Mental Health: New Years’ Resolutions

doyouhavetheholidayblues
It’s that time of year again. Tinsel and fairy lights adorn houses and trees, Christmas songs blare from the radio, mulled wine is served and not to mention advent calendars and nativity plays. This time of year is a time to be with family and friends, whatever faith you are.

This can mean that the Christmas period can be a challenging time for those suffering from mental ill health, due to isolation and loneliness or the overtly social time frame.

If you are feeling like this, the best thing to do is to either talk to someone you trust, phone a helpline or charity if you need, speak to a psychotherapist or use other coping mechanisms. These include journalling, mindfulness, deep breathing or relaxation CD’s.  Whichever works for you, make sure you don’t bottle things up.

Being that it is coming to the end of the year and looking ahead to 2018, I thought I would share some new years resolutions for positive mental health that you can implement in your life.

1) I will invest in self-care this year.

Self-care means I will actually take time out of my day to check in with myself and decide what I need. This isn’t selfish, it is vital to survival of the bleak winter period in particular.

Each day, I will invest in self care, whether its running a warm bubble bath and soaking for half an hour, journaling out my negative feelings and replacing them with positive ones, colouring for relaxation or just getting some much needed down time in front of the TV in my PJs. I will make sure I invest every day in self-care activities.

2) I will make sure I go outside more.

In the winter, I am definitely more prone to curling up like a doormouse and hibernating inside, in the comfort of my warm home, chatting to friends on the phone and computer. I am also a sucker for my blanket and a warm mug of hot chocolate.

While this is good some of the time, I know that I need to push myself out more into the cold and bright mornings.  So, my resolution is to make sure I go out and get enough light and Vitamin D to boost my mood and health and enough exercise to keep my mind and heart healthy.

3) I will make sure to be present.

A friend of mine gave me this tip when she said –‘Stay in the Now and Enjoy the Moment’

I definitely need to do this more and not worry myself too much.  Staying present means that the only moment is now – try and focus on something positive in the present and not worry too far ahead.

4) I will try not to worry what others think and not beat myself up.

Easier said than done, this resolution had come about due to having people-pleasing tendencies.  I hate upsetting people.  This means that I will often overthink or worry about others and what they think.  This year I want to spend less time fretting and not beat myself up over small things that make a mountain from a molehill!

5) I will have a more positive mind-set.

I will not be ashamed of how I am feeling and feel bad because of it.  I will be more accepting of my feelings and needs.  I will know that even if I am at rock bottom, ‘This too shall pass’ and I will find a way to get through adversity and be positive.  I will actively think positive thoughts and push myself to achieve my goals.

If you are suffering from depression, anxiety or any other mental illness please reach out for help.  Contact The Brighton Wellness Centre.  Phone sessions, online (Skype) sessions and face-to-face sessions are available.

Looking forward to a happier, healthier 2018 and wishing you a Merry Christmas and Happy Chanukah!

 

The Importance of Therapy and Support Networks.

When dealing with mental health issues of any kind, it is so important to talk it through with a recognised professional and/or your support network. Talking through difficult and painful emotions (of depression or anxiety for example) with someone you trust is vital for mental wellbeing and balance.

If you are lucky to have a good, stable support network, utilise it. Your friends and/or family are so important in promoting happiness and keeping you well, so long as they are a calming, stable influence on you. Positive support promotes wellness in all of us.

Whether it’s one friend, a family member or an extended support network on or offline, talking to those you love and who care for you is vital. If you need further support there are health charities like the Samaritans who are always on hand to listen on their helpline. Mind charity are also a brilliant support and resource, as are Rethink Mental Illness. All promote a non-stigmatised view of mental illness and a listening ear.

Don’t suffer in silence. Tell someone you trust how bad you are feeling. Share your thoughts with a professional who can help you unpack the difficult emotions you are feeling.

Whether its one-to-one talking therapy, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) or psychotherapy, there is something to help you if you are struggling with mental health issues. It doesn’t matter what issue, disorder or behaviour pattern you need help with, there will be a therapy to help you back to wellness!

 

At the Brighton Wellness Centre, we offer a range of therapies including Skype sessions to help those struggling with mental health issues. Please click here for our details or email Jessica Valentine to find out more.

Does Skunk Cannabis Cause Psychosis: Causes and symptoms from smoking skunk marijuana.

Skunk and Psychosis: Does Strong Cannabis cause psychosis and what are the symptoms?
by: Eleanor Segall

It has been known for quite some time that smoking ‘Weed’, Cannabis can cause all kinds of effects. Whilst many are seen to be positive- calming you, helping you ‘chill out’ there are some more harmful and sinister effects of a particular strain of Cannabis known as ‘Skunk’.

What is ‘Skunk’?

Skunk is a high potency strain of cannabis which is known for both its strength and pungent smell. It has increased in volume on the street over the past few decades and many smoke it due to its strength. Some also smoke it unaware that its side effects are far more dangerous than conventional cannabis.
isskunkweedbadforyou

If smoked daily or regularly, the Skunk strain of cannabis can cause psychosis in the brain- meaning one may suffer from delusions, hallucinations, extreme anxiety and paranoia, sleeplessness or hear voices and become quite unwell. This is due to the high amount of chemical present in the drug- Skunk contains more THC- the main  psychoactive ingredient than other types.

Hashish (which is cannabis resin) contains substantial qualities of another chemical- Cannabidol (CBD). NHS Research suggests that the CBD acts as an antidote to the THC, counteracting psychotic side effects. In Skunk strain of cannabis there is far less Cannabidol, meaning that the brain can be triggered more easily into a psychotic state. There is also research suggesting that less potent strains of cannabis, if smoked daily, can trigger mental illness although this is less known than Skunk cannabis.

The NHS have stated in their research from 2015, that ‘Skunk like cannabis increases risk of psychosis, study suggests’ (2015, NHS). They also go on to say that ‘the use of high potency cannabis was associated with a far greater increase in risk’.

Due to the increase in psychotic symptoms from those men and women regularly smoking Skunk cannabis, a medical study was undertaken in the UK. As the NHS and BBC reported,

‘The study compared cannabis use patterns among 410 people from South London who attended hospital with a first episode of psychosis and 370 people from the general public without the condition…

It found that the daily use of cannabis was associated with a greater increase in risk of psychosis and use of high potency cannabis associated with a greater increase in risk.  Smoking potent cannabis was linked to 24% of new psychosis cases analysed in a study by Kings College London Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience …

The research suggests the risk of psychosis is three times higher for users of potent skunk like cannabis than for non users.’

Following on from  this, many former Skunk users have commented on their own psychotic symptoms after smoking it daily or regularly. It is shown that major changes in the brain occur when Skunk is smoked regularly and it can take years for people with skunk induced psychosis to recover fully. The study above was funded by the Maudsley Hospital Charitable fund and published in the medical journal ‘The British Journal of Psychiatry’.

It found that young men were more at risk- the study found most were young between 25- 30 and most were men with a high proportion of unemployment.

So what can you do if you are worried about someone you know who may be presenting with addiction to Skunk or psychotic symptoms?

Firstly, if someone is addicted to Skunk or cannabis and smoking it daily, but wants help to stop, they may need to get some support to stop smoking as much- whether that’s through a specialist Doctor or Rehab unit and initially referred through their GP.

If  they are exhibiting psychotic symptoms and in a crisis situation it is key to get the local Crisis team or psychiatry involved as if they are severely unwell, they may need a short or long hospital stay.

There are many addiction charities and groups out there that can support you and the addict and these are worth exploring. If someone does not want help and you can’t convince them to stop smoking (and they aren’t psychotic), it can be difficult as you may have to wait until crisis point.

If you need to discuss these issues, do speak to Drug addiction charities, doctors/therapists or helplines and make sure you get the support you and your friend/ family member need.

Jessica at Brighton Wellness Centre is a therapist who deals with addiction issues. For more information, please do contact her via the website www.brightonwellnesscentre.co.uk or email jessica@brightonwellnesscentre.co.uk.