Borderline Personality Disorder

Treating Borderline Personality Disorder

Out of all the mental illnesses, personality disorders are the least talked about. Most people think of those who suffer from a personality disorder as crazy or dangerous. Let’s shed some light on one personality disorder in particular: BPD or Borderline Personality Disorder is a personality disorder marked by unstable and insconsistent moods, behavior, and functioning. This often results in unstable relationships, impulsivity, anger, depression and anxiety. It is often confused with bipolar disorder and thus mistreated.

BPD is a personality disorder where you feel as though you lack control, creating frustration. It is though to be triggered by a traumatic event in early childhood, though there is no direct correlation. Researchers believe that those with BPD, due to a possible traumatic event, experience diferent structural changes in the part of the brain that controls emotions and impulses. However, it should be noted that this shows up in people who do not have BDP, which makes BPD even more mysterious and unknown.

Borderline Personality can be hard to detect as it so often overlaps with other mental illnesses. One might talk about depression, but not talk about or be aware of their other symptoms. This results in one being wrongfully diagnosed with depression or bipolar disorder and not BPD. The list of symptoms of BPD includes: frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment; a pattern of intense and unstable relationships with family, friends and loved ones, often swinging from extreme closeness and love or idealization, to extreme dislike or anger or devaluation;

Those suffering from BPD may also experience a distorted and unstable self-image or sense of self; impulsiveness and often dangeous behaviors such as spending sprees, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving and binge eating; reoccuring suicidal beheaviors or threats or self harming behavior; intense and highly changeable moods; chronic feelings of emptiness; innappropriate and intense anger or problems controlling anger; stress-related paranoid thoughts; severe dissociative symptoms such as feeling cut off from oneself, observing themselves from outside the body or losing touch with reality.

As Borderline Personality Disorder is suspected to have it’s origins during the period of childhood attachment and bonding, interpersonal relationships are quite difficult. DBT or Dialetical Behavior Therapy can offer skills to not only cope, but sucessfully live with BPD. This type of therapy has been used to help not only personality disorders, but other mental illnesses as well. It focuses on changing patterns of thinking and behavior. It also has stronger emphasis taming emotional reactivity in relation to others than say, Cognitve Behavioral Therapy or CBT.  DBT also includes group therapy in addition to individual sessions to help practice new interpersonal relational styles. Borderline Personality Disorder is not much spoken about but it’s important to remember that those with BPD are still people and deserve to be heard and loved.

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Opioid Crisis

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The opioid epidemic is esentially a public health emergency in the United States as we are in the middle of an opioid crisis. According to the CDC, around 90 Americans die from opioid overdoses every day; that’s about as many as those who die in car crashes. There are all kinds of different factors that led to this crisis.  The main reasons have a lot to do with what these drugs are, how they reduce pain,and why they’re so addictive.

You hear people throwing around words like opioids and opiates, not to mention heroin, oxy, and fentanyl. Opioids are any drug that acts on opioid receptors on your cells. Opiates are essentially the same, but they’re made from the poppy plant. The plant that gives us poppy seed muffins also makes opium and morphine. So opiates are natural, while opioids include both natural and synthetic drugs. What matters is that they all bind to opioid receptors on cells around your body, like in your brain and spinal cord. These receptors come in different shapes.

When opioids bind to receptors, it makes it harder for neurons to send along signals that get interpreted as pain. This happens in the spinal cord, where peripheral nerve cells pass on incoming signals and it happens in the brain. Neurons in a region called the periaqueductal gray prevent cells from releasing neurotransmitters, which are basically chemical messages. All this means opioids are really good pain relievers.  Due to a combination of factors including misrepresented research, doctors started prescribing more painkillers like oxycodone and hydrocodone to try to treat pain.

Opioid receptors are also in reward centers of the brain, and binding to cells there can create euphoria, which is that ‘high’ feeling. That’s what makes them addictive.  Plus, your body builds tolerance to them pretty quickly, so you need more of the drug to control the same amount of pain. You can also become physically dependent, experiencing symptoms of withdrawal if you stop taking the drug.

Since neurons get used to the opioids, they become more active to compensate for the drug suppressing signals.  If it’s no longer there, the cells become way more active than normal. So you can become agitated, anxious, or feel like puking.  Addiction, on the other hand, is a psychological condition where you seek out the drug despite the damage it does to your life. While physical dependence is common with addiction, a person doesn’t have to be dependent to become addicted and vice versa.

In regards to the opioid epidemic, it’s thought that many people who originally took the drugs as prescribed started to take more. In other words, they began abusing them. And when pills became too expensive or difficult to get, they turned to heroin, an opioid made from morphine, which was more readily available. Regardless of the source, the addiction can turn deadly because of the other physiological effects of opioids.

Opioid receptors aren’t just in areas of the brain that control pain, they’re also in the parts that control breathing, like the brain stem. When they block signaling there, opioids slow down and can even stop breathing. Doctors call this respiratory depression, and it’s usually what kills people who overdose. Fortunately, we now have some ways to counteract overdoses.

Naloxone can be injected or squirted up someone’s nose and, within minutes, seemingly bring people back from the dead. It’s actually an opioid, too, since it binds to opioid receptors but unlike heroin or prescription painkillers, which are agonists, naloxone is an antagonist. That means that when it binds to a receptor, it doesn’t turn on any of the usual effects. Instead, it acts as a blocker. Naloxone works so well because it binds to opioid receptors more strongly than the overdose drug. So it can flood your system and prevent the drug from binding.

A person whose overdosed needs to be treated with naloxone pretty fast.  It doesn’t always take long after an overdose for them to stop breathing. That’s especially true if they’ve taken one of the stronger synthetic opioids, like fentanyl.  Fentanyl is a prescription drug that’s around 50-100 times stronger than morphine. Due to its structure, it can cross a protective membrane called the blood-brain barrier more easily, which means your brain can get flooded with the stuff faster.

Lately, illicit versions of Fentanyl have been added to heroin and other drugs sold on the street.  These other, fentanyl-like drugs are even more powerful, like carfentanil, which is used to tranquilize elephants.  Not only do these drugs cause faster overdoses, but they also need more antidote to counteract the effects.  So even if the person is given a treatment like naloxone in time, there might not be enough on hand to save them.

Deaths from overdoses have spiked in recent years and as the problem has gotten worse, experts have been trying to figure out how to deal with it.  For the most part, doctors are starting to cut back their prescriptions of opioids, which should help reduce the number of people who go on to develop addictions.  Researchers are working on finding opioids that can knock out pain without all the dangerous side effects. There is also research being done to study drugs that are closer to the opioid peptides our bodies make, which may bind to receptors in more specific ways.

In absence of a cure, there are many, many people who have developed substance abuse disorders and helping them get into treatment is the challenge.  There’s still a lot of work to do.  Admitting there is a problem & reaching out for help are among the first steps.

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How We Become Addicted

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The word addiction comes from the Latin term for “enslaved by” and rightly so, millions of people are enslaved by their fix, whether it be controlled substances, food, alcohol, sex, gambling or even the internet. We all have that one thing that we just can’t live without.  How or why do we become addicted and what can you do to help?  Addiction is a serious global concern and in some countries addiction rates, especially to illicit drugs, are a serious and growing concern.  In the United States for example, substance abuse is one of the leading causes of death, with a substantial percentage of the American population addicted to illicit drugs. Iran has one of the world’s highest drug addiction rates, as there’s a huge heroin epidemic in that country.  Whereas the United Kingdom is the world’s largest abuser of alcohol and France is the country most addicted to prescription drugs.

For a long time scientists believed that only alcohol and powerful drugs could cause addiction.  Using advanced Neuroimaging techniques it has recently become apparent that a whole array of pleasurable activities, such as gambling, shopping, sex, video games, the internet and many others, can also trigger strong addictions.  Also in the 1930s, when research on addiction first began, it was believed that addiction was caused by a lack of will power and only affected weak minded or morally flawed individuals.  So, instead of helping addicts to overcome their addiction, they would often punish them instead.  Unsurprisingly, this didn’t work.  Recently the scientific consensus has changed.  Today addiction is recognized as a chronic disease that actually changes the structure and function of the brain. The more we exercise addictions and take pleasure from them, the more they take over the brain and change it so that we crave those things even more in the future.

Addiction really is a vicious cycle.  Different addictions may show different symptoms, for example a tobacco addiction has slightly different symptoms then a gambling addiction. Someone addicted to nicotine or any other substance, will usually experience strong physiological symptoms such as headaches, nausea and fatigue.  Conversly, people addicted to activities such as gambling will experience more mental symptoms, such as being overly secretive, lying to their friends/family and continuing to gamble even when they can’t afford to.  However, despite the difference in symptoms, what actually causes these addictions is thought to be extremely similar.

The brain registers all pleasures in the same way, no matter what the cause, whether it be substances, drink, food or activities.  A set of chemical processes in the brain that make one feel that pleasure, are the same. Mostly, it is caused by the release of dopamine in the nucleus accumbens, a cluster of nerve cells underneath the cerebral cortex.  This area of the brain is so closely linked to pleasure that neuroscientists call it the brain’s ‘pleasure center’.  The likelihood of us getting addicted to a particular thing all depends on how fast it increases the dopamine levels in our brain.  For example, drinking coffee causes our nucleus accumbens to release dopamine slowly and steadily, so it’s highly unlikely to cause addiction, although not impossible. Whereas drugs such as nicotine, meth, cocaine and heroin, etc. all cause a powerful and very rapid release of dopamine in our brain.

When this happens, another part of our brain called the hippocampus, which is responsible for forming memories, creates new memories of the rapid sense of satisfaction, creating an eternal link in our brains between the drug and a feeling of intense pleasure.  Since our body likes to feel pleasure, another part of our brain, the amygdala, creates a permanent positive response to certain stimuli related to our addiction.  So, say with the smell of cigarette smoke, when an addict smells it they may crave a cigarette.  Regular smokers might find the smell of cigarette smoke intensely pleasurable, while non-smokers find it unpleasant.

The most dangerous part of addiction is how our brains build up tolerance.  In nature dopamine is hard to come by and requires a significant effort to achieve.  Whereas drugs and other addictions provide us with a short cut.  Drugs can provide our brain with up to ten times as much dopamine as anything that can be found in nature.  Our brain hasn’t yet developed to withstand such an overload of dopamine release.  To protect our brain receptors from becoming overloaded, over time our brain turns down the volume on its receptors, making them significantly less receptive to future dopamine releases.  This has a devastating affect because the addict will now have to increase their dosage to feel the same amount of pleasure they did the previous times.  Every time an addict indulges a fix, successive and future doses may have to be increased to maintain a high.  A vicious cycle that gets exponentially worse, until the body can’t take the dosage anymore and it breaks down.

What are some things we can use to overcome addiction?   Firstly, one must acknowledge the addiction. Many people are in denial about their addiction or simply don’t realize that they actually have one. There are some simple questions you can ask yourself to test for an addiction:  Do you use a substance or do something that brings you pleasure a lot more often then you did in the past?  Do you experience withdrawal symptoms when you haven’t used the substance or engaged in the activity for a while?  Have you ever lied to someone about your use of the substance or the extent of your behaviors?  If you have come to believe that you have an addiction, what do you do next?

It is important to establish why you want to quit.  Write down a list of all the reasons why you should quit and look at it every day.  For example, if you’re addicted to smoking, you could write, “I will have healthier lungs”.  You now have a set of goals to work towards.  Next set a date that you will quit, you can set it in 2 weeks or 2 months time but whatever you do, don’t set it at tomorrow and tell yourself, ‘tomorrow I quit forever and I’m going cold turkey.’  Going cold turkey often doesn’t work, at least not for the majority. Research over the years has demonstrated that only a small percentage of people who go cold turkey actually quit, the majority relapse pretty quickly.  One should instead wean the body off addiction slowly.

Now you have a goal and a time frame within to do it.  Next, you need to identify your triggers.  A trigger is anything that makes you think of your addiction and might cause you to relapse.  For example, if you’re addiction is alcohol, passing a certain bar may be a trigger for you. Once you’ve identified your triggers you need to eliminate them, avoid them at all costs to lessen any unwanted temptation. It is important to find something to replace your addiction. Your addiction has been a big part of your life up to now, so once it’s gone you may find it difficult to fill the time and that can be dangerous.  When addicts get bored too often they are at the highest risk of relapse.  So you need to find something to fill that void, try to start a project, take up outdoor sports, or simply go for a walk, most anything will do. The more you get involved with new positive activities, the more you will replace the things to which you used to be addicted.

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Alcohol Is A Drug

Alcohol is a drug_Oceanside Malibu rehab

Roughly one out of 12 adults suffer from alcohol dependence and just about 10 people die every hour from alcohol-related causes. There are something like 17.5 million adult alcoholics worldwide. By learning about why some people become alcoholics, what causes addiction and why people become addicted, this number can be made smaller. Firstly, an alcoholic is someone who suffers from alcoholism. Alcoholism is the addiction and loss of controlregarding alcohol consumption.

Alcohol is classified as a drug, but why is it addictive?  It actually has to do with the chemical reactions in the brain that alcohol causes. The release of gamma aminobutyric acid, otherwise known as GABA, causes a calming feeling that is often associated with difficulty walking, talking and remembering things. As a response to the release of GABA, the body creates glutamate, an excitatory transmitter, to counter balance it. This cycle causes built-up alcohol tolerance, whereupon once regular drinkers then start to consume more alcohol for the calming effect they are seeking.

Additionally, alcohol causes the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure. Over time alcohol abuse degrades dopamine transmitters and receptors, causing a decrease in the dopamine released. One may drink more to try to get the same effects as before the alcohol abuse began. Some people are more susceptible to alcoholism, after all not everybody that tastes alcohol become saddicted to it, but there are some potential risk factors that make addiction more likely.

Although alcohol causes the release of endorphins, hormones that elevate mood, it has been shown that heavy drinkers generally release more endorphins than lighter drinkers, causing some scientists to believe that people who naturally release more endorphins may find more pleasure in drinking and become addicted to it. There is also evidence to prove that damage to a part of the brain that processes negative events and disappointment, can cause someone to keep drinking alcohol despite bad hangovers or negative events that arise out of drinking.

Psychiatric disorders, such as bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, increase the likelihood of addiction, as many as 20 percent of people living with depression are also alcoholics. It has long been debated whether or not genetic factors play a role in addiction, but environmental factors are also likely to foster addiction. If it is common to drink in a household, then it is more likely that people in the household will become dependant on alcohol. A high-stress career field can make one vulnerable to alcohol abuse as a coping mechanism. Age has to do with the likelihood of addiction as well. Those in their early to mid-20s are the most likely to abuse alcohol while those who drink as adolescents, specifically those under 15 years old, are significantly more likely to develop alcoholism.

While certain factors can cause alcohol addiction, it is important to look at why people drink in the first place. One significant reason is the sensation alcohol can cause in the brain and body. Some begin to drink out of curiosity to see what it is like, while others find themselves giving in to peer pressure. People drink seeking a feeling of freedom or self-exploration, and this may be linked to underage drinking during puberty. Some start to drink as a form of stress relief.

There are some personality traits associated with drinkers and possible alcoholics such as aggression, anxiety, rebelliousness, and hyperactivity. Most of all, compared to other drugs, alcohol is accessible and has been normalized through media and culture. While drinking may represent a form of escape, there are certainly better ways to cope with situations or have fun that do not potentially cause a lifetime of addiction and damage. Remaining aware to the fact that alcohol is indeed a drug which can be abused and lead to dependance or addiction is a step to living a higher quality, more healthy lifestyle.

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Emotional Abuse

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What is emotional abuse?  Are you a victim of someone’s mind games?  Nobody enjoys being played, but predators enjoy playing people. They enjoy the game of cat-and-mouse and seek pleasure from reeling in their next vulnerable victim.  More often than not, people who are prone to being taken advantage of by potential abusers overlook their innocent facades.  In fact, they often make excuses for them, even when they’re being poorly mistreated by toxic behavior.  Why would this be?

Those whom tend to emotionally abuse people aren’t always obvious. They may be male or female. They can disguise themselves by being charming but he minimization of your needs is paramount. Do you feel like you’re giving way more than you’re receiving?  What about feeling small when you’re around someone? Predators, narcissists & emotional abusers have a sneaky way of getting inside people’s heads and making them feel like they responsible for things they are not. They rarely take ownership and even when they do apologize they do so sparingly, without meaning, just to get someone to forgive them. They don’t care for facts or logic, only what they want to hear or believe and what benefits them. Recognize that what you need is important too.

An emotionally abusive person may forget that you exist. Being passionate about a hobby or a career is an attractive trait. But there’s a fine line between passion and obsession. If your friend or romantic partner often ignores you or cancels plans with you to focus on their favorite activities, then it may be a sign that they just don’t care. You might even make up excuses for them, frequently saying things like, ‘well, he/she worked hard to get where they are today, so I want to be supportive’ or ‘there’s always next week’ or things to that effect. This is exactly how they have get the upperhand, it’s important to emphasize your boundaries.

Emotional abusers like to project false humility. They may cry to you and put themselves down claiming they aren’t good enough or feel misunderstood. Before believing them, recognize that this is a trap. Predators actually like to play the victim card and feel like people never understand them. They might be highly sensitive Individuals who say things to the effect of, ‘If only people could understand me or ‘why don’t people appreciate me for who I am?’ They love surrounding themselves with those who can boost their ego. In these situations it’s best not to give in and avoid automatic forgiveness, supplication or compliments.

In most situations they wait for you to come to them. Abusers tend to feel a sense of entitlement. They believe that they should be appreciated and noticed first by others before giving attention in return. They dislike being in a group full of people unless attention is on them. If you find yourself constantly putting in all the work in a relationship and always broach things first, then you’re in a trap. Let that person know you’re time is not devoting to serve them.

Many of these people seem annoyed or disinterested when you come to them with your problems. While you may be a reliable friend or partner that can always be counted on to listen when someone else is having a bad day, you also have needs. Sometimes you have a bad day as well. When you have your difficulties, do they grow impatient or frustrated and have a habit of dismissing how you feel? If your partner, family member, friend or associate claim they’re too busy to help you with something you’re dealing with, then they may lack empathy. This is a strong indicator that someone may be sociopathic or prone to abusing others. In that case, it’s best to distance oneself from these types of people.

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What Narcissists Secretly Fear

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A thumbnail sketch of ‘Narcissistic Personality Disorder’ is a disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. Behind a mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism. While narcissists might think of themselves as all-powerful and invincible,- there are a lot of things which scare them.

Relationship Commitment:  Probably one of the things which narcissists fear the most is committing to a relationship. Narcissists never let their guard down and being in a real relationship means you can’t put up walls and hide your true self as so many narcissists do. Being that close to someone also exposes their insecurities, and some narcissists are scared that their partners will find out their deepest, darkest secrets. Do you know anyone who’s like this?

Self-reflection:  When it comes to narcissists, a lot of them are in complete denial. For many, the one thing they fear most is coming to terms with who they really are. They like to think of themselves as perfect. They are afraid that if they look to deep within themselves, they will find things that they don’t want to cope with.

Insults:  Narcissists actually fear being insulted more than you might expect. Although they are quick to dish out criticism to others, they simply can’t handle a dose of their own medicine. Since most narcissists actually have really fragile self-esteem, an insult can be a humiliating blow to their inflated egos. It’s something that really disturbs them.

Shame:  Narcissistic personalities will do anything to avoid feeling the sting of shame. It’s interesting to note that while they fear shame, they don’t fear guilt. This means that they fear being seen as unworthy in society and being lower in the social hierarchy. They don’t, however, fear the guilt of actually hurting someone’s feelings.

Lack of Recognition:  In a sense, narcissists are very much like performers. They crave attention and they want to be admired more than anything else. They are terrified that their attempts to impress others will be completely ignored. While some people are fine going through life completely unnoticed, narcissists are the total opposite. They cannot stand the thought of not being exceptional.

Being exposed:  Sometimes, narcissists can find themselves in a thick web of lies that they’ve created. They might lie about their past exploits to impress people or lie to manipulate others. While these lies might help them get what they want, deep down, they have a huge fear of being exposed and getting called out on their dishonest behavior.

Gratitude:  Narcissists are also totally incapable of saying the simple words ‘thank you’.  Gratitude is a completely foreign emotion to them. Again, this probably all stems from fear. Saying, ‘thank you’ means that they are relying on someone, and narcissists will never admit that they need anybody’s help.

Mortality:  Believe it or not, many with narcissistic disorder see themselves as gods. They think they’re invincible; that nothing bad will ever happen to them, and that everything they touch will turn golden.  Self and ego are all.  Even the most powerful people on earth can’t escape death and this is something which the Narcissist particularly fears.

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