woman sitting on dock looking out over the water

Anxiety and Addiction

Throughout life, the majority of us will be affected by anxiety in one way or another. For some of us it is just a minor blip to our normal, everyday life. However, for others it can be all encompassing and quite literally take control of our lives, sometimes without us even knowing it. 

Most commonly, when experiencing anxiety someone may experience an elevated heart rate, irritability, restlessness, difficulty sleeping, lack of focus and/ or increased worry.  

For many, anxiety is a short-lived issue that can be dealt with through calming breathing exercises, yoga, talk therapy and making life changes to fix the problem being faced with. Though, for some, especially those struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, anxiety is a deep-rooted issue that needs to be dealt with before it takes over more of your life than it already has.

The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) reports that people with a mental illness such as anxiety are twice as likely to have a substance use problem compared to the general population. More often than not, addiction is a result of someone suffering silently from anxiety, and not created by the addiction itself, as some would like to believe. 

Social Stigma

Unfortunately, even in 2020 there still is a social stigma around seeking help for mental health issues such as anxiety and depression. CAMH also states that 40 per cent of respondents to a 2016 survey agreed to have had experienced feelings of anxiety or depression, but never sought medical help for it. 

Self-medicating your anxiety

These misconceptions can lead to self-medicating in an attempt to mask their problem. Though initially this may alleviate some of the pain caused by the anxiety, it does not solve the initial problem, and only creates a larger one over time – a dependance to the substance used. This vicious circle results in the body building a tolerance to the drug of choice, be it prescription pills, illicit drugs or alcohol, and many times adding different types of stronger substances to avoid the feelings of anxiety. 

Self-medicating is all about avoidance. Avoiding the feeling of doubt and pain caused by whatever set off the feelings of anxiety in the first place. 

This ‘coping mechanism’ is neither beneficial short or long-term. It creates both an overwhelming addiction as well as for many, a financial crisis because of the high costs of illicit drugs and prescription medication. On top of this, as people continue down this path, overdose, hospitalization, jail or even death can occur if something doesn’t change. 

If you feel a friend or loved one is experiencing any of these anxiety and addiction related issues, your first step should be to contact a rehabilitation centre such as The Farm. We employ experts in the field that can help you address these concerns and create a plan to help your loved one with both their addiction as well as coping with anxiety issues.

The Healing Power of Art Therapy

THE HEALING POWER OF ART THERAPY

For thousands of years, people have used art as a form of self-expression, a way to process and communicate their emotional truths to the world. Creative expression is a fundamental part of the human experience, and increasingly it’s being recognized for its therapeutic benefit.

WHAT IS ART THERAPY?

Art therapy is a therapeutic technique that encourages individuals to express their thoughts and feelings through creativity rather than speech, to improve their physical, mental and emotional well-being.

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Addiction Myths and Facts

ADDICTION MYTHS: Separating Fact from Fiction

Unless you or a loved one has a history of substance abuse, it’s hard to understand the true nature of addiction.  Without personal experience, people often fill their knowledge gap with presumptions, speculation, rumour, and conjecture, creating myths about addiction, and the recovery process that overshadow facts.  So, let’s clear the air.  The following are some of the most common myths about substance abuse, addiction, and recovery, and the real facts everyone should know.

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Addiction Recovery Diet

ADDICTION RECOVERY DIET: The Importance of Eating Right on the Road to Recovery

A healthy diet during addiction recovery restores the mind and body.

Long-term drug and alcohol abuse causes significant stress and damage to an addict’s mind and body.  Malnutrition, abscesses, gastrointestinal issues, heart problems, organ and tissue damage, depression, paranoia, and suicidal thoughts are just some of the many health issues addicts face.  Proper nutrition can help heal the effects of chronic substance abuse; restoring physical and mental health, and improving a patient’s odds of recovery.

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Is Sex Addiction Real?

IS SEX ADDICTION REAL?

The National Council on Sex Addiction and Compulsivity defines sexual addiction as “engaging in persistent and escalating patterns of sexual behaviour acted out despite increasingly negative consequences to self and others.”

However, there is considerable debate among health professionals whether sexual addiction is truly an addiction or rather a compulsive behaviour.  In fact, to date sexual addiction is not an official clinical diagnosis.

Part of the challenge in defining sexual addiction are the religious and cultural influences on the societal norms surrounding sexual behaviour.  How do we objectively distinguish sexual addiction from a high sex drive?

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PARTY SOBER

PARTY SOBER: How to Celebrate Canada Day Without Drugs and Alcohol

Attending parties and events can be one of the most difficult and stressful challenges for people in recovery and should be avoided during the first 6 months of sobriety.  But as you gain confidence in your recovery, attending social functions or having an evening out with trusted friends and family can bring a sense of normalcy and help you feel less isolated.

Contrary to popular belief, your life doesn’t have to become boring or routine when you get sober. The party doesn’t have to end just because you can’t drink or use drugs. The key is to party smart.

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Commonly Used Drugs - Cocaine

OPEN DIALOGUE SERIES: Commonly Used Illegal Drugs – Cocaine

What is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a highly addictive stimulant drug extracted from the leaves of the South American coca bush.

When processed, cocaine is available in two forms, hydrochloride salt and freebase.  Hydrochloride salt is the powdered form of cocaine, it can be snorted, or dissolved in water and injected.  Freebase is the base form of cocaine, it’s sold as solid rock crystal and is “cooked” using heat and inhaled or “smoked”.

Crack cocaine is derivative of cocaine made by cooking hydrochloride salt with water and baking soda. It is also smoked, typically through a pipe. Continue reading “OPEN DIALOGUE SERIES: Commonly Used Illegal Drugs – Cocaine”

Can Animal-Assisted Therapy Prevent Sustance Abuse?

CAN ANIMAL-ASSISTED THERAPY PREVENT SUBSTANCE ABUSE?

The answer is YES!

According to a 2017 national survey of individuals recovering from addictions by the Canadian Centre on Substance Use and Addiction (CCSA), pet therapy is valuable as a pathway to recovery. In Saskatchewan, 68.4% of survey respondents identified their relationship with animals or pets as an important support in recovery, and 39.5% said their relationship with animals was important to maintaining their recovery.

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Am I An Addict?

AM I AN ADDICT?

Sometimes what you are most of afraid of admitting is the very thing that will set you free.

The cliché is true, the hardest part of addiction recovery is admitting you have a problem. Denial is a major part of addiction, and many people have to reach rock bottom before they will accept that they need help.

If you’re reading this article, there’s a good chance that you already know you have an issue with substance abuse, but you may be uncertain if you’re an addict.

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Commonly Abused Prescription Stimulants

OPEN DIALOGUE SERIES: Commonly Abused Prescription Drugs – Stimulants

Prescription stimulants like Adderall and Ritalin increase alertness, attention and energy by amplifying the activity of certain brain neurotransmitters including dopamine and norepinephrine. These prescription psychoactive drugs act similar to illegal substances like cocaine, crack and methamphetamine.

Originally prescribed for a wide variety of medical conditions, as the prevalence of abuse became more wide spread stricter standards were enacted. Today, prescription stimulants are predominately prescribed for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), narcolepsy, and occasionally depression.

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