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Addiction Treatment

The Most Serious Eating Disorder

eating disorder

Eating disorders are defined by the American Psychiatric Association as “behavioral conditions characterized by severe and persistent disturbance in eating behaviors and associated distressing thoughts and emotions.” There are several different types and each are recognized as chronic psychological conditions listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) under the Disorder Class: Feeding and Eating Disorders. The pervasive symptoms associated with any type of eating disorder can cause adverse physiological consequences and interfere with one’s ability to adequately function in daily life. Still, anorexia, formerly known as anorexia nervosa, is recognized as the most dangerous type of eating disorder because of its high mortality rate. The South Carolina Department of Mental Health assert that twenty percent of people suffering from anorexia will die prematurely due to complications related to their eating disorder.

Anorexia

Anorexia is characterized by “an abnormally low body weight, an intense fear of gaining weight and a distorted perception of weight.” Though anorexia can manifest at any age, experts suggests it most commonly develops during adolescence. The National Eating Disorder Association (NEDA) point to specific risk factors that can increase one’s propensity for developing anorexia, including, but not limited to the following:

  • Dieting and starvation: habitual dieting to the point of starvation can increase a one’s potential for developing anorexia. Studies have shown that starvation impacts one’s brain functioning and one’s ability to make rational decisions. In turn, restrictive eating behaviors are perpetuated and returning to healthy/ normal eating habits become increasingly difficult.
  • Genetics: Individuals with familial history of anorexia and/ or other eating disorders put certain people at higher risk of developing anorexia.
  • Transitions: emotional stress resulting from various life transitions (e.g., new school, move, death of a loved one, etc.) can increase the risk of anorexia.
  • Peer influence: teens going through puberty and adolescence face hormonal changes, increased peer pressure, and often internalize criticisms about appearance, which can put teenagers at a higher risk for anorexia. 

Anorexia is the third most common chronic illness among adolescents. Further, it is considered one of the most lethal psychiatric disorders, carrying a sixfold increased risk of death. 

Signs and Symptoms

Everyone is unique, and as such, an individual struggling with anorexia will present with a distinct set of signs and symptoms. The Mayo Clinic does, however, provide examples of common signs and symptoms associated with anorexia, some of which may include, but are not limited to, any combination of the following:

  • Thin appearance
  • Insomnia
  • Extreme weight loss
  • In adolescents: not making expected developmental weight gains
  • Dizziness and/ or fainting
  • Abnormal blood counts
  • Fatigue
  • Thinning, brittle hair
  • Absence of menstruation
  • Dry and/ or yellowish skin
  • Irregular heart rhythms
  • Low blood pressure
  • Dehydration

Certain behavioral warning signs may be exhibited by an individual struggling with anorexia such as skipping meals, over-exercising, obsessively reading nutritional information, constantly weighing themselves, regularly making excuses not to eat, denial of a problem despite excessive weight loss, and more. Individuals diagnosed with anorexia engage in a cycle of self-starvation that often results in severe malnutrition including a lack of essential minerals and nutrients. When an individual with anorexia becomes severely malnourished, every organ in his or her body can suffer irreparable damage, and without proper treatment anorexia can be life-threatening. 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

What Does Dialectical Behavior Therapy Do?

dbt

Dialectical behavior therapy (DBT) is an evidence-based psychotherapeutic approach that is founded on the principals of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and blends Eastern mindfulness techniques (e.g., awareness, mindfulness and attentiveness to current situations and emotional experiences) to encourage acceptance and change. In was developed by Marsha M. Linehan in the late 1980s, as a means to better treat individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD), suffering from pervasive suicidal ideation. Since its inception, dialectical behavior therapy has been and remains the gold standard method of treatment for individuals diagnosed with BPD, and has also become recognized as an effective therapeutic method of treatment for a wide range of other mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), substance use disorder (SUD), eating disorders, and more. Dialectical behavior therapy helps individuals foster healthy coping mechanisms and useful techniques for managing stress, regulating emotions, and improving relationships with others.

DBT Skills

Dialectical behavior therapy is carried out in three distinct therapeutic settings, including weekly individual psychotherapy (one-on-one therapy) sessions; weekly DBT skills training group sessions, and access to twenty-four-hour support between sessions via phone coaching. DBT focuses on teaching skills in four primary areas, or four modules, which are:

  • Core mindfulness: focuses on improving an individual’s ability to accept and be present in any given moment. The skills in this module help individuals learn the importance and value of slowing down and taking pause instead of succumbing to intense emotions and acting in destructive ways. 
  • Distress tolerance: focuses on increasing an individual’s tolerance of negative emotion as opposed to attempting to avoid or escape from it. The skills in this module help individuals learn various techniques for handling crisis (e.g., distraction, self-soothing, improving the moment, etc.). 
  • Emotion regulation: focuses on helping an individual identify, name, understand the function of, and regulate their emotions. The skills taught in this module are intended to help an individual learn to decrease the intensity of their emotions, sit with and experience strong emotions that are causing problems in one’s life, without impulsively acting on them. 
  • Interpersonal effectiveness: focuses on increasing an individual’s communication strategies. The skills taught in this module help an individual learn to identify what their own needs are in a relationship and develop assertive and effective communication methods to ensure those needs are met in a healthy, nondestructive way. 

Behavioral Tech explains that “DBT works because it successfully increases clients’ ability to use effective

coping skills, particularly strategies for expressing, experiencing, and regulating intense emotions.” Studies have found that certain improvements, can be fully or partially attributed to learning and implementing DBT skills (e.g., improvements in emotion regulation, reduced experiential avoidance, minimized assertive anger, etc.). The DBT process is heavily influenced by the philosophical perspective of dialectics, or the balancing of opposites. DBT encourages an inclusive worldview and perspective (both- and) instead of an exclusive (either- or) outlook on life. It essentially shifts one’s perspective on life by helping individuals learn to identify ways to hold two seemingly opposite perspectives simultaneously. 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

What Drugs Are Commonly Prescribed For Depression?

What Drugs Are Commonly Prescribed For Depression?

Major depressive disorder (MDD) or clinical depression, is listed as a medical illness in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) and is recognized as a serious mood disorder. Mood disorders, also known as affective disorders, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine “is a mental health class that health professionals use to broadly describe all types of depression and bipolar disorders.” The World Health Organization (WHO) explains that severe depression is “characterized by persistent sadness and a lack of interest or pleasure in previously rewarding or enjoyable activities,” resulting in significant impairment in one’s daily life. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), depression affects nearly ten percent of the general population in America.

Antidepressant Medications

Antidepressants are medications prescribed to help treat moderate to severe depression. Treatment for depression typically includes integrating a combination of both psychotherapy and medication into one’s treatment plan. Every individual is different and not all antidepressant medications will work for everyone. The treatment plan for depression must consider the nuanced mental health needs of the individual and be customized accordingly. The two most common types of antidepressant medications prescribed for the treatment of depression include: 

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): SSRIs work by slowing the re-absorption of and altering the brain’s chemical balance of serotonin. Serotonin is the chemical in one’s body that is directly related to one’s moods. Common examples of SSRIs that may be used to treat depression include, but are not limited to:
  • Selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs): SNRIs work to elevate one’s mood by interacting with both the serotonin and norepinephrine levels in one’s brain. They can be prescribed to treat anxiety, depression, and some chronic pain conditions. Common examples of SNRIs that may be used to treat MDD include:

As is true with taking any type of medication there are associated risks. The specific risks will vary from person to person, as they will depend on several contributing factors (e.g., the individual’s health history, the presence of any additional mental health ailments, substance abuse issues, genetics, etc.). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires antidepressant medications to clearly display a black box warning label indicating the possibility of increased suicidal thoughts and behaviors when taken by some individuals under the age of 25. An individual that experiences adverse side effects is encouraged to consult his or her healthcare provider immediately. If left untreated, the symptoms of depression can lead to severe short and long-term effects and in some cases could be life-threatening. 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

 

What Is The Most Popular Drug For Depression?

What Is The Most Popular Drug For Depression?

The World Health Organization (WHO) explains that severe depression, clinically referred to in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), as major depressive disorder (MDD), is “characterized by persistent sadness and a lack of interest or pleasure in previously rewarding or enjoyable activities,” resulting in significant impairment in one’s daily life. Harvard Medical School explains that the most prominent symptoms of MDD include a severe and persistent low mood, profound sadness, or a sense of despair. Major depressive disorder is recognized as the leading cause of disability in America for individuals ages fifteen to forty-four. Findings from the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) indicate that 8.4% of all U.S. adults, which is equal to nearly 21 million people, had at least one major depressive episode. Major depressive disorder is a complex psychiatric disorder that affects mood, cognition, behavior, and impedes adaptive functioning. If left untreated, MDD can adversely affect one’s overall health and lead to short and long-term physiological complications.

Treatment

Obtaining an accurate diagnosis (concluded with results from a medical exam with blood work, and psychological evaluation) is essential to the recovery process for any mental health illness, including depression. There is no single treatment plan that is entirely effective for everyone that struggles with depression, as each person is unique. Hence, treatment for depression requires a customized treatment plan that is inclusive of a multidisciplinary approach. The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) underscores common components that may make up one’s treatment plan for MDD, which typically include a variety of psychotherapeutic approaches such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), expressive arts therapy, interpersonal psychotherapy (IPT), and more. Some people diagnosed with severe major depressive disorder may also benefit from medication. Although there are several types of antidepressant medications used to treat MDD, the first line-treatment for depression is either of the following: 

  • Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs): work by slowing the re-absorption of serotonin (the neurotransmitter known to help with mood regulation and anxiety) in one’s the brain. Common examples of SSRIs that may be used to treat depression include, but are not limited to:
  • Selective norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs): work by reducing the reabsorption of serotonin and norepinephrine in one’s brain. They can be prescribed to treat anxiety, depression, and some chronic pain conditions. Common examples of SNRIs that may be used treat MDD include:

As is true with taking any type of medication there are associated risks. The specific risks will vary from person to person, as they will depend on several contributing factors (e.g., the individual’s health history, the presence of any additional mental health ailments, substance abuse issues, genetics, etc.). The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires antidepressant medications to clearly display a black box warning label indicating the possibility of increased suicidal thoughts and behaviors when taken by some individuals under the age of 25. In most cases integrating a combination of both psychotherapy and medication into one’s treatment plan yields the most successful long-term results.

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.

What Does A Certified Addiction Professional Do?

What Does A Certified Addiction Professional Do?

The purpose of a certified addiction professional is to provide treatment and guidance to individuals recovering from substance use disorder. Certifications are earned through programs or services that may be based within or associated with a healthcare organization. According to the National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC), “the purpose of credentialing is to standardize the quality of addiction prevention, intervention, treatment, and continuing care services…[and] to set a benchmark for professionals and monitor the abilities of those who treat addictions.” Certified addiction professionals are employed in a variety of settings, such as:

  • Drug treatment centers
  • K-12 schools
  • College and university systems
  • Mental health centers
  • Hospitals and healthcare systems
  • Insurance and managed care organizations
  • Probation and parole agencies
  • Employee assistance programs
  • Private practice (e.g., therapist)
  • Human services (e.g., social services worker)

There are different levels of certifications available for addiction specialists, each enabling the accredited individual to provide additional services. For example, the National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals offers three different types of addiction counselor certifications:

Addiction counseling certifications must be renewed through the NAADAC every two years. There are also continuing education requirements (40 hours of continuing education every two years) that addiction counselors must complete as a component of the renewal process, as well as submitting one’s two-year work history. 

What Do They Do?

The purpose of certified addiction professionals is to help individuals overcome addiction and related mental health issues. According to the Hazelden Betty Ford Foundation, they are clinical practitioners who “follow evidence-based practices to provide treatment for people with substance used disorders.” Common responsibilities of certified addiction specialists that are also licensed counselors could include:

  • Identify an individual’s addictive behaviors
  • Assign a diagnosis
  • Schedule intake assessments
  • Develop strategies that overcome destructive, maladaptive, negative, and unhealthy behaviors
  • Perform urinalysis to determine if individuals are remaining drug-free
  • Maintain records
  • Assist with insurance billings
  • Work with and provide support to family members and loved ones, who are affected by the individual’s addiction
  • Assist individuals with making new housing arrangements when needed
  • Educate the public on the dangers of substance abuse and addiction
  • Provide counseling services (e.g., one-on-one therapy, group sessions, workshops, other activities, etc.) and support to individuals struggling with substance use disorder

Certified addiction specialists collaborate with other healthcare providers and work with individuals struggling with substance use disorder to develop a customized treatment plan that is specifically informed by his or her nuanced recovery needs to help them maintain their sobriety. It is important to bear in mind that the duties of a certified addiction specialist vary widely based on their place of employment and the role they fill. 

Disclaimer: 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment. 

What Triggers Dissociation?

What Triggers Dissociation?

Johns Hopkins Medicine explains triggers as “external events or circumstances that may produce very uncomfortable emotional or psychiatric symptoms, such as anxiety, panic, discouragement, despair, or negative self-talk.” Triggers can vary from person to person and can cause different physiological responses, including dissociation. Dissociation is a psychological phenomenon that, according to the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors, “describes a state in which the integrated functioning of a person’s identity, including consciousness, memory, and awareness of surroundings, is disrupted or eliminated.” Dissociation is specifically influenced by the disruption of four key areas (identity, memory, consciousness, and awareness of oneself and surroundings) of personal functioning that typically operate automatically and seamlessly. Medical News Today asserts that “the exact cause of dissociation is unclear, but it often affects people who have experienced a life-threatening or traumatic event, such as extreme violence, war, a kidnapping, or childhood abuse.” Dissociation is an overload response that serves as an ineffective coping mechanism. 

Common Triggers

Some types of triggers that are common with dissociation could include, but are not limited to the following examples, provided by Good Therapy and other sources:

  • Recreational drug abuse: certain substances (e.g., ketamine, hallucinogens, marijuana, benzodiazepines, alcohol, etc.) work by interacting with the chemicals in one’s brain which can trigger dissociation.
  • Another mental health condition can trigger dissociation, including the following:
    • Depression: is “a mood disorder that causes a persistent feeling of sadness and loss of interest.”
    • Epilepsy: is “a central nervous system disorder in which brain activity becomes abnormal, causing seizures or periods of unusual behavior, sensations and sometimes loss of awareness.”
    • Schizophrenia: is defined as “a serious mental illness that affects how a person thinks, feels, and behaves.”
    • Phobic disorder: is defined as “an anxiety disorder characterized by an extreme and irrational fear of simple things or social situations.”
    • Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD): is “a disorder in which people have recurring, unwanted thoughts, ideas or sensations (obsessions) that make them feel driven to do something repetitively (compulsions).”
    • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD): is “a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event – either experiencing it or witnessing it.”
    • Borderline personality disorder (BPD): is “an illness marked by an ongoing pattern of varying moods, self-image, and behavior.”
  • Trauma can trigger dissociation

The general symptoms of dissociation, according to a study published in Access Advances in Psychiatric Treatment, include changes in bodily senses and a reduced ability to react emotionally. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) provides examples of more severe symptoms of dissociation including perceptual alterations, emotional or physical numbing, distorted sense of time and space, unreal, unstable, or absent self, etc. An episode of dissociation can also cause an individual to feel as though their heart is pounding and/ or experience symptoms of light-headedness. The symptoms of dissociation can range from mild to severe, and last varied durations.

Disclaimer: 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment. 

What Is A Certified Addiction Specialist?

What Is A Certified Addiction Specialist?

A certified addiction specialist is a mental health professional that provides supportive services to individuals recovering from substance use disorder. Most mental health providers are required to hold degrees in higher education, are required to pass certain certification tests, and many receive relevant mental health accreditations. Certifications are earned through programs or services that may be based within or associated with a healthcare organization. An individual must earn a passing score on the National Clinical Mental Health Counseling Examination (NCMHCE) to become certified in mental health. Accreditations can be earned by an entire health care organization (e.g., hospitals, nursing homes, etc.). Both certification and accreditation require an evaluation by The Joint Commission. Although certified addiction specialists are commonly referred to as addiction counselors, they do not necessarily need to complete the same mental health counseling requirements. The certified addiction specialist (CAS) credential, according to the American Academy of Health Care Providers in the Addictive Disorders is a “clinical certification based upon experience providing treatment under the direction of a qualified clinical supervisor, specialized training, and a written examination.” The National Certification Commission for Addiction Professionals (NAADAC) offers three different types of addiction counselor certifications:

Addiction counseling certifications must be renewed through the NAADAC every two years. There are also continuing education requirements (40 hours of continuing education every two years) that addiction counselors must complete as a component of the renewal process, as well as submitting one’s two-year work history. 

Addiction Medicine Specialists

Addiction medicine was formally recognized in 1990, and defined as “the prevention, evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, and recovery of persons with the disease of addiction, of those with substance-related health conditions, and of people who show unhealthy use of substances, including nicotine, alcohol, prescription medications, and other licit and illicit drugs.” Addiction specialists are addiction medicine physicians and addiction psychiatrists who hold either subspecialty board certification in: 

With the additional training and education, addiction medicine specialists focus on addictive diseases and the treatment of such diseases. They are qualified to recognize and treat the psychiatric and physical complications of addiction. Physicians in this subspecialty can also treat family members who have been adversely affected by a loved one’s substance use or addiction. 

Disclaimer: 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment. 

What Does Dissociation Feel Like?

What Does Dissociation Feel Like?

Dissociation is a psychological phenomenon that, according to the Australian Institute of Professional Counsellors, “describes a state in which the integrated functioning of a person’s identity, including consciousness, memory, and awareness of surroundings, is disrupted or eliminated.” While not all people that experience dissociation will have a diagnosable disorder, there are three distinct types of dissociative disorders, listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5), which are dissociative amnesia, dissociative identity disorder (DID), and depersonalization-derealization disorder. Experts attribute the cause of dissociation symptoms to develop due to a break in the cohesive functioning of one’s inner world. Dissociation is specifically influenced by the disruption of four key areas (identity, memory, consciousness, and awareness of oneself and surroundings) of personal functioning that typically operate automatically and seamlessly. 

Symptoms

It is impossible to explain exactly what dissociation feels like, as everyone is different and each experiencing an episode of dissociation will be unique to each person. For those diagnosed with a dissociative disorder, the symptoms that develop will directly correlate with that disorder. A study published in Access Advances in Psychiatric Treatment asserts that general symptoms of dissociation can include changes in bodily senses and a reduced ability to react emotionally. The symptoms of dissociation are often broken into five overarching categories, which include:

  1. Depersonalization: feeling detached from one’s thoughts, feelings, and body
    • Becoming fully engrossed in something (e.g., a movie, a book, etc.) to the point of becoming unaware of what is going on in one’s surroundings
    • Having an out-of-body experience (e.g., an individual feeling as though he or she is floating away or watching themselves from a distance)
  2. Derealization: feeling disconnected from one’s environment
    • Daydreaming
    • Zoning out (e.g., scrolling through social media and suddenly noticing hours have passed)
  3. Dissociative amnesia: experiencing retrospective memory gaps 
    • Unable to remember important information about one’s life, history, and/ or identity
  4. Identity confusion: feeling unsure of one’s sense of self or place in the world
    • Obsessive behaviors (e.g., an individual repeatedly looking in the mirror to check and make sure that they are real)
  5. Identity alteration: the sense of being markedly different from another part of oneself

The symptoms of dissociation can range from mild to severe, and last varied durations. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) provides examples of more severe symptoms of dissociation including perceptual alterations, emotional or physical numbing, distorted sense of time and space, unreal, unstable, or absent self, etc. An episode of dissociation can also cause an individual to feel as though their heart is pounding and/ or experience symptoms of light-headedness. Anxiety can be a cause or a result of dissociation.

Disclaimer: 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment. 

 

What Does An Addiction Medicine Specialist Do?

What does an addiction medicine specialist do?

Addiction medicine was formally recognized in 1990, and defined as “the prevention, evaluation, diagnosis, treatment, and recovery of persons with the disease of addiction, of those with substance-related health conditions, and of people who show unhealthy use of substances, including nicotine, alcohol, prescription medications, and other licit and illicit drugs.” It was not until 2016 that the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS) recognized addiction medicine as a medical subspecialty under the American Board of Preventive Medicine (ABPM). Addiction specialists are addiction medicine physicians and addiction psychiatrists who hold either subspecialty board certification in addiction medicine from the American Board of Preventive Medicine, subspecialty board certification in addiction psychiatry from the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology (ABPN), board certification in addiction medicine from the American Board of Addiction Medicine (ABAM), or a Certificate of Added Qualification in Addiction Medicine conferred by the American Osteopathic Association (AOA).

What Do They Do?

With the additional training and education, addiction medicine specialists focus on addictive diseases and the treatment of such diseases. The National Institute on Drug Abuse explains that addiction medicine specialists “provide prevention, evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment services for patients with unhealthy substance use or substance-related health conditions.” The various types of addictions that can be treated with addiction medicine include, but are not limited to the following examples provided by the New York Society of Addiction Medicine:

  • Tobacco Use Disorder: an addiction medicine specialist will conduct a thorough evaluation, provide an accurate diagnosis, assess the severity, and offer treatment options. Typical treatment plans for tobacco use disorder may include a combination of:
  • Alcohol Use Disorder: an addiction medicine specialist will conduct a thorough evaluation, provide an accurate diagnosis, assess the severity, and offer treatment options. If the individual requires detox (acute medical stabilization and withdrawal services) the addiction medicine specialist can help to arrange those services. The subsequent treatment plan for those struggling with alcohol use disorder may include:
  • Opioid Use Disorder: an addiction medicine specialist will conduct a thorough evaluation, provide an accurate diagnosis, assess the severity, and offer treatment options. It is not uncommon for those struggling with opioid use disorder to require detox, which the addiction medicine specialist can help to arrange. After the successful completion of the detox process, the treatment plan may include a combination of:

Physicians in the subspecialty can also treat family members who have been adversely affected by a loved one’s substance use or addiction. They serve as clinical experts, teachers, faculty, and researchers. Addiction medicine specialists are qualified to recognize and treat the psychiatric and physical complications of addiction. 

Disclaimer: 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment. 

What Is Radical Acceptance?

What Is Radical Acceptance?

Radical acceptance is tool used in dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), that is designed to keep pain from turning into suffering. Psychologist Marsha M. Linehan developed dialectical behavior therapy in the late 1980s as a means to help better treat chronically suicidal individuals diagnosed with borderline personality disorder (BPD). It is an evidence-based psychotherapy that is founded on principles of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), but places greater emphasis on the psychosocial aspect of treatment. It combines standard CBT techniques for emotional regulation and reality testing with concepts derived from Buddhist meditative practice such as awareness, mindfulness, and attentiveness to current situations and emotional experiences to encourage acceptance. DBT specifically focuses on providing therapeutic skills in the following four key areas, as provided by the Linehan Institute:

  1. Core Mindfulness: skills focused on improving an individual’s ability to accept and be present in any given moment.
  2. Distress tolerance: skills focused on increasing an individual’s tolerance of negative emotions instead of attempting to avoid or escape them.
  3. Interpersonal effectiveness: skills focused on increasing an individual’s communication strategies.
  4. Emotion regulation: skills focused on helping an individual identify, name, and understand the function of emotions, and increasing one’s ability to regulate emotions. 

Radical acceptance, specifically, is a skill that is addressed in the distress tolerance module. According to VeryWell Mind, “Radical acceptance can be defined as the ability to accept situations that are outside of your own control without judging them, which in turn reduces the suffering that is caused by them.” Much like every component of DBT, radical acceptance is a skill that requires practice, as it involves letting go of the need to control a situation.

How to Practice Radical Acceptance

Marsha M. Linehan provides the following ten steps for practicing Radical Acceptance using DBT:

  • Watch for thoughts that you are fighting against reality. 
  • Remind yourself that reality cannot be changed. 
  • Acknowledge that something led to this moment and think about the cause of events that you are unable to accept. 
  • When you are in a situation that causes extreme emotions, try focusing on breathing deeply and examining the thoughts you are having (and let them pass).
  • List what your behavior would look like if you did accept the facts then act accordingly.
  • Create a plan of action for events that seem unacceptable, think about what you will do, and how to appropriately cope.
  • Practice a feeling of total and complete acceptance through positive self-talk and relaxation strategies.
  • Remain mindful of physical sensations throughout your body such as tension or stress.
  • Embrace feelings such as disappointment, sadness, or grief.
  • Accept that life is worth living even when experiencing pain. 

Radical acceptance is achieved when one lets go of the urges to fight reality, does not succumb to the need to respond with impulsive or destructive behaviors, and releases the bitterness that may be trapping an individual in a cycle of suffering. 

Disclaimer: 

The information above is provided for the use of informational purposes only. The above content is not to be substituted for professional advice, diagnosis, or treatment, as in no way is it intended as an attempt to practice medicine, give specific medical advice, including, without limitation, advice concerning the topic of mental health. As such, please do not use any material provided above to disregard professional advice or delay seeking treatment.