Nicola CharrettCounsellor & Psychotherapist
Leatherhead, Surrey

Can Dry January Help Alcohol Addiction?

If you are looking for counselling in Leatherhead to help with addiction issues then we are here to help.

Some people may have found that abstaining from alcohol during January has flagged up some of their own issues around alcohol. Some people may have found the Christmas period a struggle and be thinking about whether they need to address some issues that have arisen around their alcohol consumption.

Dry January has been growing in popularity in recent years and some people abstain from alcohol for their physical health, or even to promote weight loss. Others may be interested to learn more about their relationship with alcohol from it.

But can abstaining from alcohol for a month actually help people to deal with addiction issues?

Not really is the result of research by psychologist Richard de Visser from the University of Sussex who surveyed 857 participants of Dry January 2019 before and after their month of abstinence.

The findings were promising for physical health benefits, 71 per cent slept better and 54 per cent lost weight. However, while in a follow up study in August that year the vast majority had cut back it was not by much and they were still, on average, drinking more than the recommended amount of alcohol per drinking session and per week.

The number of days they drank alcohol fell from an average 4.3 times a week to 3.3 a week, the units consumed had fallen from 8.6 per session to 7.1 per session, which still counts as binge drinking. They were still drinking an average of 23 units a week, Wired reported.

This indicates that while dry January can reduce consumption there is no evidence that it can help those with addiction issues.

The Importance Of Good Sleep For Our Mental Health

In 2020, from 18 - 24 May, the Mental Health Foundation will be hosting Mental Health Awareness Week, and this year, the focus will be on sleep. There is a very strong correlation between sleep, or the lack of it, and our mental health. Being able to switch off and the end of the day is vital, not only to our mental health, but physical health and general wellbeing.

The week is a great opportunity for people to be able to talk and discuss all aspects of mental health, with the aim of also providing support and advice for those who are struggling. Also not to forget that Thursday 6 February is Time To Talk Day 2020, encouraging everyone to openly talk about their mental health, to listen, and help change the lives of those who need it.

There are many ways we can boost our mood with exercise and diet, but little is more critical than getting a good nights sleep to maintain positive mental health. We can all feel irritable, impatient, and feel a lack of concentration when we’ve had a restless night. However long term sleep deprivation can lead to anxiety, depression, and many other serious mental health issues.

Should you have trouble sleeping, try these simple tips to help get the rest you need. Keep regular hours, and a routine, heading to bed at the same time each night. Program your body to sleep better, and you body and mind will thank you for it.

Alcohol may help you get to sleep, but it is also a depressant, and will disturb your sleep during the night. Similarly, avoid caffeine in the evenings, or even from mid afternoon onwards. Turn off your digital screens an hour before bed, social media can stimulate the mind, and cause anxiety. Head to bed, and read a book before sleep instead.

A gentle walk a few times a week will clear you mind, and the fresh air will do wonders. It’s important to recognise when you’re feeling stressed or anxious, so you can seek out the help you need. Get in touch today, if you’re struggling with your mental health, and our trained counsellors will help you.

Teenage Girls Experience Mental Health Problems Due To Social Media And Poverty

Poverty and social media have been identified as two of the biggest causes of mental health problems among teenage girls, which result in more girls self harming than boys of the same age group.

The Independent shared the research carried out by the University of Warwick, which surveyed more than 11,000 14 year olds. The report found that girls tend to spend more time on social media than boys.

It also revealed that, while 15 per cent of all the teenagers questioned said they had self harmed in the last year, twice as many girls reported resorting to self harm as boys. Gender inequality, sexism and body image pressures were identified as some of the other driving forces behind this trend.

Lead author of the report Dr Dimitra Hartas said that there’s inequality in how resources and opportunities are distributed, and that this helps boys more than girls.

“This study is different because it looks at the wide variety of ways girls are experiencing mental health problems. It is not only moods, but also self worth, self image and satisfaction with life,” she asserted.

Dr Hartas also called for “wider systemic changes” to tackle mental ill health among young people, noting that there need to be changes on a societal level to address gender inequality and poverty.

Earlier last month, the Metro shared the findings of a report from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which revealed that only 52.5 per cent of 15 year olds in the UK gave their life satisfaction a score of seven or higher out of ten.

In the other 37 countries included in the survey, the average was 67 per cent giving a score of seven or higher out of ten, indicating that British teenagers are more unhappy than others around the world.

If you think sessions with a Leatherhead psychotherapist would help your teenager, get in touch with us today.

Tips for Well Being and Mental Health at Christmas.

Christmas can be a celebration, but it can also be incredibly stressful. Whatever the festive period means to you, it’s important to be able to manage your mental health. Getting in touch with your Surrey counsellor can help, as can some of these tips.

Talking to someone can daunting, but sharing your concerns and worries can help with those feelings of being overwhelmed or under pressure. Mental health charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) has been urging people to share their stressful festive season stories on Twitter, encouraging conversations about the pressures of Christmas.

It’s very much a season of overindulgence, but be mindful of over doing it, especially with alcohol. It’s easy to have a few drinks to feel relaxed, in particular for those with social anxieties and all those festive parties. But alcohol is a depressant, and will make you feel easily irritable, and low. And avoid those Christmas hangovers.

By all means enjoy all that festive food, but everything in moderation. Look after your body, and do eat healthily as well. Get some exercise, and stretch your legs, and it’s equally as important to sleep well, and get rested.

Plan ahead and avoid any last minute panics for the holiday. Try not to take on too much, especially if you’re preparing a large family gathering. Remember to say ‘no’ if a request is going to be too much, and always ask for help if you need it. Plan and take time for yourself too, book yourself at least one day to do whatever you want to do.

If the pressures to meet everyones expectations gets too much, then talk to a Surrey based counsellor in a safe environment today.

When Did You Last Reach Boiling Point?

Life is hard, this cannot be denied - and the older we get, the harder it usually becomes. Which is why it’s so important to come up with coping mechanisms to deal with issues as they arise, whether that’s simple breathing techniques, calling your Leatherhead counsellor for a chat, getting some exercise or doing some mindfulness meditation.

Of course, this is often easier said than done and a new study from wellbeing charity CABA has just revealed that adults in the UK reach boiling point an average of three times each and every week - which is 156 times every year, HR News reports.

Physical symptoms like getting hot and sweaty, starting to shake, headaches, a feeling of actual physical weight on their shoulders, heart palpitations, wanting to scream and wanting to pull their hair out are all experienced by many who do reach this boiling point where their anger becomes too much.

Interestingly, it was also found that it takes 35 minutes at a time to try and cool off and reduce the pressure you’re under. And given that 45 per cent of those asked admit they take their frustrations out on their partner and 14 per cent say the same of their friends, finding more effective ways to cope would perhaps be advisable.

“The symptoms of building pressure and long-lasting stress have a significant impact on a person’s wellbeing and over a long period can lead to burn out. Recognising when you are reaching ‘boiling point’ is key to making positive changes to managing your mental wellbeing,” spokesman for the CABA Richard Jenkins said.

If you are going through a difficult time, talking to someone can help as it can help give you the time and space to explore your feelings in a safe environment, one that’s free from judgement. Get in touch with us today to find out more.

Bullying ‘Affects Young People’s Mental Health’

Charity Ditch the Label has released a new report showing the impact that bullying has on young people’s mental health.

According to its latest survey, which was shared by the BBC, one-fifth of young people reported experiencing bullying in the past 12 months. Of them, three in four said that it had affected their mental health.

Almost half revealed that they had become depressed as a result of the bullying they suffered. 41 per cent said that they felt anxious after being bullied, and 33 per cent admitted to having suicidal thoughts.

The research also found that verbal bullying was the most common form of bullying experienced by those aged 12 to 20 who were surveyed. The news provider noted that the findings from this year’s research are almost identical to those in the 2018 survey, indicating that very little has changed for young people in the last 12 months.

Children’s commissioner for England Anne Longfield told the news provider that the findings are “worrying”.

“More needs to be done at home and in schools to help those who are the victims of bullying and also, crucially, to prevent children from bullying in the first place,” she asserted.

There are also indications that young people aren’t receiving the support they need when they are struggling with their mental health, either as a result of bullying or for another reason.

The Guardian recently shared the findings of charity Young Minds, which revealed that 76 per cent of GPs across the UK do not feel confident that young people will receive the support they need from the children’s mental health service if they are referred.

If you think your child or teenager would benefit from visiting a Leatherhead psychotherapist, contact us today.

Construction Industry Urged To Prioritise Mental Health

The UK’s construction industry employs 2.4 million people, and despite having a strong focus on protecting the physical health of its workforce, it appears more needs to be done to improve their mental health.

This is the assertion of an article for Personnel Today, which cited figures showing that one-fifth of cases of ill health in the construction industry stem from mental health issues. As a result, 400,000 working days are lost each year.

What’s more, the problem is getting bigger, with a ten per cent increase in stress, depression and anxiety recorded in the sector since 2016-17.

According to the news provider, there are a number of factors that contribute to mental ill health within the construction industry, including the long hours that many people work, spending long periods of time away from home and projects that are often short term.

To help tackle some of the factors behind mental ill health in the construction sector, a new initiative has been launched: Building Mental Health. It’s designed to provide support and advice to businesses and individuals, with the aim of increasing awareness about mental health issues in the sector, and how to deal with them.

Earlier this month, Planning and Building Control Today highlighted how the Lighthouse Construction Industry Charity is helping provide support to those who need it through its 24/7 construction industry helpline.

It noted that giving construction workers someone to talk to can help to avoid suicide in situations where people feel they have nothing to lose and nowhere to turn.

If you think you’d benefit from talking to a Leatherhead psychotherapist, contact us today to book an appointment.

World Mental Health Day Breaks Suicide Stigma

There has been lots of awareness raised about mental health over the last couple of years, with people trying to break down barriers and make it easier for sufferers to talk about their emotional difficulties.

However, there is still stigma when it comes to the subject of suicide, despite it being the leading cause of death in men aged between 20 and 49 in England and Wales.

This is why the World Federation for Mental Health chose ‘suicide prevention’ as the theme for World Mental Health Day 2019 last week (October 10th).

Mark Rowland, chief executive of the Mental Health Foundation, spoke about how his brother Daniel took his life in 2013, saying suicide is a “devastating and gut-wrenching tragedy”.

“It ends a life and shatters countless others. There is nothing romantic or peaceful about suicide,” he went on to say.

Therefore, he raised the importance of understanding its causes in order to prevent it, and by creating a society that is able to ask for help and count on support when needed.

According to recent findings from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), there were 6,507 deaths by suicide last year in the UK, with this figure having increased by 11.8 per cent from 2017.

Men accounted for three-quarters of these cases, with the highest suicide rate being among men aged 45 to 49.

While the Mental Health Foundation recognises that the reasons leading someone to take their own life are “complex”, it says society needs to have a greater role in preventing more incidences happening in the future.

One of the best ways of dealing with difficulties such as depression and anxiety is talking to a professional about it. For help from a counsellor in Leatherhead, give us a call today.

Coastal Residents ‘Less Likely To Experience Anxiety And Depression’

Living close to the coast has been found to lower rates of anxiety and depression, a new study from the University of Exeter has revealed.

The researchers used survey data from nearly 26,000 people around England from a variety of backgrounds. After taking into account other factors, the researchers found that people living in large towns or cities close to England’s coastline are less likely to suffer from anxiety and depression than those living further inland.

Dr Jo Garrett, who led the study, pointed out that one of the most striking findings is that people living in poorer households reported fewer symptoms of mental health conditions.

“When it comes to mental health, this ‘protective’ zone could play a useful role in helping to level the playing field between those on high and low income,” she asserted.

This isn’t the first time that there’s been a link between the ocean and mental wellbeing, something that’s described as ‘blue health’. But it is the first time the benefits of living by the coast have been documented in such great detail.

The European BlueHealth project has been exploring the link between blue spaces and mental health since 2016. It has encompassed a wide variety of projects across the continent, including those exploring the use of virtual reality to allow people to access blue spaces and redeveloping areas next to waterside spaces, whether beaches, lakes, canals or rivers.

If you suffer from anxiety or depression and want the support of a Leatherhead psychotherapist, get in touch with us today..

Long Counselling Delays For Students ‘Scandalous’

A former health minister has spoken out about the long delays university students have to face if they want help for mental health problems.

According to university data, undergraduates have to typically wait three months to receive counselling from their educational establishment.

The Guardian reported Sir Norman Lamb, an ex-health minister, as saying: “Twelve-week delays to start counselling are scandalous, particularly when we know that so many students are taking their own lives. That’s longer than a university term.”

He went on to say universities need to remember many of these students require mental health support “as a matter of real urgency”, and their conditions are likely to worsen the longer they have to wait for help.

The statistics showed those at the Royal College of Music in London had to wait the longest for a counselling appointment last year, with their delay lasting 84 days.

This was followed by the University of Plymouth, where students had to wait 66 days, while undergraduates at Edinburgh Napier University faced delays of 57 days for counselling and 112 days for cognitive behavioural therapy appointments.

British universities have come under fire for this following the number of young people taking their own lives recently. Last year, Ceara Thacker committed suicide while studying at Liverpool University.

An inquest into the 19-year-old’s death opened earlier this week, which revealed the university had not told her parents of a previous suicide attempt, having taken an overdose in February 2018.

It was heard that her request for mental health support after this incident was ignored for over a month, which led Ceara’s father Iain Thacker to say the university staff “needed to recognise that they were dealing with a really vulnerable 19-year-old”.

For immediate help with depression and anxiety, get in touch with a Leatherhead psychotherapist and avoid the long three-month wait for professional help.

Money Cited As Biggest Cause Of Stress

There are lots of things that can cause stress in our lives, but a new study carried out by Potter’s Herbals has picked up the major causes of stress.

Women and Home shared the findings, which revealed that 92 per cent of us suffer from stress, while one in six people say that they feel pretty stressed constantly.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, money was named as the biggest cause of stress, with half of those questioned identifying this as the root cause of their worries.

Work pressure was named as a source of stress among 38 per cent of people, while life in general was picked out by 44 per cent of those questioned. Relationships were also named as a cause of stress by 30 per cent of respondents.

Professor Robert Pickard told the publication that being stressed for an extended period of time can lead to a range of health conditions, both physical and mental.

“Mental health issues related to stress include irritability, anger, depression, nervousness, anxiety and cognitive disfunction,” he revealed.

If you regularly find you’re battling with stress and other mental health conditions as a result, you could benefit from seeing a Leatherhead psychotherapist to help you find ways of coping and reducing the stress in your daily life.

As well as seeking professional help, you could also consider introducing more exercise to your life after a new study found that this can reduce the symptoms of depression, or in some cases even prevent the condition from developing at all.

More Needs To Be Done For Mental Health Among Construction Workers

Construction workers are the most likely to take their own lives, with over 1,400 construction workers committing suicide between 2011 and 2015, the Guardian recently revealed.

According to the newspaper, this is more than three times the average rate of suicide among men in the UK. So why are so many construction workers struggling with their mental health and what can be done about it?

Bill Hill, chief executive of the Lighthouse Club charity, explained some of the factors that lead to poor mental health among those working in construction.

“You are away from home, socially isolated. Online gambling is an issue - the next thing you know they have lost this month’s wage packet,” he said. Mr Hill also pointed out that when they’re working away from home, men also often fall into a drinking and smoking culture in the evenings, which also doesn’t help.

Other factors at play include job insecurity and bullying, which often starts as banter but can easily go too far. Loneliness is another big issue among those working in construction.

The Guardian also recently cited the Hinkley Point C construction site as an example of a place where these problems are rife. It shared figures from Unite, which revealed there have been ten attempts at suicide in the first four months of 2019 alone.

A number of measures have been introduced to try to improve the situation at Hinkley Point C, including an onsite GP, ‘time to talk’ rooms and mental health buddies.

Regardless of what you’re struggling with, get in touch to find out how a Leatherhead psychotherapist could help you today.

Should Exercise Be Prescribed To Beat Depression?

It has long been known that exercise has many benefits – from helping to maintain a healthy body weight to reducing the risk of cancer and type 2 diabetes. However, it has now been discovered that taking part in physical activities can reduce the symptoms, and even help in the prevention, of depression.

A recent study by scientists at the Universidade Federal de Santa Maria in Brazil and King’s College London in the UK, which was published in Current Sports Medicine Reports, found that exercise can be used as ‘medicine’ against depressive feelings.

Felipe Barretto Schuch from the former university and Brendon Stubbs from the British educational establishment wrote in the paper: “The evidence of the use of exercise [for the management of depression] is substantial and growing fast.”

They analysed data from 49 studies and found exercise could reduce depression risk by 17 per cent, Medical News Today reported.

This follows a previous study the scientists conducted in 2016 involving 1,487 participants, which concluded that exercise could be impactful in treating those with clinical depression.

Schuch and Stubbs concluded: “[Physical activity] can confer protection from the development of depression in children, adults, and older adults… Among people with depression, exercise can be used for acutely managing symptoms.”

Therefore, they suggested physicians should use exercise as a way to treat those with depression, instead of relying on antidepressant drugs and psychotherapy alone.

While treatments such psychotherapy in Leatherhead are essential to addressing any underlying issues, exercise can be used in conjunction with this to alleviate symptoms associated with depression.

These include irritability, low self-esteem, anxiety, not enjoying life, and losing interest in things, according to the NHS.

Mental Illness ‘More Likely’ In Women Who Suffer Domestic Abuse

New research has explored whether women who suffer domestic abuse are more likely to suffer from mental health problems in the future, as well as whether they have a history of mental illness.

The study by the University of Birmingham, and published in the British Journal of Psychiatry, found that women who have suffered domestic abuse are almost three times as likely to develop mental illness.

However, the research also revealed that women who are in abusive relationships are also almost three times as likely to have a history of mental illness.

The researchers used data from UK GP surgeries between 1995 and 2017. They identified 18,547 women who had suffered domestic abuse, as reported by their GP, as well as a control group of 74,188 women of a similar age who did not have any experience of domestic abuse recorded.

Among the key findings are that the chances of developing anxiety doubles, while the likelihood of suffering from depression triples after domestic abuse, even when other factors that lead to mental illness are taken into consideration.

Dr Joht Singh Chandan, academic clinical fellow in public health at the University of Birmingham, said that there needs to be a “clear public health approach” to prevent violence and abuse against women.

“Considering how common domestic abuse is, it is important to understand how strongly the two are connected and consider whether there are possible opportunities to improve the lives of women affected by domestic abuse,” he stated.

Last year the The Guardian reported on an Australian study which found that suffering domestic abuse led to lifelong physical health problems.

If you need a Leatherhead psychotherapist to help you cope with mental health problems that have been caused by domestic abuse, contact us today.

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