Inside the Evolving Issue of Addiction

CAST Centers very own Dr. Cecelia Mylett and Robert Oppenheimer were interviewed as alumni of the University of Southern California, Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work. Please read excerpts of their insight about the evolving issues of addiction below:

At CAST “is we treat the whole person. Where they are, what got them here and what they want to change. People are coming in here in pain, shame and suffering that they may not be aware of, but they know it’s affecting their lives and loved ones.”

Because some individuals seeking help from CAST come from affluent backgrounds, they may have used substances for quite a while before being confronted about the problem, according to Robert Oppenheimer, MSW ’92, a clinical therapist at CAST. “The nature of addiction,” Oppenheimer said, “is a lot of secrecy.”

To read the entire article, please visit the USC website.

A Delicate Balance

Director of Admissions, Robert Lien, MHA was interviewed about his role in the client journey towards recovery. Read an short excerpt below:

“Healthcare administration, in my experience, has been a delicate balance of patient safety and staff safety. The screening process allows us to gather information regarding the patient’s current medical and mental health status. This helps us evaluate a level of care recommendation that will determine the cost for services.”

Read the entire article on the Rasmussen College blog.

Exercise For Anxiety And Depression

Are you aware that your breathing can affect your anxiety? CAST Centers Clinical Therapist, Robert Oppenheimer explains.

“Shallow breathing sends a message to your brain to be alert, whereas when you do deep belly breathing, it changes that message towards a less anxious state.”

—Robert Oppenheimer, LCSW

Read more on Healthyway about the mental health benefits of exercise for depression and anxiety.

Reframing Negative Thoughts

40 Things to Stop Believing About Yourself After 40. CAST Centers Dr. Mylett gives us one tip to frame negative thoughts:

“Thoughts like this one are a feeling, not a fact, says Cecelia Mylett, Psy.D, LCSW, Clinical Director at CAST Centers. Acknowledging the feeling behind it—loneliness, depression, frustration—can help you recognize what your brain is really saying and not get bogged down in self-doubt.”

To read the full article, go to Reader’s Digest.

What is Deipnophobia?

Earlier this month, our very own Dr. Cecelia Mylett was quoted in Women’s Health Magazine on the topic of deipnophobia.  It is not a word or a phobia we hear too often, even in a professional clinical setting.  However, just because we do not hear about, does not mean the phenomena does not exist.  What is deipnophobia?  What is its association with other phobias?

Defining the Undefined

The DSM-5 provides clinicians the criteria for diagnosing mental disorders. Mental disorders have a range running from substance use disorder to depression, from anxiety to PTSD. However, the DSM-5 does not describe deipnophobia specifically.  

What people are describing in the term deipnophobia is the fear of dining or dinner conversations.  So, if it is not explicitly defined in the DSM-5, how does one diagnose or describe deipnophobia?  

Using the DSM-5, deipnophobia would be classified broadly under Anxiety Disorders.  More specifically, the differential diagnosis may either be Social Anxiety Disorder (Social Phobia) or Specific Phobia.  If the situation is feared because of negative evaluation by others, it would be considered a Social Anxiety Disorder.  Otherwise, deipnophobia would be a related to a Specific Phobia.

Symptoms and Manifestations

Symptoms appear consistent with anxiety symptoms, which include avoiding the situation, fearfulness of being criticized, embarrassment, racing heart, sweating, nausea, and feeling trapped, to name a few.

Although deipnophobia is associated with dinner, mealtime, or eating, it is not the actually eating that is the phobia.  Rather it is the fear associated with social interactions during mealtime.  Individuals experiencing this type of specific fear may intentionally avoid dinner or other mealtime social gathering altogether.  

Managing Deipnophobia

Embrace your deipnophobia, don’t ignore it.  It is your brain’s response to a perceived threat, which is the flight or fight response.  But when you embrace it, focus your thoughts to the “present”.  You can say to yourself, “I’m okay right now, in this moment, I am okay.”  Take a deep breathe, pause, and exhale.  

Shift your focus to the present moment.  Focus on what is going well, such as “the food great.” We all have anxious feelings.  Decide what is a real threat, or a perceived threat, and move forward.

‘I Have A Severe Phobia—Here’s What It’s Like’

Dr. Cecelia Mylett was quoted in Women’s Health regarding how certain conditions, like deipnophobia, are considered either social anxiety or a phobia.

“If the situation (in this case, dining with others) is feared because of negative evaluation by others, it would be considered a social anxiety disorder,” says Cecelia Mylett, Psy.D., clinical director of CAST Centers, a mental health and substance use disorder treatment center in West Hollywood. “Otherwise, deipnophobia would be considered a specific phobia—a significant fear of a certain object or situation.”

To read the full article, please see Women’s Health.

The Past Does Not Dictate Your Future

CAST Centers Resident Advisor, Michael Arndt, was quoted on the Thriveworks blog, on the best advice he was given as a client.

“Some of the best advice I was ever given while I was a client at CAST was that my past, and all the baggage that came with it, did not have to dictate the trajectory of my life, unless I allowed it to,” says Michael Arndt, Resident Advisor at CAST Centers.

“That I did not have to continue being a victim of what had happened to me before entering treatment. That was such a powerful thing for me to hear; it helped me shift my perspective on what I was struggling with. It was a message of empowerment and of taking responsibility for myself and my actions from that day forward. I believe it was one of the most important turning points I had on the road to recovery.”

Check out the full article.

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