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Exercises for Anxiety & Depression

Anxiety was barely known as an illness before the 19th century. Anxiety is caused by worrying about the future. Depression is a prolonged state of sadness because of past events and experiences.

There is unprecedented amount of data which links drug and alcohol abuse to anxiety and depression. Many professionals in the field of substance abuse acknowledge they accompany each other in a large majority of cases.

The people at Home Gym 101 put together a list of exercises & processes that can help individuals experiencing anxiety and depression. The article is below


Frank Say – U Recover

Top 15 Best Exercises For Depression And Anxiety

  • By: Petrolene Le Roux
  • Last Updated: July 16, 2020

Anxiety was barely known as an illness before the 19th century.  Anxiety is caused by worrying about the future.  Depression is a prolonged state of sadness because of past events and experiences.

Most people experience anxiety or depression at some point in their lives.  Many physicians prescribe mental and physical exercises to improve a patient’s state of mind.

Here are some of the best exercises for anxiety and depression. 

It is not a one size fits all. Find an exercise that resonates with you and your lifestyle.

Mental And Breathing Exercises

Mental and breathing exercises help you relieve stress and tension from your body. It helps the body to release feel-good hormones. It also decreases hormones that cause stress symptoms like increased heart rate and shallow breathing.

1. Relaxation Through Breathing

By changing your breathing, you can stimulate the body’s hormonal system to get you into a relaxed state. You can also reverse the symptoms of a stress response, like increased heart rate, shortness of breath, and tense muscles.

When you are anxious, you tend to breathe shallow, rapid breaths. To calm down, you want to breathe into your lower lungs as well so that you use your diaphragm during the movement.

Natural breathing techniques can be exercised throughout the entire day. This will also provide enough oxygen to fill your lungs and will control the exhalation of carbon dioxide.

Sit up straight or lie down. Slowly and gently inhale a deep breath of air through your nose, filling your lungs. Your stomach should expand when you inhale to make sure you are using your diaphragm.

Exhale slowly through your mouth.

2. Visualization

Visualization is a powerful technique to help you find “your happy place”. When you create a mental picture of a place in the future where you feel calm and relaxed, you can teach your brain how to operate as if you are already in that situation.

Sit in a quiet and comfortable place away from any distractions.

Think about a place where you truly feel relaxed. It can be any place in the world. It can be a real place or a mental picture of a place in your imagination.

See in your minds-eye exactly what the place looks like. What colors do you see? What do you smell and feel? What sounds do you hear?

Identify as much detail as you can. Once you have the mental picture in your mind, you can focus on your breathing.

See yourself in this picture as a relaxed being with no symptoms of anxiety and free of worry.

Whenever you start to feel anxious, you can visit this place in your mind. Take your time and don’t rush your visit to your “happy place”.

3. Relaxing Your Muscles

When you start to feel anxious, you will feel tension and strain in your body and your muscles. This muscle stress can make it more difficult to control your anxiety or depression.

If you can release some tension from your body, you can reduce your anxiety levels.

You can do this exercise while you lie down or sit in a quiet place without any disruptions.

Focus on your breathing.

Start with your toes and notice all the tension you feel in your toes and your feet.

Slowly relax all the muscles in your toes and your feet. Notice the feeling of tension leaving your feet and moving upwards towards your calves.

Slowly relax all the muscles in your calves and notice the feeling of tension moving up your body to your hips, and then your hands, your arms, your shoulders, your neck, and your mind, until all the tension has left your body.

Work your way up until your whole body feels relaxed and tension free. You can stay in that state of relaxation for as long as you need.

4. Relaxation Through Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a practice of being in the present, focusing on your current state and environment.

Mindfulness is all about bringing your mind back to the here and now. It is about turning down the noise in your head and focusing on what you can control in the present moment.

There are several exercises and activities you can do to practice mindfulness. They include:

  • Guided meditation
  • Doodling or colouring
  • Walking
  • Putting your phone on Do Not Disturb
  • Journaling
  • Getting 10-20 minutes of natural sunlight per day

Mindfulness can help you gain confidence and manage your emotions in a healthier way.

5. Affirmations And Self-Talk

Thoughts enter our minds at a rapid pace every single day. The mind only has one job: to do what it thinks you want.

Your thoughts control your emotions and your emotions control your actions and behavior.

Well-renowned hypnotherapist Marisa Peer explains that “it is important to talk to yourself and about your situation in positive language…when you start thinking it’s the end of the world…your mind starts to believe that it has already happened.”

Have a list of elaborative and positive words available and use them to describe your life in the present tense. Your mind is much better at understanding things in the present tense.

6. Relax By Interrupting Your Anxious Thoughts And Self-Regulate

An over-conscious mind is a common feature of anxiety and depression. These thoughts can be thoughts about past experiences in your life which created deep emotions for you at the time.

They may also be thoughts about the future and thoughts that are blown out of proportion. They consume a lot of your time and oftentimes, there is no rational evidence that these thoughts are true. And from all the possible solutions in the world, our mind is particularly good at picking the worst possible outcome.

This technique is a great tool you can use to self-regulate. It’s a technique I use often with my clients.

STOP: As soon as you notice your mind reacting to a trigger, say out loud STOP.

TAKE A BREATH: Breathing slower and deeper with every breath will calm you down.

OBSERVE YOURSELF: Be aware and notice the thoughts going through your mind. Become aware of how you feel and the urge to react in an impulsive way. Become aware of the behavior and the cycle you are caught up in.

PULL BACK AND PUT IT IN PERSPECTIVE: This is a tough one, but do not believe everything you think. Thoughts are just thoughts and seldom facts!

PROCEED AND PRACTICE WHAT WORKS INSTEAD: Decide how you can respond to this trigger in an alternative way.

Practice this technique regularly. It will help you become proficient in applying it to more stressful situations and thoughts.

Physical Movement And Exercise

Studies have shown that exercise can be utilized as one of the treatment options for depression. It is also an effective anti-anxiety treatment as it relieves tension and stress in the body.

Make sure you build your physical activity gradually if you are new to an exercise program. Starting with a walk every morning for 2 weeks is often enough to help you try out new things.

Here are a few options for you to try out.

7. Biking

Apart from its physical benefits, pedaling a bike can improve your neuro-muscular brain function. There is evidence that practicing a motor skill, like bike riding, is great for cognitive function. It can also boost enjoyment and motivation.

One study which focused on people with depression showed that after pedaling a stationary bike for about 15 min, the level of their stress hormones declined.

You can get an online practice buddy if you station indoors or find a nearby recreational cycling group and venture into nature.

8. Gardening

Research has shown that spending time outside in nature is good for our minds.

Gardening provides you a great way to connect with nature and is associated with increased emotion regulation.

Some gardening programs have also found that gardening:

  • Reduces depression, anxiety, and stress-related symptoms
  • Increases your ability to concentrate and engage
  • Helps with goal setting and feeling of acceptance

There are several therapeutic gardening communities that support individuals with mental health. You can inquire at your local nursery or search online for your closest community. If you do not know where to start, find a gardening community on social media.

9. Brisk Walking Or Jogging

Aerobic exercises like jogging and walking can help reduce anxiety and depression. Studies suggest that exercise increases blood flow to the brain, thus causes mood improvement.

Exercises like walking and jogging are effective in reducing fatigue and improving concentration and cognitive function. This is helpful if stress has caused you to be tired or if you’re struggling to concentrate on your daily tasks.

Walking and jogging is an easy, inexpensive form of exercise. Walking outside in nature and parks is a great way to connect with nature. It also releases “feel-good” hormones that can calm you down and can thus improve your ability to sleep.

10. Swimming, Rowing And Water Aerobics

Being in water can help you relax. For the first time, it has also been shown that swimming in cold water can be an effective treatment for depression.

Jumping into cold water produces a stress response in the body. This is a set of physiological and hormonal reactions in the body when it copes with a wide range of threats.

You can join a local gym that has a swimming pool or aerobic classes. You can also find some local swimming clubs that regularly go for open water swimming.

11. Dancing And Dance Movement Therapy

Dancing can significantly influence our moods, emotions, and attitudes. It is a form of performing art and creativity and is usually a way in which people express feelings or ideas. Dance classes are like moving meditation.

Many practitioners find that dancing has the potential to effectively treat anxiety and depression. It is also a method for finding a peaceful state of mind.

Dancing causes our thoughts to focus on our bodies and our movements, instead of worrying about the stressors in our lives.

Joining a dance class allows you to experience being in a room with other people, without the pressure of having to make small talk. For some people, being in groups might be overwhelming for that specific reason.

You can explore dance-based fitness classes like Zumba, or other creative dance classes like ballet that involve more creativity.

Contact a local studio in your area to find a dance class. If you are unsure what to expect, contact the instructor before you go.

12. HIIT Exercises

HIIT exercises and classes have produced some amazing testimonials of mental recovery for many individuals.

The physical exertion of HIIT, like CrossFit, can take you out of your head and help you find your inner strength.

High-Intensity Interval Training is a workout that is done at high-intensity and in intervals.

The group setting provides support and allows you to forget about your anxious or depressive state in this environment.

According to research, bouts of intense exercise may be able to prevent and treat depression.

You can contact your local gym, CrossFit, attend a studio class, or download a mobile app to get in an effective HIIT training.

13. Muscle Strengthening Exercises

In a study that was done involving more than 1,800 people, it was found that those with mild to moderate resistance training 2 or more days a week saw a significant reduction in their depressive symptoms. The study also found that resistance training can be beneficial for those with severe symptoms.

One way in which resistance training can be beneficial is by the promotion of better sleep. Resistance training has also been shown to reduce anxiety sensitivity.

During strength training, chemicals in the brain can trigger changes in the brain’s function and structure. 6 Months of resistance training has also shown to increase the size of certain regions of the brain. These physical changes in your brain help to regulate mood.

You can incorporate bodyweight exercises with resistance bands, weight training at your gym, or join a local weightlifting group in your town.

14. Yoga

Yoga postures, also known as asanas, help ease the physical tension caused by anxiety. It can also help to reduce and calm down anxious thoughts.

The Harvard Mental Health Letter has recently suggested that yoga can:

  • Help with anxiety and depression
  • Be a self-soothing technique like meditation and breathing relaxation
  • Improve energy

As with other exercise modalities, yoga is a natural way to increase serotonin production. Serotonin is a hormone that plays a role in depression and happiness. People with depression and anxiety exhibit greater levels of cortisol. Yoga is associated with lowering cortisol, a stress hormone, in individuals.

You can search for yoga classes online, at a gym, or a fitness studio. Some local community centers also offer yoga classes

15. Pilates

Like yoga, Pilates can assist in the treatment of anxiety and depression by changing the chemicals in the brain. It provides a place for socialization. It is also a distraction from negative thoughts because it actively engages your brain in the exercise.

The main difference between Yoga and Pilates is that Pilates specifically focuses on trying to relax muscles which are tense.

Pilates is also widely used in community gatherings to cope with stress and enhance your stress resilience.

You can search for Pilates classes online, at a gym or a fitness studio.

The Takeaway

We experience anxiety and feelings of sadness from time to time as a natural response to an unnatural situation or a disaster. But being in a prolonged state of anxiety and sadness can have an adverse effect on your health.

To relieve stress, engage your mind and body at least 5 times a week in some form of exercise. Be patient when you start a new exercise regime. Set small daily goals. The activities do not need to be perfect. What matters most is that you are consistent.

Petrolene Le Roux

Petrolene Le Roux

Petrolene is a Certified CBT, Life Coach and CrossFit Trainer living in Bloemfontein, South Africa. She is also a Health Blogger and Keto Health Coach.

Posted in Uncategorized

Recovery and Financial assistance.

The following article is provided by the team at Consumer Education team at LendEDU. In the article you will find info which outlines federal and state funded programs, grants, and treatment centers that help those recovering from addiction deal with financial hardship and manage the expense of rehab.

This is not only helpful for individuals in recovery but also for persons assisting their loved ones who are struggling through the process of addiction, rehab and recovery.

Frank Say – U Recover

Financial Assistance for Those Recovering From Addiction

Financial hardship is common among those recovering from addiction, but there are resources that provide financial aid for drug rehab. Individuals in recovery have access to grants, non-profit and private programs, personal funding, and insurance to manage the expense of rehab.

Melissa Horton 03/09/2020

Many or all of the companies featured provide compensation to LendEDU. These commissions are how we maintain our free service for consumers. Compensation, along with hours of in-depth editorial research, determines where & how companies appear on our site.

For people living with addiction, as well as those who care for them, all aspects of life can be affected. Addiction not only creates emotional and physical wounds but can cause other hardships as well.

One significant hurdle faced by those recovering from addiction is financial instability. Substance abuse and drug addiction are expensive on their own, but living with addiction or going through recovery adds further financial challenges.

From rehabilitative therapy to prescription medication and more, the costs of treatment add up quickly – according to U.S News and World Report, the “…annual economic impact from the misuse of prescription drugs, illicit drugs, or alcohol is $442 billion.”

Fortunately, financial aid for drug rehab comes in a variety of forms, from health insurance coverage to state and federal funding. This guide will outline some of the resources designed to provide financial assistance for those recovering from addiction.

In this guide:

Financial aid for drug rehab

On average, drug rehab costs range from a few to several hundred dollars for a 30-day detox, and between $5,000 and $80,000 for residential recovery treatment. Many individuals in or contemplating recovery may see this as a deterrent to getting the help they need. However, several resources exist that offer financial assistance for drug rehab and associated programs.

Health insurance and the ACA

With the passage of the Affordable Care Act, pre-existing health conditions were no longer an exclusionary tactic for insurance providers. This drastically changed how addiction recovery was viewed under many health insurance plans.

Treatment for addiction is generally considered a covered medical condition. Additionally, The Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act mandates that large group health insurance plans cannot impose less favorable limitations on mental health or substance use disorder treatment benefits than on medical or surgical benefits. The ACA amended this federal law to include individual health insurance coverage, not just large group plans.

Any ACA-compliant health insurance policy may pay between 60% and 90% of the cost of rehabilitation. If you have been denied coverage or experienced benefit limits that are not in compliance with these laws, an appeals process may be necessary.

To appeal a denial of benefits under an ACA health insurance plan, request a fair and full review of the denial with the insurance provider directly or follow your state’s external review process. More information about the appeals process can be found here.

To understand what rehabilitation costs are covered with your specific insurance plan, get in contact with your health insurance provider or check policy limits online.

Government grants for those recovering from addiction

In addition to health insurance coverage through ACA programs, grants may also be available from state and federal governments. Government grants for addiction recovery vary depending on financial circumstances and location, but the resources below are worth evaluating to determine the level of assistance available.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)

One federal grant for those recovering from addiction is the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration (SAMHSA) program. Through SAMHSA, block grants are provided to state addiction treatment providers to benefit those in need. Typically, receiving a SAMHSA grant requires meeting specific income requirements or participating in a qualified treatment program through the courts.

To see eligibility information and complete the application process, visit the SAMHSA website.

State-funded and local treatment programs

According to a recent study conducted by Pew Charitable Trusts, a significant portion of spending on drug and alcohol addiction treatment is done by state and local governments. Public assistance in this form often falls under the purview of specific agencies, such as human services or public health departments.

Financial aid for drug rehab may be offered through reduced-cost or no-cost treatment facilities funded by the state. Additionally, assistance in getting back on one’s feet after treatment may also be available. This assistance often comes in the form of low or no-cost sober living for those recovering from addiction.

Disability income can also be an option for those in recovery, although the definition of disability is quite strict. Other financial aid for those in recovery on a state or local level include food stamps, health insurance through Medicaid, employment assistance, or training at little to no cost.

Those recovering from addiction can visit their state or local government’s website or local human services office to determine what programs and partnerships are available.

VA benefits

Another source of drug rehab assistance comes from the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Through the VA, several programs are made available to veterans of the military who are struggling with addiction. Treatment programs, including in-patient and out-patient services, medically-assisted treatment, and residential care, are offered at no cost to qualifying veterans. For help, veterans can speak with their VA healthcare provider, contact a local Vet Center, or call the VA hotline at 1-800-827-1000.

Financial aid directly from treatment centers

There also may also be aid available directly from a treatment center. Because the cost of rehabilitation can be high in private facilities, many offer payment plans and financing to help ease the burden.

After discharge, an individual in recovery may have an option to establish a payment plan that requires installment payments over a period of several months or several years. Interest may or may not be charged, so it is necessary to fully understand the total cost of financing a treatment stay.

You may also be able to find a free treatment center for drug addiction. Typically, centers that do not charge for outpatient or in-patient services for drug rehab have requirements that patients must meet. For instance, the Salvation Army offers little to no-cost drug rehab so long as the patient agrees to work 40 hours per week to help offset the cost. Check with local organizations to see if financing or free treatment is available, but be sure to understand everything that it entails.

Faith-based rehab programs

Many faith-based organizations offer treatment services to those facing addiction. In some cases, sponsorship is available for individuals in the community trying to get out of the throes of addiction. Although the cost of faith-based treatment may not be lower than other treatment centers, this sponsorship can bring down the expense.

Check with local religious organizations or leaders, such as churches, pastors, or priests, to ask about faith-based treatment services available.

National Foundation for Credit Counseling

The National Foundation for Credit Counseling is a national non-profit that offers a variety of financial education and guidance to those struggling to manage their money. This organization does not provide financial assistance for drug rehab directly. However, people suffering from addiction can work with the counselors at the organization to gain a better understanding of what steps are necessary to improve their overall financial lives.


In addition to assistance from treatment centers, the government, or other community-based programs, financial help for drug rehabilitation may come from raising money on your own or with the help of a family member or friend.

Crowdfunding platforms, including GoFundMe and Indiegogo, allow individuals or organizations to raise funds for specific campaigns or initiatives. Crowdfunding campaigns may be used to help fund an individual need – such as covering the cost of drug rehabilitation – with help from friends, family, and local communities easily and quickly.

Drug rehab loan

Drug rehab loans offer another alternative for financial assistance. Although drug rehab loans are not free aid, they can be beneficial in getting the upfront funds needed to pay for treatment.

Loans for addiction treatment must be repaid with interest over the course of months or years, depending on terms, so it is essential to understand this difference from other forms of financial assistance when considering options.

This option should be a last resort and there should be a repayment plan in place before taking one out to ensure you don’t fall behind on payments.

Specialized lenders

A small number of specialized lenders offer loans to individuals entering or completing treatment programs. The most prominent is My Treatment Lender, which can finance co-pays, out-of-pocket expenses for rehabilitation, or an individual’s stay at an in-patient or residential treatment center.

Specialized lenders have various loan programs available with different costs, repayment terms, and qualification guidelines. Because of these variations, those interested in a specialized loan should evaluate the terms of all available loans before applying and receiving funds.

Personal loans

Finally, personal loans may also be a viable resource for drug rehab assistance. These loans are unsecured, meaning collateral such as a vehicle or home is not necessary to back them. They also offer fixed interest rates and predictable monthly payments that can help make repayment easier in recovery.

Personal loan rates may be higher for individuals with lower credit scores, but many lenders allow for a cosigner. Having a family member or friend with a higher credit score cosign a personal loan application can increase your chances for approval and potentially lower interest rates, which affect the total cost of borrowing.

As with any financing agreement, be sure to read the fine print when getting a personal loan for drug rehab assistance. Take time to understand your obligations as a borrower, as well as the fees you will pay to get the loan and repay it over time.

Author: Melissa Horton Melissa Horton has an MBA in Finance and has worked as a financial professional for the past 13 years, helping clients understand the often complex vehicles available for both lending and investment needs. She is passionate about financial literacy and strives to educate clients and the general public to empower them in making smart financial decisions. Her work has been featured on Investopedia, iGrad, APRFinder, and more.

Posted in Uncategorized

Alcohol Addiction

Thoughts and ideas regarding alcohol addiction

The following is from Help.Org: a wonderful organization providing up to date information that relates to all areas of addiction and care for those in the grip of addiction. Alcoholism has been part of our culture since there has been a culture. This may be one reason why something that is as close as our kitchen cabinet can be so devastating if it is misused.

Frank Say U Recover

Medically Reviewed By: Dr. Claire Wilcox, M.D., Dec 2, 2019
Updated: Dec 2, 2019

Alcohol misuse or alcohol addiction [clinically known as “alcohol use disorder (AUD)] is prevalent in the U.S. – one in four Americans had at least one binge drinking session in 2016 (four drinks for women, and five for men). According to the the most recent study from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS), at least 30,772 deaths (excluding accidents and homicides) in the U.S. were directly attributable to alcohol in the same year. The NCHS also counted nearly 20,000 alcohol-related liver disease deaths in 2014.

AUD is a chronic brain disease characterized by a lack of control over alcohol use despite negative social, occupational, and health consequences.

Some of the dangers of heavy drinking include: liver, heart, and brain damage, lifelong harm to an unborn child, and depression and violent behaviors. Reduced productivity, far-above-average health care expenses, and other economic costs result in hundreds of billions of dollars lost annually in the U.S. from alcohol misuse and AUD.

Read on for a comprehensive look at statistics on alcohol use, the science of alcohol addiction, and the effects and dangers of alcohol usage. Table of Contents II. Statistics on Alcohol Use

I. The Basics

The Definition of Moderate Alcohol Use

Moderate use of alcohol is not generally considered dangerous and may have some health benefits. “Moderate Drinking” is defined by the National Insitutes of Health (NIH), as no more than one drink per day for women, and no more than two drinks per day for men. A “drink” is defined by the NIH as:

  • 12 fluid ounces of regular beer
  • 5 fluid ounces of wine
  • 1.5 fluid ounces of 80-proof distilled spirits

Some people should avoid alcohol altogether:

  • Those who are pregnant or trying to become pregnant
  • Those who have been diagnosed with AUD
  • Those who have a family history of AUD
  • Those who have liver or pancreatic disease
  • Those who have a weak heart or have experienced heart failure
  • Those who take prescription or over-the-counter medications that can interact with alcohol
  • Those who have had a hemorrhagic stroke (when a blood vessel in your brain leaks or ruptures)

Key Facts About Alcohol Misuse

While moderate use of alcohol can be beneficial for some, alcohol misuse:

  • Leads to Medical Problems: Excessive alcohol use over a period of several years can result in a number of medical problems, including liver cirrhosis, brain damage with dementia, psychological problems like depression, anxiety, and insomnia, anemia, cancer, immune problems, and heart trouble. In 2015, there were over 36,000 deaths from liver disease related to alcohol.
  • Results in Traffic Fatalities: Impaired drivers were involved in 31% of all traffic fatalities in 2014.
  • Is a “Gateway Drug” for Teens: A 2016 study concludes that alcohol use among teens leads them to the consumption of other illegal and potentially dangerous drugs.
  • Costs the U.S. $249 Billion: According to a 2016 study published by the CDC, excessive alcohol usage in the U.S. in 2010 had a total economic impact of $249 billion – that equates to a cost of $807 for every person in the country.

Back to top

II. Statistics on Alcohol Use

Note: The terms “binge drinking,” “heavy alcohol use,” and “AUD” will be used below. The NIAAA defines binge drinking as about four drinks for women at a time, and five drinks for men. SAMHSA defines heavy alcohol use as binge drinking five or more times in the past month. AUD refers to an Alcohol Use Disorder, commonly known as alcoholism. See the section below titled “Defining Alcohol Use Disorder” for more information. </span

Alcohol Use Among Adults

The 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) reports that in the United States:

  • 70.1% of adults said they drank alcohol in the past year
  • 56.0% reported that they drank in the past month.
  • 26.9% of respondents 18 or older admitted they had engaged in binge drinking in the past month
  • 7% reported they engaged in heavy alcohol use in the past month
  • 6% have an Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)

Alcohol Use Among Youth

Data from the 2015 NSDUH suggests that:

  • Close to 5.1 million people (13.4%) aged 12-20 binge drink at least once a month
  • About 1.3 million respondents (3.3%) aged 12–20 admitted to heavy alcohol use in the past month

Alcohol Use Among College Students

The 2015 NSDUH reports that:

  • 20% of college students ages 18-22 meet the criteria for Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)
  • 38% of college students ages 18-22 reported binge drinking in the last month
  • 12.5% of college students ages 18-22 admitted to heavy alcohol use in the past month

The consequences of alcohol misuse among college students are severe:

  • At least 1,825 college students between 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, notably including motor-vehicle crashes
  • At least 696,000 students between 18 and 24 are assaulted by another student who has been drinking every year
  • At least 97,000 students between 18 and 24 report experiencing alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape every year

Alcohol Use Among Pregnant Women

A 2009 study conducted by the University of New Mexico estimates that the prevalence of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome ranges from 2 to 7 cases per 1,000 pregnancies, and the rate of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) ranges from 20 to 50 cases per 1,000.

Disclaimer: The information contained on is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be relied upon for any medical or diagnostic purpose. The information on should not be used for the treatment of any condition or symptom. None of the material or information provided on is not intended to serve as a substitute for consultation, diagnosis, and/or treatment from a qualified healthcare provider.

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The Importance of Exercise to Successful Addiction Recovery

Exercising has gone from fad to must-have over past several decades. Constance Ray has written a detailed packed article outlining why keeping fit & health is so important in the recovery process.

When it comes to addiction recovery, exercise is more than a way to pass the time. In the throes of addiction, people use drugs and alcohol to cope with stress. Once those substances are out of the picture, addicts are left without a way to manage negative emotions. Since anxiety can drive a relapse, it’s important that addicts in recovery develop tools for dealing with stress.

Exercise triggers the release of endorphins, which are neurochemicals that induce positive feelings and reduce pain. This makes fitness an invaluable resource for addicts trying to overcome cravings and other physical side effects of recovery. Instead of turning to substances for relief, they can turn to physical activity instead. While it’s a big habit change, it equips addicts with the tools to manage cravings long after they’ve left a treatment program. This is especially true because, as evidence suggests, exercise primes the brain for learning new habits. 

Another reason exercise should be a core part of any treatment program is because, like addiction recovery, fitness requires goal setting and self-motivation. As addicts practice meeting short-term goals in their fitness regimen, they’re developing powerful skills that will aid in recovery success.

However, if left unchecked, exercise itself could become an addiction. Addicts might transfer the problematic habits that led to a substance abuse problem onto their fitness regimen, such as obsessing over exercise, prioritizing exercise over other responsibilities, and feeling irritable and anxious without exercise. For that reason, it’s important that addicts monitor their exercise habits and make sure they’re aiding, not hindering, their recovery efforts.

What sort of exercise is best for someone battling addiction? Ultimately, the fitness regimen you can stick to is the right one for you, but some types of exercise are especially popular among people in recovery.


If you’re new to fitness, running is a great option. It costs almost no money, so you don’t have to worry about paying for a gym membership; new runners progress quickly, so you can build confidence and motivation quickly; and you can do it anywhere, so you can sneak in a run whenever a craving hits. Plus, running is known for producing a “runner’s high,” a surge of endorphins that improves your mood, clears your mind, and quells cravings. Find some running trails near you and start moving forward, one step at a time.

To help keep you motivated, as well as to track your progress, consider investing in a smartwatch or fitness tracker. However, keep in mind that these devices aren’t necessarily the same thing. While fitness trackers tend to focus solely on exercise and fitness routines, smartwatches tend to cover a much broader spectrum, allowing you to do everything from checking emails to texting your friends and family. 


Yoga is an excellent exercise both on its own and as a complement to another training regimen. It develops strength, balance, and flexibility, and is recognized as an effective way to strengthen mental fortitude as participants learn to place mind over matter. Yoga routines range from slow and gentle to fast and intense; find a practice that matches your current fitness level and be amazed as you grow.

A great complement to yoga is meditation, which many people find soothing, especially when it comes to addiction recovery. Meditation, however, takes a lot of practice, especially when you’re first starting out. This is why so many people opt to create a cozy, distraction-free meditation space inside their home to help them get into the proper mindset. All you need to do is find an area inside your home, get rid of the clutter in and around it, and then fill it with decorations that you find soothing, whether that’s a statue of Buddha or relaxing artwork by your favorite artist. The most important thing is to create a space where you feel peaceful and calm.


If you’re looking for an exercise that packs a mental health punch, hiking is for you. Not only do you get the mood-boosting effects of aerobic exercise, but simply being in nature can improve your psychological health and contribute to your recovery. Time spent in nature has been shown to alleviate depression and anxiety, reduce rumination, and improve mood and self-esteem. It’s also a great introduction to fitness for addicts who have long neglected physical health. 

For addicts in recovery, exercise offers a much-needed break from the demands and challenges of everyday life. While incorporating fitness into your daily routine is an important part of making sobriety stick, sometimes a bigger getaway is called for. When your recovery journey starts to feel like too much, retreat to the great outdoors to escape everyday stress and spend time focusing on yourself, your health, and your sobriety.

Image via Unsplash

Constance Ray

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Planning an Intervention

The following article is a from Janelle Cestina who is part of a Community Outreach program. She was thoughtful enough to share the insight regarding intervention planning. there is a link to the full article below.

Enjoy – Frank Say

Planning an Intervention for Someone with a Substance Abuse Problem

Updated: Dec. 6, 2019

The 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimates that nearly 22 million Americans over the age of 12 have a substance abuse problem serious enough to require clinical help. That is more than 8% of the population, which makes addiction one of the most prevalent and serious health risks society must deal with. On a personal level, relationships with loved ones can be extremely difficult while they struggle with addiction, and getting them the help they need feels like an impossible task. The same survey estimated that over 95% of adults with substance abuse issues are resistant to treatment and that they “do not feel” they need any help at all. For many people living with a substance abuse problem, an intervention by family and friends might be the only way to shake their resistance and get them the help that may save their lives.

I. The Basics of an Intervention

This guide is for the friends, family members, and other loved ones of people struggling with addiction disorders. Its purpose is to educate readers about what, for many, is the first step in addiction recovery, the intervention. It offers, in an easy to digest step-by-step way, a road map that can help you plan for and conduct a successful intervention for your loved one. Included near the end is a list of helpful resources that can help you and the person you care about, get through every step of the addiction recovery process, and which can remind families struggling with addiction that they are not alone.

Denial is one of the characteristic features of an addiction disorder. People with substance abuse issues frequently deny that they have a problem, as do many of their loved ones until it’s too late. The purpose of an intervention is to pierce the wall of denial and make a substance abuser see the damage their disorder is causing to those who care most for them. By gathering together the family and friends who know the user best, and then by telling the subject about the pain of their addiction and the consequences of continued use, it is sometimes possible to break through. Everything that must be done in preparation for an intervention is directed toward a singular goal: getting the substance abuser to agree to treatment.

II. Step 1: Form a Team

The first step is to put together a team to stage the intervention. The people you choose for this team will all be in the room during the intervention, so they should be very close family and friends of the person you’re trying to reach. A professional intervention specialist can help you plan the details, as well as offer advice about who to include and who should not be there.

As a rule, the people at the intervention should all be people the subject cares deeply about. If someone in your circle is also struggling with addiction issues, it may be best to encourage them to remain away from the intervention. These can be emotional confrontations, and it’s best to avoid distractions and potential arguments.

III. Step 2: Do Your Research

The more you know about the way addiction works, the more prepared you can be to confront a resistant or hostile subject. It also helps to learn as much as you can about the specific drug or behavior (such as gambling or sexual activity) the person is addicted to. Finally, it is also very helpful to learn about co-dependency and the role loved ones play in substance abusers’ addictive behavior. You may also want to read first-person accounts of other families’ interventions, which may give you a better feel for what to expect. Encourage the others on the intervention team to also prepare in this way.

IV. Step 3: Make a Plan

It takes careful planning to put together a successful intervention. Start by coordinating with your team and agreeing on a time and place. Allow for several hours, if needed, on the day of the intervention. Ideally, the whole team can meet before the intervention to go over notes and strategy and chat with the intervention specialist for some last-minute tips.

There is no firm rule for the ideal place to hold an intervention, but it is generally a good idea to choose a neutral location away from familiar surroundings. People with substance abuse habits may have hard-to-predict emotional reactions to their own homes, parents’ homes, or other familiar places. Renting a motel room or other venue may be preferable since the subject is not likely to feel overly defensive or territorial about the space. It’s very important not to stage the intervention in any place owned or controlled by the subject. Highly agitated addicts may try to terminate the intervention early, and one way to do that could be to order the team to leave their home. Since there is no way to refuse this kind of demand on the subject’s own property, it may be best to meet up someplace else.

V. Step 4: Set Realistic Boundaries and Expectations

The intervention is fundamentally a last-ditch effort to save the life of a person you care about who is suffering from addiction. It is important to set realistic expectations for what you hope to accomplish. This should be as specific and easy to define as possible. Usually, the goal of an intervention is to get the person with an addiction to agree to check into some kind of inpatient treatment program, preferably right away. The desire is to get the subject to agree to treatment conditions based on everything said at the intervention, and you should be ready to drop everything and head out to the treatment center as soon as the subject agrees to check-in, even if some people at the intervention haven’t had a chance to talk yet.

Bear in mind that interventions often fail. Addiction is a very difficult disease to work with, and the people living with it are often highly resistant to change, as are many of the people in their circle of family and friends. One of the most effective techniques used to break through to someone in this state is to plainly state how your relationship will change if the person doesn’t agree to get treated. This is almost always followed by a statement of consequences, such as cutting off money, eviction from the house they’re living in, or a complete break in the relationship. Whatever the new boundaries are, it is crucial to the addict’s chances for recovery that these are things you can actually do, so that they don’t come across as empty threats

VI. Step 5: Rehearse

During your preparation for the intervention, try to rehearse your statement a few times. Listen to how it flows as speech, and try to cut out any words or sentences that aren’t absolutely necessary to make your point. Avoid using accusatory language or placing blame during your statement. If something you want to say seems like it could make the person feel attacked or unloved, or if it’s likely to put them on the defensive and make them more resistant, it may be best to either reword it or cut it out entirely. Under the pressure of an intervention, many people with addictions lash out emotionally, often seizing on any opening your statement gives them to change the subject. Try to keep your statement brief and as on-point as you can make it, to give the person as few openings as you can.

VII. Step 6: Hold the Intervention and Follow Through

The most important part of an intervention is the follow-through. Even if the intervention itself didn’t produce the results you hoped for, your willingness to enforce healthy boundaries afterward might encourage a person struggling with addiction to seek help later.

VIII. Resources and Additional Help

  • The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) leads addiction research efforts in the United States, and it can be an invaluable asset for family members looking for information about substance abuse, especially during the research phase before an intervention.
  • The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT) operates the 24-hour National Treatment Referral Hotline (1-800-662-HELP), which provides referrals for treatment and intervention services. The hotline does not dispense medical or legal advice, and conversations are kept confidential.

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