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Lido Wellness Center Blog

What is EMDR?

October 13, 2021 | by Janie Montiel, AMFT

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing is a therapeutic approach utilized to help individuals move past traumatic events. 

Whether the trauma is a little “t” or big “T” event, traumatic occurrences have the potential to reorganize the nervous system into a constant state of hyperarousal (panic attacks) or hypoarousal (numbed out, disassociated). 

 

Most of the time, the mind-body-brain routinely manages new information and experiences without issue. However, when something out of the ordinary occurs, and the event is too overwhelming, such as a car accident or being subjected to chronic adverse experiences like childhood abuse/neglect, our adaptive information processing system (AIP) can become overloaded. These types of events can result in disturbing experiences remaining frozen in the brain or remaining “unprocessed.” 

 

The nervous system becomes hypervigilant, on edge, and overly sensitive to external stimuli. Sight, sound, taste, touch, and smell become powerful triggers that warn the nervous system of danger. Even in the most benign environments, the body can feel unsafe and out of control. The mind will also create a story about the events, often a negative belief (I am responsible, unlovable, unworthy, unsafe). Individuals with unprocessed trauma can appear detached, numbed-out, zoned-out, or struggle with panic attacks, nightmares, flashbacks, intrusive memories/thoughts/images, and become irritable or easily agitated. 

These symptoms of PTSD are frightening and can become debilitating to an individual if untreated. Without the proper treatment and coping skills, a person will implement any strategy for some relief often turning to alcohol, drugs, over-exercising, over-eating, and isolating behaviors to name a few. These strategies often create more issues and even more traumatization. 

How EMDR can help

EMDR posits that the brain has a natural adaptive information processing system (AIP) that under normal circumstances works seamlessly. However, when overwhelming experiences occur, the information from the trauma (images, sounds, feeling states, emotions, and cognition) is not allowed to process or integrate from the Limbic system (home of the fear response) to the prefrontal cortex (home of higher thinking/executive functioning). The eye movements or bilateral stimulation (audio or tactile can be used) assist the brain in reprocessing and integrating the memory. Full integration of the memory from the Limbic system to the prefrontal cortex moves the memory from implicit memory to explicit memory storage. The integration of the memory allows the individual to begin feeling less overwhelmed by external stimuli (sound, smell, taste, touch, sight) and internal stimuli (memories, thoughts, emotions, feeling states) that trigger the fear response (fight or flight). 

A typical session of EMDR lasts between 60-90 minutes with the individual fully awake and in control of the process. The clinician collaborates with the individual to identify target memories, level of disturbance, and validity of negative core beliefs. Bilateral stimulation (eye movements, audio or tactile) are implemented for 20-30 seconds. Once the bilateral stimulation has ended, the client reports any images, emotions, body sensations, and cognitions. The memory is considered integrated and reprocessed when the client reports a SUD (subjective unit of disturbance) of  0-1/10, a VOC (validity of cognition) of 7/7 for positive belief, and a clear body scan (no activation in the body). 

Although the memories are not forgotten, the experience of remembering no longer has the power to create PTSD symptoms. The flashbacks, intrusive images, hypervigilance, disassociation, and negative core beliefs begin to subside. More importantly, the individual can engage in life once again without fear of suffering from a PTSD symptom.

In addition to PTSD, EMDR has been successful in treating the following:

Anxiety, depression, stress, phobias, sleep problems, complicated grief, addictions, pain relief, phantom limb pain, self-esteem, and performance anxiety. 

Further information on the phases of EMDR can be found on www.emdr.org and www.emdr-europe.org  and in the book “Getting Past Your Past” by Francine Shapiro. 

by Janie Montiel, AMFT

Primary Therapist

Lido Wellness Center Blog

8 Ways To Break The Cycle Of Depression

September 17, 2021

Every person has low moments. However, these moments typically pass quickly. If you struggle with depression, these low moments can last for days, weeks, or months. Although depression can leave you feeling hopeless and isolated, there are things you can do to break the cycle of depression. 

Serotonin’s Role In The Cycle Of Addiction

Serotonin is a chemical in the brain that helps regulate your mood. When your serotonin levels are high, you feel more positive and calm. When your serotonin levels are low, you often feel sad and can feel the cycle of depression beginning. 

Your serotonin levels change with every thought and emotion you experience. If you focus on the sad or negative thoughts and emotions it is difficult to pull yourself out of the depression cycle. Instead, focusing on happy memories and the positives in life can raise serotonin levels and pull you out of depression.

While there are many ways to improve your mood, keep reading for 8 simple ways to help break the cycle of depression.

1. Exercise

Exercise is a great way to get the blood flowing, boost serotonin, and break the cycle of depression. Exercise doesn’t mean going to the gym for a hard workout. While some people beat the depression cycle at the gym, a walk around the block and even cleaning your house can be enough to make you feel better. 

2. Get Outside

Although you feel like staying in bed, get up, walk outside, and feel the sun hit your skin. Every chance you get, go outside. Getting at least 15 minutes a day in the sun can help stop the cycle of depression. So put on that sunscreen, find a grassy spot at the park, and let the sunshine on your face. 

3. Spend Time with Friends and Family

When you feel like the cycle of depression is beginning, call your friends and family. Make plans to go to dinner, hang out, or play board games. The very nature of depression is isolation. So, whether you sit on the porch with a neighbor and talk about nothing or play a softball game with the family, not being alone will help break the depression cycle.

4. Learn A Hobby

Do you have a hobby you love, but depression stops you from doing it? Maybe you always wanted to pick up a hobby. Did you love to paint as a child? Or perhaps you like building and flying model airplanes. Hobbies are fun and relaxing and a great way to break the cycle of depression. 

5. Watch A Comedy

Laughter is powerful. It lifts your spirits. Your lungs work harder. And, even your abs get a workout. So watch a funny movie or see a comedian when you feel the depression cycle beginning. 

Smiling is also great for your mood. The muscles you use when you smile calm the nervous system. So smile at people when you walk by and make a habit of recalling happy moments in your life. 

6. Listen to Upbeat Music

The effects of music are vast and powerful. It affects our mood, thoughts, and feelings. We all have that song we go to when we are sad. There is also a song when we want to pump ourselves up. When you feel the cycle of depression taking over, put on some upbeat music, dance around, and sing like you are putting on a concert. 

7. Take A Day Trip

When you are trying to break the cycle of depression, changing your environment can help. Planning a day trip doesn’t mean you have to spend a lot of money. Packing the car going to the beach or driving across the state with the music up and the windows down can break the depression cycle. 

8. Start A Gratitude Journal

Feeling gratitude is vital in combating the cycle of depression, so is keeping a gratitude journal. A gratitude journal is simply a record of things you are grateful for. It can be something small such as a hot shower or the bird outside your window. 

You can also write down the big things like a loved one recovering after surgery or a special relationship. Keeping a gratitude journal allows you to remind yourself of all the positives in your life when you feel a depression cycle coming. 

What Signs Of Depression Mean You Should Seek Help?

It is normal in life to feel lonely or sad sometimes. When these feelings persist and interfere with your daily life it is time to seek professional help.

While your regular doctor can evaluate you and prescribe medicine for depression, it is often better to seek a mental health professional. Of course, medications can help increase serotonin levels. However, talking through your feelings and healing underlying traumas can end the cycle of depression for good.

Recognizing the signs and symptoms of depression is crucial since undiagnosed depression may lead to suicide. They often include:

  • Fatigue
  • Feeling guilty or worthless
  • Feeling empty
  • Trouble concentrating and making decisions
  • Pessimism
  • Sleep issues
  • Loss of interest in things you once enjoyed
  • Change in eating habits
  • Aches and pains
  • Suicidal thoughts or attempts

People struggling with depression often feel like they are alone. However, over 17 million Americans are trying to break the cycle of depression. You do not need to struggle alone. 

Lido Wellness Center Helps Break The Cycle Of Depression

Are you or someone you love struggling to break the depression cycle? We offer a variety of outpatient treatments to meet your needs and help you live a happy and healthy life. Contact us today to find out more.  

References:

https://www.helpguide.org/articles/depression/coping-with-depression.htm

 

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Lido Wellness Center Blog

Grief And Trauma: Understanding The Stages Of Emotional Recovery

When you experience a traumatic event, the world around you may seem to crumble and fall apart. Are you left wondering how to put your world back together again? In this period of uncertainty, it is easy for feelings of sadness and anxiety to set in about what may happen next.

Learning how to process grief during Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) recovery is a crucial element in healing. Reducing the intense internal response to loss can begin with quelling anxiety about sadness and uncertainty. Symptoms of PTSD are a result of trauma or severe stress.

Working with a mental health professional can help you manage grief, trauma, and move through the stages of emotional recovery. Traumatic loss does not need to be overwhelming or debilitating, you can get help managing the symptoms. 

What Is A Traumatic Loss?

Traumatic loss is characterized as a traumatic reaction to an event such as an unexpected death, accident, or violence. A traumatic event may also include expected events such as the death of a loved one from a chronic illness. Emotions caused by traumatic loss may include separation anxiety, disbelief, or a sense of emptiness. 

Due to the nature of a traumatic event, it may be difficult for a person to move through the typical stages of emotional recovery. 

How Is Trauma-Related To Grief?

Traumatic grief is a combination of bereavement and PTSD symptoms that occur when an individual loses someone significant in their life. Symptoms of grief and trauma include: 

  • Preoccupation with the lost person
  • Hypervigilance for signs they are still around
  • Desire to be reunited with them despite knowing they’re gone
  • Difficulty moving on from this loss (future feeling hopeless)
  • Anger towards others or oneself 
  • Social difficulties due to extreme grief

Studies have reviewed traumatic loss among different groups and found symptoms generally fall into two categories. The first is separation distress, a preoccupation of thoughts and feelings associated with the deceased. The second is traumatic distress, which includes feelings of distrust and withdrawal from others. 

For example, young adults who lose a friend to suicide may experience separation distress symptoms such as preoccupation with thoughts of their lost loved one and longing for them. They might also feel traumatic distress including anger towards themselves or the deceased person’s family members as well as disbelief in God and trust issues.

What Are The Stages Of Emotional Recovery?

  1. Grief and denial 
  2. Anger
  3. Bargaining
  4. Depression
  5. Acceptance 

The First Stage: Grief And Denial

Grief is an intense emotion that is caused by suffering a loss. Denial is a typical human reaction that occurs as a defense mechanism against experiences that are difficult to accept. Before learning to accept grief you will generally deny the loss. 

Thoughts like “This can’t be happening to me”, and “That couldn’t have happened”, are very common. However, denial will slowly give way to the realization of the situation. That’s when individuals move on to the second stage. 

The Second Stage: Anger

During the anger stage, people ask themselves “Why me?” They feel angry over their loss. This feeling exists for anyone close to the deceased. 

Anger is a common feeling during grief. You might feel anger at the person for causing pain, though you know they are not to blame. Anger is also connected with stages of isolation. Dealing with loss may cause an individual to disconnect from their support system. However,  expressing emotions such as anger allows one to reconnect and learn to cope with intense feelings.

The Third Stage: Bargaining

Bargaining is a way to try and hold on to hope in an intense situation of pain. You may be willing to do anything to return to your life before the loss. During this internal negotiation, guilt could be accompanying as there maybe thoughts like “if only”, or “what if.”

These thoughts and feelings are normal and expected during this stage. As difficult as these emotions may be, they will help you heal as you are confronting the reality of the loss. 

The Fourth Stage Of Emotional Recovery: Depression

The most obvious sign of grief and trauma is depression. Unlike other stages of emotional recovery, this stage comes with intense sadness and despair that can feel like a never-ending tunnel without the light at the end. It’s important to remember that this response is completely natural given the loss experienced. 

It’s understandable to question why you should continue when your world has been turned upside down. However, there will come a time where things get better. As intense as this feeling maybe it’s important to remember that it is part of your journey in healing. 

The Fifth Stage Of Emotional Recovery: Acceptance

Reaching acceptance does not mean you will forget about your loved one or no longer experience sadness over your loss. You’ve also learned when to reach out emotionally during difficult periods as needed.

When you are experiencing grief, it is normal to feel like there’s no end in sight. You might have times when you accept the loss and then later go back into a stage of denial or anger. This is a natural part of the process. 

Grief And Trauma: Recognizing The Symptoms Of Traumatic Loss

Severe symptoms related to loss are indications that the individual is suffering from something more than typical bereavement. It’s estimated that 10-15% of bereaved individuals are suffering from a traumatic loss. 

Traumatic loss symptoms can be extremely difficult to manage without professional help. Symptoms may last for several years and vary based on each individual. These symptoms can interfere with a person’s normal day-to-day functioning. That’s why it’s important to recognize symptoms and seek help immediately. 

Get Help Moving Through The Stages Of Emotional Recovery 

Lido Wellness Center offers therapeutic solutions that can help you or your loved one work through traumatic loss. To recover from loss, it’s important to be able to move through the stages of emotional recovery. Our mental health professionals understand how grief and trauma relate and can help overcome the challenges it prevents.

Contact us today to learn more about our mental health solutions. We can help you cope with pain or death, as well as teach you to reconnect with activities and relationships that are supportive and enjoyable.

Lido Wellness Center Blog

Benefits Of Mental Health Counseling

August 26, 2021

The benefits of therapy not only attribute to an improved state of mind but also positively impact how you live your life. Most individuals believe they don’t require mental health therapy. However, you may be surprised to learn the benefits of mental health counseling can drastically improve your productivity, focus, and overall happiness. 

Those who suffer from mental health disorders are often strong individuals. Because of this, many falsely think being strong means keeping it to themselves. The fact is, it takes an even stronger person to share those struggles with another.

Mental Health Therapy Brings Self-Acceptance

This is often the first step of progress for anyone who suffers from mental health. Embracing yourself and your problems allows you to confront individual struggles. Also, understanding that therapy is very common and nothing to be ashamed of is a key step in accepting help. 

Everybody has problems to varying degrees. It is not just those with co-occurring conditions that require therapy. Refusing help or therapy by way of denial, however, often leads to deeper depression and worsening mental health conditions. This is why self-acceptance is vitally important. Accepting who you are, allows you to accept help. Accepting help can then become the gateway to reaping the benefits of therapy.

You’ll Gain Peace Of Mind

The stresses of mental health disorders are exacerbated by the fact that you fall captive to the danger of your thoughts. Most patients are critical thinkers, often overthinking themselves into deeper issues within their minds. Therapy is necessary for that third party to pull us out of the prison our minds can pose. Opening the door of your thoughts to a therapist is key to freeing yourself.

Once you are able to gain insight into someone else’s perspective, you’ll start to view yourself differently. A therapist can bring you a calm sense of peace.  

There Will Be Noticeable Physical Improvement

An old proverb states “As a man thinketh in his mind deviate so is he.” To simplify, thinking good means feeling good, the same way thinking bad means feeling worse. In psychology today, Ron Breazeale, a clinical psychologist states, “Our thoughts influence our bodies directly because the body interprets the messages coming from the brain to prepare us for whatever is expected.” Therefore, your brain is going to tell your body how you should feel based on how you’re thinking.

For those suffering from mental health disorders, this is crucial to overall health and wellness. Counseling can benefit your physical health by training you to eliminate negative thoughts which will translate to positive health. 

Overall Support That Provides Relief from Mental Illness

One of the greatest benefits of therapy is it provides you with a mental support coach. This negates the feeling of being alone in your battle. This alone can help relieve depression and anxiety. 

This is important, considering many who struggle with their mental health keep their thoughts and emotions bottled up. Contained thoughts and emotions are among the worst things for mental health. Having someone in your corner is one of the critical benefits of therapy, diminishing the loneliness many feel in their struggle.

Improved Social And Work Efficiency

An improved state of mind and refined communication skills produces a trickle-down effect on your daily life. A newfound sense of confidence will ignite a drastic development in your social and work discretion. Since our mental outlook greatly affects our daily activities, our minds can be our greatest asset or enemy. Among the numerous benefits of mental health, counseling can be your ticket to a greater all-around life.

What Available Types Of Therapy Benefit the Most?

Simply with action on your behalf, all of the mental health counseling provided can benefit tremendously. Below is an in-depth layout of the proposed therapeutic benefits by category. 

Anxiety

There are a variety of beneficial therapy options specifically geared towards treating, diminishing, and even eliminating your anxiety. Anxiety counseling, much like the other therapeutic benefits listed, requires the assistance of another to alleviate that burden.

Sharing that burden with a therapy expert will aid you in lifting that weight off your shoulders. Carrying that weight on your own will only magnify your burden.

Stress Or Trauma-Related Disorders

If you feel overwhelmed by your everyday activities or an induced trauma from your past, mental health counseling is essential. Trauma-related disorders often go unnoticed because the bearer of these burdens has been harboring them for a significant amount of time. Whether because of embarrassment or disdain for rehashing specific incidents, you then are in bondage to that trauma. 

This is where the true benefits of mental health counseling magnify themselves most. You can free yourself from your trauma-induced bondage by confidentially confiding with a specialist who will gladly listen and understand. Speaking openly with a therapist often reveals how much more burden it is to suppress these traumas, rather than to open up. Furthermore, many cases of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) are undiagnosed due to a refusal or denial to seek counseling.

Depression Disorders

This can come as a result of neglecting help with other disorders or standalone. Regardless of the circumstance, depression disorders cannot be handled alone.

Depression implants a false mentality of diminished or zero self-significance. A mental health counselor can help reestablish the truth of self-worth that would have otherwise been absent.

Personality Disorders

Lido Wellness Center defines personality disorders as “unhealthy patterns of thinking, functioning, and behavior that deviate from the expectations of the culture.”

These discrepancies can cause as equally a toll emotionally as they do mentally. As strong as you are, personality disorders will crumble the strongest of individuals without the aid of a mental health expert.

Get Mental Health Therapy At Lido Wellness Today! 

All mental health conditions possess one common theme, they require the support of a therapeutic professional who cares. The compassionate experts at Lido Wellness Center have all the support and tools you need to manage, and in many cases, overcome your condition.

Each moment that passes without the care you need, is another battle lost to mental health. Your decision at this moment could easily be the difference between your road to recovery and slipping farther away. The greatest news for you is the help you need is simply one click away. Contact our team of mental health professionals today. 

References

https://www.goodtherapy.org/benefits-of-therapy.html 

https://www.mhanational.org/therapy