New law to ban so-called legal highs

The recent news that the UK government is finally starting to close a loophole on the sale of so-called legal highs. This follows mounting pressure from experts such as mental health Legal_highs_eleoscounsellingprofessionals, not to mention the families who are affected by tragedies such as the one reported in the Daily Mail this week of a young promising student dying after taking legal highs with her boyfriend.

Unfortunately, the availability of legal highs has increased exponentially with admissions to hospitals. The NHS reported a 56% increase in 2012 of people being admitted to A&E’s suffering from the effects of legal highs. Furthermore, it was reported there was 97 deaths in 2012 from legal highs compared to 12 in 2009.

As reported in this blog, legal highs are untested, unpredictable and potentially fatal. Currently manufacturers of legal highs are able to get round the law by marking the drug “not for human consumption”. Also, altering the chemical constituent of any drug makes it potentially a new drug. Substances with such exotic names as Bliss, Mary Jane, clockwork Orange are sold openly in so-called head shops up and down the country.

The psychological and neurological effects of such drugs are completely unknown, as and if taking legal highs causes long-term damage to the brain. Certainly drugs like cocaine and heroin have been well documented for many years and people know the outcome, not so legal highs.

Unfortunately, making legal highs illegal will force the sale of these drugs underground. Furthermore, how the government monitor the sales of legal highs online is yet to be seen.



Eye contact: eyes really are the windows of the soul.

eleoscounselling, West Sussex_eye contact_blogJust recently we were sent a short video on Facebook, nothing unusual you might say, but this video was quite profound inasmuch as it commented on the very media it was posted on, social media. In the short video, it spoke of how people are becoming increasingly isolated, as we use technology to interact with friends.

One thing that struck us about this video is often people do not give eye contact. Recently we have been looking into creating an anger management program for young people, as part of that study we found how important eye contact actually is.

If a child is denied eye contact it can become socially isolated, and angry. The part of the brain that governs emotions, the limbic system and particularly the amygdala needs input from faces to judge whether something is a threat. Studies have shown that averting your eyes can be a form of silent treatment; basically you’re saying you’re not worth looking at.

Now think how many times you pick up that phone during the day, to look at emails, your head is pointed down and away from people, and people who are trying to make contact with you. You’re saying that this text message or email is far more important than you are or what you are saying, or what you’re showing me.

How many times have you been annoyed with someone who picks up a smart phone and starts texting, whilst at the dinner table?

Fundamentally, the lack of eye contact can make one suspicious and ultimately angry.

Conversely, averting your gaze from someone to look at your smart phone or tablet can actually have a negative effect on you. When you’re looking down at your smart phone you increase the chance of losing the respect and trust because you’re essentially you  are not communicating those attributes to others.


The next point we would like to raises is what are we telling  our children, albeit silently. A study carried out in the Netherlands suggests that an infant’s brain is rapidly forming connections and new pathways linking the ancient limbic system to the neural cortex and prefrontal cortex, laying down circuitry which becomes arterial roads for emotion. This delicate and vital infrastructure result in how we interpret social interactions. If part of that interaction is missing, because I contact is not made or given, we do not receive the right information and thus cannot communicate effectively.

Our brains compare the incoming data with memories of past experiences and ultimately facial expressions effectively this is our own trust mistrust gauge or scale. If the infant hasn’t built up suitable knowledge, the default will be to see things as a threat, and thus become angry.

Intimacy and the modern man (what intimacy means for men)

Mention the word intimacy with a man today, you will get a strange look, and a feeling that you should move on and talk about another subject. The word intimacy, for most men today, has become a 21st-Century Pandora’s Box.eleos counselling_blog post_intimacy and men

Metaphorically, the fear of the unknown keeps us from drawing near to the box and opening it up. Fundamentally, we hide ourselves from our wives and partners, therefore they tend to love what we do, not who we are.

As a husband or partner, you do not have to be a 10, you just have to be yourself. Often it is said that a woman doesn’t want a strong man, but a man who leads, and is sure of himself. Often, today, you hear of men who are not sure of themselves, this can often bring isolation, anxiety, and ultimately depression. It is well known, that the biggest killer of men between the ages of 18 and 34 in the UK, is death by their own hands.

Society tells us that we have to suck it up, grow a pair or man up. Furthermore, in the same breath, show tenderness, compassion and love. With dire posing messages such as this, no wonder most men feel confused and often end up with unhelpful behaviours, as a way of helping them deal with modern day living, such as drug addiction, alcohol problems, and extramarital/relational affairs, not to mention, problem gambling.

There are many outside influences telling men how they should be. Some these influences can be cultural, or media based. Often men put their identity in their jobs, but when their job is gone or lost, they struggle, never really knowing who they are.

There is a popular concept that most men have a midlife crisis, whether this is true or not is entirely up to your own opinion. But it is at these times when men try to find themselves, possibly after a loss or a loss of connection with themselves or, even worse, finding out that they were never truly connected to themselves, let alone their partner.

The incidences of depression in men in the UK are rising; as with all sectors of the population mental health is now being looked at by healthcare professionals and politicians, as a real issue. Often, men would like to talk to men about their problems, finding it difficult to relate to a woman, when they talk about intimacy, and what this means to them.

The word intimacy for most men means being exposed, this can be frightening, and talking to a professional, such as a psychotherapist / counsellor can often help men find their own meaning for the word intimacy.


If you would like to know more about the therapies eleos counselling offer, please click on the link below.




Habitual gamblers see patterns where none exist

In a new report published by German researchers suggest that habitual gamblers see shapes or patterns, in random behaviour. Furthermore, seeing these patterns, combined with a lack of control results in compulsive behaviours. eleos counselling_gamblingThe research showed that people who habitually gamble our more willing to impulsively bet on, what they perceived to be a logical pattern of events, which are in fact random, compared to those who don’t gamble at all.

As humans we try to make sense of illogical and random patterns, as a way of making sense of our world. However, it is thought that gamblers see these random patterns in a more defined way than non-gamblers.

For instance, if one is gambling on a roulette wheel a gambler will see that Black has come up five times so therefore red is due any moment now, and thus bet on red. It is this perception of knowing that you may be right that can set up unhelpful behaviours.

Research participants consisting of 91 habitual gamblers and 70 non-gamblers, were shown a picture of a casino and two gaming machines. Over the period of time, the participants were asked to predict the outcome probability as to which machine was going to pay out next. In fact, the research showed that over time, the participants were effected by a false sense of probability and that they somehow could “predict the outcome. What is striking, is that the gamblers had a higher rate of probability matching.


The research also showed that gamblers a lot more likely to feel that they could perceive random behaviours.


If you have a problem with gambling Eleos counselling can help just click on the link below and you will be taken to the Eleos counselling web site.



Pre-marriage counselling, before you get married

Before getting married many couples have different expectations about what marriage actually is. Each member of a couples expectations, are frequently never spoken about. Often, as a result, conflict becomes inevitable when those assumptions about marriage often collide. So it is wise that you both talk about your assumptions and understandings before you end up in a divorce court. Psychologist Archibald Hart asked the following questions of couples who come to his consulting room.eleos counselling blog_wedding preparation

  1. If I had never been introduced to the person you’re preparing to marry and had to be dependent on you to give me a description of who that person is, what would you tell me?
  2. If you could think of one thing that you would like to see you fiancé stop doing what would it be?
  3. What are the five or six main aims you have established for you as a couple in your first year together?
  4. Have you both discussed money together, and how finances will be handled?

These indeed asked tough questions, but if there is no agreement on them before you’re married certainly cannot argue about them after, you’re married. Since 50% of all marriages today end in breakup and divorce, you best be sure you know the answers. One of the biggest misgivings you can make is supposing that the future with your husband or  wife will be inevitably be better as a consequence of marrying you.

Often it is best for a couple to have pre-marriage counselling as a way of airing these expectations. It is certainly cheaper to pay a marriage counsellor for a series of pre-marriage therapy than it is to pay a divorce lawyer. As a result of pre-marriage therapy one can decide if you have common goals, often you both do, but how they are achieved is seldom talked about before the marriage.

Legal highs made convicted armed robber a online millionaire?

This week the tabloid newspapers reported, that a convicted armed robber had been taunting prison guards, by saying that he has become a millionaire through the sale of legal highs, on a website that he has developed. Whether this is fact is hard to determine, legal_highs_eleos counselling blog websitebut it is thought that Craig “lazie” Lynch, the prisoner in question, had access to a smart phone.

What is noteworthy is outside of the prison environment Craig “lazie” Lynch, could easily become a millionaire from the sale of legal highs, and it is only the fact that prisoners are not allowed uncontrolled access to the web, would stop him.

The point missing in this story is the sale of legal highs are on the increase, through such things as the Internet. Indeed, it’s hard to control any e-commerce, which the tragic story of the young girl who died from taking slimming pills,which were  laden with a dangerous drug ,exemplifies.

The fact that legal highs have never been tested, and the physiological and psychological impact on the mind and the body of the user, has neither been researched nor documented.

Effectively, this is what happens, a chemist takes a psychoactive drug, such as cocaine replaces a molecule, in the chemical structure of the drug, and bingo we have a new drug, this new chemical compound is then manufactured, somewhere like China and it is imported into the country as “plant food” and marked up not for human consumption. The effects of removing a molecule from a complex drug like cocaine and replacing it with something else are unknown. Fundamentally, the effects of cocaine are well documented, people have used cocaine for hundreds, if not thousands of years in one form or another. What is not known is the effects of this new chemical compound, brought into the country as “plant food”.

There has been many reports of people having psychotic incidences whilst on the influence of so-called legal highs. Quite literally taking illegal high is like playing Russian roulette with your mental health. Long-term effects of these drugs are not known as they are relatively new. Certainly the effects of drugs like methedrone or meow meow are now known, and this is now on the illegal drug register.


If you have a problem with legal highs or someone close to you has then Eleos counselling can help please click on the link below and you will be taken to the Eleos counselling is main website.