Tag Archives: effect

Why We Smoke SO Much!

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” When I first started smoking, I thought I was cool. Then I stopped. When I picked up smoking several years later, it was a way to get high. Then I stopped.  It wasn’t until I found myself in recovery that I really started smoking like a chimney. My parents were concerned and frankly annoyed my this new habit. There was a sense of relief  however, when they discovered in their NAMI class (National Alliance on Mental Illness) that this was commonly seen in people who have mental disorders and addiction. So I went on their website and found the article that explains it all! So if your a smoker, you may relate to this bit of text! It does focus on mental illness but a lot of the information can be useful to all.” -Peace, Robyn

Smoking and Mental Illness

People living with mental illness have a very high rate of smoking. A study by The Journal of the American Medical Association reported that 44.3 percent of all cigarettes in America are consumed by individuals who live with mental illness and/or substance abuse disorders. This means that people living with mental illness are about twice as likely to smoke as other persons.

A positive note is that people who live with mental illness had substantial quit-rates, which were almost as high as the group without mental illness. NAMI has led many changes in our mental health system─getting access to the tools to quit smoking is a way to improve the quality and quantity of life. Improving lives is a new advocacy pursuit.

The Connection between Mental Illness and Smoking

There is no one single, certain reason why so many people who live with mental illness smoke. It may be a combination of brain effects, psychological effects and the social world in which we live.

From a brain-based perspective, research is being done to determine if and how nicotine is involved in some of the brain’s memory functions. If nicotine is a factor, then this could explain why so many people living with an illness like schizophrenia or other illness involving cognitive deficits may smoke. Even though smoking is thought to enhance concentration and cognition, the effects are short in duration.

Researchers and the medical community have a great deal to learn about how smoking impacts the brains of those living with mental illness. It is known that people diagnosed with schizophrenia often smoke before the onset of symptoms and that they smoke more often and inhale more deeply than smokers without schizophrenia.

While we still have a lot to learn about why people smoke, there is plenty of information to support the serious health risks of smoking. So while there may be good reasons why you were attracted to smoking, the key is to figure out ways to increase rates of quitting. Nicotine isn’t a health problem on its own, but when smoked and combined with hundreds of other chemicals that are present in cigarettes the practice of smoking is toxic.

Psychologically, all addictions soothe cravings. People often find themselves relaxed and less tense when their addiction is fed. This is true of cigarette smoking. Smoking can also be part of a social norm, one where people in your social circle all hang out and smoke. Some people who live with mental illness learned to smoke in a hospital or in group-living settings. These examples help illustrate how the mental health culture needs to move forward to reduce the tie between socialization and smoking.

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Facts About Smoking

People die from smoking-related illnesses. Every year, smoking kills about 200,000 people who live with mental illness. Smoking harms nearly every organ of your body and diminishes your overall health. Smoking is a leading cause of cancer and of cancer-related death.

Smoking also causes heart disease, stroke and lung disease. With the increased risk of heart disease from second-generation atypical antipsychotic medications (SGAs), individuals living with mental illness must try to quit.

Inhaled cigarette smoke is made up of 4,000 chemicals, including cyanide, benzene, ammonia and carbon monoxide to name a few. There is no safe tobacco product, so switching to a smokeless or chew product will not eliminate your risk of smoking-related diseases.

People are finally waking up to the fact that smoking is a true health hazard, and people need to quit in order to live longer. More psychiatric facilities are going smoke-free, and NAMI is advocating for access to smoking cessation in outpatient settings.

State mental health commissioners and state medical directors are committed to changing the way the public mental health culture relates to smoking. Check out their toolkit (http://www.nasmhpd.org/general_files/publications/NASMHPD.toolkitfinalupdated90707.pdf) to see what policy changes and strategies they are using to create a healthier mental health system environment.

Smoking’s Effects on Symptoms and Medications

Research shows that people living with mental illness do not have worse symptoms after they quit. It is understandable that this is a concern with quitting smoking. Quitting is hard work, and it may take many efforts to be successful. Be sure to get support, talk with your doctor, set a quit date and explore the tools for success (Link to tools for success section) that are available to help you quit.

If you are a smoker and you quit, you can usually get the same treatment results from lower doses of psychiatric medications. Smoking increases the breakdown of medicines in your body, so smokers need to take higher doses to get the same results as someone who does not smoke. Without cigarettes you may need to take less medication. An additional benefit is that a dose reduction will likely reduce side effects of medicines, such as weight gain and other side effects.

Chakras and Addiction

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“I absolutely love this article! Kelley Young, a writer for Mind Body Spirit Healing, gives an introduction to the theories of chakras in their basic form and goes on to describe their effects through substance abuse. I try to go a little more in depth, noting physical and mental correlation’s and how they effected us during our us and can aid us in recovery. We learn that all the 7 chakras can benefit a different part of our lives and are all equally important. We can easily incorporate these spiritual beliefs into our daily meditation and yoga routine. Each chakra holds a different association to the mind and body. Certain colours also stimulate these chakras, so even meditation on an object of this colour can enhance the energy flow. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below!” -Namaste, Robyn 

What role do Chakra’s play in addictions and behavioral health and how can we treat addictions and behavioral health issues by working with the body’s energy system? For starters lets look at what a “chakra” is. Wiki defines Chakras as follows, “Chakra is a concept referring to wheel-like vortices which, according to traditional Indian medicine, are believed to exist in the surface of the subtle body of living beings.] The chakras are said to be “force centers” or whorls of energy permeating, from a point on the physical body, the layers of the subtle bodies in an ever-increasing fan-shaped formation. Rotating vortices of subtle matter, they are considered the focal points for the reception and transmission of energies.”

When these chakras are out of balance, either over or under active, or when they have built up toxins, the physical body will attempt to balance them through negative behavior patterns and addictions, by literally reaching out for some kind of fix. Each chakra relates to specific issues, and therefore specific addictions or behavioral patterns. By balancing each chakra and removing toxins that have built up in the energy patterns, it is possible to treat and overcome addictions and behavioral health issues Common treatments for addictions do not always entail spiritual healing, but only touch on aspects of spirituality for healing. For example, in a traditional addictions treatment program, there may be a specific group or topic of a group called something similar to spirituality for addictions. Perhaps this group would meet once per week and discuss the topic for about an hour or so. Then group parts ways and perhaps the addicted person may further discuss spirituality with an individual counselor or attend AA meetings, but that is different than actually changing the bodies energy system. With my chakra cleansing program the addicted individual is given the opportunity to heal on all levels, mind, body, and spirit in a private and safe setting. One on one energy work until balance in each chakra and the energy system as a whole is found. Removing blockages and toxins that deter healing on all three energy bodies..physical, etheric and astral… clearing what is unhealthy and replacing it with health. Health is energy with grace.

chakras

As I said above, each chakra relates to specific addictions and behavioral patterns. They are as follows:

Chakra 1 The Root Chakra: Related to heroin, cocaine, alcohol, milk, fat, meats. “Located at the base of the spine, it is a symbol of foundation. It is related to security, survival and potential. It governs sexuality and stability, giving us the ability to be sensual yet balanced which is something many of us have struggled with in and out of recovery. Weaknesses in the root chakra manifest in unbalanced sex life, overspending, cutting and overall health.”

Chakra 2 The Sacral Chakra: Gluten, wheat, starchy carbs, grain based alcohol, chocolate. “Located in the sacrum, it is associated to reproductive organs and sex hormones. Stimulation helps reproduction, creativity, joy and enthusiasm. Issues tend to be with relationships, violence, emotional needs including (but not limited to) pleasure. Excuses to use drugs often stem from these deficiencies.”

Chakra 3 The Solar Plexus Chakra: Cannabis, cocaine, caffeine, carbonated beverages, corn based alcohol, beer, corn processed sugars. “Located near the navel, this chakra plays a valuable role in digestion and adrenaline— both of which are highly effected by drug use by simply using and manipulating the way the body normally reacts while stable. Issues include personal power, fear, anxiety, self-identification and growth. With addiction, much of these emotional/mental formations are skewed and attempted to cover-up through use.”

Chakra 4 The Heart Chakra: Ecstasy, smoking, sugars and sweets, wine. “Located (obviously) at the heart, this chakra deals with circulation, the immune system and endocrine system. Emotional problems that arise have to do with compassion, tenderness, love for self and others, rejection and well-being. Many people that PTSD from relationships tend to have weak heart chakras. Also, after recovering from opiate or heroine use, that sugar craving can arise and effect the heart chakra in a negative way.”

Chakra 5 The Throat Chakra: Smoking, food in general. “Located at the throat, this chakra can effect the thyroid and is normally associated to compulsiveness. This relation can be found in the natural compulsive behaviour of using, shopping, overeating and even mania in people who are bipolar. Mentally it governs independence and thought.”

Chakra 6 The Third Eye Chakra: All mood-altering substances, chocolate, caffeine. “Located in the center between the brows, this chakra deals with the pineal gland and melatonin which regulates sleep. Physically, addicts normally struggle with sleeping problems with either lack or excess and bad dreams. Mentally it deals with visual consciousness, clarity and intuition, trust and inner guidance. Meditation on this chakra can raise awareness and bring a sense of ecstasy through heightened thoughts.”

Chakra 7 The Crown Chakra: All mind-altering substances. “Located at the top of the head, this chakra deals with the nervous system and the base of consciousness. It deals with the release of karma, spirituality, meditation, mental reactions, creative force and unity or oneness. This is especially important to open during meditation because it is what brings us closer to our higher power and gives us a sense of peace in an unaltered reality.”

You may have noticed that some of the addictions or behaviors are found in more than one chakra, so it is necessary to treat each chakra that the issue is found in. The Chakra cleansing program is for anyone who wants to overcome on not just a physical level but spiritual and emotional level as well. My personal opinion is that in traditional treatment centers, relapse is so common because only the physical and emotional bodies are being treated typically. So many issues and toxins literally get stuck in the individuals astral and etheric bodies where they “creep” back into the physical body which can then lead to relapse. The goal of this program is to offer an opportunity for holistic healing for the addicted person or for the person with negative thought or behavioral patterns.

Addictions Effect on the Liver Channel

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A lot of us learn that because of our use, we have damaged our body in sometimes irreparable ways. At times we have clenched over in pain, as though somebody was stabbing a sharp knife into our right side. What we don’t realize at first is that this pain is our liver trying to tell us something. And if we don’t stop using and keep ignoring these symptoms, it can lead to further problems such as Liver disease

Everyone pretty much knows that drugs and alcohol aren’t the best for the liver… Yet, we didn’t care. We seemed not to care about anything but our next fix. But now that we are working towards recovery, we can take time to repair our body, inside and out. While in time the liver does heal itself, by eating certain foods and modifying our diet, we can help accelerate the process. Below is a section from an article originally posted by the Huffington Post that lists the top 10 foods that help promote proper liver function.

Garlic:
Garlic helps your liver activate enzymes that can flush out toxins. It also has a high amount of allicin and selenium, two natural compounds that aid in liver cleansingsays holistic nutritionist Hermeet Suri.

Grapefruit:
Eating or drinking grapefruit juice can help your liver flush out carcinogens and toxins. This fruit is also high in both vitamin C and antioxidant properties.

Beets:
Beets are high in plant-flavonoids, which can improve the overall functions of your liver.

Leafy Greens:
Leafy greens like spinach and lettuce have the ability to neutralize metals, chemicals and pesticides that may be in our foods, and act as a protective mechanism for the liver, Suri says.

Green Tea:
Green tea is full of plant antioxidants known as catechins, which have been known to improve the functions of our liver.

Avocados:
Adding more avocados to your diet can help your body produce a type of antioxidant called glutathione, which is needed for our livers to filter out harmful materials, Suri says.

Crucferous Vegetables:
Cruciferous veggies like broccoli and Brussels sprouts also increase the amount of glucosinolate (organic compounds) in our bodies that helps create enzyme production for digestion, Suri says.

Lemons:
We all know citrus fruits like lemons are full of vitamin C, but lemons also help our bodies cleanse out toxic materials and aid the digestion process.

Turmeric:
Used as a spice, tumeric has been known to help our bodies digest fats and stimulate the production of bile. It can also act as a natural form of detox for your liver.

Walnuts:
Walnuts are also high in glutathione and omega-3 fatty acids, which help support our liver through its cleansing process.

According to traditional Chinese medicine theories (or TCM), diseases of the liver pose far more importance in the body than just digestive benefits. The liver channel that is used in acupuncture and acupressure reveals it self in the following line throughout the body:
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As you can see, it travels all the way up from the outer side of the big toe, to the inner shin, up the inner thigh, passes up the pelvis, surrounds points around the livers location, goes on the outside of the pectoral region and curves, making its way to a slight medial area on the neck. What this diagram does not show is its energy around the face which travels in the center of the checks, around the lips, then up to the direct middle of the eyes and to the crown of the head.

This meridian can reveal signs of liver deficiencies and manifest itself through pain throughout the line. Having pain in the inner ankle, difficulty abducting the legs or tenderness in the pectoral region are all physical signs. There are even mental signals that normally appear through ones outer expression and emotion that are associated with the liver meridian. With imbalances, people tend to feel hopeless, desperate and worthless because they cannot find meaning or purpose in everyday life. They may perceive a certain polluted path to be correct and blindly follow it. However, when health in the liver is restored, people are able to see clearer and pull themselves out of even the darkest places.

If you notice any of the symptoms in your life, you may want to consider the possibilities seeking alternative care. I highly recommend seeing a licensed acupuncturist  and/or an Asian Bodyworker who has knowledge in TCM theories. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and be involved in your treatment. Something I would make sure to ask is what you can do everyday (beside changing your diet) to help boost productivity in the liver channel like incorporating certain yoga poses to your practice.

If you have any questions for me, feel free to leave a comment below or message me on our Facebook page at http://www.Facebook.com/HippyHealing <