Category Archives: Mental Health

How PTSD Presents in Young Men

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) has long been associated with veterans and first responders. However, anyone who experiences a traumatic event can be susceptible to PTSD. June is PTSD Awareness Month. Understanding how PTSD presents in young men is an important area to be aware of, especially now.

What is PTSD?

When something disturbing or unsettling happens, it’s normal to be a little upset for a while. When you experience a traumatic event or circumstance and your negative feelings last a month or longer, you may have PTSD. The anxiety disorder may not become apparent immediately after the trauma. Sometimes it takes weeks or even months to experience the symptoms of PTSD.

Traumatic Events

As a young man, you may experience a traumatic event or live through a traumatic circumstance in your life. While that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll develop the anxiety disorder, these are the types of experiences that can cause PTSD. Your fear in such a situation will trigger a “fight or flight” response, which is the natural way your body protects you in times of danger. You will probably also experience a heightened alertness, increased blood pressure, and a faster heart rate and breathing rate.

PTSD symptoms are longer lasting and more severe, in some cases. Those symptoms can be caused by an event that is life threatening such as a bad car accident or a violent assault. If you’ve been in a physical fight with someone else, that can be a traumatic event. You may have lived through a natural disaster that was devastating such as a flood or hurricane. The COVID-19 pandemic, with its uncertainty, fear, and isolation, has been a traumatic event for many young men.

You may also experience trauma when the situation is not necessarily life threatening to you. For example, you may have unexpectedly lost a loved one such as a grandparent or parent. You may have witnessed a car accident or someone else’s severe injury, rather than experiencing it firsthand. This can also be a traumatic event for you.

PTSD Emerging in Young Adults

While anyone can experience a traumatic event and subsequent PTSD onset at any age, the typical onset age for PTSD is in early adulthood. PTSD presents in young men in their 20s, with a median onset age of 23. Part of the reason for this may be that older adults do not put themselves in situations where they may experience trauma as much as young adults may do. Young men tend to be more active, join the military in early adulthood, and are less experienced with dealing with emotional and physical stress.

Do I Have PTSD?

After experiencing a traumatic event or circumstance in your life, you may have certain symptoms that can lead you to think you may have PTSD. If these symptoms last more than four weeks, you should consult with a healthcare professional to seek out treatment for your mental health. PTSD presents in young men in a number of ways. You may experience some or all of these symptoms, which are categorized into different types.

Re-experiencing symptoms. These occur when something reminds you or the trauma you experienced and you then feel that fear all over again. You might have flashbacks or nightmares as well as frightening thoughts.

Avoidance symptoms. You might try to avoid the people or situations that trigger memories of the traumatic event. You stay away from places or objects that remind you of what happened. If you were in a bad car accident, for example, you may not want to drive again.

Arousal and reactivity symptoms. You may be jittery or constantly on the lookout for danger. You can be easily startled, feeling on edge, and you can have trouble sleeping. You may also find that you have angry outbursts.

Cognition and mood symptoms. These are negative changes in your feelings and beliefs. You might start to develop negative thoughts about the world and about yourself. You feel guilty or are blaming yourself for what happened. You have trouble concentrating and no longer enjoy the things that used to interest you. In addition, you may have trouble remembering the important details of the traumatic event itself.

Mental Health Treatment for Men at PACE

As a young man, if you are experiencing PTSD symptoms, it is time to reach out to the professionals at PACE Recovery. Asking for help is a sign of strength. We optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your mental health and substance use issues you may also have. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

At PACE, we understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

Borderline Personality Disorder in Men

Some mental health conditions are thought to be more prevalent in women. However, men can be just as challenged with the struggles of mental illness. Given the stigma associated with mental health conditions, men are less likely to acknowledge their issues and to seek treatment. Borderline personality disorder in men is a condition that needs more attention, particularly for those men needing help with its impact on their lives.

Difficulty Regulating Emotion

When an individual has difficulties regulating their emotions, they may be diagnosed with a condition known as borderline personality disorder. Those who experience this condition will feel their emotions intensely for long periods of time. It is usually more difficult for them to return to a stable baseline after they’ve gone through an emotionally triggering event.

The inability to regulate emotion can lead to poor self-image, difficult relationships, impulsiveness, and an intensely emotional response to stressors. When a person struggles with self-regulation, they can also engage in dangerous behaviors, including self-harm.

Misdiagnosed in Men

About 1.4% of adults in the US experience borderline personality disorder. Almost three-fourths of those diagnosed are women. However, research suggests that men may be equally affected by the condition but are often misdiagnosed with other mental health conditions such as attention deficit disorder (ADD), conduct disorder, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) suggests that, rather than looking at each symptom separately in a man, the key may be to look at the collection of symptoms as a whole as well as the intensity of the emotions he experiences.

Signs of Borderline Personality Disorder in Men

Borderline personality disorder in men may manifest itself in the following symptoms, which are considered red flags to look for by NAMI.

Numerous and frequent relationships, often close together. A man with borderline personality disorder will experience a fear of abandonment and, as a result, refuse to commit to a romantic relationship. He may have multiple relationships, close together, that end after an argument or when he scares his partner away with a quick temper and possible physical aggression. He will have issues with controlling his emotions which often results in a quick ending to the relationship. He will then move on to a new relationship relatively quickly.

Behaviors and attitudes filled with drama. Women are usually thought of as being dramatic, but men can be so as well. Their drama will look a little different, though. A man with borderline personality disorder will have fluctuating emotions that can range from respect and idealizing someone to becoming emotionally detached and resentful. This drama can also affect a man’s frequent and turbulent romantic relationships.

Thoughts, behaviors, and emotions that are constantly up and down. A man with borderline personality disorder can change quickly from being warm and loving to being cold and distant, even angry and hostile. He can exhibit a stable and consistent pattern of behavior for a while and then suddenly change into what may seem like a completely different person.

Behaviors that seem designed to draw attention. Men with borderline personality disorder seem to want attention. They will engage in self-destructive behaviors, such as cutting, and then draw attention to the fact that they have done so. They may exhibit a loud attitude, make accusations of being unloved and abandoned, or be aggressive in an effort to gain attention. Other risky behaviors can be unprotected sex, fathering children with different women, and making threats to keep everyone afraid of him.

Dependency and co-dependency. An individual’s fear of abandonment can make it difficult for him to maintain a healthy, safe, and satisfying relationship. In contrast, he may engage in a dependent or co-dependent relationship with someone who relies on him, emotionally and psychologically. The relationship is dependent on his partner, who may be just as psychologically and emotionally unstable as the man with borderline personality disorder.

Manipulating loved ones with suicide threats or attempts. In an effort to manipulate a loved one or to convince them that he is lovable, a man with borderline personality disorder may threaten suicide. For example, a man who becomes jealous of his wife talking to another man may threaten suicide if she does not stop talking to him.

Suicidal thoughts that alleviate the pain. Some men will seriously consider suicide when the symptoms of their mental health condition cause difficulties in their life. Their pain and their fear of abandonment is so intensified that their suicidal thoughts may temporarily comfort them.  

Mental Health Treatment for Men at PACE

When you are experiencing the symptoms of a mental health condition such as borderline personality disorder, it is time to reach out to the professionals at PACE Recovery. Asking for help is a sign of strength. We optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your mental health and substance use issues. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

At PACE, we understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

Signs of Depression in Men | Mental Health Awareness Month

May is Mental Health Awareness Month. For men, especially, it is critically important to understand how mental health can impact your life. Recognizing the signs of depression in men, which can be very different from those in women, can mean the difference to your health and well-being.

Not a Sign of Weakness

One of the most important aspects of mental health to understand is that having depression and seeking treatment for the condition is not a sign of weakness. In fact, it takes courage to reach out and get help when you are experiencing the signs of depression. Stigma can keep you from making the effort to see your symptoms for what they truly are and in light of how they are impacting your life.

A Leading Cause of Death

Depression and suicide are ranked among the leading causes of death in men. Six million men in the US are affected by the mental health condition every year. Men die by suicide at a rate four times higher than women. Men often turn to drugs or alcohol to cope with their symptoms of depression. Consequently, they are more likely to die from alcohol-related causes than women and are two to three times more likely to misuse drugs than women.

Signs and Symptoms in Men

Depression affects a large number of men, but they are typically less likely to recognize or seek treatment for their depression. They usually do not want to talk about it at all. Their symptoms may manifest in very different ways from symptoms that women may experience. While women may appear sad, men often seem angry, aggressive, or irritable. In fact, the signs of depression in men are often mistaken for other issues, another reason the mental health condition usually goes untreated.

Other common signs of depression in men, which might “mask” the condition itself, include:

  • Feeling “on edge,” anxious, or restless
  • Problems with sexual desire and performance or engaging in risky sexual behavior
  • Loss of interest in work or in activities that were once enjoyable
  • An inability to concentrate or remember details
  • Changes in eating habits such as overeating or not eating
  • Physical pains, including headaches and digestive issues
  • Withdrawing from friends or family members
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • An increased use and misuse of drugs or alcohol
  • Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts.

While women who are experiencing depression are more likely to attempt suicide, men are more likely to complete the act and die by suicide as they tend to use more lethal methods in their attempts.

Risk Factors

One of the most common mental disorders in the US, depression is caused by a combination of risk factors that can include:

  • Environmental stress such as financial issues, major life changes, problems at work, loss of a loved one, or a difficult relationship. In fact, any significantly stressful situation they encounter in their daily lives may trigger the mental health condition in men.
  • Genetic factors for those men who have a family history of depression.
  • Serious illness such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, or Parkinson’s disease. While the illness itself may cause depression, medications taken for the condition may also involve side effects that cause or worsen depression in men.

Real Men Do Ask for Help

Ignoring depression won’t make the symptoms go away. The mental health condition could lead to other serious issues, such as drug or alcohol abuse. Trying to battle it on your own is never a good plan. You need someone who understands what you are going through and who can offer the treatment options you need to be healthier, mentally and physically. In fact, you will be making a smart decision by reaching out for help when you recognize the signs of depression.

Help for Men at PACE

Asking for help is a sign of strength. When you need help with your mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and mood disorders, it is time to reach out to the professionals at PACE Recovery. We optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your mental health and substance use issues. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

At PACE, we understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

Why Young Men Should Seek Counseling

April is Counseling Awareness Month. While men can be hesitant to seek out counseling, perhaps because of a perceived stigma around asking for help, therapy sessions can be very helpful in addressing issues with addiction or mental health. Young men should seek counseling to discover the many ways it can benefit them so they can get the help they need.

Why Men Avoid Counseling

Many people may be hesitant to seek help for mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety, but researchers have found that young men are the least likely of all demographics to seek professional help. In fact, these individuals typically have a greater need for psychological intervention, as the onset of mental illness usually occurs in early adulthood. Suicide rates are also high among young men between the age of 15 and 24.

Young men may experience a sense of embarrassment, discomfort, shame, or even fear around asking for help with mental health issues. The stigma of mental illness, as well as challenges in managing and communicating their distress, can catch young men in a cycle of avoidance. They often wait until they are severely distressed before they reach out for help.

In addition, men can feel that they will lose control if they disclose personal information in a counseling session, as they tend to have a greater need for confidentiality. When these men do not get the help they need, however, they may turn to alternative coping mechanisms, including alcohol and drugs, in an attempt to relieve their emotional and physical pain.

Mental Health Issues

The five most common mental health issues that can be indications that young men should seek counseling are anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, psychosis and schizophrenia, and eating disorders.

  • Anxiety: Over 3 million adult men are diagnosed with panic disorders or phobias every year.
  • Depression: Over 6 million men suffer from depression every year.
  • Bipolar disorder: Approximately 2.3 million Americans are diagnosed with bipolar disorder each year, and about half of those are men. This disorder affects young men, especially, with onset occurring between the ages of 16 and 25.
  • Psychosis and schizophrenia: Out of the 3.5 million adults in the US who are diagnosed with schizophrenia, 90% of those who are diagnosed before age 30 are men.
  • Eating disorders: Men account for 10% of those individuals with anorexia or bulimia and 35% of those with binge-eating disorders.

Men and Mental Health Symptoms

Men tend to experience depression and other mental health issues differently than women. Men who suffer from depression may exhibit symptoms such as:

  • Taking physical risks, being more aggressive in activities such as driving, and having unsafe sex
  • Losing interest in their job
  • Experiencing problems with sleeping
  • Being more irritable than usual
  • Experiencing physical pain with headaches or digestive issues
  • Becoming more controlling, abusive, or violent
  • Using alcohol or drugs to cope with their symptoms of depression.

How Counseling Can Help

Young men should seek counseling because ignoring mental health issues such as depression or anxiety won’t make them go away. Men may tend to think that talking cannot help their situation. By participating in counseling, though, they will find that issues that are weighing heavily on them mentally will become less stressful as they talk about them more openly. Talk therapy, in particular, has been found to be an effective treatment for depression and can also help in developing new coping skills.

Therapy on an individual basis can help reassure men of the confidentiality of their discussions, even though all counseling sessions are confidential by nature. Individual therapy can give young men the safe space they need to explore their thoughts, concerns, and feelings. Young men who seek counseling will find that they become more self-aware and are able to improve the quality of their mental and physical health and improve the quality of their life.

Help for Young Men at PACE

Asking for help is a sign of strength. When you need help with your mental health issues, including depression, anxiety, and mood disorders, it is time to reach out to the professionals at PACE Recovery. We optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your mental health and substance use issues. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

At PACE, we understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

Volatile Nitrites, Nitrous Oxide & Solvents: Raising Awareness About Inhalants

National Inhalants and Poisons Awareness Week is March 22-28. Unlike equally dangerous illegal drugs, inhalants are substances that are typically found in most households. Understanding the facts about inhalants is important for the person addicted to them as well as for their friends and family. Raising awareness about inhalants, including volatile nitrites, nitrous oxide, and solvents, can help save a life.

What are Inhalants?

Inhalants are found in many common household products. They contain volatile substances that produce chemical vapors that, when inhaled, can induce a mind-altering effect. The term inhalant is used to describe substances that are rarely taken by any other route, such as in liquid or pill form. There are four basic categories of inhalants, including volatile solvents, aerosols, nitrites, and gases, which describe the forms in which they are most often found in household, medical, and industrial products.

When a Household Product Becomes an Inhalant

An individual who abuses inhalants may take advantage of any available product. However, some users will go out of their way to get hold of their favorite inhalant. Household products that contain commonly abused inhalants in the four general categories include:

Volatile solvents – liquids that become gas at room temperature. These are typically found in nail polish remover, paint thinner, gasoline, contact cement, and some art or office supplies such as correction fluid, glue, and felt-tip marker fluid.

Aerosols – substances under pressure that are released as a fine spray. These include hair spray, deodorant spray, vegetable oil sprays, and spray paint.

Gases – found in household, commercial, and medical products. These inhalants include refrigerant gases, butane lighters, propane tanks, and anesthesia such as nitrous oxide, ether, and chloroform.

Nitrites – sold in small brown bottles, these inhalants include organic nitrites such as amyl, butyl, and cyclohexyl nitrites; amyl nitrite, sometimes used to diagnose heart problems; and nitrites that are now banned but are still found in small bottles labeled “video head cleaner” or “liquid aroma.”

How Do Inhalants Work?

When these chemicals are inhaled, they are absorbed quickly into the bloodstream through the lungs and then distributed to the brain and other organs throughout the body. Within just a few seconds, the person who has inhaled the substance will experience intoxication and other effects similar to those produced by alcohol. They might experience an inability to coordinate their movements, slurred speech, a sense of euphoria, and dizziness, as well as lightheadedness, delusions, and hallucinations.

The intoxication from inhalants only lasts a few minutes, so the individual will typically seek to prolong the high by inhaling repeatedly over just a few hours’ time, a practice that is very dangerous. With each successive inhalation, the individual’s chances increase of suffering a loss of consciousness and even death.

Inhaling can be done through a variety of methods, including inhaling the vapors directly from open containers or from rags that have been soaked in the chemical substance. A method known as bagging involves inhaling substances sprayed or deposited inside a paper or plastic bag. The individual may also inhale from balloons filled with nitrous oxide or from devices known as snappers and poppers in which inhalants are sold.

Side Effects and Risks

The risks of inhaling nitrites, nitrous oxide, solvents, and other chemical substances can be devastating. A recent study that included over 35,000 inhalant abuse cases found that most abusers were in their teens, although the ages ranged from 6 to over 50. Boys accounted for almost three-fourths of the cases. Most of the patients in the study were being treated in an emergency room. Out of the study participants, 208 died and more than 1,000 experienced life-threatening or permanent disabling illnesses.

Side effects associated with inhalants include strong hallucinations and delusions, dizziness, impaired judgment, belligerence, and apathy. Those who abuse inhalants over the long term experience muscle weakness, lack of coordination, irritability, weight loss, inattentiveness, and depression. In addition, chronic use of inhalants can cause serious and often irreversible damage to the liver, lungs, heart, kidneys, and brain.

Early Identification and Intervention

Severe risks, including death, can occur with just one incident of inhaling these chemical substances. It is critical to identify the behavior and get help for the addiction as soon as possible, before it causes serious health issues. An awareness about inhalants includes knowing the following signs that could mean a friend or loved one is abusing a chemical substance:

  • Hidden empty spray paint or solvent containers, and chemical-soaked rags or clothing
  • Chemical odors on breath or clothing
  • Paint or other stains on face, hands, or clothes
  • Nausea or loss of appetite
  • Slurred speech
  • Drunk or disoriented appearance
  • Inattentiveness, lack of coordination, irritability, and depression.

Addiction and Mental Health Support for Men

At PACE Recovery, we optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your addiction to drugs or alcohol, including an addiction to inhaling chemical substances, and mental health issues. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

The professionals at PACE understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

The Truth About Self-Harm Among Young Men

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

Emotional Distress in Young Adult Men

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

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

Self-Harm Among Young Men

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

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

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

Self-Harm and Suicide

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

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

Men and Treatment for Self-Harm

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

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

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

Help for Young Men at PACE

Contrary to what many people may believe, asking for help is actually a sign of strength. If you have been engaging in self-harm behaviors, particularly if you are also dealing with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, it is time to reach out to the professionals at PACE Recovery. We optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your mental health and substance use issues. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

At PACE, we understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

Receiving a Mental Health Diagnosis in Adulthood

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

Diagnosis in Adulthood

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

Mental Health Stigmas for Men

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

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

Major Mental Health Disorders Affecting Men

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

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

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

Mental Health’s Effects on Adults

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

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

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

Dual Diagnosis Support for Men

At PACE Recovery, we optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your mental health and substance use issues. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

The professionals at PACE understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

Eating Disorders Among Young Men | National Eating Disorders Awareness Week

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

Spotlight on Eating Disorders

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

Types of Eating Disorders

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

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

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

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

Eating Disorders and Men

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

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

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

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

Body Image Differences

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

Gender-Specific Treatment for Men with Eating Disorders

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

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

Support for Men at PACE Recovery

Eating disorders can negatively impact your physical and mental health and may lead to an addiction to drugs or alcohol. At PACE Recovery, we offer gender-specific treatment options to optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your addiction to drugs or alcohol and mental health issues. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

The professionals at PACE understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.

Addressing Complex Childhood Trauma After Adoption

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

Childhood Trauma

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

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

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

Your Child’s Behavior

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

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

Addressing Trauma After Adoption

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

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

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

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

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

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

Secondary Traumatic Stress

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

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

Specialists in Adoption-Related Addiction Treatment

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

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

The Relationship Between Addiction and Bipolar Disorder

addiction and bipolar disorder

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

Bipolar Disorder

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

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

Addiction and Bipolar Disorder

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

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

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

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

Worsening Symptoms

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

Diagnosis Challenges

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

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

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

Treatment

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

Dual Diagnosis Support for Men

At PACE Recovery, we optimize your recovery success with integrated treatment that will address both your addiction to drugs or alcohol and mental health issues, such as bipolar disorder. We address your whole person, including your spiritual, medical, psychosocial, and relational facets.

The professionals at PACE understand the challenges you are facing during this period of isolation and uncertainty. We’re here to help. Our men’s-only programming has transformed hundreds of lives over the years, and we believe that you can recover. To learn more about our mental health and addiction services, contact our Admissions team.