Monday, October 14, 2019

Guest Post: Exercise Strengthens the Body and the Mind

Fitness, in my opinion, is a mental exercise more than just physical.”
– Indian actress Anushka Shetty

Exercise is indeed both a mental and physical activity. We often hear people talking about how Working out makes them feel better.
  • Taking walks helps them clear their minds.
  • Running helps them achieve a natural runner’s high.

Clearly, there’s a connection between physical and mental fitness. People who exercise regularly could:

  • Reduce fatigue if they’re undergoing cancer treatment. The National Comprehensive Cancer Network says that “exercise increases muscle strength, joint flexibility, and general conditioning.”
  • Provide mental and physical benefits if they’re recovering from addictions. Alcohol and drug addiction treatment centers often encourage their clients to hit the gym as a form of holistic treatment that addresses their minds, bodies, and spirits.
  • Strengthen their bones if they have osteoporosis. As an added bonus, if people don’t have osteoporosis, regular exercise may prevent it from occurring in the first place.

Thus, exercising regularly may reduce pain and fatigue. It may even prevent it. If we’re less tired and sore, we may be better able to function in general.

We certainly may be better able to handle our mental health. “Depressed adults who took part in a fitness program displayed significantly greater improvements in depression, anxiety, and self-concept than those in a control group after 12 weeks of training,” reported scholars who reviewed research about exercise and mental health.

During exercise, the brain’s pituitary gland and hypothalamus release chemicals known as endorphins. Endorphins are similar to the drug morphine, so they may fight pain. They may also boost our moods, because they’re chemicals that also relate to eating, drinking, sex, and maternal feelings.

When we exercise, we’re doing something positive for ourselves. Knowing that we’re making progress may make us feel better about ourselves and improve our self-esteem.

If we feel better about ourselves, we may be eager to continue to exercise to prolong these feelings. We may be less likely to do things that may derail this progress.

Exercise breeds positivity, which spurs further positivity, more exercise, and other constructive habits. Such habits and exercise generate further positivity, and so on.

While we often talk about breaking destructive cycles, this is one cycle we should encourage. Fitness engages, improves, and protects the mind and body in many ways.

About the author: Pamela Zuber is a writer and editor who is interested in many topics, including mental health, addiction and recovery, human rights, gender, and business.


Craft, Lynette L. and Frank M. Perna. “The Benefits of Exercise for the Clinically Depressed.” The Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry. 2004; 6(3): 104-111.

Domonell, Kristen. “Why Endorphins (and Exercise) Make You Happy.” January 13, 2016.

Exercising During Cancer Treatment.” Patient and Caregiver Resources. National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

Russo, Cosimo Roberto. “The Effects of Exercise on Bone. Basic Concepts and Implications for the Prevention of Fracture.” Clinical Cases in Mineral and Bone Metabolism. Sept.-Dec. 2009; 6(3): 223-228.

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Guest Post: Substance Abuse & Eating Disorders - Fighting a Dual Diagnosis

Many people probably know that conditions such as anorexia and bulimia and disordered eating can wreak havoc on a person’s life. Did you know that other factors can make such conditions

Unfortunately, using drugs or drinking excessively can make an eating disorder much worse.

Also unfortunately, many people grapple with both substance abuse and eating disorders at the same time.

Up to 50% of individuals with eating disorders abused alcohol or illicit drugs, a rate five times higher than the general population,” says the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). In
fact, the combination of an eating disorder and substance abuse is so common that it goes by many terms, including dual diagnosis, co-occurring condition, or comorbidity.

People with just one of those conditions may find it difficult to treat. If they have both, treatment can be even more difficult, because the conditions may feed off each other. For example, people who feel ashamed or anxious about an eating disorder may get drunk to try to forget their problems.

Treatment may be difficult, but it’s necessary. It’s also available. People with eating disorders
and substance abuse problems may want to consider entering inpatient dual diagnosis
treatment centers.

While this name may sound intimidating, breaking it down is important. Similarly, while
treatment may sound daunting, addressing it step-by-step can make it seem less scary and
more accessible.

As their name indicates, inpatient centers require people to stay at designated facilities while
they receive treatment. This removes people from places, people, and circumstances that may
trigger their eating disorders and substance abuse. It allows people to press the reset buttons
on their lives.

Inpatient care is also medical care. Eating disorders and substance abuse can be deadly, but
treating them is also a delicate matter. Treatment requires people to make changes. Their
bodies may not be accustomed to such changes, so staying in inpatient facilities that offer
constant medical supervision may make treatment safer and more effective.

Therapy is also a vital component feature of dual diagnosis facilities. Therapists can help people
determine how eating disorders may influence substance abuse and vice versa. They can work
with clients to develop new eating patterns and new ways to cope with stress.

Dual diagnosis centers also introduce clients to other helpful people: their peers. Many inpatient
dual diagnosis treatment centers feature group therapy and support group meetings.

Professionals at the centers often find support groups that people can attend after they leave
their treatment facilities.

Peer assistance may be very helpful. After all, people in support groups and group therapy
sessions have experienced eating disorders, addiction, and recovery themselves, so they can
empathize with others in their groups. They may be less likely to judge because they’ve been
through the same things. They can ask for advice or give advice because they’ve been there
and done that.

Eating disorders and substance abuse are complex problems. Treating them is no less
complex. As with other issues of mental health, finding effective support may be challenging, but
it can make all the difference.

About the author: Pamela Zuber is a writer and editor interested in inpatient dual diagnosis
treatment centers and other aspects of mental health, as well as wellness, gender, human
rights, and many other topics.

The Contemporary Psychoanalysis Group, “Disordered Eating or Eating Disorder: What’s the
Difference?,” Psychology Today, February 23, 2014,

National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), “Substance Abuse and Eating Disorders,”

Wade, Stephanie, Hunna Watson, Jemma Caswell, and Julie Purcell, “Peer Support for Eating
Disorders: A Pilot Open Trial of Peer Support for Children and Adolescents with Eating
Disorders,” Journal of Eating Disorders, November 24, 2014,