clock. For instance, some frequent travelers end up developing sleep disorders because they jump between time zones so often. Shift workers might also be more likely to have insomnia. Others naturally have a circadian rhythm that’s out of sync with the norm, so it’s difficult for them to sleep at night.

Medical Conditions

Trouble sleeping is sometimes a symptom of an underlying physical health issue like acid reflux, IBS or restless legs syndrome. People who struggle with breathing problems such as sleep apnea and COPD might wake up dozens of times per night without being consciously aware of it, then wonder why they are so groggy and irritable the next day.

Mental Health and Substance Use Disorders

Many mental health issues, including anxiety, depression, bipolar, PTSD and panic attacks, can consistently interfere with your ability to get a full, restorative night of sleep.

Drinking alcohol interferes with the REM phase of the sleep cycle, which can cause you to wake up abruptly and have trouble falling back asleep. In general, the more alcohol you consume before bed, the more severely it will interfere with your ability to get a full, restful night of sleep. If you regularly rely on alcohol to manage your insomnia, your tolerance will keep building, which can increase your likelihood of having a substance use disorder.

Mental Health and Addiction Treatment at PACE Recovery

Living with a dual diagnosis can significantly interfere with your quality of life. Worsening mental and physical health will eventually impact your relationships and ability to fulfill daily responsibilities.

At our single-gender Orange County treatment facility, we simultaneously address both parts of a co-occurring substance use and mental health disorder by creating a customized plan for each client. Contact us today when you’re ready to learn more about tailored recovery for young men.

What Causes Anxiety?

We’ve all experienced it before: the nervous feeling that comes with different life situations. Whether you’re about to go on stage for a presentation or take on your first day at a new job, you may notice some symptoms of anxiety. But what if these feelings have become consistent? What if you feel scared all the time? There are a few different types of anxiety with various sources, so let’s look at each to help you understand where those feelings are coming from.

Types of Anxiety Disorders

What differentiates uneasy feelings from a mental health disorder is often the duration of symptoms. An anxiety disorder creates consistent feelings of nervousness either regardless of the circumstance or in response to specific situations. Diagnosable anxiety disorders listed in the DSM-5 include:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Specific Phobias
  • Social Anxiety Disorder
  • Separation Anxiety

Each of these are linked to similar symptoms, like feeling restless, fidgeting, increased heart rate, and an impaired level of functioning. However, the causes of each condition can differ. 

What Causes Anxiety?

While there is not a current consensus on the causes of such conditions within the psychological research community, there are some sources or situations that we know can contribute to a diagnosis of an anxiety disorder. 

Life circumstances are often an indicator of anxiety. For example, a child who grows up in an unstable home might react to the lack of consistency by developing separation anxiety. In their need for security, they attempt to cling to sources of comfort and can exhibit symptoms when they are not around their chosen comfort source. Generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder can also develop as a result of life circumstances. Constant changes in a home can make someone more sensitive to differences in routine, resulting in feelings of distress.

Another influential factor for anxiety is a triggering life event. Phobias and social anxiety disorder can develop due to a negative experience a person has in a specific situation. For example, someone who was bitten by a spider and ended up in the hospital could develop arachnophobia: an overwhelming fear of spiders. Social anxiety disorder can develop if a person had an embarrassing moment in front of a group of people, which in turn brings on feelings of distress in social situations. 

Finally, researchers believe genetics can make a person more susceptible to developing an anxiety disorder. It’s not uncommon to see such conditions develop in multiple members of a family, and research has shown there is a genetic component to anxiety. That, in combination with environmental factors, can increase the likelihood that someone will develop an anxiety disorder. 

Mental Health Treatment in Orange County, CA

If you are experiencing symptoms of anxiety, regardless of the cause, PACE Recovery Center can help. Our treatment model, designed specifically for men, utilizes evidence-based practices to help determine the source of your anxiety and develop healthy coping skills to alleviate symptoms. We offer outpatient treatment to fit with your schedule or residential treatment for a higher level of support. Contact us today to learn more about our services.

5 Signs You Might Have High-Functioning Depression

Popular media and culture typically portray people with depression as exhibiting the more debilitating symptoms of depression such as a lack of motivation to do daily tasks, severe hopelessness, and persistent sadness. While these are common symptoms associated with depression, there are a number of other emotions and behaviors that can go unnoticed by society in a person who has depression. This is especially true if a person has what is considered “high-functioning depression”.

What Is High-Functioning Depression?

The DSM-5 categorizes the different types of depression based on their severity, symptoms present, and the duration of symptoms. The most common form of depression is major depressive disorder, and this is what is typically associated with the cultural understanding of depression. Those with major depressive disorder exhibit severe symptoms that can greatly interfere with their ability to function in society. Other types of depression include seasonal affective disorder and postpartum depression. But one of the lesser-noticed types of depression is dysthymia, and this is often what is considered “high-functioning depression”. 

High-functioning depression is likely to go unnoticed by society due to its persistent nature. Those who exhibit signs of dysthymia have had depressive symptoms for years (2 or more) which can contribute to their ability to manage the symptoms and function more successfully in society than a person with newly-diagnosed depression. So how do you know if you have dysthymia? Let’s look at 5 signs you might have high-functioning depression.

5 Signs of Dysthymia

You’ve Experienced Symptoms of Depression for 2 or More Years

One of the key indicators of dysthymia is persistent depressive symptoms for two or more years. These symptoms often come and go over time, but they can range in severity. Some of the key symptoms of depression include: 

      • Persistent sadness
      • Feelings of hopelessness
      • Loss of interest in hobbies
      • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, or helplessness

You’ve Learned How to “Mask” Your Symptoms

Often, those who have experienced symptoms of depression for longer periods of time have learned to cope in order to function successfully. Coping skills could look like compartmentalizing feelings to deal with later or putting on a smile despite feeling sad. If you’ve experienced symptoms for a long time, it’s likely that you’re aware of how this affects your daily life. It’s not uncommon to try to hide those feelings to appear more lively in the presence of others.

Your Home Feels Chaotic

When you’re feeling stressed, one of the first things that’s often affected is your ability to keep up with the smaller tasks in life. This becomes most evident in your home and the cleanliness of your space. The high levels of stress your body is feeling make it more difficult to prioritize chores and other small responsibilities. If you have dysthymia, you’ve likely learned to manage the depressive symptoms by allowing other areas of your life to fall behind, such as your home. 

You Feel Constantly Tired

Emotions can be exhausting, and living with depression for a long period of time can have negative effects on your physical health. If your body is living in a state of heightened emotion, whether positive or negative, this can decrease your energy levels and make you feel tired more often than usual. If you find that you’re feeling tired more days than not, and there isn’t a physical health reason, this could be a sign of depression.

Goals Still Motivate You

Despite one of the main symptoms of depression being a lack of interest in hobbies or activities you once enjoyed, a contrasting symptom for those with high-functioning depression is that your goals continue to motivate you to keep going. Those with dysthymia are often able to continue working towards their goals despite feelings of depression. When symptoms of depression and a motivation to achieve are working concurrently, this could be a sign of high-functioning depression.

Help for Symptoms of Depression

No matter what form of depression you have, you deserve help from a professional. Dysthymia is considered high-functioning depression because those who experience symptoms for long periods of time have learned how to function well in society despite their symptoms. Talking to a professional, though, can help you deal with the root causes of your depression to alleviate the burden of trying to function despite your symptoms. If you or a man you know is living with high-functioning depression, PACE Recovery Center can help. Contact us today to learn more about our outpatient mental health services. 

Is Vyvanse Addictive?

Severe ADHD is frequently treated with prescription amphetamines, one such being Vyvanse (chemical name lisdexamfetamine dimesylate, also prescribed for narcolepsy and binge-eating disorder). The medication comes in pill form, formulated to improve concentration.

Prescription Drug Abuse

A problem common to most prescription drugs is that a number of patients become dissatisfied with the original prescription for not delivering everything they’d hoped for: not working “fast enough” or “thoroughly enough,” or losing some of its original effect over time. When that happens, people may decide (without their doctor’s permission or knowledge) to begin crushing pills and “snorting” the powder, or by dissolving the pills and injecting the solution.

These alternate channels do produce faster and more intense results. They also produce highly undesirable side effects:

  • “Snorting” can damage the nasal membranes and respiratory system.
  • Injecting scars the skin, bruises the veins, and (if the needle is not properly sterilized) spreads disease.
  • Either approach encourages stronger and more frequent doses, which is often a fast route to physical tolerance, dependence, and ultimately addiction.

How Does Vyvanse Work?

One advantage of Vyvanse is that it eliminates the option of snorting or injecting for stronger effect. Vyvanse is a “prodrug,” meaning that its active ingredients are released only in reaction with gastrointestinal enzymes, i.e., when the medication is taken orally and enters the digestive system.

Introduced into the body by any other channel, Vyvanse remains an inert substance with little or no perceptible effect. Hence it was the first medication to receive FDA approval for being labeled “abuse resistant.”

Vyvanse Misuse: Still a Concern

Unfortunately, while the prodrug design may prevent snorting or injection, it can’t block the channel most misusers start with: taking more pills than prescribed. A larger oral dose may not produce much of a “rush,” but it will have a stronger effect, which is good enough for someone whose main goal is to get extra amphetamine for working longer or losing weight. While individual doctors can deny prescriptions or refills in an effort to limit someone’s Vyvanse supply, many people just go to additional doctors, forge prescriptions, or even request prescriptions for nonexistent ADHD. Or they switch to other amphetamines that are amenable to snorting and injecting.

It’s also worth noting that some people do attempt to snort Vyvanse—if only to confirm that getting a “high” that way is impossible—and this in itself can hurt the nose and respiratory organs. Sometimes, especially if someone experiences a “placebo-effect” high and develops the habit of regular Vyvanse snorting, introducing a foreign substance into the body can trigger vertigo, motor tics, facial swelling, vision problems, or even heart trouble.

What to Do?

The common-sense way to avoid these dangers is to take Vyvanse (if you take it at all) strictly according to prescription—and, if dissatisfied with the results, to get advice from your doctor before doing anything else. However, don’t berate yourself if you’ve already slipped into misuse. These things happen, and getting down on yourself will only make it harder to find your footing again.

In addition to coming clean with your prescribing doctor about any Vyvanse misuse, see an addiction medicine specialist if:

  • You’ve even considered trying to snort or inject the drug, or obtain any Vyvanse through covert means
  • You’re tempted to try other amphetamines because Vyvanse isn’t “doing the job” anymore
  • You’ve tried to cut back on your Vyvanse use, but always seem to give in to temptation
  • You’ve ever had symptoms of amphetamine overdose or withdrawal.

Whether it starts with a Vyvanse prescription or something else, amphetamine addiction needn’t be a life sentence—but it’s rarely something anyone can beat alone, especially while simultaneously battling ADHD or another co-occurring disorder. Get professional help, and hold on to hope for the future. Recovery is always an option!

Find Help at PACE Recovery

If you’re a young man who’s used prescription medications outside of medical instructions, and is now struggling with compulsive dependence on those medications, PACE Recovery can help. We understand your unique needs, and we’ll show you how to take your life back.

Our motto is “Positive Attitude Changes Everything.” Contact us for more information or to request an appointment.

The Psychology of Hope

“Hope” is a word often used in less-than-hopeful contexts: “I hope this or that happens” frequently carries the implication, “but it probably won’t.” A proper understanding of hope, however, focuses on an optimistic attitude that not only wishes for good things but expects them, and takes an active role in bringing them about. Properly hopeful people are consistently healthier and more successful than their more pessimistic counterparts.

Hope and Recovery

Our motto at PACE is Positive Attitude Changes Everything—not least for those struggling with chemical dependency, mental illness, or both. Even if your mind, will, and sense of order have become uncontrollable, you can still make the decision to seek help in reclaiming a healthy life.

One important early step on the road to recovery is realizing that hope isn’t something you either have or don’t have: it’s a skill that can be learned and practiced. Even if your temperament isn’t naturally geared toward high optimism, you can build new habits to improve your everyday hope quotient.

The key elements of positive hope are that it’s:

Values-Based

Living only to make money, advance your status, or indulge yourself reaps feelings of emptiness. True fulfillment includes a commitment to something bigger than yourself, whether that’s a religious/spiritual outlook, a social cause, or shared happiness with friends and family. Decide where your greater purpose lies, and commit to living everyday life according to values that serve that purpose.

Proactive

Stephen Covey labeled proactive living as the first secret of being “highly effective.” Reactive people wait for good luck to happen to them, blame everything and everyone else when it doesn’t, consider themselves powerless victims of circumstances—and go through life “just following orders” and usually bitter and depressed. Proactive people make things happen. They keep their hope active by taking responsibility for their lives and by focusing on what they can do without fretting about the rest.

Goal-Oriented

Proactive goals, worked for and achieved, are the building blocks of hope. You may have heard of the SMART principle: worthwhile goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely (aka set with deadlines). They also should be personally meaningful: working for peer approval or someone else’s dream will only leave you frustrated.

Adaptable

Even the best-planned goals aren’t guaranteed to come off flawlessly. (Ask any experienced achiever whose original 2020 calendar was filled with travel plans and public-speaking engagements.) Healthy hope accepts that course corrections will be necessary and disappointments inevitable. Rather than take difficulties as evidence that planning doesn’t work, a hopeful person knows how to shift to Plan B and keep moving in the right overall direction.

Persistent

Where hope includes belief in long-term goals and dreams, it also includes stick-to-itiveness to keep going, even in the face of setbacks and delays.

Resilient

Resilience is the driving force behind adaptability and persistence—and more. Resilience:

  • Remains confident of recovery even from major disasters
  • Enables people to get back on track in the aftermath of relapsing into mental illness or drug use
  • Knows that wherever life continues, failure is never total.

Growth-Minded

Just as there’s no such thing as complete failure, there’s no such thing as complete success: growth was always intended to be a lifelong journey. Understanding this is important if you want to avoid the “I’ve blown it, so I might as well give up trying” trap. “Progress, not perfection” is hope’s mantra. Internalize it, and you’ll not only build up resistance to quitting: you’ll enjoy life far more as you approach each day expecting new opportunities, adventures, and achievements yet to come.

Embrace a Positive Attitude for Lasting Recovery

Positive Attitude Changes Everything—even the worst life situations. But if you have a behavioral and/or mental illness, the change to a healthy, hope-centered life isn’t a journey to undertake alone. PACE Recovery Center provides detox, care, and therapy for men seeking freedom from addiction and hopelessness.

Don’t let anyone tell you that “being a man” requires bottling up your feelings and toughing everything out alone. We understand your needs, and we provide a safe, empathetic environment for rediscovering your true identity. Contact us today to learn more!

Why Do We Make New Year’s Resolutions?

The excitement of a new year represents a chance to reset and approach your New Year’s resolutions from a hopeful lens. And it has been a common way for people to set goals over time. 

When Did New Year’s Resolutions Originate?

Both the Babylonians and the Egyptians celebrated the start of the new calendar year. The Babylonians celebrated in March, commemorating it with a prolonged festival. Meanwhile, the Egyptians celebrated the new calendar year coinciding with the annual flood from the Nile River. 

In particular, the Babylonians pledged to their gods good behavior for the coming year in hopes they curry favor from them. Often, this involved a pledge for them to pay off old debts. 

The Evolution of New Year’s Resolutions

In the past, it was not uncommon for people to pledge resolutions on having a better diet, exercising more and making more money. However, a survey from Affirm found that trends are starting to adjust.

The survey discovered that 71% of respondents pledge to learn new skills or set realistic goals. Along with learning a new skill, resolving to save more money and pay down debt were also popular trends. 

Another change consists of people focusing more on how they spend their time. Of those surveyed, more than half want to spend more time with their family, and 49% want to travel more.

How Do I Keep My New Year’s Resolutions?

Anytime you’re learning to adjust to new behaviors, it is vital to set realistic goals. Here are a few tips to help you achieve them:

Set Smaller Goals That are Easy to Accomplish

You can start by setting small, realistic goals. It is much more manageable to do in that you might not have to alter your behaviors much. And over time, you’ll see the benefit of these small choices, giving you more incentive to do other things.

Share Your New Year’s Resolutions with a Friend

Another tip is to find someone you trust and share your goals with them. Anytime you’re undertaking a new behavior or perspective, you want to find someone supportive who can keep you on course. They can check in to see how your progress goes and share insights to help you achieve your goals.

Alter Goals as Needed

Moreover, give yourself the freedom to adjust. If a goal does not seem attainable, set more realistic ones. Doing so doesn’t mean you’re a failure. It means you’re making strides to improve yourself and being realistic in the process. A slight change in perspective today could yield big results down the road. 

Receiving a Fresh Start

The holidays are hectic enough. However, for men suffering from mental illnesses or behavioral issues, the pressures of the holidays can magnify your struggles. If you or someone you know needs help, contact our team to learn more about our treatment programs. We devise solutions examining the root cause of the illness and work with you to find a more wholesome, positive outcome. The new year represents a fresh start to get on the road to recovery.