Category: Treatment

Effects of Music and Art on Those Suffering from Illness

The Effects of Music and Art on Those Suffering from Illness

The positive effects of art and music therapy on serious illnesses have been the focus of many recent studies. The results show that music engagement, visual arts, creative movement activities and expressive writing greatly impact mood and provide positive health effects for those who are suffering from chronic illness and mental illness.

Effects of Music and Art on Those Suffering from Illness
The Effects of Music and Art on Those Suffering from Illness

While chronic diseases are a nationwide problem, visual art and music therapy has been studied in cases of diabetes and cardiovascular disease as well as psychosocial problems. Some of the positive effects that music and art therapy can have include:

  • Self-reflection
  • Reduce symptoms
  • Alter thinking patterns
  • Reduced muscle tension
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Enhanced interpersonal relationships
  • Increased motivation
  • Improved self-image
  • Built confidence
  • Increased verbalization
  • Safe emotional release

Music and art therapy through painting, singing, playing instruments, drawing, dance or other creative outlets has greatly improved the mood of many patients. It’s even been shown to help the elderly as they age and develop different illnesses.

How Psychological Growth and Changes in the Brain Stimulate These Effects

One of the main reasons that therapy improves illness in young and old suffering from different illnesses is psychological growth. Multiple studies have shown that while therapy provides better mood, it also improves self-esteem and confidence.

In addition, it also helps patients set and meet different goals. For instance, a study at the North Carolina Children’s Hospital with music therapy showed that it helped children focus and return home faster. Music therapy also helps with motor skills, reading and brain functions. Several studies have also shown that autistic children learn to focus their creativity and be more tolerant of change because of music therapy.

Music and visual arts therapy has also been shown to improve schizophrenia and similar mental illnesses as well. They learn a different way to communicate and express emotions. In all studies, music therapy was shown to improve standard care by giving them an outlet for creativity. They had a more focused mental state and were able to communicate how they felt by playing different musical instruments.

Art therapy has been shown to improve self-expression and emotional growth for many reasons in cases of mental and physical illness. With improved self-confidence, patients were able to interact with others in a positive way while also using a creative outlet to express how they felt.

In cases of chemical dependency and substance abuse, musical and art therapy has also shown to have positive effects on patients. In one study, pottery classes were used to improve psychological well-being. They were able to decrease symptoms of depression and anxiety while boosting self-esteem.

Different Programs for Children, Adults and Elderly Provide Similar Results

Several programs at colleges, rehabilitation facilities and hospitals have shown how music and art therapy affects patients in a positive way. Most facilities implement art and music programs as a series of classes or group activities. For example in drug rehabilitation facilities, art therapy is used as a way to decrease feelings of anxiety while also improving relationships with other patients.

In children’s hospitals, a combination of art and music classes has improved the symptoms of depression and even alleviated symptoms from more serious mental and physical illnesses. In cases of ADHD, post-traumatic disorder, autism, bipolar disease and schizophrenia, children were able to use painting as a way to alleviate their symptoms and continuously build confidence in their abilities.

For senior citizens, music and art therapy has also been implemented in nursing homes and hospitals through classes and daily group activities. Some work in groups to create different projects while others work on solo projects. In one study, elderly patients chose an instrument to learn. The results revealed that they had improved mood including optimistic feelings about their illness while also focusing less on symptoms of serious illnesses.

Through art classes, patients are able to visually communicate what they may be feeling inside or explain parts of themselves that they previously did not want to share. They are able to work with their own emotions and continuously work on a goal in order to produce a final project. In the end, they create something that represents their own self-expression while also working through difficulties of mental and physical illness.

How to Apply Music and Art Therapy to Cope with Daily Life

Whether you enjoy playing an instrument or love the feel of a paint brush in your hand, there are so many different ways to create and express yourself through music and art therapy. It gives the brain a chance to grow while also focusing on something else for a while that doesn’t involve the daily stresses of life. As you learn to play a new song or mix different colors on a canvas, emotions and thoughts become fluid, and it takes your mind away.

Music and art therapy has been proven beneficial for many people not just those who are sick or dealing with a difficult mental illness. Many people today suffer from some form of anxiety or depression. As visual arts or performing arts allow for psychological growth, changes occur in the brain and provide a new way to view different aspects of life. In some cases, it can even provide answers to life’s toughest problems.

There are many ways to find music and art activities even if you have never attempted any before. You can look at one of the top 50 art blogs for inspiration, visit sites like Deviantart.com or look at a number of beginner to advanced level musical instruction video channels on YouTube. For some, it’s just a matter of picking up an instrument that they have always wanted to try to learn something different.

Community centers and groups also provide art and musical classes. For example, your local church may have a choir group, or you can volunteer at a children’s hospital art program to learn and help others with artistic expression. Dancing classes are also available at public and private gyms, schools, church groups and social meet up events.

How Music and Art Therapy Has Affected Those in Everyday Life

For those that are suffering from such conditions as manic depression, personality disorder and diabetes, every day is a struggle. These individuals are able to find motivation through developing their artistic and musical abilities. Going to art classes or playing the piano is two examples of great activities.

Through these activities, individuals acquire a determined drive to teach themselves and others something and show a creative. Some individuals may find their love of music and art growing to a point where they begin teaching music or giving art classes to others in the community. It is inspiring to see those who were once victims of their suffering blossom and paint these incredible portraits and landscapes or write their very own song. It is a miracle to see someone who was once afflicted by mental illnesses and diabetes, turn into someone who has helped themselves and others express different emotions and creativity that many never thought possible.

Volunteering at a children’s hospital where patients are going through a variety of troubles, many can see another side to music and art therapy. Children show a remarkable perseverance no matter what the circumstances when they are given something to occupy their attention that is so consuming and goal-oriented. Whether it was one little boy learning how to play guitar for the first time or a little girl developing a love for watercolor, you could see the happiness enveloping their faces as they worked tirelessly to improve their skills.

Addiction treatment is another area where music and art therapy are added to treatment programs. A patient of a rehab, who is struggling to put back the pieces of their life together, may be able to get out their frustrations and pain in the song that they write or the painting that they paint. Music and art therapy becomes a health method of releasing stress and frustrations in a creative and expressive way.

There are so many ways to improve your life and the lives of others with music and art. By picking up a paint brush or sitting down at a piano, you open up a new sense of the world and pluck at your creative conscious to develop something beautiful.

Relapse

What are the Dangers of Quitting Drugs Cold Turkey?

Quitting cold turkey is often more difficult than it really sounds. This is especially true when an individual who is trying to quit drugs does not want to go into a rehabilitation center. It is understandable why drug rehabilitation may seem unappealing.

Quitting Drugs Cold Turkey
The Dangers of Quitting Drugs Cold Turkey?

As Americans, people are taught to be very independent. They feel that they can do everything by themselves all the time. 28.6 percent of all people believe that they can handle a drug problem without the need for treatment.

However, this logic that is learned culturally can be very harmful when it is applied to quitting drugs. The main reason is that there are a number of dangers people could experience when they quit drugs cold turkey.

The Dangers of Relapse

Relapse is a very serious danger for drug addicts who have recently decided to quit cold turkey. This is particularly true in the case of people who are addicted to heroin and crack. According to research conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service, over 90 percent of heroin users experience relapse.

At the same time, there is an 84 percent relapse rate for crack abusers. The agency estimates that the total relapse rate is about 69 percent for all narcotics taken together including legal pills that are often abused.

Without the help of a drug rehabilitation center to support and motivate them, drug-dependent people tend to go back to their old ways. The main reason is that they often think that they can effectively avoid everything and everyone who has a bad influence on their behavior when many individuals decided to quit cold turkey.

Unfortunately, this type of avoidance is unrealistic. What is worse is that these people frequently have difficulties reconciling their daily routine with the new lack of drugs. Relapsing is particularly dangerous because the overdose risk is much higher for people who have recently withdrawn.

The National Institute of Health even says that the risk of an overdose increases during these situations. This is because an addicted person develops a low tolerance for drugs after they have not used them for a while. The individual may try hard to do as much of the illegal substance as they did in the past not knowing that their body cannot handle that amount anymore.

The Dangers of Withdrawal

The biggest danger that is associated with quitting drugs cold turkey is withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms can be very severe for an individual who uses opioids such as heroin and other kinds of pain medications. Although it is admirable for them to try quitting their addiction, doing it cold turkey can often be life-threatening.

Drug withdrawal can be highly dangerous for an illegal substance user who is trying to quit their addiction on a cold turkey basis. Early signs of withdrawal often include sweating, muscle aches, agitation, and anxiety. However, these withdrawal symptoms that many people consider mild may lead to vomiting and diarrhea. Complications that may arise from these symptoms include breathing stomach contents into the lungs and severe dehydration.

A Way to Avoid the Dangers

In order to avoid the dangers that are associated with quitting cold turkey, people should enroll themselves in an inpatient rehabilitation program to ensure their safe passage into sobriety. This also allows them to recover from their addiction in an environment that is far from any possible relapse temptations.

When an individual has completed rehabilitation, these facilities also provide them with various aftercare programs. This will help ensure that the client makes the transition from the rehabilitation center to their home environment successfully.

Work as a Therapy

Inpatient drug treatment offers clients several benefits. One of these advantages is that it operates on a therapeutic community model of rehabilitation. Under this model, the entire community is as much of a participant in the recovery and treatment as the medical professionals.

The community of addicts share, work, and live together while learning sobriety and recovery within a structured community. Work as a form of therapy is mandatory. Through their participation in the community’s structure, a resident learns to work and deal with others. It also teaches them discipline towards recovery.

It also confers the life skills that they need in order to obtain a much better reintegration into their home environment once they are released. A lot of long-term drug addicts often suffer from distrust and an inability to function under authority. Another benefit of inpatient rehabilitation is that this very long period of work training helps addicts resocialize in order to be employable and productive members of society.

Healing at Rehab

A Time of Healing

One of the main benefits of an inpatient drug rehabilitation program is simply the time period of enforced sobriety. Time is often enough for people to really grow accustomed to being sober. It also allows them to enjoy the real and honest relationships of a life that is completely free from chemical abuse.

It is also time enough for them to reap the benefits from the therapy offered and learn how to work with others. The time that is set aside for healing also helps them to gain readiness for much better participation in society once they return.

Aside from that, inpatient rehabilitation philosophies generally state that the thorough resocialization of an addict is the only way to obtain lasting and real change. As such, all areas of their life need to be reassessed and replaced with new sets of skills in every aspect of everyday life. This often does not happen quickly. It is only through many months of hard work and therapy participation that an addict can truly change whatever exists in themselves that causes their devastating drug abuse.

The Bottom Line

An inpatient rehabilitation program is rarely the primary therapeutic environment that many drug addicts consider for their recovery. In addition, only a number of therapies can match the time commitment and disruption required. However, the best way for an individual who has a long-lasting and severe drug addiction to obtain enduring recovery is through a program that provides them with a long period of sobriety. In addition, they get a resocialization of expectations and learn that honest and real emotional relationships offer greater rewards than the usual high.

Holistic Rehabilitation

Holistic vs Drug-Based Rehabilitation

Holistic RehabilitationThere are a number of approaches to treatment for drug and alcohol addiction. To better understand these, the first step is to define some of the basic terms:

Addiction:

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) defines addiction as a complex illness characterized by intense and, at times, uncontrollable drug craving, along with compulsive drug seeking and use that persist even in the face of devastating consequences. 

Inpatient:

Describes treatment wherein the patient stays at the hospital or facility. Length of time can vary anywhere from days to months.

Outpatient:

Describes treatment wherein the patient visits a hospital or facility without being admitted overnight. Number of visits will vary.

Detoxification:

To remove toxins or poison from; specifically, medical treatment of an alcoholic or drug addict involving abstinence and reduction of cravings and withdrawal symptoms in order to remove the addictive substances from the bloodstream. Detox addresses the physiological aspects of addiction.

Rehabilitation:

To restore to health after illness, injury, etc.; the process of restoring to better health and a better life by training and therapy after detoxification. Rehab would ideally address the wide range of factors that cause and contribute to addiction, and contain steps to prevent relapse.

Holistic:  

Characterized by the treatment of the whole person, taking into account personal, mental, familial, social, environmental, and spiritual factors – rather than just the physical symptoms of a disease or condition.

Drug-Based:

In the fields of detox and rehab, “drug-based” can mean two things:

a.The use of prescription medications to aid in the detox or rehab process.

b.A focus on the specific characteristics of the drug (or drugs) being abused, in contrast to the wide range of factors that cause and contribute to addiction.

Drug-Based Detox

Drug-based detox refers to the use of medication in order to ease withdrawal symptoms. Certain addictive substances cause severe physical reactions in the addict who stops using. Most notably, these drugs include opiates (morphine, heroin, prescription painkillers), alcohol, as well as benzodiazepines (anti-anxiety drugs). That is not to say that any drug – even caffeine and nicotine – do not carry physical withdrawal symptoms, but certain drugs are known for the acute nature of withdrawal.

Types of Withdrawal

A heroin user going through withdrawal (without medication) is expected to experience such symptoms as insomnia, muscle/joint pain, chills, sweats, fever, nausea, vomiting, intense cravings, depression, and anxiety.

Alcohol withdrawal without medical aid can be life-threatening – involving seizures, hallucination, and temporary psychosis. Delirium Tremens (DTs or “trembling delirium”) is a term used to describe the most severe phase of alcohol withdrawal.

Benzodiazepines (Xanax, Klonopin, Valium) are central nervous system depressants. Dependence and addiction is quite common and when people stop their use abruptly, they can experience benzodiazepine withdrawal syndrome – symptoms of which include insomnia, panic attack, anxiety (worse than what the prescription was intended for), nausea, dry wretches, heart palpitations, and flu-like symptoms. Life-threatening seizures and psychotic reactions are also reasons medical attention is essential.

Use of Medication in Detox

The safety of withdrawal and the comfort of the addict or alcoholic are of primary concern in medical detox.

There is however, another side of drug-based detox. A good example of this is the outpatient methadone clinic. Such clinics provide methadone as a replacement for heroin. Methadone is itself a highly addictive opiate in the same class as morphine (Schedule II). The advantage is that it is taken orally and not injected intravenously and thus the risk of infection and spread of disease is reduced. HIV/AIDS is a risk for drug users due to needle sharing and sexual transmission. Methadone is a controlled substance but still has a high potential for abuse. This type of treatment for drug addiction does not accomplish detoxification nor does it bring about rehabilitation.

Another point to consider in detox is whether the facility prescribes other drugs such as antidepressants to the recovering addict or alcoholic. This can result in dependency (either physical or psychological) on yet another drug. Addicts and alcoholics often have – to one degree or another – an “addictive personality” or are prone to addictive behavior, thus using the “crutch” of another drug on a long-term basis is a risky proposition. Any psychotropic drug produces side-effects – some very severe – thus use should be avoided.

Ideally, any medications are used only to ease withdrawal and guarantee safety. After detox is accomplished, any drugs used can be tapered off.

Holistic Detox

Holistic detox generally refers to a drug-free approach. This is not to be confused with “cold turkey” which people will often attempt without professional help. Holistic methods are those which seek to help the addict or alcoholic in the withdrawal process through natural means. These can include such methods as massage, acupuncture, physical therapy, and remedies to ease anxiety and induce sleep. The use of nutrition and vitamin and mineral replenishment is also integral to holistic detox. A calm and peaceful environment where someone can eat and sleep is often exactly what a drug addict or alcoholic needs while going through a detox process.

Withdrawal from cocaine addiction, for example, can often be accomplished through holistic detox. Cocaine withdrawal symptoms include intense cravings, disturbed sleep, agitation, anxiety, and severe depression. Quitting cocaine can also induce suicidal ideation, thus professional supervision is essential. Despite its obvious addictive properties and notoriety, cocaine produces more psychological than physiological addiction – thus a holistic approach may be done depending on the individual’s circumstances.

Combined Methodologies

A combined medical and holistic approach would be the ultimate solution in the field of detox. Most addicts are polydrug users meaning they use multiple substances and are often addicted to more than one drug simultaneously – such as a combination of alcohol and cocaine. Thus the use of combined methodologies would be an effective way to address the complex problems relating to addiction.

Drug-Based Rehabilitation

Drug-Based-RehabilitationOnce detoxification is completed, it is necessary to address other factors relating to addiction. Detox is by no means a complete treatment for addiction. If only detox was done, a person can simply use again if not motivated otherwise. Steps to prevent relapse are all part of comprehensive rehabilitation.

Drug-based rehab could include one or more of the following systems to address underlying reasons a person started using and what motivated their continued drug or alcohol abuse:

  • Individual or group therapy, including the techniques of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.
  • Conscious Decision Making, which seeks to help users isolate the situations in which they are most likely to use drugs and prevent or avoid them.
  • Moral Reconation Therapy (MRT), a system developed to enhance moral reasoning and better decision making. The term “reconation” refers to the process of making conscious decisions.
  • Multidimensional family therapy, designed for use with adolescents with drug problems and their families in dealing with the many influences upon a young person’s life.
  • Motivational interviewing, utilizes the willingness of an addict or alcoholic to engage in treatment.
  • Motivational incentives, using positive reinforcement to promote abstinence.

Holistic Rehabilitation

While a holistic approach could utilize any of the above systems, it seeks to expand the range of methodologies used in rehab. The basic theory of the holistic approach is that there is not one set system for rehabilitation. Each individual is different and thus different techniques can be employed. A holistic center could use a core program while simultaneously offering options that a patient can utilize to address their specific problems. Some of the methodologies that could be employed in a holistic approach include:

  • Massage – to ease physical and mental stress.
  • Physical Therapy – to recover from illness or injury associated with addiction.
  • Sleep Remedies – Use of calcium, magnesium, herbs, and other supplements to induce rest and sleep.
  • Nutrition – Addicts are often malnourished and a comprehensive nutritional regimen can have very therapeutic effects.
  • Vitamins and Minerals – A full range of supplements can be used to replenish deficiencies that are the result of long-term drug and alcohol abuse.
  • Fitness; Yoga – A regimen involving exercise or yoga is beneficial for motivation and physical health.
  • Martial Arts – The disciplines of martial arts are useful not only for fitness, but to help an individual’s focus and spiritual values.
  • Spirituality – A wide range of spiritual paths can be taken to help a person in their journey of self-discovery.
  • Faith-Based Programs – The full array of faith-based programs can be employed to assist a person to use their faith or religion in their personal recovery process.
  • Educational and Vocational Programs – Dealing with addiction often means addressing such things as literacy, ability to communicate, how to get a job or pursue a career, and many other practicalities.

Complete Rehabilitation

While no one can guarantee that someone will never again abuse drugs or alcohol – that is ultimately up to the individual – complete rehabilitation would ideally employ many of the methods listed above. Drug abuse and addiction is one of the most serious problems in society today. It is linked intrinsically to such things as massive governmental spending, global crime, and an incalculable toll upon human lives.

While the problem is global, it can be broken down to the individual and his or her individual situation. Complete rehabilitation means helping one person at a time to deal effectively with the many aspects of addiction. When one individual conquers their addictions, we are one step closer to tackling the overall pandemic. Whether drug-based or holistic – or a combination of the two – the goal is the same.

Sources:

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)

drug and alcohol rehab

How to get a Job After Successfully Completing Drug Rehabilitation

Transition from Rehab

Once a person has completed drug or alcohol rehab, he or she will normally get back home and go through a readjustment phase. They are now back in their old environment but they are totally different as a person. Factually, the individual is much more “himself” or “herself” as they see the world through eyes unclouded by drugs. With the new sober view, there are specific obstacles to be aware of. One must understand that as they are now clean and clear-eyed, they may not entirely like what they see. The former addict is wise not to visit old drug-user friends or hang out on the corner and run into their old dealer. They are often jobless. So one must make new friends (sober ones), find new places, and get a new job. It can be more than a little overwhelming.

Importance of Aftercare

All these are good reasons for comprehensive aftercare and relapse prevention. The final steps of drug rehab SHOULD be preparation for this transitional period; going over the individual’s potential upsets and how to deal with them; setting a course of action and staying focused; vocational connections or training; and even relocation as the situation dictates. All this comes under the heading of aftercare and includes a support network that is essentially available round the clock.

Importance of Work

The importance of work and having stable employment is often downplayed and overlooked. One’s personal morale is primarily dependent upon one’s contribution to society. The fundamental way one goes about this is through work and producing a viable product or service and being reasonably compensated for it. It is how a society is built. The “value” of leisure time and idle hours is highly overrated. Some of your most miserable people are the ones who don’t work. The young person working his or her way through college is likely to get far more out of it than one whose parents pay for everything. It is thus an excellent – even vital – step for a graduate of rehab to get a good job.

A Good Job

Usually, a person doesn’t want “any old job.” True, they’ve got to pay the bills, but they would much rather do something they have a passion for and enjoy doing. They’d like a career. The job market today can be a bit rough. Many factors come into play: experience, education, training, skills, employment record, language, “who you know,” personal goals and aspirations, etc. The city or town you live in will have its own job climate. The economy has been rough on Detroit for example. For a former addict or alcoholic, the odds can be even more stacked against them, particularly if their employment record was affected by their drug or alcohol problem. If they have a criminal record of any kind (even possession is a black mark) it could look dismal indeed to get a decent job with room for advancement. Therefore, it is vital to have an exact plan. Here is a basic outline for such a plan:

The Plan

1. Either yourself or with your aftercare counselor, go over your resources for employment. List out your family, friends (not the drug-user ones), contacts, and any other ideas you have for employment. Even a former employer who may be impressed with your newfound sobriety could be a resource.

2. In conjunction with this list, write down your experience, education, training, and skills.

3. Write down your personal goals and aspirations. What do you WANT to do? More specifically, what do you want to PRODUCE? Examples: An artist produces works of art that enhance people’s lives. A mechanic produces vehicles that run well. A store clerk produces happy customers who walk out with a purchase. What you want to do or produce is individual to you. There can be more than one thing.

4. Keep all the above in mind and write a resume. A resume is defined as “a brief account of one’s professional or work experience and qualifications, often submitted with an employment application.” If you are not familiar with resume writing you should get help. There is a certain “language” used in a resume. You can look online for advice and also visit a State employment office that will often have a course on how to put one together.

Best Drug RehabilitationA resume should not be too wordy. Employers and HR (Human Resources) people look at a LOT of resumes and don’t have time read a long dissertation. One page is often enough. Resumes often use certain key phrases like “team player” or “detail-oriented” so you should get familiar with these. That said, you also want, to be honest and not appear “rote” or insincere. You can make your resume stand out in various ways such as printing it on attractive letterhead.

Another note on resumes is that they should put emphasis on your skills and positive attributes. If you are applying for different types of jobs, you may have to produce different versions of your resume. For a construction job, it would accent your skills or experience in that trade. If it’s a sales job, focus would be on your customer relations and closing expertise. You also want to include references – people who can be contacted that will give a positive recommendation. You aftercare counselor should be able to help with that as well.

5. It is not necessary to mention your past addiction in your resume. However, do not lie or be dishonest. Employers do background checks, and they may discount your application once they know your background. Because of this fact, you may want to state up front that you did rehab and are clean. If they are considerate, they will appreciate your honesty and forthright attitude. You will also not then worry that they’ll “find out” about your past. You can mention that you are more than willing to do periodic drug tests.

6. If you have a criminal record, you’d handle it similarly to the above. If you lie, they’ll find out and won’t hire you. You can state that your offense was connected to your drug problem which you have beaten – or whatever the facts are. There are also networks that help those with records find jobs. One is America in Recovery. Another is National HIRE Network.

7. Network with friends and acquaintances. Call people up. Even if they don’t have anything, they may know someone who does and can put in a good word for you. You can show up at church, baby showers, weddings, etc. and talk to people. Even if you’ve never met them, people are usually in a good frame of mind at such functions and will be receptive. Many people get jobs just by knowing someone. You can also attend a job fair.

8. Go online. You can use Craigslist, other websites, and social media. A word of warning: A LOT of people use Craigslist and certain types of jobs get HUNDREDS of applications and resumes. It’s not that you can’t get a job through that site, but the traffic is VERY HIGH. Be aware of scams – if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. You can look up other sites that specialize in certain fields, or just Google “jobs” in your city and start sending your resume. One advantage to going online is that you can send as many copies of your resume as you want. You are not likely to find large corporations advertising on a site like Craigslist. If you’d like to work at a specific company, go to their website, click on the jobs section and follow the instructions.

9. You can go directly to businesses and ask if they’re hiring, or just ask for an application, fill it out and attach your resume. Normally they’ll take it and say they’ll call you if they want to interview you. You want to be well-groomed, clean, and of good appearance. When you do get an interview, show up on time or early. This is called “pounding the pavement” – applying and going for interviews. It can be a bit exhausting and nerve-wracking. Just keep working at it. It is said that you must work to get work. This is a true statement.

10. Keep in mind that just because a company is not advertising doesn’t mean they are not hiring. It can’t hurt to apply. Take sales jobs as one example – there are ALWAYS sales jobs. They often pay by commission so many people gravitate away from them. Others have a knack for it and stay in sales. You can always try your hand at sales and see whether or not it’s for you. There are also books about how to sell that can help you.

11. Consider vocational training and furthering your education. If you don’t have a high-school diploma, you can do some study and pass your GED. Your aftercare team should help you with that. For training in specific skills, you can focus on what you want to do, or find out what trades are needed in your area and get trained in one of them.

You can also find out about internships (paid or unpaid). This may or may not be a good option for you. It can get you in the front door, provide useful experience, and pave the way to getting hired for real.

12. If you are particularly ambitious, you can always start your own business. This is called entrepreneurship and can be an adventurous undertaking. It involves skills not typically taught in schools. You may want to venture into it.

13. STAY POSITIVE. Many employers don’t even know exactly what they’re looking for. A positive and sincere attitude could make you stand out. For your own sake, don’t get discouraged. The job search can be a trying experience. Consider it another part of life training.

14. Lastly, there is another way to approach a job or career search that could open a new vista for you. Going back to point number 3 above, there is a specific question you can ask. That question is:

“What would you do if money were no object?” or… 

“If money, time, and even talent were no object or concern, what would you do?”

By “object” is meant a goal or purpose. Just ask yourself the question and do that thing. It’s that simple.

Now, you may have to get a day job to pay the bills, and it doesn’t mean you wouldn’t strive to do a good job no matter what you did – but it does mean simply that you’d end up doing what you want to do. You can extrapolate a lot from the answer. You may have to go back to school; practice hard; put in the requisite blood, sweat, and tears – but when you are doing what you’re passionate about, things tend to get easier. If you manage to become expert at it, then with some ingenuity you should be able to get paid well for doing it.

15. Don’t give up! Good luck!

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