How is Mental Health Disorder Diagnosed?

You might have read elsewhere on this site that these days, Addiction is considered a mental problem, not a moral one.  Therefore knowing how mental disorders are diagnosed is relevant for anyone wanting to know more about addiction, as well as anyone wanting to know more about mental health in general.

Mental disorder is diagnosed in exactly the same way as any other illness, because it is no different than any other illness – it’s just an illness that affects the brain, and not an illness affecting the heart, or the kidneys etc.

This is the process

A health professional is presented with a person who has ‘something’ wrong with them (symptoms), and it’s the doctor’s job to work out what is causing these symptoms.  Because, if a cause of the symptoms can be found, an appropriate treatment can be given. Continue reading

Understanding How We Make Decisions

Understanding the mental processes that are involved in how we make choices and decisions, is always useful to know. We can use that knowledge in many everyday situations, whenever we have to make a decision of any sort.

If we understand what’s going on in our heads, we have more control over what we do, and why we do it.  We can take control of our lives, instead of suddenly realizing what a mess they are, and wondering how it all went so wrong.

Disclaimer: People who have lucky or successful lives are rarely driven to much self examination – but those sort of people will probably not be reading this article.  So I’m assuming my readers are normal people, with normal lives, who probably have some interest in addiction. That means you are highly likely to have lives that are not what you once hoped for, and are looking for ways to make your lives better in some way.  Hopefully this article will help you to do that by explaining how decisions are made, and what influences how we make those decisions. Continue reading

Owning Your Addiction – The First Step to Recovery

There is an ancient Chinese saying: even the longest journey starts with just one step.  The road to Recovery also starts with just one step.  Except, with addiction, it is not ‘just’ one step, it’s the hardest step that anyone might ever have to take in their life.  And it’s the first step that anyone with an addiction must take, if they want to overcome their addiction.

One of the first goals of therapists is to help that person get to the point where they can take possession of their addiction – to ‘own’ their addiction as a part of themselves.  What does that mean?

Owning Your Addiction

Owning your addiction means acknowledging to yourself, and others, that addiction has become a part of your life – it’s a part of who you are.  Once you are able to acknowledge that, and face up to that difficult fact, you can start to take control of your addiction, and your life.  It’s setting the ground rules for the battles to come!  It’s the line in the sand that marks out the start of a whole new life for you and your family. Continue reading

Residential or Non Residential Rehab?

Which of these alternative Addiction Rehab options gives the best outcome?  Residential or non-residential? This is one of the things that many people with addiction, and their families, want to know. There are some fundamental principles which apply to good addiction treatment, irrespective of what type of Rehab is chosen.

What does the latest research tell us?

These days, addiction is seen as a multi-factorial problem, which involves every aspect of a person’s life.  This is true for all addictions whether it happens to be to drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex addiction, or any other addiction.

Addiction has it’s own natural history. It begins gradually, but progresses to a stage where a person’s whole way of functioning becomes impaired. This results in the gradual loss of control over their behavior, and their ability to deny the compelling cravings, and drivers of addiction.  The result is that every aspect of their life is harmed.  It adversely affects their work, their finances, their social life, their mental health, their physical health, and their family.

There are several basic principles that are widely agreed upon in the treatment of any addiction.

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Shame, Addiction, and Asking For Help

It is not shameful or humiliating to reach out and ask for help – but it takes a great deal of courage.  It’s also not shameful to have an addiction, even if you feel that it is, or if other people tell you it is.  It’s something unfortunate that has happened to you for all sorts of reasons, some of which are not yet fully understood by researchers in this area of health.

We All Make Unwise Choices

Perhaps you did make unwise choices in the past, but we all do that, all the time.  Perhaps at that time, no one even realized that they were unwise choices – you just did what everyone else was doing.  But for anyone with an addiction, the difference for you, is that the consequences of what you did in the past have stolen away your present life – and your future as well, if you can’t manage to get help. Continue reading