Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatments: Do They Work?

When it comes to mental health and substance abuse issues, many patients and their loved ones are skeptical about the effectiveness of treatment. Since conditions like addiction, depression, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder are so personalized and complex, many individuals have doubts concerning the effectiveness of treatment. However, there are several treatment options which have proven successful in the battle against various types of mental and behavioral health problems.

Treating Disorders Pertaining to Mental Health and Substance Abuse


Although various types of medication are often used in the treatment of mental illness and addiction, studies show that counseling and other types of psychotherapy are effective at treating the long-term effects of these conditions. Psychotherapy, also known as counseling or talk therapy, is designed to help individuals work through their mental health and substance abuse problems through discussion and behavior modification. And unlike medications, which often vary according to diagnosis and other factors, psychotherapy has proven effective in treating a broad range of conditions, some of which include the following:

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatments: Do They Work?

  • Addiction to drugs and alcohol
  • Depression
  • Anxiety Disorders
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Sex and gambling addictions
  • Extreme fears and phobias

There are several different types of psychotherapy treatment, the most common of which include the following:

Behavioral Therapy

This type of psychotherapy works by identifying and modifying the individual's self-destructive or otherwise unhealthy behaviors. Although behavioral therapy can be used in various types of individuals, it is most often used in those suffering from depression, substance abuse, anxiety and phobias.

Cognitive Therapy

During cognitive psychotherapy session, individuals are encouraged to work on their problems by pinpointing and changing dysfunctional patterns in thoughts, emotions and behaviors. The point of this type of therapy is to bring subconscious thoughts and actions into the conscious mind so that the individual is aware of unhealthy behavior patterns and has the opportunity to change their behavior.


During psychoanalysis treatment sessions, the individual is encouraged to speak openly so that their thoughts and behaviors can be analyzed. This can help counselors to determine the source of issues concerning mental health and substance abuse, as well as possible long-term solutions to these problems.

Group Therapy

Like one-on-one counseling sessions, group therapy creates a safe environment in which individuals can discuss their problems with mental health and substance abuse issues. In group sessions, clients meet with other like-minded individuals, where they are encouraged to speak openly about their thoughts, feelings and experiences. Group therapy provides various benefits to individuals in recovery from mental health or substance abuse problems, including the support, accountability and shared knowledge of peers.

Studies show that the types of therapy mentioned here not only help in the short-term, but also provide the individual with the coping skills to sustain long-term health and recovery. Through the use of these treatments, patients can experience numerous advantages pertaining to mental and behavioral health.

Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatments: Do They Work?

Ben Brafman, LMHC, CAP is the President and CEO of The Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center, a licensed mental Health treatment center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Ben has more than 20 years of experience in the addiction and mental health fields, which led him to develop a combination of innovative treatment protocols at The Sylvia Brafman Mental Health Center. He has been published on various topics including dual diagnosis and chemical dependency, and gives back to the community by educating other addiction counselors at his Academy for Addiction Professionals.

Health News for the Entire Family


Parents who choose heart healthy meals and activities for the children now are protecting them against heart disease later. Good nutrition and daily exercise, whether it is formal classes, organized sports of spontaneous play, all work against childhood obesity and its effects later.


Teens that spend time volunteering are healthier, have lower cholesterol and report feeling more emphatic and altruistic than those who do not. Volunteering also raises self-esteem which can take some hits in the teenage years. It raises moods and increases awareness of those who are less fortunate. It also increases responsibility for the teen which they must learn as they grow older, attend college and land the first job.

Health News for the Entire Family

Special needs kids might have sleep problems like difficulty staying asleep, night terrors and snoring. These can be caused by medication. Parents of special needs kids already know the sleep habits and problems of their children. But just in case someone else needs to know, here are some things which might help get the special one a good night rest: develop a regular time for bed and stick to it every night, develop a regular routine before bed, make the room a restful place and have the child sleep in the same place every night, put or send the child to be when they are sleepy yet not fully asleep, deflect anxiety as it is often a factor in sleep disorders with special needs kids.


Migraines are a pain for anyone who gets them and can cause a complete stoppage of all activities, including work. While there are many over-shelf-medications to ease the pain and many more prescribed by doctors, there is one remedy reported that is quite pleasurable - sex. Pleasure with your partner releases endorphins, the natural pain killers for the body, which can ease or get rid of the pain. So replace the pills with your love to get rid of a migraine or cluster headache.

America is the land of the super-sized plates and meals which do nothing more than add unneeded fat, calories and cholesterol. It is National Nutrition Month and it is time to take note of what is on your plate. Fruits, vegetables, grains and protein are valuable to maintaining a health body. The serving size for each is much less than what we get when we order at a restaurant. Healthcare professionals recommend asking for a take-home box and immediately putting half of the meal in it, and eat the half that is left on the plate. That is the size of a regular meal. Half of the plate should be filled with fruits, veggies and grains. Reduce the amount of salt, sodium and sugar in meals and drinks. Always check processed and frozen food packages for the amount of sodium in them. Be mindful of what goes into your mouth because it will eventually land on your hips, thighs, back-end and ankles. Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, stay regular, and to flush out toxins.


Grandparents and aging parents have different needs in order to maintain wellness - both physical and mental. Fortunately, there is a lot going on for them to stay healthy and happy.

Regular exercise focusing on strength, balance, stretching and endurance helps prevents falls which is a main cause for broken bones. Joining classes and social groups keeps single seniors happy and less likely to center attention to their loss. Another fun idea to keep their moods up and help them improve hand to eye coordination is to invite them to play a video game with you or the kids.

Free health screenings under the new Affordable Health Care Act are especially good for the older generation. Some of included are: a free wellness exam every year, bone mass measurement, flu shots, pap tests and pelvic tests, breast cancer screenings. There are other tests which have a low fee and they are: cardiovascular screenings (the test is free, doctor visit is not), colon cancer screenings, diabetes testing, glaucoma testing, and prostate cancer screenings. As always, check with your doctor if you think any of these screenings or tests should be taken. Grandparents and older parents are special and hold the key to our past. Be sure to take time with them and ask about their childhoods and life experiences. Write down or record what they say. This is a history lesson which will disappear when they are gone. Learn from them, love them and respect them. They have experienced much more in their lifetimes than the rest of us can imagine.

Health News for the Entire Family

Rebecca writes on a variety of health topics. Senior wellness is one topic she loves to share.

Health Benefits of Propolis

Propolis is a natural antibiotic that is fast gaining in popularity in the application of home remedies! It's one of those bee products that really cause me to wow at the wonder of nature and marvel at the ability of the highly organised insect - honey bee. Now, let me tell you what exactly propolis is.

Some trees and conifers produce sticky resins as part of their immune system to defend themselves against disease. Honey bees collect these substances that ooze from the buds of these plants. After chewing them and mixing them with their saliva and other substances, propolis is formed. This nutrient-rich substance is of vital importance for the survival of the honey bees in the beehive. It is created to sterilize the hive and protect it against diseases and infection. Not only does it help to inhibit the spread of bacteria, virus, and fungi that would otherwise pose a significant threat in the closely-knit quarters, it also and help fight against climatic changes, such as wind and cold. It is also used as a "putty" to seal cracks and openings in the hive and to strengthen and repair honeycombs, and for this reason is also known as 'bee glue'. Another fact that amazes me is that honey bees also use this sticky substance to embalm or "mummify" the carcasses of larger insects that invade the hive. Such intruders are immediately stung to death but because the defending bees can't transport such heavy corpse away from the hive, they embalm them rather than allowing them to decay. The ancient Eygptians observed this and used propolis as one of the embalming agents for their exquisite mummies!


Propolis contains approximately 50-70% resins, 30% wax, 10% etheric oils and 5% pollen. It is especially rich in amino acids, important for immune system function. It has a high vitamin content (Vitamin A (carotene), Vitamin B1, B2, B3, biotin) and is extremely rich in bioflavonoids (Vitamin P) which are believed to have numerous immune building properties and health benefits. Bioflavonoids are the natural pigments in fruits and vegetables and are found in abundance in oranges. This bee glue contains almost 500 times more bioflavonoids than is found in oranges! It also contains an array of albumin, calcium, magnesium, potassium and phosphorus. Like Royal Jelly and Bee Pollen, it contains a number of unidentified compounds which work together synergistically to create a balanced, nutritive substance.

Health Benefits of Propolis

Propolis can be purchased completely raw and unprocessed, but it in its natural state is a sticky substance and is very difficult to handle. Some beekeepers will package the raw propolis and freeze it in small portions. It can then be added to a coffee grinder in its frozen state and ground for easy consumption. Most producers utilize a process where the active ingredients are 'leached' into water or alcohol, then either packaged in liquid form or dried and capsulated.

Because of its antibacterial, antifungal, antiviral, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, this precious substance has been used as a healing agent for many centuries. It has the ability to provide protection against infectious invaders, promote healing and regeneration of tissue, and provides a superior source of energy and stamina. It has been used as ointments for healing cuts and wounds and shown to have outstanding value for a wide variety of illnesses. It is also used as a natural alternative to penicillin and other antibiotics. It is said to be particularly safe and effective and inhibits the resistance-building effect that is a negative factor with prescription antibiotics. In the former Eastern Bloc countries, antibiotics have never been widely available, but beekeeping is widely practised. To help prevent many diseases, hospitals and clinics recommended washing, gargling or irrigating the sinuses with propolis rinses, as well as taking propolis internally. This bee product is certainly a good weapon against bacteria when used topically. It can clearly prevent infections, and can also help heal infections that have already begun.

Do you know that now even toothpastes contain natural ingredients related to honey bees. Propolis has become a healthy alternative to synthetic brands of toothpastes as it is especially useful in mouth and gum disorders. Our mouth is one of the most sensitive spots of our body. This is the place where the synesthesia of senses starts and the food we visualize develops its full smell and taste. The mouth is the starting point of the food digestion. A healthy mouth cavity is certainly one of the elements contributing to the appetite and good mood in general. If the mouth develops sore spots, thrush or gum disease, it causes the whole system to disrupt, resulting in pain and tormenting feeling. Published clinical research demonstrates that propolis fights bacteria, prevents tooth decay, enhances oral hygiene, heals bleeding gums, and prevents gums receding. Manufacturers of propolis toothpastes and mouth sprays claim that their products leave teeth clean, gums feeling healthy, taste great without artificial ingredients, and produce no negative side effects. The salesperson at a honey shop which I often frequent explained that propolis toothpaste are very suitable for young children's use as even if it's accidentally swallowed, it's extremely safe. Such products are easily applied, and have increasingly become part of the everyday dental hygiene of people who are especially interested in natural remedies. My latest discovery while shopping for honey products : propolis extract now even comes in the form of sprays and candies. The spray claims that it is effective against flu, cuts, burns, gum and mouth infections, throat discomforsts and intestinal discomfort, while the candy is sold as a good therapeutic substitute to the traditional throat lozenges and an aid to curing flu, colds, throat discomfort, cough and bad breath.

Note of Caution: Propolis is generally non-toxic, though allergic reactions such as skin rashes, swelling, redness, eczema or fever have been reported. As the effects of propolis during pregnancy and breast-feeding have not been sufficiently evaluated, women should not use it during these times unless directed to do so by a physician.


Health Benefits of Propolis

R. Tan is the owner of the website which is a rich honey resource community specially built for all the honey lovers and fans in this world. She has packed this website with a wide range of quality contents on honey based on her knowledge and experience with honey, so as to promote its invaluable benefits which she believes could bring many positive spin-offs in everyone's daily life.

The Health Benefits of Kale

When you mention kale, the majority will look up with raised eyebrows and mumble "What"? "What's that"? An old, hardly spoken of and powerful green food. Kale is a leafy green vegetable with a mild earthy flavor. The season for kale is between mid winter and early spring where it can be found in abundance in most produce sections of the local grocery store. However, one can find kale year round. Thankfully, kale is starting to garner well deserved attention due its nutrient rich phytochemical content which provides unparalleled health promoting benefits.

Kale absolutely rich and abundant in calcium, lutein, iron, and Vitamins A, C, and K. Kale has seven times the beta-carotene of broccoli and ten times more lutein. Kale is rich in Vitamin C not to mention the much needed fiber so lacking in the daily diet of processed food eating Americans. The "Icing on the Kale" are the natural occurring all important phytochemicals sulforaphane and indoles which research suggests may protect against cancer. Let's not forget the all important antioxidant Vitamin E. Rest assured kale spares nothing in providing one with much needed nutrients and associated health benefits.


The naturally rich sulfur content of kale deserves a bit more discussion. Science has discovered that sulforaphane, helps boost the body's detoxification enzymes, possibly by altering gene expression. This is turn is purported to help clear carcinogenic substances in a timely manner. Sulforaphane is formed when cruciferous vegetables like kale are chopped or chewed. This somehow triggers the liver to produce enzymes that detoxify cancer causing chemicals, of which we all are exposed on daily basis. A recently new study in the Journal of Nutrition (2004) demonstrates that sulforaphane helps stop breast cancer cell proliferation.

The Health Benefits of Kale

Kale descends from the wild cabbage which originated in Asia and is thought to have been brought to Europe by the Celtics. Kale was an important food item in early European history and a crop staple in ancient Rome. Kale was brought to the USA during the 17th century by English settlers.

A leafy green vegetable starting to gain widespread attention, kale belongs to the Brassica family, a group that also includes cabbage, collard greens and Brussels sprouts. Choose kale with small leaves as they will be tenderer and offer a sweeter taste. Make kale leaves a regular addition to your salads. A sautéed side dish of kale, onions, and garlic drizzled in olive oil is second to none. Enjoy your kale. You'll be glad did.

The Health Benefits of Kale

Dr. Linda Posh MS SLP ND. "Doc Posh" brings a fresh perspective to natural health and nutrition. She packs a solid educational background with degrees in organic chemistry, psychology and a Masters in Communication Sciences and Disorders. The Dr. sports a diverse work history including experience and expertise in acute care neurorehab services, special education, autism support services, spinal cord injuries, senior rehabilitation services and currently consults to both patients and colleagues in natural health. Recently, she has been in the laboratory, formulating revolutionary whole food nutritional supplements. Body Balance Liquid Vitamins Answers Website donates all profits to providing free Health Care for those in need. Sign up for Doc Posh's newsletter. Get the latest in health care discoveries, consumer deception and more. Visit for the finest in liquid vitamins.

Lemon Juice Health Benefits

Lemonade is known to have been used as a refreshing drink since the time of the Moguls. Modem investigations have tended to support this use, the essential oil being very good for cooling the body. This use can be extended to the employment of lemon juice with water and sugar as the best drink to take when you have a fever

When the temperature of the body is high, whether from the effects of the sun or from the results of illness, it is necessary to take regular drinks in order to prevent dehydration. Sugar is not normally a desirable part of a healthy diet, nevertheless it has its part to play with lemon, and although there is no doubt that the addition of honey if available is very much to be preferred.


The high vitamin C content of the lemon has been used for hundreds of years to ward off scurvy among sailors and travelers. There is little sodium, so the fruit is good as a flavoring for those on a low salt diet.

Lemon Juice Health Benefits

Because in some countries the producers of lemons extend their keeping properties and improve appearance by coating them with the chemical diphenyl and waxing the fruits, it is a wise precaution to wash the lemon with a little unscented soap and then rinse thoroughly before converting the whole fruit to juice.

The pulp left from the juicing is excellent for the skin and can also soothe the bites and stings of insects. If you add equal parts of toilet water and of glycerin to the residue the mixture can be made to keep the hands smooth.

Doctors Morel and Rochaix demonstrated that the extract of lemon when vaporized will neutralize the bacteria of meningococcus, typhoid, pneumococcus and staphylococcus in from 15 to 180 minutes.

A gastronomically inclined Frenchman, Charles Richet, is said by Dr Valnet to have discovered that the lemon juice added to raw oysters before eating them destroys 92% of the bacteria present within 15 minutes. A good reason to wait before you eat!

This information is relevant to the idea that lemon juice is a most important therapy to be used in all cases of infection of the respiratory tract and as a general tonic.

Provided that the juice is diluted with water, there is no danger in taking any reasonable quantity of lemon juice. Be sure to choose firm, clear colored lemons that have not begun to wither. The first signs of ageing can be spotted where the stem was once attached to the fruit.

Lemon Juice Health Benefits

Kevin Pederson has been managing a number of natural home remedies websites which have information on benefits of juices and raw vegetables are also mentioned which includes lime juice too.

Healthcare Decision Support Systems

IT Efficiency: Ontology Programming Holds the Key

The seamless integration of knowledge and data is indispensible to today's modern healthcare decision support systems (DSS). A healthcare organization that thoroughly understands its patients and is able to respond quickly to their needs, scores highly with them-and this has become an extremely important competitive component in today's ever-more interconnected world where patient feedback can positively or negatively affect an organization's reputation and bottom line.


The patient care world is complex, with various information systems being utilized to streamline and automate patient care processes.Fortunately, there is a new approach to IT efficiency vis-a-vis ontological engineering-or ontology programming-that is possibly the most significant benefit to ensuring accurate data integration, which fosters a better understanding of patient needs, thus resulting in better patient care and excellent patient outcomes.

Healthcare Decision Support Systems

Ontological engineering excels at extracting knowledge and critical information from the various information systems within a healthcare decision support system (or its organizational databases). Ontology programming reduces often difficult data integration issues and promotes data reuse, data sharing, and common vocabularies between the information systems, from patient intake to patient discharge.

For healthcare organizations to understand their patients better, data across the entire organization or spectrum of information systems involved in patient care must to be analyzed. Knowledge from different areas or "domains" (e.g., the patient-entry process domain, hospitalization and treatment domains, and billing and insurance domains) must to be extracted in order to accurately interpret quality of care.

Detailed knowledge is also required to interpret patient responses to the various care options exercised from the time of entry into the healthcare facility through final discharge. In addition, quality healthcare organizations strive to improve their existing processes and analyze post-care data in order to determine areas of improvement and initiate appropriate programs. Therefore, the accurate compilation and correlation of patient data is essential during the care process-both individually and in aggregate with other patient data-to determine potential process improvement steps.

As mentioned previously, healthcare organizations also benefit from their patients' recovering better and more quickly as a result of higher quality care. This is, in no small part, driven by efficient information systems. Patient care results are reflected in quality reports issued by premier organizations such as JCAHO (Joint Commission for Accreditation for Healthcare Organizations). As of 2009, JCAHO reports include patient satisfaction data, as well, thus making it even more important to understand patient information effectively and utilize to it to render care that leads to better patient satisfaction.

Accurate knowledge across intra-organizational domains can only be extracted when healthcare decision support systems are able to exchange relevant data with each other-which is not always possible with current configurations.Even if the numerous systems within an organization can connect to each other through common computer interfaces, they may have stored patient data differently,rendering information exchange virtually impossible and creating a silo effect. Additionally, the context in which the information is used may vary from system to system,making it even more difficult to correlate data across various platforms and systems within the organization. Finally, data consistency and data integrity issues arise as each silo information system is further customized to optimize the information system's performance.

Therefore, to achieve a comprehensive and accurate individual patient view across the entire patient care spectrum of an organization, different information systems-based reports may have to be compiled separately with data correlated between them. The results will then need to be represented in a single, coherent report. This type of data correlation may include the mapping of various customer names for a single patient, as an example. Obviously, this type of system is not only vulnerable to error and to data integrity and consistency issues, but it is also quite inefficient and, therefore, needlessly costly.

Data correlation, integrity, and integration issues are not confined within an organization's systems only. Health care organizations rely on HIE (Healthcare Information Exchange) to communicate with external entities. HIE is used to move clinical information between different information systems from various providers (i.e. test labs, insurance companies, and other healthcare facilities) without losing the meaning of the information exchanged. These systems typically use established standards for data exchange, such as SNOMED CT, ICD-9 and -10, and other HIE standards.

Periodic updates are required, and organizations must ensure that they are in compliance in order to participate in data exchanges with other providers. Naturally, whenever any data changes occur, the cost and time required to modify multiple systems within an organization can be staggering, but without the use of ontological engineering, the higher costs must be borne, as system modifications are mandatory.

Whether the data reside internally or external sources are employed for HIE, a healthcare organization faces the common issues of data mapping, data integration, reuse, and data sharing.  Whenever data change, or new relationships between data are discovered, organizations expend valuable resources in time and money adjusting databases across various systems in an attempt to keep them aligned with each other. This absorbs important resources, taking them away from the core focus and value proposition of the organization-that of providing quality patient care.

When data change, especially internal organizational data, conventional technologies (as in "relational" databases) require changes to their database structures and schemas, potentially leading to major regression testing of the systems after the changes have been completed.  This must be accomplished in order to ensure that nothing is deleted or corrupted after the changes are made, and is quite naturally, another costly step-both in terms of time and resources. 

Information Technology departments have tried to respond to data integrity and data integration issues across various systems within an organization by building a data warehouse that acts as a central repository for most, or all, of the inter-related systems. However, the solution is only partially successful. Often times, competing interests from various internal "stakeholders" in different information systems can lead to data that is stored in a manner is favorable to some information systems, but not others. This, of course, potentially compromises data access and reuse by other systems.

In addition, since the entire organization's data cannot be migrated to a data warehouse simultaneously, some systems are migrated before others, and the entire migration process may take as long as a year or more to complete in a large health care organization. In the interim, data across the enterprise changes, and the whole cycle of re-aligning data must start anew. There have been proposed solutions to address this and other related problems, but they each leave something to be desired.

Ontology programming can help reduce data integration, sharing, and reuse pains to quite an extent. By definition, ontologies are a formal representation of knowledge by a set of concepts within a domain. They not only store data in a database, but also store relationships, including hierarchical relationships, between data. 

This ability distinguishes ontological engineering from standard relational databases and provides the flexibility of updating data and relationships between them. Ontologies are also able to add newly discovered relationships without the necessity of significantly changing the core database or requiring extensive programming efforts-unlike typical databases currently in use.  They also excel at removing term confusion and providing data mapping capabilities, which vastly promotes improved data share and data reuse across an organization's information systems.

For healthcare organizations, as well as other large business enterprises, the practical, time-saving applications of a system built on ontology programming are quite extensive. We know that ontological engineering provides the ability to extract knowledge contained within applications and information systems across the various domains within an organization, but it is also very useful for capturing "real world decisions" made by humans and converting it into computer format. The result of this capturing of knowledge across domains by SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) and healthcare providers leads to much more consistent query results whenever similar conditions are encountered in the future.

Such information system architecture can significantly reduce medical errors and enhance patient care. This can be accomplished, for instance, by the capturing of a healthcare professional's diagnosis of a particular medical condition and other relevant data. Once the data are entered into the ontological system, it will consistently provide the same results for similar conditions in the future and offer the diagnostics and conclusions as an aid to other healthcare professionals.

Subsequently, a healthcare professional may choose to exercise the same diagnostics (or treat the patient differently according to differences in patient circumstances), but the healthcare decision support system's information can now provide an important, relevant checkpoint based upon the previous diagnostic information.

In conclusion, the use of ontology programming in the healthcare field provides a significant reduction in data integration issues and-because these technologies are superior extractors of knowledge across multiple information systems and can add new relationships between such systems with relative ease-they provide the flexibility to change data with far less effort and cost than standard systems now require.

Consequently, ontological engineering is able to provide an invaluable component to improved patient care and outcomes by supporting critical healthcare processes and decision-making. The superior integration of knowledge and data within healthcare organizations may at first appear prosaic, but it is nothing short of revolutionary in its potential to affect organizational performance and quality care.

Healthcare Decision Support Systems

For more information, please contact TerraFrame ( ), a leading ontological engineering software development company in Denver, CO or call 877-444-3074 or email Ray Hutchins at or JP Batra at