Monday, May 8, 2017

Must-watch: Korean dramas with strong female characters

When I’m not too busy with my studies and training, I usually unwind by watching Korean dramas. Aside from the interesting plots, most of the shows these days have strong female characters that are far away from being damsels in distress. If you want to know what I’m talking about, here are some examples you might want to check out:

 Kim Nana from “City Hunter”

This character is a presidential bodyguard who surely has the moves to take enemies down. Aside from being a skilled fighter, she is also a hard worker who fought for her position despite being an orphan who had to support herself.

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Bong Soon from “Strong Woman Do Bong Soon”

Bong Soon may have superhuman strength, but that doesn’t mean that force is all there is to her. Dreaming of becoming a game designer, she tried to keep her abilities on the down low for most of the series. Interestingly, this only allowed her other skills to shine. On top of that, she’s an unsung hero who ensures the safety of the people around her.
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 Bok Joo from “Weightlifting Fairy Kim Bok Joo”

Being a weightlifter doesn’t mean that a girl can’t be feminine. Despite being a champion weightlifter who can easily drag truck wheels, carry stacks of chairs, and lift barbells, Bok Joo is also a sensitive person who wants to experience the joy of being loved. Playful and caring, she’s the “sunshine girl” of all the people around her.

These strong characters may be fictional, but they’re inspiration for women who are pursuing their dreams.

Thanks for reading! Heather Taras here. I am a college student from Seattle, Washington, studying to becoming a drug counselor. During my free time, I enjoy watching Korean dramas and trying out Korean dishes. Subscribe to my page for updates.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The importance of a support group in staying sober

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Getting treatment for addiction is only the start of the whole recovery process. In maintaining sobriety, it is important for a person to have a support group who will hold them accountable. Having a group who will reassure, correct, and protect can make a person in recovery feel valued. If you’re part of someone’s support group, here’s what you can do to encourage sobriety:

Be a good listener.

So much is going on in a recovering person’s life that sometimes they just need someone who will listen to them without judgment. As a drug counselor in training, sometimes we don’t have to ask or talk too much. You just have to listen to their stories and let them find the solution once they have said their piece. Most of them are aware that they have done wrong in the past and they just want to unpack their thoughts and feelings.

Encourage healthy habits.

It can be as simple as helping a recovering addict eat well, accompanying them to the gym, or checking if they’re sleeping well. At worst, an addiction can take over routine and jeopardize health. In the path to recovery, it’s also important to help a person restore physical fitness and strength to prepare for the days ahead.
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Provide moral support.

Recovering addicts sometimes develop social fear and anxiety. Knowing that they have done wrong in the past keeps them from getting the job that they want or meeting new people. Having a support group can help them feel more at ease especially when around a group of people. Being with friends can also boost their confidence.

Having a support group is a must for those who are after long-term sobriety. These reliable people will take note and celebrate a recovering addict’s progress. When failure happens, this group will also be the first ones to help their friend get back on track.

Thanks for reading! Heather Taras here. I am a college student from Seattle, Washington, studying to becoming a drug counselor. As a counselor in training, I have seen that recovery from addiction is possible. Subscribe to my blog for updates.

Monday, March 20, 2017

The satisfaction of listening to another’s stories

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Hearing another person share interesting stories brings a lot of satisfaction to the listener in a number of ways.

Anyone who considers himself a good listener knows that this is the best way to gauge one’s personal limits. A listener has his or her own view of life. His horizons are limited only to what his set of experiences has given him. The stories of another person easily serve as suggestions as to how to approach life differently.

They say that experience is, by far, the best teacher. However, there are many lessons to be learned outside of one’s own experiences. Knowing how a sharing person has experienced life does not necessarily dictate upon a listener a better way of doing things for his own. But it is typical of us to go through our days randomly surprised to encounter things that sound familiar, only because we remember it from a friend’s story. This makes us wiser individuals in facing unpredictable challenges.

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Perhaps, the ultimate satisfaction that one gets out of being a listener is the chance to help another person unload the heavy things he may be carrying with him. A listener has the power to liberate another person from a lot of baggage, and truthfully, this is very helpful.

There are too many sad people who give up on life easily, and this makes it easier for them to fall into the trap of drugs and later on, addiction. This may even be reason enough for them to take their own lives. Perhaps there is no satisfaction greater than making a huge difference in the life of another just by listening.

Heather Taras is interested in drug counseling and aspires to be a counselor after finishing her associate degree. For more on helping recovery addicts, subscribe to this Facebook page.

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

A care guide to preventing self-harming among patients during drug counseling

Drug addiction and self-harm often go hand-in-hand. It is common for recovering patients to feel a sense of shame. Their lack of self-worth coupled with the anger or negative feelings toward their addiction can lead them to hurt themselves. Drug counselors need to be extremely careful with their patients. Priority must be given to patients who are most at risk of hurting themselves. Treatment plans need to be focused on removing the need to self-harm before any recovery plan can be made. Here are few tips to keep in mind.

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 Watch out for danger signs: Self-harm can be done anywhere in the body. Most people cut their wrists or arms, but some also focus on their inner thigh. Unfortunately, these parts can be easily hidden with clothing. Take note of unusual areas being covered by the patient. Also, patients who begin to self-harm become detached from their surroundings. This can manifest in either a vague sense of happiness or peace. Remember that self-harm is being used as a release; some patients claim that this is the only way for them to heal.

Prevention: When the drug counselor suspects self-harming behavior, prevention techniques must be practiced. This includes scouring the patient’s room (if they are in-house residents) and removing any sharp or dangerous objects. If the patient lives away from a drug rehab center, consult with their family members and create a safety care plan immediately.

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There are debates on whether or not to confront the patient about his behavior. This must be done under the drug counselor’s discretion. Each case varies. In general, however, an intervention is planned so that the patient understands that self-harming is not the only way for them to get better.

Learn more about drug counseling with Heather Taras, a student of the subject. For more tips, follow her on Facebook.

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

How to start a career as a substance abuse counselor

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I may still be quite young at 19 years but I've already seen how substance abuse can affect people's lives negatively. Still, I believe that people can change – not only that, they can also flourish, if they are given another chance and have the right mentoring. Of course, it's not necessarily easy but it's a challenge I want to take up when I become a substance abuse counselor.

Yes, right now I'm taking up an associate's degree in Applied Science in the Social and Human Service Program, as it's one way to become a drug abuse counselor. For people who are interested in the same track, one can consider an associate's degree or bachelor's degree in psychology. These will cover the basics of working as a treatment counselor. Having a master's degree may open up more related opportunities, so it's also worth looking into, especially if one wants to open up a private practice.

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It's also important to keep in mind that each state has a variety of requirements that will allow a person to practice the profession. Some states will have licensing exams as well as a requisite number of supervised counseling hours, but the necessary length will vary according to the state.

Aside from passing those requirements, aspiring substance abuse therapists will need to have patience, good communication skills, excellent social perception, organizational skills, and sound reasoning skills in order to truly help their patients on their way to recovery.

Heather Taras wants to be a drug abuse counselor so she's finishing up her associate's degree in applied science under the Social and Human Services Program. Follow her blog to learn more about her advocacy.

Friday, November 4, 2016

A guide to acceptance: Helping addicted loved ones understand their condition

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The first step to addiction recovery is for the individual to accept that he or she has a problem. No matter how well laid out a treatment plan is, nothing will be achieved if the person does not believe that it is necessary. This step can take years to achieve but signifies an important milestone in recovery. Family members and concerned friends can help bring about this realization with these suggested steps:

Stick to the facts: Address the problem, not the person. Remember that how thoughts are communicated play a big role with how well the message is received. Drug addicts are typically defensive about their condition and will make excuses for their behavior. However, this can be fought with a complete listing of facts. It would be best to have a detailed account of how the addiction has affected certain situations. Dialogue between family members and the patient should never be around behavior or personality traits.

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Try interventions: Severe cases may require drastic interventions. However, these should not be attempted without the help and guidance of a trained mental health professional. Interventions are a highly shocking experience but are useful in some cases. Sometimes an individual needs to see how much of an effect his or her addiction has on other people.

One thing that must constantly be emphasized during the entire process is that the addict is not alone. Recovering individuals often feel ashamed after finally admitting to themselves that they have a problem. It is important that he or she is reminded of the love and support during this vulnerable state.

Heather Taras is interested in drug counseling and aspires to be a counselor after finishing her associate degree. For more on helping recovery addicts, subscribe to this Facebook page.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Misused prescription drugs: Common types and effects

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Medications are supposed to be taken according to doctor’s orders. They are also to be taken for a certain time. Despite these conditions, some people go beyond the instructions and end up becoming dependent on their medication. This becomes a prescription drug addiction. Here are some of the commonly misused drugs:

Opiods are usually used to alleviate pain. Pain relievers such as heroin, morphine, Norco, Vicodin, Demerol, and Dolophine, are examples of opioids. Abuse of these substances is a global problem. However, in the U.S., 2.1 million people struggle with opioid addiction.

Central nervous system depressants such as benzodiazepines, barbiturates, and sleep medications are used to address mental health, anxiety, and sleep problems. Using these drugs beyond prescription might have adverse effects on a person’s speech, movement, concentration, and memory. Some medications might impair the heart and the lungs.

Stimulants such as amphetamines and methylphenidate are commonly used to treat attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder or ADHD. When used beyond prescription, it can lead to restlessness, anxiety, paranoia, and erratic blood pressure.

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Aside from being wary of prescription drug abuse, the public should also be careful of illegal substances that are being packaged as prescription medication. These drugs, which are usually peddled in the streets, were made with unregulated dosages of chemicals that could damage a person’s system quickly.

Heather Taras here. I am a college student from Seattle, Washington, aspiring to become a drug counselor. Follow me on Facebook for more updates.