Activate The Bookworm

Man floating on turquoise body of water reading a book

The Health Benefits of Reading

There is something very relaxing about the process of reading, yet many people choose to watch television or play video games. Reading requires patience and desire to sit still and concentrate on the material, but you can learn to tap into the relaxing part of the activity, which you will come to appreciate over time.

The health benefits of reading:

The more you do it, the more you will learn to enjoy it. Like every new activity, it takes time to engrain the habit and allow your mind and personality to accept it into your life. The knowledge that you can gain from reading is endless; pick up a book and read about European history, a classic such as The Great Gatsby or psilocybin and how it is being used in Johns Hopkins trials!

You can always find something to read that will activate the bookworm inside of you. The key is to take that first step of picking up a book, finding a cozy place to open it and begin diving into it! Enjoy the beautiful white snowflakes falling outside or the pouring rain bringing a fresh scent of summer breeze, while you sit by the window and garner more exciting information!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Drugs, Drugs and More Drugs

Melted building secondary to drug use

The Reward System’s Slippery Slope

A substance use disorder is a psychological disorder in which a person continues to use a substance despite the negative consequences. Substances are groups of drugs that have similar effects on your brain, body and behavior. The worldwide prevalence is around 16% and men are more likely to be diagnosed.

Examples of substances:

  • Alcohol (beer, wine, liquor)
  • Tobacco (cigarettes, snuff, cigars, e-cigarettes)
  • Caffeine (coffee, tea)
  • Stimulants (cocaine, amphetamine, methamphetamine)
  • Cannabis (marijuana, hash oil)
  • Sedatives (benzodiazepines, barbiturates)
  • Hallucinogens (LSD, PCP, psilocybin, peyote)
  • Opioids (heroin, methadone)
  • Inhalants (markers, glues)

Substances are addictive because they activate the brain’s reward system. Your reward system makes you feel pleasure by releasing a neurotransmitter called dopamine from the ventral tegmental area when you perform activities necessary for survival, such as eating, drinking and having sex.

When you begin to use a substance, your reward system releases much greater quantities of dopamine, hijacking your reward system and motivating you to use the substance again. Once a person’s reward system is hijacked and he or she turns into an addict, other important needs such as sleep, saving money and being responsible no longer matter as much.

Examples of negative consequences:

  • Tobacco (cancer, heart disease, lung disease, smoke breaks interfering with work)
  • Alcohol (liver disease, drunk-driving, embarrassments and hangovers)
  • Cannabis (lack of motivation, psychosis, social isolation)

Impaired control over substance use means that a person is taking a substance in larger amounts, has unsuccessful efforts to cut down, spends a large amount of time obtaining and using the substance and experiences cravings.

Social impairment means that a person may start to fail at work or school, have recurrent use despite social consequences and give up on recreational or occupational activities because of substance use.

Risky use means that a person uses a substance in dangerous situations and continues to use despite physical or psychological health problems.

Tolerance to a substance means that a person experiences diminished effects with use of the same amount and needs an increased amount to achieve the same effects.

Withdrawal to a substance means that a person experiences physical or psychological side effects when the substance is no longer in the body.

The causes of substance use disorder:

  • Genes (account for 60% of a person’s vulnerability)
  • Environmental (growing up in a drug-infested neighborhood, poor parenting, peer pressure)
  • Developmental (children or adolescents who use drugs have a greater risk because their brain is still developing until approximately age 25)

There is no cure for substance use disorder. The treatment is tailored to the individual depending on which substance he or she uses and what support is available. Examples include medication assisted treatments such as 12-step meetings, naltrexone for alcoholics, Suboxone for heroin addicts, nicotine replacement for cigarette smokers, inpatient rehabilitation and individual therapy with counselors and psychiatrists.

The goals for a drug addict are to establish a functioning role in society, maintain a drug-free lifestyle and most importantly, to stop using drugs! Because the disorder is chronic, most people require long-term or recurrent treatment to maintain sobriety.

The DSM Ready Movement is here to support anyone who is suffering from a drug addiction! Together, we can empower each other to maintain sobriety and lead a life of happiness and love!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

The Torture of OCD

White male with OCD wiping his tears

OCD is Curable

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is a mental illness characterized by the presence of obsessions and compulsions. Obsessions are defined as recurrent and persistent thoughts, urges or impulses that are experienced as intrusive and unwanted, and cause anxiety or distress.

Compulsions are defined as repetitive behaviors (i.e., checking or ordering things, excessive washing, excessive tics) or mental acts (i.e., repetition of words, counting, praying) that an individual performs to attempt to neutralize the unwanted thoughts.

The compulsions aim to prevent or reduce anxiety or some dreaded event or situation from occurring. They are not connected in a realistic way with what they are designed to neutralize.

The obsessions and compulsions are time-consuming and may cause clinically significant distress or impairment in social or occupational functioning. They are not due to a substance, medical condition or other mental disorder.

OCD can be very debilitating to the point of causing individuals to lose their job or marriage. Some individuals may shower 7 times a day while others have to return home multiple times to check if they turned off the stove. Spouses, family and friends can be greatly affected by an individual’s behavior; it can be very hard and painful to witness someone struggling with OCD.

If you or anyone you know is suffering from OCD, please seek immediate treatment from a medical professional! Antidepressants and CBT are the first-line treatments.

Lastly, The DSM Ready Movement is always available for mental and emotional support; together, we can overcome any hardship!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Defeat Anxiety With Belief

Four people watching the sunset after overcoming anxiety

We Are Stronger Than Anxiety

Anyone who has experienced anxiety or panic attacks can relate to the extreme mental and physical discomfort: a sense of doom, depersonalization, fear, sweaty palms, a racing heart, etc. The anxiety often terminates when you leave the setting or become distracted, but sometimes you are not able to leave, and you must have a plan on how to manage the situation.

The key to defeating anxiety in the long run is to adopt an attitude of belief and strength; a mindset in which you know that you will defeat anxiety. This mindset involves not reacting to anxiety, meaning, that even if anxiety occurs, you are carefree and do not become emotionally affected by it.

Learning to adopt a carefree attitude towards anxiety will teach your brain that you are indifferent to the anxious experiences, and that you are not affected by the terror; kind of like a “been there, done that mentality.” It may not be easy to think like this at first, but if you make an honest effort to adopt this mentality, eventually you will start to notice the anxiety dissipating from your life; it will no longer have room to breath since you will no longer be paying attention to it.

No one deserves suffering from anxiety, and to find out the source may take years. So rather than dwelling on the past and trying to figure out what may have initiated this chain of events, learn to accept your reality by adopting a belief system that involves overcoming your anxiety with a carefree attitude.

The DSM Ready Movement is here to help us manage and overcome anxiety! Through the sharing of our stories and experiences, we will become a stronger community and defeat anxiety together!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Stop Running Away From Your Problems

Stack of colorful jigsaw puzzle pieces representing life's problems

The Unconscious Cabinet

Every person knows the feeling of waking up with a problem on their mind, only to quickly repress it in the depths of the unconscious and “deal it with later.” This is a common mistake that can easily be avoided; you will be better off in the long run if you deal with the problem in the present moment!

You will find more peace by tackling the problems rather than burying them; filing problems in your unconscious cabinet clusters your mind and puts it in overload mode. This only promotes stress, frustration, relationship issues and breakdowns.

The mature and effective way is to deal with the problems head on; you cannot keep running forever. Problems are a way for us to grow and learn from; they teach us lessons and principles and provide us with guidance and reality checks.

We usually avoid dealing with problems because life is already stressful as it is. But putting off problems for the future contributes to the current mess you are in; fixing them will make you feel better. You will feel less stress, more freedom and a sense of accomplishment!

The DSM Ready Movement is about helping each other come up with effective and honest solutions, which will help us feel happier and more content with life!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Cherry Picking

Red cherries growing on a tree

The Health Benefits of Cherries

To maintain a healthy mind and feel great, you must maintain a healthy body; you are what you eat! Fruits such as strawberries and bananas are excellent choices to snack on throughout your day. But cherries are also delicious and packed with goodies! (Just don’t forget to spit out the pit)

The health benefits of cherries:

  • Vitamin C (maintains your immune system and skin health)
  • Potassium (needed for muscle contraction, nerve function and blood pressure regulation)
  • Fiber (important for bowel regulation)
  • Antioxidants (combat premature aging, reduce inflammation and chronic disease risk, fight cellular damage and protect against mental decline)
  • Accelerate muscle recovery and decrease muscle soreness
  • Enhance exercise performance
  • Polyphenol antioxidants (keep your heart healthy by protecting against cellular damage)
  • Improve symptoms of arthritis and gout (inhibit oxidative stress and decrease inflammation and uric acid levels)
  • Contain melatonin (help regulate your sleep-wake cycle and improve your sleep quality)

So what are you waiting for? Head to your local supermarket for some cherry picking! πŸ’

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

WHO: Video Game Addiction Is A Mental Illness

Addicted teenagers playing video games on laptops

By Dr. Sinu, MD 6/24/19

An International Video Game Epidemic

The World Health Organization has officially classified video game addiction as a mental disorder in the International Classification of Diseases 11th Edition (ICD-11). Gaming addiction is considered a pattern of consistent behavior so severe that it takes precedence over other life interests, with the escalation of gaming despite negative consequences.

Many top global gaming organizations are calling for the reversal of gaming disorder from the ICD-11, arguing that there needs to be more evidence before such a claim can officially be made.

WHO decided to include gaming disorder in the ICD-11 based on reviews of available evidence as well as a consensus from experts from different disciplines and geographical regions. The classification will result in increased attention by medical professionals to the risks of developing an addiction to video games, as well as more emphasis placed on preventive and treatment measures.

According to available studies, only a small percentage of individuals who engage in gaming develop an addiction. It is important for people who engage in gaming to monitor their time spent on the activity, as well as any changes in their behavioral patterns, such as socializing less frequently or replacing other activities with gaming.

As with any type of behavior that promotes relaxation and reward, (i.e. drugs, sex or gambling) the consensus seems to be that gaming is just as high of a risk of developing into an addiction.

Feed Your Burning Desire

Motivated eagle flying under sunset

Keep Spreading Your Wings

Never allow other people to take away your dreams and desires; you have all the power at your fingertips! By connecting your heart and mind, you can accomplish any goal in life. Maintain your desire and keep feeding it every day; it will pay off in the future!

Find the motivation that you need to feed your dreams and goals; feel it in your heart and allow it to translate into your work. No matter how stressful life can become at times, you can always power through with your heart’s desire and strength; you just have to want it!

People will become obstacles throughout your path in life; they will laugh in your face, call you names and even attempt to roadblock you. Don’t fall for these traps; keep spreading your wings and continue to fly in the right direction. With determination and belief, life will take you in the right direction and you will accomplish your goals!

Give it your all every day no matter how repetitive the process becomes. The good things in life do not come easy; you have to experience the pain, shed the tears and feel the sadness. But with persistence, you will one day see the rainbow smiling above and telling you, “welcome home.”

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Keep Your Circle Small

A close group of friends involving two men and two women

Less is More

Take a look at all the stars in the sky; this is the amount of superficial relationships that exist in this day in age. People come and go as they please; millennials call it “ghosting.” Who you can trust and rely on is not clear anymore; trial and error has sadly become the norm.

If you ever sense any hesitation or your intuition gives you a funny feeling about a certain person, then it’s time to reconsider your relationship with them; don’t waste any more of your precious time, because life is too short to keep beating around the bush.

Find a few friends who you can build a trustworthy and healthy relationship with and work it from there. Less is more! The potency of a few valuable friendships is undeniably greater than a large group of superficial friends who do not have your best interest at heart.

A tight trustworthy circle of friends will keep you happy, satisfied, safe and emotionally healthy; they will be there for you at your worst times. They will not allow you to fail and will have your back when life gives you lemons.

The DSM Ready Movement is about establishing trustworthy and loving friendships!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)

Never Be Ashamed of Your Job

Man and woman smiling and being thankful while standing in front of louver door

Respect Yourself in the Process

You are never too good for a job! If life brings you to the point of working in McDonalds, bartending or washing dishes, learn to accept the present situation and stop fighting against yourself; everything happens for a reason! This does not mean that you must remain at this job indefinitely, but while you do, do it with passion while being proud of yourself!

Always be thankful for having a job and somewhere to work; being homeless or struggling with an addiction in the backroom of your home are much worse situations! Go to work every day and put your best foot forward; new doors will open up if you maintain a positive and optimistic outlook.

Do not compare yourself with others; everybody has a destined path in life. Your focus should be on bettering yourself, performing well at your current job and moving forward in life. The moment that you become ashamed of your job is the moment that you will start attracting negativity; positivity cannot dwell in someone who is ashamed of themselves.

Keep in mind that most of us have all worked in a job at one point in time that we didn’t enjoy, but we did something extra on the side to pick us up from that situation, and that helped us move forward in new directions. Until then, keep your head up, do the best that you can and stay positive.

Always remember one thing: never be ashamed of what you do!

Are you Ready? (This is Defeating Stigma Mindfully)