Monthly Archives: December 2015

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Avoiding Holiday Temptations

For those in recovery, New Year’s Eve can be the hardest holiday to stay sober through. Celebrations are often filled with friends, family, drugs, alcohol and pressure.

Here are some tips for avoiding the temptation to relapse during the holidays.

  • Make a plan. Schedule a 12-step meeting, or at least a call to your sponsor, before and after key holiday events and parties.
  • Be discriminating. Accept invitations for events that will put you together with people who will support your sobriety. Shun those where you know people will be drinking excessively or taking drugs.
  • Keep your hands full — of a safe drink of your choice. Prepare and hold your own beverage to avoid friends shoving alcoholic drinks at you.
  • Choose your company. Stay away from people you know are going to offer you alcohol or drugs. And avoid or walk away from people who make you angry or bring you down.
  • Stay strong. Fortify your emotional defenses by stepping up your fitness program. Get plenty of rest. Eat well and exercise. Take time to relax. A few moments of meditation works wonders in terms of relieving stress.
  • Get Outta There. Have an excuse ready to exit a gathering at which you feel uncomfortable, so you can leave on a moment’s notice without offending anyone. People understand there are always a lot of chores to do around the holidays and will give you a pass.
  • Give thanks. Year’s end is the perfect time to reflect on the things and people for which we are grateful. Put yourself at the top of the list, for the incredible achievement of staying sober for how many days or months it has been. Taking time to own and savor your accomplishment will help keep you firmly on your path.

For additional assistance with substance use contact DeKalb CSB at 404-892-4646.

Happy Holidays!


Cutler, Steve. “Avoiding Relapse Over the Holidays.”Http:// N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Dec. 2015.


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Tips on How to Avoid the Holiday Blues this Season

According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), the Holiday Blues are temporary feelings of anxiety or depression during the holidays that can be associated with extra stress, unrealistic expectations or even memories that may accompany the season.

Click here for tips on how to avoid the holiday blues this season.

For additional assistance contact DeKalb CSB at 404-892-4646.




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You Can Make a Difference This Holiday Season

You can support DeKalb CSB by making a one-time or recurring donation to the Brighter DeKalb Foundation.  The Foundation is a 501c3 nonprofit organization established to support the behavioral health and developmental disability services provided by DeKalb CSB.  The value of your contribution is fully tax-deductible.

Give the gift of hope and recovery this season by supporting mental health, substance abuse and developmental disability services!

Donate today! 


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Sleep Well to Live Well!

We spend about a third of our life in sleep. Why? No one knows exactly, but experts agree that sleep along with nutrition and exercises are necessary for a healthy living. As a culture we value hard work, productivity and efficiency. Americans work long hours, take less vacation, and sleep less in compared to people in many developed nations. Surveys have shown that around one third of the US population may be suffering from one or more sleep problems like difficulty initiating or maintaining sleep, waking up too early, and poor quality of sleep. A recent study found that US workers lose 11.3 days of work due to sleep problems totaling an average of $2,280 per person per year.  In total, untreated sleep problems may cost the US economy $63 billion dollars annually.

So How Much Sleep Do You Need?

The National Sleep Foundation, USA convened multiple experts from various health organizations and came up with the following recommendations:

Life Stage Age Sleep-Needs
Newborns 0-3 months 14 to 17 hours
Infants 4 to 11 months 12 to 15 hours
Toddlers 1 to 2 years 11 to 14 hours
Preschoolers 3 to 5 years 10 to 13 hours
School Children 6 to 13 years 9 to 11 hours
Teenagers 14 to 17 years 8 to 10 hours
Young Adults 18 to 25 years 7 to 9 hours
Adults 26 to 64 years 7 to 9 hours
Older adults 65 years and over 7 to 8 hour

Poor sleep quality or quantity can cause acute and chronic health problems, afflicting the mind and the body.

Mental Problems with Sleep Deprivation:

The brain uses neurotransmitters (NT) to think, remember, analyze and experience emotions. The NT‘s begin to deplete as the day goes and are regenerated during sleep. People with chronic sleep deprivation may have depleted NT which may trigger psychiatric problems. A person not sleeping for days may experience a psychotic or manic episode. Poor sleep is associated with depression, anxiety, and ADHD symptoms. It may diminish cognition, memory, alertness, creativity and problem-solving abilities. Many are familiar with the feelings of irritability, distractibility, fatigue, forgetfulness, and inattention during the day following night-shift work.  Sleep loss not only endangers the individual, but also the community. One without sleep for 24 hours is as impaired as one who is drunk with high blood alcohol level (BAL>0.8). It can lead to slower reaction time, reduced vigilance and deficits in information processing which increases the risk for motor vehicle accidents. The National Highway Traffic safety Administration attributes around 100,000 police reported crashes as the direct result of driver fatigue each year.

Physical Problems with Sleep Deprivation:

Sleep may appear as a quiet time but it’s highly active time for body’s maintenance. Sleep is the time for body’s rest and restoration. Many hormonal changes take place. The pituitary secretes the Growth hormone which is essential for growth and development. In addition there is release of melatonin which is a powerful anti-oxidant and a scavenger of free radicals. Melatonin is anti-inflammatory and plays a crucial role is tissue repair and healing. The stress hormone cortisol drops down at bedtime and helps us to relax and un-wind. The immune system is highly active during sleep: killing the germs, fighting tumor cells, and removing the toxins. The hormones controlling hunger and satiety namely Leptin and Ghrelin are also regulated by sleep. Lack of sleep impairs the body’s glucose metabolism and increases the craving for high calorie food. The above physiological findings are supported by clinical research which has linked sleep deprivation to obesity, hypertension, diabetes and heart attack.  Poor sleep has been shown to reduce immunity along with increased incidence of cancer and infections. Even a single night of lost sleep increases one’s chance of catching the common-cold.  Sleep loos seems to accelerate the ageing process making the body vulnerable to all kinds of maladies.

There are many simple life-style changes which can promote sleep.


Ten Tips for Good Sleep:

  1. Schedule Sleep: Maintain a consistent bed-time routine. Go to bed at the same time every night, no later than 12 pm. Try to keep it the same on weekends to keep body’s clock tuned.
  2. Regular Exercise: Try to get some exercise during the day; as little as 20 minutes can help.
  3. Avoid any alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine before bedtime.  Alcohol helps to sleep in short term, but robs the brain of deep restorative sleep in long term. Caffeine present in tea, coffee, soda; nicotine present in cigarettes are both brain stimulants- which makes one more alert and awake, but makes it difficult to fall asleep.
  4. Relaxation: Do some relaxing activity like taking a warm bath, reading, listening to music before bed time. Mindfulness and breathing exercises may also help.
  5. Light: Try to get exposure to sunlight or any full spectrum bright light in the morning. Exposure to light during the day and darkness before bed, will entrain your circadian rhythm to the daily light-dark cycle. This will help you to stay alert and active during day, and tired and sleepy at night.
  6. Try to avoid food few hours before going to bed. Heavy meal before bedtime may impair sleep.
  7. Don’t check emails or work on your laptop just before bed. The mind needs to relax and any activation will impair sleep. Avoid TV, Computer, or bright light before sleep as they inhibit the sleep inducing hormone –melatonin.
  8. Keep your bedroom quiet, cold and, dark. Adjust your thermostat to a lower temperature around 60 to 67 degrees. Use thick curtains to block any light and use white noise to block out any sound.
  9. Use bed only for sleep and sex, and may be some light reading preferably fiction.  Avoid any other activates on the bed or in the bed-room if you can; your body will associate bed with sleep.
  10. Keep a journal or diary at bedside- and write down your thoughts, plans of stress on the paper. This will stop the recurring sleep-disturbing thoughts.

Sleep is vital to life. Seek professional help if you struggle with sleep chronically and experience day-time fatigue. Many of the sleep problems can be resolved with the help of medications and therapy like Cognitive behavioral therapy for Insomnia (CBT-I). To that end – don’t neglect any sleep problems, and make every effort to get good sleep for your health and well being.

Dr. Panchajanya Paul, MD is a staff psychiatrist at DeKalb CSB. He is board certified Child, Adolescent and Adult psychiatrist. He also practices integrative and holistic medicine, and is a diplomat of the American Board of Integrative and Holistic Medicine.

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DeKalb Community Service Board Issues Statement on San Bernardino Shooting

ATLANTA- December 3, 2015 – DeKalb Community Service Board (CSB) extends our heartfelt sympathy to the victims and their families in the wake of the tragedy that occurred at the Inland Regional Center in San Bernardino, California.

As the details surrounding yesterday’s tragedy continue to unfold, we reaffirm that safety remains DeKalb CSB’s top priority.  We will continue to take precautions to ensure that our clients, staff and facilities remain safe and informed.  In addition, we will continue to monitor the situation and are prepared to take any necessary precautions.

Again, our hearts are with the Inland Regional Center and the entire San Bernardino community as they cope with this tragedy.

About DeKalb CSB:

DeKalb Community Service Board (CSB) is an innovative, community-based behavioral health and developmental disabilities services organization located in metropolitan Atlanta, Georgia, offering a full range of mental health services, developmental disabilities programs and substance abuse treatment to more than 10,000 citizens annually who are uninsured and underinsured. As a public, not-for-profit organization, the DeKalb CSB operates more than 20 locations in DeKalb County with a diverse workforce of more than 500 direct-care and support staff.

Media Contact:
Jennifer Highsmith

Mailing: PO Box 1648, Decatur, GA 30031
General information: 404.294.3834
Appointments, referrals and crisis support: 404.892.4646

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