The Meadows Blog

Depression & Anxiety

Depression & Anxiety (12)

Monday, 02 October 2017 12:38

National Depression Screening Day

October 5, 2017 may be the day that changes your future. Each year during Mental Illness Awareness Week, National Depression Screening Day is held as an education and screening event to bring awareness of the signs of depression and other mental health issues. By raising public awareness of behavioral and mental health issues, we can reduce the stigma and change lives.

Although depression may make you feel isolated and alone, statistics show you are not. Major depression is one of the most common mental illnesses, affecting 6.7% (more than 16 million) of American adults each year.

Individuals suffering from depression often lack the motivation to get out of bed and can lose interest in the activities they once enjoyed. Since depression causes individuals to feel as if they are carrying a burden no one else can comprehend, those suffering from the disorder will isolate themselves from loved ones and trusted friends.

Rock band Linkin Park’s frontman, Chester Bennington, and Soundgarden’s lead vocalist, Chris Cornell, were good friends who’d toured and performed together. Unfortunately, their association recently became tragic, as Bennington committed suicide on Cornell’s birthday. This came not even two months after the Soundgarden singer took his own life.

By Lindsay Merrell, Therapist, Remuda Ranch at The Meadows

Since the years of my internship, working with patients facing suicidal thoughts has been concerning, challenging, and inspiring. Individuals struggling with such hopelessness come to professionals in desperate need of relief from what is starting to feel like an inevitable outcome. Our responsibility as professionals is to be persistently and empathically interested in the individual’s struggle. Our curiosity gives them the courage to look at the very pain they fear.

Wednesday, 21 September 2016 00:00

Suicide Prevention: Getting Help and Finding Hope

September is National Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Alarmingly, the CDC recently reported that the number of suicides in the United States has been on the rise since 1999 among both men and women and in all age groups, and is the 10th leading cause of death. Suicide and suicidal ideation are often misunderstood, especially by those who may have never struggled with mental illness or addiction—although some experts say that most people have at least though about suicide at one point or another. It’s important to understand the risk factors and warning signs of suicide and to intervene if you know someone who needs help.

If you are currently in a crisis and feel that you have no reason to keep living, please call 1-800-273-TALK or go to to chat with someone online now.

The Mind of a Suicidal Person

In his book, The Suicidal Mind, Edwin Shneidman describes 10 commonalities among people who attempt or commit suicide.

  1. Common Purpose: A person who is having suicidal thoughts is seeking a solution to a problem that is causing them extreme emotional pain and suffering.
  2. Common Goal: The ultimate goal of suicide is an end to consciousness. People who have reached this point in their suffering may believe it is the only possible solution to the problem.
  3. Common stimulus: Thoughts of suicide and attempted suicide are typically the result of psychological pain that the person finds unacceptable and unbearable.
  4. Common Stressor: People who are suicidal often feel a sense of frustration over unmet psychological needs. For example, they may have a need for achievement, but feel they always fail; a need for nurturing, but feel that no one cares about them; or a need for connection, but feel that no one can ever understand them.
  5. Common Emotion: People having suicidal thoughts feel hopeless and helpless. They may also feel like they are not able to be “saved” or not worth saving.
  6. Common Cognitive State: Suicidal people tend to live in a state of ambivalence. They want to die, but at the same time, they want to be rescued.
  7. Common Perceptual State: People who are considering suicide often see their as being constricted. They often think they only have two choice—either continue suffering or die.
  8. Common Action: People who are having thoughts of suicide are typically trying to escape. They may see death as the ultimate escape that goes far beyond attempts to escape by running away from home, quitting a job, deserting the military or leaving a spouse or partner.
  9. Common Interpersonal Act: Most people who intend to commit suicide leave clues. They may show signals of distress, talk often about feeling of hopelessness or ask for help.
  10. Common Styles of Coping: A person’s present and past tendencies toward all or nothing thinking, escapism, control and other types of problematic coping styles might indicate a greater risk for suicidal ideation.

Who is Most at Risk for Suicide?

Although people who have considered or attempted suicide share many of these commonalties, they can also have many differences. People of all gender identities, ages, incomes, and ethnicities can be at risk for suicide.

Sometimes suicide is triggered by long-term factors, like childhood trauma, and sometimes it is triggered by more immediate factors, like recent hardships or stressful life events. Sometimes suicidal tendencies are brought on by mental illness, and sometimes it’s brought on by a complex interplay of several of these factors simultaneously.

However, most people at risk of suicide tend to share some characteristics. Some of the main risk factors for suicide are…

  • Depression
  • Addiction
  • A prior suicide attempt
  • A family history of mental illness and/or addiction
  • A family history of suicide
  • A history of domestic violence
  • A history of sexual abuse
  • Incarceration
  • Being exposed to others suicidal behavior in your family or community

How Can I Help Someone Who is Suicidal?

If you know someone who is contemplating suicide, contact a crisis line, get them to the nearest hospital emergency room, or call 911. If you can’t get them to the hospital right away, it’s important not to leave them alone. Stay with them, and if you can, remove any access they may have to firearms, medications, or anything that they could use to end their lives.

If you or someone you love is at higher risk for suicide, the National Alliance on Mental Illness has some excellent tips for developing a Wellness Recovery Action Plan to refer to in case of a suicidal crisis.

Treatment for Suicidal Behaviors and Suicidal Ideation

For someone who’s thought are consumed with ending his or her life the process of finding treatment can be intimidating and confusing. Some people who fit this description actually might not meet the requirements for entering into an inpatient mental health program like the ones we offer at The Meadows. That’s because there’s a difference between individuals who are actively suicidal and those who are having suicidal thoughts.

Generally speaking, those who are experiencing suicidal ideation have had thoughts about ending their lives but have no real plans to do so. Those who are actively suicidal tend to have plans laid and out and have taken steps toward ending their lives.

Typically, when a person contacts an inpatient hospital or program to discuss their issues the intake specialist will go over your past history and the precipitating events that initiated the call. If the intake specialist finds that the person is actively suicidal and in danger of harming him or herself, they may recommend that they be admitted to an inpatient treatment program that can provide acute care and around-the-clock direct monitoring.

If the intake specialist believes that the person can be safely and effectively treated in a less intensive setting, they may recommend a partial hospitalization (PHP) or residential treatment program. People who have been in an acute, hospital inpatient setting can also enter PHP or residential treatment program once they have stabilized and gotten clearance from their doctor(s).

If you’d like to learn more about treatment options for yourself or for a loved one who is experiencing suicidal thoughts, feel free to give us a call at 866-331-7179. We’d be happy to help in any way we can.

You often hear people say that Americans live in a celebrity-obsessed culture. We tend to view being famous— or even just generally well-known— as the height of achievement. We sometimes also assume that once you’ve reached the height of fame you leave all “regular people” problems behind. “If you’re a celebrity, you have a lot of money, and if you have a lot of money, you can make any problem go away,” is often the belief.

Then, when celebrities hit a rough patch in life and fall, proving themselves to be all too human, we can be less than empathetic: “They have everything! Why would they risk throwing it all away like this? What do they have to be depressed about?” the water cooler chatter often goes.

Michael Phelps’ recent feature story on ESPN’s SportsCenter, is a touching and important reminder that no one is completely immune from the effects of childhood trauma. No amount of talent, money, or recognition can take away the pain that’s rooted in your past. As a matter of fact, oftentimes the spoils of success can further complicate those issues. “I have all of this, so why am I so deeply unhappy? Why do I still feel worthless? Why do I only want to drink more (or party more, hide away more, or work more) even though I know it isn’t healthy?”

michael phelps

Watch the video here

The bad news is that no matter who you are, you can get caught up in the downward spiral of depression and addiction. But, the good news is that no matter who you are, you have the power to overcome your depression and/or addiction. Sometimes, all it takes is the courage to stand up, like Michael Phelps did, and admit that you are struggling and that you are scared. There’s nothing shameful about asking for help.

If you think that you or someone you love needs help right now, give us a call at 800-244-4949.

If you spend any time at all on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Tumblr, chances are that you’ve heard of Pokémon Go, the smartphone-based augmented reality game that is taking the world by storm. You’ve probably seen many exclamatory posts from players of that game about snagging “gyms” and hitting “Pokéspots” along with many pictures like this one…


… and thought, “What the heck are they talking about?”

What is Pokémon Go?

We’ll leave it to some of the many explainers available online to give you the finer details of this phenomenon. For our purposes, suffice it to say that Pokémon Go is a game that uses the GPS capabilities on your smartphone to create a virtual world full of imaginary creatures that appear on top of the real world around you. So to play the game, you have to actually walk around, explore places, and look for Pokémon to appear through the screen on your phone.

Many Pokémon enthusiasts have said through social media posts, that the game is helping to improve their mental health. Those struggling with depression seem to be most likely to tout the game’s benefits, saying that it’s motivated them to go outside, get some exercise, and socialize with others.


Can Pokémon Go “Cure” Depression?

Some research does seem to indicate that games can help people become more motivated and more resilient when facing day-to-day challenges. The two regions of the brain that are most stimulated by game play, the reward pathways and the hippocampus, are the same regions that tend to be under-stimulated in the brains of people who are clinically depressed. So, people who are struggling with depression may often feel better when they are playing games like Pokémon Go and others.

It’s important to note, however, that relieving the symptoms of depression is not the same thing as “curing” the depression. What also is unclear in many cases is whether the game is truly improving the depressed person’s overall mental health, or if they are simply trying to self-medicate with the game.

People who live with unresolved trauma often self-medicate in multiple ways. Many addictions we treat in The Meadows programs, from drugs and alcohol to sex and pornography can be described as attempts to self-medicate. Turning to substances, processes or behaviors (like, gaming, gambling, or sex) to soothe the symptoms that result from your trauma or depression can be dangerous.

If you use Pokémon Go to “escape” from your pain or discomfort, to block negative feelings, or to avoid facing your problems head-on, you may end up making things worse.

In order to truly recover from depression, you have to uncover the root causes of any negative beliefs you hold about yourself and the world. Often, they are rooted in childhood trauma that needs to be addressed and resolved before you can truly experience long-lasting recovery.

Otherwise, the relief you originally experienced from the game will start to fade, and the more depressed you feel the more time you will spend playing the game. The more time you spend playing the game, the less time you’ll spend addressing the real problems that both cause and accompany your depression. In the worst cases, you may end up struggling with a full-blown gaming addiction. Get Help for Depression

If you’re experiencing symptoms of depression, and playing Pokémon Go has helped you to feel a little more hopeful and a little more like yourself, that’s great! But, it’s important not to rely on the game alone for relief. Recovery from depression requires a multi-faceted approach to treatment which can include therapy, neurofeedback and biofeedback techniques, trauma work, and sometimes medication. The Claudia Black Center for Young Adults at The Meadows (and all of The Meadows programs) offers all of these options at their treatment centers in Arizona, along with a thorough assessment to determine which might work best for you.

Give us a call today at 855-333-6075 or send us a message through our website to learn more.

Tuesday, 28 June 2016 00:00

Facing Codependence and Depression

Codependency is an emotional disorder that causes people to ignore their own needs while constantly fulfilling the needs of others. Someone struggling with codependence may forfeit his or her own well-being and values in the pursuit of assisting someone else. It’s not surprising that this disorder would often coexist alongside depression, which is often characterized by a persistent sense of hopelessness and low self-worth.

When you’re struggling with depression and codependence it can feel like nothing is ever going to change. But, once you learn how to accept yourself and be fully present in your day-to-day life amazing transformations can, and do, happen.

Watch the video to learn how one person’s transformation happened during treatment at The Meadows.

Lori was in a deep, dark depression after her marriage of 27 years ended. She was filled with fear and was experiencing suicidal tendencies. The Meadows helped her learn to sit with her pain, process it, and find hope for the next chapter of her life.

Learning how to accept and release negative emotions is one of the keys to overcoming depression, addiction, and other disorders. At The Meadows we give you the tools you need to find your balance and your inherent self-worth. Call today for more information at 800.244.4949.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016 00:00

Life Beyond Depression

Facing severe anxiety and depression can feel a lot like being stuck in quicksand. Every moment is a struggle, and the harder you fight, the deeper you sink.

When Amy first came to The Meadows, she felt as though she’d reached the lowest point in her life. But, with help from a team of experienced “coaches” and her peers, she was able to learn new strategies for managing her anxiety, depression, and PTSD, and to believe in her own power to pull herself out of the quicksand.

Watch as Amy explains more about how she began to look forward to the next phase of her life at The Meadows:

If you or someone you know needs help overcoming anxiety and depression, give us a call today at 800-244-4949 or reach out online.

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