Thursday, November 19, 2009

Mrs. X Y Z

You can call me Mrs. X Y Z. I can't reveal my identity because of so many reasons but I would like to share my experience of recovery with others. It might help other females to get out of their shells. I know there are so many females like me wanting to quit alcohol but are unable to do so. They need to get educated and accept the concept of disease of alcoholism the way I did.
I am married and a mother of two sweet children. My history of problem drinking goes back to 20 years. I started drinking at age 20 because of my husband, who was an alcoholic. Now we both are free from the disease of alcoholism. I am in recovery for more than one year now.
I was 16 years old, living abroad and studying there. This was the time when I met somebody who was much older than my age. I fell in love with him and got married against my parents' will. Before getting married I knew he was heavily into drinking but for me it was acceptable or may be it was my childish thinking. I didn't know it will mess up my life.
After getting married we came back to Pakistan and started living in a posh area. I got everything, which a girl could think of like a nicely furnished house, a force of servants, a lot of money to buy anything I would love to, and a number of cars to move around or to go for shopping. You must be thinking that I was the happiest person on earth. May be yes, I was the happiest person but for some time. My marital life remained ok for 3-4 years but it was not a happy marriage at all. To my knowledge marriage means having a companion whereas my husband couldn't become my companion. Material things can give you comforts but not companionship. So, deep inside I was a lonely person. My husband used to be away from home for days and days. He used to go abroad for his work and after coming back, at home he used to be badly drunk.
I was unable to accept my husband's drinking pattern. My mind used to wonder "why can't he become a normal person?" "Why can't he keep himself in control while drinking?" In other words I had no objection on his drinking I just wanted to see him as a normal person, the way others drink and remain functional. They have a peg of wine or vodka and remain functional but my husband was different. His drinking was not in his control. I needed his love and his attention. I started asking him to control his drinking. This was the time when we started having problems with me. He never liked my interference….he didn't like my telling him to control drinking. I raised my voice and I became a victim of his verbal and physical abuse. We started having fights on this issue quite frequently. It used to affect me very badly. I used to get angry, resentful and depressed.
I was helpless and was unable to share with others. I went to see a psychiatrist, who had put me on medicines. I used to pop up a few pills at night but I was not at peace….no mental peace at all but fight only. We kept fighting, fighting and fighting but reaching nowhere.
One fine day he offered me a peg of wine saying "from today onwards if you give me company I will be able to control my drinking and I will become a normal person the way you want to." At that time it seemed to be a great deal. So, I joined him to give him company. I was thinking in this way I will be able to stop him after one peg of wine. I had a peg of wine and I felt as if all the tension and stress had melted away. I was flying and I was enjoying. My husband managed to manipulate me and I got manipulated as for me one peg of wine was more than enough but his drinking was endless. He kept drinking, drinking and drinking. I was angry again. I left him with his drink and went off to sleep.
From that day onwards it became our daily routine to drink together. Initially I was confined to one peg of wine a day but with time I became a regular drinker. Now I was drinking and I was on prescription drugs as well.
I never thought of myself as an alcoholic, because my drinking and occasional prescription drug abuse occurred within the confines of the upper class home. For a long time, it was easy for me to deny that my drinking had become a problem for me. I never drank in the morning or at lunch time. My kids never came home from school to find me drunk. Despite a daily hangover, I would get out of bed each morning, get my children off to school, participate in community activities, keep lunch dates with friends, and shop at the supermarket. I looked like a normal house wife. I wasn't bleary-eyed, my teeth were fine, and my clothes were fine. I went through a lot of effort to look inside. That was very important for me because if I looked okay on the outside, maybe I was okay on the inside. But I wasn't.
If I look back there was not a single day that went by in which I didn't drink alcohol. But I always considered my husband being responsible for all the mess in our lives. I never looked at myself having a problem. Because I used to think that my drinking pattern was not that of the stereotypical alcoholic like my husband. I didn't go out and have affairs, didn't go to dance parties, or crack up my car. I drank at home. I didn't start drinking until around seven o'clock each night and it used to be with my husband only. When he used to go out of country because of his work sometimes I used to be with him but the other time I used be at home in Pakistan. In either case my drinking behavior was the same. Despite knowing that my drinking had gone up to one bottle a day or may be more than that, I remained in denial "I not an alcoholic but my husband is". I can clearly recall I would drink until I went to bed, and, the next day, I would be amazed at how much I imbibed….often nearly a half gallon of wine. I felt horrible physically.
I tried to quit for a number of times, but my vows of abstinence were always short-lived. It's amazing: You wake up every single day and say, 'That's it, I'm not going to drink anymore. But by four o'clock I knew I would have to take a drink that night. Then I'd say, Well, I am going to stop at two, or stop at three. I went to Mass every morning and I would pray that I could stop at three drinks, which in fact I did, but they were in vats. The glasses got bigger and bigger and the problem was that I was dying.
I drank mostly wine out of a stem glass and I drank very large quantities. You don't have to be drinking vodka out of a bottle, to become an alcoholic. My drug of choice was wine, and I was a full-blown alcoholic. This I realized after my treatment. It can be hard for non-alcoholics to imagine the alcoholic's overwhelming desire to drink even when it's destroying life and health. In the morning you say, 'I am not going to drink.' Then you seem to hit like a blind spot in your brain, where you go on automatic. You're not thinking anymore, 'What about the kids? What about the house?'. . . You just hit this blank spot, and you go to the refrigerator, you open it, and you pull out that bottle of wine. Now I realize that I was a full-blown alcoholic but at that time I used to think my husband should seek professional help. To my knowledge he needed treatment and not me.
So, I started seeking help for his recovery but he was not ready for that. He was also in denial the way I was. My journey towards recovery began when I passed out in my bed one night and woke to learn that my younger child had become ill in the night and tried to wake me up, but was unable to. Finally, the child had instead woken me up went to 11-year-old sibling, who took care of her. The thought of putting my children at risk was the push for me to take back control of my life. After staying sober on my own for about three days, I sought treatment.
I was "falling apart" when I started recovery. Having to admit that I was an alcoholic was one of the most difficult things I had to face. But now I realize that one of the first steps to accepting the disease of addiction is acknowledging that the drug has taken control of one's life: "Once you admit, 'I am completely powerless over this, it's got me beaten, my life is ruined,' then you have a chance."
Also, identifying alcoholism as a disease helped me. It helped me enormously to think that I had a disease, that it was not just a moral failure on my part or on my husband's part. I think alcoholics and other addicts should be viewed as sick people. Finding spirituality also helped me on the road to healing. There is now a spirit within me that gives me strength to be in recovery.
I also realize that I can rely on my treatment team to help myself in the process of recovery. Now I realize that there are many different routes to recovery and believes that once a person is given a chance, he or she should go for it: "We didn't ask for the disease, but it's our responsibility to…. once it's presented to you…. grab a hold of some ring and try for your own recovery."
My recovery has given me freedom to be honest and not wear masks. Now I realize that active addiction is like a "terrible monkey on your back, this terrible weight you carry around." Today, after more than one year of sobriety, when I think about alcohol or looks at a glass of wine, I am reminded of what they did to me. "I can look at a glass of wine and say, 'There goes my whole life in that one glass. There goes the best part of me.'" Recovery enabled me to learn to love my life and like myself. I don't want to sign up again for feeling so terrible.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Goal Setting

The difference between a goal and a dream is the written word.
Gene Donohue
Goal setting is simply having a clear plan and a future vision of where you want to be somewhere in the future, in order to set goals or have a plan you first need to know where do you want to be in the future, you need to have some kind of a dream, something that you really desire to achieve, this can be anything starting from being successful in your academics, getting a good job, having a successful relation, buying a big house or car to being the president of U.S.A. You will have to follow a few simple steps to set your goals.

Step 1: develop a burning desire

Just sit and think of what do you really desire to achieve, what is the thing that will change your life if you get it, what you really need, what will make you live a happy and proud life rather than living defeated. Visualization can help you much in knowing what you really desire to achieve. Just sit in any place where you won’t get disturbed and dream “what you desire to be”! After visualizing your dream the goals that you are going to set are going to have the purpose of serving the big dream or the plan, for example suppose that you decided to be an ambassador, most likely your goal list will contain items like studying political science, learning more than two languages and having superior communication skills. Each goal on its own doesn't make you become an ambassador but together they serve the plan and will help you to get closer to your dream.
Step 2: Goal setting rules and guidelines

2.1- Goals need to be challenging but achievable:
It is important to set goals that you can achieve. All sorts of people (employers, parents, media, and society) can set unrealistic goals for you. They will often do this in ignorance of your own desires and ambitions. Alternatively you may set goals that are too high, because you may not appreciate either the obstacles in the way or understand quite how much skill you need to develop to achieve a particular level of performance. So, be realistic, keep your goals challenging yet achievable. If your goals are challenging, you will get motivated. Make your goals achievable to prevent yourself from depression.

2.2- Goals need to be time limited:
In order to set a goal you have to have a time limit set for it, after all you aren't going to live hundreds of years, life is short, not setting time for your goals may result in lacking motivation or being indifferent.

2.3- Goals need to be measurable:
You can't set a goal like "I want to be good at computers, what do you mean exactly by being good? Instead you have definite phrases like reading 50 computer related articles and learning two programming languages over a period of 3 months.

2.4- You need to be flexible in setting the goal:
You need to be focused on what you want and not on how you are going to do it. There are hundreds of ways to do it. Flexibility is reaching your final goal using whatever method you could find and not getting bounded to a certain method that don't work. It was found that people who set long term goals usually achieve what they have planned for as compared to people who set short term goals and usually end up with disappointment, frustration or depressed. Planning on the long run can increase your chance of reaching your goals and can compensate for the lack of some resources like time or money.
Usually when goal setting is mentioned, another topic is mentioned along with it which is time management. Learning time management will make you more capable of using your time efficiently; this will lead to faster results in reaching your goals.

2.5- Crisis management:
Finally you need to have scenarios for what to do in case that you were unable to achieve your goal, having a scenario for an unexpected event that may occur will prevent sudden emotional decisions when the event happens as you will be already prepared, it will also prevent depression in case that the goals are not met and that there is no other choice rather then getting depressed.
2.6- Goal setting and having a vision:
A vision is a mental image or a mental video that you have in your mind for where you want to be in the future, it’s like imagining your goals and dreams after they have came true. A vision is also your expectation for the future of your business, yourself or a technology change. Having a vision is an essential item for reaching your goals.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Serenity Prayer


God grant me the serenity

to accept the things I cannot change;

courage to change the things I can;

and wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;

Enjoying one moment at a time;

Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;

Taking, as He did, this sinful world
as it is, not as I would have it;

Trusting that He will make all things right
if I surrender to His Will;

That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him
Forever in the next.
Amen.

--Reinhold Niebuhr

Sunday, August 9, 2009

New Life



Let’s be connected with ourselves

Let’s bring all our fears to an end

Let’s stop hating the mistakes

Losing trust because of the one "fake"

Let’s find the time for deep mental rest

Deep, deep and for deep relaxing breath

Let’s accept ourselves in the way we are

Placing the self in the place of stars

Let our eyes free to dreams
Sparkling in all the shiny blue beams

Let’s take a new positive start today

starting a new life and new everyday

by
Sumaira Shahzad
Psychologist
Aghaz-e-Nau

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Overcome Procrastination

One of the most important steps to develop positive attitude is to overcome procrastination. What is procrastination? Procrastination is when we "put off, delay or postpone important tasks, which we have to complete within a time frame. For example a student might procrastinate when he has to prepare for his exams, submit an assignment or a presentation. Another example could be of a business executive who has been given a deadline to achieve certain goals. Instead of doing that important task at time one will say “I will do it tomorrow” and tomorrow never comes. We might complete it at the eleventh hour if there is no other way out. Doing any important task at the eleventh hour might cause problems like tension, stress, apprehension, anxiety, fear and poor performance. So it is recommended to overcome procrastination. Why do we procrastinate?

Causes of Procrastination
Early childhood training
Poor time management
Lack of interest
Lack of motivation
Inability to organize one’s thoughts
Fear of failure
Perfectionism
At times procrastination works as a reinforcement

How to overcome procrastination?
Remember we all procrastinate at some point in life. Some people procrastinate rarely and some tend to develop a habit to procrastinate. We develop habits in our early childhood. The way we learn habits we can de learn too. So, instead of cursing yourself or feeling bad about yourself you make a commitment to overcome procrastination.

Give yourself targets to complete the assigned task within the time frame. Write down on a piece of paper what you have to do and when you have to do it. Then put that piece of paper in your room/office. It will help you develop motivation.

A very simple way to overcome procrastination is to develop a habit of “just do it and do it now.
So, you make a commitment, set a target, write down your target, paste it in your room and now organize your thoughts. Avoid diversions while doing so and do it with interest. Just imagine you have completed your assigned task and feel your feelings. You will definitely feel good and it will help you develop interest in your work. Moreover, you will feel focused and your motivation will grow further and further.

To organize your thoughts, you can write down important points on a piece of paper and start working. Remember! “just do it and do it now”.

If you are a perfectionist, you will have a fear of making mistake. Learn to kill your perfectionism and “just do it and accept it”. Remember to admire your work even if you see yourself making mistakes. This is the only and the best way to get rid of perfectionism. Once you kill your perfectionism, you will get rid of your fears.

Hope you will be able to achieve your deadlines by following these simple suggestions. Once you achieve your deadline give yourself a treat. It will reinforce your habit of “just do it and do it now”.
Follow these steps and you will be able to overcome procrastination, which will help you develop a positive attitude towards life. Positive attitude will lead you towards success.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Develop Positive Attitude

We need to shift our focus to develop positive thinking. When we start putting focus on positive things, we develop a positive attitude. We can avoid a number of problems and life seems to be colourful. We feel full of energy and we can do a lot in less time. Success becomes our destiny.
You can use a few simple techniques to shift your focus from the negative to the positive.

• Build a desire to become positive

• Look for the positives in self and others

• Whenever you become a victim of a negative thought put your focus on your blessings, strengths and achievements

• Learn to relax and in relaxed state of mind imagine yourself having a positive attitude

• Get in touch with your positive feelings

• Share your positive feelings with others

Characteristics of People with Positive Thinking

People with positive thinking will acknowledge their strengths
They will appreciate themselves and others
They will be relaxed, at peace and happy
They will enjoy the company of others
They will make others feel happy
They will keep realistic expectations from self and others
Their focus will remain on the blessings, which they have
They will have an attitude of gratitude
Their focus will be on success
They will be successful in their lives

Put your Focus on Positive Things

To develop a positive attitude for a positive living we need to shift our focus from the negative to the positive. Some people become habitual of thinking in a negative way about themselves and others. To the extent when they see something positive, they will not appreciate rather they will keep putting their focus on the negatives. We need to remember this will cause more problems for us. As we all know that there is a mind and body relationship. What we think will affect our body. Negative thinking can cause a number of problems for us including tension, stress, anxiety, depression and physical health problems or psychosomatic problems.

Friday, June 19, 2009

Importance of Positive Attitude

We are not born with a positive attitude, we develop it with time. To develop a positive attitude, you need to follow a step by step plan and remain consistent to follow it. Given below are easy to follow steps:
1-Always put your focus on positive things
2-Overcome procrastination
3-Stay away from negative influence
4-Acknowledge your strengths
5-Develop an attitude of gratitude
6-Be a winner, feel like a winner, behave like a winner

Friday, June 12, 2009

Anger Management

1- Relaxation
Simple relaxation tools, such as deep breathing and relaxing imagery, can help calm down angry feelings.

Some simple steps you can try:
Breathe deeply, from your diaphragm; breathing from your chest won't relax you. Picture your breath coming up from your "gut." Slowly repeat a calm word or phrase such as "relax," "take it easy." Repeat it to yourself while breathing deeply. Use imagery; visualize a relaxing experience, from either your memory or your imagination. Nonstrenuous, slow yoga-like exercises can relax your muscles and make you feel much calmer. Practice these techniques daily. Learn to use them automatically when you're in a tense situation.

2- Cognitive Restructuring
Simply put, this means changing the way you think. Angry people tend to curse, swear, or speak in highly colourful terms that reflect their inner thoughts. When you're angry, your thinking can get much exaggerated and overly dramatic. Try replacing these thoughts with more rational ones. For instance, instead of telling yourself, "oh, it's awful, it's terrible, everything's ruined," tell yourself, "it's frustrating, and it's understandable that I'm upset about it, but it's not the end of the world and getting angry is not going to fix it anyhow."

Remind yourself that getting angry is not going to fix anything that it won't make you feel better (and may actually make you feel worse). Logic defeats anger, because anger, even when it's justified, can quickly become irrational. So use cold hard logic on yourself. Remind yourself that the world is "not out to get you," you're just experiencing some of the rough spots of daily life. Do this each time you feel anger getting the best of you, and it'll help you get a more balanced perspective.

Angry people tend to demand things: fairness, appreciation, agreement, willingness to do things their way. Everyone wants these things, and we are all hurt and disappointed when we don't get them, but angry people demand them, and when their demands aren't met, their disappointment becomes anger. As part of their cognitive restructuring, angry people need to become aware of their demanding nature and translate their expectations into desires. In other words, saying, "I would like" something is healthier than saying, "I demand" or "I must have" something. When you're unable to get what you want, you will experience the normal reactions—frustration, disappointment, hurt—but not anger. Some angry people use this anger as a way to avoid feeling hurt, but that doesn't mean the hurt goes away.

3- Problem Solving
Make a plan, and check your progress along the way. Resolve to give it your best, but also not to punish yourself if an answer doesn't come right away. If you can approach it with your best intentions and efforts and make a serious attempt to face it head-on, you will be less likely to lose patience and fall into all-or-nothing thinking, even if the problem does not get solved right away.

4- Better Communication
Angry people tend to jump to—and act on—conclusions and some of those conclusions can be very inaccurate. The first thing to do if you're in a heated discussion is slow down and think through your responses. Don't say the first thing that comes into your head, but slow down and think carefully about what you want to say. At the same time, listen carefully to what the other person is saying and take your time before answering.

Listen, too, to what is underlying the anger. For instance, you like a certain amount of freedom and personal space, and your "significant other" wants more connection and closeness. If he or she starts complaining about your activities, don't retaliate by painting your partner as a jailer, a warden, or an albatross around your neck.

It's natural to get defensive when you're criticized, but don't fight back. Instead, listen to what's underlying the words: the message that this person might feel neglected and unloved. It may take a lot of patient questioning on your part, and it may require some breathing space, but don't let your anger—or a partner's—let a discussion spin out of control. Keeping your cool can keep the situation from becoming a disastrous one.

5- Using Humour
"Silly humour" can help defuse rage in a number of ways. For one thing, it can help you get a more balanced perspective. When you get angry and call someone a name or refer to them in some imaginative phrase, stop and picture what that word would literally look like. If you're at work and you think of a co-worker as a "dirt bag" or a "single-cell life form," for example, picture a large bag full of dirt sitting at your colleague's desk, talking on the phone, going to meetings. Do this whenever a name comes into your head about another person. If you can, draw a picture of what the actual thing might look like. This will take a lot of the edge off your fury; and humour can always be relied on to help overcome a tense situation.

There are two cautions in using humour. First, don't try to just "laugh off" your problems; rather, use humour to help yourself face them more constructively. Second, don't give in to harsh, sarcastic humour; that's just another form of unhealthy anger expression.

What these techniques have in common is a refusal to take yourself too seriously. Anger is a serious emotion, but it's often accompanied by ideas that, if examined, can make you laugh.

6- Changing Your Environment
Sometimes it's our immediate surroundings that give us cause for irritation and fury. Problems and responsibilities can weigh on you and make you feel angry at the "trap" you seem to have fallen into and all the people and things that form that trap. Give yourself a break. Make sure you have some "personal time" scheduled for times of the day that you know are particularly stressful.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Causes of Anger

Anger is a natural and mostly automatic response to pain of one form or another (physical or emotional). Anger can occur when people don't feel well, feel rejected, feel threatened, or experience some loss. The type of pain does not matter; the important thing is that the pain experienced is unpleasant. Because anger never occurs in isolation but rather is necessarily preceded by pain feelings, it is often characterized as a 'second-hand' emotion.

Pain alone is not enough to cause anger. Anger occurs when pain is combined with some anger-triggering thought. Thoughts that can trigger anger include personal assessments, assumptions, evaluations, or interpretations of situations that makes people think that someone else is attempting (consciously or not) to hurt them. In this sense, anger is a social emotion; you always have a target that your anger is directed against (even if that target is yourself). Feelings of pain, combined with anger-triggering thoughts motivate you to take action, face threats and defend yourself by striking out against the target you think is causing you pain.

A Substitute Emotion: Anger can also be a substitute emotion. By this we mean that sometimes people make themselves angry so that they don't have to feel pain. People change their feelings of pain into anger because it feels better to be angry than it does to be in pain. This changing of pain into anger may be done consciously or unconsciously.

Being angry rather than simply in pain has a number of advantages. People in pain generally think about their pain. However, angry people think about harming those who have caused pain. Part of the transmutation of pain into anger involves an attention shift – from self-focus to other-focus. Anger thus temporarily protects people from having to recognize and deal with their painful real feelings; you get to worry about getting back at the people you're angry with instead. Making yourself angry can help you to hide the reality that you find a situation frightening or that you feel vulnerable.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Anger

Anger is a basic human emotion that is experienced by all people, which is usually triggered by an emotional hurt. It is usually experienced as an unpleasant feeling that occurs when we think we have been injured, mistreated, opposed in our long-held views, or when we face problems achieving our personal goals.

The experience of anger varies widely; how often anger occurs, how intensely it is felt, and how long it lasts are different for each person. People also vary in how easily they get angry (their anger threshold), as well as how comfortable they are with feeling angry. Some people are always getting angry while others seldom feel angry. Some people are very aware of their anger, while others fail to recognize anger when it occurs. Regardless of how often we actually experience anger, it is a common and unavoidable emotion.

Anger can be constructive or destructive. When well managed, anger or annoyance has very few detrimental health or interpersonal consequences. At its roots, anger is a signal to you that something in your environment isn’t right. It captures your attention and motivates you to take action to correct that wrong thing. How you end up handling the anger signal has very important consequences for your overall health and welfare, however. When you express anger, your actions trigger others to become defensive and angry too.

Out of control anger alienates friends, co-workers and family members. It also has a clear relationship with health problems and early mortality. Hostile, aggressive anger not only increases your risk for an early death, but also your risk for social isolation, which itself is a major risk factor for serious illness and death.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Stress Management

Being able to identify what is causing stress is an important step in preventing it. Identifying the triggers will enable you to take steps to avoid them and will help you to recognise when you are becoming stressed out again. There are several ways that stress can be prevented. You may find some of the methods that are outlined below useful.

Deep breathing
If you feel yourself getting stressed out, try to halt those feelings in their tracks by relaxing your muscles and taking deep breaths. Start by inhaling for three seconds, then exhale for a little longer. This will help to remove the older oxygen from your lungs and replace it with fresh oxygen that will improve your circulation and alertness.
Continue these deep breathing exercises until you feel calmer and ready to continue what you were doing. It might be better to do something else rather than continue with the stressful task.

Healthy eating
It is important to eat a healthy, balanced diet when you are stressed because food and drink can have a big impact on the way that you feel and act. Some people find that stress causes them to snack on sugary, unhealthy foods such as crisps and biscuits. This gives your body a sugar rush followed by a sharp drop in your sugar and energy levels. However, this can make you feel tired or irritable, as well as making it harder for you to concentrate.
Eating at regular times and not skipping meals can make a big difference. This will allow your body to release a steady stream of energy throughout the day which will help improve your concentration and mood. You should also try to reduce the amount of caffeine that you drink because they can have similar effects on your body as stress and anxiety. Drinking too much caffeine - found in tea, coffee and cola drinks - can leave you feeling anxious, irritable and restless.

Exercise
The benefits of exercise are numerous. Not only does it release a chemical called serotonin, which makes you feel happier and less stressed out, it also improves circulation and also allows you to take out your frustration and anger in a constructive way. You should aim to do a minimum 30 minutes of exercise five times a week. Any exercise that increases your heart rate and leaves you slightly out of breath afterwards is beneficial. Examples of these type of activities include running, swimming and cycling.

Sleep
It is common for your sleep pattern to be disturbed when you are feeling stressed. If you are worried about something it can often be on your mind even when you try to forget about it. This may cause sleepless nights or bad dreams. You may find it difficult getting to sleep or you may wake up a few times during the night. This can also make you tired and groggy the next day, which can make you feel even more stressed out. Try using some relaxation methods that could help you get a good rest.

Quit smoking
Contrary to popular belief, smoking does not help to combat stress. In fact, it can make stress worse and it causes damage to your body. Giving up smoking is not easy and, in the short term, may lead to you feeling more stressed out, or annoyed. However, you should remember that the irritability and craving is a sign that your body is trying to repair itself.

Relaxation
When you are stressed out, your muscles often tense, which can cause muscular aches to develop later on. When you feel yourself getting stressed out, shrug your shoulders a few times and shake out your arms and legs. This will help to loosen your muscles. Some people find that it helps them to relax if they imagine a peaceful place, such as a desert island or a tranquil lake. Imagine yourself being there and the scenery around you. Diverting your mind to a calming environment will help to distract you from the stress and relax your body.

You can also help relieve tension by getting some 'me time'. Spend some time doing whatever you enjoy - for example, having a warm bath, reading your favourite book or doing some gardening.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Causes of Stress

The causes of stress are known as stressors and there are literally hundreds of different types of stressors. Any event in life that a person finds threatening, difficult to cope with or causes excess pressure can be a potential cause of stress. It is important to bear in mind that stress is an individualistic, subjective experience and therefore what one person finds stressful another may not. Stressors can be broken down roughly into either external or internal (or a mixture of both.)

External Stressors
External Stressors are those situations, which are not in your control. It s known that the longer a stressor continues, then the more likely it is to cause stress and that the individuals perception of an event is the key to whether they will find a situation stressful or not. For example, if a person is happy living in their house, they’ve lived there for a number of years, have developed close friends in the area and do not want to move but are forced to move because their home is being repossessed, then they are going to find the event of moving infinitely far more stressful than a person who has lived in their home for a short time, next to a very noisy, difficult neighbour and who wants to move to get away from the noise.
The majority of causes of stress that we face on a day-to-day basis are not as extreme as life events. The day-to-day causes of stress are called daily hassles; they are those daily, minor irritations such as misplacing our car keys, traffic jams, minor arguments with family/colleagues, etc. Research by Lazarus and Folkman (1984), at the University of California, indicated that it was the daily hassles rather than the major life events that affected us the most. Life events do not occur every day, but daily hassles do; it’s the constant, daily frustration caused by these hassles that cause us the most stress, because they occur so regularly and therefore can undermine our health.

Internal Stressors
We tend to think that stress is solely caused by external events, situations and people, yet this is not strictly correct. Research has found that the Transactional Model of Stress is more accurate. This model says that stress is caused by a transaction, i.e. there is an interaction between the stressor, our view of the stressor and our perceived ability to cope with it. It’s our own internal beliefs, attitudes, interpretations, perceptions and other factors, in combination with the external events that tend to create stress. Internal factors which influence how we perceive stress include our:

Beliefs, Perception, Expectations, Perfectionsim, Low self esteem, People pleasing personality, Low assertion and Locus of control.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Stress

One of the reasons of using drugs is stress as reported by a number of worldwide surveys. Stress is the way that you feel when pressure is placed on you. A little bit of pressure can be productive, gives you motivation, and help you to perform better at something. However, too much pressure or prolonged pressure can lead to stress, which is unhealthy for the mind and body. Everyone reacts differently to stress, and some people may have a higher threshold than others. Too much stress often leads to physical, mental and emotional problems. In this part of the manual you will learn healthy ways to cope with stress.

First of all you need to learn about stress. When faced with a situation that makes you stressed out, your body releases chemicals, including cortisol, adrenaline and noradrenaline. These invoke the 'fight or flight' response that helps us to deal with the situation. However, when you're in a situation that prevents you from fighting or escaping, such as being on an overcrowded train, these chemicals are not used.

If the chemicals that are released during stressful situations accumulate from not being used, their effects are felt by the body. A build-up of adrenaline and noradrenaline increases blood pressure, heart rate, and the amount that you sweat. Cortisol prevents your immune system from functioning properly, as well as releasing fat and sugar into your blood stream.

Stress affects different people in different ways and everyone has a different method of dealing with it. The chemicals that are released by your body as a result of stress can build up over time and cause various mental and physical symptoms. These are listed below:
anger, depression, anxiety, changes in behaviour, food cravings, lack of appetite,
frequent crying, disturbed sleep, feeling tired, and difficulty to concentrate, cramps or muscle spasms, dizziness, chest pain, constipation or diarrhoea, fainting spells, nail biting, nervous twitches, pins and needles, feeling restless, a tendency to sweat, breathlessness, muscular and aches.

Experiencing even one or two of these symptoms can make you feel frustrated or anxious. This can be a vicious circle - for example, you want to avoid stress but symptoms such as frequent crying or nervous twitching can make you feel annoyed with yourself and even more stressed out.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

The Lost Soul

The Lost Soul is a true story of one of my clients, written by me and being published with her consent. I believe her case history will be an eye opener for many of us.

I am 30 years old and my story is really sad and tragic. This is what I feel but others might not feel this way because everyone has a different perspective of life. I think life is pleasurable and one should enjoy life. If I look back starting from early childhood till today I can't recall a single day of pleasure or joy in my life. I wanted to enjoy life: my childhood, my education, my career, my marriage and my children but I couldn't. I was a little kid when I lost myself and till today I am in search of myself. I don’t think I can find myself now because I have been diagnosed with drug abuse psychosis: a condition, which is known to be as "bipolar". I think others can learn a lot from my experience and it might help them from getting lost.

I was the only child of my parents. My father was not doing anything except for smoking hash the whole day. My mother was a house wife and we were living in a joint family system, a middle class family. I always saw everyone fighting at home and the target used to be my father. My family used to blame him for being an addict and not doing anything. As a result my father used to react at my mother and I always saw my parents having fights almost every day.

Moreover, my other family members always blamed my mother for my father's addiction. I always saw my mother crying or feeling depressed. I remember my mother left house for a number of times and took shelter at her parents' place. But after a few days my father used to bring her back. The whole situation at home made me feel frightened. I was a neglected child; there was nobody to take care of me. This is not the end of the story rather the beginning. I was a frightened child…..this was the time when I lost my childhood. No pleasure, no excitement and no joy, which is a child's basic right to my understanding.

I remember going to school at age 3 or 4 feeling frightened, disturbed and confused. I was a shy and totally withdrawn girl having no confidence and no friends. Despite being an intelligent girl I couldn't complete my studies. I went up to matriculation. Why did I remain unable to complete my studies? Things at home used to bother me. At times I used to feel sympathetic for my father as he was living a miserable life. No one at home was pushed for his treatment but blaming him and hash was his escape. The other times I used to feel for my mother as she always remained depressed and there was nobody to help her out. I needed to help myself to overcome those miserable feelings, which I developed in my early childhood. I wanted to enjoy and build my confidence. I wanted my childhood back. I was aware of one thing that my father used hash whenever he felt low or upset because of my other family members at home. So, I decided to use hash. My first experience with hash was at age 13 and I used to take my father's stuff. I don't think hash helped me in any way but created more problems. My performance at school went down and I lost myself as a student. No education, no career and no goals in life. Everything just shattered.

No one at home could make out that I was using hash till I was 15 years old. When they got to know I was abused so badly that I decided to leave my home and I ran away. Not knowing where to go and what to do. I had an idea from where one can get hash and reached there. I took my stuff used it and was sitting there feeling confused about my future. There I met somebody who took me to his house and I started living with him. He wanted to help me out. He wanted me to quit hash but I was unable to do so. He used to go for his work in the morning and immediately after that I used to leave home to get my stuff. Now I was not only using hash but garda and alcohol also. Finally, he took me to a hospital and I remained under treatment for 10 days. After that we got married. My family didn't try to search me or may be they couldn't find me out if they ever tried.

I was married now! I was a house wife but I still had a strong urge to use drugs. I went back to my previous routine….going out, getting my stuff and using it. My husband was quite upset at it and we also started having problems and fights. History was being repeated….what I saw at my parents' house was going on in my home. My husband kept trying to help me get rid of drugs. He sent me to different hospitals for a number of times but I used to go back to drugs again. I used drugs for 15 years and I always blamed my parents to push me in this situation where I started using drugs. I was not using drugs to get fun out of it but to overcome bad feelings, which used to bother me a lot. No drug gave me pleasure but more and more pain.

While using drugs, I became a mother also but no pleasure, no excitement and no joy. My focus was not my son but my drugs. Because of my childhood experiences and obviously because of my drug use I was unable to feel anything but pain….only and only emotional pain….shame, guilt, anger, resentments and self pity. I was ashamed because of my drug use. I was guilty because I couldn't do well in my life. I was angry and resentful because my parents couldn't handle me properly. I used to pity myself for not getting what I wanted to get in life.

My son became my husband's responsibility. He was working, taking care of me and looking after our son also. Deep inside I knew he was doing a lot. I always felt guilty for not being a responsible wife and mother. At the same time I felt myself helpless. I was helpless because things were not in my control. I wanted to quit, I used to make an effort but each effort was a failure. I was totally broken. I lost myself as a wife.

Despite all that my husband remained helpful. He wanted me to live a drug free life. Finally, I got admitted at a clinic and I remained there for three months. My in-laws never accepted me as their daughter in-law. This was for the first time they came to see me when I was hospitalized. May be for the first time in my life I felt happy. But my sense of happiness disappeared in a moment when I was told that they wanted their grand son to be with them. They blamed me for not being a good mother. They took my son back with them and I lost myself as a mother too.

I managed to overcome drug problem. No more hash, garda and alcohol but there I was diagnosed with drug induced psychosis. I was told that I was having delusions and hallucinations. I get indulged in self talk or I am talking to somebody who is not present. I am not aware of it. I think I am perfectly alright. I can assume my responsibilities. Still I am on psychiatric medicine. I don't know for how long….the only thing I know is that I am a lost soul.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Learn to Cope with Anxiety

Bright Stars

In my previous post I mentioned that young students start using drugs because of anxiety. At the same time we see females using psychotropic drugs too. Aghaz-e-Nau carried out a pilot project to establish treatment and rehabilitation services for females and it was indicated that 41% females were using drugs because of stress, tension and anxiety.

Today I will give a few suggestions to cope with anxiety. Before I start let me tell you that anxiety has genetic reasons at the same time environmental factors play a great role to learn to experience anxiety in certain situations. Mostly, we learn to be fearful or anxious in early childhood.

Parents, Teachers and Other Significant people pay an important role by: Keeping high expectations from their children as a result children learn to become perfectionists . physical, verbal or sexual abuse is also one of the causes of anxiety, any other traumatic experience, children learn to feel shy and don't discuss with others.

In early childhood they manage to cope with it, some get out of it with time. But others feel that the problem has become severe to the extent they feel themselves to be helpless and many of them remain unable to continue with their studies or work.

Techniques to overcome anxiety

1- Learn that anxiety is a normal and natural bodily response

2- Accept that fight and flight response is Nature’s way to help you

3- Learn to break the vicious cycle, the moment you feel a “trigger”

4- Learn to relax through deep breathing, relaxation exercises and imagination

5- Overcome past unpleasant memories and learn to reprogram your mind

6- You can reprogram your mind by using imagination

7- Kill your perfectionism and stop becoming self conscious

8- Expose yourself to difficult situations and Just do it

9- Practice yoga and hypnosis

10- Remember having some anxiety is healthy and it will remain with you for some time and will disappear soon

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Anxiety and Drug Abuse


Bright Stars

Some students start using drugs when they experience anxiety. They need to understand that anxiety is a normal and natural physiological response to a threatening situation. The situation could be actual or perceived. In either case it triggers the Fight or Flight response. The Fight or Flight Response is your body's automatic, inborn response that protects your survival. It prepares the body to "fight" or "flee" from any real or perceived threat to your survival. When the fight or flight response occurs, it stimulates an area of your brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus prepares your body for fighting or running. It does this by flooding your brain with chemicals such as adrenaline, noradrenaline and cortisol. This process creates physical reactions.

If you lead a very stressful life, your sympathetic nervous system may be sending you “false alarms” much of the time. For example, your fight or flight response may be activated when your teacher gives you an assignment with a tight deadline and you have stage phobia. You are frightened of your presentation. In such situation the body interprets it as a “threat” and flight or fight response is activated. When the fight or flight response occurs you might experience a few of the following symptoms: rapid heartbeat, dizziness, muscle tension, numbness, sweating, shortness of breath, nausea or abdominal distress, trembling or shaking. Anxiety usually follows a vicious cycle that consists of five stages: Trigger, Fight or Flight, Internalizing, Assuming the Worst, and Intensification of Symptoms. The first stage of the vicious cycle involves a trigger. A trigger could be a lack of sleep because you were preparing for your assignment and you were conscious of your performance. As a result of the trigger, your body moves into the second stage. It activates the fight or flight reaction. This produces physical reactions such as faster breathing, sweating, and so on. At the third stage, you internalize your physical reactions. You make the reaction “mean something” about you. “What’s wrong with me? Why are my muscles so tense? I shouldn’t be feeling this tense.” That’s internalizing. It moves to the fourth stage. It assumes the worst. You may think, “I must be having a heart attack! What am I going to do?”
You go on to fifth stage there is an intensification of symptoms. You will find it harder to breathe, plus you start to experience additional symptoms.

Monday, May 11, 2009

When and how does drug abuse start and progress?

Bright Stars


Studies such as the National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration indicate that some children are already abusing drugs at age 12 or 13, which likely means that some begin even earlier. Early abuse often includes such substances as tobacco, alcohol, inhalants, marijuana, and prescription drugs such as sleeping pills and anti-anxiety medicines. If drug abuse persists into later adolescence, abusers typically become more heavily involved with marijuana and then advance to other drugs, while continuing their abuse of tobacco and alcohol. Studies have also shown that abuse of drugs in late childhood and early adolescence is associated with greater drug involvement. It is important to note that most youth, however, do not progress to abusing other drugs.
Scientists have proposed various explanations of why some individuals become involved with drugs and then escalate to abuse. One explanation points to a biological cause, such as having a family history of drug or alcohol abuse. Another explanation is that abusing drugs can lead to affiliation with drug-abusing peers, which, in turn, exposes the individual to other drugs.Researchers have found that youth who rapidly increase their substance abuse have high levels of risk factors with low levels of protective factors.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Bright Stars Hope: A Poem by Sumaira Shahzad

Bright Stars


We all are the stars
Shining despite of the scars
Its is the brightness we are searching for
It’s the darkness we want to cure
It’s the destiny we want to ours


We all are the stars
What if we become sometimes a little dull?
Painful, restless with a fearful skull
But
We all have shine within us
That never lets us to burn
It’s the shine of truth & spirituality
It’s the shine of positivity & orignality

The only need is to take off our false masks
Is to be honest with our own hearts
Then we could be the Bright Stars
Shining brightly despite of the scars
We all are the stars
We all are the stars

Sumaira Shahzad
Psychologist
Aghaz-e-Nau

HIGH Risk Periods for Drug Abuse Among Youth

Bright Stars
Research has shown that the key risk periods for drug abuse are during major transitions in children’s lives. The first big transition for children is when they leave the security of the family and enter school. Later, when they advance from elementary school to middle school, they often experience new academic and social situations, such as learning to get along with a wider group of peers. It is at this stage—early adolescence—that children are likely to encounter drugs for the first time.
When they enter high school, adolescents face additional social, emotional, and educational challenges. At the same time, they may be exposed to greater availability of drugs, drug abusers, and social activities involving drugs. These challenges can increase the risk that they will abuse alcohol, tobacco, and other substances.When young adults leave home for college or work and are on their own for the first time, their risk for drug and alcohol abuse is very high. Consequently, young adult interventions are needed as well.Because risks appear at every life transition, prevention planners need to choose programs that strengthen protective factors at each stage of development.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Poem by Arjumand Ayub

Bright Stars

Bright star
I want relief…..
Some sanity,
I am drowned in ignorance.
I am in pain
I need help!


O Star! O Star! O Star!
Can you do something for me?
Kill my pain…
Take my woes,
Can you give me strength to face the world?

Here I am the bright star,
Yes I can help you fight the war.
O I am here to light your life,
There’s just a little to strive.
It’s your trust I have to take,
And turn it into your belief to find the way.

Arjumand Ayub
Trainee

http://mahmooda-aftab.blogspot.com/

Closing Ceremony

video

Peer Counseling Training

Bright Stars

Second session of Peer Counseling Training for drug abuse prevention and personal development has started from 4th May, 2009. A total number of 30 students got registered and this session will be over by the end of June, 2009. Another group is being formed at Law Coolege, Punjab University and planned to be started from 25th May, 2009.

http://mahmooda-aftab.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Second Session of Peer Counseling Training

Bright Stars

Second session of Peer Counseling Training for drug abuse prevention and personal development has started from 4th May, 2009. A total number of 30 students got registered and this session will be over by the end of June, 2009. Another group is being formed at Law Coolege, Punjab University and planned to be started from 25th May, 2009.

http://mahmooda-aftab.blogspot.com/

Sunday, May 3, 2009

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Tips to Improve Self Esteem



Bright Stars

1. Define life success
One of the most empowering things you can do for yourself is to define your criteria for life success. This requires reflecting on what the key elements are and the experiences you wish to have.
2. Choose to be happy
Happiness is a state of mind. The Dalai Lama says that the very purpose of life is to seek happiness. He believes that if you train the mind to be happy, you will be. Likewise, you can train yourself for higher self-esteem.
3. Set challenging goals
How much you like yourself is often reflected in the level of goals you will set for yourself. Generally, people who like themselves and feel valuable, set higher and more challenging life goals.
4. Honour your core values
When you live by a clear set of values, it is easier to align your life with what is most important to you. When you honor your core values, (those things you would fight for), you honor your true self.
5. Enhance your energy
People with high self-esteem seem to have a reservoire of energy, and seldom get sick or let life s set backs keep them down. Their energy and enthusiasm for life encourages them to take care of their body, mind, and spirit.
6. Maintain a positive attitude
Attitude determines your altitude. The more positive your thinking, the more positive your feelings, the more positive the outcome. There is nothing more powerful and creative than your thoughts, so you may as well make them positive and uplifting.
7. Be passionate
Passion takes hold of you and feels like fire in the belly. It is a source of power that enables you to get fired about life and make a difference. The more passion and zest you feel, the more alive and brightly lit you are.
8. Live by vision and work with purpose
When you know your life vision and purpose, life has more meaning and direction. Vision and purpose provide a sense that you matter, that you have a part to play, and that you truly belong here.
9. Reward success
Set yourself up for success by breaking big goals into daily action steps and take time to acknowledge and celebrate the small successes. This will feed your need for recognition and provides the extra push to keep you moving forward.
10. Make smart life decisions
When you care about yourself, you make smarter decisions. You take care to choose the right mate, occupation, and lifestyle that support you.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Improve your Self Esteem to Stay Away fom Drugs

Bright Stars


One of the reasons of using drugs is low self esteem. Mostly young people start using drugs because of approval seeking behavior. If we help them improve their self esteem, we can help them from using drugs. First of all one needs to know what is self esteem and then we need to know how to improve our self esteem. In this post i will define self esteem and in my next post I will give a few tips to improve self esteem.
Self Esteem
The way you feel about yourself impacts how and why you do everything in life. If you feel good about yourself, then what you do will be an outside reflection of your innermost thoughts and feelings. Positive self-esteem comes from within and does not change because the circumstances change. High self-esteem is relatively stable even when the forecast looks foreboding.
Your self-esteem is like a star at night that shines brightest when it is the darkest. It is your inner light that burns brightly and freely no matter what is happening around you. Self-esteem is perfectly intact when we are born, in fact, it is inherent to us; however, it often diminishes over the course of our childhood. We lose a little of it whenever we fail, make mistakes, misbehave, feel guilty, refuse to forgive, neglect ourselves, and/or do things we are ashamed of. As an adult, we sometimes feel as if our self is in pieces--- that we are somehow not whole and complete.
This is not true. We are whole and complete even with our missing pieces and broken parts. We just need to decide to gather up ourselves up and become whole again. I am willing to bet that when you look back over your life, the first thing that comes to mind is the regret, the sad times in your past. Do you see the pieces of yourself lying along the path of your life? The ones where you didn’t feel good enough, or where you were criticized or blamed by someone else? But have you ever stopped to look at the memories of when you won the prize, felt really great, on top of the world----those moments that prove what a wonderfully amazing human being you are?

Early Signs Of Risk That May Predict Later Drug Abuse

Some signs of risk can be seen as early as infancy or early childhood, such as aggressive behavior, lack of self-control, or difficult temperament. As the child gets older, interactions with family, at school, and within the community can affect that child’s risk for later drug abuse.
Children’s earliest interactions occur in the family; sometimes family situations heighten a child’s risk for later drug abuse, for example, when there is:

  • a lack of attachment and nurturing by parents or caregivers;
    ineffective parenting; and
  • a caregiver who abuses drugs

But families can provide protection from later drug abuse when there is:

  • a strong bond between children and parents;
  • parental involvement in the child’s life; and
  • clear limits and consistent enforcement of discipline

Interactions outside the family can involve risks for both children and adolescents, such as: poor classroom behavior or social skills; academic failure; and association with drug-abusing peers.
Association with drug-abusing peers is often the most immediate risk for exposing adolescents to drug abuse and delinquent behavior.
Other factors—such as drug availability, trafficking patterns and beliefs that drug abuse is generally tolerated—are risks that can influence young people to start abusing drugs.

Help Your Child Stay Away From Drugs

Given below are a few tips for parents to help their children prevent from using drugs.

1-Discuss the Issue
Children get to know a lot though their peers and mostly they tend to develop misconceptions about drug and alcohol abuse. So make sure to take out some time and discuss these issues with your children and help them understand the harmful effects of drug or alcohol abuse.
2-Listen to your Child
Pay attention to your child and carefully listen to him when he or she comes up with questions or concerns related to drugs. Encourage your child to share his o her feelings with you and be supportive.
3- Help your Child Develop Self Confidence
Let your child know about his or her strengths and potentials. Prais your child's efforts and achievements. It will help your child develop confidence and self esteem. If you have to correct your child's behavior, don't criticize him rather let your child know that he needs to change his behavior. Remember to be a good role model.
4- Help your Child Develop Strong Values
Set rules, standards and values and be a good example. You follow these values first and your child will learn to practice it too. Remember it will help your child feel good about himself.
5- Help your Child Cope with Peer Pressue
Help your child understand the importance of being an individual. Make him ealize that he is a unique individual. As a result your child will learn to accept himself. Sel acceptance help children resist peer pressure.
6-Help your Child to Get Involved in Healthy and Creative Activities
Look for activities that you and your child can do together. It will give you a chance to understand your child. Moreover, your child will feel good about it.
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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Psychological Problems

Do you need help for Psychological Problems? Put your issue or comment in the comment box and i will get back to you as soon as possible. Or you want to provide help to others do so by publishing a post on this blog.
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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Free Counseling Services

Bright Stars


Free Counseling Services for:

Anxiety, Fears and Phobias, Depression, Self Esteem, Confidence Building, Communication Skills, Concentration and Memory, Goal Achievement, Developing Healthy Habits,
Stress, Psychosomatic problems, Relationship issues, Drug Addiction, Sexual Problems and
HIV/AIDS Counseling

Cannabis compounds: Signs and symptoms

Cannabis compounds are found in marijuana and hashish. Signs and symptoms of use and dependence on these drugs include:
A heightened sense of visual, auditory and taste perception; Poor memory; Increased blood pressure and heart rate; Red eyes; Decreased coordination; Difficulty concentrating; Increased appetite; Slowed reaction time; Paranoid thinking; Sexual problems and infertility and Drug induced psychosis.

Opioids: Signs and symptoms

Opioids are narcotic, painkilling drugs produced naturally from opium or made synthetically. This class of drugs includes heroin, morphine, codeine, methadone and oxycodone (OxyContin).
Signs and symptoms of use and dependence on these drugs include:
Reduced sense of pain, Sedation, Depression, Confusion, Constipation, Slowed breathing, Needle marks (if injecting drugs), Risk of developing HIV/AIDS and Hepatitis.

Inhalants: Signs and symptoms

The signs and symptoms of inhalant use vary depending on what substance is inhaled. Some commonly inhaled substances include glue, paint thinners, correction fluid, felt tip marker fluid, gasoline, cleaning fluids and household aerosol products. When inhaled, these products can cause brief intoxication and a decreased feeling of inhibition. Long-term use may cause seizures and damage to the brain, liver and kidneys. Inhalant use can also cause death.

Designer drugs: Signs and symptoms

Synthetic compounds, such as Ecstasy, which has both amphetamine-like and hallucinogenic effects, are included in this category.

Signs and symptoms of using designer drugs vary depending on the drug. You might be able to tell that a family member or a friend is using or abusing a drug based on the physical and behavioral signs and symptoms associated with the drug.
For example, Ecstasy produces a mild hallucinogenic effect and a feeling of euphoria. It also causes an increased heart rate, overheating, high blood pressure, kidney and liver toxicity, and memory problems.

Central nervous system stimulants: Signs and symptoms

This class of drugs includes amphetamines, methamphetamine, cocaine and methylphenidate (Ritalin). Signs and symptoms of use and dependence on these drugs include:
Euphoria, Decreased appetite, Rapid speech, Irritability, Restlessness, Depression as the drug wears off , Nasal congestion and damage to the mucous membrane of the nose in users who snort drugs, Insomnia, Weight loss, Increased heart rate, blood pressure and temperature and paranoia.

Central nervous system depressants: Signs and symptoms

Barbiturates and benzodiazepines are examples of central nervous system depressants. Phenobarbital, amobarbital (Amytal) and secobarbital (Seconal) are examples of barbiturates. Benzodiazepines include tranquilizers such as diazepam (Valium), alprazolam (Xanax), oxazepam (Serax), lorazepam (Ativan), clonazepam (Klonopin) and chlordiazepoxide (Librium).
Signs and symptoms of use and dependence on these drugs include:
Drowsiness, Slurred speech, Lack of coordination, Memory impairment, Confusion, Slowed breathing and decreased blood pressure, Dizziness, Depression, Prolonged use can cause inhibited sexual response.

Drug Addiction

Drug addiction is a brain disease because the abuse of drugs leads to changes in the structure and function of the brain. Although it is true that for most people the initial decision to take drugs is voluntary, over time the changes in the brain caused by repeated drug abuse can affect a person's self control and ability to make sound decisions, and at the same time send intense impulses to take drugs.
It is because of these changes in the brain that it is so challenging for a person who is addicted to stop abusing drugs. Fortunately, there are treatments that help people to counteract addiction's powerful disruptive effects and regain control. Research shows that combining addiction treatment medications, if available, with behavioural therapy is the best way to ensure success for most patients. Treatment approaches that are tailored to each patient's drug abuse patterns and any co-occurring medical, psychiatric, and social problems can lead to sustained recovery and a life without drug abuse.
Similar to other chronic, relapsing diseases, such as diabetes, asthma, or heart disease, drug addiction can be managed successfully. And, as with other chronic diseases, it is not uncommon for a person to relapse and begin abusing drugs again. Relapse, however, does not signal failure—rather, it indicates that treatment should be reinstated, adjusted, or that alternate treatment is needed to help the individual regain control and recover.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Slideshow: Closing Ceremony

First session of “Peer Counseling Training” was completed successfully in March, 2009. A total number of 32 students from 4 different institutes completed training. Closing ceremony of Peer Counseling Training was held in the first week of April, 2009. All the students presented a number of activities on drug abuse prevention including poems, speech, songs and a short play. Towards the end the honourable chief guest Brig. Babur Idris expressed his views and distributed certificates amongst the trainees. Attached is a slideshow of the closing ceremony.



video

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Closing Ceremony

All the students are requested to collect pictures and DVD of the Closing Ceremony.

Second Session of Peer Counseling Training

All the students who have completed Peer Counseling Training carried out by Aghaz-e-Nau and Anti Narcotics Force are requested to form another group of students in their departments. We plan to start second session of 90 students from 25th of April.

Inaugral Ceremony

Inaugral Ceremony of Peer Counseling Training was held by Aghaz-e-Nau in December, 2008. Trainee Students prepared a number of activities on drug abuse prevention. Chief Guest Force Commander Brig. Babur Idris, Anti Narcotics Force, Punjab delivered a very enthusiastic speech, which was really appreciated by all the participants.

video

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Introduction: Peer Counseling Training





Bright Stars


Bright Stars: Peer Counseling Training Program for Drug Abuse Prevention was planned in April, 2008 and a structured training program was developed for students with special focus on to develop social and academic skills, to enhance peer relationships, to develop self confidence and to help students develop coping and drug-refusal skills. An Orientation Lecture was oranized by Aghaz-e-Nau for the Heads of Educational Institutes. Force Commander Brig. Babur Idris, Anti Narcotics Force, Punjab presented a well detaileled description on drug abuse situation in the region of Punjab, commonly used drugs and the need of Primary Prevention. All the teachers and department heads were requsted to nominate students to pariticipate in Peer Counseling Training Program. As a result we managed to form a group of 40 students from 4 differnt institutes.First training session was started in November, 2008.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Features of Peer Counseling


Bright Stars


Bright Stars is a unique program having unique features to help young students to stay away from drugs. It helps them learn how to form positive habits; to overcome past traumatic experiences; learning to be positive; developing empowering beliefs; building Positive Attitude for a Drug Free Life; learning to become a winner and not a loser; goal setting; motivation building; developing healthy self esteem; building confidence to conquer the war of drugs; emotional management; interpersonal skills; developing healthy relationships; communication skills; social skills training; overcoming shyness to avoid Peer Pressure; improving concentration and memory and learning healthy ways to enhance concentration, memory and ability to recall; stress management; improving study skills; learning to cope with difficult situations and developing values and clear vision as it is a
pathway for a drug free life.

Why Peer Counseling Training?

Bright Stars


There is no single reason to start using drugs. In most cases drugs are used by teenagers who have problems that they can't deal with. Many people use drugs for some unexplained reasons but the most common reasons are: to overcome shyness; to overcome stress; to seek pleasure; to overcome anger or other unpleasant feelings; to improve confidence, self image or self worth; to cope with problems at home; to cope with problems in relationships; the most common reason that makes people to use drugs is peer pressure; some use drugs because of being adventurous and curious; problems in school, college or university like low attention span, concentration and memory problems; poor grades and some end up using drugs because one of the family members is drug addicted.
Many factors can add to a person’s risk for drug abuse. Risk factors can increase a person’s chances for drug abuse, while protective factors can reduce the risk as reported by nida research. Risk and protective factors can affect children at different stages of their lives. At each stage, risks occur that can be changed through prevention and intervention. Early childhood risks, such as aggressive behaviour, can be changed or prevented with family, school, and community interventions that focus on helping children develop appropriate, positive behaviours. If not addressed, negative behaviours can lead to more risks, such as academic failure and social difficulties, which put children at further risk for later drug abuse.
Peer Counseling Training for young students is a wonderful idea to help them stay away from drugs. It gives them a healthy environment to interact with others and develop confidence; self worth and communication skills. Good communication skills help them resist peer pressure, which is the most common cause of drug abuse.

Peer Counseling Training



Bright Stars


Today’s youth is increasingly diverse in many ways resultantly having diverse problems. All children and adolescents face problems time to time. They may feel stressed out, anxious or depressed; they may feel lack of confidence, low self esteem; they may lack effective study skills and fall behind in their studies and they may experiment with drugs and alcohol. Peer Counseling Training will help students overcome their problems and at the same time they will learn to help their peers. AeN has developed a program, which is educational, interactive and skill based to equip students fight against drrug abuse. At the same time they learn to help others.
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