Tag Archives: Stress

Anger Control


We have all experienced anger in one form or another. However, some people may find themselves feeling angry more often than the people around them.
Here is an article that may help you, or even someone you know, to manage anger.

*Please keep in mind that here at Apex Behavioral Health Western Wayne we have staff that may be able to help you overcome your anger. Please call us at 734-729-3133 to schedule an appointment.

Marijuana potential help for PTSD patients

 Science Daily – Use of cannabinoids (marijuana) could assist in the treatment of post-traumatic stress disorder patients. This is exposed in a new study carried out at the Learning and Memory Lab in the University of Haifa’s Department of Psychology.

The study, carried out by research student Eti Ganon-Elazar under the supervision of Dr. Irit Akirav, was published in the Journal of Neuroscience.

In most cases, the result of experiencing a traumatic event — a car accident or terror attack — is the appearance of medical and psychological symptoms that affect various functions, but which pass. However, some 10%-30% of people who experience a traumatic event develop post-traumatic stress disorder, a condition in which the patient continues to suffer stress symptoms for months and even years after the traumatic event. Symptoms include reawakened trauma, avoidance of anything that could recall the trauma, and psychological and physiological disturbances. One of the problems in the course of treating trauma patients is that a person is frequently exposed to additional stress, which hinders the patient’s overcoming the trauma.

The present study, carried out by Dr. Akirav and research student Eti Ganon-Elazar, aimed to examine the efficiency of cannabinoids as a medical treatment for coping with post-traumatic stress. The researchers used a synthetic form of marijuana, which has similar properties to the natural plant, and they chose to use a rat model, which presents similar physiological responses to stress to that of humans.

The first stage of the research examined how long it took for the rats to overcome a traumatic experience, without any intervention. A cell colored white on one side and black on the other was prepared. The rats were placed in the white area, and as soon as they moved over to the black area, which they prefer, they received a light electric shock. Each day they were brought to the cell and placed back in the white area. Immediately following exposure to the traumatic experience, the rats would not move to the black area voluntarily, but a few days later after not receiving further electric shocks in the black area, they learned that it is safe again and moved there without hesitation.

Next, the researchers introduced an element of stress. A second group of rats were placed on a small, elevated platform after receiving the electric shock, which added stress to the traumatic experience. These rats abstained from returning to the black area in the cell for much longer, which shows that the exposure to additional stress does indeed hinder the process of overcoming trauma.

The third stage of the research examined yet another group of rats. These were exposed to the traumatic and additional stress events, but just before being elevated on the platform received an injection of synthetic marijuana in the amygdala area of the brain — a specific area known to be connected to emotive memory. These rats agreed to enter the black area after the same amount of time as the first group — showing that the synthetic marijuana cancelled out the symptoms of stress. Refining the results of this study, the researchers then administered marijuana injections at different points in time on additional groups of rats, and found that regardless of when exactly the injection was administered, it prevented the surfacing of stress symptoms.

Dr. Akirav and Ganon-Elazar also examined hormonal changes in the course of the experiment and found that synthetic marijuana prevents increased release of the stress hormone that the body produces in response to stress.

According to Dr. Akirav, the results of this study show that cannabinoids can play an important role in stress-related disorders. “The results of our research should encourage psychiatric investigation into the use of cannabinoids in post-traumatic stress patients,” she concludes.


How Stressed Are You?

Do you feel out of control (personally, professionally, or socially)? Do you have difficulty sleeping or staying asleep? Do you have a rundown feeling or have frequent illnesses? Do you eat, drink, or smoke when you are nervous? If you can identify with a few of these conditions, then you are suffering from a high level of stress!

A “normal” stress in our bodies can be a positive force of “getting ready” to meet life’s challenges. It can come from mental, emotional, or physical activity. Stress is the flow of adrenalin (neurotransmitter substance in the brain), the tense muscles, the rise in blood pressure that occurs to meet any demand that is made upon us (eg. physical, emotional, or mental). Stress is an essential part of performance that motivates us; it get us ready for action and keeps us concentrating and functioning properly. However, when stress occurs too often it can be too severe, to the point of inhibiting our task or job performance. Stress then becomes a negative force that can make us lose efficiency or leave us feeling “out of control.”  Stress can even take its toll in the form of chronic illnesses such as: depression, anxiety, mood swings, hypertension, ulcers, headaches or migraines, pain the neck or shoulder, and an increased risk of heart disease and stroke.

Here are a few basic guidelines to cope with stress and anxiety:

1. Listen to your body symptoms and recognize any ill feelings.

2. Figure out what made you feel stressed – what happened today or yesterday that made you feel that way?

3. Allow yourself permission to feel anxious about what bothers you. Be in charge of your mood – “don’t lose it!”.

4. Try to think if you can change anything to make the situation less serious (be prepared and organize for change).

5. Know your limitations! Don’t push yourself  “over the edge,” be assertive, and learn to say “no” sometimes.

6. Be organized. Prioritize your lifestyle – don’t do too much too soon (eg. pick up the kids, buy groceries, clean the house, etc.). Try to allocate chores to other family members or friends to help assist you.

7. Be positive! Stop criticism and negative thoughts, accept yourself exactly as you are – remember nobody is perfect! When you criticize yourself, your changes are negative. When you approve yourself, your changes are positive. Try to find a mental image in your mind that gives you pleasure. This will turn your negative thoughts into happy ones.

8. Take extra care of your body. Learn about nutrition, eat a healthy diet, exercise, and take walks. Extra oxygen releases endorphins (NTS) in the brain, which releases a feeling of well being, a “natural high.” Listen to soft music, learn how to meditate, and try to relax and sleep well.

9. Invest/confide in a good friendship with someone you trust (eg. spouse, relative, friend, neighbor) and share with them your thoughts, feelings, fears, or anger.

10. Be good to yourself! Be kind, loving, and forgiving. Hate perpetuates hostility, rage, and anger. Love gives a feeling of oneness, joy, success, harmony, and peace of mind.

If you are feeling overwhelmed and unable to deal or cope with stress, please seek outside help to help you sort out your problems and create a plan of action.  If you would like to speak with someone, please call Apex Behavioral Health at Westland, (724) 729-3133.

By: Hoda Amine-Majed, PH.D.., DCSW