5 Reasons Substance Abuse is More Dangerous for Teens

Did you know that people who start drinking before age 15 are five times more likely to develop alcohol abuse and dependence than people who start after age 21?

Do you have a teen at home that you suspect is drinking and partying on the weekends?

Are you worried that their habit might be getting out of control, but you don’t know how to broach the subject?

According to Psychology Today, “The teen brain craves new experiences. It is wired to be impulsive. For most people, this is a transitional period – you are impulsive in your youth and then learn moderation as you age.”

Allowing drugs and alcohol to influence you at a young age can have long lasting effects. Here are 5 reasons why substance abuse is especially dangerous for young people:

  1. Damage to the developing brain
  2. Risk of addiction
  3. Long-term health risk
  4. Behavioral health risk
  5. Social development

If you’re concerned your teen might be struggling with a substance abuse issue, or just want to get more educated about how your teen can make better choices, contact us today!

We want to help your child make better, more educated choices, and feel comfortable seeking the help they need if they have a problem. At Gratiot Psychological Services, our team of experts are friendly and trustworthy and will make you and your family feel right at home.

What is Marriage Counseling?

Marriage counseling is commonly called “couples therapy”. It is a type of psychotherapy where couples can go to identify and resolve conflicts and work on their relationships.

While involved in marriage counseling, couples get the chance to make thoughtful efforts to rebuild and strengthen their relationships, or to respectfully decide to part ways. Marriage counseling is generally a short-term type of therapy and sessions usually include both partners.

Some therapists will do marriage counseling with one partner for a session and the other partner at different time. Some marriage counselors will split the hour in half and meet with each person separately. This gives the marriage counselor time to see the marriage from each individual’s point of view. Generally, the way the marriage counseling sessions are held, depends on the situation within the marriage.

Why is Marriage Counseling Done?

Marriage counseling is available to all types of couples within an intimate relationship regardless of sexual orientation or marriage status. Some couples decide to attend marriage counseling to strengthen their relationship and to gain a better understanding of their partner.

Other individuals who might seek marriage counseling include couples who are planning on getting married. Attending marriage counseling before the wedding can help couples to gain a deeper understanding of one another and to work on differences in the relationship before making a big commitment to each other.

Other reasons couples seek marriage counseling include communication problems, sexual difficulties, conflicts about child rearing, blending families, substance abuse, anger, and infidelity. Sometimes marriage counseling may also help in domestic abuse cases. However, if the abuse has escalated to the point someone is afraid, marriage counseling is not the place to be. In those situations, the abused individual should contact the police, local shelter, crisis center, or emergency support.

How to Prepare for Marriage Counseling

The main preparation needed for marriage counseling is to find the right marriage counselor for you and your significant other. Start by asking your primary care doctor if they know of any marriage counselors near you. Sometimes family and friends may also know of great marriage counselors. When choosing your marriage counselor, ask questions about the marriage counselors’ education and experience. Find out where the marriage counselor is located. What their office hours are. Find out if the marriage counselor is available in case of an emergency. You should also ask your potential marriage counselor about the treatment plan. How many sessions should you expect to have? How long is each session? Also some very important questions to ask are about fees and insurance. How much does it cost per session? What does your insurance plan cover for mental health services?

What Should You Expect from Marriage Counseling?

Marriage counseling will help couples to work on open communication, problem solving, and how to discuss differences rationally. It may be hard to talk about your problems, just know your marriage counselor will be there to help referee any situation that arises. Sometimes your partner may not want to go. It is ok to go by yourself. You have a chance to learn about your personal reactions and behaviors. When attending marriage counseling, you may have homework. Your marriage counselor may suggest communications exercises for you to practice at home to reinforce what you have learned in marriage counseling. Seeking marriage counseling can be tough, but most individuals find the experience insightful and empowering. You cannot just ignore your problems and hope they get better. The first step is always the hardest but it is worth taking.

Contact Gratiot Psychological Services for Marriage Counseling in Alma

If you think you and your partner could benefit from marriage counseling, don’t wait. Our experienced therapists are ready to talk to you and help you and your relationship! Contact us today to get started.

Dealing with Questions about Recovery

Are you currently seeing a therapist for depression, anxiety, or for another mental health issues? Are you open with your friends and family about seeing a therapist?

Trying to maintain relationships while attending therapy can be tricky. You’re trying to work through internal issues while at the same time balancing work life and home life. Hopefully, you have friends and family who are supportive of your journey to better mental health, but even those who are closest to us and mean well can unknowingly add to the anxiety you’re feeling.

According to Psychology Today contributor Lily Bailey, recovery from mental illness isn’t always linear.

“So what’s it like now that you’re better?”

This was a question Bailey said she received daily from friends, family members, and coworkers. Bailey, receiving treatment for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, was never quite sure how to answer.

She writes about starting Cognitive Behavioral Therapy: “There’s something I don’t say [to questions about her recovery]. Something I keep to myself, because people seem to like happy endings that leave them feeling fuzzy and inspired. They don’t want to hear that you’ve written a story about your recovery with a messy little epilogue: ‘I’m not actually recovered.’ Or worse: ‘Well actually, I slipped back again this weekend I spent two days sleeping so I didn’t have to engage with compulsions.’”

Do you find that you have a hard time being honest with people about your recovery, even when you know they care about you?

Are you worried that your support system might disappear?

Bailey writes, “From now on when presented with The Question, I will say this: ‘Being better is great. I’m not totally recovered though. Sometimes I have terrible days. I am still ‘journeying’ […] and I have a lot to learn.”

If you’re just beginning your therapy journey, we want to help you. You don’t have to do it alone! Our expert therapists will create a recovery program specifically for you and your needs.

At Gratiot Psychological Services, we know that your journey is just beginning, and may take months, or even years. We promise to be there for you every step of the way, no matter how many ups and downs you experience.

“Thank you for helping me to get through the hardest times of my life. The advice and good counsel gave me what I needed to get on with life and get thriving again. You have my gratitude.” – Tim

If you are seeking therapy in Alma or the surrounding communities, please give us a call. We can help you get your life back.


Signs of a Substance Abuse Problem

Are you or a loved one struggling with substance abuse?

Are you aware of the signs of an addiction?

Do you think you’re in need of professional help or substance abuse therapy?

Substance abuse is a serious issue that affects many Americans each year.

Signs of a substance abuse problem include:

  • Failure to fulfill major obligations at work, school, or home such as repeated absences or poor work performance related to substance use
  • Frequent use of substances in situations that could be potentially hazardous, i.e., driving a car, operating heavy machinery when impaired, etc.
  • Frequent legal problems due to substance abuse such as arrests
  • Continued use of substances despite having persistent arguments with family and friends about the consequences of intoxication or drug use

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), “drug abuse is highest among people in their late teens and twenties. In 2013, 22.6 percent of 18 to 20 year-olds reported using an illicit drug in the past month.”

Addiction of any kind can be treated effectively with treatment focused on the individual person, rather than directed by their drug(s) of choice. Counseling and behavioral therapies are highly utilized, and are widely considered the best available treatment options for drug abuse.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction and need help starting the recovery process, we can help! Our team of doctors and licensed psychologists will put together a substance abuse therapy plan that works for you and your unique situation.

Don’t wait, contact us right away if you need help at 989-796-4555.

4 Common Myths about Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Have you heard of cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) but aren’t really sure what it means?

Do you wonder if CBT treatments could help you with mood disorders?

Are you having a hard time sorting through the myths to get to the facts?

According to Psychology Today, “Cognitive behavioral therapy is a form of psychotherapy that treats problems and boosts happiness by modifying dysfunctional emotions, behaviors, and thoughts.”

Unlike traditional psychoanalysis, CBT focuses encouraging patients to change destructive patterns of behavior.

4 common myths about cognitive behavioral therapy are:

Myth: Cognitive behavioral therapy is mechanical and too technique driven.
Fact: While CBT does look to scientific evidence when available, it also prioritizes the relationship, rapport, and a working connection between a patient and his or her psychologist.

Myth: Cognitive behavioral therapy only treats symptoms, but not the whole person.
Fact: When done properly, CBT is not just about reducing symptoms. According to Psychology Today, “we are social beings whose relationships and interpersonal connections are vital parts of our lives.” When symptoms (both physical and emotional) are treated properly, the whole person improves as a result.

Myth: The past is unimportant.
Facts: Cognitive behavioral therapists are very interested in their client’s past experiences and history, because life experiences shape and influence us to be who we are. A good cognitive behavioral therapist will strive to understand all social and psychological factors that might be relevant to a patient’s treatment.

Myth: CBT is limited by available scientific evidence.
Fact: While it’s true that cognitive behavioral therapy tries to set its course using research findings, it is by no means limited. In addition to understanding techniques and methods used in psychology, a good psychologist will also often use some form of data to drive treatment.

If you think cognitive behavioral therapy can help you with mood and behavioral disorders, we want to help. Our experienced psychologists will create a treatment plan tailored especially for your needs. Give us a call today to get started!

Differences between Worry and Anxiety

Have you been feeling overwhelmed, stressed, or depressed?

Are you struggling to describe your feelings or are you tired of having your feelings dismissed as just being “worried”?

People often use the terms “worry” and “anxiety” interchangeably, but doctors say they are very different psychological traits. Although they are both associated with a general sense of concern, the way we experience them is quite different.

The five main differences between worry and anxiety disorder, according to Psychology Today, are:

  1. We tend to experience worry in our heads and anxiety in our bodies. Worry tends to be more focused on thoughts in our heads, while anxiety is more physical in that we feel it throughout our bodies.
  2. Worry tends to be specific while anxiety is more diffuse. For example, we worry about getting to the airport on time (a specific threat), but we feel anxious about traveling – a vaguer, more general concern.
  3. Worry is verbally focused while anxiety includes verbal thoughts and mental imagery. This difference is important, as emotional mental images associated with anxiety provoke a greater cardiovascular response than emotional verbal thoughts, such as those associated with worry. This is another reason why we experience anxiety throughout the body.
  4. Worry often triggers anxiety problem solving but anxiety does not. Worry can lead us to think about solutions and strategies for dealing with a given situation. Anxiety is more like a hamster wheel that spins us around, but doesn’t lead us to productive solutions.
  5. Worry creates mild emotional distress, anxiety can create severe emotional distress. Anxiety is simply a much more powerful, disruptive, and problematic psychological state than worry.

Do any of those five differences stand out to you? Have you experienced feelings like those described above?

If you’ve experienced feelings that you think are closer to anxiety than just general worries, call us at Gratiot Psychological Services. Our experienced team of doctors will sit down with you and come up with a plan to help you deal with your anxiety disorder in Alma.

If you or a loved one is struggling with anxiety, you don’t have to do it alone! Contact us today for an appointment at 989-796-4555. We can help you get on the right path to recovery.