Social Media

So many of us are attached to our social media accounts. Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Instagram, many people are either checking or posting throughout the day. Photos, milestones, and our thoughts are the marks we leave on social media, but what kind of mark does it leave on us?facebook-addiction-590x202

Social media has a huge impact on many of our everyday interactions. Nowadays, it is hard to find someone who doesn’t engage with their friends and loved ones via some form of social media. It has become the go-to forum for expressing opinions, and sharing our lives with those around us. What we share sends a message to the world about who we are and what we are all about, defining us through our posts. This is why it is so important to be careful about what you share and who you share it with. It is helpful to take a second and think before posting. What would a future employer say about what he/she sees on your Facebook? What would a future partner say about you tweets? We don’t always consider the consequences of our actions on the internet, but it is much more important than it might initially seem.

Too often we see breakups and drama brought to the forefront of forums like Facebook and Twitter. Hurtful messages spewed out for the entire world to see. The unfortunate part is that often times the things that are being said would have never been said if it was a face-to-face conversation. It is hard for people to hold back from behind the keyboard, and it makes many people forget that there is a real person on the other iStock_000016401115XSmallend. There have been so many cases of destroyed relationships because of what has been said online, and much of it could have been prevented.

And what about the younger generations? They are growing up with social media as a central part of their lives. What impact is this going to have on the way that they interact with their peers? We are seeing younger and younger children logging onto places like Facebook, choosing to spend their time socializing with their friends via the internet rather than face-to-face. This also opens up the field to bullies and tormentors alike. Adolescence is such a trying time for any child, and it can be made harder by social media. We hear more and more about adolescents viciously attacking each other on social media, spreading rumours and hateful comments. Educating the younger generations about responsibly using social media is a great way to work on issues like bullying.

Facebook addictionSocial media is a very useful tool when used properly. It is great for networking and keeping in touch with those that may not be as close to us. But it is also a very powerful tool. It can make or break us in many important situations. We need to think about being respectful and sharing appropriately. It takes not more than a few moments to consider how our words could hurt someone on the other side. Remembering to treat those around us with love, respect and understanding, is an easy way to make social media more enjoyable for everyone.  

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ACOA: How Alcoholism Effects Your Children as Adults

Alcohol abuse in a family deeply effects how the children in the family will respond to alcohol. One path these effects could take is your children also abusing alcohol and other drugs. This is because it would become a learned and acceptable coping strategy for your children when faced with difficult situations. The other path that these effects could take is that your children would avoid use of alcohol all together. This avoidance can go as far as fear of becoming addicted themselves. It is important to be aware of the effects that your drinking has on your family members, especially your children. Children learn mainly through observation. If they see alcoholism, they are more likely to become alcoholics themselves. So what can you do to ensure that your children receive the treatment that they may also need?

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Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACoA) is a branch of Al-Anon (support group for family members of alcholics) that focuses specifically on the adult children of alcoholics. ACoA exists to help educate and heal; educate about alcoholism and heal the scars left by their parent’s substance abuse. ACoA is a peer based support group, aimed at helping recovery within the family.

ACoA gives these children the opportunity to focus on their own recovery, all while their family member works on their own recovery. Often times, individuals will reach out to ACoA before their parent has decided to seek help. This is because they feel the need to know more about alcoholism than their family member has told them. They want to see past the drinking, and the other behaviours, into the causes of the alcoholism. Sometimes they just want support in making decisions regarding their relationship with their alcoholic parent.

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Recovery is something that the entire family must go through. It is impossible for the addicted parent to have a successful recovery, if they are coming home to the same environment that they left. The children are responsible for learning what the triggers and warning signs are, to help their parent work through a relapse or help to prevent one from happening. Part of this recovery process is learning about codependency and what role they may have played in enabling the parent’s behaviours. It is also a time to reflect of manipulative behaviours that have been exhibited in the past. By doing so, they can learn a better way in which to handle these situations.

Alcoholism often has a greater effect than we sometimes realise. It is important that all parties are considered when dealing with the recovery process. Ensuring that all family members, including the adult children, have a place to seek support is very important. Without recovery within the family, true recovery may not be successful within the addict.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s

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Can you imagine not knowing where you are, what day of the week it is, what year it is, and even who the people are that are around you and caring for you? These are just some of the challenges that face those who face dementia and the people that care for them. It is a daily struggle that causes much heartache and suffering for those suffering with dementia and their families.

Dementia can affect many areas of cognitive processes including:

  • memory

  • attention

  • language

  • problem solving

Diagnosis of dementia is based upon the existence of symptoms for 6 months or longer, and often times is allowed to progress significantly before any treatment or therapy is attempted.

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The further dementia progresses, the more severe the symptoms become. The progression comes with further disorientation in time, place and person. Dementia is not solely about a memory problem. It reduces that ability for the person suffering to learn new things, reason, retain new experiences and be able to recall past experiences. Dementia also affects and disrupts thought patterns and feelings, as well as interferes with the completion of daily tasks and activities. It becomes harder and harder for them to make the connection to the present and to those around them. It is an extremely hard for family members to understand and cope with a diagnosis of dementia. Day after day, week after week, the person that you love is fading in front of you and it is difficult to accept that often times there is nothing that you can do.

A commonality between many dementia patients is the presence of depression and/or anxiety. It is understandable and even expected due to the nature of the symptom.

A very confusing part of the diagnosis to many people is the difference between Alzheimer’s and dementia. Put simply, Alzheimer’s is a specific disease and dementia is a symptom of Alzheimer’s. Both are extremely complex in their own ways, which can make a diagnosis and treatment plan even harder to come by.

Both Alzheimer’s and dementia are taking a serious toll on our healthcare and nursing home system. It is a constant struggle to keep those that are undiagnosed from slipping through the gaps in the system, as well as to keep those that are receiving treatment in the programs that are treating them. Burn out rates for family members and nurses alike are extremely high due to the amount of care giving that is required, especially during the later stages. Support for families and healthcare professionals is an essential part of the effective treatment of dementia.

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Despite the difficulties faced by those diagnosed with dementia and their families, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Sometimes the diagnosis isn’t a form of dementia that is irreversible. There are those that are lucky enough to be able to receive treatments that will reverse the effects of dementia. Regardless of diagnosis there is always hope for the future. With faith, love, and support, we can look towards a brighter future in the treatment of this devastating diagnosis.