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34 Self-Care Tips to do Before Bedtime

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Maintaining a steady routine of self-care is important for your mental and physical health, especially during these tough times. It all starts with getting plenty of sleep. If we don’t get our recommended 7-9 hours of rest each night, it might lead to problems such as increased stress, impaired cognitive thinking, poor attitudes, and the inability to focus. 

Creating a bedtime routine and sticking to it can go a long way in helping you get a good night’s sleep, namely because it will signal your body that it’s time to rest. Having a comfortable sleep environment and taking time to relax as you get ready for bed can set the stage for restorative sleep, and can result in you feeling alert, well-rested, and ready to take on the upcoming day. 

Of course, no one bedtime routine is the same as people have different needs and preferences. While some self-care tips apply to folks of any age, such as creating a comfortable sleep environment, each age group also has tips that address their specific sleep needs. 

  • Children: Children need the most amount of sleep, between 9 and 16 hours depending on age. 
  • Teenagers: Without adequate sleep, teens are at increased risk of mental health problems. 
  • College students: As they transition from kids to adults, college students need a good night’s rest to maintain strong mental health. 
  • Adults: Getting a good night’s sleep helps promote long-lasting good physical and mental health. 
  • Parents: Self-care that includes relaxation tips and stress relievers goes a long way in helping parents get restorative sleep. 

34 Self Care Tips 

This guide will review important information for each of these age groups, and provide tips on how they can achieve healthy and restorative sleep.

Children 

  1. Talk about their emotions. To help promote healthy sleep, it’s important for children to express their thoughts and emotions. The Washburn Center for Children in Minneapolis recommends talking with your children about their feelings on a daily basis so they see it as a normal part of their day. Ask things like, “what has been a highlight of your day and why?” or “you seem down today, what has you feeling sad?” Really listen to what they have to say, and respond thoughtfully in a way that encourages them to keep talking. 
  1. Try children meditation apps. Apps can be a handy tool to help calm children as they prepare for bed. For instance, “Stop, Breathe & Think” offers mindful sleep stories and meditation activities to help ease the mind. “Smiling Mind” features meditation techniques to help children sleep better, while “Sleep Meditation for Kids” provides mediation stories to help children relax. 
  1. Go outside. It’s no secret kids have a lot of energy, so it’s important to allow them time to expend that energy before bedtime. Let them go outside and play in the afternoon, but limit exercise within four hours of bedtime, per Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. Otherwise, they could become over-stimulated when their bodies should be winding down. 
  1. Limit screen time. While electronic devices have become a normal part of most kids’ lives, they should not be a part of any child’s bedtime routine. In fact, according to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, screens in the bedroom are accompanied by insufficient sleep that affects 30% of toddlers, preschoolers and school-age children. Therefore, eliminating screen time at least one hour before bedtime can help set the tone for a more restful night’s sleep. 
  1. Set expectations. Another way to help prepare kids for a good night’s sleep is by setting expectations for bedtime. Remind them of the evening schedule, such as finishing homework after dinner followed by a bath and story time before bed. 
  1. Prepare for tomorrow. Encourage children to prepare for the next day by picking out their clothes for school and packing their lunch. This will help them take ownership in their daily routine. 

Teenagers

  1. Encourage a routine. Like younger kids, teens need a routine to help them feel settled. For instance, they have to finish their homework before playing video games, or no more electronics past a certain time. 
  1. Limit caffeine. Many teenagers start drinking more caffeinated beverages, such as coffee and energy drinks, which can be overstimulating for them. As such, their daily caffeine intake should be limited to one cup of coffee, one or two cups of tea, and no more than three cans of soda, per the American Academy of Pediatrics. They should not have any caffeine within an hour of bedtime. 
  1. Relax somewhere other than your bed. While it’s tempting to text your friends or watch TV as you lounge in your bed, this should be avoided. You want your body to recognize when it’s time to sleep, and climbing into bed should be a signal that sleep is on the way. Therefore, keep your bed as a “sleep only” spot. 
  1. Take a hot shower or bath. Many teens jump in the shower first thing in the morning, but research from the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin found that taking a warm bath or shower one to two hours before bedtime can significantly improve sleep. Water should be between 104 and 109 degrees Fahrenheit for the best results.
  1. Get regular exercise. Just as kids need exercise to expend energy and maintain good health, so do teenagers. Getting in the habit of exercising at a younger age can help ensure teens maintain this healthy routine, which will lead to better sleep. 
  1. Talk to them. The teen years can be extremely stressful as kids transition through young adulthood, experiencing a new range of emotions and situations. Encourage them to voice their feelings and their stressors so they won’t stay up all night thinking about them. The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry recommends teaching them assertiveness training skills so they can state their feelings in polite, firm and not overly aggressive or passive ways.  

College students

  1. Maintain open communication. College can be a huge transitional period for young adults, so it’s important to keep the lines of communication open. Build on the talks you have had with your parents through the years, and tell them how you are feeling. Remember that discussing your feelings go a long way in helping you sleep well. 
  1. Create a care package for sleep. Put together a sleep kit with your favorite sleep mask, earplugs, aromatherapy scents, white noise machine or soothing music. Dig into this kit anytime you need to reset your body for a good night’s sleep. 
  1. Use “do not disturb” mode. Young people today are more plugged in than ever, and it’s important to unplug at least an hour before bedtime each night. Turn your phone on “do not disturb” so you can tune out your friends’ text messages or late-night notifications from your apps. 
  1. Set up a spa night. Stress plays a key role in disturbing your sleep, so it’s important to de-stress often. Take time to unwind with your friends by indulging in a little pampering, like applying face masks or giving one another pedicures. These are a great way to wind down and reset your body’s stress levels. 
  1. Plan your day. Planning out your next day’s schedule during times of busyness or stress can help you feel in control of what you need to do. Amherst College suggests planning out your day by writing down what you have to do with deadlines so you have a handle on what needs to be accomplished when. 
  1. Try journaling. Writing down your feelings goes a long way in helping you process and sort through what you are experiencing. For instance, writing out a frustrating situation or something you’re stressed about and then destroying that piece of paper can help you let go of the negativity you feel about it. 

Adults

  1. Set aside time for a bedtime routine. It’s easy to feel too busy for a bedtime routine, and, instead, just fall into bed when you’re exhausted. However, bedtime routines are essential for good sleep, so, if necessary, build it into your schedule. Don’t be afraid to set a reminder of when to start your bedtime routine, so your body will know it’s time to start winding down. 
  1. Substitute your nighttime wine for tea. Although wine could help you feel sleepy, it may actually disrupt a good night’s sleep. Trade it out for a caffeine-free tea that promotes sleep. A few good choices include: 
  • Chamomile
  • Lavender
  • Lemon balm
  • Yogi Bedtime Tea 
  1. Practice good skin care. While removing your makeup and applying moisturizer is a great way to maintain healthy skin, it also can help your body relax as part of your bedtime routine. It’s one more signal to your body that rest is on the way. 
  1. Meditate. Meditating before bedtime helps you achieve a sense of inner calm that can lead to more restful sleep. It also can help reduce cortisol, the hormone associated with stress. To help you implement meditation in your bedtime routine, you can try a meditation app such as:
  1. Read a book. It’s often said you can get lost in a good book. By doing so, you escape the stress of everyday life. In fact, according to the University of Minnesota, reading can relax your body by lowering your heart rate and easing the tension in your muscles. Per a 2009 University of Sussex study, reading also can reduce stress by up to 68% and works faster than drinking hot tea or listening to music. 
  1. Set goals. Listing your goals for the next day, whether personal or work, sets the stage for a productive day. Write out at least three goals, but make sure they are realistic so you aren’t stressed about getting them done. 
  1. Get out of the house. When you’ve been home for long periods of time, the stress can accumulate and start to feel overwhelming. Therefore, it’s important to get out of the house and enjoy a change of scenery before you start your bedtime routine. Take a walk around the block, spend a few minutes in the backyard swing or play with the dog. 

Parents 

Raising kids can take a toll on parents if they don’t make time for themselves. Include one or more of these self-care tips in your bedtime routine to promote better sleep. 

  1. Try aromatherapy. The essential oils used in aromatherapy have been shown to help reduce anxiety and promote calm. Using sleep masks and pillows infused with scents such as lavender, chamomile or jasmine can help you relax, per the Mayo Clinic
  1. Write down wins and struggles. Expressing your achievements and difficulties in writing helps you sort through and process your thoughts and emotions, which can reduce stress. 
  1. Shower in low lighting. Taking a warm shower before bed can promote relaxation throughout your body. Turning the lights down can further aid this relaxation. 
  1. Indulge in adult coloring books or puzzles. According to the Cleveland Clinic, spending time coloring relaxes the brain, diverts attention from your worries and increases pleasure, all of which reduce stress. Focusing on an adult puzzle can also help clear the mind. 
  1. Get intimate (singles and couples). A healthy sex life promotes good health from lower blood pressure to decreased anxiety to, yes, better sleep. Even individuals can benefit from self-intimacy. 
  1. Enjoy a massage (self massage or couples). Massages have been shown to reduce fatigue and improve sleep because it relaxes the muscles and calms the brain. It also improves blood flow, reduces stress and boosts serotonin, which promotes sleep. 
  1. Listen to audio therapy. Although loud noises like listening to the TV are not conducive to a good night’s sleep, listening to soothing music or a white noise machine can relax your mind and promote sleepiness. Incorporate this technique into your bedtime routine by turning on the music or white noise 30 to 45 minutes before you want to fall asleep. 
  1. Look at old photo albums of good memories. To reduce anxiety and refocus your mind, take a stroll down memory lane by looking at photos of favorite vacations, special occasions and fun moments throughout the years. The emotions of these memories will boost your body’s dopamine production, which makes you feel good and more relaxed. 
  1. Journal with your spouse. Just as writing down your own thoughts and feelings can help you process your emotions, journaling with your spouse can help you work through problems together, reaffirm your love for one another, and lead to deeper intimacy. These processes can reduce stress and improve your sleep. 

Incorporating self-care into your bedtime routine will go a long way in improving your sleep as well as your overall health. In our busy world, that can be difficult, so it’s imperative that you make time for a consistent bedtime routine every day. 

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Sleep Tips to Help Combat Common Mental Health Problems


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Sleep Tips to Help Combat Common Mental Health Problems

Research shows that people with mental health problems are more likely to suffer from insomnia or other sleep-related disorders such as restless leg syndrome and obstructive sleep apnea. However, the connection between sleep and mental health works the other way too. Poor quality sleep can hurt your mental health and worsen existing issues. Here are some steps you can take to sleep better and rejuvenate your mental health.

Avoid Sleeping with Pets

Sleeping with your dog may be comforting, but it could be disrupting your sleep more than you think. People who sleep with dogs tend to wake up more often throughout the night and report lower sleep efficiency than people who keep their pets off the bed. Large dogs can be particularly disrupting as they force you into uncomfortable sleeping positions. SheKnows lists several other good reasons to keep your bed pet-free, including bacteria, parasites, and allergens that may be damaging your health.
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Get a New Mattress

As you look for a crate for your dog, consider picking up a new bed for yourself as well. Old mattresses can contribute to sleep disorders. So, if your mattress is over 10 years old, it’s probably time for an upgrade. Take some time to decide what kind of mattress would be best for your sleep style, body type, and personal preferences. For example, memory foam mattresses work well for a wide variety of individuals and they also tend to last longer than innerspring mattresses. Look for a memory foam mattress in your desired firmness level, and make sure it fits your budget and sleep style. Familiarize yourself with mattress brands and read reviews before buying.

Transform Your Bedroom Into a Dedicated Sleep Zone

Replacing your mattress isn’t the only thing you can do to improve your bedroom environment. Turn your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary by keeping it cool, dark, and quiet. To achieve a sleep-friendly bedroom, you may have to buy some blackout curtains and a white noise machine. The Spruce also recommends incorporating calming, muted colors into your bedroom décor and doing away with stimulating clutter. If you struggle with anxiety or ADHD, you may find it impossible to relax when you’re surrounded by stuff.

Develop a Relaxing Bedtime Routine

Going to bed right after squeezing in some last-minute work or watching a stimulating show can leave your mind reeling. A calming bedtime routine can help you wind down in the evenings. Focus your routine around activities that are good for your mental health, like meditation, yoga, and journaling. If you have trouble clearing your mind at night, try writing a to-do list for the next day. Reading a good book or taking a bath can also help prepare your body and mind for sleep.

Exercise Daily

Exercising daily is one of the best things you can do for your sleep quality. However, people struggling with their mental health can have a hard time finding the energy or motivation to exercise. Start small and find exercises that you really enjoy. If you’re motivated by others, join a fitness class or find a gym buddy. If you prefer to be alone, try an at-home bodyweight workout or go for a walk in the forest. According to the American Heart Association, walking in nature can help diminish a variety of mental concerns from stress to depression.

Many people aren’t aware of the close connection between sleep and mental health.
While sleeping better may not cure mental illness, it can help ease symptoms of anxiety and depression during the day. If you’re struggling with mental health concerns, try redesigning your bedroom and adopting some healthy sleep habits — it might just change your life!

Guest article written by Brad Krause from SelfCaring.info

New recreational marijuana laws

Marijuana legalization in Michigan, rules, and penalties if the rules are broken

For the past decade, the people of Michigan have been trying to make marijuana legal in the state. Finally, a proposal to legalize recreational marijuana was certified by the Board of State Canvassers in April 2017 and the proposal was voted ‘Yea’ just a few weeks ago. So what does all this mean to the residents of Michigan? Read on to find out the rules and penalties for legal use of recreational use of marijuana in Michigan:

How will recreational marijuana be regulated in Michigan?

Marijuana will be regulated just like alcohol. This means the under the new state law, one will be allowed personal possession and use of marijuana as long as one is at least 21 years of age. Further, the marijuana sold in retail stores will need to be legally cultivated and sold only in licensed stores. There will be a tax on marijuana, just like alcohol. A photo ID may be required for people who look younger than their stated age. For the seller, it will be illegal to sell marijuana to any individual under the age of 21. Further, all marijuana retailers and growers MUST be licensed by the state.

Will I be able to smoke marijuana anywhere?

Absolutely not: Just like you are not allowed to drink alcohol in a public place, the same rules will apply to recreational marijuana. The business owners or the landlord may prohibit the individual from smoking marijuana on their property. In addition, one will not be able to smoke marijuana in a mall, park, or on a public street. As long as your landlord allows it, you will be able to smoke in the home. If it is your home, then you have nothing to worry about.

Can I drive a car while smoking marijuana?

This topic still remains debatable because there are no tests to determine if you are high on marijuana while driving a car. However, experts in law recommend that just like alcohol, avoid driving a car while you are smoking marijuana. If you have just smoked marijuana, get someone else to drive you. The legal system may err on the side of safety and blame you if there is an accident.

How much marijuana can one buy at any one point in time?

Based on the proposal, any individual over the age of 21 will be able to buy, use, and process 2.5 ounces or 15 grams of marijuana concentrates.

Will I be able to share my marijuana with others?

According to the proposal, you can only share your marijuana without payment to an individual over the age of 21. If you distribute or share the marijuana with anyone under the age of 21, expect a heavy monetary penalty.

What doses of marijuana will be available from retail stores in Michigan?

In the retail stores, marijuana will be sold in increments starting from an eighth to a quarter ounce, half an ounce and an ounce.

How will the recreational marijuana be available?

At the moment, retailers who are licensed will be able to sale processed marijuana and marijuana-infused edibles only in government-approved stores.

Will I be able to grow marijuana plants in my home?

The proposal will allow individuals to grow up to 12 marijuana plants for personal use only and store up to 10 ounces from these plants in the residence provided that the product is kept in a locked container.

How much marijuana will a resident in Michigan be allowed to keep at home?

The proposal will allow for a 10-ounce limit on marijuana in the home. In addition, any amount over 2.5 ounces will need to be secured in a locked container.

Will the marijuana sold in retail stores be taxed?

Yes, there will be a 10% excise tax on all marijuana sales. Here is how the Michigan State Treasury Department plans to spend to tax money earned from marijuana sales:

  • The money will go towards administrative duties and enforcement of the marijuana act
  • Any remaining money will go towards more research and clinical trials that have been approved by the US FDA and sponsored by a non-profit organization or a scientific researcher at an academic institution. The research will need to be conducted on the clinical benefits of marijuana for a variety of medical conditions.
  • Any money left over will be split as follows: a) 15% will go to the local municipality where the retail business is located b) 15% will be for the local county where the marijuana business is located c) 35% will go towards the local schools and d) 35% will go towards repair of the roads and other infrastructure in that particular area.

What about the use of recreational marijuana in the workplace?

Just like you can’t drink alcohol in the workplace, you will not be allowed to smoke recreational marijuana at work. If you do, you may be terminated. Many employers in Michigan do conduct pre-employment testing. And once you are employed, you may be tested for use of illicit drugs. Because most workplaces have zero tolerance for illicit drug use, the best recommendation is not to use marijuana in the workplace.

Where can I grow marijuana?

While the proposal does allow one to grow marijuana at home, this must be in a secure area and not visible to the public. The area will need to be enclosed with locks and/or security. You may have to tell your home insurer and/or local utilities that you are growing marijuana at home.

Can marijuana be banned by any county in Michigan?

Yes, under the proposal any local county will have the right to ban the operating of marijuana farms or retails stores. In such scenarios, these municipalities will not be entitled to any of the tax revenue.

What will be the cost of marijuana sold in retail stores?

While the exact prices have not been fixed, it is expected that one ounce will probably be sold for $150. This is the price for an ounce in several other states and surveys indicate that most consumers are happy with the fee.

What will happen to the people who were previously arrested for marijuana possession?

Those individuals who were arrested previously for marijuana possession will not automatically be pardoned. At the moment, the proposal has not addressed if these individuals will be able to buy or possess marijuana in future- but experts feel that once recreational marijuana is available, they will have the same rights of purchase or to grow the recreational marijuana.

At present, there is also a nationwide movement going on ways to legalize recreational marijuana and many lawyers are claiming of fair treatment of those previous incarcerated for possession.

What other states have legalized the sale of recreational marijuana?

Besides Michigan, California, Maine, Colorado, Nevada, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Nevada, Vermont, Oregon, and Washington all permit legalized use of marijuana only for recreational purposes.

However, all Michiganians should know that under federal law recreational use of marijuana is considered illegal. For example, if you buy recreational marijuana legally in Michigan, you cannot sell or transport it to another state. Even carrying it on an airplane is considered a crime. The present Trump administration and Dept of Justice are continuing to restrict the use of recreational marijuana. Fortunately, there is currently a partisan bill making its way through Congress that may limit the federal laws when it comes to prosecuting Americans for recreational marijuana use.

The Bill was known as Strengthening the Tenth Amendment Through Entrusting States (STATES) Act will ensure, “that each State has the right to determine for itself the best approach to marijuana within its borders.”

How will the state monitor the sale of recreational marijuana?

Since the State will be collecting taxes, it will license each marijuana retail business including retailers, growers, processors, and distributors. Anyone not licensed will face severe penalties.

When will the recreational marijuana be legally available in Michigan?

It is hoped that recreational marijuana will be available in early 2020. It may take a few more months to organize the licensing of the stores and manufacturers, plus the state has to ensure that everyone is aware of the rules and regulations. So realistically, recreational marijuana should be available in the early part of 2020.

Alcohol abuse during holidays

There is no question that people drink a lot more during the holiday season than at any other time of the year, and this applies to both the regular drinker and the social drinker. The most drinking is done during the July 4th weekend holiday, followed by Halloween. The Christmas and new year holidays are a close third. For some unknown reasons, alcohol plays a major role in almost every festivity, party or celebration during the holiday season. The most common alcoholic drink consumed during the holidays is beer, followed by wine. During the Christmas holiday season, the majority of alcohol is consumed at parties, clubs, bars and other people’s homes. The one other fact is that during this holiday season, binge drinking is very common. Many people make a promise of abiding by just one alcoholic drink but unfortunately, the ‘party’ mood and peer pressure leads to excess drinking.

The real problem is that drinking alcohol during the holidays usually leads to making a bad decision(s). Besides ruining one’s health, many people get behind the wheel of a car and consequently get involved with the law; and in the majority of cases, the outcomes are never good. Those caught drinking and driving are often arrested, some lose their driving privileges temporarily, others have to pay monetary penalties, enter rehab and worse, if there is an injury to other people or property, the driver is often incarcerated and faces huge monetary penalties. In many cases, the repercussions of alcohol consumption during the holidays go way beyond the party; those who get involved with the judicial system often lose their jobs, families are torn apart and havoc is created in both interpersonal and interprofessional life.

There are many reports indicating that alcohol consumption during the holidays is often associated with a greater rate of motor vehicle accidents, personal injury and property damage.

The repercussions of alcohol

Binge drinking during the holidays is a nationwide problem. The Centers for Disease Control has stated that binge drinking not only leads to alcohol toxicity but is associated with serious impairment in judgment, motorcar accidents, falls, violence and even damage to the liver. In addition, alcohol removes inhibition and many people participate in a liberal sexual activity which also places them at risk for sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancies. In short, except for feeling exuberant for a few minutes, no good ever comes out of drinking alcohol during the holidays.

Why do people drink more alcohol during the holiday season?

For many people drinking during the holidays is normal practice. For decades, the tradition of serving alcohol at parties has been gathering momentum. Alcohol seems to be a ‘magnet’ for an invitation to parties; many people do not turn up to events where there is no alcohol. Others drink to be sociable and acceptable. During the holiday season there are way too many parties both at work and at clubs; in addition, the gathering of family and friends usually puts everyone in the mood to drink a little alcohol- but more often than not, the ‘little’ drinking soon gets out of control and everyone drinks a lot.

There are several other reasons why people drink during the holidays including depression, being lonely, stress, and feeling isolated. Tragically one very common reason why people turn to alcohol is because of financial difficulties which usually start because of the need to maintain a certain status in society. Some people feel that they must buy the perfect gift for everyone and very soon realize that they are not able to afford it. Others spend so much money on presents that they are not able to pay rent; and in such circumstances, some people drown all their problems and sorrow in alcohol.

How many people drink alcohol during the holidays?

The exact number of people who consume alcohol during the holiday is not known but the numbers are huge. People of all ages, race, gender, and ethnicity imbibe in alcohol. Data released from the Distilled Spirits Council of the US reveal that just during the months of November, December, and January, consumers spend over $9-$12 billion on alcoholic drinks. Go to any liquor store during the holiday season and at any time of the day, night or weekend, there are always long lineups of people either waiting to get in the store or waiting to check out the alcoholic drinks. What is worrisome is that during the holiday season, people buy all types of alcoholic drinks and when they can’t find what they want, they will pick up anything left on the shelves. And a great many people do actually buy potent alcoholic drinks without even knowing the potential harm that can happen.

What else makes the holiday season dangerous?

While alcohol itself is a potent poison that can impair judgment, during the holiday season there are also many more cars on the road and the weather is often poor. What is also a major problem over the past decade is that many people combine alcohol with other illicit agents like marijuana, prescription medications, methamphetamine and cocaine. And with people continuing to use their digital devices in the car, these deadly series of risk factors place the alcoholic driver and everyone else on the road at serious risk for injury including death.

Attitudes towards holiday drinking

During the holiday season, for some unknown reason, the public lets off their inhibitions and throws all cautions away. The public is usually only interested in getting to the party, drinking alcohol and having a great time. During these parties, the alcohol also leads to unpredictable and erratic behavior, combined with screaming matches, physical altercations, and rowdiness. To make matters worse, alcohol fuels inappropriate comments, ill-advised sexual overtures towards the colleagues and even violence- often leading to the pink slip on the spot.

Accidents and Death linked to alcohol

On average, there are about 1,000-1,200 alcohol-related deaths during the holiday season. In addition, data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reveal that December is a dangerous month for motorists and pedestrians. For the past decade, almost 40% of the fatalities that occur during the holiday season have been linked to alcohol. And to make matters worse, thousands of people are injured during motor vehicle accidents, some with serious injuries leading to lifelong disability. Those convicted of operating a motor vehicle under the influence of alcohol often face steep monetary penalties, loss of their driving privileges, fees to pay a lawyer and then are faced with civil suits by the injured parties.

So what should the public do during the holidays?

  1. If possible one should abstain from alcohol during the holiday season; if that isn’t

possible, go easy on the amount of alcohol consumed. Spacing the alcoholic drink over several hours and drinking ample water in between the drinks allows the body to break down the alcohol. The water also dilutes the alcohol and minimizes the adverse effects. 2. For those planning to drink alcohol at a party, make sure you have a designated driver or a sober friend who can drive you back home. Rest assured, law enforcement is out in force during the holiday season conducting sobriety checks. 3. For those who have multiple parties to attend to, just limit yourself to one drink only and abide by that rule. 4. For those who are concerned about alcohol consumption during the holiday season, one

other way is to avoid people who drink and/or avoid places where alcohol is being served 5. Visit bars that promote non-alcoholic drinks; to entice guests these bars often provide free non-alcoholic drinks, and this is the ideal way to enjoy your holidays.

What about chronic alcoholics who want a break from alcohol?

The holidays do create a lot of stress on some people and this often leads to excess alcohol consumption. For those who feel that they do not have control over alcohol, perhaps a short inpatient stay in a rehabilitation facility may help. Most of these rehab facilities are empty at this time of the year and getting into the center is a lot easier and faster. However, one should try and get into the rehab center before the end of the year, because by January, there is a high burnout rate and the places get full pretty fast. Unfortunately being an inpatient at a treatment program during the holidays is not fun but for some, this is the only way to avoid the temptation to drink alcohol.

Most alcohol rehab facilities also have their own Christmas party and New Year celebrations, but instead of alcohol serve other healthy alternatives. In addition, these centers do encourage supportive family members and friends to join in the celebrations, so the admitted person does not feel lonely. While being admitted to a rehab center for a drinking problem may appear as big negative, it will allow you to start a new life after the treatment. This will give you a chance to develop confidence and better work ethics so that when you leave the center you can apply for a decent job. Many employers are sympathetic towards alcoholics who have taken steps to correct their drinking problem.

Conclusion

The holiday season should be seen as a privilege and one should appreciate that fact. This is something that you have earned and thus, the holidays should be considered an investment. Hence, take into account the negative effects of alcohol and how it can ruin your social, financial, personal and professional life. Granted alcohol consumption is a historical tradition for the holidays but if you want to live a life with no hassles, there are many better ways to enjoy the holidays. Give alcohol a break this holiday season and avoid putting your life or the lives of other people at risk. Instead of drinking alcohol, drink water instead. This bland beverage is free, has ZERO calories, will not make you fat and will never get you into any problems with the law. Have safe holidays.

National Suicide Prevention Week Brings Awareness to Mental Illness and Drug Addiction

September 10th through the 16th was National Suicide Prevention Week. During this time, many events were held to raise awareness for suicide. Stories were told about suicide attempts, lost loved ones, and experts discussed how to prevent it from happening.

The goal of the events was simply to bring awareness to the rising problem of suicide. Every year, approximately 34,598 people die from suicide, and 864,950 attempt it. This translates to about 94 suicides a day, or one person every 38 seconds tries it.

 

Many people are scared of getting murdered, but the risk of suicide is higher. It’s the 11th cause of death for all ages.

 

The risk factors are many, but most of them have to do with:

 

  • Mental illness (depression, anxiety)
  • Alcohol and/or drug abuse
  • Family history

What This Means

If you’re struggling with a mental disorder or alcohol/drug abuse, you are at risk of suicide. Even if you do not think or plan on doing it now, there may be a time in the near future that this could happen. The risk increases significantly if someone in your family either committed suicide or attempted.

 

Once you are in the depths of suicidal ideation (the thoughts of killing yourself), it’s difficult to free yourself from them. Fascination comes into play, and that can take you to a place where convincing yourself it’s not the right choice becomes nearly impossible.

 

That’s why it’s important that if you have any of the major risk factors, such as mental illness, addiction, and/or family history of suicide, you seek help immediately.

 

How Michigan Counseling Group Can Help

Michigan Counseling Group provides services to help you or your loved one prevent suicide. We offer:

 

Counseling: Therapy offers an out for people. Talking about issues, understanding why they are issues, and coming up with a plan on how to solve them can be overwhelming to do on your own, but not with a counselor. This professional can help you understand your thoughts and feelings, and relieve them enough so you can take steps that will prevent you from feeling hopeless.

 

Testing: Accountability means a lot when you’re trying to recover from an addiction. Knowing you’ll have a drug test in morning can keep you clean the day before. As you get through the beginning of recovery knowing you’re being tested, it will become easier to deal with the withdrawals and the cravings will decrease.

 

Monitoring: Just like testing, being monitored can keep those suffering from addiction accountable. Our SCRAM CAM, SCRAM GPS, and SoberLink technologies can keep people from drinking to keep them sober for longer.

 

At Michigan Counseling Group, we are committed to providing the services needed to help people recover from addiction, alcoholism, and mental illness, so they can lead better lives.

 

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    Does Substance Abuse Counseling Really Help?

    Does Substance Abuse Counseling Really Help?

    If someone were able to get rid of substance abuse without professional help from a therapist or counselor then that would probably a great accomplishment. However, not everyone is designed physically or psychologically to take on their addiction directly – they usually need substance abuse counseling. There are several drug addict victims who cannot fight the battle alone since their cravings and relapses are quite tough to deal with.  

    Substance abuse treatment in Detroit essentially includes substance abuse counseling along with family counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, and several other approaches to help the victims recover from their addiction. Psychotherapy has the power to treat a variety of psychological conditions, which is often the underlying cause for substance abuse.

    Why is counseling so important in treating substance abuse?

    It’s not only physical dependence on the substances but also the social and psychological factors that puts person at high risk for a relapse. Some of the factors that can trigger a relapse are:

    • Stress,
    • Environmental changes like visiting a specific place or locality ,
    • Spending too much time with friends and family members who abuse drugs themselves .

    These factors can be very strong, and can result in an irresistible urge to take drugs or other substances. Substance abuse counseling helps the addicts block cravings successfully and also helps them to deal with life situations in a confident, and appropriate manner.  

    Detroit substance abuse treatment programs are extremely popular among residents of Michigan as they have proved to be very effective in dealing with substance abuse. Counseling therapies are a blend of several therapies in the right manner so that the problem of substance abuse in tacked in a holistic manner. Thus, there is no fixed approach to counseling and the treatment plan is customized based on the needs of the individual.

    Several Metro Detroit substance abuse agencies prefer group therapies over individual therapies. The logic behind this is that in group therapies victims are challenged as well as supported by their peers who are also drug abuse patients. Another substance abuse counseling tool is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, or CBT, which helps a person identify the thoughts, situations, and moods which trigger a drug craving. They are also taught to use positive thoughts to weed out any negative thought that usually triggers substance abuse.  

    Substance abuse treatment agencies have been helping substance abuse victims get over their addiction and lead a sober, healthy life. These benefits make it clear that people suffering from the problem of substance abuse, no matter how strong their will power is,  should always think about seeking help in the form of substance abuse counseling .

     

    Detroit Substance Abuse Treatment Programs – Lifeline for Teenagers

    Detroit Substance Abuse Treatment Programs – Lifeline for Teenagers

    One’s teenage years are the time when an individual is extremely curious and adventurous, which leaves them vulnerable to substance abuse. Many go through emotional ups and downs due to hormonal changes in their body, and they may use drugs to deal with these new feelings and problems. Because of those issues, Detroit substance abuse treatment programs have been sought after by parents who want to restore normalcy to the lives of their teenage sons or daughters. However, these programs are not always enough to prevent or deter youngsters from substance abuse – friends and family have to play a vital active role as well.

    How does a parent know that their teenager is engaging in substance abuse?

    This is quite a common question but parents must understand that substance abuse can begin at any age; however, people are usually drawn to drugs in their youth. If you notice sudden behavioral changes in your teenage child without any concrete reason like depression, lethargy, or acting withdrawn, then there is a chance that he/she might be abusing drugs.  There are some other obvious signs of drug abuse which includes change in friend circles, steady decline in academics, eating and sleeping changes, and/or losing interest in favorite activities, etc.

    Substance abuse manipulates the brain and can be treated when you take your teenager for substance abuse treatment. Clinics in Metro Detroit are popular for treating teenagers successfully. Repeated substance abuse impacts the brain wherein the victims lose their ability to thoroughly weigh decisions, make judgments, memorize and learn, and control their behavior. Only you can help your teenage son or daughter and seeking professional help is the first step towards that.

    You can start being proactive by taking your child to Detroit drug treatment centers where they will screen your child for symptoms and signs of substance abuse. These centers have addiction specialists and who have the necessary skills to take care of young people addicted to drugs. Getting your teen to subscribe for substance abuse treatment programs can be a challenging task because most teenagers don’t like the idea of going to a doctor because frequently they are in denial mode.

    You may have to create some incentives for your teenager to go to the doctor and not get into a confrontational intervention as that could easily backfire. You need to understand that your child is still immature and you might have to force a few decisions while at times taking his or her opinion. It’s more of a trial and error method so keep trying because your child’s life is at stake.

     

    4 Kids Found Living in Detroit Home with Fentanyl Lab

    4 Kids Found Living in Detroit Home with Fentanyl Lab  

    The Michigan State Police Chemical Unit is on their way to the home to remove the substances” – WJBK, Detroit Fox News

    You know it’s bad when the Michigan State Police Chemical Unit is on the way to your house to remove ‘substances’ and your children have been removed from your custody and given to their mother.

    That is what one father is going through today, as just this morning his four children were found living in his Livingston/Washtenaw area home in Detroit where a fentanyl lab was being ran out of the basement. And to make matters worse, the fentanyl; an opioid pain medication that is significantly stronger than morphine, was being cut up, and sold off as heroin.

    It was less than six months ago when eleven police officers were exposed and made ill to particle air dust from a fentanyl/heroin substance in Harford, Connecticut during a drug bust. Police across America have been trained and warned about fentanyl’s dangers, including thousands of overdose drug deaths, as a small amount can be potent enough to be deadly. Since a small amount can cause death when ingested through the airways or absorbed through the skin, the concern is rising as it continues to be used in more and more areas as a substitute or addition to heroin.

    It’s pretty safe to say that fentanyl is some pretty nasty stuff, and it’s horrific to think four children were living a few feet above a lab messing around with the drug. If you or someone you know has a problem with heroin, opioids, or fentanyl, please seek help immediately.

    “Heroin is bad enough, but when you lace it with fentanyl, it’s like dropping a nuclear bomb on the situation,” Mary Lou Leary, a deputy director in the White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy, told NPR. “It’s so, so much more dangerous.” – DrugFree.Org, Fentanyl-Laced Heroin Worsening Overdose Crisis, Officials Say

     

    How We Help

    Michigan Diagnostic Alcohol and Drug Services helps to address the issues people have when suffering from fentanyl, opioid, and heroin drug disorders. Let us help you help them.

    Drug & Alcohol Testing Services – If you have offenders, clients on probation, loved ones addicted to drugs or have other needs that require instant lab results, MDAD’s has the solutions you need. With instant drug and alcohol testing and instant lab results available immediately to help you keep them on track and accountable towards their drug free life. All lab results are admissible in court and legal proceedings.

    Counseling Services – With our counseling services, people find new life skills to assist them in everyday life as they continue to build towards a future without the need for drugs or alcohol. Our professionals help get to the root of the problem, the wounds that haven’t healed, so the driving force behind the need to ‘escape’ is gone.

    Offender Monitoring – MDADS offers a variety of monitoring solutions to assist your client or offender trying to build his or her life back up, and are used by government agencies and bail bond companies all over the country. – M-TRACK – GPS – Scram CAM – HOUSE ARREST – BREATH PBT.

     

    MDADS Drug Testing - Warren MI

    Michigan Drug Raids Expose Deeper Issues

    Michigan Drug Raids Expose Deeper Issues

    January 17 was a bad day for drug dealers in Gallia County. In a span of 24 hours, Sheriff Matt Champlin of Gallia County and his deputies raided an alleged trafficking site and meth lab. This resulted in arrests and seizures of drugs and cash.

    Cracking down on the drugs being trafficking across Michigan and the nation is one issue. The other, deeper issue is the influence and impact of the drug addiction that has infiltrated the streets. The amount of illegal activity is evident when raids like the one in Gallia County occur. While arrest and prosecution can be a solution, it’s doesn’t attack the root of the problem – drug addiction.

    It’s not easy to eradicate the drug problems in our area. The purpose of police and prosecutors are simply to make drugs less accessible, but this is time-consuming and dangerous. Most criminals are armed and have a wide net of allies. Raids may only skim the surface of the problem, and may even increase the hostility among the drug community.

    It’s the root of the area’s drug problem that must be taken care of. The root of drug addiction lies in:

    • Insecurity
    • Loneliness
    • Unemployment
    • Hopelessness

    All of these contribute to the drug culture in this nation. Not until we are able to solve those feelings and situations will we be able to get a hold on the effects of addiction.

    How We Help

    The lack of resources to help addicts is the #1 complaint of most prosecutors. With no source of referrals for drug addiction, addicts simply float through the system with no direction. This leads to overpopulated prisons and a drug society that functions inside and outside of the penitentiaries.

    Michigan Diagnostic Alcohol and Drug Services (MDADS) is a full-service referral source for people suffering from drug addiction.

     

    • Drug and Alcohol Testing: With lab and instant drug testing in our facility, we can ensure offenders remain compliant with probation. All of the tests performed can be used in courts and legal proceedings.

    Our drug and alcohol testing can also be performed for pre-employment and random screen drug screens for employees. Partnerships with hiring agencies and local/county courts have made it possible to ensure employees are clean and sober for employment.

    With unemployment being a huge reason for drug addiction, drug screens can ensure employers can hire workers with drug-related records. This can be an important, first step towards an addiction-free life.

     

    • Offender Monitoring: MDADs offers M-TRACK. This accountability monitoring solution is powered by SCRAM and SOBERLINK, and is being used by state, county and local court agencies, as well as bail bond companies. Other services include Scram CAM, GPS, BREATH PBT and HOUSE ARREST monitoring systems.

     

    • Counseling Services: Insecurity, loneliness, and hopelessness lie in those who are suffering because of mental disorder or life’s tragedies. Uncovering the source of these feelings and attaining resolution can lead to recovery in mental health and addiction.

     

    Our referral system can help prosecutors secure family marriage counseling, substance abuse counseling, individual group therapy, and alcohol and drug assessments. These therapeutic resources along with monitoring and drug testing services, offenders addicted to drugs can begin and achieve addiction recovery.

    Contact MDADS today for more information on these and other services to help your substance abuse clients. We work with many law offices in the area to help them provide their clients with the resources they need to save their life from the consequences of drug-related crimes.

     

    https://mydailytribune.com/opinion/12472/their-view-6

     

     

     

     

    The importance of Verifying Urine Samples

     

    By: Kumar W. Giri

    May 21, 2016

     

    We have all heard the stories of how offenders tamper with their own urine samples.  Diluted samples have become a common instance, usually by the time the sample has been checked by a lab it is too late.  What choice are the courts and probation left with?  Most of the time the option is to either violate the offender for dilution or just ignore the test and wait until the next time they test to see what happens.

     

    The first step to making sure that samples are not tampered with is security and visually monitoring the client when the sample is being taken.  This first step not only helps with the prevention of urination devices but also helps stop the use of synthetic urine which is very difficult to detect via testing.

     

    The second step to make sure samples are not tampered with is to test for adulterants.  The adulterant strips should be used at the time of collection, it is important to verify the sample before performing any type of test or sending it out to a lab.   There are multiple brands of adulterant strips on the market, most test for a minimum of 7 common adulterants.  The following guide lists the adulterants and the effects on the drug testing process.

     

    Creatinine:  This is a byproduct of Creatine which is used by the body to make muscle.  Creatinine has two primary uses in urine analysis  The first is help check for dilution, a low level of Creatinine is the first indication that the sample may be diluted.  Creatinine can also be used as an indicator of new marijuana, creatinine will stay in the system for a longer time than THC.  An example of how the ratios work are below:

     

    Specimen A B C
    Collection Date: 08-02-11 08-10-11 08-20-11
    THC level (ng/ml): 350 450 180
    Creatinine level (mg/dl) 52 150 20
    THC/CR Ratio : 6.7 3.0 9.0

     

    Specimen A has a THC/CR ratio of 6.7 compared to Specimen B with a ratio of 3.0. Over this time period, the decline is consistent with abstinence.  However, new marijuana use is indicated in the time period between Specimen B and Specimen C.  Although the THC levels decreased the lowered creatinine level can help indicate there was some type of new use because the THC/CR ratio increased from 3.0 to 9.0. (Norchem 1999)

     

    Glutaraldehyde: Glutaraldehyde has also been used as an adulterant to alter urine drug test results.  This product is available under the trade name UrinAid. The manufacturer sells this product for $20 to $30 per kit. Each kit contains 4 to 5 mL of glutaraldehyde solution, which is added to 50 to 60 mL of urine.  Glutaraldehyde solutions are available in hospitals and clinics as a cleaning or sterilizing agent.  A 10% solution of glutaraldehyde is available from pharmacies as over-the-counter medication for treatment of warts.  Glutaraldehyde at a concentration of 0.75% by volume can lead to false-negative screening results for a cannabinoid test using the EMIT II drugs-of-abuse screen.  Amphetamine, methadone, benzodiazepine, opiate, and cocaine metabolite tests can be affected at glutaraldehyde concentrations between 1% and 2% with EMIT immunoassays.  At a concentration of 2% by volume, the assay of cocaine metabolites is significantly affected (apparent loss of 90% sensitivity).  A loss of 80% sensitivity was also observed with the benzodiazepine assay.  (Medscape 2007)

     

    Nitrite:  This tests for common adulterants like Klear or Whizzies.  These adulterants work by oxidizing the marijuana metabolite THC-COOH.  Normal urine should contain no trace of nitrite.  If the urine is nitrite positive, then the urine was probably adulterated.

     

    Oxidants:  This tests for the presence of oxidizing agents such as bleach and hydrogen peroxide.  UrineLuck, a popular adulterant product, is one of the agents tested for.  Normal human urine should not contain oxidants or PCC.

     

    pH-Testing:  This tests for the presence of acidic or alkaline adulterants in urine.  Normal pH levels should be between 4.0 and 9.0. If outside this range, the sample may have been altered.

     

    Specific Gravity: This tests for sample dilution.  The normal range is between 1.003 to 1.030.  If the value is not within this range it may be the result of dilution or adulteration.  This detects if the client has flooded their system with water right before a test to dilute the results of the test.

     

    Pyridinium Chlorochromate:  Tests for the presence of oxidizing agents such as bleach and hydrogen peroxide. Pyridinium chlorochromate (sold under the brand name “UrineLuck”) is a commonly used adulterant. Normal human urine should not contain oxidants or PCC.

     

    At MDADS, we prescreen all samples for adulterants before any type of test or process for lab verification has been started.  This helps insure the most accurate and dependable test results for the courts and clients.  For more information about our testing procedures please visit www.micounselinggroup.com or email us at info@micounselinggroup.com.

     

    Norchem. (1999, February 15). THE CREATININE LEVEL. In Norchem Lab. Retrieved May 17, 2016, fromhttp://www.norchemlab.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/Creatinine.pdf

    Dasgupta, A. (2007). The Effects of Adulterants and Selected Ingested Compounds on Drugs-of-Abuse Testing in Urine. Am J Clin Pathol128(3), 491-503. Retrieved May 17, 2016.

    How To Catch Someone Trying To Pass A Drug Test. (n.d.). In Home Health Testing. Retrieved May 17, 2016, fromhttp://www.homehealthtesting.com/how-to-catch-drug-test-cheaters.html

    Cheat Protection Chart. (n.d.). In Employee Drug Testing Ace. Retrieved June 17, 2016, fromhttp://www.employee-drug-testing-ace.com/resources/glossary/define-cheat-protection-chart