In the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak and response, many of us are experiencing increased fear and anxiety as well as feelings of isolation and loneliness. While short times of stress are not inherently harmful, the prolonged and/or unpredictable presence of stress can have a negative impact on your physical and mental health.

Now more than ever, it is important to regulate our baseline stress with activities that work from the “bottom up”, that is, at a physical, emotional level rather than a cognitive, “top down” level. Trying to calm ourselves with logic alone is not going to work during this time of uncertainty and prolonged stress.

Some examples of activities that regulate stress from the “bottom up” are: walking, playing music, coloring or doing an art/craft project, playing a video game, doing yoga, stretching, focusing on breathing.

These stress-regulating activities are far more effective when dosed out over the period of the day. For example, going for a 45-minute walk one time a day may only regulate your feelings of stress and anxiety for an hour or two. You’d be much better off to dose your walk into five minute intervals sprinkled throughout your day.

Another way to regulate stress is to limit your contact with social media, tv, and other sources of stressful news. Limit your exposure to the stressful things that are out of your control, and give yourself two news- free and social media-free hours before bedtime.

To learn more about how to reduce baseline anxiety for yourself and your family during the COVID-19 pandemic, listen to this interview with trauma specialist Dr. Bruce Perry.



You don’t need a medical degree to know that laughing feels good. But did you know that medical studies have shown that laughter works to decrease stress hormones, improve the immune system, and boost endorphins?

While cranking up that show that hits your funny bone might work great for you, it turns out that “fake” laughter works just as well to reduce stress.

To learn about Laughter Yoga, follow the link to a TedMed Talk from Laughter Yoga creator, Dr. Madan Kataria.



David Kessler is one of the world’s foremost experts on grief. He is the co-creator of the well-known 5 Phases of Grief, to which he has added a 6th: Finding Meaning.

He is offering helpful perspective on the collective grief we are currently experiencing due to COVID-19. Check out one or all of these resources to learn more.


That Discomfort You’re Feeling is Grief


Why We’re All Grieving, & How To Deal with It”



An Overview of the Benefits of Intensive Outpatient Programs

Coming to terms with a substance abuse problem? Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) is one treatment option for those struggling with addiction, and it is an excellent option for many patients who might think round-the-clock, inpatient treatment is the only route to sobriety. An inpatient program may be the best choice if you need closer direction and monitoring than you would receive in an outpatient setting.

Some of the main benefits of intensive outpatient programs include:

  • Flexible scheduling: This allows the patient to maintain their everyday responsibilities, such as maintaining a job and/or going to school.
  • Lower costs: There is no need to pay room and board as there is for a residential/inpatient program, and you’ll be able to live at your own home during treatment.
  • Higher retention rates: IOPs are more rigorous than lower-intensity, “regular” outpatient treatment programs.
  • Stay near family and friends: Isolation is a threat to recovery. If you have a strong support network of family or friends who want to see you get sober, IOP may be perfect for you.
  • More private: The lack of confidentiality, or the need to explain a prolonged absence, is what deters many from seeking addiction treatment. You can feel less exposed if you don’t have to live at a residential treatment facility.
  • Keep up with work and/or school: Taking months off from your job or school just isn’t feasible for many people in recovery. IOP gives you the chance to maintain your school or work schedule, although you’ll likely still need to take some time off during the most intense periods of withdrawal.

Is IOP Treatment Right for Me?

You may wonder if IOP is right for you, or if you’d be better suited to a more structured environment you’d encounter in an inpatient setting. While many patients come from an inpatient setting and transition to IOP, many transition straight from detox/partial hospitalization to IOP therapy. Ideal candidates are focused on getting well, and have a safe, supportive home environment. If you’re fighting sobriety and face daily temptations from others who continue to drink or use drugs, residential treatment is likely the better choice, so you’ll be away from your relapse triggers.

Learn more about our behavioral health and substance abuse recovery programs by calling (509) 863-9779 today.


Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS): Frequently Asked Questions

This guide will answer some of the most common questions about TMS, so you can learn more about whether it might be a good treatment for you.

  1. What is Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS)?

TMS has been used to treat major depressive disorder since the 1980s. This FDA-approved, nondrug therapy is a noninvasive procedure utilizing magnetic fields to stimulate the brain’s nerve cells. It is performed by placing a treatment coil over the patient’s head to deliver brief magnetic pulses to a specific part of the brain with technology similar to magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

  1. How does TMS work?

Regions of the brain associated with mood regulation, such as the prefrontal cortex, receive magnetic pulses passing through the skull and into the brain. During a session, the electromagnetic coil is placed near the head, which painlessly sends magnetic pulses

  1. What is treatment-resistant depression?

When standard depression treatments prove minimally effective, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) can provide relief from symptoms of major depressive disorder (MDD). Treatment-resistant depression is unfortunately common, and while antidepressants play a valuable role for two-thirds of adults suffering from MDD, as many as one-third of adults cannot shake their persistent feelings of sadness, low energy, suicidal ideation, and other bothersome symptoms.

  1. Will TMS work for me?

TMS is a very powerful tool to achieve relief from MDD. About 50 to 60% of patients treated with TMS experience significant, clinically meaningful responses with TMW, and about one-third of these individuals have full remission from MDD, while another one-third reduce their antidepressant medication therapy. Most patients who benefit feel improvement after 3 to 6 weeks of treatment, if they respond.

  1. What is TMS treatment like?

During your treatment regimen, you will need to have sessions 5 days per week for approximately 6 weeks. Each session lasts between 20 to 50 minutes, depending on the clinical protocol. A psychiatrist will determine the “landmark” in the brain to determine the treatment site.

  1. Am I a good candidate for TMS?

Patients who have failed to improve from prior antidepressant medication therapy who are willing to devote the time to TMS therapy may be considered good candidates. Insurance coverage may depend on more factors, such as trying 4 or more antidepressants without relief from symptoms, and a referral from your psychiatrist.

  1. Is TMS safe?

There have been many clinical trials to test the safety of TMS, and it has been proven as very easy to tolerate, and it is FDA-approved for treating MDD. Thousands of patients have been treated with TMS, and the most common side effects include mild or moderate scalp discomfort or mild headaches, and usually these side effects go away after the 1st week of treatment. No long-term side effects as associated with TMS.

  1. Is TMS as effective as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)?

ECT, sometimes mistakenly called “electroshock therapy,” is a last-line treatment for MDD. It is the most potent treatment for MDD, yet it has certain risks that deter many patients, such as potential memory loss. TMS is an effective alternative to avoid ECT.