I Welcome Recovery and Wellness Writer, Patrick Bailey. Guest Article About ‘How to Spot a Gambling Addiction’…

I Welcome Recovery and Wellness Writer, Patrick Bailey. Guest Article About ‘How to Spot a Gambling Addiction’…

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Spotting Gambling Addiction and Determining Its Causes. By Patrick Bailey 

Gambling can be considered as a very dangerous kind of vice. To the person engaged in gambling, money is very easy to risk. He is living in an illusion that whatever he gambles now, he can easily get back. In the long run, this mindset can lead to a person’s financial downfall. The truth of the matter is, odds will never be in the gambler’s favor even if its blackjack or poker he’s playing. Gambling is thriving continuously because it’s the house that’s always taking the wins. 

What are the different kinds of gambling? 

Gambling is composed of many different kinds of activities, so this means that there are also many different kinds of addiction-related
 to gambling. The only challenge with gambling is that it’s not evident when a person gets addicted to it. And as opposed to traditional belief, gambling doesn’t end with casinos, cards, or slot machines. It also doesn’t end with gambling or alcohol rehab centersJoining a raffle, betting with friends, or buying lottery tickets are all considered different kinds of gambling.  


Addiction
 happens when the individual already believes that they’re in deep financial mess and that this problem can only be solved by risking that they possess in hopes of getting a bigger sum of money in exchange. Regrettably, this only sends the person into a vicious cycle of wanting to win back what they lost. This dangerous and damaging cycle continues to occur until the person is forced to enter rehab to break the habit.

Another kind of addiction to gambling happens when the individual joins the game and offers to make risky bets just to get that emotional high resulting from placing big and risky bets. These kinds of bets only pay off occasionally. In both circumstances, the individual bearing this kind of addiction should have that innate desire to stop risking and gambling for himself and not merely to appease friends or family members. 


So what
’s causing gambling addiction and when does it become a problem?

There are many contributory factors when it comes to addiction to gambling. One factor here is the desperate need for money. Another factor would be the need to feel high and thrill. Also, it could be because the individual wants the social status attached to the names of successful gamblers or he simply clamors for the entertaining and fun atmosphere of most gambling places.

The sad thing is that the moment the person gets addicted to gambling, the cycle can’t be broken easily. What’s even sadder is the fact that the severe kind of addiction can set at the moment the person feels financially desperate and commits to taking back the entirety of what he had lost in gambling.

And while he can gather 
massive amount of wealth from winning, more often than not, it won’t equal to the amount of money he already lost along the way.  More often than not, gamblers don’t even come close to break even.

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Dispelling Common Myths About Depression

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How do we know if a loved one is getting addicted to gambling?

The red flags and signs that an individual is having gambling problems are pretty similar to the signs of other kinds of addiction that require admittance to treatment facilities. These signs may be one of the following: 

  • The urge to keep his gambling habit  a secret 
  • Experiencing difficulties in managing his gambling habits 
  • Continuously gambling even if he can’t afford it 
  • One’s family and friends express their concern over his gambling habits 


And just like any kind of addiction, the trademark of gambling addiction is the feeling that you can’t stop even if you want to. If an individual feels like he 
needs to gamble one more time, if he is anxious over the thought of stopping, or if he is hiding this from his loved ones, there is a very high chance that that person is struggling with gambling addiction. 

Excessive Gambling and its Emotional Symptoms

Too much gambling usually leads to a plethora of emotional red signs and symptoms. Among these signs are suicidal tendencies, depression, and anxiety. In severe cases, these depressive and suicidal thoughts can actually make the gambler end his life. Losing all you have to gambling can be a very devastating situation and it can easily lead the person to feel totally hopeless. 

Excessive Gambling and its Physical Symptoms  

Since gambling can lead to self-harm, anxiety, and depression, physical manifestations should be seriously looked into. Anxiety and depression usually lead to being sleep deprives, resulting in dark eye circles, acne, weight loss, weight gain, or pale skin. 

Gambling Addiction and its Long-Term and Short-Term Effects  

Gambling can lead to numerous long-term and short-term effects. Addiction to gambling also leads to other kinds of addiction as coping mechanisms especially for people who get easily anxious and stressed out by the act of gambling. As a result, these gamblers can also turn to alcohol, drugs, and other activities to lessen the anxiety accompanying their lifestyle. In these cases, they might need to be admitted to rehab centers.

Apart from the financial, physical, emotional, and psychological damages brought by gambling addiction, it can also cause damage to relationships.
 

If you or a loved one is struggling with gambling addiction or any kind of addiction, don’t hesitate to seek professional help. Who knows, one phone call or a rehab visit can save your life, property, and financial future.

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About Patrick Bailey 
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Patrick Bailey

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Patrick Bailey is a professional writer mainly in the fields of mental health, addiction, and living in recovery. He attempts to stay on top of the latest news in the addiction and the mental health world and enjoy writing about these topics to break the stigma associated with them. He attended the University of Michigan – Stephen M. Ross School of Business and hold a Bachelor’s Degree and resides in the state of Michigan. He writes for several publications and on his Official Website – Patrick Bailey.

Connect With Patrick on Social Media!
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Do You Feel Validated While Maintaining Recovery? Special Guest Post By Marilyn Fowler . . . Do You Feel Validated?

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Here some questions we need to ask ourselves and ponder while maintaining our RECOVERY. Because Validation is an important aspect of recovering from addictions.


Do You Feel Validated?
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Do You Allow Others Opinions Determine How You Feel?
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Is Being “In Self” at Times Can Be a Good Thing? YES!

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Validation–that sense of self as unique, worthy, and valued, with a connection with others and the universe. Validation, with no judgment, is vital for inner peace and happiness, and without it, you may feel you don’t matter. You may even feel invisible. In other words, validation requires unconditional recognition, acceptance, and appreciation for the whole person you are.

You may remember when someone lifted your spirits, and you felt good about yourself. And you may remember when some put you down, and you felt like a nothing inside. So others have the power to validate positive and negative, and you go through the ups and downs of how others make you feel.

Most of us get some positive validation from others, but there are those who live their whole life with a self-image of nothingness. When I worked in the jail, I counseled the homeless mentally ill. Sometimes I told them I saw their bright mind and good heart, and they could do something with their life. Their reaction was always the same. They’d pause, overwhelmed with tears, and say, “Nobody ever said that to me…nobody.” Then they’d wipe their tears on their shirt sleeve and smile. Validation gave them some meaning in their empty life.

We need to let each other know we’re important and appreciated, but in order to gain dominion over our own feelings, we need to learn self-validation from within. What would it be like if you validated yourself, and didn’t need it from anyone else? You would have dominion over your feelings, and it would prevent opinions by others from invalidating you. And you’d be free.

“The only permission, the only validation, and the only opinion that matters in our quest for greatness is our own.”  ~Steve Marboli

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Self-validation – is a life-long process, and our experiences teach us what we need to know about ourselves. We become less critical; we gain more understanding and tolerance of our total self, and we free ourselves to be who we truly are. We don’t create a new person. We simply allow our true authentic ‘Self’ to emerge.

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So how do you learn self-validation with the strength to maintain it?

1.  Assume the role of an observer, and think about how you really feel about you. Sad, wounded, pretty good, could be better, disappointed, etc. No judgment. Just observe and let it be.


2.  You don’t have to like every feeling you have, but you do need to own all of your feelings. They’re yours. They belong to you. And you can do whatever you want with them. Throw them in the trash, hang them on the wall, get a refund. Notice when you’re feeling judgmental, and decide you’re done with that feeling. Take judgment and criticism out of your life forever.

3.  Identify and list what you consider positive and negative about you. Decide what you want to keep and what you want to release.

An Example:  I interrupt people when they’re talking. I can release that one.
I let dishes pile up in the sink. It’s okay to do that. (Smile) etc.

4.  Start being kind to you, and know you deserve it. Give yourself what you missed as a child; begin giving yourself what you seek from others; when you feel unhappy or stressed, ask what you need, and when possible provide it for yourself; watch for success and praise yourself.

5.  Accept mistakes and shortcomings as part of your learning process, and every day, look in the mirror and say, “This is me, warts and all. And I’m absolutely amazing.”

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As you move along, practice relating less to your human self and more to your Higher Self, that part that transcends human pain and knows the truth of who you are. Take back your dominion over how you feel, and let that higher Self-shine with love and peace in your heart. You are beautiful.

May you always be true to your special Self.  ✔💕✨✨💕

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Now a 4th of July Message From My Friends of The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling …

Now a 4th of July Message From My Friends of The Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling …

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KEEPING US SAFE and BET FREE Over The 4th of July Holiday …

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Don’t Ruin Your 4th with Illegal Bets on the 400…

 by Florida Council on Compulsive Gambling under Mental HealthProblem Gambling AwarenessSports Betting

 

What do a barbecue, the beach, and fireworks have in common?

They’re all part of the way Floridians and the USA celebrate Independence Day! Not to mention, all three of these come with their own set of safety warnings.

Daytona Beach also has a tradition for the holiday weekend that started in the summer of 1959. Originally dubbed the Firecracker 250, the Coke® Zero Sugar 400 is the second major stock car cup series race of the year in the “World’s Most Famous Beach,” following the famed DAYTONA 500® that kicks off the season. The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing (NASCAR®) fittingly has its headquarters in Daytona Beach as well, and the Daytona International Speedway is a landmark that cannot be missed.

This year’s Coke® Zero Sugar 400 takes place on Saturday, July 6, 2019.
Will you be watching?

Image result for coke sugar 400

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Although sports betting has not been legalized in Florida, betting on stock car racing is in the fast lane elsewhere. Dover International Speedway in Delaware introduced a betting kiosk in October 2018 and became the first racetrack to allow visitors to gamble on site. Delaware passed legislation to allow sports betting less than one month after the Supreme Court’s landmark decision that declared the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act (PASPA) unconstitutional in May of last year.

In partnership with Sportradar Integrity Services, NASCAR® developed its policy for gambling on races in order to prevent associated cheating, which is put in place for the 2019 season. The policy includes a ban on betting for drivers and team members. This past May, NASCAR® announced that it is teaming up with Genius Sports to create a live betting platform for sportsbooks.[3] NASCAR® also operates its own fantasy game website.[4]


“The wheels are turning on sports betting, and so too must the wheels on problem gambling treatment and prevention.”

While gambling is a safe recreational activity for most, those who suffer from “gambling disorder” experience a wide range of devastating effects that go far beyond an empty wallet. Gambling addiction is associated with divorce, domestic abuse, child neglect, crime, and suicidal ideation and attempts, to name a few.

Take note that it is not always easy to tell when someone in recovery for problem gambling may be in the room. Problem gambling is also known as the hidden and silent addiction since those who are suffering do not show physical symptoms common in cases of substance abuse. Even starting a friendly betting pool for next Saturday’s race presents a host of triggers and poses a significant risk of relapse to these individuals.

If you or someone you know may be struggling with problem gambling,

call Florida’s 24-7, Confidential, and Multilingual Problem Gambling HelpLine at 888-ADMIT-IT (236-4848). The HelpLine offers a wide range of resources to help individuals understand disordered gambling and be able to recognize the warning signs, while providing referrals to support groups and licensed treatment providers for those in need.

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No Math Required …Slots, Wheels, and Dice Are Checked By Gaming Commissions. But Slots? Those Are Set and Programed. “House Always Wins.”

No Math Required …Slots, Wheels, and Dice Are Checked By Gaming Commissions. But Slots? Those Are Set and Programed. “House Always Wins.”

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I always love sharing articles that help educate and inform the public about gambling. Especially about Slots and when they are in-depth and sharing knowledge of just how slot machines and other games are checked, monitored, and set and articles like this one give an inside look at how they work. “Their Secrets Perhaps?”

They do give some of the secrets of how the machines “workings” so those who may have a problem with gambling can KNOW THE TRUTH of how those slots are first, an electronic machine, how they can be set and programmed and changed at any given day, so why would you TRUST a piece of metal that can also trip up and NOT PAY OUT or HIT A JACKPOT AND NOT PSY due to a glitch? Sound trusting to you?

Then why sit for hours and jam a bunch of money in one?

Maybe before you go to a casino or dabble on a State Lottery video poker machine, read this article first by “The Boston Globe” Courtesy of and written by By Joshua Miller Globe StaffJune 9, 2019.

Being aware and educated is important for any consumer and gambler.

Like I always say, I don’t think gambling needs to be banned, as that would not be fair to those who can gamble for ALL THE RIGHT Reasons. Just Gamble Responsibly …And let others out here know many of us cannot and more expansion of Casinos opening is more tempting and could be a source for a Possible Relapse. ENOUGH ALREADY …

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Kris Kaczowski worked among slot machines in a gaming lab at the state’s gambling commission offices in Boston. (DAVID L. RYAN/GLOBE STAFF)
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Wynn Resorts won a fierce battle for a Boston-area casino license, survived a near-catastrophic scandal involving its founder, and weathered immense public scrutiny over whether it would sell its $2.6 billion Everett casino resort.

Now Encore Boston Harbor is poised to clear a final, smaller hurdle to opening its doors on June 23. Call it the Kris Kaczowski test.

Kaczowski and other agents from the Massachusetts Gaming Commission are in the final stages of physically and digitally inspecting the casino’s 143 table games and its 3,158 slot machines to make sure they comply with regulations and have not been tampered with.

On the table games, they make sure the roulette wheels are balanced and the dice are “razor-edge” so they catch the felt of the craps tables.

On the slots, they verify that the currency readers properly scan inserted cash, check that each machine is sending information back to the state’s gaming operations center so officials can constantly monitor the action and the state’s 25 percent take, and inspect the protective housing around the computer chip that sets the odds.

“This is the brains of the machine,” Kaczowski, a former casino surveillance supervisor, said recently. He jiggled the lock on a pale gray metal box filled with computer parts inside the guts of a Money Rain Deluxe slot machine that was blinking blue and white at the state’s gaming lab in downtown Boston, filled with test models identical to the ones on the Everett casino floor.

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Kris Kaczowski looked over a machine at the state gambling commission’s lab in Boston. In addition to checking the mechanical operations of machines, inspectors conduct digital audits.

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Above, Kris Kaczowski looked over a machine at the state gambling commission’s lab in Boston. In addition to checking the mechanical operations of machines, inspectors conduct digital audits.


Inside the windowless room filled with hypnotizing slots (“576 ways to win!”), Kaczowski whipped through the process agents have completed again and again in Everett in recent weeks — and at the MGM casino in Springfield, before it opened last year.

“Beyond the physical check, inspectors conduct a digital audit.”

Kaczowski tapped a screen on one slot machine and brought up an array of settings and numbers, from the theme to the game’s “return to player” — the key metric of how much of the money played will be returned to gamblers over the life of the game. State regulations require that it is at least 80 percent, but casinos will usually set it much higher than that, somewhere around 90 percent, to keep gamblers coming back for more.

Bruce E. Band, who oversees the state’s 33 gaming agents, explained that the life cycle of a machine could be perhaps 2 million pulls. So a patron who sits at a machine all night and comes away empty-handed isn’t being bilked — just getting a run of bad luck.

“That’s what most people don’t understand,” Band, a longtime gaming enforcement official formerly of New Jersey, explained with a laugh. “You say 80 percent. ‘Oh, I played $300 and I didn’t get anything back!’ Well, that [machine] might take a year to go through that.”

Agents make sure slots are programmed to follow federal and state guidelines, such as locking up a machine when someone wins $1,200 or more on a single pull, to ensure the winner fills out paperwork reporting the winnings before collecting the cash. The machines are also programmed to flag a gaming agent when — ding! ding! ding! — a patron hits the big one, a jackpot of $75,000 or more.

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In those $75,000-or-more joyful moments, Kaczowski or a colleague will make sure the machine hasn’t been tampered with and check state records to ensure the winner doesn’t owe any back taxes or child support before making off with the winnings. After more than 12 weeks of checking slots and table games, state officials said the Encore should get the all-clear on the gaming machines Monday.

Wynn Resorts chief executive Matt Maddox said he is “pleased with the strong working relationship we have with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission and staff.”

“As the terrific new team at Encore works to obtain the final sets of approvals necessary for us to open the first five-star gaming resort in New England, our company’s positive partnership with the MGC makes it clear to me we will achieve our opening date of June 23,” he said in a statement.

There will always be at least one Gaming Commission agent at the Encore, which will be open 24 hours a day. That will allow the commission to keep an eye out for people trying to clean up dirty money.

“This will give us notifications if we feel somebody is money laundering,” Band said. “So if, let’s say you’re at the machine and you just put bills in, maybe pull the handle once and cash out, it sends a text to my gaming agents on the floor.”

Agents will then watch to determine if the person is simply a quirky gambler or someone trying to make, say, drug-dealing profits look like gambling winnings. Mr. Band said if it seems to be the latter, agents will hand off the investigation to the State Police.

And then there’s the Gaming Commission’s own surveillance system inside Encore, which Band didn’t describe in depth except to say it’s high-definition.

How high-definition, exactly?  He smiled.

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(My opinion is? He smiled because he knows how much $$$$$$$ they will be PROFITING)  Advocate, Catherine Lyon …

May Was Mental Awareness Month. One Last Guest Post and Share By Tony Roberts. No Needs To Suffer Alone.

May Was Mental Awareness Month. One Last Guest Post and Share By Tony Roberts. No Needs To Suffer Alone.

MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS NEEDS TO BE ALL YEAR

Mental Illness on The Streets
By Tony Roberts
Of
“Delight In Disorder Blog”

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Jesus replied, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”  (Matthew 8:20)

 

Jesus understood what it is like to be without a home.  Yes, he was a Rabbi supported by the financial contributions of his followers, but he was also a wandering soul at the mercy of the hospitality or rejection of strangers. Masses moved from jubilant shouts of “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!!” to vehement cries, “Crucify him!” From a divine perspective, the homelessness of Christ was part of his mission. But this certainly didn’t lessen his human suffering.

Jesus teaches us that if we want to follow him, we too will take up crosses such as he did. This has meant many things for Christians throughout the ages —  from verbal harassment to capital punishment, and everything in between. The Apostle Paul and his companions certainly knew sacrificial hardship. He writes:

 

To this very hour we go hungry and thirsty, we are in rags, we are brutally treated, we are homeless.  (1 Corinthians 4.11)

 

Homelessness? Jesus gets it. Paul gets it. But does this offer any hope to any of the 150 million people in the world who are homeless today?

The first step to shining the light of Gospel hope is to better grasp the darkness. What causes a person to become homeless?  Marjorie Baldwin suggests it can be many things:

 

What is the underlying problem? There are numerous factors that may lead to homelessness (e.g. domestic violencesubstance abuse, unemployment), but one of the most important is untreated mental illness. Estimates suggest that, nationwide, one-third of homeless persons have a serious mental illness (SMI). In some places, the proportion of mentally ill among the homeless is even greater: 70% in Roanoke, Virginia (2007) and 67% in Colorado Springs (2009). [Torrey 2014; TAC 2015] Most homeless people with serious mental illness are not receiving treatment; many do not even know they are ill. (“Homeless, Mentally Ill, and Neglected”).

 

The vast number of homeless persons in the U.S. who have a mental illness is a travesty, an indictment on a nation who fooled itself into believing that the best way to treat brain-sick patients was to dope them up with psychotropics, kick them out of advanced hospitals and expect community-based homes to magically appear which would offer expert care medical, psychological, physical, emotional, social, spiritual, and relational such that healing might happen.

It hasn’t.

That is the darkness. So where is the ray of hope? I’d like to shine three points of light.

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1.  Food 4 Souls is shining a light in the midst of homeless camps in Indianapolis, Indiana. Their vision is:

 

We exist to go out and serve our homeless community with unconditional love and acceptance by providing Hope in ChristMeeting Daily Needs andAligning Resources to those who are ready to move into a life beyond homelessness.

 

Community Relations Director Dawn Adams shared a story on an episode of the podcast Revealing Voices about “L.A.” she met sequestered at a far-end of one of the homeless camps. She called out for him, but he wouldn’t budge. She told him she would leave a meal and be back the following week.

The next week, she returned. Same thing. Call out. No response. Leave meal. Promise to be back.

This went on for some time. L.A. finally came out to meet her. He was still reserved but opened up more each week. Dawn came week after week. Month after month. Year after year. She said in time L.A. revealed estrangement, emotional wounds, spiritual scars. Dawn stressed that she is not a mental health expert, but she saw that L.A. got the help he needed. Dawn offered L.A. something beyond what his essential care providers could. She became his friend.

We asked if Dawn still sees L.A.. She smiled and answered yes. But not on the streets. He has an apartment of his own now. They meet for coffee at Starbucks.

 

Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.  (Matthew 25:40)

 

2. Mental Illness Policy.org offers “unbiased information for policymakers and media.” In an age of relative truth and fake news, this is a very bold claim. Founder D.J. Jaffe provides here a vast clearinghouse of resources on mental illness past, present, and future. An advocate since 1980, it seems he has yet to lose any passion for drawing attention to the needs of those who are too often overlooked.

Jaffe’s articles and recommendations have been published in numerous magazines and newspapers including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, National Review, Forbes. He has appeared on national news broadcasts explaining issues surrounding mental illness and violence. Federal, state and local policymakers have solicited and relied on his scholarship. He is widely credited as the primary mover behind Kendra’s Law, New York state legislation that allows judges to mandate treatment for people with serious mental illness and a history of violence.

Jaffe is the author of Insane Consequences: How The Mental Health Industry Fails The Mentally Ill (Prometheus Books, 2017).

The thing I admire most about Jaffe and the reason I support Mental Illness.org is that he refuses to accept conventional myths that those of us with mental illness always know and can accomplish what is best for us. Hard experiential evidence and emerging scientific discoveries demonstrate that we are often our own worst enemies. Our minds betray us. We need rational laws and reasonable resources that protect us and others from our illness.

 

3.  Kennedy-Krieger Institute has a mission:

 

“To transform the lives of children with disorders of the brain through groundbreaking research, innovative treatments, and life-changing education.”

 

And their vision is:

 

“Discoveries of how the brain develops and functions are occurring at an accelerating pace. The Kennedy Krieger Institute leads the way in translating these scientific advances into new therapies and educational interventions, while providing an inspirational environment for training tomorrow’s leaders in the field. These successes benefit millions of children and families around the world.”

 

The reason I’m highlighting Kennedy-Krieger is simple. His name is Jacob.

Jacob was born with Down syndrome. Like many persons with this unique genetic profile, Jacob brought joy into the world and shared delight with everyone he met. He was the life of the party.

I say was because when he hit puberty, he collapsed. Literally. He went into a comatose-like state where all he would do is lie on the ground. He only got up to eat and void. His parents, Don and Joyce, were advised to take him to Kennedy-Krieger at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, Maryland. There they met Dr. George Capone who, by his own admission, guessed what was going on.

Dr. Capone had heard of a study from the University of Missouri of 12 similar cases. They had gained approval for and administered experimental treatment. Out of the 12; five got better, five stayed the same, and three regressed.

Don asked Dr. Capone if he recommended the treatment and if so, could he provide it. Dr. Capone said he could not.  Don told me there was something calculated in his facial expression when he said, “I can not.” What did he mean? Don wondered.  I don’t recommend it? It’s not my specialty? Maybe even, Kennedy-Krieger has yet to approve it?

At any rate, it didn’t happen. Jacob would endure another 5 years of a state of catatonia where he seemed to be living in another world.

But that’s not the end of the story. Research on the treatment expanded, much conducted by Kennedy-Krieger and similar institutions. Many successes were reported, some dramatic. The treatment went from becoming experimental to being recommended. Even by Dr. Capone. Don and Joyce decided to give it a shot.

Jacob is now 18. His teachers say he is making amazing progress. His principal, who has known Jacob since kindergarten, says glimpses of his exuberant joy are back. Jacob is ready to launch into the world and share his delight with others.

 

Homelessness is not so much about a lack of housing as it is a lack of mental health care. We combat homeless when we become friends fight for better laws and support research for a cure.

Childhood Abuse and Trauma Happens. It Happened To Me and It Is My Roots To Addiction … Special Guest Article.

Childhood Abuse and Trauma Happens. It Happened To Me and It Is My Roots To Addiction … Special Guest Article.

Baking Cookies; Confronting Abuse ~ by Amanda Ladwig…
{first published on October 2, 2018} ~ Delight In Disorder
Courtesy of  “Tony Roberts Blog”

 

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One of the many amazing things about truly working through childhood sexual abuse is the act of taking every single thought, and terrible memory captive and watching Christ redeem them. Facing them. Feeling them. Without making excuses. Without placing or taking the blame. The abuse and abuser no longer linger in the darkest parts of your mind controlling or tainting the memories you have.

They are front and center. Begging to be defeated. Every day, and sometimes minute-by-minute, there are battles fought to reclaim simple things, innocent objects, smells, and sounds. Things that may seem trivial to others represent a great victory. That being said, today I fought a battle and won. Today, I reclaimed what should have been a pleasant childhood memory. Today, I ate an Italian wedding cookie and enjoyed it. That won’t mean much to you, but to me, it is a significant victory.

As a little girl, trips to my aunt’s house happened only a couple of times per year. She always prepared special things to eat for our visits. However, we didn’t get to eat until I had spent some time with her brother. It was only then, after being a good girl and “spending time with my boyfriend,” as he referred to himself, that I would have access to my favorite cookies.  It didn’t take long before those cookies became like poison. For the mere smell of almond or amaretto to make me physically ill.

However, after 30 years of hiding all of the sordid details of my childhood. I believe the Holy Spirit, moving, convinced me it was time. Time to bury old demons and the only way I could do that was to reclaim the territory my enemy had taken so many years ago. Cookies.

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Loved One Depression 2

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My daughter and I baked them together. The house filled with the very familiar and slightly terrifying scent. As I paused before taking a bite, I reminded myself of where I was and the person I was with. I watched my daughter dance around singing about how good it was. I took in that very moment, and I took a bite.

It was wonderful. Not only did it taste good, but I felt strong. As if I was declaring to my abuser “No!  You may not have these cookies!  You defiled my innocence, but you may not steal my ability to enjoy a cookie!” My life is full of moments like that. Every day there is a battle fought and sometimes won. They often go unnoticed by the people closest to me. However, they are mighty victories.

My children will never know that this was an important day for me. That there was a time I considered Italian wedding cookies toxic and terrifying.  They will always enjoy the smell and taste, and hopefully, it will stir wonderful memories.

There are often things we carry from our childhood that restrain our ability to enjoy simple things. It destroys our ability to accept and receive the good things God intended for us to have. Love and intimacy are one of those things. Just as the smell of a particular type of cookie triggered a reaction of fear and shame, the idea of love can seem meant for destruction. Therefore, the very idea that God “loves” us terrifies us. Love to an abuse survivor often means manipulation and pain.

The first, time I heard the verse, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” my reaction was not joy or amazement. My reaction was suspicion. I wanted to know what He wanted from me. Surely, I now owed Him something, or it was a trick.

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It took me years to begin to understand that Christ chose me; He loves me not because He needs me for anything. He did not send His son to die for me in an attempt to guilt me into trusting Him or doing things for Him. He chose me and loves me because He is God. He is all sufficient.

I cannot reclaim my childhood. I still battle with depression and flashbacks. However, I can now, through Christ, reclaim how I react to things. I can choose feeling pleasure over feeling fear, and I can choose love over hate. I can choose these things because Christ has given me the power and ability. This is part of the freedom found in Christ.

Freedom to love.

Freedom to forgive.

Freedom to rejoice.

Freedom to enjoy a cookie.

May Is Mental Health Awareness Month and I Do Have Mental Health Challenges While Maintaining Recovery From Addiction. Many Do!

May Is Mental Health Awareness Month and I Do Have Mental Health Challenges While Maintaining Recovery From Addiction. Many Do!

It seems lately, a growing number of people who come into or maintain recovery from gambling addiction, are also struggling with Mental Health. I am one who does, even after years of maintaining recovery. It seems to become the norm. Even those with other addiction types are too, but very prevalent with addicted gambling.

I choose to stay well managed and proactive with my mental health care and take it as a serious part of my overall health. But many times, I hear or read about those who don’t or stop taking their meds or even misuse them. That can be a deadly GAME and adds up to trouble.  I came across an article from “Know The Odds”  which shares about addicted gambling, recovery, and mental health. They are out of New York area.

If you or someone you care about needs help in any area of the US, visiting “The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration” also know as SAMHSA who is U.S. Department of Health & Human Services and has loads of articles and information to get help with Mental Health and Addiction. There is NO SHAME in doing so and even if you want to be more educated about it. The more we all learn, the more we can shatter the STIGMA.   ~Catherine Lyon Advocate   

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PROBLEM GAMBLING AND MENTAL HEALTH      POSTED ON 
May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

There is a strong connection between problem gambling and problems with mental health.  Understanding this connection, identifying warning signs and knowing where to get help is vital to preventing problems and getting support.

Problem Gambling in NY

Nearly 668,000 New Yorkers have experienced a gambling problem in the past year.  That is a lot of family, friends, and colleagues having trouble.  Problems from gambling can include sleep problems, relationship problems with loved ones and struggles at work.

Each person struggling with problem gambling affects 6-10 of those closest to them.  A study found that 9 out of 10 people affected by someone else’s gambling problems felt emotional distress.

This means that between the people struggling with problem gambling and the people closest to them, nearly 6.7 million New Yorkers are affected by problem gambling and may struggle with mental health issues because of it.

Problem Gambling and Mental Health

People who struggle with problem gambling are at a higher risk of struggling with other mental health disorders. out of 3 gamblers reported that their mental health suffered as a result of their gambling problems. In fact, the majority of those struggling with problem gambling have a lifetime history of mental health problems. In addition to struggling with gambling.

So they may be struggling with mental health problems such as:

  • an anxiety disorder,
  • a personality disorder,
  • a mood disorder, such as depression, and
  • suicidal thoughts and attempting suicide.

According to CEO Glenn Liebman of the Mental Health Association of New York State, “people need to understand the link between problem gambling and other mental illnesses, and the similarity between a gambling disorder and substance use disorders. This understanding is vital so that those impacted directly and indirectly by problem gambling can appreciate the necessity of treatment.

In most cases, it’s unrealistic to believe that someone suffering from these disorders can recover without help”, said Liebman. “Maintaining this belief can have devastating consequences on those who suffer and their families, including financial ruin and suicide.”

Warning Signs of Problem Gambling

Any problem caused by gambling can be a warning sign of problem gambling.  This is because problem gambling refers to problems in someone’s life that are due to gambling behaviors.  There are many warning signs of problem gambling.

Some warning signs include:

  • Feeling anxious or distressed when not gambling,
  • Struggling to sleep well due to thoughts or worries about gambling,
  • Lying to friends and family about how much time or money spent while gambling,
  • Missing special family events and holidays to go gambling, and
  • Having thoughts of suicide due to problems caused by gambling.

Since there are few outward signs specific to gambling, it’s important to learn as much about the warning signs of problem gambling as possible.

Help for Problem Gambling

There is help and hope, but people may feel hopeless if they don’t know what help is available.

Here are three connections to resources for help.

  • Learn as much as possible about problem gambling.  Check out our resources page and can be found at http://knowtheodds.org/resources/. These resources include eBooks, videos, infographics, and articles. There’s something for everyone!
  • Visit SAMHSA 
  • Find local help by reaching out to your local Problem Gambling Resource Center.  Anyone who calls will be met by a trained professional. This professional will offer a warm greeting, a listening ear, and a list of options for local support geared towards helping those affected by problem gambling.

Like Catherine of “Gambling Recovery Starts Here,” we plan to help share resources during the month of May to raise awareness about Mental Health Awareness Month.

To learn more, keep an eye out for our upcoming blogs, and posts on Facebook and Twitter !
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