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How Rural Healthcare Clinics are Combatting Social Disparities

How Rural Healthcare Clinics are Combatting Social Disparities

Around forty percent of people living in the United States identify as a minority. Unfortunately, minorities still experience disadvantages when it comes to healthcare. Most of the 11.4 percent of Americans who reported living in poverty in the 2020 Census were minorities. People living in poverty have poor access to healthcare as well as healthy foods and places to exercise or perform physical activity. Rural healthcare clinics are combatting social disparities in a number of ways. 

Rural Healthcare Clinics Make Visits Affordable Even for Patients Without Insurance

Clinics like Mantachie Rural Health Care offer a sliding scale fee based on income to encourage patients who are struggling economically to come in for a visit. This allows patients who do not have insurance to still be able to afford a visit with their medical provider. 

Rural Healthcare Clinics Combatting Social Disparities Help Patients Get to Their Appointment

Many minorities and others with low incomes often don’t have reliable transportation to get them to and from appointments. That’s where groups like North Mississippi Community Services, Inc partner with Mantachie Rural Health Care to give affordable rides to patients who cannot drive or do not have a reliable vehicle. 

Rural Healthcare Clinics Give Patients More Access to Healthcare

Rural healthcare clinics typically offer a variety of health services that are not limited to general primary care. In addition to our general care providers, we have a dietitian and mental health providers to provide nutrition care and mental healthcare. We also have staff that specializes in diabetes to provide diabetic care to patients who can’t get to an endocrinologist. Additionally, we have a dental clinic located near our medical clinic and a school-based clinic to give access to students and school staff members. We even have a program to assist patients with the cost of their prescriptions.

Rural Healthcare Clinics Provide Resources

We’re more than healthcare providers, we are an information hub and resource center. We can provide patients with information on Medicare, Medicaid, and other patient assistance programs. We can also help them complete the necessary paperwork. Our Community Educator provides much-need healthcare education to patients. Our dietitian also offers a program to help patients lose excess weight and learn to eat healthily.

We still have a ways to go before social disparities are no longer a barrier to better health. But, rural healthcare clinics are taking big steps to combat social disparities in our communities. If you live in the Mantachie area and have been avoiding a medical visit due to financial or transportation issues, we can help. Call 662-282-4226 or click here to request an appointment. Let our receptionist know if you need a ride so we can help you make arrangements. 

Covid-19 and the Opioid Crisis

For the last two years, it seems like all we hear about in medical news is covid, covid, covid. Rightfully so. The pandemic has changed everything, and it’s shown no signs of going away, although we are in a slowdown for now. Today, we’re taking a look at covid-19 and the opioid crisis.

With the covid-19 pandemic being a worldwide crisis, other medical epidemics have taken a backseat in the public interest. But covid-19 hasn’t made other health crises go away, it’s simply overshadowed it. The opioid crisis is one crisis that has not only continued but increased significantly since the pandemic started. 

How Covid-19 has Fueled the Opioid Epidemic

The year 2019 saw 70,630 opioid overdose deaths in the United States. As if that number isn’t frightening enough, the number of opioid overdose deaths after the pandemic hit US shores will send chills down your spine. An estimated 104,288 people died from opioid overdose by September 2021. That’s more than a 25 percent increase in just over a year and a half. Mississippi was predicted to suffer around 682 opioid deaths in 2021.

So what’s the reason behind the worsening opioid crisis? Unfortunately, we can’t point to just one cause for the crisis, which is considered an epidemic. Lost jobs and livelihood along with restricted access to mental healthcare during the pandemic are major factors for many people turning to opioids to cope. As depression and anxiety caused by the pandemic continue to increase, many patients are choosing to self-medicate instead of seeking professional help.

The battle between law enforcement agencies and drug cartels has also been impacted. The pandemic gave an unexpected edge to transnational criminal organizations, also known as cartels. These organizations have adapted to the pandemic faster than law enforcement agencies making access to illegal drugs easier.

What We Can Do to Fight the Opioid Crisis

The first step is to accept that addiction is a disease. The good news is, classifying addiction as a disease gives medical experts the ability to study the disease and develop a successful treatment. However, providers have experienced significant challenges in treating addiction patients in the midst of a pandemic.

Due to a high risk of covid-19 transmission between patients at in-patient facilities, providers have turned to outpatient treatment to help addicts. Telehealth and other resources are being used to keep in line with social distancing guidelines. But some patients are so severe that in-patient treatment is necessary. Unfortunately, labor shortages have also lowered the availability of in-patient services. 

Despite these challenges, addiction patients still have hope. Outpatient treatment can work if patients follow the treatment plan and advice given by their provider. Addiction treatment specialists are working harder than ever to help patients achieve sobriety. 

Mantachie Rural Health Care offers mental health and addiction services through our mental health specialists. If you or someone you know is battling addiction, reach out to us now to make an appointment. Request a visit at www.mantachieclinic.org/contact-us/ or call 662-282-4226. 

Childhood Nutrition Needs at Every Stage

According to healthychildren.org, one in three children in the United States are obese. In addition to a preference for screen time over physical activity, children’s diets are playing a major role in childhood obesity. Today, we’re taking a look at childhood nutrition needs at every stage. 

Filling your child’s tummy and preventing hunger isn’t the goal for your child’s diet. Their diet should also provide proper nutrition and healthy ingredients to help your child reach their milestones.

Infants and Toddlers

Got milk? Breastmilk or formula provides just about every nutrient an infant needs during their first year of life. However, breastmilk may not provide enough iron and zinc in infants ages six to nine months. At six months, infants are ready to start adding solid foods to their diet. Fortified cereals and meat can provide the iron and zine infants are missing from breastmilk. 

A key thing to know about toddlers and eating is that their appetites come and go in spurts, just as toddlers are growing in spurts at this age. It’s completely normal for a toddler to want to eat everything in sight one day and to eat like a bird the next day. It’s important to make each meal and snack count nutritionally at this stage. Two nutrients to provide are calcium and fiber. 

Preschool and Lower Elementary 

Calcium and fiber are two key nutrients your child needs at the preschool stage. At this age, kids become more defiant about what they will and won’t eat. They turn to foods like chicken nuggets and mac n cheese as their favorites while fruits and vegetables become less preferred. Despite this, feeding your preschoolers enough fruits and vegetables is vital to their health and developmental growth. Add a serving of fruits or veggies to each of your child’s meals and choose at least one healthy snack a day. Go for easy to eat, colorful veggies like carrots and fibrous, nutrient-dense fruits like apples and berries. 

Your healthy eating efforts with your children may stall when they become elementary school students. Cakes, candy and other less nutritious options are often available with school lunches and you won’t be there to swap their chocolate cake with a serving of mixed berries. One way to combat the school lunch is to pack your child’s lunch from home. This way, you still have control over what they are eating and can ensure they are getting a nutritious, healthy, well-rounded meal. If its necessary for your child to eat school lunches, be sure they are getting the nutrients they need in the meals you serve at home. 

As children interact with others, they’ll develop their own ideas of what a healthy diet looks like. Some of these ideas may last a day, others may last a lifetime. For instance, your child may go through a vegetarian phase when they learn the sad side of how we get meat. Protein is a key nutrient at all stages of life, and you may have concerns that a vegetarian diet won’t give your child everything they need. However, foods like lentils and peanut butter are full of protein! If your child wants to try a new diet, learn everything you can about it so you can help your child make good choices about their food. 

Preteens and Teens

Ah, the puberty stages. Also known as the stages every parent secretly fears. Our children’s bodies undergo major changes, and they need more calories during puberty to keep up. However, many preteens and teens, particularly girls, will start worrying about their weight and take steps to restrict their caloric intake. Boys often have the opposite thoughts and want to take in more calories to gain weight. Unfortunately, both boys and girls make unhealthy eating choices at these stages. 

One way to encourage your teens and preteens to eat healthily is to teach them facts about diets such as why their caloric intake is so important and how they can get those calories in a healthy way. Your teens and preteens may be tempted to fill up empty stomachs with junk food but you can discourage this by limiting the amount of junk food in your kitchen and increasing the amount of fruits and vegetables and other healthier options like nuts.

Caloric intake isn’t the only important thing to consider with your preteen or teen’s diet. Other nutrients like calcium become even more vital at this stage because their bodies and bones are growing so quickly. Replacing certain nutrients also depends on your child’s gender. Girls, for instance, will need to replace the iron they lose during menstrual cycles to avoid becoming anemic. Boys need a bit more protein than girls to help them stay at a healthy weight and increase muscle mass. Keep these things in mind as you teach your kids about healthy eating. 

Are you concerned about your child’s diet? If they are struggling to meet physical milestones and always seem to be a bit underweight, it’s time to get help from a nutrition specialist. Our dietitian, Erica Witcher, RDN, CDCES can assess your child and help you develop a plan to get them on the right nutritional track. Click here to request an appointment.

What’s the Difference Between a Nutritionist and a Dietitian?

A question we’re often asked is, “What’s the difference between a nutritionist and a dietitian? Although the professions have similarities, some key differences distinguish them from one another. For example, dietitians are certified to treat clinical conditions whereas nutritionists are not always certified. 

Key Differences Between a Dietitian and Nutritionist

Dietitians, also known as registered dietitian nutritionists, must receive certification from the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. They can treat certain health conditions by offering food recommendations. Dietitians provide medical nutrition therapy in a hospital setting or private practice. They can also provide nutritional education and expertise to schools, public health offices, and food-related industries. 

Nutritionist training varies and certification is not required in all 50 states. Nutritionists in states that require certification can obtain their certification from the Board for Certification of Nutrition Specialists (BCNS).  Nutritionists may have different focus areas from dietitians. Some nutritionists may pursue advanced qualifications in specific health areas such as sports nutrition, digestive disorders, and autoimmune conditions. Nutritionists may also provide general advice on healthful eating, weight loss, and reducing tiredness. 

Training Requirements for Dietitians and Nutritionists

Dietitians must have a bachelor’s degree or higher and have the Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) or Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND) to accredit and approve coursework. They must also complete 1200 hours of supervised practice through ACEND-accredited practice programs. Then, they must pass the national exam administered by the Commission on Dietetic Registration. After certification, dietitians must complete continuing education requirements to maintain licensure. 

Certified Clinical Nutritionist

A certified clinical nutritionist (CCN) is qualified to assess nutritional needs based on the patient’s lifestyle and health goals. They can provide personalized recommendations for diet, exercise, supplements, and stress management. CCNs must have a bachelor’s, master’s, Ph.D, or Doctorate of Science degree to qualify for certification, or they may have an advanced professional degree in another licensed healthcare field. 

Aspiring certified clinical nutritionists can obtain certification from the Clinical Nutrition Certification Board. Training requirements to qualify for certification vary by the pre-existing qualifications the candidate possesses. For instance, a nutritionist with a bachelor’s degree must complete at least three hours of coursework in topics such as human physiology, biochemistry, and microbiology before they can apply for certification. However, a nutritionist with a doctorate of science may not be required to complete as much training to become certified. All CCNs must pass the exam and complete ongoing training every two years to maintain certification. 

Certified Nutrition Specialists

A certified nutrition specialist (CNS) can receive this certification in the United States through the BCNS. Aspiring certified nutrition specialists must have a master’s degree or higher to qualify for certification training. They must also complete coursework from a regionally accredited institution and 1,000 hours of documented, supervised practice. After passing the exam, CNSs are required to complete continuing education credits every five years to maintain certification. The minimum number of hours spent learning about life sciences is higher for CNSs than for CCNs. 

The Medical Nutrition Therapy Act of 2020 

In 2020, legislators enacted the Medical Nutrition Therapy Act 2020, which includes medical nutrition therapy in Medicare Part B. The legislation also allows nurses and psychologists to refer people for medical nutrition therapy. Patients with the following conditions qualify to add medical nutrition therapy to their Medicare Part B plan. 

  • Obesity
  • Prediabetes
  • Cancer
  • Celiac disease
  • HIV or AIDS
  • Cancer
  • Hypertension
  • Dyslipidemia
  • Malnutrition
  • Eating disorders
  • Any condition causing unintentional weight loss

Mantachie Rural Healthcare is proud to have a registered dietitian on staff to help our patients with their health and nutrition needs. To make an appointment with our dietitian, schedule a checkup with your Mantachie provider. Click here to request your appointment!

How to Prevent Diabetic Eye Disease

It’s Vision Month and the perfect time to discuss how to prevent diabetic eye disease. Diabetic eye disease is actually a group of complications including glaucoma, cataract, and diabetic retinopathy. Each of these diseases can lead to vision loss or blindness. Early detection, timely treatment, and careful follow-up may help prevent vision loss.

How Diabetes Causes Eye Disease

Diabetic eye disease is caused when uncontrolled or poorly controlled diabetes leads to damage of the retina’s blood vessels. Damage to these blood vessels can lead to swelling of the macula, the central part of the retina that allows you to see details. 

Damage to the retina caused by diabetes can also lead to bleeding or scarring of the eye, glaucoma (high blood pressure in the eye), and even retinal detachment. Read more about diabetic eye diseases here.

Prevent Diabetic Eye Disease

Although diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of vision loss around the world, many of these cases can be prevented with proper eye care and diabetic care. In fact, the first step in preventing diabetic vision loss is to control your diabetes. Controlling your blood sugar begins with a proper diet, regular exercise, and checking your blood sugar levels regularly.

Talk with your provider or dietitian about maintaining a diet low in sugar and simple carbs. Cook at home as often as possible using fresh ingredients and avoid consuming too much red meat. Don’t forget to add plenty of veggies to every meal. 

Try to get at least 150 minutes of exercise each week, even if it’s a simple brisk walk a few days a week. Walks are one of the best and simplest ways to get in aerobic exercise. As always, discuss any new exercise or physical activity with your provider before you begin. 

In addition to taking care of your diabetes, you should also schedule a dilated eye exam at least once a year with your eye care provider. Your provider may want to see you more often depending on your risk of vision problems. Early detection and treatment can save your vision. 

Even patients who are already experiencing vision problems due to diabetes can get help and slow further progression of eye disease. Your eye care provider may be able to perform a laser procedure or refer you to a specialist who can perform the procedure to help stop the progression of eye disease and reduce swelling. 

If you have diabetes, you need a primary eye care provider to assist your diabetes care providers in preventing complications caused by the disease. Your primary care provider can refer you to an eye care specialist if you don’t currently have one. To schedule an appointment with your Mantachie Rural Healthcare provider, click here.

7 Healthy Snack Ideas for the Whole Family

7 healthy snack ideas for the whole family

Between staffing shortages at our favorite restaurants and quarantines due to the pandemic, many of us are experiencing “cooking fatigue” which means exactly what it sounds like–we are all tired of cooking! With cooking fatigue, it can be much easier to reach for an unhealthy snack to fill your hunger than to try to come up with something to cook. Today, we’re sharing 7 healthy snack ideas for the whole family!

These 7 healthy snack ideas for the whole family are not only healthy and appealing to all ages, but they’re also so quick and easy to make, most prep takes less than five minutes. The key to choosing healthy snacks that also keep you full between meals is choosing foods that are high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Protein gives you the energy you need to get through your day and fiber helps your digestive system run smoothly. 

7 Healthy Snack Ideas for the Whole Family

Mixed Nuts

Mixed nuts are the perfect on-the-go or at-the-office snack. They require no refrigeration or prep–simply shop for your favorite nuts and stash them in the snack drawer. Healthy nut choices include walnuts, almonds, Brazil nuts, hazelnuts, pine nuts, macadamia nuts, cashews, and pistachios. Keep your serving to one ounce or ¼ cup. 

Greek Yogurt and Mixed Berries

This nutrient-dense snack is perfect for any time of day–it works great as a mid-morning or mid-afternoon treat! Greek yogurt is rich in protein while berries contain tons of antioxidants. If you want to add a bit of sweetness to the mix try adding a teaspoon of honey!

Almonds and Dark Chocolate

There’s a reason why one of Hershey’s best-selling chocolate bars is dark chocolate and almond. The pair are a delicious combination and, in small portions, they’re a great heart-healthy snack. Dark chocolate is rich in antioxidants while almonds are a good source of healthy fats. A square of dark chocolate and a handful of almonds are all you need to get snacking. 

Mozzarella, Basil, and Tomatoes

This tasty combo isn’t just a popular appetizer–it’s a quick and easy snack anyone can mix up and enjoy in just a few minutes. Simply combine cherry tomatoes with basil, mozzarella, balsamic vinegar, and a dab of olive oil. If your workplace has a staff fridge, this is a great snack to mix up in a Tupperware or to-go container. 

Frozen Fruit Bark

This treat probably requires more prep than any other snack on our list but even this only takes five minutes to throw together before freezing. Pick up your favorite bag of frozen mixed fruit and a tub of your favorite yogurt. Grab a cookie pan with raised edges, spread the fruit and yogurt out in the pan then freeze. Once frozen, break the bark into bite-sized pieces and store leftovers in a freezer bag for later use. 

Apples and Peanut Butter

Not everyone enjoys a plain old apple but add a tablespoon of peanut butter or your favorite nut butter and you’ve got a delicious treat that’s good for you, too. Just be sure to avoid butter with added sugars, salt, and oils. 

Frozen Grapes

Frozen treats are always a favorite but many store-bought treats are high in sugar and calories. Frozen grapes are a healthy, tasty alternative and all you need to do is toss your favorite grape into a freezer bag and give them time to freeze. Another great frozen fruit treat that’s easy to prepare? Frozen banana bites dipped in dark chocolate (and your favorite nuts if you would like!). Cut bananas into bite-sized pieces, dip them in melted dark chocolate, and place them on a cookie sheet to freeze. Yum!

Diabetes and Heart Health

Diabetes and Heart Health

People with diabetes are twice as likely to experience a heart attack or stroke compared to people without the condition. Today we’re reviewing the facts about diabetes and heart health.

Heart disease is the number one killer of people with diabetes–it’s responsible for two-thirds of deaths in people with type 2 diabetes. Luckily, you can lower your risk of heart disease with proper diet, exercise, and diabetes management with these steps.

Symptoms of Heart Disease

Also known as cardiovascular disease, or CVD, heart disease can lead to a heart attack or even heart failure. Knowing the symptoms of these conditions can save your life. Symptoms of heart disease include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Fatigue
  • Pain in your:
    • Chest
    • Throat
    • Back
    • Legs
    • Neck
    • Jaw
    • Upper abdomen
    • Arms

Symptoms of a heart attack are:

  • Pain, discomfort, tightness, or pressure in the chest
  • A fullness that may feel like indigestion or heartburn
  • Discomfort in one or both of your arms, back, neck, jaw, or upper abdomen.
  • Shortness of breath
  • Indigestion, nausea, vomiting
  • Tiredness, fatigue, or lightheadedness

Symptoms of heart failure include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Quick or irregular heartbeat
  • Coughing with pink-tinged mucus
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling of feet and ankles

What you can do to improve your diabetes and heart health

The best way to stay on top of your heart health is to manage your diabetes well. Keep your blood sugar in range as often as possible. Practice a good diet and exercise, take your insulin and medication as prescribed, and attend all doctor’s visits. Seek support from your medical professionals, family, and loved ones and frequently check your A1C, LDL, and blood pressure.

What you and your medical provider do and discuss during your appointments matters. At every visit, be sure that your blood pressure is checked and discuss your blood sugar meter readings. Check your weight and talk about your diet as well as changes in your lifestyle work, or emotions, and be honest about your physical activity levels. Discuss all medications and have your feet checked. If you smoke, ask for help quitting and ask if you should begin an aspirin regimen to lower your risk of a heart attack. 

In addition to these steps at every visit, you should also have your A1C checked every three to six months. Once a year, get a dilated eye exam, a flu shot, and a complete foot exam. Have your cholesterol levels checked at least every five years or more often if your levels are not on target. 

For more information about heart disease and diabetes, visit the American Diabetes Association here.

Billy Graham’s Granddaughter Among Rising Cases of Broken Heart Syndrome

In January 2022, Anne Graham Lotz announced that her daughter, Rachel-Ruth, had suffered two back-to-back heart attacks. Billy Graham’s granddaughter is among rising cases of broken heart syndrome.

Billy Graham’s Granddaughter Among Rising Cases of Broken Heart Syndrome

True to her faith, Lotz called on her followers to join her in prayer and quoted encouraging scriptures that are helping her cope with her daughter’s condition. Later, doctors would find that Rachel-Ruth was actually suffering from another serious heart condition known as spontaneous coronary artery dissection. After a week of treatment, Rachel-Ruth was released from the hospital mid-January. 

Although Rachel-Ruth’s condition turned out to be another heart problem, there is a good reason why her physicians initially believed she was suffering from Broken Heart Syndrome. Physicians everywhere have seen a rise in cases of broken heart syndrome in the wake of the covid-19 pandemic.

What is Broken Heart Syndrome?

Broken heart syndrome is a temporary heart condition that is brought on by stressful situations and extreme emotions. It can also be triggered by serious illness or surgery. Broken heart syndrome symptoms can mimic that of a heart attack and include symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, and even fainting. If left untreated, broken heart syndrome can not only mimic a heart attack but lead to one. That’s why you should seek emergency help if you begin suffering from any of the mentioned symptoms. 

Physicians aren’t sure if the rise in cases of broken heart syndrome is due to the psychological stresses brought on by the pandemic or because the virus itself has receptors on the heart muscle that can increase. Possibly, the culprit is a little bit of both. 

The pandemic isn’t the first situation to cause an unusual rise in cases of broken heart syndrome, which is considered a rare condition except in instances like the pandemic or the aftermath of a major catastrophic event. Case in point, the residents of Christchurch, New Zealand experienced an uptick in broken heart cases in women following the devastating 2010 and 2011 earthquakes.

Years after the earthquakes in Christchurch, medical researchers from the same area began searching for the reasons why some people are more susceptible to broken heart syndrome than others. One culprit they found appears to be in DNA. Copy number variations, or CNVs, are changes in DNA that can lead to the development of certain conditions. About 40 percent of study subjects had CNVs in their DNA, though none were the same. Still, it’s thought that CNVs cause the disorder, but other factors must trigger it. 

What you can do to prevent Broken Heart Syndrome

It’s impossible to stop stressful and extremely emotional events from arising. But you can take steps to take care of your heart to help lower the risk of suffering this condition. Following a heart-healthy diet and exercise plan and making regular checkups with your provider are the best ways to take care of your heart. 

Need to catch up with your Mantachie Rural Healthcare provider and ask how your heart’s doing? Click here to request an appointment.

How Your Child’s Dental Health Affects Their Education

Your child’s education is the key to a successful future. By now, thanks to the pandemic, most of us have seen the effects missed school days can have on education. But long before covid-19 came along, another disease wreaked havoc on the education of many children, particularly those in lower-income families. This disease is chronic but also preventable. We’re talking about dental cavities and how your child’s dental health affects their education.

How Your Child’s Dental Health Affects Their Education

Cavities are one of the most common chronic diseases among children in the United States. According to the CDC, about 20 percent of children and 13 percent of adolescents aged five to eleven have at least one untreated cavity. Children ages five to nineteen in low-income families are twice as likely to have cavities compared to children from higher-income families. Another study from the American Journal of Public Health found that low-income children are three times more likely to miss school due to dental pain. 

On average, children miss about 2.1 school days each year due to dental problems. Dental problems don’t just lead to missed school days. They lead to lower grade point averages, as well. Children with poor oral health are four times more likely to have lower grades than children with no dental issues.

What You Can Do to Help Your Children Have Good Dental Health

Thankfully, dental cavities are a chronic condition that can be treated and prevented with good oral health practices. Teach your children good dental habits by starting when they are still infants. Use a soft, clean cloth to wipe your baby’s gums after each feeding and in the morning time. When your infant cuts their first tooth, use a soft-bristled toothbrush to gently clean the tooth and gums. You should also schedule their first dental appointment around your baby’s first birthday.

Children should be taught to brush their teeth twice a day and floss daily. If your child is younger than age six, they still need monitoring and some help brushing their teeth. We recommend adding a kid-friendly mouthwash to their routine to help prevent cavities. Children over the age of two should use fluoridated toothpaste. 

In addition to teaching and following good dental hygiene practices at home, your children should visit the dentist at least once a year for a professional cleaning and checkup. Your child’s dentist can apply dental sealants to the chewing surfaces of your child’s back teeth. Dental sealants have been found to prevent around 80 percent of cavities in children.

There is no better time than today to begin teaching your children healthy dental hygiene practices. Be the example by following these practices yourself and by scheduling yearly dental visits for everyone in the family. To schedule an appointment with our dental clinic, visit www.mantachieclinic.org/dental-care

Healthy Boundaries in Recovery

Boundaries are important in any relationship, but they become especially important when you are in recovery from addiction or other mental health conditions. Today, we’re taking a look at the importance of healthy boundaries in recovery and how to set and enforce them. 

What are Healthy Boundaries?

Boundaries are physical, mental, and emotional limits set to protect yourself and others in a relationship. They help us define who we are while allowing others to be who they are. Boundaries also keep you from being taken advantage of or manipulated. 

Boundaries, like anything else, can be unhealthy. Unhealthy boundaries may include abandoning your personal beliefs or values for acceptance, establishing new relationships without considering how they will affect your recovery, and trusting no one or everyone. Knowing the difference between healthy boundaries and unhealthy boundaries is essential to maintaining your recovery. 

Healthy boundaries basically look like the opposite of unhealthy boundaries. Healthy boundaries include:

  • Carefully evaluating the benefits and drawbacks of each relationship
  • Maintaining your personal beliefs and values regardless of other’s opinions
  • Saying no to gifts, favors, and actions that do not support your recovery
  • Clearly and respectfully expressing what you need or want
  • Developing appropriate trust with others
  • Treating yourself with respect and kindness

Now that you know what healthy boundaries look like it’s time to set the boundaries you need and implement them. Key emphasis on the implementation of these boundaries. Boundaries do no good if you don’t enforce them. Setting and enforcing boundaries looks like this:

  • Establishing a self “bill of rights” such as a right to your own thoughts, emotions, values, and beliefs and right to express how you want to be treated
  • Identifying sobriety risk factors including obvious ones like avoiding a bar if you are an alcoholic and less obvious triggers like watching a football game with friends
  • Setting the boundaries based of your bill of rights and recovery risk factors
  • Enforcing the boundaries and remaining accountable
  • Respecting other people’s boundaries

Need more support in  your addiction recovery? We can help. Call 662-282-4226 to schedule a visit. 

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