Therapy For Families With Addicts: Why It Matters

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Addressing addiction is one tumultuous aspect that family and friends of drug- or alcohol-addicted individuals go through. In most cases, daily family interaction has only managed to enable the addict. Often, they have a hard time bringing up the issue, and some choose to look away because they don’t want to risk losing a loved one.

These are actual situations that some people face on a daily basis. Trying to approach their loved one as gentle as they can prove to be challenging, but what families need to understand is that intervention, and positive family involvement is the only way for patients to consider treatment for substance abuse.


The Purpose of Family Therapy

Family therapy is a set of therapeutic methods that encourage the family’s resources and strengths to help them live a life without alcohol or drugs. This therapy also aims to minimize the harm of addiction on both sides — the family members and the substance abuser.

Family therapy may also open the issue of family conflicts, depression, abuse, unemployment, and even parenting skills. According to Dr. Maher Soudah, director of Kaiser Wellness Center, it can be challenging for the family to undergo this process, but an important thing to remember is that it takes the form of education. Family members are often encouraged to ask questions until they can bring themselves to heal.

When a family undergoes a therapeutic intervention, a discussion about family roles will ensue, including the ways to fix trust issues and improve communication. They will be educated as to what’s harmful and what’s not, so they’ll know how to interact with one another without losing the element of respect.

Family Therapy Models

The Department of Health and Human Services indicates four family therapy models that are approved and are currently being used across the U.S. These are:


Family Disease Model

Considering the concept that substance abuse and addiction is a disease, this model touches the fact that every member of the family is affected by the disease. It tackles the tendency of family members to be codependent on the addict with regard to their material and emotional stability.

The goal of the family disease model is to help the whole unit make changes to the environment and their behavior so that the condition can be cured.

Cognitive Behavioral Family Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) emphasizes on promoting sobriety and improving relationships within the family by eliminating damaging thought patterns and behaviors. Each family member is taught to find out what triggers the addiction or what possible situations may have caused substance abuse. Dr. Soudah notes that CBT is also a popular form of personal therapy and can also be used onto the patient to correct damaging habits and thoughts.

Multi-Dimensional Family Therapy

Multi-dimensional family therapy (MDFT), as the name implies, uses several different approaches to help families build a healthier and stronger relationship. It uses cognition, emotion, behavior, and environment, which may all have contributed to the addiction.

Family Systems Model

The result of the family systems model is family with a healthier organizational pattern. This model centers on the concept that family members have the tendency to become enablers. For example, a family member may “allow” alcoholism to exist within the family because a certain family member cannot simply be productive without alcohol. With this therapy, maladaptive behavior is corrected.

Why Family Therapy Matters

“The tendency of most parents is to put so much focus on getting their son or daughter healthy that they neglect themselves,” Dr. Soudah says. This is also seen among brothers and sisters of someone with an addiction, and friends as well. If their suffering is left unaddressed, relationships will be damaged, which could lead to families breaking apart.

To help a family work together to achieve a common goal, therapists can help them communicate better, solve problems together, and handle delicate situations without losing trust and respect for each other.

5 Signs Your Loved One Needs An Intervention For Drug Abuse

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An intervention is a collective effort by people who care about a person that’s showing signs of addictive behavior. If staged properly, the person willfully agrees to enter a rehabilitation facility for treatment. During an intervention, there will be a discussion about what substance the person is addicted , followed by an explanation on the negativity it brings to the person’s life and his family.

According to Dr. Maher Soudah of the Kaiser Wellness Center, those who require an intervention show signs of compulsive behavior. He or she may not choose to care about the consequences at all, regardless of how negatively it affects his or her life and the people around.

Although different drugs have different effects, addiction symptoms are fairly similar. Knowing these signs is important so you can arrange an intervention and help your loved one get better.

1. Disappearing Valuables

Majority of drugs cost a lot of money, so you may notice that a loved one is always short on cash. Often, they end up selling whatever they can to get a fix, including your valuables and other materials in the household.

If you’ve noticed missing valuables or money, confronting the person you are suspicious of may end in a disaster because they often get defensive or violent. People with addiction don’t want to be confronted about their habit, so a defensive answer confirms that he or she is, in fact, doing something wrong.

2. Change in Physical Appearance

People close to a person suffering substance abuse may notice this first. Often, addiction to a chemical substance results in poor hygiene because they simply can’t care much. Combing, brushing teeth, and showering will become less frequent. The person will soon become disinterested in how he or she looks and could appear wearing the same type of clothing every day.

Weight loss or abrupt weight gain can also be a sign, Dr. Maher Soudah notes, considering that dangerous drugs may cause eating habits to change. They also may sweat irregularly, have pinned pupils, or suffer nosebleeds from time to time.

3. Change in Attitude and Behavior

An extreme change in attitude can also be noted among people suffering from substance abuse. Some may act disinterested or depressed, and others may get aggressive, get in trouble, or defy authority. Someone who was once positive will start to become overly negative, while others will completely shut themselves out.

Behavioral changes may also be noted. Sleeping patterns may change over time, with some sleeping too much and others not sleeping at all. Activities once enjoyed will go unnoticed, and responsibilities will be taken for granted.

4. Unexplained Disappearances

Addiction often pushes a person to lie, simply because they don’t want people to know where they’ve been and what were they doing. You may notice a loved often disappears a lot and has a hard time explaining his previous whereabouts. They will evade your question and begin to get secretive, and when a confrontation ensues, their explanation often doesn’t make sense.

5. Finding it Impossible to Stop

Some addicts decide to stop taking drugs because they want to change or someone to close to them talked them out of it. This is a good sign, actually, but if a person who’s addicted admits to you that he simply can’t stop or have a hard time doing so on his own, it’s time to intervene. Professional help is the only way out of it.

“People close to the addict are the ones in the best position to stage an intervention,” Dr. Soudah says. Signs of addiction are also a cry for help, especially if the changes are causing the person and those close to him distress.

If you notice any of these signs on your loved one, you already know what to do. Remember that there is always a way to get better.

Dr Maher Soudah Shares Tips On Children Dealing With Parents Who Are Addicts

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The people who raise us have a great impact in our lives, no matter how old we are.  These does not only include the genes we inherit from our biological parents and ancestors. It also includes the manners, habits, ideals, and the way our caregivers communicate with us. This pattern also applies to alcohol or drug use.


According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, an estimated 25 percent of kids in America grow up in an environment where drug or alcohol abuse exists. Also, Current Drug Abuse Reviews says that in a household where parents or other adults are addicts, the children are more prone to becoming addicts, as well. The kids may also experience poor academic performance, and have emotional and behavioral issues and low self-esteem. They may also be at a higher risk for abuse, whether it’s physical, verbal, or sexual.


Dr Maher Soudah, director of Kaiser Wellness Center, says that children growing up under the care of an addict may also be likely to develop anxiety or depression. There is also a greater possibility that they will become addicts once they start using alcohol or drugs.


On a lighter note, children can also have a great impact on their parents’ or adult caregivers’ lives, especially if they know how to support them. Learning about support services and systems can help the family and change the child’s future. This may help parents and adult caregivers begin their process of recovery.


How to help Parents Using Reversal of Roles


In a normal and healthy parent-child relationship, the parent is the primary caregiver who provides shelter, support, and financial needs for a child who is still growing up. However, in a relationship where there is substance abuse involved, these roles become reversed. The child is the one who assumes the caregiver role. The thing is, many children are not aware that they have already assumed this responsibility.


These changes in the child-parent relationship can be obvious, such as helping an intoxicated parent clean up after some heavy drinking, or even getting a part-time job to help with the household expenses, like buying groceries. However, these duties are not only limited to physical or financial responsibilities; it may also include emotional engagement. One of the worst things that can happen in this type of scenario is when the child begins to use drugs or drink alcohol with a parent or adult caregiver just to create an emotional bond with them.


In these this scenario, the child is forced to become mature even if he or she isn’t ready yet. Parents who are addicts often overstep on the emotional boundaries that push children to become independent and mature. This makes them an expert caregiver, but with an immense lack of social skills and personal identity. Also, the emotional and mental stress that these children experience can affect brain development.


For kids who try to take care of themselves or who are parenting their primary caregivers, finding help outside the home is not easy. Children of addicts may often feel discouraged or, sometimes, intimidated by the world around them.


“Parents and adult caregivers who suffer from substance abuse may feel that their child is betraying the family if he or she shares their problem to a teacher, a doctor, or even a friend,” notes Dr. Maher Soudah. “Also, many parents are afraid that if their problem is exposed, they will lose custody of their kids and will have to face criminal charges.”


So, I have a parent who’s an addict. What should I do? How can they have the confidence to speak up about their parents’ addiction?


“Kids can find a trusted adult whom he or she can talk to,” advises Dr Soudah. Think of at least one older person that you trust and respect; someone who can understand you and make you feel important. It could be a teacher, an aunt or uncle, a grandparent, or even a neighbor. Let them know what you’re going through and ask if they can help.


You can also stay close to your friends. Initially, you might feel embarrassed about what’s going on in your life and it will be tempting to just stay away from them and lie about how things really are. However, don’t isolate yourself in these trying times. Have at least one friend who makes you feel comfortable and open and communicate with him or her.


Make a list of people you can contact in case of emergencies. You can also write down safe places to go to in case there will be a crisis and you will need to leave. These places can either be the homes of your friends or other relatives, teen centers, or shelters. Find a place where you can find refuge in case you need to relieve yourself from the stress at home. Dr Soudah and expert team at Kaiser Wellness Center assists families of addicts cope with their loved ones’ situation. If you ever need to talk, do know that we are happy to listen and help.

What You Can & Cannot Do To Help A Loved One Who’s An Addict

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Helping a loved one who struggles with addiction is challenging. Families who try to be there for them may receive a lot of advice and this can be quite confusing. You may hear that, as a family member, “You are part of the major influences in his or her life.” This is often true. But, then, you will also encounter the “three C’s” of recovering from addiction: you are not the cause, you are not the cure, and you are not in control. There are two conflicting ways of looking the situation. How can families help their loved ones who are struggling with addiction? We caught up with Kaiser Wellness Center director Dr Maher Soudah for guidance.


Here are some things you can and cannot do to help a loved one who’s an addict.


First thing you CANNOT do is to intervene and make them stop. This is easier said than done because you cannot make someone who is drug-dependent just quit because you said so. You can tell them what to do and encourage them but, in the end, they still need to commit to stopping. Even in those states where involuntary treatment is allowed, you cannot just make people turn sober.


Second is undergoing the process of recovery for them. For loved ones sent to rehab, you cannot do all the work needed for recovery, no matter how “difficult” your family member says they are. In fact, some addicts, even those who have already recovered for a long time, are still not safe from relapse. Just like other chronic illnesses, those who struggle with addiction may also need multiple sessions of treatment.


Third is that you cannot just accept the behavior that goes beyond your set boundaries just because you’re too exhausted. To avoid enabling, you need to set limits. You must be firm in the decision because tolerating the violations makes you and other family members less credible. This can make your loved ones continue with the addiction.


“You have to mean what you say and say what you mean,” says Dr Maher Soudah. “They will certainly be mad at you at the beginning but, over time, they will see the value of your actions.”


Meanwhile, here are the things that you CAN do to help to your loved one who’s suffering from addiction.


First is to educate yourself. You need to know more about addiction. What the signs are, what kind of treatments are available, what triggers a relapse, and more. You can talk to your kids about drugs and alcohol at a young age, so they are aware of what it might do to them if they try it. Although, there is no assurance that your kids will make the right decisions in the future, but it can be a way of preventing substance abuse.


Second is to take care of yourself. You need to make sure you are okay to support and encourage your loved one. You may feel a lot of pain or grief when someone you love is suffering from substance abuse, and each one of us has different ways of coping and grieving. Acknowledge that the problem exists and then find ways to cope. Denying it will only aggravate the situation for your entire family.


“You cannot help others if you don’t help yourself first,” advises Dr Soudah. “Similar to putting on an oxygen mask in an airplane, you have to wear your own first before reaching out to help your kids. Otherwise, everybody will suffer.”


Third is talking about the problem. It will be good for the one suffering from addiction and your loved ones, as well. Someone who is drug-dependent may find it difficult to come to you and ask for help. If you can see through the lies and manipulation, an open conversation is your best hope to be there for them when they need you the most.


Dealing with addiction can be difficult, both for the substance-dependent and his or her loved ones. There are some things that can be hard to accept but, at least, there are measures you can take to help yourself and those who suffer from substance abuse. Dr. Soudah and the team at Kaiser Wellness Center offer different forms of therapy to help addicts find their way back home. If you or your loved is in need of help, call them at 830-583-9300.

Dealing With Addiction: Dr Maher Soudah Discusses The Destruction Caused By Silence & Stigma

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Silence and stigma have been known to be the biggest barriers to people who are trying to get help for substance abuse. Research shows that 9 out of 10 people who suffer from it have experienced stigma and have been discriminated.


Stigma is the negative way of thinking levied by society on people who are judged as something that is not “normal.” It is usually a reaction of fear, unawareness, and bias.


Addiction is a brain disorder. This has been scientifically proven. However, with alcohol and drug abuse, society sees them as a weakness or moral failure that many disagree with scientific research. When this topic comes up, it is common to hear judgmental statements like “Her son’s an addict, she must be a bad mother.”


Stigma and silence have destructive effects, says Dr Maher Soudah, director of Kaiser Wellness Center. A person who is addicted to alcohol or drugs experiences discrimination, shame and embarrassment, and isolation and exclusion. These cause them to try to hide the disease. They will then be hesitant to seek help, which will make recovery slower and more difficult. The families of addicted people also experience this stigma because it causes them shame, anger, and guilt. This makes people who suffer substance abuse, and their families, suffer in silence, resulting in miss opportunities to get treated.


“Silence and stigma affects people with drug and alcohol problems their whole life,” says Dr Maher Soudah. “These people feel trapped in their homes because of the judgment or hostility that they encounter from their neighbors.”


The day-to-day bias experienced creates a lot of obstacles for those recovering from substance abuse. Even if they already stopped using and are already recovering, people still withdraw from them. This makes it even more difficult for them to get a job or to build new relationships.


Public aggression can also make it more difficult to seek help and get treatment. The fear of being exposed as someone who has a drug or alcohol dependence can hinder them from buying their medications. These negative attitudes are not just from the ignorant public. Research also shows that addicts experience the same barriers when dealing with professionals who should help them recover.


Problems with silence and stigma are not just experienced by those who are still substance-dependent. People who already managed to overcome substance abuse continue to experience the same hostility, judgment, and distrust. The stigma they experience endures a mark that defines them which doesn’t stop even if they fully recover.


“For addicts, the suffering from the health condition, the social barriers, plus the possibility of never being able to get rid of the label of being called an ‘addict’ can be a barrier to overcoming their problem,” adds Dr Soudah.


How does one cope with the silence and stigma of substance abuse?


Acceptance. It may be one of the greatest challenges, but you and your family must accept that you have an illness — an illness that can be treated. It is also important for you and your family to think and feel that it’s not your fault. It IS possible to recover from alcohol and drug addiction.


Attend self-help groups like Alcoholics or Narcotics Anonymous. This will open you to a network of mutual support for your situation. You are not alone in this battle. You can also invite your family members to attend groups that support and help loved ones who deal with addiction on their lives.


Seek professional help. The psychological therapy and support obtained during treatment helps patients know what is wrong with them and that it’s not their fault. “Rehabilitation allows them to see that they can get better and that they can live normal lives without the abuse of drugs or alcohol,” notes Dr Soudah. “The treatment helps them build self-esteem and overcome negative thoughts that may lead to relapse.”


Don’t detach yourself. Open to your family and friends on how you feel, what your worries are. They will appreciate the fact that you are talking to them. They can also be a wonderful and solid support system during your journey towards recovery.

How Professional Rehab Facilities Can Help Regain Health And Overcome Alcohol Addiction

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Recovering from alcohol addiction is a long and difficult process that requires the collective efforts of the people around the person. However, love and support alone do not cure substance abuse. Why? Addiction is a scientific state that requires a scientific intervention.

While efforts that aim to alter one’s mental and behavioral response are important, the existence of a clinical environment that provides a straightforward and empirical approach to the addiction is equally necessary. This is why professional rehabilitation centers play a huge role in a person’s journey towards change. By rehabilitating alcohol dependents in a controlled setting, you give them a chance to improve their lives while being far away from anything that may cause them to backslide.

Here are 5 reasons why rehab centers should be part of your loved one’s journey away from alcohol addiction.

1. Doctors and the medical staff work together to help the individual recover.

Dr Maher Soudah, director of Kaiser Wellness Center, stresses the importance of a well-trained and compassionate team to an addict’s recovery process. This level of expertise is likely not available in a home care setup and is the main reason why individuals need to check themselves in. With a private wellness center, recovering addicts get the proper response for their health and mental dilemma, so they can also deal with the changes the safe and unobstructed way.

2. Rehabilitation facilities offer a safe and non-judgmental environment.

Dedicated wellness facilities are not strictly clinical and are certainly far from the what is being portrayed in majority of Hollywood films. In fact, rehab centers are actually more like vacation homes where an individual is given the chance to detoxify, clear his or her mind, talk to people in similar situations, and seek professional advice. This level of openness in a rehab center allows people to be more honest about their states because they are not dealing with family, whom they might be scared of hurting.

3. Individuals are given the appropriate medication and counseling interventions.

Recovering alcohol addicts are given the right types of treatment for their level of addiction in a facility. According to Dr Maher Soudah, the role of the family is to ensure that he or she is complying with the treatment schedules and to provide encouragement and support. It is the center’s duty to prescribe. Therapy can be done two ways: in-patient or out-patient, with the duration depending on how far the individual has progressed.

4. The difficult detoxification process is well-monitored.

Perhaps the most difficult part of the recovery process is the detoxification phase. This is when the addict will be most resistant to the physical changes as a result of cold-turkey withdrawal. Thus, the help of a professional wellness facility is critical. The medical staff will help the individual transition safely from a physical state of addiction into a state where the body is totally rid of the toxins and chemicals. This include providing proper nutrition and prescribing a customized exercise routine.

5. Follow-up care and counseling is available after the treatment.

The rehab center’s role in the success of addiction recovery continues after the person has checked out or has finished his or her out-patient program, notes Dr Maher Soudah. This includes weekly counseling sessions, AA meetings and attendance checks, as well as home visits and compliance follow-ups. Overall, without the help of a professional treatment center, the recovering addict might easily slip back into a downward spiral once again or not recover at all.

It’s difficult for family members to decide that a person needs rehab intervention. But, let’s be honest. There are treatments that a wellness facility can provide that our homes cannot. Let us take care of our loved ones by making sure they get the proper help they need to regain their lives and move towards positive change.

Addiction & Acceptance: How Being Honest Gives You The Chance To Change Your Life

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It is difficult for family members to find out that a loved one has fallen to addiction. This pain is magnified further when they fail to acknowledge the root of the problem and dismiss it as “just a phase.” By failing to admit that a loved one needs professional help, you run the greater risk of seeing him or her hit rock bottom. The refusal to see the problem as it is could even be fatal.

Acceptance is the first and most critical part of the recovery process, cites Dr Maher Soudah, director of Kaiser Wellness Center. This goes for both the addict and the people around him or her. Denial is the easiest response when somebody is faced with a fact that is uncomfortable to accept, even with overwhelming evidence. However, it is this easy way out that can cause more damage.

Recovery Needs Total Honesty

People who are not totally honest about their addiction or its existence will not do well in recovery. Each lie told opens the door even more to relapse. A common mistake people make early during the recovery phase is thinking that honesty entails pointing out what’s wrong with other people. But rehabilitation is not about fixing others; it’s about fixing you.

Admittedly, honesty will not come naturally at first. You’ve probably spent so much time mastering how to lie that being truthful will feel weird and unnatural. It will require practice and constantly correcting yourself whenever a story comes out of your mouth. “It will be harder before it becomes easier. However, it will eventually be easy. So, hang in there and keep going,” says Dr Soudah.

Seeing Addiction As A Chance To Change Your Life

All change is difficult; even the good types. This is why the recovery process requires welcoming a 180-degree turn. However, as challenging as it is, the result is doubly rewarding. Most people tend to sleepwalk through every day and don’t really think about what makes them truly happy. Dr Maher Soudah states that by using the addiction as a chance to fix things, you can look back at everything and leave them all behind. You don’t even have to feel sorry or guilty for moving forward.

Acceptance Doesn’t Mean Quitting

Admitting that you have a problem and that you need help is not quitting on your ability to fix things on your own, emphasis Dr Maher Soudah. Addiction is both a behavioral and physical state that requires professional intervention. This means getting the right types of therapy, undergoing a safe and monitored detoxification process, and having the right kinds of medication. It also means obtaining assistance from people who have trained and studied all their lives to help people in your situation.

The road to full recovery is a long, winding, and hard process. But it is this process that, with your cooperation, will lead to proven success. Even if where you are now is not where you want to be, the fact that you have accepted your state of powerlessness brings you a thousand steps closer to positively changing your life.

5 Basic Rules Family Members Should Understand When A Loved One Is An Addict

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When a family member is addicted, the usual patterns of behavior and thinking pose major blocks in the path to recovery, if an attempt is being made at all. Dealing with loved ones in this situation requires a different kind of response that doesn’t sit well with many people. Because of this vulnerability, addicts often use this to manipulate those close to them so they can go on using addictive substances without interruptions.

When the substance abuse and manipulation continues for many years, families find themselves depleted of resources to help save the person’s life. The result is the inability to seek proper rehabilitation programs and facilities to assist the addict in rebuilding his or her life. Dr Maher Soudah, director of Kaiser Wellness Center, says that there are basic rules that loved ones should follow when dealing with a family member who is addicted.

1. Do not be naive.

It’s hard to believe and accept that a loved one has fallen to addiction. Naivete will make family members believe that their loved one is being honest, even when the evidence suggests the opposite. This is usually under the premise that the person was trustworthy “before.” However, being naive could be fatal. If you suspect that a family member is addicted, you will see it through the changes in his or her behavior and performance at work or at school. The right way to deal is to ask the person directly about the changes, talking to the people he interacts with often, escorting him or her to the family doctor for a test, and accepting that firm action is necessary when the results are positive.

2. Reject the manipulation and the lies.

Addiction comes with a unique skill set that makes people expert manipulators and liars. This is because the mind has become a servant of substance. The addicted individual will also be very good at turning tables around on somebody who is trying to save him or her, often making it the family’s fault that they are in that situation. This ethical and moral decay should be anticipated — and must not be allowed to eat into your family relationships.

3. Do not be an enabler.

An enabler is somebody who thinks he or she is helping, but is actually contributing to the destruction. There are different ways you can be an enabler. For example, instead of helping the addict get professional help, you might be giving him or her some money, bringing food over daily, or lending him or her a car.

“If you continue to give the addict money or sources of funds, you are prolonging the abuse and contributing to the downward spiral,” notes Dr Soudah.

4. Trace where the money is going.

Addiction is fueled by money. When the person’s personal funds are depleted, he or she will be asking for money from you or selling off valuables. As the addiction increases, so does the amount needed to finance it. This is why it is common to hear about addicts who’ve stolen jewelry and pawned them off, shoplifted, and more. When you see dramatic changes in his or her financial state, either through money disappearing or the sudden acquisition of new expensive things or lots of cash, be alert, sharpen your detective skills, and follow the trail.

5. Choose an appropriate rehab program.

There are different kinds of rehabilitation programs, says Dr Maher Soudah. Some take only a few months while others can take years. Depending on the level of addiction, doctors recommend either an in-patient or out-patie nt program. Some even employ animals to make recovery easier. Thus, you should do your research to find an appropriate set-up for your loved one. Professionals recommend signing up with a facility that is far from hom so the addict will not be constantly faced with places and people associated with the substance abuse.

The first step to recovery from addiction is acknowledging that you need help. Kaiser Wellness Center offers a safe and private haven for guests to receive the tools needed to reclaim and sustain a meaning

gful life. Headed by Dr. Maher Soudah, it is center’s mission to not just help people achieve new balance in their lives but also to expand global awareness towards the improvement of health and wellness.

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