Posts Tagged Addiction
I recently attended an annual dinner/forum for a local non-profit group which focused on Drug Abuse Prevention. We’ve all heard, or experienced first-hand, the devastating effects of drug abuse on family, employment, education, and just about every other facet of human life. What we don’t always hear about are the amazing efforts by some making an incredible impact on prevention. By taking small steps to identify risk factors, especially for our youth, we can have a tremendous impact. At the forum, one of the panelists made a great point about how parents and doctors don’t ask the difficult questions, and often times because they are afraid of the answer, or maybe they are suffering themselves. Why do our doctors have no problem asking us about our diets and suggesting cholesterol screenings, but very seldom ask us a simple question like, “How are you feeling emotionally?” or, “Does your child seem to be fitting in, and participating in a healthy way?” When we look at diabetes and heart disease compared to major depression or substance abuse disorders only a small fraction of those suffering from behavioral disorders are actually being diagnosed and treated compared with their medical counterparts.
As the prescription drug epidemic continues to rise we need to do more in the area of prevention. Here are some wonderful resources for prescription drug abuse prevention from our friends at Peer Assistance Services:
Manager, Business Development
In over 35 years of working with people on making change, improving their performance, and living more fully it is still interesting to me how many people persist in doing the same self-defeating actions over and over despite saying they want to improve, grow, or change for the better (whatever that means). So the following are four questions worth asking yourself if you want to improve your performance in some area of your life.
- Situation Questions – Tell me about your life? How is it working now?
- Problem Questions – Can we be specific about what is not working? Are you concerned about your current quality of performance?
- Implication Questions – What happens if you don’t do something different?
- Need-Payoff Questions – If you act and it improves – how does that impact your life?
Take time to reflect on these questions, write down your answers, and be curious about where this may take you. If you find yourself resisting the questions or process, look more deeply into that instead.
It’s up to you….as they say “no one can do your push-ups for you.”
Exchange love and happiness with everyone you meet today.
Robert A. Mines, Ph.D.
CEO & Psychologist
The book, Spark, by John J. Ratey, M.D. is the holy grail of research applications related to the interaction of exercise, neuroplasticity, and performance. The information on brain chemistry changes in the areas of learning, addictions, anxiety, depression, women’s issues, ADHD, and aging is priceless. The essence of the book is that the data indicated the brain is able to create new neuronal connections, grow new nerve cells throughout life, manage major psychological conditions, pain conditions, and learning is significantly enhanced through exercise. Ratey stated that “exercise is the single most powerful tool you have to optimize your brain function”- based on hundreds of research studies (p.245). Ratey suggested that the more fit you get (regardless of where you start), the “ more resilient your brain becomes and the better it functions both cognitively and psychologically. If you get your body in shape, your mind will follow” (p. 247).
How much is enough? Ratey stated that walking is enough. Low-intensity exercise is at 55 to 65% of maximum heart rate, moderate is 65-75% and high intensity is 75-90%. “The process of getting fit is all about building up your aerobic base” (p.251). Ratey goes on to discuss the role of strength training and flexibility as important elements of optimizing your brain chemistry and hormone levels.
What does this have to do with optimizing your performance at work and in all areas of your life? Everything! Get started today and stick with it.
Have a day filled with optimal brain chemistry,
Robert A. Mines, Ph.D.
CEO & Psychologist
I ran across some interesting information on the role of niacin, depression, and alcoholism in performance at www.doctoryourself.com. It is well documented that depression and/or alcoholism may negatively affect performance across just about any domain one can perform in. In the treatment of depression and alcoholism there are very effective cognitive-behavioral psychotherapy interventions. In addition, exercise and medication may add additional therapeutic effects. The role of nutrition may have further potentiating influence.
According to this site, Bill W., the founder of AA, was successfully treated for depression with 3,000 mg of niacin a day. Unfortunately, this information has not been widely discussed or published in the media. I would be interested to hear from any of you who have used niacin as a means of treating depression or alcoholism and what your results were. Please let us at MINES know.
Have a day filled with mindfulness,
Robert A. Mines, Ph.D.
CEO & Psychologist
Overcoming any addiction is often a life-long journey filled with as many peaks as there are valleys. Getting support from your family, friends, and treatment providers is an important part of maintaining sobriety. If you are looking for additional support check out these free resources at http://store.samhsa.gov/home . As always, we’re here to help.
~The HealthPsych Team
In recent HR publications, there has been a new addiction highlighted. This addiction is becoming more and more common and is typically seen in a positive light but can certainly have detrimental effects. Workaholism affects an estimated 30% of the general population and is characterized by a dependence on work (Elowe, 2009). A recent Harvard Business Review study produced statistics about workaholism: nearly 35% of higher earners work more than 60 hours per week and 10% work an average of 80 hours per week. An extreme worker is one who works 60 hours per week with tight deadlines and may have lots of subordinates and responsibility for profit (Pfadenhauer, 2007).
Workaholism is similar to other addictions in many respects. Workaholics may sneak around work, they may lose interest in other activities, and they may constantly think about how much they prefer to be working. Workaholics even have the perfect vices to keep them in contact with work – smart phones and laptops. In addition, the workaholic is further bred by a culture that reinforces success, overachieving, and the importance of accomplishments. Most workers who fall into this “workaholic” or “extreme” worker category are given constant praise, opportunities, and higher wages (Osterweil & Hitti, 2011).
So, higher wages, being successful – wow! Sounds great! Now, what’s the flip side? Well, there are negative implications of workaholism as well. Certainly, there have been notable effects on ones’ health; the workaholic may experience higher rates of anger, depression, anxiety, and even psychosomatic issues. In addition to these unpleasant effects on ones’ health, the workaholic may strain or even ruin family relationships and friendships (Osterweil & Hitti, 2011).
Much like other addictions, workaholics are often in denial. Remember, this is the worker who refuses to take time off of work, thinks about how much they want to be at work while on their cruise, or puts off their son’s games to meet important deadlines. Big picture: they are so embedded in work that they can’t even imagine asking for help or setting better boundaries (Osterweil & Hitti, 2011).
There are some small steps that employers can take to encourage employees to enjoy a work-life balance. Only allow personal time off (vacation, sick, personal, etc) to accrue so high. Also, consider not allowing employees to “cash out” their accrued time so they “use it or lose it.” Don’t set precedence that hours worked correlates to more success in the company. Acknowledge that your healthier, happier employees will likely be more efficient.
Are you a workaholic? Take this quiz…
Daniél C. Kimlinger, MHA
Human Resources Specialist
Elowe, J. (2010). Workaholism: Between Illusion and Addiction [Abstract]. Clinique Psychiatrique, 4(36), 285-293.
Osterweil, N., & Hitti, M. (2011). Are You a Workaholic? You might as well face it — you’re addicted to work. Could your workaholism be hurting you? In Health and Balance. Retrieved April 19, 2011, from WebMD website: http://www.webmd.com/balance/guide/are-you-a-workaholic
Pfadenhauer, D. (2007, June 4). Workaholism, the New Addiction. In Strategic HR Lawyer. Retrieved April 19, 2011, from EP Advisors website: http://www.strategichrlawyer.com/weblog/2007/06/workaholism_the.html
In my line of work as an organizational consultant, I often get to see the impact of having an impaired individual in the workplace. Now, because this month’s wellness theme is “Overcoming Addictions” you might ask yourself, “What does an organizational development consultant have to do with working with people who are struggling with addictions?” It’s a reasonable question, especially if one’s definition of addictions pertains to the classic substances that people associate with addictions such as drugs, alcohol, tobacco, or gambling.
While I do work with teams who have had to deal with the consequences of having an impaired colleague, more often than not, the types of “addictions” that I get asked to consult on have to do with counterproductive behaviors that create psychological toxicity in the workplace.
If we think of addictions in the broad context of “being enslaved to a habit or practice or to something that is psychologically or physically habit-forming” then I can affirm that I do work with people who make a “habit” out of engaging in unskillful behaviors. The behaviors can include, but are not limited to: yelling and screaming, diffusing responsibility, conflict avoidance, defensiveness, micromanaging, or speaking to people in a way that comes across as demeaning or condescending.
In the world of business psychology, we focus on the intersection of human behaviors and business systems. If a person habitually engages in a way that is unskillful it can create a hostile work environment. Think of it as “secondhand smoke” in that those types of behaviors are a toxin in the work environment and have a negative effect on everyone.
Our division offers trainings on how to effectively deal with counterproductive behaviors and workshops that are designed to minimize the stressors that often trigger unskillful behavior. In addition, for individuals who are truly invested in making positive changes, enhancing their work relationships, and “kicking the habit’ of engaging in counter productive behaviors, we offer individualized executive coaching. Visit www.bizpsych.com for more.