Tag Archives: fear

Depression and Anxiety During COVID-19 Pandemic

depression

Are you feeling angry, discontent, frustrated, lonely, and stir crazy? Are you consumed by fear of the unknown and bogged down by states of anxiety or depression? If the words above resonate, aptly describing your sentiments of late, please know that you are not alone. The majority of people in recovery from addiction, mental illness, or dual diagnosis feel the same way. We implore you; take stock in remembering that this too shall pass.

It’s been several months since we learned that a deadly virus found its way ashore in America. A short time ago, we couldn’t have imagined that the United States would become the epicenter of the most severe public health crisis in 100 years. Moreover, we didn’t know that life as we know it would change immeasurably. Nevertheless, here we find ourselves; all 328 million-plus of us.

COVID-19 is a deadly coronavirus sweeping across America. From Miami to Seattle, from Bangor to Huntington Beach, more than three and half million have tested positive. What’s more, 135,000 Americans‘ lives have been cut short. Each day, the death toll and the number of cases rises; it’s understandable that you have concerns. A pandemic is an unprecedented event for 99.99 percent of those living; there isn’t a playbook to turn to for guidance.

While we shelter in place waiting for the storm to pass, it can be easy to become trapped in the endless news cycle. Headlines are informative to be sure, but they are also troubling. Acting on instructions to change behaviors reduces disease transmission and also flips our lives upside down.

Pandemic-Related Relapse

We are all trying to get through each day without resorting to self-defeating and self-destructive behaviors to cope. In the process, we must acknowledge that the pandemic will have a lasting impact on society long after scientists develop a vaccine.

In our last post, we pointed out that a third of Americans are showing signs of clinical depression and anxiety. Alcohol use is surging; the same is valid for drugs. According to the Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Dr. Nora Volkow, since the COVID-19 pandemic began, opioid overdoses may have increased 30 to 40 percent. She adds:

We know also that from some of the reports from the states that there have been increases in overdose fatalities, that there have been increases in patients relapsing that had already achieved recovery. So we are hearing these distress calls from throughout the country.”

If you live in a state hit hard by the coronavirus, you may be cut off from your support network. The only meetings of recovery you attend may be virtual. Hopefully, you’ve managed to stay on course toward progress despite the new normal. It’s not easy to keep your recovery intact in isolation, but it’s possible.

Fortunately, there are still resources at your disposal, even if they come from afar. Continue to practice the principles in all your affairs to get to the other side of this public health crisis without incident. The program teaches us that we have to live life on life’s terms to succeed; never have such words rang so true. In recovery, you are informed that anything can be overcome, provided you remember where you came from, and don’t lose sight of where you would like to go.

The Spell of Depression

It’s challenging to maintain a positive outlook when stuck at home and racked with concern. It’s possible to practice positivity, but a positive attitude is contingent on our behaviors; how you fill your day matters. Spending your days without purpose or in an unproductive manner will impact your well-being.

If depression and anxiety weigh you down, please talk to your peers or a professional about your feelings. Identify behaviors contributing to how you feel and make alterations as necessary. For instance, make daily walks a priority if you are feeling sedentary. Instead of binging too much Netflix, read more.

Books will transport you away from your negative thoughts. Memoirs and mindful texts abound, and there is no time like the present to check off boxes on your recovery reading list. If you are struggling with depression, you may be interested in a new book on the subject.

Essayist and literary critic, George Scialabba, has battled depression for decades. His latest text gives readers an up-close and personal look at the condition. Scialabba’s How To Be Depressed also provides those who contend with depression some helpful tools. The University of Pennsylvania Press writes:

Unlike heart surgery or a broken leg, there is no relaxing convalescence and nothing to be learned (except, perhaps, who your friends are). It leaves you weakened and bewildered, unsure why you got sick or how you got well, praying that it never happens again but certain that it will. Scialabba documents his own struggles and draws from the insights that may prove useful to fellow-sufferers and general readers alike. In the place of dispensable banalities—”Hold on,” “You will feel better,” and so on—he offers an account of how it’s been for him, in the hope that doing so might prove helpful to others.”

Southern California Mental Health Treatment for Men

At PACE Recovery Center, we specialize in treating men suffering from mental illnesses like depression and anxiety. If you or a loved one struggles with a mental health disorder, our highly qualified team of specialists could help bring about lasting recovery. Please contact us today to begin the healing process.

Depression Rate Rises Amid Coronavirus Pandemic

depression

Men and women living with behavioral and mental health disorders such as depression face enormous challenges of late. The COVID-19 pandemic has put billions of people worldwide on high alert due to the knowledge that everything can change in the blink of an eye. An ever-present fear of contraction, loss of employment, communal division, intractable lengths of isolation, and loss of life has become the new normal.

People are suffering mentally and physically at unprecedented rates. What’s more, many find it exceedingly challenging to cope with anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress. If one is unable to manage symptoms, they are at a significant risk of adopting unhealthy behaviors and patterns such as alcohol and substance abuse.

At PACE Recovery Center, we have a first-hand understanding of what can happen when an individual lives in the depths of despair. We fully grasp the dangers that prolonged states of loneliness and uncertainty can have on those who battle mental health disorders.

While it’s still possible to turn to professionals and mutual-help groups for support, most people are unable or unwilling to reach out for the help they need. We cannot stress the importance of finding the courage to seek assistance, especially now.

Anxiety and Depression On the Rise in America

Even before COVID-19 became a part of the national vocabulary, depression was a severe public health crisis. In the past, we have shared that depressive disorders are the leading cause of poor health worldwide. Now, amid a global pandemic, it will probably not be a surprise to learn that anxiety and depression are on the rise in America.

In any given year, one in five Americans contends with mental illness. One-third of Americans are exhibiting symptoms of anxiety and depression, according to a recent report from the U.S. Census Bureau. With roughly 3.5 million documented coronavirus cases in America and more than 130,000 COVID-19-related deaths, daily feelings of stress, loss, and fear are commonplace. Moreover, tens of millions of Americans lack the tools to cope with the new normal healthily.

It’s quite understandable the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to cause significant stress and psychological distress for a large proportion of the population,” says Maurizio Fava, MD, psychiatrist-in-chief of the Department of Psychiatry at Massachusetts General Hospital. “And we know the rates are progressively increasing.”

In a June Massachusetts General Hospital press release, Dr. Fava explains how the pandemic has led to a rise in depression in America. The causes include but are not limited to:

  • Social Distancing
  • Infection Fears
  • Grief and Trauma
  • Financial Woes

The psychiatrist adds that unemployment, housing insecurity, and loss of community can be catalysts for depression. While Dr. Fava finds the increase in depression understandable, he also shares that there is hope in the form of mindfulness and telehealth for those suffering.

Coping With Depression is Possible

One of the most significant obstacles to finding recovery is stigma; judgments and public misconceptions stand in the way of accessing support. Shame is a roadblock during the best of times, but it’s compounded today by a bogged down healthcare system.

There is still a stigma to depression and anxiety. So many people experience this stress, anxiety and depression, and don’t necessarily talk about it,” says Dr. Fava.

Some may find it even more challenging to find in-person professional support of late. Still, anyone living with mental illness can take steps at home to combat their symptoms. Whatever your situation is, you can benefit from being mindful of well-being. Small actions can have a considerable impact on your ability to cope with fear, grief, and trauma.

When dealing with mental illness, it’s vital to prioritize getting a good night’s sleep and maintaining good nutrition habits, recommends Dr. Fava. He adds that having an exercise routine can help you relax. People struggling with anxiety and depression can also benefit from mindful meditation and prayer.

Statewide “stay at home” orders have led to a dramatic increase in virtual support networks and telemedicine use. Dr. Fava points out that Mass General psychiatric providers now treat 97 percent of patients virtually. In March last year, only five percent of patients utilized telepsychiatry.

While research indicates that teletherapy can be as effective as in-person therapy, not everyone is responsive to the impersonal method. Fortunately, addiction and mental health residential treatment centers are still accepting new clients.

Mental Health & Mood Disorder Treatment for Men

If you are facing severe mental health challenges, you can benefit from a comprehensive treatment program. We strongly encourage you to reach out to us to learn more about PACE’s Residential Mental Health Program for Men. Our skilled team of masters and doctorate-level clinicians can help you or your loved one begin the journey of recovery.

Many men living with depression use drugs and alcohol to cope; thus, they are prone to develop a co-occurring alcohol or substance use disorder. Our supportive staff understands the difficulties you are facing today and can equip you with the tools to cope in healthy, non-self-destructive and defeating ways.

During these unprecedented times, we offer a full spectrum of programs from teletherapy to residential treatment for addiction and mental illness.

Addiction Recovery: Staying Present Despite Fear

addiction recovery

Staying present is a vital component of addiction recovery. Unfortunately, it’s likely that many of our readers, of late, are finding it challenging to stay in the “here and now.” The fear of catching the coronavirus and what might happen if one does, can consume one’s thoughts and lead to negative thinking and behaviors.

Today, there are now 1,244,465 Americans whose COVID-19 test has come back positive. Moreover, a staggering 74,413 men, women, and children have died due to health complications related to the coronavirus. As both figures continue to climb in the United States, staying calm, collected, and present is vital to maintaining one’s addiction recovery.

Keep your focus on your program at all times, and do not do anything that will jeopardize your progress. While some states have begun loosening their stay at home orders, and 12 Step groups could start meeting in person in the near future, it is still not safe for immunocompromised individuals to assemble. This means that many people in the recovery community will have to continue working their program from home.

Nearly three months into this public health crisis in America, you probably have learned effective ways of keeping your recovery intact. Attending virtual meetings via video conferencing platforms is a prime example. Adhering to a prayer and meditation regimen is another excellent method for staying present and keeping fear from influencing your mood and decision making.

In previous posts, we’ve written to you about stress management, as well as coping with isolation, vulnerability, and fear. We hope you found the time to read those articles at length. We offer up a number of tips that could help you stay present during these troubling times. Creativity is one example of how to stay present and positive.

Staying Present in Addiction Recovery During Fearful Times

The present, as author Spencer Johnson, M.D., puts it, is precious. Perhaps you have had the chance to read the best-selling author’s books, such as “The Precious Present.” If not, it could be useful to read or listen to a copy while we shelter in place. Johnson writes:

The present is what it is. It is valuable. Even I do not know why. It is already just the way it is supposed to be. When I see the present, accept the present, and experience the present, I am well, and I am happy. Pain is simply the difference between what is and what I want it to be.”

Mr. Johnson has several books that could prove useful to you while coping with the current state of the world and the new normal. Of course, there are many books on practicing mindfulness that can help you stay positive and strengthen your recovery.

Holocaust survivor, Viktor Frankl, became a neurologist and psychiatrist and is the author of “Man’s Search for Meaning.” The book is a harrowing account of surviving the death camps during World War II and so much more.

Within the bindings of Frankl’s relatively short books are many gems of wisdom that we can all benefit from during these difficult times. He contends that the bedrock of staying present is that we each have the power to choose how to respond to a situation—no matter what happens to us. He writes, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

For the world is in a bad state, but everything will become still worse unless each of us does his best.” – Viktor Frankl

Overcoming Adversity is Possible

Millions of men, women, and teenagers have embarked upon journeys of addiction recovery. Each day they make a commitment to maintaining a positive attitude as they fight for continued progress.

The global pandemic is an immense test to everyone in recovery, and it test one’s ability to live in the present. Some 33.5 million Americans have lost their jobs, so it can be hard to not dwell on the past and worry about the future, but doing so will be detrimental to your addiction recovery.

You cannot change the state of the world and the existence of coronavirus, but you can take steps to maintain balance in your life. Prioritizing the need for focusing on today will significantly help your cause.

You overcame a mental and behavioral disorder, which is one of the most challenging feats to achieve. As such, you have the strength to persevere during these trying times and stay positive in the process. A positive attitude changes everything.

Never forget that we are all in this together and can help lift one another in times of despair.

To a large degree, the measure of our peace of mind is determined by how much we are able to live in the present moment. Irrespective of what happened yesterday or last year, and what may or may not happen tomorrow, the present moment is where you are–always!” – Richard Carlson, Ph.D. in psychology

Gender-Specific Addiction Recovery Center

Please contact PACE Recovery Center if you struggle with alcohol, drugs, and mental illness. Our gender-specific, evidence-based addiction recovery center for men will help you begin the healing process and begin a remarkable journey. Our highly skilled team is adhering to COVID-19 guidelines to ensure you remain safe. You can reach us today at 800-526-1851.

Is Fear Standing in The Way of Recovery?

recovery

Fear is one of the primary components of addiction. It would be difficult for any one person, in recovery or still active, to deny the role that fright has had in their life. It has been said on numerous occasions, by countless people, that when you strip away all the layers of an addict or alcoholic, what you find is fear. Underneath the anger, resentment, dishonesty, et al., you see a person who trembles at the thought of living another day with substances, or without drugs and alcohol.

Let’s be clear, people living with substance use disorders are not a bunch of scaredy-cats. You might even say that Fear, as it pertains to people struggling with addiction is more of a philosophical dilemma than the typical worries that the average human contends with from day to day. Existential angst may be a more fitting description of the addict’s condition. When a person can’t live with something while simultaneously being unable to live without it, it is a dilemma in the strictest sense of the word—a cruel paradox.

Many articles have touched upon the subject of fear and the part it plays with mental illness and how it can be a catalyst for addiction. With that in mind, getting to the roots of people’s unease, or “dis-ease” for that matter, is an integral component of addiction recovery. Ironically, people only learn this after they have made the courageous “fear-less” decision to ask for assistance and valiantly accept help. In a sense, those who go into treatment choose to resist against their fear, and ignore the chatter in their head that says, ‘you’re not worth it, you will fail, and think what you stand to lose?’

Creation In Spite of Addiction

If you are not in recovery or do not struggle with addiction, the question above may seem baffling. You may ask yourself, ‘what could a person caught in the grips of mental illness have to lose by choosing recovery?’ It’s a good question, and the answer may not be an obvious one, so perhaps you can keep an open mind for a time.

Please consider for a moment that not every person with a substance use disorder in need of treatment is in the final iteration of the disease. Most people who require treatment are somehow managing to hold things together, at least on the surface. Each day, countless active using addicts and alcoholics get up, and go through the same motions as “normal” people; a significant number of people living with mental illness are successful, talented, and in quite a few cases—famous. We probably do not have to run down the list of all well-respected artists, musicians, authors, and performers who are both actively using or are in recovery.

We can probably all agree that it’s possible to make some of your dreams come true despite drugs and alcohol dependence. In spite of the pain, heartache, guilt, and shame that comes with addiction, individuals can create a masterpiece using their preferred medium. One could even argue, and many have, that substance use is a form of muse that guides them toward creation. Whether such a suggestion is right or wrong is debatable, what is certain is that no matter what excuse people have for continuing use, the choice comes at a significant cost— often, the ultimate price.

Identity is Important to Everyone. Even in Recovery!

Years of drug and alcohol use shapes people in many ways. Those caught in the cycle of addiction often define themselves by their struggle, convinced that their fight while deadly, is beautiful. What’s more, since humans are prone to gauge who they Are by how they see themselves in the eyes of others, one can easily convince their self that giving up drugs and alcohol will result in people viewing them differently. We all strive for consistency in how people see us, the thought of people changing their view (even when it is for the better) can be too much to stomach.

Addiction becomes a part of people’s identity; therefore, the thought of abstaining is tantamount to sacrificing (real or imagined) who they Are in the name of health. If a person’s identity is inextricably bound to that which they create, it’s difficult to justify anything (recovery) that could jeopardize creation. There is a pervasive mindset among many people with alcohol or substance use disorders who create art; the idea that self-improvement will diminish their ability to create. The fear of losing that which one loves most keeps people rationalizing their behaviors. Fear justifies continued use, one might say to themself, ‘what good is recovery if I’m going to spend the rest of my days mourning the loss of Art?’ For such people, their passion is more valuable than a healthy existence.

So, does recovery hurt the ability to be original and authentic? The simplest answer, and the right answer is, NO! Sadly, many people never come to that determination because their life was cut short by the disease.

Does Recovery Kill Great Writing?

Those who find the strength to stand up to their disease and give recovery an honest chance, discover an exponentially more exceptional ability to create. Fear is a dominant force, but it is not all-powerful. Fear can convince people that they have the answers to questions without having to do any research. Being convinced of something without conducting a proper study, is to live in ignorance. The only way to know what is possible in recovery is to do the work; only by openly and honestly giving a program of healing a chance can you answer the lingering questions bound to your fear.

Saying that anything is possible in recovery may sound suspiciously catchy; that doesn’t make it any less accurate. Recently, an article appearing in The New York Time’s Magazine, set its sights on the topic of recovery affecting creativity. The article is adapted from Leslie Jamison’s “The Recovering: Intoxication and Its Aftermath,” to be published next month. Jamison is an author who has several years sober in recovery which, like many artists, struggles with fear. The piece covers many areas relevant to people in recovery and in-need-of recovery. Even if you are artistically inept, everyone can relate to fear.

Jamison’s adaptation can speak to anyone, regardless of artistic background; but, it is likely to resonate most with people who have a penchant for reading and writing. Please find time to read this article, if you have used up your free NYT online articles for the month, the mobile site should still work. Reading the piece might serve to allay the fears of people still teetering on the fence of recovery; it can show you that there is beauty in recovery, resisting doubt is a beautiful struggle. Hopefully, it inspires you to pick up the phone and reach out for help. Making the brave decision to resist fear and seek change could lead you to create your best work yet; naturally, there is only one way to find out, just as Leslie Jamison would discover.

During days spent in the archives and during the midnight hours of my own attempts to write, it was liberating to start questioning the ways I’d understood torment as a prerequisite to beauty. It was liberating to start imagining that there could be meaningful stories told about wreckage, sure, but also meaningful stories told about what it might mean to pull yourself out from under it: stories about showing up for work, for intimacy, for other people; stories about getting through ordinary days without drinking enough vodka to forget yourself entirely. The lie wasn’t that addiction could yield truth. The lie was that addiction had a monopoly on it.

Addiction Recovery

It is hard work facing your feelings without the aid of alcohol and drugs. Early recovery is a difficult time for anyone, but what you will discover along the way will change your life for the better. Recovery is not an antidote for fear; it is a tool that allows you the ability to cope with and manage the state of being in healthy ways. Abstinence is the only absolute when it comes to healing, other than that, recovery isn’t a trade-off. You will still be You when working a program, arguably an even better version of yourself.

If you are ready to face your fear and embrace changes in your life for the better, please contact PACE Recovery Center to begin a remarkable journey.

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