What Really is a Therapy Animal? My Guest Answers The Question. I Have Emotional Therapy Cats. Mental Health Awareness.

What Really is a Therapy Animal? My Guest Answers The Question. I Have Emotional Therapy Cats. Mental Health Awareness.

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WELCOME Recovery Friends!

One of the best things I did for myself, my recovery, and mental and emotional health is having therapy kitties! Lol. I have three and I love them so much. They help give me focus and purpose in taking care of my Cats. But let’s learn the real difference between a Real Service Animal vs Therapy Animals.

My recovery guest Aurora explains what is a “Therapy Animal?” And be it in recovery, having mental or emotional challenges, and especially for those who have disabilities.

ALL ANIMALS DO bring us such JOY and can Save a Life … ~Cat

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(My Mr. Boots and his Box!)
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What Really is a Therapy Animal? 

 

In the past, up until a few years ago, the only types of services animals you regularly heard of, were actual service animals. Mainly dogs who would help their owners who had major physical disabilities.
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Over the past few years, the topic of service and therapy animals has increased at an alarming rate. An even more alarming thing is the number of people who were suddenly registering and claiming their pets to be service animals. It’s kind of a hot topic, so what really
is a therapy animal?


Service vs Therapy

A service animal has to go through intensive training before being certified as a service animal. One of the biggest distinguishable features between an actual service dog is they are actually trained for a specific purpose. The ADA website states that a service animal is a dog that is individually trained to do certain work or specific tasks for their owner who has a disability that they are unable to do for themselves.

These tasks can include things such as pulling a wheelchair, retrieving an item that has been dropped, reminding them to take their medication, pushing the elevator button, or alerting a person to a sound. Without these service animals, these individuals would not be able to live with the same level of functionality.

 

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Emotional support animals, comfort animals, and therapy animals are not service animals. This doesn’t mean they don’t serve a purpose, but they are not a service animal. In addition, animals that are not dogs are not considered to be service animals in almost all cases. If someone comes to you and claims that the iguana on their shoulder is their service animal, it is in fact, not a service animal. They may find comfort in their pet iguana, yes. A certified service animal, it is not.

Registration for a Therapy or Comfort Animal

The ADA recognizes that a therapy or comfort animal can indeed provide comfort and are often used as part of a medical treatment plan. But the ADA website very clearly states that any sort of therapy or emotional support animal is not a service animal.

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Strictly speaking concerning animals that are considered to be a therapy or comfort animal, there is a specific process that has to be followed in order for them to be considered a therapy or comfort animal. There are a lot of websites that will send you a service animal vest and a card stating that your pet is a service animal, but these services are actually illegal.

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In fact, receiving any sort of certification or registration completed online is not only illegal, but it makes it hard for actual service animals to be allowed in public places, due to the saturation of claimed emotional support animals being toted around in public as if they are trained to do anything aside from providing comfort.

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Often, someone will illegally register their pet as a therapy animal in hopes of them “legally” being able to have them in a rental unit that doesn’t allow pets.

 

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The only legal way to have a pet be considered a therapy or comfort animal is to have a psychiatrist prescribe them as such to you. Most psychiatrists won’t accept patients if this is their sole purpose for treatment, and will only prescribe dogs to previously existing patients.

These prescriptions also expire, as the purpose of an emotional support animal is to provide comfort during a healing period, and you will have to be evaluated on a yearly basis before your prescription to your therapy animal can be renewed.

“Therapy Animal” is a Loose Term

More simply put, a therapy animal doesn’t really have more rights than a regular pet does. And most importantly, if you bring your therapy animal into public and they misbehave, a business has every right to eject you without warning.

This rule is the same as real service animals. However, more and more businesses are likely to turn away a real service animal due to bad experiences with a therapy animal.

Let’s keep it simple for those with legal disabilities to have those “rights” with fewer problems or complications of their importantly needed “Legitimate Service Animals.” 

~Aurora M.
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I wanted to add …that my three cats are “Emotional Therapy animals and ae part of my overall mental and emotional managed care plan. We are currently getting ready to move into a new townhome and complex and they as a courtesy waving my pet deposit and the monthly pet fee as they got a letter from my doctor verifying that my pets are for my overall health and emotional well-being.

And our move will is also an important part of my feeling safe as it’s a gated community and will have a bigger place to live and that too will help my overall emotional and mental health as having challenges with Depression – Agoraphobia, and Anxiety … ~Cat

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Just My Gambling Recovery Ramblings About “Life Happens Unexpected.” So, Be Ready For It …

Just My Gambling Recovery Ramblings About “Life Happens Unexpected.” So, Be Ready For It …

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I have always been a believer that ‘God’ brings people and interactions with others in our lives at certain times on our journey called life while maintaining recovery from gambling addiction. It might be for a season or a lifetime. Either way, it happens for a reason.

Let me explain.

In 2013 we had to move from Southern Oregon to Arizona for my husband job and was offered a new supervisory position, but it was here in Arizona! See, we were struggling financially in Oregon as he was not getting 40 hours per workweek. He does now in Arizona. And believe or not, as an author I am still a penniless writer! LOL and by no means a rich recovering addict too! We got here and moved into the cheapest complex at the time and what we could afford.

We have been living in only in a 525 square foot apartment and have for the past six years. Now, the complex is getting ready to go under full reconstruction and chosen not to renew ANY current tenants leases as ours ends October 31st, 2019. We finally got our notice letting us know.

So now, ready or not, “NOT!,” we have to move by Nov. 1st, 2019 and are not in a full position financially to move! So far (and big thank you to my “Keys Family” and my friends Randy Grimes, and Kelly who owns ‘The Atlanta Water Gardens’ and my Best Friend Author, Kim Carter have all chipped in to help my hubby Tom and me with some financial gifts and support to help out. As it sure is expensive to come up with first and last months rent and rental fees and deposits …

So we are touring a few new places but need to raise $900 more for “Move-In – Pet Rent and Deposits “…


Many of you know my backstory of being a woman maintaining recovery and dually-diagnosed with mental health challenges, this could become a deeply stressful event for me, a possible source of “Relapse” mode.  Thankfully I have learned and gained experiences and so I have a solid “Relapse Prevention Plan” in place for life events such as this.  I have also learned through hard all my recovery work that a ‘Relapse’ would only make our situation worse!

Now since I am dually-diagnosed while maintaining my recovery,  I battle mental and emotional challenges with depression, mood disorder and the worst comes mostly from my agoraphobia disorder which makes it even tougher to be diligent and NOT complacent while in recovery.

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So, relapse is just not an option for me. Not to say I have not had any stress and fear over having to move. Well, I have.  Like fear of the UNKNOWN or will it be a safe environment for me.  But, again, RELAPSE is not an option as I know how quickly I would spiral and be right back where I was almost thirteen years ago, on the edge of a third suicide attempt.

Yes, I am being real and raw about where I have been in the thick of my gambling. I CHOOSE to not let the fear, stress, and trauma of having to move, the financial stressors, and the “unknown” get the best of me.

But back to my first point of “God Brings Others to Us”?

We looked at a beautiful complex and toured the townhome and complex. The girl who is helping us, Brenda, she told me she needs to buy my book for her mother. She proceeded to tell me her mom has lost everything due to her gambling problem. Now I cannot tell you all how many times I have had people tell me this. Many who find me from reading my column in “Keys To Recovery Newspaper” and then email me or reach out on my recovery blog and tell me. So and so has a bad gambling problem.

Of course, I told this wonderful girl that her mom is not alone and I can help give you some resources and?  She let me mail her mom my BOOK “Addicted To Dimes” right from Amazon to her mom’s address! I told her it may make her see she is not alone and many can get addicted or have a problem with gambling.

I also gave this amazing girl the numbers and website addresses to “The Arizona Office of Problem Gambling” and ‘The National Council on Problem Gambling’ Hotlines and a list of Gamblers Anonymous meeting places here in our area of Phoenix, AZ.  Again, I hope in sending my book to her mother, her mom can learn that she isn’t the “only one” who has or had a gambling problem and all that I went through will hopefully give her mom a nudge to get some help.

Know what continues to perplex me about this disease?  Why isn’t anyone talking openly about it? Why is it still such a taboo addiction?
It is why I advocate and share my experiences like here in “Keys” and in a variety ways to begin “the conversation” and bring gambling addiction, an addiction that requires no substances but as dangerous as all other addictions.

It is why one in five problem gamblers WILL attempt suicide as you dig yourself into such a “Hopeless and Financially” draining state that you can’t see any way out.  I still remember those days of my deep addiction and all the feelings of fear, shame, guilt, and feeling all alone and suffering in silence. No one needs to suffer from this addiction. And suicide is never the answer.  SUICIDE is only a permanent solution to a temporary problem from this addiction and cunning disease. And just like any other disease, it can be treated. We can learn how to live life in freedom from gambling addiction as I and many have.

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So back to having to my Life Event of having to move unexpectedly. Again, my recovery friends have been helping us reach our move-in goal to help raise the deposits and pet deposits to move. If you would like to help? Visit my dear friend Kim Herron’s, FB Fundraiser for us called Cat and Tom Lyon’s 911 Moving Fundraiser  … I and my husband Tom will appreciate any and all #donations and Blessings friends. We have found a new Townhome and Were Approved this past Friday …

I also hope anyone who has a problem with Gambling and READS this post will know that you are NOT ALONE and Recovery is possible. I and my blog here is to SUPPORT and HELP you recover! Reach out and EMAIL Cat anytime … lyonmedia@aol.com 💕🙌✨🐱‍ AND WE ARE GRATEFUL & Thankful Friends.
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Honored 2 Be Chosen Another Year! my Recovery Blog Is In “The Top 25 Gambling Addiction Recovery Blogs” By FeedSpot…

Honored 2 Be Chosen Another Year! my Recovery Blog Is In “The Top 25 Gambling Addiction Recovery Blogs” By FeedSpot…

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It is not every day we get a little “hug” and affirmation of being a loud advocate about gambling addiction and problem gambling. When first started my gambling recovery blog, It was to just share how I was working my recovery from full-blown gambling addiction. Share what it was like, how it devastated my life and me and my husbands financial future. It almost cost me my life twice with two failed suicides as I was also suffering from many mental health disorders that went undiagnosed since childhood.

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In fact, after my first suicide attempt, and then a long stay in an addiction/mental health crisis center after leaving the hospital, both my primary Doctor and the center Psychiatrist agreed I was suffering from high mania, anxiety, severe depression, PTSD, and a few other disorders.  All the symptoms came to the surface while deep in my gambling addiction. So much so that right before my downward spiral I began to abuse alcohol in the last 4 months prior to my crash and burn first failed suicide attempt. That was how out of control I was and some of it I don’t even remember to this day.

So now, I am a dually-diagnosed woman maintaining recovery. I am proud to blog my journey, share what I have been through in hopes of helping as many as I can who are stuck in the insane “Cycle” of this addiction and disease. And why I am honored and proud to share that my “Little Gambling Recovery Blog” had been chosen again as a “Top 25 Gambling Addiction Website and Blog” sharing my story, my recovery, HOPE, and helpful resources to many …I came in at #5 this year and very proud of this accomplishment. WHY? Because it is vital to “Raising Awareness, Educate the Public, and let others know who may have a gambling problem that they can recover without SHAME or Stigma … PLEASE VISIT To See Announcement: “Feedspot Top 25 Gambling Recovery Blogs.”

“Our Past Does Not Define Who We Are and Can Be From Gambling!”

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Top 25 Gambling Addiction Blogs & Websites For Gambling Addicts in 2019

 

5. Recovery Starts Here – Gambling Addiction

Recovery Starts Here - Gambling AddictionArizona, USA About Blog Recovery Starts Here is a Bet Free, Sober, & Clean Blog Sharing Hope in Recovery One Day at a Time written by Catherine Townsend-Lyon.
Frequency about 2 post per month.
Blog catherinelyonaddictedtodimes..
Facebook fans n/a. Twitter followers 4,652.
Book “Addicted To Dimes: Confessions of a Liar and a Cheat”
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My Book Now on Amazon!

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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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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Things You Can Do to Improve Your Mental Health Today! By Our Guest, Alek Sabin.

Things You Can Do to Improve Your Mental Health Today! By Our Guest, Alek Sabin.

Mental health issues can always be a struggle, especially when maintaining recovery from addiction, and it’s important to note that you aren’t helpless against the chemical problems in your brain. Building strong coping mechanisms and skills to improve your mindset are important stepping stones to a happy and fulfilling life. We know how important self-care is. Having mental health challenges is as the same as well as our overall medical health and well being.

Here are some things that you can do every day to improve your mental health…

 

Pay Attention to Your Diet

 

A healthy diet doesn’t just offer benefits for your physical health—it can help you psychologically, as well. No diet can cure your mental problems, but according to ongoing research, certain foods can help ease symptoms of depression and anxiety. Many scientists believe, for example, that foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon and tuna can improve brain health.

The complex carbohydrates found in whole grains like brown rice, oatmeal, and whole wheat pasta, meanwhile, help the body release serotonin. And dark chocolate has been lauded for years for its ability to help the body release serotonin and relax the blood vessels. Eating regularly and never skipping meals will also help you to keep blood sugar levels stable, preventing mood swings. If you find yourself eating too much sugar, here are some sugar free snack ideas for you and your family to help you.

 

Get Regular Exercise

 

While on the subject of creating a routine, it’s a good idea to build some exercise into that routine, even if it’s just a little exercise to get that heart rate up a few times a week. Exercise temporarily raises endorphin levels in the body, making it an instant mood booster.

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And because of the way that your body and its hormones respond to stress during exercise, regular exercise over time can actually increase your body’s overall resistance to stress. And as if that weren’t enough, exercise, of course, has the added benefit of improving and strengthening your overall physique, which is a sure way to build self-confidence.

 

Spend Time with Animals

 

Even if you don’t feel ready to have a pet of your own, you can spend time with a friend or family member’s pet, or visit your local animal shelter, for a natural boost in mood. Animals have a way of showing pure, unconditional love, which could be exactly what a person with mental health problems needs. In addition, a pet can give a person something to wake up for, something to build a routine around, and a companion to depend on. Pets are actually proven scientifically to relieve tension and improve mood.

 

Make a Routine

 

Mental health problems have a way of taking structure out of our lives, causing one day to blend into the next. Creating a routine that includes ample amounts of sleep, and making it a habit to stick to it. can keep you on track and give meaning to each and every day.

 

Plan a Time to Get Away

 

Even if you don’t have the resources to take time off of work and go out of town for a vacation (which, by the way, could offer just the break you need to relieve stress), simply planning a vacation will raise your spirits significantly. According to a study published the journal Applied Research in Quality of Life back in 2010, the largest boost in happiness surrounding vacations actually comes from the simple act of planning the vacation.

So grab a friend and plan an imaginary trip together. And if it seems doable in the near future, go ahead and make it a financial goal to save up for that vacation. Setting goals, after all, is in itself another way to give yourself something to look forward to and naturally heal your mental health.

 

Be Authentic

 

This is much easier said than done, but there is something about getting in touch with your authentic self that builds your self-confidence and boosts mood levels. Try to confide in friends and family members on a regular basis, or try writing in a journal regularly to get your thoughts out on paper.

You might also try meditating, which can help you to track your thought patterns and spend much-needed time clearing your mind of all the everyday stress it is exposed to.
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Enjoy the Sunlight

 

It’s true—spending time in the sun actually aids in serotonin production and leads to a better mood. Make it a point to spend some time each day in the sun, especially during the winter months when serotonin levels are especially low.

In addition, you might consider letting more sunshine stream in through your windows so that you can enjoy the benefits of sunlight even while indoors.