Tag: Luanne Starr Rhoades

Sometimes the news is just plain scary. 

For most everyone, events of terror shake our foundations and change the way we view our safety and well-being. That’s the point of terror.  Anxiety happens to everyone, some more than others.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t worry and let my mind move into the “what if’s”.  Any good worrier can move easily from scenario to scenario, each one worse than the other. 

Worry can be a gutter ball of a thought that always moves us to the negative, the scary and the catastrophic.  This “catastrophizing” can be no joke.  Here are some strategies to manage your anxiety about terrorism, if you find yourself in a dark and negative place over events in the world or just your own corner of it.

  1. Stay In The Day 
    First, stay in the day, the “what if’s are all about things you can’t control. Try to learn when you are doing this and listen for your voice saying “what if”.  That doesn’t mean don’t plan or strategize if you need to, but doing the “what if’s” is that same as spinning and going nowhere.  When you find it happening, remind yourself to only focus on the here and now…the things you can control.  The Serenity Prayer is great for calling you back to helpful thinking.
  1. Consider The Odds
    Another helpful strategy is to consider the odds.  With all the chaos in the world people are still living long, productive and reasonably happy lives, putting one foot in front of the other.  Odds are that things we do every day like driving, working, or even eating a sandwich can be dangerous, and more likely to affect us than an act of terror in our town.  
  1. Find Comfort in Connecting
    Lastly, in uncertain times people often find great comfort connection to those things that bring their lives meaning; faith, family and interests. Don’t worry alone.  Share your concerns and allow others to help.  Some people, both children, and adults, sometimes find that they can’t stop the spinning “What if’s… the Gutterball Thoughts… or the Catastrophizing.  That’s exactly when a counselor can help.  Everyone worries, but the worries don’t need to control your life.

Author: Luanne Starr Rhoades, LCPC, LADC, CCS, Health Affiliates Maine

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According to Maine’s Attorney General’s Office, the evident opiate epidemic in Maine has resulted in 50 more deaths in 2014 from just 4 years ago.

In response to WMTW’s series on Maine’s Heroin Epidemic this month, Outpatient Therapy Director Luanne Starr Rhoades of Health Affiliates Maine comments, “There are a lot of reasons Maine is struggling with this epidemic.  In the not too distant past, physicians felt freer to treat their patient’s pain with opiates. In many cases, it was too much, for too long; and some people became addicted.”

Rhoades elaborates, “Now, with increased scrutiny of prescribing practices, physicians are hesitant to prescribe opiates for pain.  Left to their own devices, some people in pain have turned to Heroin and opiate medications sold on the street.  Criminal activity of stealing and diverting prescribed medications also happens.  Street drugs, and especially heroin, are abundant and relatively inexpensive. The supply of opiates and other drugs come into Maine right up the 95 corridor from Boston and New York.   As a result, we are now seeing our neighbors, co-workers and friends impacted by these drugs like never before”.

According to the Maine Office of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services, in 2014, nearly seven out of ten overdose deaths involved an opiate. And since 2012, the numbers of deaths involving heroin and or morphine have more than doubled.

Getting help.

These are very alarming statistics, and many are wondering what we can do to combat this.  For those families who want to know how to help their loved one overcome this, there are some options they can consider.  For instance, doing an online search of Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) is a likely first step towards getting clean.

There are also Medication Assisted Treatment options for opiate addiction which are available in Maine in the form of Methodone and Saboxone prescribed by a physician.  Nevertheless, even after moving beyond the physical dependency and the cravings the reasons behind the abuse often are still there.  Seeking therapy from a substance abuse counselor can help individuals work through all of the struggles that lead them to using.

What to watch for.

Some signs and signals we can all watch for, that might mean someone is struggling with an opiate addiction:

  • Social withdrawal from family & loved ones
  • Extreme alterations in mood
  • Weight loss, nausea, diarrhea & vomiting
  • Continued use of the opiate, even after pain has subsided

You can get a complete list of warning signs and other useful information on opiate addiction at:  http://www.addictionhope.com/opiates

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