Friday, November 30, 2012

Worry..Oh, Worry....

As we all know, some people worry too much. Rather than solving a problem, too much worry becomes the problem. Not only does excessive worry create personal suffering, but it also affects the people around the worrier. Worry is a fairly common, but potentially serious, condition. A recent survey suggests that one-third of all office visits to primary-care physicians are associated with some form of anxiety. Furthermore, it has been estimated that one-fourth of all people, over the course of a lifetime, will at some point suffer from symptoms associated with an anxiety-related diagnosis. The stress which accompanies worry can have serious physical implications, including an increased risk for blood pressure and heart ailments, depression, immune system deficiencies, and cancer.

  • Find Connectedness: When we feel connected to something larger than ourselves (a group of friends, our families, work, a sense of the past, ideas, and religious or transcendent faith), we are less likely to worry.
  • Seek Advice and Reassurance: We all need supportive feedback from others from time to time. Other people may have solutions to problems that we haven’t thought about. For reassurance, find people who know how to give it. Many of us spend a lifetime looking in all the wrong places for approval•
  • Understand the Difference Between Good and Bad Worrying: Good worry implies having a sense of control in solving life’s problems. It involves examining alternatives and then coming up with a systematic plan for meeting a challenge. Unproductive worry involves engaging in repetitively hashing over the same ideas time and again, negative thoughts, and no real plan for meeting the challenge.
  • Try to Do the Right Thing: Maintain your sense of integrity whenever you do something. Tell the truth. Obey the law. Keep to your promises. Let your conscience be your guide. Granted, we might tell an occasional lie or break a promise, and this is fairly common – but it also can set the stage for worry. We may think sometimes that we can get ahead in the world the easy way – but the price we pay could be excessive worry, among other penalties.
  • Keep Yourself Financially Secure: Live below your means and put money into a savings account. Pay off credit card debts. Consider ways to live more simply as a way of managing your finances.
  • Learn the Value of Judicious Complaining: Sometimes it helps to talk your way through a prob-
    lem by complaining about it. Find a trusted friend
    and just let it all out. And then have a good laugh
    about it afterwards. If a friend is not available, write
    out your complaints.
  • Add Structure to Your Life: Worry is often related to disorganization. Make a list of things to do each day and cross off tasks once they are completed. Leave early enough to make appointments on time. Put your keys in the same place every time you come home. Keep your house straightened up. When things are under control, there is less to worry about.
  • Learn How to Let Go of Worries: This is a skill which might require some practice, and each of us will have our way of doing it. Some people do this by allowing themselves perhaps half
    an hour a day of worry time – and at the end of the allotted time period, they will be free of worrying until the next day. Some people give up their worries by writing them down on a piece of paper and then tearing up the paper. Some people prefer to hand them over to a higher power. There are mindfulness meditation techniques for letting go of your worrisome thoughts – just decide not to participate in anxiety-provoking thinking. Let the thoughts go (this method takes practice and uses techniques that increase your awareness through meditation or prayer).
  • Sleep and Eat Properly: Lack of sleep and a nutritious diet can make us irritable, distracted, and anxious – all conditions that set the stage for worry. (Try to be mindful of the problem of overeating, however, as a way of making your worries disappear.)
  • Exercise: Lack of sleep and a nutritious diet can make us irritable, distracted, and anxious – all conditions that set the stage for worry. (Try to be mindful of the problem of overeating, however, as a way of making your worries disappear.) 
  • Minimize Catastrophic Thinking: Some people find it difficult to keep perspective when faced with even a minor stressor. Not every mole means cancer and not every bill is going to lead to bankruptcy. Test out the reality of these situations by talking them over with a trusted friend.
  • Don't Sweat the Small Stuff: And, in a sense, if you think about it, it’s almost all
    small stuff.
At Dr. Quintal and Associates we specialize in helping you cope and manage stress and can teach you how to manage worry. We provide a full service of counseling methods to provide individual treatment for each client. Please contact us at (941) 907-0525 for a free phone consultation.

For insight on topics such as these follow Dr. Quintal on Twitter and Facebook.

The Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change,
Courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Growing Up in a Substance Abusing Household

Countless millions of adults in this country have a parent with a drinking or drug problem. The emotionally available parent is one who can read and validate the moods and needs of the children and who encourages their independence as they grow up.In these healthier households there is a sense of security, consistency and predictability. As the children grow up, they gain a feeling of trust and mastery in the world with the support of the parent.

Dealing with the ramifications of growing up in an alcoholic family
But what happens in the dysfunctional household where alcohol or drugs dominate the domestic climate? When an adult has formed a dependence on alcohol or drugs, the normal give-and-take of everyday life can become disrupted. Rather than working through daily problems and frustrations and modifying behavior to adapt to these problems, there is always the drink or drug at the end of the day.
Have a drink and the problem goes away, at least in one’s mind. The parent is emotionally unavailable. Thus, the needs of the growing child are often ignored. The drunk or chemically influenced parent can hardly perceive the feelings of the child – and usually places his or her own needs over those of the child. Even if the parent is addicted to a substance but not using it at the time, there is still a tendency, because of how substance abusers approach the world and problems in general, to neglect the child’s needs. The healthy option for the chemically-dependent parent is to work on coming to terms with the impact of substance abuse on his or her own life and the life of the

Getting counseling for children who grow up in substance abusing families
The Child Becomes Either Overly Responsible or Irresponsible

Children growing up in the substance abusing family cope by attempting to stabilize their chaotic environments and find ways to minimize conflicts or make the parent feel better. Later on they may become compulsive overachievers, taking pride in these behaviors they learned while growing up. They are the ones who help others, yet harbor anger when others don’t do for them to the extent that they do for others. Alternatively, siblings growing up in the same family might become irresponsible, hoping, as they did in childhood, that others might come through and take care of their needs. Regardless of the outcome, when they grow up they avoid looking openly into their own behavior and understanding the effect that it has on themselves and others.

Coping in Adulthood with a Legacy of Dysfunction

The first step in coming to terms with an emotionally conflicted childhood is to admit it, and this can be very difficult. We may have learned to use denial as a way of dealing with our parent’s substance abuse problem, in much the way our parent used denial in dealing with their own use of alcohol or drugs. It may seem that the pain is more easily handled when it is cast out of our minds. But it does not really go away. And the survival patterns we learned in childhood continue to interfere with happier experiences after we have grown up. It takes courage to confront the situation openly and honestly, but the payoff can be life changing. A healthy, functional, and satisfying life is possible and attainable.

For additional information and help dealing with the aftermath of growing up in a dysfunctional family please call us for a free consultation at 941-907-0525 or visit our website.

We can also be found on Facebook and Twitter.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Roles Played Within the Dysfunctional Family

People who grew up with a parent who had a substance abuse problem often wonder how their brothers and sisters turned out to be so different. After all, everyone grew up in the same household, so why aren’t all the siblings alike? In all families, substance abusing or not, brothers and sisters need to claim their own unique identities. We need to find ways that we are not like others in the family, and this helps us to form our own identities and sense of self.  In the alcoholic or drug-abusing family each sibling finds his or her own unique way of coping with the conflicts. Claudia Black, an expert on adult children of alcoholics, and others have identified different roles that can emerge among siblings, each of whom tries to make sense of the chaos.

The Hero
These children try to make sure that the family appears normal to the rest of the world. They develop a strong sense of responsibility and project an image of competence and achievement. This is often the first-born child, but not always. They learn as children that someone has to be responsible for the family, and if the parents are inducing chaos, it is up to the “hero” to provide stability. These people often grow up to be academically or professionally successful, although they often deny their own feelings and may feel like impostors.

The Adjuster
In order to cope with the conflicts within the family, these people adjust – but often in inappropriate ways. They often become invisible and avoid taking a stand or rocking the boat. They learn never to plan or to expect anything, and they deal with conflict by avoiding it. In adulthood “adjusters” may feel that their lives are out of control and that they are drifting meaninglessly.

The Placater
These siblings are the ones who learn early to smooth over potentially upsetting situations in the family. They develop a good ability to read the feelings of others, but at the expense of their own feelings. They tend to go into care-taking professions later in life, even though this may reinforce their tendency to ignore their own feelings.

The Scapegoat
These are the children who become known as the family problem. They have a tendency to get into trouble, including alcohol and drug abuse, as a way of expressing their anger at the family. They serve as the “pressure valve” in the family: when tension builds, they misbehave as a way of relieving pressure while allowing the family to avoid dealing with the parent’s drinking problem. When they grow up, they tend to be unaware of feelings other than anger.

Did you or someone you love grow up dealing with the substance abuse problem of a parent or family member?  

We can help you get free of emotional trauma and wounds resulting from these experiences. Contact us today for a free consultation:

Friday, July 6, 2012

Suggestions for Experiencing Grief

Grieving is a necessary and important process in everyone's lifeGrieving is a Major Process in Everyone's Life

All of us grieve in different ways, depending on the circumstances of the death, our own personal characteristics, and the meanings attached to the death by those left behind. Nonetheless, there are some specific actions that most of us can take to complete the process in a way that allows us to move on, eventually, to a whole and meaningful life again. 

Here are some real-life concerns to keep in mind during the grief process:

Give yourself some quiet time alone. Find a good balance between being around others and giving yourself some solitude so that you can reflect on your loss and process your feelings.

Allow yourself to have some breaks from your grief. Grieving is difficult. As in any hard job you need a break from it from time to time. Go out and try to have a good time with friends. Read a good book. Lose yourself in a good movie.

If possible, avoid making long-term decisions. Times of crisis decrease our ability to make rational
decisions. Put decisions off until things have settled down to a more stable pattern.

Take care of your health.  Grief is a time of high physical risk. Even though it may be difficult, try
to get some physical exercise, even if it is only a daily walk. Maintain a nutritious diet, but don’t avoid indulging in special treats occasionally since self-nurturing is important during the process.
Above all, avoid alcohol and drugs during this time. They may provide a temporary feeling of relief, but your goal should focus on grieving productively, not avoiding it.

Grieving is a very personal experience and one of our most painful to endure. It is also a journey into
the depths of our lives that can ultimately reveal our strength of character.

If you find that your are having trouble moving on with your life after a significant period of time, or staying positive after a losing a loved one, there are types of therapy that can help assist you with this process. Please contact Dr. Jason Quintal at 941-907-0525 or visit for an overview of treatments provided. A free phone consultation is offered. You can also follow Dr. Quintal on Twitter and Facebook.