Friday, September 30, 2016

ADDICTIONS and FEELINGS: By Robert Frank Mittiga Recovery Coach


Real addiction is not about the drug, but to the high. The real addiction is not physical, but emotional, the psychological dependency, the belief in the need and continued use in spite of harmful consequences. Anything that removes or alters unwanted feelings – anger, pain, fear, sadness, anxiety-can become an addiction.

The process of addiction is reinforced by the fact that the more we use-whatever vehicle we use to relieve the feeling-the less ability we have to deal with that feeling, so the more we need the addictive activity or substance. For example, some people hate anger. Whenever they have a conflict, they tend to eat. In fact, they watch "refrigerator" the way some people watch TV. They open the door, the light goes on and they watch things grow old and mold, They watch things disappear. While they are watching "refrigerator", the conflict is escalating while their ability to deal with the conflict is decreasing. This means they need to use food all the more to deal with their anger. Food has enabled them to deny and disconnect from any feeling of anger. At the same time, the unwillingness to fight, to deal with the conflict, escalates the conflict.

Passive Aggressive

This unwillingness to deal with the conflict might even become the conflict. This “eating at someone” when we’re mad may be called passive aggressive. It’s a very common posture. We don’t get mad: we get even. We do this by withdrawing, by using our drug of choice , going away physically or emotionally. Leaving often causes the other person to become aggressive-aggressive, even out of control, raging, or bitchy.

The passive aggressive posture is a controlling posture. We shut down, go away and leave our anger with the other person to deal with, along with their own anger and their rage about our leaving. We keep our anger inside. Passive aggressive is like a big dog with its paws on your shoulders, licking your face and peeing on your leg at the same time. You don’t always know you’re getting it, but you are.

In families, there is no passive. Sometimes we think we had one parent who was a raging lunatic or angry, aggressive and hostile. The other parent might have looked gentle, quite and withdrawn, but in reality the gently quietness is often the passivity. In relationships and families there is not passive, there is only passive aggressive. The withdrawing, the quietness, is punishing to others.

Addiction is a process of decreasing choice, a compulsion is like an urge that limits choice. The repetitive acting out of compulsive behavior eliminates choice. Addicts seem to have choice; occasionally they can choose not to act out their addiction or to limit their use. Even periodic acting out without choice that results in harmful consequences is addiction. Sometimes we act out with food or alcohol for a period of time to cope with stress or crises. This may not be addiction, it may be a release or trade off or meeting needs and we don’t hold on to much denial about it. It may not be repetitive or cause major life problems.

Addictions are primarily about feelings, a need to alter, avoid, or distract us from our feelings. Some of the questions that are raised include:

. Why do we need to do this?
. Why do we need to medicate our pain to distract ourselves from our emotional reality?
. Why do we protect our addictions?

If these addictions are feeling diseases, then where do we learn about our feelings?
. What did we learn about our feelings?
. How did we learn to express them or repress them?

In childhood we find out whether or not our feelings are OK. Feelings are part of the flow of life. They are present, expressed, affirmed and then go away. We pass through them on our way to new feelings. Feelings that we don’t express, that don’t get affirmed, become repressed and acted out. Addiction is one of the more common ways that we act out the feelings we can’t express. With feelings, we either talk’em out, work’em out, or act’em out.

Addiction involves a set of compulsions, highs, habits, fantasies, rituals, settings and beliefs that become repetitive, designed to produce a desired goal. If we can’t do the addiction, we can do the ritual or we can seek the setting or fantasy.

Addiction is a complex disorder and treatment must address our emotional life, including trauma, not just modifying behaviour, however we have to modify the behaviour first (stop the medicating) before we can deal with the emotional problems.

If you or someone you love is in the grips of ANY Addiction call us today for assessment and recovery program tailored for your individual needs. PH 0432 944 027 (7days)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

What Are Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism: The differences, Bv Robert Frank Mittiga

What Are Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism?

Many adults drink alcohol in the form of beer, wine, or liquor. People drink alcohol to relax, celebrate, and socialize. Alcohol affects people in different ways, and people have different relationships with alcohol. Many people can enjoy a glass of wine with food, or drink moderate amounts of alcohol in social settings, without any problems. Having one or fewer drinks per day for women and two or fewer drinks per day for men is defined as moderate drinking.

But drinking alcohol too much or too often, or being unable to control alcohol consumption, can cause or indicate alcohol abuse or alcohol dependence (also called alcoholism).

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says that about 18 million people in the U.S. struggle with what it terms “alcohol use disorders” (NIAAA). In Australia it is around 2 million. These disorders can be disruptive and life threatening.

Alcohol Abuse
People who abuse alcohol may not have a physical dependence on alcohol. But they are more focused on intoxication than on safely enjoying alcoholic beverages. Abuse can affect relationships and lead to failure to meet obligations at home, work, or school. People who abuse alcohol often have legal or financial troubles related to their drinking. Long-term alcohol abuse may lead to alcoholism.

Alcoholism is likelier to be a physical dependence on alcohol. It is a serious medical condition. People with alcoholism find drinking moderately or stopping drinking very difficult. They often struggle to live their lives normally. And they may face serious health consequences.

Who Is at Risk for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism?
For many people, alcohol abuse or alcoholism is caused by psychological or social factors. Others use alcohol to cope with psychological issues or stress in their daily lives. Alcohol abuse and alcoholism may also seem to run in families, but a genetic tendency doesn’t guarantee problems with alcohol.

The causes of alcohol abuse and alcoholism are not known for sure. Often, alcoholism is the product of many factors.

Alcohol abuse is more common at certain points in life. Men, college students, and people going through serious life events or trauma are more likely to abuse alcohol. People who suffer from depression, loneliness, emotional stress, or boredom could be more likely to turn to alcohol to deal with their problems, and this can lead to dependence (APA, 2012).

Alcohol abuse or alcoholism may cause serious health conditions. Alcohol worsens aging disorders such as osteoporosis. It can lead to certain cancers. And alcohol abuse may make it difficult to diagnose other health issues, such as heart disease, because of how alcohol affects the circulatory system.

Women who are pregnant are advised to completely avoid alcohol. Breastfeeding mothers should drink only with caution. Children, also, should not drink alcohol. In the U.S., people younger than 21 are prohibited from drinking alcohol.

What Are the Symptoms of Alcohol Use, Abuse, and Alcoholism?
A high concentration of alcohol in the blood causes symptoms such as:

slurred speech
physical and motor impairment
difficulty concentrating
memory problems
poor decision-making abilities
risky behavior
In rare cases, very high concentrations of alcohol in the blood can cause breathing problems, coma, or death.

Many people use alcohol with no ill effects. But even someone who is not alcoholic may experience effects such as illness, vomiting, or hangovers. Using alcohol can also lead to accidents, falls, drowning, fighting, or suicide. People should not attempt to drive or operate heavy machinery while under the effects of alcohol.

Symptoms of alcohol abuse or alcoholism include:

a strong desire to drink (cravings)
an inability to control cravings
an inability to stop drinking
an increased tolerance for alcohol
lying about drinking
attempting to drink without others knowing
an inability to get through everyday activities without drinking
Many alcoholics will continue to drink even when they develop drinking-related health problems. Loved ones often perceive a problem before the affected person does.

If someone who is dependent on alcohol stops drinking, he or she may have withdrawal symptoms including nausea, shaking, sweating, irritability, and anxiety.

Alcohol withdrawal can become a medical emergency. If seizures, severe vomiting, hallucinations, or fevers occur, seek immediate medical help. If you are an alcoholic and have had past difficulty with withdrawal symptoms, see a doctor before quitting. Also see a doctor before quitting alcohol if you are an alcoholic and you have other health conditions.

How Are Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Diagnosed?
Alcoholism or alcohol abuse is considered a diagnosable condition when it impacts relationships, causes harm or injury, or has a negative effect on a person’s quality of life. Diagnosing alcohol abuse can be subjective. Often, concerned family and friends will help the person understand that drinking has gotten out of control, although he or she might not believe it.

In order to diagnose alcohol abuse or dependence, your doctor will ask you about your drinking habits and your health history. He or she will use blood tests to assess your overall health. A doctor will pay special attention to parts of the body most impacted by alcohol: the brain, heart, liver, and nervous system.

How Are Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Treated?
Treatment for alcohol abuse and alcoholism usually focuses on learning to control the disease. Most people who recover from alcohol dependence choose to abstain from alcohol because learning to consume alcohol safely can be very challenging. Abstinence is often the only way to manage.

The treatment is frequently mostly psychological. Patients work on understanding their alcoholism and underlying problems, and then they commit to staying sober or practicing healthier drinking habits. Maintaining recovery from alcohol dependence can be a long process. Treatment for alcohol abuse often includes therapy, leaning new coping skills, and finding healthy ways to manage stress.

Doctors sometimes prescribe medications that lessen some symptoms of withdrawal. Other medications can help a person quit drinking by blocking the feeling of intoxication, making him or her feel sick when alcohol enters the body, or reducing cravings.

Support Groups
Having support and seeking professional treatment increases chances for recovery from alcohol from alcohol dependence (Moos, et al., 2006). Groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) focus on providing support for recovering alcoholics.


What Is the Outlook for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism?
People who abuse alcohol for an extended time and alcoholics may have other health complications, such as an increased risk for cancer, mental health issues, liver problems, brain damage, and a weakened immune system.

Even people who successfully complete treatment will always have a risk of relapse. It’s important to recognize warning signs and enlist support when you fear a relapse is coming. Continued therapy and support help minimize the risk of relapse (Moos, et al., 2006).


Cutting Addiction and Self Harm: By Robert Frank Mittiga Recovery Coach

Cutting Addiction and Self Harm

Do you ever hurt yourself when you’re feeling overwhelmed? If so, you’re not alone. For many people, self-harm is a way of coping with problems. It may help you express feelings you can’t put into words, distract you from your life, or release emotional pain. Afterwards, you probably feel better—at least for a little while. But then the painful feelings return, and you feel the urge to get relief by hurting yourself again.

Self-harm may feel like an addiction. You want to stop, but you don’t know how. Or you may feel like you can’t give it up because it’s the only thing keeping you from completely breaking down. If that’s how you feel, know this: you deserve to feel better, and you can get there without hurting yourself. There is help out there, if you want to stop. Whatever you’re facing in your life, you can learn how to not just cope with it, but to get the right help overcome it.

Understanding cutting and self-harm

Self-harm is a way of expressing and dealing with deep distress and emotional pain. As counterintuitive as it may sound to those on the outside, hurting yourself makes you feel better. In fact, you may feel like you have no choice. Injuring yourself is the only way you know how to cope with feelings like sadness, self-loathing, emptiness, guilt, and rage.

The problem is that the relief that comes from self-harming doesn’t last very long. It’s like slapping on a Band-Aid when what you really need are stitches. It may temporarily stop the bleeding, but it doesn’t fix the underlying injury. And it also creates its own problems.

If you’re like most people who self-injure, you try to keep what you’re doing secret. Maybe you feel ashamed or maybe you just think that no one would understand. But hiding who you are and what you feel is a heavy burden. Ultimately, the secrecy and guilt affects your relationships with your friends and family members and the way you feel about yourself. It can make you feel even more lonely, worthless, and trapped.

Myths and facts about cutting and self-harm

Because cutting and other means of self-harm tend to be taboo subjects, the people around you—and possibly even you—may harbor serious misconceptions about your motivations and state of mind. Don’t let these myths get in the way of getting help or helping someone you care about.

Myth: People who cut and self-injure are trying to get attention.
Fact: The painful truth is that people who self-harm generally do so in secret. They aren’t trying to manipulate others or draw attention to themselves. In fact, shame and fear can make it very difficult to come forward and ask for help.

Myth: People who self-injure are crazy and/or dangerous.
Fact: It is true that many people who self-harm suffer from anxiety, depression, or a previous trauma—just like millions of others in the general population. Self-injury is how they cope. Slapping them with a “crazy” or “dangerous” label isn’t accurate or helpful.

Myth: People who self-injure want to die.
Fact: Self-injurers usually do not want to die. When they self-harm, they are not trying to kill themselves—they are trying to cope with their pain. In fact, self-injury may be a way of helping themselves go on living. However, in the long-term, people who self-injure have a much higher risk of suicide, which is why it’s so important to seek help.

Myth: If the wounds aren’t bad, it’s not that serious.
Fact: The severity of a person’s wounds has very little to do with how much he or she may be suffering. Don’t assume that because the wounds or injuries are minor, there’s nothing to worry about.

Signs and symptoms of cutting and self-harm

Self-harm often goes hand in hand with other problems, particularly depression and eating disorders. Self-harm includes anything you do to intentionally injure yourself. Some of the more common ways include:

cutting or severely scratching your skin
burning or scalding yourself
hitting yourself or banging your head
punching things or throwing your body against walls and hard objects
sticking objects into your skin
intentionally preventing wounds from healing
swallowing poisonous substances or inappropriate object
pulling hair out and head banging

Self-harm can also include less obvious ways of hurting yourself or putting yourself in danger, such as driving recklessly, binge drinking, taking too many drugs, and having unsafe sex.

Warning signs that a family member or friend is cutting or self-injuring

Because clothing can hide physical injuries, and inner turmoil can be covered up by a seemingly calm disposition, self-injury can be hard to detect. However, there are red flags you can look for (but remember—you don’t have to be sure that you know what’s going on in order to reach out to someone you’re worried about):

. Unexplained wounds or scars from cuts, bruises, or burns, usually on the wrists, arms, thighs, or chest.

. Blood stains on clothing, towels, or bedding; blood-soaked tissues.

. Sharp objects or cutting instruments, such as razors, knives, needles, glass shards, or bottle caps, in the person’s belongings.

. Frequent “accidents.” Someone who self-harms may claim to be clumsy or have many mishaps, in order to explain away injuries.

. Covering up. A person who self-injures may insist on wearing long sleeves or long pants, even in hot weather.

. Needing to be alone for long periods of time, especially in the bedroom or bathroom.

. Isolation and irritability.

How does cutting and self-harm help?

In your own words.............
“It expresses emotional pain or feelings that I’m unable to put into words. It puts a punctuation mark on what I’m feeling on the inside!”
“It’s a way to have control over my body because I can’t control anything else in my life.”
“I usually feel like I have a black hole in the pit of my stomach, at least if I feel pain it’s better than feeling nothing.”
“I feel relieved and less anxious after I cut. The emotional pain slowly slips away into the physical pain.”

It’s important to acknowledge that self-harm helps you—otherwise you wouldn’t do it. Some of the ways cutting and self-harming can help include:

. Expressing feelings you can’t put into words
. Releasing the pain and tension you feel inside
. Helping you feel in control
. Distracting you from overwhelming emotions or difficult life circumstances
. Relieving guilt and punishing yourself
. Making you feel alive, or simply feel something, instead of feeling numb

Once you better understand why you self-harm, you can learn ways to stop self-harming, and find resources that can support you through this struggle.

The Consequences of Self-Harm
Although self-harm and cutting can give you temporary relief, it comes at a cost. In the long term, it causes far more problems than it solves. The relief is short lived, and is quickly followed by other feelings like shame and guilt. Meanwhile, it keeps you from learning more effective strategies for feeling better. Keeping the secret from friends and family members is difficult and lonely.

You can hurt yourself badly, even if you don’t mean to. It’s easy to misjudge the depth of a cut or end up with an infected wound. If you don’t learn other ways to deal with emotional pain, it puts you at risk for bigger problems down the line, including major depression, drug and alcohol addiction, and suicide.

Self-harm can become addictive. It may start off as an impulse or something you do to feel more in control, but soon it feels like the cutting or self-harming is controlling you. It often turns into a compulsive behavior that seems impossible to stop.

The bottom line: self-harm and cutting dosen't help you with the issues that made you want to hurt yourself in the first place.

Need help for self-harm? CALL US TODAY we understand and can help you. 
Ph 0432 944 027 (7days)

If the self-harmer is a family member, especially if it is your child, prepare yourself to address difficulties in the family. This is not about blame, but rather about learning ways of dealing with problems and communicating better that can help the whole family.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

BULIMIA an addiction: Treatment and Recovery By Robert Frank Mittiga Recovery Coach

B U L I M I A is an addiction
Most people have heard the expression binge and purge and recognise that it refers to bulimia nervosa. Whereas bulimia is characterised by this binge-purge cycle, it is so much more than eating and vomiting. True, a woman or adolescent with bulimia will consume huge quantities of food -- often to the point of extreme physical discomfort -- then induce vomiting. If vomiting is not an option, due to inability or general disgust of the behaviour, she may turn to excessive exercise or laxative abuse.

But the question remains "why do people do this?"

Bulimia, like most eating disorders, is not about FOOD, it's about FEELINGS. Bulimia is used by people as a way to cope with unpleasant emotions. Say a young woman goes away to university. She feels a tremendous amount of pressure to prove herself academically. This need to achieve is added to the normal stressors of making friends, fitting in, adjusting to dorm life. She is far from home and family support. These negative feelings of anxiety, stress, and perhaps depression, build up. Indeed, she is overwhelmed by these emotions. But she discovers that her stress diminishes markedly when eating.

While looking at food, touching and tasting, she feels better ... so she eats. Not surprisingly, after ingesting so much food, she is consumed by guilt and concerned about weight gain ... so she purges it from her system. The act of vomiting causes her brain to release soothing endorphins into her bloodstream, which provides a sense of calm. When the stress builds again, she repeats the behavior; before she knows it, she is addicted to the bulimic behavior.

The problem with bulimia is that it seems to work, at first. But the short-term social consequences and the long-term medical complications are immense  JUST LIKE ANY OTHER ADDICTIVE PROCESS.

Bulimia is a very real and a very dangerous addictive illness. If you struggle with bulimia, keep in mind, there is nothing wrong with your feelings, there are simply healthier ways to deal with them.
CALL US TODAY for private and confidential recovery. PH 0432 944 027

ABUSIVE RELATIONSHIPS: Are you in an abusive realtionship? By Robert Frank Mittiga

An alcoholic or addictive relationship may be marred by abuse. This symptom list may raise ones awareness of the problem.

There are many signs of an abusive relationship. The primary sign is fear of your partner. Other signs include a partner who belittles you or tries to control you, and feelings of self-loathing, numbness, helplessness, and desperation.

To determine whether or not you’re in an abusive relationship, answer the questions in the table below. The more questions to which you answer “yes,” the more likely your relationship is abusive.

Signs of an Abusive Relationship

Your Inner Feelings and Thoughts

Do you :

fear your partner a large percentage of the time?
avoid certain topics out of fear of angering your partner?
feel that you can’t do anything right for your partner?
ever think you deserve to be physically hurt or mistreated?
sometimes wonder if you are the one who is crazy?
feel afraid that your partner may try to hurt or kill you?
feel afraid that your partner will try to take your children away?
feel emotionally numb or helpless?
think that domestic violence seems normal to you?

Your Partner’s Violent or Threatening Behaviour

Has your partner ever:

had a bad and unpredictable temper?
hurt you, or threatened to hurt or kill you?
threatened to take your children away, especially if you try to leave?
threatened to commit suicide, especially as a way of keeping you from leaving?
forced you to have sex when you didn’t want to?
destroyed your belongings or household objects?

Your Partner’s Controlling Behaviour

Does your partner:

try to keep you from seeing your friends or family?
make you embarrassed to invite friends or family over to your house?
limit your access to money, the telephone, or the car?
act excessively jealous and possessive?
try to stop you from going where you want to go or doing what you want to do?
check up on you, including where you’ve been or who you’ve been with?

Your Partner’s Belittlement of You

Does your partner:

verbally abuse you?
humiliate or criticise you in front of others?
often ignore you or put down your opinions or contributions?
blame you for their own violent behavior?
objectify and disrespect those of your gender?
see you as property or a sex object, rather than as a person?

If you think you may be in such a relationship seek help and call us PH 0432 944 027 TODAY

Saturday, September 24, 2016

FOOD Addictions: Robert Frank Mittiga Recovery Coach

                                                                                     FOOD ADDICTIONS and the Myths.

Eating disorders (FOOD ADDICTIONS) of all kinds – anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa and binge-eating disorder – are occurring with greater frequency worldwide? Did you also know that eating disorders have a 15% incidence rate in people between their teens and twenties? Or are you aware that eating disorders most often occur in conjunction with other forms of mental illness such as severe depression and OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder)?

Here are a few other things that you may not know about eating disorders which debunk some of the myths grounded in popular misunderstanding.

Myth #1: Eating Disorders Are Only About How the Person Looks

While it often begins with wanting to take control of personal appearance, it is far more than an over-hyped diet for the sufferer and it frequently morphs into an obsessive-compulsive condition rooted much deeper than disquiet over a dress or pant size. Research is beginning to reveal stronger genetic tethers to the disorder (40%-50% of the risk factor) than was previously understood to exist. And while the disorder may come across as self-absorbed to casual observers, it is often the sufferer’s sincere desire to care for others to which therapists appeal during recovery treatment.

Myth #2: It’s All About the Food

It might seem like the anorexic person who is able to be so strict with their diet could put that same willpower to work in making themselves eat – but it doesn’t work that way. Neither does it help the binge eater to insist they need to try harder to diet. Eating disorder sufferers are not able to will themselves out of the dangerous food behavior. Their issues with food are compulsions resultant from things entirely separate and recovery requires addressing the emotional issues and physical complications that the disorder presents.

Myth #3: Appearance is a Give-Away

One might think that the signs of eating disorder are so obvious that appearance alone could tell you who is suffering from anorexia or bulimia, but you would be wrong. A person suffering from anorexia could be as few as 5-10kgs underweight and still be in serious danger. Sufferers also learn how to mask the signs and symptoms of their illness -wearing baggy clothes to hide weight loss for example, while those under the control of bulimia are often of average or slightly above average weight. You cannot decide if someone is suffering from an eating disorder by their appearance and neither can you use appearance to judge if the person has been cured. The fact that a person is gaining weight and appears to eat normally is not the determining factor as to whether or not they have been cured. Patients who are showing these positive signs could still be victim to the negative thought patterns which drove them into the disorder.

Myth #4: Eating Disorders are Rich, Caucasian Female Problems

Far and away the most affected by the disorder are young females with 86% of sufferers being girls under the age of 20. Nonetheless, boys and men also suffer. The number of men seeking help has doubled over the past 10 years so that men represent 10% of all those affected. Sadly, though rare before puberty, some children are afflicted and among children diagnosed with anorexia 25% are boys.

Myth#5: Eating Disorders are Hopeless Cases

Eating disorders can be successfully treated if the patient receives the appropriate treatment. Sufferers require a substantial amount of structure so that outpatient treatment is usually not as effective as residential care. When proper care is received, 60% can make a complete recovery and 80% make a partial recovery. It takes long strenuous effort to re-train thinking patterns so that recovery comes slowly – often over several years – and with occasional relapses, but it is far from incurable.

If you or someone you love is suffering from any type of Eating Disorder contact us TODAY
Ph 0432 944 027 

Thursday, September 15, 2016

The Workaholic and the Issue of "Self": By Robert Frank Mittiga

The Personality of the Workaholic and the Issue of "Self"

Perfectionsim Narcissism and Workaholism.

A study published Marfch 2010 explored thepersonality of workaholics. Of interest was the relation of narcissism and workaholism. That grandiose sense of self-importance that seems to be present in epidemic proportions in our society is related to the worst aspects of workaholism, so was perfectionism. I think these results reveal something interesting about the "self."
In the latest issue of Personality and Individual Differences, Malissa Clark, Ariel Lelchook and Marcie Taylor (Wayne State University) published a study on the relation of various personality traits with workaholism. Although my "pet subject" is procrastination (those people who just can't seem to get to a task), I'm also interested in those of us who can't seem to let go of work tasks. These "workaholics" are people who work to the exclusion of other life activities, are consumed with thoughts and feelings about work and often do more than is expected at work. Certainly, their lives are not models of "balance."
What caught my attention about this study is the focus on individual differences or personality traits that are related to workaholism. I'm particularly fascinated by the negative influences of narcissism and perfectionism in our lives, as these are traits that seem to be celebrated in many ways in modern American culture. For example, many cultural heroes of popular TV shows, particularly those shows that portray the lives of doctors, lawyers and successful business people, are hard-driving individuals who seem to have no life other than work. What each shares is a grandiose sense of his or her own self-importance that is central to the definition of narcissism.
In their study, Clark and her colleagues analyzed data from a sample of 322 working students, the majority of whom were female (73%), Caucasian (51%) or African American (27%) with an average age of 24 years and who, in addition to their studies, worked 36 hours a week on average. These participants completed self-report measures of the Big Five Personality Traits (Neuroticism, Extraversion, Openness to Experience,Conscientiousness and Agreeableness), as well as measures of Narcissism, Workaholism, Perfectionism and their tendency to experience positive and negative emotions.
The Results
There were a number of interesting findings in this study. As expected, most of the Big Five traits were related to workaholism: Neuroticism (emotional instability) positively to all aspects of workaholism, Conscientiousness negatively to the impatience component of workaholism, Agreeableness negatively to the compulsion to work, and Openness to experience was positively related to the polychronic control (multi-tasking) component of workaholism.

In terms of the other traits they measured, they found that:
  • Narcissism was positively related to workaholism overall, as well as to the components of workaholism known as impatience ("I seem to be in a hurry and racing against the clock.") and compulsion ("It's hard for me to relax when I'm not working.").
  • The high standards dimension of perfectionism (high expectations of self) was related to overall workaholism.
  • The discrepancy dimension of perfectionism (perceived gap between one's performance expectations and self-evaluation of current performance) was a significant predictor of all components of workaholism.
  • Finally, negative affect (NA) and positive affect (PA) demonstrated different relations with components of workaholism. NA (e.g., sadness, anger) was related to overall workaholism, as well as the components of impatience and compulsion. PA (e.g.,happiness, joy) was related to the polychronic control component of workaholism.
Implications and concluding thoughts
Like all correlational studies, the relations among the variables leads us to much speculation and raises many new questions. Certainly the issue of causation cannot be addressed, and it's important to note this as the authors dutifully do in their closing section of the paper.

Overall, the authors have contributed to the literature by including traits (narcissism, perfectionism and affect) beyond the Big Five that are typically discussed. In doing this, they demonstrated that each of these traits is related to workaholism or at least some component of it.
Where I disagree with the authors is in their closing comments where they write that their "Results suggest that workaholism may have both positive and negative components" (p. 790). They base this conclusion on their analysis of the structure of the workaholism questionnaire, which produced a 3-component solution. Two of these components are seen as negative (i.e., impatience and compulsion), while the third is seen as a more positive component of workaholism known as polychronic control, or the preference to juggle and be in control of many tasks at once. The thing is, while the authors refer to this as multi-tasking, it has a much more negative connotation when taking into account items that make up this component such as "I prefer to do most things myself rather than ask for help." There are certainly control issues here that are not so positive, even if the measure of Positive Affect correlated with this component.
My point is, neither perfectionism nor workaholism has a positive side. Although it can be argued that perfectionism and/or workaholism result in improved performance in some organizational circumstances, both result in diminished relationships outside of work and undermine well-being overall. Each is harmful to us.
What I think we see in this study is another confirmation of how a number of negative ways of being in life coexist. In fact, I think we see these relations between perfectionism, narcissism and workaholism because they are all related to a third underlying variable - a weak sense of self that is plagued with many irrational thoughts (e.g., "I must be perfect to have worth," "I must work to have worth.") and an overcompensation for this low self-esteem with a paradoxical narcissism (individuals protect their weak sense of self with an overcompensation that portrays the self in a grandiose fashion).
It's all a matter of degree of course. It's important, even essential, to work hard, to set standards for oneself and to value self. Problems in functioning arise when we are:
  • unable to stop working and only find value in self through work (workaholism),
  • set unrealistic expectations for our performance (perfectionism), and
  • value and pursue power and self-importance to support our grandiose self-conceptions (narcissism).
Each of these problems, I believe, has its roots in our sense of self. Nurturing a sense of self as an autonomous worthwhile being apart from our accomplishments or our failures is a key developmental task. It is ours, the task eternal.
If you or someone you love is in the grips of Workaholism then call us today for private and confidential help. Ph 0432 944 027
Clark, M.A., Lelchook, A.M., & Taylor, M.L. (2010). Beyond the Big Five: How narcissism, perfectionism, and dispositional affect relate to workaholism. Personality and Individual Differences, 48, 786-791.

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Why Love Addicts Are Addicted To Fantasy — and What to Do About It: By Robert Frank Mittiga

Why Love Addicts Are Addicted To Fantasy 

At least once in our lives, most of us have ended a great first date ready to pick out china patterns and baby names. Sometimes this great first date evolves into a genuine relationship that may lead to actual china and actual babies. More likely, the evening doesn’tlead to a petal-strewn aisle and we go on, eventually finding someone with whom we can share a life.
Some people, however, never move beyond fantasy relationships. They do this by repeatedly picking people who are unavailable (married), inappropriate (teacher, boss) or emotionally distant. They spend inordinate chunks of their waking hours imagining a romance-fueled, wrinkle-free life with partners who will never meet their needs.
They spend so much time obsessing about their “relationship” that their lives become anemic. They stop being productive at work. They neglect their friends and family. They may even have trouble sleeping and eating. The only thing that holds any meaning is a relationship that doesn’t really exist.

Fantasy Exists When Reality Is Too Painful

Miss Havisham, the jilted bride in Charles Dickens’ “Great Expectations,” tries to stop time by literally stopping her wall clock on the hour she learned of her jilting. She refuses to change out of her wedding dress. She leaves her wedding cake on the table, along with her unopened gifts. She adopts a daughter, Estella, and teaches her how to be a heartbreaker so she can hurt a man the way Miss Havisham had been hurt. Unfortunately, the heart that ends up broken belongs to Miss Havisham’s young friend, Pip. Gripped by remorse, Miss Havisham stumbles, falling too close to the fireplace. Her dress catches on fire and she dies from the burns.
A brilliant student of human nature, Dickens captured the psychology of fantasy addiction: Toxic fantasy exists when reality is too painful. If Miss Havisham had faced the devastation of being jilted at the altar she might have gone on to marry someone who loved her. She also wouldn’t have used her daughter to carry out her revenge and hurt her friend, Pip, the one person who actually cared for her.
While most fantasy addicts don’t go to the extremes of Miss Havisham, they do waste precious time lost in obsession and miss opportunities for healthy relationships.

Fix Your Relationship With Yourself

The origins of fantasy addiction lie in ruptured relationships with early attachment figures. Children experience their primary caregivers as unreliable and grow up with ambivalent attachment styles. They interact with others in a way that replicates their interactions with their caregivers. A woman who fantasizes about a married man she can’t have isn’t having a meaningful relationship with him; she isn’t even in love with him. Her obsession is a mood-altering process that allows her to avoid what’s important: her relationship with herself.
Over-focusing on another person is a great way to sidestep issues in your own life. Just like alcoholics who drink when they feel overwhelmed by disappointment and frustration, fantasy addicts lose themselves in obsession so they don’t have to feel discomfort.
Unless you want to let your life go by without having actually lived it, you must fix your relationship with yourself. Here are some guidelines that every fantasy addict must follow.
Heal your childhood wounds. In order to change the way you relate to love interests, you must resolve your ambivalent relationships with your caregivers. You don’t need their involvement to do this. This is work you can do on your own in therapy and/or 12-step programs. Do not expect a relationship to fix your past; instead, work through your childhood trauma so you can have a healthy relationship.
Replace obsessions with meaningful activities. Your fantasy addiction robs you of productivity. Stop wasting time thinking about someone you can’t have. Use that time to pursue constructive interests and hobbies: sports, cooking, music, writing, photography, volunteering. Developing skills and interests is a productive use of your time and adds to your personal growth.
Have relationships with people who are available to you. If someone is married, in a serious relationship, in a position of power over you or simply emotionally distant, turn tail and run. Pursuing a relationship with anyone on this list is a recipe for despair.
Chasing after someone who will never love you just gives you another reason to feel cheated by life. But the only person who’s cheating you is YOUI. Stop giving your power away and start changing your behaviors. Once you take accountability for your own happiness, you will be much more likely to have a relationship that’s actually worth having.
If you identify with the above know there is help. Call us TODAY 0432 944 027 for private and confidential help and recovery.

Friday, September 9, 2016

WOMEN and ALCOHOL: By Robert Frank Mittiga Recovery Coach


She wakes up groggy with a tremendous hangover, then makes a startling discovery. She is not in her own room, not in her own bed, and not alone.

Oh, no! I'm in bed with a man! How did I get here? I don't remember. Did I we have sex? We must have! Did he use protection? Could I be pregnant? Could I have a sexually transmitted disease?

How did this happen? Everybody else was drinking and apparently having a good time.

She was not drinking any more or less than her companion, and he seemed to be in control. How did she get so out of it?

The simple answer is women get drunk a lot faster than men. Even allowing for differences in body weight, a woman will attain a higher blood alcohol concentration than a man from the same amount of alcohol. This may be because women have lower levels of Alcohol Dehydrogenase (ADH), an enzyme involved in the metabolism of alcohol.

The end result was, while her date was drinking right along with her, he was simply not getting as drunk -- while she was drinking herself into a blackout -- and later he took advatange of the situation. It is a scene that has been played millions of times.

Other Risk Factors

Getting drunker quicker is not the only risk for women who drink to excess. Women are not only more sensitive to alcohol, may become addicted sooner, may develop alcohol-related problems more quickly, and many die younger than men with similar drinking problems.

Women usually have drinking patterns similar to those of their husband or lover and their friends. But because of the biological make-up of their bodies, develop alcohol-related diseases sooner, according to a study by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University.

Plus there is growing evidence that women are at an especially high risk for the health and social problems caused by alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, compared to their male counterparts.

Growing Problem

Recent studies have indicated an increase of alcohol and substance abuse problems in the general female population. More women are drinking to deal with stress, according to health experts in a National Opinion Poll. More young professional females are drinking more after work , while mothers with small children are drinking more frequently at home.

Now that more women are in the work force, they have come out in the open with their drinking. A quarter of women questioned in the poll admitted having an alcoholic drink every day, with the same number drinking more heavily on weekends.

Women are also beginning to drink more early in life. In the early 1960's, among girls, about seven percent of the new users of alcohol were between the ages of 10-14. By the early 1990's, that percentage had increased to 31 percent. On top of this, girls today are 15 times more likely than their mother to begin using illegal drugs by age 15.

Other Factors

Women first caught up to men in cigarette smoking in the mid-1970s and their rate of lung cancer soared. Now, according to a new study by the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, women are catching up to men in the consumption of alcohol and the use of drugs.

To make matters worse, treatment of substance abuse in women lags behind because the female anatomy is more complex and they face greater social stigma that hinders treatment. Only 14% of women who need treatment get it, according to the Betty Ford Center.

Women simply pay a higher price for alcohol abuse than men.


Wednesday, September 7, 2016

UNDERSTANDING CODEPENDENCY: Developmental Emotional Immaturity: By Robert Frank Mittiga

(The Disease of Developmental Emotional Immaturity)

In our culture, many practices that have commonly been associated with "normal" parenting actually impair the growth and emotional development of children. This impairment can lead to developmental immaturity, which is called codependence. Codependence has five primary symptoms.


1. Difficulty Experiencing Appropriate Levels of Self-Esteem

Healthy self-esteem is created within an individual who knows that he has inherent worth that is equal to others’. It cannot be altered by his failings or strengths,
which I call a person’s humanity. Parents who are able to affirm, nurture and set limits for their children without disempowering or falsely empowering them create children who can functionally esteem themselves.

The codependent individual relies on others to determine his worth or gets it from comparing himself to others, so his self-esteem fluctuates between feeling
worthless and better than. When negative events occur, a person with healthy self-esteem does not question his or her own worth or value.

Children reared in a loving, nurturing environment learn to esteem themselves by
being functionally esteemed by their parents/caregivers. The other extreme is arrogance and grandiosity. The person believes that he or she is above or better than other people. In some family systems, children are taught to see others' mistakes and to find fault with others. They tend to believe that they are superior to others. They may also be excessively shamed by their caregivers but learn that feeling superior to others helps them to feel better about themselves.

A third type of dysfunctional family that significantly affects self-esteem teaches children that they are superior to other people, giving them a false sense of power.
In these families, the children are treated as if they
can do no wrong. Regardless of the type of esteem that codependents display, it is not self-esteem.

It is better defined as other-esteem. It is based on external things – how they look, who they know, how large their salary is, how well their children perform, the
degrees they have earned or how well they perform activities. The codependent person becomes a human doing rather than a human being. His or her esteem is not self-based. It is based on the opinions of others.

The difficulty with other-esteem is that its source is outside of the person and thus vulnerable to changes beyond the codependent’s control. Other-esteem is fragile and undependable.

2. Difficulty Setting Functional Boundaries

A personal boundary system is an internal mechanism that both protects as well as contains an individual’s body, mind, emotions and behavior.

It has three purposes:

1) To help an individual prevent himself from being victimized

2) To prevent an individual from being an offender

3) To give an individual a sense of self Boundary systems are both external and internal. Our external boundary is divided into two parts, physical and sexual. The physical part of our external boundary controls our distance from others and whether or not we choose to be touched. This is our personal space. As we ask others to acknowledge and respect our physical boundaries, we know to ask
permission to touch other people. In a similar way, our sexual boundary controls
sexual distance and touch. We are able to choose how, when, where and with whom we are sexual.

Our INTERNAL boundary protects our thinking, feelings and behaviours as well as keeping them functional. When we are using our internal boundary, we take responsibility for our thoughts and actions. We stop blaming others for what we think, feel and do. Our internal boundary also allows us to stop taking responsibility for the thoughts, feelings and behaviors of others. Children are born without boundaries. They possess no internal way of protecting themselves from abuse or to avoid being abusive towards others. Boundaries must be taught. People with non-existent boundaries not only lack protection, but also have no ability to recognize another person's right to have boundaries. A codependent with non-existent boundaries moves through other people's boundaries, unaware that he or she is doing something inappropriate.

Damaged boundaries may cause a person to take responsibility for someone else's feelings, thoughts or behaviors.

3. Difficulty Owning Our Own Reality

People who are codependent do not know who they are. They have difficulty recognizing and defining their own reality. Reality is defined as the following four aspects:

1) The body - How we look and how our bodies are operating
2) Thinking - How we give meaning to incoming data
3) Feelings - Appropriate expression of our emotions
4) Behavior - What we do or don't do

Not being able to own our reality is experienced on two levels: ...I know my reality and I won't shareit, or I don't know what my reality is. Codependents then must make up a personal identity and reality out of what they think they should be. Those who struggle with this core symptom have difficulty making decisions that positively impact their lives. They have an altered sense of appropriateness.

4. Difficulty Acknowledging and Meeting Our Own Wants and Needs

Everyone has basic needs and individual wants. Children must have their needs met initially by their major caregiver. Then they must be taught to satisfy those needs themselves. Adults are responsible for addressing their own needs and asking for
help when it is necessary. People who have difficulty with this core symptom can fall into these four categories:

1) Too dependent: expect others to meet our needs completely
2) Anti-dependent: I alone can meet my needs
3) Needless/wantless: I am not aware of my needs or wants
4) Confuses wants and needs: attempts to meet needs with wants (buying clothes
instead of asking for physical intimacy)

Parents who meet all of their children's needs and wants are not teaching the children to meet some of those needs themselves. The children may grow up expecting to have others meet all of their needs. Children who are attacked for having any needs may grow up to be anti-dependent. They learn that it is unsafe to ask for any needs to be met. Children who are neglected and abandoned may grow up with issues of feeling needless/wantless. They learn at a young age to "turn off" their needs as they learn that they are not important enough to have them. These people grow up to fill others’ needs without recognizing their own. When a need is met, they often feel guilty. And finally, children whose parents were very wealthy often experience confusion of want and need. Instead of getting the guidance and support they needed, perhaps they were bought something. In adulthood they may be craving real relationships and intimacy, but instead they buy something or seek out sex,drugs, or alcoholto fill that void. This can be a major set up for ADDICTION.

5. Difficulty Experiencing and Expressing Our Reality Moderately

This symptom is usually most visible to other people. Codependents usually have no middle ground and appear to be extreme with their bodies, thoughts and feelings.
Codependents tend to care for their bodies in the extreme. They may dress very flamboyantly or very dowdily and blandly. They might be very thin or very fat. They may also have extreme habits for self-care or no habits at all. Codependents’ thinking is not in moderation. They may think "good/bad" or "black/white." They see only one answer, and it is either theirs or yours. People who live in extremes have witnessed their parents or major caregivers act out of moderation or, if they did not like their parents' behavior, they do the opposite. A child who was severely disciplined by his or her parents may grow up to not discipline his or her own children at all.

Moderation is essentially a self-containment issue and is related to both boundary and reality issues. When an individual contains himself with a wall, he tends to shut down and wall others out. In this process, he loses control of being in control of himself and others. When an individual has no boundaries with which to contain himself, he will do whatever he wants to do, disregarding his impact on others. In this process, he will be in control of being out of control and others will have difficulty being rational with him.

Like any path to recovery, rehabilitation from codependency is not easy, but the results are life-enhancing and sometimes even lifesaving. If you or someone you love identify with any of these symptoms call us TODAY for a thorough assessment. PH 0439 399 809

Monday, September 5, 2016

METH / ICE ADDICTION triggered by weightloss and body image issues in young women. By Robert Frank Mittiga

METH / ICE ADDICTION triggered by weightloss and body image issues in young women. By Robert Frank Mittiga

I have begun noticing a disturbing new trend of teenage girls and young women who use the drug crystal meth to lose weight -- up to 18 kilograms a month.

This is a recipe for disaster. This combination of body image issues and the drug's weight loss appeal.

Crystal meth, the street version of the drug methamphetamine, is an a very addictive stimulant that causes elation and alertness in addition to curbing appetite. Meth users can smoke, snort, inject or swallow the drug.

They usually ingest a crude combination of cold medicine, brake cleaner, fertiliser, drain cleaner and iodine along with a myriad of other chemicals.

Meth is an appetite suppressant. It's a drug that will give you stimulation for 12 hours, with no need to eat and no need to sleep. It's also cheap -- between $5 to $10 per hit -- and has consequently been labelled the "poor man's cocaine."

Young women know and find out quickly that there are drugs that do reduce your appetite and cause you to lose weight, and meth is so affordable.

I am recieving an alarming increase of calls from parents of teenage girls aged 12 to 18. These women have such a distorted body image.

According to the World Health Organization, methamphetamine is the most widely used illicit drug in the world after cannabis. We're in this era of stimulant drugs -- "the need for speed". But when it comes to body image, we also seem to have the need to be thin.

Methamphetamine has been around for decades. It was marketed in North America in the 1920s as a weight-loss drug. It was touted for its dietary benefits. It's amazing that in the first place this drug was used was for weight loss.

Meth is relatively simple to make. There are thousands of recipes on the Internet and police estimate that an investment of about $150 can yield an amount worth about $10,000 on the street.
But it also has lethal side effects. Meth use can cause insomnia, hallucinations, paranoia and anxiety as well as heart problems, convulsion, brain damage and death.

Ph 0432 944 027

STAGES OF ADDICTION: Addictions develop in stages. By Robert Frank Mittiga Recovery Coach


The Stages Of Addiction

There are six stages of addiction.

Stage ONE is learning. We discover an addiction as a survival skill, a coping mechanism. Often, this discovery is made in childhood.

Some addictions aren’t discovered until adolescence or later in life. We find some way to distract us from our pain, something that helps us survive or cope with the emptiness of self, with our fears and anxieties.

After learning how to distract from this pain we move into the seeking stage 2. We establish a trust, a relationship, a belief system that the addiction will work for us.

WE establish patterns and begin the rituals of addiction, seeking it and looking for new experiences with it.

The THIRD stage is harmful dependency. The addiction has escalated, the rituals have become elaborate and rigid. Preoccupation becomes obsession and trust becomes a blind faith that the addiction will take care of us. The high of the addiction is now an attempt to cope and feel normal. Harmful consequences come in this stage.

Stage FOUR is the controlling stage. We try to reduce the addiction and its impact on our lives. We cut down, we make decisions to stop, we go on diets, we quit for Lent or we change the relationship. In this control stage, we often switch to a new addiction. Quit smoking and start shopping. Quit drinking and start abusing food. Quit gambling and start spending or overworking. We may concentrate on one addiction and ignore the others. We usually control our addictions for a time, but go back to the harmful dependency.

Eventually we hit the acute stage. We lose important things in our lives and our priorities are affected. We may suffer a loss of family, friends, health, self respect, money or job. We lose our values, spirituality and sexuality.

Finally the chronic stage of addiction is met when we’ve lost all of the above. We’ve truly hit rock bottom. In our culture we have a belief system about when we can intervene with an addict. We believe we have to wait until the addict is completely broken and they have to want to help. An addict who has hit bottom often has nothing to recover for. There is so much despair and helplessness that they do not want help and sometimes can’t be given help.

If YOU or someone you love or care about is in the grips of any addiction call us today for specialist help and guidance. CALL US TODAY for your own private and confidential RECOVERY COACH.
Ph 0432 944 027