Effects and Dangers of Benzodiazepines


Effects and Dangers of Benzodiazepines
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Psychiatry Lexington KY
Benzodiazepines are a class of drug that can be used to treat many different problems and disorders. According to Medical News Today, benzodiazepines are often used to treat anxiety, insomnia, seizures, alcohol withdrawal, restless leg syndrome, and panic attacks. Benzodiazepines are effective in treating these issues because they enhance the part of the brain that is responsible for reducing stress- and anxiety-causing brain activity.

When used short term, benzodiazepines can be very effective; however, long term use of benzodiazepines can have very dangerous effects, including developing a tolerance and becoming dependent, among other dangers.

There are different types of benzodiazepines, and many name brands might be familiar to you. These include alprazolam (Xanax), bromazepam (Lectopam), brotizolam (Lendormin), chlordiazepoxide (Librium), clonazepam (Klonopin), clorazepate (Tranxene), clotizepam (Clozan), cloxazolam (Sepazon), diazepam (Valium), estazolam (ProSom), etizolam (Etilaam), flunitrazepam (Rohypnol), flurazepam (Dalmane), loprazolam (Somnovit), lorazepam (Ativan), midazolam (Dormicum), nitrazepam (Alodorm), nordazepam (Nordaz), oxazepam (Seresta), and temazepam (Restoril). These benzodiazepines differ in their qualities and specialties, however they generally have hypnotic, anticonvulsant, sedative, anxiolytic (anxiety-reducing), or amnesiac properties.

Of course, your doctor will weigh the benefits with the potential dangers, however there are some side effects that are commonly associated with benzodiazepines, including dizziness, trembling, impairment, vision trouble, depression, headaches, confusion, and drowsiness, among others. Symptoms commonly associated with withdrawal of benzodiazepines include depression, sweating, and trouble sleeping. Stopping benzodiazepines requires slow and planned tapering off in order to avoid severe and dangerous effects, including tremors, muscle cramps, and seizures that could be potentially life threatening.

As described on the Internet Drug Index, certain benzodiazepines, such as diazepam, clorazepate, and alprazolam, are especially effective due to their rapid onset, and are especially beneficial when attempting to control a panic attack. While each specific medication has different qualities and therefore is more effective at treating certain disorders, many drugs in the class of benzodiazepines are used interchangeably, often treating anxiety disorders, seizure disorders, insomnia, alcohol withdrawal, and also being used for anesthesia or muscle relaxation.

Benzodiazepines are generally considered safe if used very short term, for less than a few months. Any treatment utilizing benzodiazepines longer than a few months can lead to very dangerous side effects, especially if treatment is stopped suddenly. Withdrawal from benzodiazepines may include symptoms such as seizures, tremors, vomiting, sweating, and muscle cramping.

Also important to consider is how other drugs interact with benzodiazepines. Because benzodiazepines contain sedative properties, combining them with medications that slow the brain, including alcohol, narcotics, tranquilizers, and barbiturates, can be very dangerous. Also, some benzodiazepines can be held in the body longer if combined with drugs that control liver elimination, such as ketoconazole (Nizoral, Xolegel), valproic acid (Tagamet), or fluoxetine (Prozac). This can lead to increased blood concentration.

Specifically, alcohol combined with benzodiazepines can be especially dangerous, as the combination can decrease mobility, depress the central nervous system, impair judgment, complicate breathing and strain the respiratory system, as explained by Behavioral Health. Because alcohol and benzodiazepines have very similar properties, including the attempt to slow and depress the central nervous system, the combination of these can cause the nervous system to depress too much, stopping or slowing major bodily functions, including the functions of the brain, heart, kidneys, and liver.

Hidden Dangers of Benzodiazepines are explored by the Foundations of Recovery Network, in which research shows that benzodiazepines can last from 6-24 hours. Abusing benzodiazepines increases a person’s risk of dementia 50%, while almost 350,000 hospital visits in 2010 were linked to benzodiazepine abuse. Commonly, benzodiazepine related hospital visits also reported other abusive substances, such as alcohol or narcotics. Statistics show that over 20 million Americans over age 12 have abused benzodiazepines. If you feel you may have crossed the line into dependence with these medications, read here.

Psychology Today explores potential brain damage caused by long-term benzodiazepine use. In the past four decades, benzodiazepine use has grown significantly, rising from 69 million to 83 million in a period of five years alone. David Knott, University of Tennessee physician, explained the dangers associated with short-term memory loss in 1976, but this has not slowed benzodiazepine use and abuse. Later, Discovery Channel documentary, entitled In Pills We Trust, explored dependency. It was originally thought that only addictive personalities would become addicted to benzodiazepines, but this was proven incorrect.

Though exhaustive research has been conducted lending to the downfalls of utilizing benzodiazepines in treatment, professional opinions still differ on the severity of withdrawal and long-lasting effects. Because of this, benzodiazepines remain on the market. Benzodiazepines can be extremely beneficial for treating anxiety disorders, insomnia, panic attacks, restless leg syndrome, alcohol withdrawal, and more, but the benefits and negative effects must be researched and weighed before beginning treatment or tapering from treatment.

Further detailed information on the uses for, effects of, and withdrawal symptoms of benzodiazepines can be found in the Benzo Manual.

Please seek assistance if you are considering starting or stopping benzodiazepines. Our informed staff can help you make the right decision. Don’t wait! Seek help from our educated and experienced practitioners now.

Contact our psychiatric staff at the following numbers. If you have a medical emergency, please dial 911 immediately.

Christine Dalton, MSN, APRN
Lexington: (859) 338-0466
Richmond: (859) 314-1281
Frankfort: (502) 352-2208
Emergency: (859) 294-7334

Click here to schedule an appointment online.
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Lexington KY, 40509
Phone: 859-338-0466
Fax: 859-294-0802

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Phone: (859) 523-7383

Frankfort, KY

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Frankfort KY, 40601
Phone: 502-352-2208
Fax: 502- 352-2209

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Phone: 859-314-1281
Fax: 859-353-8032

Recent Posts
By Paul Dalton 05 Feb, 2016
So you live in Kentucky and only a few more weeks until spring. Everyone should be happy and feel better about that, right? I think most of us get a sense of relief and hope, and that cognitive energy to bust out of the winter season and get moving. For some, the spring can be a rough time. Depression, anxiety, bi-polar disorder, and relationship issues prevent the spring season from being all that it could be. Following are some reasons that these and other conditions may worsen in the spring, a few resources for you, and some concrete strategies you can implement to help yourself. 

So why do people struggle some in the spring when it should be all flowers and sunshine? 

1. Sleep
Many times the spring season causes a change in our circadian rhythm . The sun wakes you up in the am, it is difficult to keep a routine, and restlessness all contribute to the sleep problem. Our eating in the winter and spring can affect how much we sleep. Caffeine, napping, undereating, and how much we are moving, all contribute to how much we sleep. Spring likely has an effect on melatonin in the body, which aids in sleep. 

Strategies that help are EXERCISE and EATING RIGHT! If you keep moving with the help of  a tool like a Fitbit or utilize regular exercise of 45 minutes or more 4-5 times per week, you are far less likely to have sleep problems. Exercise helps you sleep. Exercise helps you eat better. Eating and sleeping adequately can reduce your stress and fight any symptoms you may have. Eating healthy keeps your mind, body, and spirit in a positive place. When your body is well, your mind has a great chance of being well too. Sounds too simple? Give it a try!

The sleep foundation can help here :  Sleep Foundation Healthy Sleep Tips
Eating Right For Spring
Here is a good link to read on symptoms getting worse in the spring: Spring Makes Symptoms Worse

2. Spring Fever is Real
Our office has existed for over 15 years now. I can tell you that March to May is our busiest time of the year, always. Bipolar disorder, marital infidelity, depression, and anxiety are the main reasons people call us in the spring. The real causes of spring fever include longer days that produce more sunshine and increased energy, changes in hormone production, sleep cycles, nutrition and diet changes, body needs, and possibly, a lack of self care. When we bust of out winter here in Kentucky we sometimes forget that it takes a little time to get our minds and bodies in shape for yard work, spring cleaning, and for many, an increased workload all the way around. Here are some links to let you know spring fever is real. 

Spring Fever
WEB MD-You Give Me Spring Fever
Wiki Spring Fever
Spring Time Bad for Depression

3. Expectations Are High

Sometimes in spring we have been thinking about all the things we should of, could of, would of done if we had lived in San Diego or Florida during our winter days. The reality of being human can set in when we find out that spring has sprung, it is time to get moving, and we don't have the energy or drive to complete our list of high expectations. Many people are disappointed in themselves and these outcomes. Don't worry about it. 

Strategies you can use include setting small attainable goals you can feel good about. Work on your list a little at a time. Make goals that regular people can reach with time built in for you to EXERCISE AND SLEEP. Do a mix of things that you enjoy and are healthy for you while completing your responsibilities. If you deny yourself from pleasure too long, that strategy is likely to backfire. Have a good balanced approach. Use a checklist that has 3 sections. One section is for today. One section is for the week. Reserve one part of the list for things your are really wanting to do. Put a vacation or planned fun activities on a calendar. Look up things you might want to do during that time online. Planning, thinking and dreaming are fine. They keep us hopeful. 

Tiny Buddha Expectations and Disappointment
Expectations at The Silent Blog
Three Ways Expectations Can Hurt You

4. Allergies

If you live in Kentucky, you know about allergies. Kentucky is known to be one of the worst states when it comes to spring and fall allergies.  Louisville is ranked as one of the worst cities in the entire country to live in due to allergies.   Many times people are unaware they are being affected. Sometimes the symptoms are less obvious than a runny nose, cough, and cold like symptoms. Many times people are lethargic, grouchy, have headaches, and have cognitive deficits. The allergic affect we have in Kentucky can quickly turn into a sinus infection, bronchitis, ear infections, and other maladies that make us mentally and physically drained. That flower below can cause us some issues! 

Get to a doctor. Take a seasonal allergy medication. Some are mild, like Allegra (please get your physician's approval before taking allergy medications) and can be taken everyday. Prescription nose sprays may help, but may also have some cognitive or mood altering side effects. Be careful, but don't suffer! Get help from an allergist if you need it. 

Allergy Resources
Pollen Map
How to Beat Spring Allergies by WEB MD
By creekmoremarketing 21 Sep, 2015

Welcome to our website!

Therapy is a great choice. It works, and I hope you make a commitment today to start. Most people find the idea of attending therapy with a therapist or counselor far more scary than the actual process itself. Here is a link that describes how the process works at our locations.

Our therapists are located in Lexington, Frankfort and Richmond, KY. See individual profiles of our therapy providers here . I hire our professionals personally and attempt to provide you with someone that will care about your outcome and treat you well. These are experts at counseling and therapy and provide services you will want to tell others about.

Our clinicians care, and you will know they are different in that respect. Providing therapy in Central Kentucky is much more than a job to our therapists. It is a profession, and a way of life.

Please let us help you today!   Contact us here   or at 859.338.0466 now.

Sincerely,

Paul D. Dalton, MS, LPCC, CADC

By creekmoremarketing 21 Sep, 2015

 In the most recent months I have watched people and family members experience the loss of loved ones. It is by far one of the most painful things we as humans can experience. Some of us try desperately to avoid this painful process at all costs. What we know about grief is, it is inevitable. It is not a matter of if we grieve but when. We all grieve differently. In realizing that most people have unrealistic expectations of their own grief process I wanted to share a few things that might be helpful. There are stages of grief defined by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross her book “On Death and Dying.” They are as follows: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. We will experience these somewhat in this order but can move in and out of these various stages. It’s important to recognize your feelings and deal with them throughout each stage.

There is no timeline for grief. The first year is tough. It’s the first time you are experiencing life events without your loved one. Be patient with yourself. Do things to memorialize and honor your loved one. Allow yourself to be sad. That is perfectly normal and expected. Take care of yourself. Rest, eat well and exercise even if you don’t want to. Do not make any major decisions the first year unless it is absolutely necessary. Ask for help and support from family and friends and if necessary seek professional help in dealing with the loss. Write about your loss. It will help sort through your feelings and will encourage the grief process to move forward. Lastly, remember that no matter how much pain you feel, you WILL survive this grief and loss.

Carrie Koontz, MSW, LCSW, CADC

Carrie Koontz works at The Offices of Paul D. Dalton, MS, LPCC, CADC in Richmond, KY. Her office website is http://www.counselinglexingtonky.com/richmond-ky-counseling-and-psychiatry/   and the office Facebook page is https://www.facebook.com/pages/Offices-Of-Paul-Dalton/344785342269140

http://www.helpguide.org/articles/grief-loss/coping-with-grief-and-loss.htm

http://psychcentral.com/lib/the-5-stages-of-loss-and-grief/000617

http://www.whatsyourgrief.com/types-of-grief/

https://www.griefrecoverymethod.com/blog/2013/03/over-40-life-experiences-you-might-have-cause-grief

By creekmoremarketing 21 Sep, 2015

Last night at my son’s baseball game it was dark too early. It starts to creep up my spine every fall. Don’t get me wrong, I love a nice fall day with crisp mornings and dry air. My body does not. My mind and physical self become enemies once again. My biology screams eat and sleep. The normal everyday cognitive side says work hard and have fun and eat and sleep normally. Living in Kentucky, allergies seems to work themselves into this mix too and before long, the body starts to win out. I think I know what a bear feels like right before winter! I just don’t think anyone will let me go to a cave for 5 months, although that is where a grumpy bear belongs, right?

Humor aside, Seasonal Affective Disorder, now Depression with Seasonal Component is very real in Kentucky and many states where the weather changes are dramatic. Here is an older article I wrote to refer to:   http://www.counselinglexingtonky.com/2014/03/10/seasonal-disorder-holiday-blues-equal-therapy/

Remember the symptoms from   WEBMD

  • Feel sad, grumpy, moody, or anxious.
  • Lose interest in your usual activities.
  • Eat more and crave   carbohydrates , such as bread and pasta.
  • Gain weight .
  • Sleep more but still feel tired.
  • Have trouble concentrating.

National Insitiute of Mental Health

  • Sad, anxious or “empty” feelings
  • Feelings of hopelessness and/or pessimism
  • Feelings of guilt, worthlessness or helplessness
  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in activities you used to enjoy
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering details and making decisions
  • Difficulty sleeping or oversleeping
  • Changes in weight
  • Thoughts of death or   suicide

What helps?

  • Exercise
  • Having something to look forward to on your schedule you enjoy
  • Lights, Custom Light Boxes, Regular Exposure to Sunlight
  • Eating healthier than average and limiting fat
  • Staying socially active and involved
  • Normal sleep including wake up and sleep times that are stable and consistent
  • Medication options that might be temporary
  • Therapy including cognitive therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Vitamin D supplements

What hurts?

  • Sleeping too much
  • Overeating
  • Isolation
  • Staying indoors
  • Lack of sunlight

If you get in trouble with seasonal depression or your mood is down, call us today at 859-338-0466 or click here   for all of our offices in Lexington, Frankfort, and Richmond KY. We offer counseling, therapy, and psychiatry services to help you be happy in the colder months here in Kentucky.

By creekmoremarketing 21 Sep, 2015

Emotional health is an important part of our overall health and well being because
whether we like it or not emotions are a part of us. Taking care of our emotional
health is just as important as taking care of our physical health. When we are
emotionally healthy we responded better to stress and improve our relationships
and work performance. Since we can’t rid ourselves of emotions let’s learn how to
make them work for us instead of against us.

Here are 6 ways we might be encouraging our emotions to work against us:

1. Translating emotions as facts. Your feelings are neither right nor wrong
therefore they are not facts. Your emotions do not mean anything about you;
they are an existing part of you. If you feel unworthy, that’s okay; it doesn’t
mean you are it just means you feel that way. Reality check, most people will
feel this way at least once in their life if not more. Begin to challenge your
emotional reasoning and see what happens.

2. Invalidating or “shoulding on” your emotions. Emotions can be painful and
discomforting on their own, however sometimes we add to the pain and
shame by “shoulding on” our emotions. How many times have you told
yourself, “ I shouldn’t feel this way?” It might even sound more like this,
“You’re so stupid for feeling this way.” Since emotions are neither right nor
wrong they can’t effectively be judged or invalidated. You might not like
feeling depressed or sad; however telling yourself you shouldn’t feel that way
only increases feelings of guilt or even shame, which in turns increases
depression. And then, before you know it you are in downward spiral of
feeling bad and all that follows. Be kind to your emotions even if you don’t
like them. Try this: Say the following sentences and after each one take note
of how you feel and how your body responds. 1. “I don’t like feeling sad over
the breakup, I want to feel better.” 2. “I shouldn’t feel sad over the
breakup.” What did you notice? If you paid attention to the changing
sensations in your body you might have noticed your face frown and your
shoulders slightly shrug after you read the 2nd statement. Our body will
respond to our emotions, start to pay attention to how your body responds
when you “should on” your feelings.

3. Avoiding emotions. Let’s begin with a couple of general statements about
avoiding: 1. When we avoid things they seem to get bigger and even scarier
as our imaginations take over. 2. We avoid things we are afraid of. 3. We are
afraid of things we don’t know. So get to know your feelings in a
nonjudgmental and compassionate manner. Seek out information on
emotions and mindfulness techniques to help be more present with your
feelings. If getting to know your emotions sounds overwhelming or education
isn’t cutting it, exploring the obstacles in more depth with a professional may
be beneficial.

4. Confusing thoughts as emotions. We often confuse thoughts as emotions.
Until you get to know more about emotions here’s a good rule of thumb:
‘emotions’ are one to two words and ‘thoughts’ are usually a sentence or an
incomplete sentence. So what’s the big deal if we mix them up? Here are
some potential negative consequences: feelings are generally more
unwavering, harder to work with, and harder to change than thoughts. So
when I say, “I feel that I am not good enough.” That’s really a ‘thought’ the
feeling might be “unworthiness.” Here’s where we can get somewhere…I am
most likely feeling “unworthy” because I am thinking “I am not good
enough.” It will be a lot easier for me to challenge my thought vs. challenging
my emotions. Start to pay attention to how your thoughts are contributing to
your emotions.

5. Feeding emotions. This one is difficult! Sometimes our behavior feeds our
emotions so they get stronger and hence more overwhelming. If we want to
change how we feel we might have to starve our emotions. Here’s how it
works: If I am feeling angry and I am mean to the sales clerk I am feeding
the anger. If I am feeling angry and I complement the sales clerk I am
starving the anger. If I am feeling sad and I keep my head down and avoid
eye contact I’m feeding the sadness. If I am feeling sad and I use all it takes
to keep my head up and smile at a stranger I am starving the feelings of
sadness. Of course it’s not going to be this simple, practice doing the opposite
of what you feel like doing if you want to feel differently. Start to pay
attention to how your behavior reinforces your emotions.

6. Not taking responsibility for your feelings. Here is another difficult one, so
take it slowly. How many times do we say, “ He/she made me feel…?”
Fortunately, no one can make us feel a certain way; we are responsible for
how we feel. I’m not saying that if someone slights us we won’t be hurt
because of what happened. I’m saying that someone’s behavior may
influence our emotions however their behavior does not get to control it. If
someone else is responsible for my feelings there’s not a lot I can do to
change it. Empower yourself by owning your emotions, “ I felt angry when I
was cut off in traffic,” instead of “he made me angry when he cut me off in
traffic.” Now say those statements again and pay attention to the tension in
your body, which statement increases tension?

I hope all this feeling talk has been beneficial. If you would like more information on
emotional wellness or would like to increase your emotional health our office will be
a great fit for you! Let’s start improving our relationships, stress management, and
work performance by taking care of our emotions; it’s worth it and so are you!

“Only the development of compassion and understanding for others can bring us
the tranquility and happiness we all seek.” –Dalai Lama XIV

Check out these resources:
http://www.wildmind.org/metta/how-we-cultivate-emotions/emotions-body

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/mental_emotional_health.htm

http://teenshealth.org/teen/your_mind/emotions/understand-emotions.html

http://www.foh.hhs.gov/calendar/august.html

h ttp://familydoctor.org/familydoctor/en/prevention-wellness/emotional-wellbeing/mental-health/mind-body-connection-how-your-emotions-affect-your-health.html

Written by:

Clarissa Hagy, M.Ed, LPCC, CADCClinician -Click for profile.

By creekmoremarketing 21 Sep, 2015

Parenting stress can be very difficult to manage. If a parent says they never feel stressed out or frustrated by the kids, they are just not being truthful! It’s a tough job. Many parents feel like parenting is more demanding than their professional job. As a parent YOU have to be in good working order to be available the way you want to with you kids.

Here are some ideas for things that may help with stress management.

First, identify stress when it is happening. What are the things that intensify it? What are those that bring it down? Listen to your body when it is trying to tell you to slow down or to make different choices. Physical signs of stress can include: headaches, muscle tension, gastrointestinal problems, and intensification of existing health problems. Pay attention to those people in your life that may be giving you feedback about your stress level. Here is a place to find some more information about physical signs of stress:  http://ezinearticles.com/?Symptoms-of-Parent-Stress&id=3304618 .

Second, identify and access your support network. Find others that understand what you may be dealing with and could offer advice or support. Plug yourself into groups and activities that help support you as a parent.

Third, take time for self-care away from your kids…and work hard not to feel guilty about it! If you take time to take care of yourself you will be a better version of yourself. You will be better able to focus on investing in the parenting that you can feel good about at the end of the day. Remember they are watching what you do and emulating you so you want them to learn to take care of themselves, be happy, and be balanced.

Here is some more information about the power of modeling for children:  http://www.drrobynsilverman.com/parenting-tips/powerful-role-models-seven-ways-to-make-a-positive-impact-on-children/ .

If you need an uplifting video to help remind you of what kids needs to hear, check this out: http://youtu.be/Ss2gV_6AUEg?list=PLzvRx_johoA-YabI6FWcU-jL6nKA1Um-t  .

Sometimes if things are too out of balance you may need a bit of help to get things back on track. That’s where we can help. Counseling can help you guide things back into place. We provide all kinds of counseling and would be happy to help you find your way.

You can reach us at 502-352-2208 or you can find information and schedule an appointment 24/7 on our website at  www.CounselingLexingtonKY.com  .

Take some time to reduce stress so you can be present for all those wonderful moments with your kids. Parenting stress does not have to create an impasse or block your road to having a happy family.

Written by:

Laura Best, MSW, LCSW -Click for profile and more information on the author
Clinician and Manager
Frankfort Office

By creekmoremarketing 21 Sep, 2015

You get to work feeling tired and irritable. Maybe you did not sleep well the night before or perhaps you have a busy morning routine. This may include getting your kids ready for school, packing lunches and dropping them off all before you begin your own commute to work. Whether you are a nurse coming in to relieve the night shift staff, bank manager opening the branch, school teacher getting your class room ready for the day it can be stressful. Inevitably things never go quite as planned and you get behind on the morning tasks before you have barely begun your day. Before you know it your heart is racing and you feel the tension headache starting to brew and you ask yourself, “How can I get control of this stress and anxiety I’m feeling? Managing stress of any kind can be challenging.

If you are feeling this level of stress and anxiety on a regular basis and you need help coping please call us today at 859-314-1281. Here are some strategies that can help you stay on top of any situation without letting it get the best of you:

1. Get plenty of rest at night (7-8 hours of sleep)
2. Eat a healthy breakfast to give you energy (limit the sugars and caffeine)
3. Take deep breaths as you start to recognize the increase in stress level.
4. Try some stretching exercises to help loosen tense muscles
5. Assess immediate priorities
6. Focus on accomplishments rather than uncompleted tasks
7. Once you have prioritized your tasks, complete the most undesirable ones first.
8. Set realistic expectations of yourself
9. Pay attention to negative self talk. Rather than, “Ill never get this done.” Say things such as, “Slow down, You can handle this. Just do the best you can.”
10. Ask for help when you need it.

Here are some helpful links to help you manage your work stress:

http://www.helpguide.org/mental/work_stress_management.htm
http://www.forbes.com/fdc/welcome_mjx.shtml
http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/stress-management/in-depth/coping-with-stress/art-20048369

How to Manage Work Stress was written by   Carrie Koontz, MSW, LCSW,   as the manager of our Richmond Counseling, Therapy, and Psychiatry location. You can view the details of that office here : Richmond KY Counseling, Therapy, and Psychiatry

By creekmoremarketing 21 Sep, 2015

Let Us Help You Manage Back to School Stress!

We all know when it is that time of year again, right? School stress gets us all. Heading back to school has it’s ups and downs, but certainly produces back to school stress. Stress management skills are needed once again. It seems summer has just slipped away, and now relationships in many areas of our life are going to be put to the test from the early morning light right up to that last waking moment late at night.

Every year around this time our counseling professionals get many calls from families in crisis, marriages in need of counseling, and relationships that need therapy. If you know you need help now, please call us today at 859-338-0466 or  Contact Us  now. We love to help.

What causes all this stress?

Shorter Days-Fall is coming, and our bodies begin to feel it. This year, we have had unseasonably cool weather early. Our bodies react as if fall is already here. That means increased eating, sleeping, and more effort to stay awake, keep energy, and be productive.

Mandated Structure-School and work collide. Children and adults are quickly changing routines, wake and sleep times, school homework, after school activities, and many other conflicts of schedule, wants, needs, and energy. School requires more mental energy from all of us.

Change in Sleep Patterns and  Circadian Rhythms  affect us all. Back to school stress comes from not getting enough rest, but also from changes in how our bodies respond to climate, stress demands, wake up times, and many other factors.

Limited Resources with maximum demands sounds like a setup for too much family stress, right? It can be, but don’t let it. Here are a few tips to lower your stress as a unit and to maximize your potential to enjoy your family life and the people you love.

1. Stick to regular schedules regarding bedtimes and wake up times prior to school starting. Start the schedule at least a week ahead so everyone is used to the new times. The elements of the new schedule will still be new and take some adjustment, but everyone won’t be nearly as tired and cranky.

2. Keep the same wake up times on the weekend. Everyone wants to stay up later and enjoy more of the day, but if you sleep in on the weekend, chances are getting up on Monday will not produce your best results. Kids do better when they wake up at the same time. They might get a little less sleep, but they will wake up on time come Monday morning.

3. Skip the more caffeine problem. It will cause your sleep patterns problems, encouraging you to drink more and more, only to let you down later. Caffeine leads to anxiety, grouchiness, and dependence. Better to get moving, exercising 3-5 times a week for at least 40 minutes each time. When you feel tired, get going. It works quickly and does not produce the negative effects of caffeine.

4. One of the most important factors is to make commitments to activities, sports, work, social outlets, or plans than you can reasonably do while maintaining a balance in your family’s lives. Overdoing it is the number one reason people get stressed. Think your plans through, take your time, say no more, and give your family a chance to rest and enjoy down time.

5. Schedule time for married or relationship time in your life. Intimacy requires calm, private, uninterrupted time with people you love. Getting one on one with that person is the ultimate relationship builder, stress reducer, and family enhancer. You have a baseball schedule, school and work schedules, and appointments at the Dr., vet, and auto shop, right? Please, schedule time for love and intimacy. It pays off!

Our office provides family counseling and therapy and marriage counseling and therapy. We provide counseling for children and adolescents. Our professionals care. If you need help, please call us 859-338-0466 or  Contact Us  today.

At our office, we wish you the best of luck with the return to school this year. Most of us are right there in it with you! Thank you for visiting our website.

Here are some helpful links to assist you in managing stress and specifically helping with back to school stress.

http://www.schoolfamily.com/school-family-articles/article/10799-ease-back-to-school-stress

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tag/back-to-school-stress/

http://kidshealth.org/teen/school_jobs/school/school_stress.html

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