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Addiction Recovery Anxiety & Stress Cancer & Medical Critical Incidents Death in Workplace Executive Social Intelligence First Responders Grief Life Transitions Survivors of Suicide Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress

Ben Carrettin – West Houston

Ben Carrettin, a seasoned professional in the mental health and addiction field since 1992, is the driving force behind Practice Improvement Resources, LLC. Under this umbrella, he has established two initiatives: Live Better Live Now and Texas Recovery Support. His extensive experience encompasses various settings, including private practice, intensive outpatient programs, partial hospitalization programs, full inpatient hospitalization and consultations for business and legal. He has served in several leadership positions in both business and healthcare.

Educationally, Carrettin holds an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of St. Thomas as well as a Masters in Clinical Psychology at Texas Southern University under a full scholarship. He is a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor (LPC-S) in the State of Texas, a National Board Certified Counselor (NCC) and a National Board Certified Master Addiction Counselor (MAC). Additional credentials include Certified Anger Resolution Therapist (CART), Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM), advanced Cross-Cultural Communication with the Houston Language Cultural Centre and a sixteen week intensive program in pastoral care focusing on traumatic grief. 

Carrettin is also an Executive Social Intelligence (ESI) coach and consultant assisting leaders with a variety of issues from public speaking, organizational culture realignment, new hire screening as well as Voir Dire consultations for legal. He has also worked in healthcare business development and delivered specialized training for healthcare providers on topics such as social media and ethics.

Carrettin’s involvement extends beyond clinical practice; he actively participates in professional associations such as the Texas Society of Clinical Oncology (TxSCO), American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM), National Board of Certified Counselors (NBCC) and NAADAC; the National Association for Addiction Professionals. He has served as the Clinical Director for a Medical Detox, Program Director for a concierge Residential Treatment Center and Federal and State Network Manager for a major managed care organization. Carrettin has also served on numerous community boards, school boards and task forces within Harris County, Ft Bend County, and the greater Houston area.

His expertise spans an array of specialized areas, including neurology/biology, positive psychology, epigenetics, cancer resilience, cross-cultural adjustment, addiction recovery, disaster response / critical incidents, medical trauma, micro expressions and nonverbal cues, organizational development, and workplace violence. Carrettin offers not only counseling services but also behavioral analysis and solution-oriented services for businesses and legal entities. This includes providing consultation on jury selection (Voir Dire), pre-hire assessments, strategic public speaking, organizational culture development, strategic management for new managers and workforce merge / transitions.

In his private practice located in Memorial / West Houston, Carrettin offers individual, couples, and family counseling, with a focus on cancer patients, pre and post organ transplant recipients, emergency response professionals, addiction recovery, post traumatic stress, complex grief, intercultural conflicts and challenging life transitions. His unique blend of academic background and training, practical and professional experience, and a fierce commitment to ongoing professional development ensures that his clients receive high-quality, comprehensive support tailored to their specific needs.

Ben Carrettin quote on importance of community
Community is important
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Anxiety & Stress Body & Neuro Brain Critical Incidents First Responders Grief Life Transitions Loss

Ukraine War: The Emotional Toll on Citizens and Relief Workers

In recent years, the ongoing conflict in Ukraine has garnered global attention for its geopolitical implications and humanitarian crisis. Beyond the headlines and political discussions, it’s essential to shed light on the emotional impact of the war on the citizens of Ukraine and the brave relief workers who risk their lives to provide assistance. This article explores the profound emotional toll of the Ukraine war and delves into the mental health conditions that arise, along with the unique challenges faced in an active war zone.

The Emotional Impact on Citizens

Trauma and PTSD

The citizens of Ukraine have been living through the horrors of war for years. Frequent bombings, loss of loved ones, and the constant threat of violence create a climate of fear and trauma. Many individuals, especially children, are at risk of developing Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), characterized by flashbacks, nightmares, and severe anxiety. The psychological scars of war can last a lifetime.

Grief and Loss

The war in Ukraine has led to a significant loss of life, causing profound grief for countless families. The constant fear for the safety of loved ones and the difficulty in mourning properly due to the ongoing conflict can lead to complicated grief reactions, further deepening emotional wounds.

Displacement and Disconnection

Millions of Ukrainians have been internally displaced or forced to flee their homes. This displacement disrupts social networks and can lead to feelings of isolation and disconnection. Displaced citizens often struggle with a sense of belonging and face challenges in accessing basic services, such as healthcare and education.

Economic Hardships

The war has devastated Ukraine’s economy, leaving many citizens facing unemployment, poverty, and food insecurity. These economic stressors add another layer of emotional distress, leading to feelings of hopelessness and despair.

The Emotional Impact on Relief Workers

Compassion Fatigue

Relief workers, who often face harrowing scenes of suffering and loss, are at risk of compassion fatigue. Over time, witnessing the suffering of others can lead to emotional exhaustion, decreased empathy, and a sense of helplessness. This can severely impact their mental well-being and ability to provide effective assistance.

Moral Distress

Relief workers in war zones may encounter situations where they feel morally conflicted. They may be forced to make difficult decisions or witness injustices that go against their values. This moral distress can lead to feelings of guilt, anxiety, and moral injury, affecting their mental health.

Constant Threat

Relief workers in active war zones work in highly dangerous environments where the risk of injury or death is ever-present. This constant threat can lead to high levels of stress and anxiety, contributing to mental health challenges like depression and PTSD.

Challenges in Ukraine’s Active War Zone

Limited Access to Mental Health Support

In war-torn regions, access to mental health resources is often scarce. Stigmatization of mental health issues and a lack of trained professionals can make it challenging for both citizens and relief workers to seek and receive the help they need.

Ongoing Stressors

The unpredictability of conflict, including sudden escalations and ceasefires, creates ongoing stressors for everyone involved. These constant fluctuations in safety and security make it difficult to find stability and heal emotionally.

Long-Term Impact of Ukraine War

The emotional toll of war can have long-lasting effects, even after the conflict subsides. Rebuilding lives, communities, and mental health can be a daunting task, requiring sustained support and resources.

Final Comments

The war in Ukraine has not only resulted in physical destruction but has also left a trail of emotional devastation for its citizens and relief workers. PTSD, grief, displacement, and economic hardships are among the many emotional challenges faced by Ukrainian citizens, while relief workers grapple with compassion fatigue, moral distress, and constant threats to their safety.

In an active war zone, access to mental health support is limited, and the ongoing stressors make recovery a complex and lengthy process. As the world continues to address the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine, it’s crucial to recognize and prioritize the mental well-being of those affected by the conflict. Providing mental health resources and support is not just an act of compassion but a vital step in helping Ukraine heal and rebuild both its infrastructure and the emotional lives of its people.

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Addiction Recovery Anxiety & Stress Body & Neuro Brain Cancer & Medical Cancer Resilience Children & Grief Critical Incidents Death in Workplace Executive Social Intelligence First Responders Grief Life Transitions Loss Organ Transplant Pre & Post Surgical Terminal Illness Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Uncategorized Voir Dire Consultation

Ben Carrettin: Next Level Behavioral Health and Leadership Acumen

In the bustling city of Houston, Texas, one name stands out among the rest in the field of behavioral health and leadership consulting: Ben Carrettin. With over two decades of dedicated service, Ben holds two national board-certifications, is professionally licensed and has several other certifications as well. He is renowned for his expertise in helping individuals navigate the most complex and challenging aspects of life. His diverse range of clinical specialties, leadership experience and cross-cultural training has made him a trusted resource for people; personally, professionally and abroad.

A Journey of Compassion and Dedication

Ben Carrettin‘s journey into the world of behavioral health and leadership consulting began over 20 years ago, and since then, he has made a lasting impact on countless lives. His passion for helping people emerged as he embarked on a mission to provide guidance and support to those facing some of life’s most profound challenges.

Specializing in Healing and Resilience

One of Ben’s primary areas of specialization is working with individuals in recovery from addiction. His empathetic and evidence-based approach has helped many individuals find their path to sobriety, offering them hope and a chance at a brighter future. But Ben’s expertise doesn’t stop there.

He is also well-known for his work with those experiencing complicated grief and loss. Grief is a uniquely complex emotion, and Ben’s compassionate guidance helps people navigate the intricate web of emotions that accompany it. He provides strategies for healing and moving forward while honoring the memory of lost loved ones.

A Beacon of Support for Trauma Survivors

Traumatic events can leave lasting scars on an individual’s emotional life. Ben Carrettin has dedicated a significant portion of his career to working with survivors of traumatic events, offering a lifeline to those who have faced unimaginable challenges. In addition to assisting trauma survivors in his private practice, Ben has responded to many critical incidents in the field as a CISD, assisting survivors, volunteers and first responders. Whether personal or large scale, natural or a man made disaster, Ben’s knowledge, skills and unwavering support empowers survivors to rebuild their lives and find strength within themselves.

A Ray of Hope for Cancer and Organ Transplant Patients

Facing a cancer diagnosis or the prospect of an organ transplant can be an incredibly daunting experience. Ben’s work with cancer and organ transplant patients is a testament to his commitment to helping individuals and their families navigate these challenging journeys. He provides emotional support, coping strategies, and a sense of hope to those grappling with life-altering medical conditions.

Supporting Those Who Serve and Lead

In addition to his work with individuals facing personal challenges, Ben Carrettin also extends his expertise to support those who serve the community. He works closely with police officers, fire and rescue personnel, as well as various clergy and public figures. His leadership consulting services equip these professionals with the tools and strategies needed to navigate high-stress situations and lead with resilience.

International Diversity and Cross Cultural Adjustment

Professionals and their families who move to the US from other countries face a host of challenges and adjustments. The transitions they experience moving from one culture into another are complex and multifaceted. Ben has intensive, cross-cultural training and professional experience assisting individuals and families through these challenges and changes. He also works virtually with US professionals who are working abroad.

Executive Social Intelligence and Public Speaking for Leaders

Executive Social Intelligence coaching, or ESI, helps leaders strategically engage their colleagues and employees and better understand how to maneuver large scale events in the workplace such as downsizing, mergers, international expansion, leadership and structural changes and other organizational development challenges. Through this method, Ben also assists leaders in maximizing their intended message and goal when speaking whether internally or publicly.

Jury and Behavioral Consultant

In more recent years, Ben has been hired on several occasions for more specialized and out-of-the-box projects including assisting legal teams in preparing for and selecting jurors during voir dire and with business leaders seeking to assess the effectiveness and reliability of employee engagement patterns of key managers and directors during top leadership changes.

The Impact of Ben Carrettin

Ben Carrettin’s impact on the Houston community and beyond is immeasurable. His dedication to the well-being of individuals and the growth of leaders has transformed personal lives and professional organizations. His compassionate approach, combined with his extensive experience, has earned him a well-deserved reputation as a leading behavioral health professional and leadership consultant.

As Houston, Texas continues to evolve, Ben Carrettin remains a steadfast pillar of support for those in need. His work embodies the spirit of empathy, resilience, and transformation, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of all those he touches. Whether you’re on the path to recovery, dealing with loss, facing trauma, or seeking to enhance your leadership skills, Ben Carrettin is a name you can trust to guide you towards a brighter future.

(Originally presented as an introduction for Ben at a privately contracted Critical Incident response service to employees at the local office of a Texas-based company in Spring of 2017).

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Critical Incidents Death in Workplace Executive Social Intelligence First Responders Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress

Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM)

Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM): A Comprehensive Guide to Addressing Trauma

Critical incidents, whether they occur in the workplace, schools, public settings, or during larger-scale events, can have profound psychological and emotional impacts on individuals. These incidents can range from natural disasters and accidents to acts of violence and terrorism. In response to the psychological toll such events can take, Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) and Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) have emerged as valuable tools for mitigating the adverse effects of critical incident stress. This article explores what Critical Incident Stress is, the concepts of CISD and CISM, their applications in various settings, potential shortcomings, and the vital role of specialists with clinical expertise in addressing trauma and PTSD.

What is Critical Incident Stress?

Critical Incident Stress (CIS) refers to the psychological and emotional response individuals experience when exposed to extraordinary events that are outside their usual range of experiences. These incidents can overwhelm a person’s usual coping mechanisms, leading to distress, anxiety, and a wide range of emotional reactions. Common reactions to critical incidents include shock, anger, confusion, sadness, and even guilt.

Critical incidents can vary greatly in nature, from natural disasters like hurricanes and earthquakes to human-made tragedies such as workplace accidents, acts of terrorism, school shootings, or public emergencies. The intensity of the stress response often depends on the individual’s proximity to the incident, their personal involvement, and their resilience.

What is CISD (Critical Incident Stress Debriefing)?

CISD, or Critical Incident Stress Debriefing, is a structured and time-limited intervention designed to help individuals process their emotional reactions and cope with the psychological aftermath of a critical incident. CISD typically involves a small group of individuals who have experienced the same traumatic event. A trained facilitator guides the group through a structured debriefing process, which usually occurs within hours to a few days after the incident.

The primary goals of CISD are to:

  1. Provide a safe and supportive environment for individuals to express their thoughts and emotions related to the incident.
  2. Normalize their reactions by highlighting that their responses are typical in the aftermath of a critical incident.
  3. Educate participants about common stress reactions and coping strategies.
  4. Facilitate the sharing of experiences and emotions within the group.
  5. Help individuals identify and mobilize their own support systems.

CISD is typically conducted in several stages, including the introduction, fact phase, thought phase, reaction phase, symptom phase, teaching phase, and re-entry phase. Each phase serves a specific purpose in guiding participants through the debriefing process.

What is CISM (Critical Incident Stress Management)?

CISM, or Critical Incident Stress Management, encompasses a broader set of strategies and interventions aimed at addressing critical incident stress within organizations and communities. It includes not only CISD but also a range of proactive and follow-up interventions to support individuals and promote resilience. CISM may be applied in various settings, including businesses, schools, public institutions, and larger-scale events.

Key components of CISM include:

  1. Pre-Incident Education: Providing individuals with education and training on stress reactions, coping skills, and resilience-building before a critical incident occurs.
  2. Crisis Management Briefings: Conducting briefings immediately following a critical incident to provide essential information, resources, and initial support to those affected.
  3. Individual Crisis Intervention: Offering one-on-one support and counseling to individuals who require immediate assistance in coping with the trauma.
  4. Group Crisis Intervention: Conducting CISD sessions to help individuals process their reactions and emotions collectively.
  5. Family Crisis Intervention: Providing support to the families of individuals affected by a critical incident.
  6. Follow-Up and Resilience-Building: Offering ongoing support and interventions to ensure individuals continue to cope effectively and build resilience in the long term.

Applications of CISM in Various Settings

CISM and CISD have found applications in a wide range of settings, each with its unique requirements:

  1. Businesses: In the workplace, CISM can help employees cope with traumatic incidents, such as workplace accidents, robberies, or acts of violence. It supports the psychological well-being of employees, improves morale, and can reduce absenteeism and turnover.
  2. Schools: CISM is crucial in educational settings following traumatic events like school shootings, natural disasters, or the loss of a student or staff member. It helps students, teachers, and staff process their emotions, ensuring a safer and more supportive environment.
  3. Public Institutions: Public institutions, such as emergency services, law enforcement agencies, and healthcare organizations, rely on CISM to address the unique challenges faced by their personnel during critical incidents. It helps prevent burnout and supports the mental health of those who serve the community.
  4. Larger-Scale Events: During larger-scale events like natural disasters, terrorist attacks, or mass casualties, CISM is vital for providing immediate and ongoing support to affected individuals and communities. It facilitates the coordination of resources and interventions on a larger scale.

Potential Shortcomings of CISM

While CISM and CISD have proven valuable in many situations, they are not without their criticisms and potential shortcomings:

  1. Lack of Scientific Evidence: Some critics argue that the effectiveness of CISM and CISD lacks solid scientific evidence. More research is needed to determine their long-term impact on individuals’ psychological well-being.
  2. Inadequate Training: For CISM and CISD to be effective, facilitators must be properly trained and experienced in trauma response. Inadequately trained facilitators can unintentionally exacerbate distress or create unhelpful dynamics.
  3. Not Suitable for Everyone: CISM and CISD may not be suitable for all individuals or cultures. Some people may prefer alternative forms of support or counseling that better align with their needs and beliefs.

The Importance of Professional Clinical Expertise in Trauma

One crucial aspect of CISM and CISD that cannot be overstated is the importance of having specialists with clinical expertise in trauma and PTSD on the team. There is no substitute for professional and clinical training and a seasoned, expert with years of experience is a game changer. This is especially true when working with victims of violence, war zone survivors, natural and man-made disasters and the rescue teams who initially responded to these calls. Here are several reasons why clinical expertise is essential:

  1. Assessment and Diagnosis: Clinical experts can accurately assess and diagnose individuals who may be experiencing PTSD or other trauma-related disorders. This ensures that those in need receive appropriate clinical treatment.
  2. Treatment Options: Clinical experts can provide a range of evidence-based therapeutic interventions for individuals with PTSD and trauma-related conditions. These interventions may include cognitive-behavioral therapy, exposure therapy, and eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR).
  3. Medication Management: In some cases, medication may be a crucial component of treatment for PTSD. Clinical experts can prescribe and manage medication when necessary.
  4. Complex Cases: Critical incidents can sometimes result in complex and long-lasting trauma. Clinical expertise is essential for addressing these challenging cases and providing ongoing support.
  5. Integration with CISM: Clinical experts can work in tandem with CISM and CISD teams to ensure that individuals with acute stress reactions receive the appropriate level of care and support. They can help bridge the gap between immediate crisis intervention and long-term treatment.
Closing Remarks

Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) and Critical Incident Stress Debriefing (CISD) are invaluable tools for addressing the psychological impact of critical incidents in various settings, from businesses and schools to public institutions and larger-scale events. While they have demonstrated effectiveness, they are not without their potential shortcomings. To maximize their benefits, it is crucial to have specialists with clinical expertise in trauma and PTSD as part of the response team. These experts play a vital role in assessing, diagnosing, and providing appropriate treatment to individuals affected by critical incident stress, ensuring that they receive the care they need to recover and build resilience.

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Children & Grief Critical Incidents Death in Workplace First Responders Grief Life Transitions Loss Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress

The Traumatic Impact of a School Shooting

The traumatic impact of a school shooting is likely to continue long after the initial crisis has ended. School shootings have become a tragic reality in the United States, with numerous incidents occurring in recent years. These events have a profound psychological impact on children and communities, leaving lasting scars that can affect individuals for years to come. This essay will briefly explore the psychological impact of school shootings on children and communities, including the effects on mental health, social relationships, and overall well-being.

One of the most significant impacts of school shootings is on the mental health of children and communities. Children who witness or experience a school shooting may develop post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. These conditions can manifest in a variety of ways, including nightmares, flashbacks, and avoidance behaviors. Additionally, communities may experience a sense of collective trauma, leading to increased rates of depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues.


School shootings can also have a significant impact on social relationships. Children who experience a school shooting may struggle to form and maintain relationships with peers and adults. They may feel isolated and disconnected from others, leading to feelings of loneliness and social withdrawal. Additionally, communities may experience a breakdown in social cohesion, with individuals feeling a sense of distrust and fear towards others – something that effects the children and community for years to come.

The overall well-being of children and communities can also be deeply affected by a school shooting. Children who experience a school shooting may struggle with academic performance, attendance, and engagement in school. They may also experience physical symptoms such as headaches, stomachaches, and fatigue. Communities may experience a decline in economic and social well-being, with businesses and residents leaving the area due to safety concerns.

In summary, school shootings have a profound psychological impact on children and communities. The effects can be long-lasting and far-reaching, affecting mental health, social relationships, and overall well-being. It is essential for individuals and communities to come together to support those affected by school shootings and work towards preventing future incidents. This can include providing mental health services, promoting social cohesion, and advocating for gun control measures. By taking action, we can help mitigate the psychological impact of school shootings and create safer, healthier communities for all.

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Anxiety & Stress Critical Incidents First Responders Uncategorized

Post Traumatic Stress and First Responders

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that can develop after a person experiences or witnesses a traumatic event. First responders, such as police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians, are at a higher risk of developing PTSD due to the nature of their work. These individuals are often exposed to traumatic events on a regular basis, which can have a significant impact on their mental health and well-being.

One of the main causes of PTSD in first responders is exposure to traumatic events. These events can include natural disasters, accidents, acts of violence, and other traumatic incidents. First responders are often the first on the scene of these events, and they are responsible for providing immediate assistance and care to those affected. This can be a highly stressful and emotionally taxing experience, and it can lead to the development of PTSD.

Another factor that contributes to PTSD in first responders is the culture of their profession. Many first responders are trained to be strong and resilient in the face of adversity, and they may feel pressure to suppress their emotions and not seek help when they are struggling. This can lead to a sense of isolation and can make it difficult for first responders to seek the support they need.

Symptoms of PTSD in first responders can include flashbacks, nightmares, and intrusive thoughts related to the traumatic event. They may also experience feelings of anxiety, depression, and irritability, and they may have difficulty sleeping or concentrating. These symptoms can have a significant impact on a person’s ability to function in their personal and professional life.

It is important for first responders to seek help if they are experiencing symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress. This can include therapy, medication, and support from loved ones and colleagues. Many organizations have also implemented programs to support the mental health of first responders, including peer support groups and mental health resources.

In conclusion, PTSD is a serious mental health condition that can develop in first responders due to exposure to traumatic events and the culture of their profession. Symptoms of PTSD can have a significant impact on a person’s mental health and well-being, and it is important for first responders to seek help if they are experiencing these symptoms. Organizations can also play a role in supporting the mental health of first responders by implementing programs and resources to promote mental health and well-being.

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Addiction Recovery Anxiety & Stress Critical Incidents First Responders Uncategorized

The Human Brain: Frontal Lobe and Mid Brain

The Human Brain: Frontal Lobe and Mid Brain

The human brain is made up of many different parts, each with its own unique function. The frontal lobe and mid-brain are two of the most important regions of the brain, responsible for various critical functions. Though they are both parts of the human brain; frontal lobe and mid brain have some very different functions.

The frontal lobe is the larger of the two regions and is located at the front of the brain. This region is responsible for higher-level thinking, such as decision-making and problem-solving. Conversely, the mid-brain is located in the center of the brain and is responsible for more basic functions, such as movement and vision.

In recent years, scientists have made great strides in understanding how the brain works. We now know more about the different parts of the brain and their functions than ever before. And as our understanding of the brain grows, so too does our ability to treat different types of brain disorders.

What Is The Frontal Lobe?

The frontal lobe is the part of the brain that is responsible for many of our higher-level functions, such as planning, decision-making, and self-control. This area of the brain is particularly important in children, as it is still developing during the teenage years.

Functions Of The Frontal Lobe

The frontal lobe is one of the four major and most important lobe of the brain. It is located at the front of the brain and is responsible for a variety of tasks, including motor function, problem-solving, memory, emotions, and language. The frontal lobe is the largest of the four lobes and is divided into two sections: the left and right frontal lobes.

The frontal lobe is responsible for many of the body’s functions, including:
  • Motor function: The frontal lobe is responsible for controlling the body’s movement.
  • Problem-solving: The frontal lobe is responsible for processing information and making decisions.
  • Memory: The frontal lobe is responsible for storing memories.
  • Emotions: The frontal lobe is responsible for regulating emotions.
  • Language: The frontal lobe is responsible for producing and understanding language.
  • The personality function is responsible for our emotions and social interactions. This is the part of the brain that allows us to interact with others and experience the world around us.

Effects Of Damage To The Frontal Lobe

One of the most common effects of frontal lobe damage is problems with executive function. This can include difficulties with planning, organization, and decision-making. People with frontal lobe damage may also have trouble with short-term memory, and they may have difficulty understanding and using language. Additionally, some psychiatric disorders, such as schizophrenia, are thought to be associated with abnormalities in the frontal lobe.

Physical effects of frontal lobe damage can include weakness or paralysis on one side of the body, as well as problems with balance and coordination. In some cases, people with frontal lobe damage may also experience changes in their personalities and mood.

What Is Mid-Brain?

The mid-brain is a region of the brain that is located between the fore-brain and the hind-brain. The mid-brain is also responsible for many of the body’s automatic functions, such as regulating blood pressure and heart rate.

Function Of Mid-Brain

The mid-brain is responsible for a variety of important functions, including the regulation of sleep, body temperature, and blood pressure. It also plays a role in the processing of information from the senses and the control of movement. Additionally, the mid-brain is involved in the formation of memories and the generation of emotions.

Effects Of Damage To The Mid-Brain

Damage to the mid-brain can have a variety of effects depending on the location and severity of the injury. Damage to the mid-brain can result in a number of different symptoms, including problems with movement, balance, and coordination. This can make everyday activities difficult or even impossible. In severe cases, damage to the mid-brain can cause coma or death. Damage to the mid-brain can also cause paralysis and blindness.

Difference Between Forebrain And Mid-Brain

The human brain is the most fascinating organ. It is divided into three main parts – the hindbrain, the midbrain, and the forebrain – each of which serves a different purpose. The hindbrain is responsible for primitive functions like respiration and heart rate, while the midbrain controls more complex functions like movement and vision. The forebrain, which is the largest and most complex part of the brain, is responsible for higher functions like thought, emotion, and memory.

While all three parts of the brain are important, the frontal lobe and the midbrain are particularly interesting when compared to each other. The mid-brain is responsible for processing information from the senses, while the frontal lobe is responsible for higher-level cognitive functions such as decision-making, planning, and problem-solving. 

The forebrain is located at the front of the brain, while the midbrain is located in the middle of the brain. The frontal lobe is larger and more complex than the mid-brain, and it contains more convolutions (or folds). The mid-brain, on the other hand, is smaller and simpler in structure.

While there are many differences between the mid-brain and the frontal lobe, they are both essential for normal brain function. Without either one of these structures, the brain would not be able to properly process information or perform complex tasks.

Summary

As it has been mentioned before, the forebrain and mid-brain have many key differences, but none of them can be overestimated. Both of them have their own importance and essential part of the brain. The forebrain is responsible for the higher cognitive functions, while the mid-brain is in charge of the more basic functions. In conclusion, both the forebrain and mid-brain are essential for the proper functioning of the brain.

Learn more about how addiction impacts the brain

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Anxiety & Stress Children & Grief Critical Incidents Death in Workplace First Responders Grief Loss Uncategorized

Everything You Need To Know About Mass Shootings and What You May Experience Afterward

Everything You Need To Know About Mass Shootings and What You May Experience Afterward

With a steady increase in mass shootings and violence in the United States, more and more people are left as primary or secondary victims  to these heinous crimes. 

Shootings aren’t anything new to the US, sadly. The rate at which they’re occurring has drastically increased over the years leaving a gaping hole in resources and education for those struggling in the aftermath. 

What exactly is “normal” to feel in the days, weeks, and months after being witness to a shooting event?

Is the way we cope with this trauma different for kids vs. adults?

Let’s talk about it. 

What You Need To Know About The Increase In Mass Shootings:

Why is there such a spike in mass shootings all of the sudden?

Is there a common underlying problem, or is the media just choosing to cover more of these stories than ever before?

Is it because we all have the latest news at our fingertips – making these tragic stories more accessible?

The term mass shooting refers to any situation in which a gunman shoots 4 or more strangers in a sudden attack. While the attack is unexpected the perpetrator may have been planning their crime for months or years before the incident. 

In addition,  in order for a shooting to be considered a ‘mass shooting’ it must occur in any public space such as a school, shopping mall, store, or workplace. While there may be a target of the attack (such as an employee targeting his boss) others are wounded or killed in the process. 

So, why such an increase?

There hasn’t been a single week in 2022 without some instance of a mass shooting. (look at the data on school shootings in 2022)

It’s a heartbreaking statistic that shows that each year our community is left with literally hundreds of survivors and witnesses. These people then have to face the mental, emotional, and physical trauma left behind. 

Many mass shooters are incorrectly labeled as “mentally unstable individuals” who suddenly snap at the drop of the hat. But taking a deeper look shows many of these crimes are either

  1. Hate crimes (such as the shooting that occurred at Pulse, a gay bar in Orlando, Florida) or are
  2. Directed by some agenda and a desire to “send a message” (such as those perpetrated by various extremist groups) 

Shooters are more likely to be vengeful, angry individuals who are seeking revenge on society for their perceived wrongdoings done against them. 

What’s ‘Normal’ To Go Through Emotionally After a Shooting?

While mass shootings should never be considered a ‘normal’ event in society, there are some ‘normal’ emotions and feelings you may be working through after being trapped in one of these terrifying situations. 

One thing we do know, however, is that everyone processes the aftermath of a shooting differently. People may experience a wide range of emotions that come and go like tidal waves, while others may take much longer to overcome the initial denial of their experience. 

No matter what you feel, remember that it’s all subjective to your own personal experience. There is no right or wrong way to handle the aftermath of a shooting. 

Feelings you may experience after a shooting include, but are not limited to:
  • Sorrow 
  • Shock 
  • Fear
  • Numbness
  • Denial 
  • Anger 
  • Grief
  • Disassociation 
  • Depression
  • Anxiety 
  • Paranoia 

While people are incredibly strong and most often bounce back after difficult times, shootings are events that can greatly alter your entire sense of safety and belonging. 

For example, some people struggle with feelings of survivors’ guilt or even just to sleep, eat or perform other daily activities. Some no longer feel safe in large or public places. Others find it hard to be around people and begin to pull back and disconnect from their community.

How Are Children Handling Life After School Shootings?

Children are some of the most resilient creatures on Earth. Have you ever seen a child completely face plant into the ground and then get up and keep on running?

However, the traumatic events of a school shooting are likely to disrupt all of their ‘normal’ emotional and behavioral tendencies.

Emotions and behaviors they may experience:
  • Trouble sleeping 
  • ‘Acting out’
  • Nightmares
  • Anxiety or paranoia
  • Being afraid to sleep alone 
  • Shock 
  • Anger
  • Grief

It’s likely that after a shooting children are faced with navigating complex emotions they may not fully understand. Trauma is difficult enough without loss of lives. Grief for children amidst the chaos only makes things more difficult. It’s important as caregivers to nurture these wounds and support them in whatever way possible. Keep home a safe space to talk to them about what they’re experiencing in the aftermath of a shooting. While forcing or pressuring them to talk about what they have gone through isn’t helpful, remind them often that you’re here when they’re ready to talk. 

When To Seek Help After a Shooting:

There are 2 major interventions needed after a traumatic event like this.

Critical Incident Stress Debriefing / Management (CISD / CISM)

The first should ideally happen within a couple of hours and that is a special type of intervention/debriefing called Critical Incident Stress Management. These CISM professionals are highly trained it what to do right after such event to help the victims and first responders begin to process and deal with the emotional aftermath of the traumatic event.

A Professional Who Specializes in Traumatic Events

The second is to work with a professional psychotherapist who specializes in helping people who have been through a traumatic event, not just one who works with anxiety or PTSD. The best of these are likely also trained in CISM and have many years of experience as well.

While some effects of a shooting may dissolve after about 4 to 6 weeks, in some instances you may be suffering from more long-term symptoms, otherwise known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

The acute stress that can follow after an incident of gun violence is nothing to mess around with. Be mindful of your emotions and behaviors in the months following a shooting. It’s always best to seek help if you:

  • Experience frequent flashbacks or nightmares 
  • Have trouble concentrating on everyday tasks
  • Are having difficulties completing work 
  • Are experiencing intrusive thoughts related to the incident
  • Become easily triggered by things in the environment
  • Feel as though you’re in danger whenever in social settings 
  • Are feeling like you’re constantly on edge or irritable 
  • Have a hard time falling or staying asleep

PTSD can quickly spiral into self-destructive behaviors such as substance abuse, self harm, and other harmful methods aimed at easing your distressing symptoms. If you feel as though you’re not returning back to yourself after a few weeks or months have gone by there are many mental health professionals trained and ready to assist you in overcoming this trauma. 

Remember, while shootings are tragically becoming more common they’re still rare. Focus on your village; your support systems such as close friends or family. While they may not be able to fully understand what you’re going through, you don’t have to walk this journey alone. And if you are live in an area that has suffered such a tragedy – lean in and support your neighbors however you can.

Cultivate Communitywe heal together.

 

Sources:

https://www.counseling.org/knowledge-center/coping-in-the-aftermath-of-a-shooting

https://www.apa.org/topics/gun-violence-crime/mass-shooting

https://www.healthline.com/health/mental-health/processing-grief-after-a-mass-shooting

Categories
Anxiety & Stress Children & Grief Critical Incidents First Responders Grief Loss Uncategorized

The Mental Health Impact of School Shootings

The Mental Health Impact Of School Shootings In The United States

In response to the multiple tragic school shooting events in the United States, there has been a great deal of discussion about the emotional and mental health impact that these events have had on the kids, teachers and families involved. School shootings are a very traumatic event for everyone involved, and it can take a long time to recover from the physical and emotional injuries that are inflicted.

The impact of school shootings goes beyond the immediate victims and families. These events can have a ripple effect that extends to the entire community. Schools are a place where children should feel safe and secure, and when that feeling of safety is shattered, it can have a lasting impact on the students, teachers, staff and community.

If you or someone you know has been affected by a school shooting, it is important to seek professional help to deal with the trauma. There are many resources available to help you through this situation.

Effects on School Shootings Child Development 

Since the onset of gun violence in schools, there has been a significant amount of research on the effects of this type of violence on child development. Studies have shown that children who are exposed to school shootings are more likely to experience anxiety, depression, grief and post-traumatic stress disorder. They may also have difficulty concentrating and experience changes in their eating and sleeping habits.

This research highlights the need for more support for children who have been affected by school shootings. Such support can help children to cope with the aftermath of these events and to reduce the long-term effects on their development.

Students who don’t witness the shooting firsthand can still be negatively affected. They may have trouble concentrating in school and have anxiety about going to school. Keep in mind that everyone impacted is a survivor.

Effects on Parents

No definitive answer exists to the question of how school shootings specifically affect the parents of the victims. Each situation is unique and parents will react in their own individual ways. It’s not surprising that most studies generally concluded that parents also experience a wide range of intense emotions in the wake of such a tragedy.

The most common emotions that parents report feeling are grief, anger, shock, and guilt. Many parents also report feeling a sense of responsibility for their child’s safety and well-being, and this can often lead to feelings of guilt and regret. In some cases, parents may also struggle with anxiety and depression. It is important to remember that there is no “right” or “wrong” way to feel after a school shooting, and that all parents are simply trying to cope in the best way they can.

Effects on Teachers

As of October 2018, there have been 307 mass shootings in the US, which is an average of almost one mass shooting per day. These shootings have had a profound effect on teachers, who are often the first to respond in these situations.

Teachers have to be prepared to deal with the physical and emotional trauma that comes with a school shooting. They are often the first people on the scene and have to deal with the aftermath of the violence. This can effect their both mental and physical health. In addition, teachers have to be extra vigilant in their classrooms in order to prevent something like this from happening. But our teachers can’t do this alone – they need help. And there is something that each of can  do to help.

How to Cope with the Trauma After a School Shooting?

The trauma of shooting can have a lasting impact on a person’s life. If you or someone you know has experienced a shooting, it is important to get help from a mental health professional to cope with the trauma. 

There are a few first steps you can take to help cope with the trauma:

1. Talk to someone

When people experience a traumatic event, such as a mass shooting, they may feel a range of emotions that can be difficult to cope with. Fear, anxiety, anger, and grief are just some of the emotions that may be present. It can be helpful and encouraging to talk to someone about what you’re going through. This can help you to process the trauma and to start to heal.

Talking to a therapist or counselor can be helpful. You may also find it helpful to talk to a friend or family member. It’s important to find someone who will understand and who will be there to listen. If you don’t have anyone to talk to, there are also support groups that can help. Whatever you do, do not try to go through all of this alone. 

2. Write down what happened

In the aftermath of a mass shooting, it can be difficult to know how to cope with the trauma and grief. For some people, writing can be a helpful way to process these feelings. Writing can provide a space to express what you’re feeling, process your thoughts, and work through your grief.

If you’re interested in using writing to cope with trauma, there are a few things to keep in mind:

First, it’s important to find a safe and comfortable place to write. This could be a journal that you keep private, or a blog that you only share with close friends or family.

Second, don’t feel like you need to write every day. Some days you may feel like writing more than others, and that’s okay.

Third, there’s no correct way to write about your experiences. Write in whatever way feels most natural and most comfortable.

3. Find way to release your negative emotions

A traumatic situation of this is like a forced marathon for your brain’s survival management department. It’s more important than ever to find healthy ways to release your emotions. Events like these can be very difficult to process and can have a lasting and detrimental impact on your mental health. If you witnessed a mass shooting or if you know someone who did, it’s important to find a way to release your emotions in a healthy way.

4. Stay connected to your loved ones

The aftermath of shooting can be extremely difficult for both victims and witnesses. It is important to stay connected with loved ones during this time in order to help cope with the trauma. Some of the ways to stay connected with your loved ones include:

Sending handwritten letters

Calling or texting regularly

Spending time together in person

Sharing photos and memories

Each person will cope with trauma in their own way, so it is important to be supportive and understanding. Staying connected with loved ones can help the healing process after a difficult event.

5. Avoid drugs and alcohol

It is understandable that many people may feel overwhelmed or frightened after witnessing a shooting event. Some may feel the need to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol in order to cope with the trauma. However, it is important to avoid drugs and alcohol for several reasons.

First, drugs and alcohol can make it difficult to process and cope with the event.

Second, they can make it more difficult to remember what happened, which can be essential for providing information to law enforcement.

Third, while drinking and drug use, may appear to ease distress at the front end – but they actually make things much worse. They disrupt normal sleep and eating patterns, wreak havoc on frustration tolerance and memory (which directly impacts mood) and can raise the chances of a more serious mental health problem following a trauma. 

It is important to deal with the aftermath of a shooting in a healthy way. Avoiding drugs and alcohol can really help your efforts to cope with feelings and make it easier to heal the trauma of witnessing a shooting.

6. Get plenty of rest and exercise

Studies have shown that taking time to rest and exercise can help people who have witnessed shooting events. Resting helps to allow the body to heal, and exercise helps to release built-up stress and tension. Both of these activities can help people feel better both physically and mentally after a traumatic event.

Conclusion

Trauma can have a lasting psychological impact on those who survive such an event, as well as those that love them. It is important for those affected to seek professional help and support in order to cope with the emotional damage. Schools, parents and the community can also play a role in supporting those affected by trauma.

Categories
Addiction Recovery Alcohol First Responders Life Transitions Opiates (Heroin and Prescription Pain Pills) Terminal Illness Uncategorized

Alcohol-Related Liver Disease

Alcohol-Related Liver Disease

The liver is a large meaty organ in the human body. It is responsible for breaking down the food, fighting infections, and filtering blood. A healthy liver ultimately allows for a more active and engaging life. However, very few people live lives that protect and preserve it. Most likely because we simply dont know the extent of its function or importance. But alcohol-related liver disease is on the rise and the increase in alcohol consumption over the pandemic years hasn’t helped either.

Liver Problems 

The liver, like other organs, can also get damaged for different reasons. When we don’t care what goes inside the body, our liver has to pay the price for it. Mostly, liver damage starts with swelling, further leading to fibrosis and scars. People who figure out the damage and seek treatment can reverse the case. But in the other case, fibrosis can turn into cirrhosis, which is terrible. It causes your liver to struggle hard to do an everyday task. With time, it ends at a point where your liver stops functioning, a liver failure. 

Symptoms of Possible Liver Problems

There are so many indications that can depict the lousy condition of your liver. Some of them can be following;

You might have itchy skin that causes bruises easily. 

Your eyes might turn yellow, which is also a symptom of jaundice. 

When your liver doesn’t function well, your belly may hurt. It sometimes makes you lose your appetite and feel sick of the stomach. 

It can also cause your different body parts like legs, arms, and belly to swell. 

What Causes the Liver Damage?

Liver damage can either be due to a medical condition, disease, or because of your unhealthy lifestyle.

Alcohol Addiction

Excessive drinking is considered bad for health. It is true because it lends up to the liver, which affects the blood filtering process. Meanwhile, it causes the creation of harmful chemicals that damages your liver. When a person continues to drink too much alcohol, the overproduction of chemicals occurs. It deteriorates your liver, causing a ‘fatty alcoholic liver.’ It might not threaten you at this point, but remember, it can turn into hepatitis, cirrhosis, or liver failure in days or weeks. 

Drug Addiction 

Liver infections are also prevalent these days. A virus consisting of Hepatitis variants like A, B, or C can also affect your liver badly. Such liver infections are mostly found among people struggling with drug addiction. This is usually because of the use of shared needles and unsanitary processes. Even seemingly minor mistakes and negligence can really harm your liver. 

Yes, there can be other factors triggering the liver problems like cancer, etc. But alcohol and drug addiction are the major ones.

Alcohol & Liver 

Alcohol is a red-labeled product, and its abuse can be threatening for life. It can cause several health complications, from high blood pressure to stroke. And ultimately, liver damage can be one of the potentially terminal effects of excessive alcohol consumption. 

Individuals addicted to alcohol have a high risk of developing chronic liver diseases like cirrhosis, hepatitis, or complete liver failure. It usually happens when a person consumes more than 15 drinks of alcohol over a week or a woman goes above eight glasses. It can be a one-time overdose or habitual abuse. In both cases, the over-drinking results in liver damage. 

Alcohol Consumption Statistics 

According to current research, 15%-30% of heavy drinkers are diagnosed with cirrhosis yearly. Most of them recover the damage when they give up on alcohol addicted and get appropriately treated.  It is one of the most common behaviors among adults in the United States. According to National Survey on Drugs, about 86% of adults have consumed alcohol in their lifetime.

The statistics on drinking are alarming, and many people are trying to find ways to reduce their alcohol consumption. Various factors contribute to drinking, including age, gender, socioeconomic status and culture.

How Does Alcohol Impact The Liver? 

The liver functions as the nutrients breaking and filtering organ. In the case of alcohol, when the liver breaks it down, the chemical reaction releases a toxin. It is harmful as it damages your liver cells, causing alcohol-related liver diseases. 

Do you know? The liver takes around an hour to process one alcoholic drink. It means the duration expands with the number of glasses. If someone does excessive drinks, the liver will take longer. What is more threatening is the point where the liver stops filtering any more alcohol. Rather than filtering, it lets the unprocessed alcohol enter the bloodstream. 

When unprocessed alcohol, traveling along in the blood, goes into different body organs like the heart and brain, it can have devastating results. 

Types of Alcohol-Related Liver Diseases 

Alcohol-Related liver disease; Steahopetatis (ASH)

It is an early-stage disease. It causes fat to accumulate within liver cells, interfering with liver function. The constant interruption declines liver production and health. 

Even though there are no particular signs and symptoms at an initial stage, abdominal pain can indicate it, particularly on the right side. Simply, alcohol abstinence can reduce pain and improves liver health. 

alcohol-related liver disease; Alcoholic Hepatitis 

It is a more common yet destructive type of alcohol-related liver disease. It occurs due to the killing of liver cells and developing scars or fibrosis. Around 35% of individuals drinking excessive alcohol develop this disease at mild and severe levels. 

When someone binges on drinking alcohol, it damages liver cells. The common symptoms of alcoholic hepatitis are fever, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, etc. If you experience it, stop drinking and see if things improve. In severe conditions, you must visit a physician and undergo liver treatment. 

Alcohol-Related Liver Disease; Cirrhosis

This is the most severe stage of liver deterioration. It becomes prominent when your liver is wholly scarred and damaged. The liver gets hard and shrinks in size. 

Cirrhosis is common among addicted drinkers. Those who continue drinking alcohol for years end up having this fatal disease. It eventually fails the liver, endangering their lives. 

How To Ensure A Healthy Liver?

No matter what put your liver at risk, certain medicines and lifestyle changes can help you recover it. Making wise choices for your life can be difficult and many factors must be considered. Here are some tips for sustaining a healthy liver;

Stop Feeding Your Addiction

Limiting substance-abuse related liver damage is possible. It only demands you stop consuming substance; alcohol and/or drugs. Alcohol-related liver diseases can seem to creep up on you unexpectedly – many people wait far too long to see their doctor and get help. For the sake of your health and life, and those who love and care about you – it’s a choice you need to make. And there are lots of resources to help you – start by reaching out to your family, your physician, a seasoned and professional addiction counselor or even a treatment center.

*Keep in mind that you need to get help – detoxing from alcohol and benzos can be deadly when done on your own.

Eat Well & Exercise

Having a healthy diet is always helpful. Eat more greens, fruits, and fibrous foods that are easy to digest. It will allow your liver to process in less time and relax too. Besides that, exercising keeps your body active. It enhances blood circulation, improving liver function.

Take Care of Your Health 

Whether be it your general or liver health, it deserves priority. You must take care of your health and opt for things that are good for it. Keep updating your lifestyle to a natural and healthier one to maintain well-being.

What Happens When You Quit Drinking?

Improved Sleep

The benefits of quitting alcohol are not just restricted to the individual but also their family members. The person who is quitting alcohol will see improvements in their sleep quality and will have more energy throughout the day.

Better Mental Health

Quitting or cutting down on alcohol can help people feel better mentally and physically. People addicted to alcohol often experience depression, anxiety and other mental health problems. Quitting or cutting down on alcohol can help them feel better mentally and physically by improving the quality of their lives.

Lower Risk of Cancer 

Alcohol is a huge risk factor for cancer. Alcohol abuse can also have other negative consequences. The cancer risk in people who drink alcohol is significantly lower than in those who don’t drink. Quitting alcohol is the best way to improve your health and reduce the increased risk of cancer.

Conclusion

The liver is a crucial organ to care for and substance abuse and/or addiction can put your liver in crisis. If you are an regular drinker or recreational user, you should at the very least have your liver checked out by your physician, routinely. They can run a quick blood test to look at risk of an alcohol-related liver disease. If your use has become routine, increased or even necessary, then opting for a professional and recommended addiction treatment program or center, may serve you even better. Whatever you choose to do, reach out to a professional and get the help you need and get it in time. It can save your liver and prolong life; the quantity and the quality of it. 

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2787499/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6713002/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5397877/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3860472/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6826827/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK441882/