Author Archives: Desert Cove

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Similar to withdrawal from prescription or street drugs, alcohol withdrawal comes with a lot of unpleasant symptoms. Though these alcohol withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable, in most cases, they are not life-threatening. The physical and mental effects of alcohol withdrawal are mentally and physically taxing for someone attempting to overcome alcohol addiction.

Millions of Americans are dealing with an alcohol use disorder. In fact, a study published in JAMA Psychiatry stated that about 1 in 8 adults in the United States meet the diagnostic criteria for an alcohol use disorder. These statistics are alarming and according to the CDC, approximately 88,000 people die annually from alcohol-related causes.

When it comes to alcohol withdrawal, it doesn’t matter if you or a loved one has been drinking for a few weeks or several decades, the results are likely the same. To successfully and safely withdraw from alcohol it’s important to understand the process.

What Causes Alcohol Withdrawal?

Like any other controlled substance, alcohol produces intense symptoms once it’s discontinued. The question is: What causes alcohol withdrawal? In terms of physiology, alcohol dependency begins in the liver. Alcohol – like anything else we consume – is broken down by liver enzymes then is released from the body through urine. The problem with alcohol is, once a person drinks too much or too often, the liver cannot effectively break it down and the unmetabolized alcohol begins to affect other parts of the body.

The brain is most often affected by alcohol addiction, as alcohol causes extreme fluctuations in brain chemistry. This is also where psychological alcohol dependence starts. People who are addicted to alcohol feel happier and more relaxed when they drink and if a person is dealing with a lot of stress or trying to repress negative emotions, they will likely drink more to improve their mood. As consumption increases in amount and frequency, the body begins to crave alcohol and tolerance gets higher, meaning it takes more alcohol to produce the same happy effect.

If you or a loved one exhibits signs of alcohol dependence, it’s important to seek treatment. Signs that indicate alcohol dependence include:

  • Behavioral changes like increased aggression and self-destructive tendencies
  • The inability to limit alcohol consumption
  • Shunning social or professional obligations to drink instead
  • Mood changes including feelings of intense euphoria or apathy, loneliness, or guilt
  • Problems with coordination like slurred speech, disturbed gait, tremors, blackouts, and/or sweating

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms: What to Expect

Alcohol withdrawal takes place in various stages and those embarking on it for the first time can better adjust if they know what will happen and when. Although the timeline of alcohol withdrawal is fairly linear, the withdrawal experience will vary from person to person. It’s important to remember that the withdrawal symptoms won’t necessarily happen at the same exact time but will occur in what are called stages.

The first stage of alcohol withdrawal begins several hours after a person drinks for the last time. With onset from 8 to 12 hours after the last drink, a person withdrawing from alcohol may begin to experience abdominal pain, headaches, nausea and vomiting, fever, and changes in blood pressure. As withdrawal progresses to the second stage, the symptoms become markedly more uncomfortable.

Second stage alcohol withdrawal typically begins between 12 and 24 hours after the last drink. Though second stage symptoms include both intense mental and physical symptoms, these symptoms are not life-threatening. Symptoms at this stage include, but are not limited to, heart palpitations, anxiety, tremors, hallucinations (auditory, tactile and visual), and confusion.

The third stage of alcohol withdrawal is the most critical and happens anywhere between 24 and 48 hours following a person’s last drink. At this stage, the person will experience intense symptoms that may be better managed in a controlled environment, such as a treatment facility. Even for someone who knows what to expect, stage three symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can be pretty scary. Common stage three symptoms include hallucinations, tremors, and even seizures. In addition, delirium tremens (DTs) commonly develop in stage three alcohol withdrawal.

Exactly what is DTs? Delirium tremens is a potentially life-threatening occurrence that is marked by psychological symptoms such as powerful hallucinations and intense seizures. DTs is fatal in about 3-5 percent of people who develop it. Though not everyone who withdraws from alcohol will experience delirium tremens, the possibility of its development is one of the reasons why it is not recommended to attempt alcohol withdrawal on your own. By using medically assisted detox, people withdrawing from alcohol can do so in a controlled environment and decrease the likelihood of mortality caused by DTs.

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Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

What to Expect Next?

Though it is still up for debate, some addiction treatment professionals believe there is, in fact, a fourth withdrawal stage. Following stage three, it’s common to experience purely psychological symptoms, including depression. Other common post-withdrawal symptoms include insomnia, weight gain due to metabolism changes, and lack of energy.

The severity of alcohol withdrawal symptoms will largely depend on how often a person drinks, how much they drink, as well as overall health. Those who have co-occurring disorders also may experience alcohol withdrawal differently.

Get Help with Safe Alcohol Withdrawal

Managing the symptoms of alcohol withdrawal alone is not recommended. Aside from generally uncomfortable symptoms, there are some potentially life-threatening side effects that are best managed at an addiction treatment facility. By seeking professional help from qualified staff at a rehab facility specializing in alcohol dependency, those dealing with alcohol addiction can safely detox, learn and manage triggers, and prevent relapse.

At Desert Cove Recovery, our professional staff is there to help you or a loved one safely detox from alcohol. With a whole-person approach, we work to identify the underlying causes of alcohol dependence and give individuals the tools they need to prevent relapse. We specialize in both traditional 12-step programs as well as forward-thinking treatment approaches that include medically-supervised detox, holistic treatment, outdoor therapy, individual and group therapy, and comprehensive extended care services.

Treating Opioid Use Disorder with Opioid Addiction Treatment Arizona

Treating Opioid Use Disorder with Opioid Addiction Treatment Arizona

Treating Opioid Use Disorder with Opioid Addiction Treatment Arizona

The opioid epidemic is not showing any signs of slowing down. In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) urged the enhancement of opioid use disorder treatment capabilities after reporting 3 in 5 overdose deaths were attributed to the pervasive drug. There is an urgent need for expanded opioid addiction treatment. Arizona, like most states, has seen an increase in use, addiction, and deaths from opioid use disorder.   

 Addressing the nationwide crisis requires a collaborative from both the healthcare community and law enforcement. Improving access to prescription drug monitoring programs, larger distribution of naloxone, and implementing harm reducing approaches are all part of the equation. But, it may be a friend or family member who recognizes a loved one’s opioid use disorder that may save that person’s life. 

 Signs of Opioid Use Disorder

Recognizing the signs of an individual’s addiction to opioids is the first step in helping those suffering seek out the assistance they need. There are certain external signs that may suggest someone may be suffering from an addiction, such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Weight loss
  • Slurred speech
  • Lack of hygiene
  • Poor coordination
  • Shallow breathing
  • Abandoning responsibilities

A physician may diagnose opioid use disorders. While many symptoms do not appear initially, over time each may appear more pronounced. As addiction continues, consistently visible signs may be an indication someone is in need of help.

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Treating Opioid Use Disorder

Symptoms of Opioid Use Disorder

Those suffering from an opioid disorder will also suffer from a number of symptoms. Unlike opioid addiction signs, symptoms occur internally and may not be outwardly visible. Symptoms of opioid addiction include:

  • Constipation
  • Mood swings
  • Physical agitation
  • Feelings of euphoria
  • Poor decision making
  • Loss of consciousness

Even though symptoms may not be apparent to friends or family members, listening to how someone feels may help identify a potential opioid use problem. Together, someone known to show signs and express the feelings of opioid use disorder should seek medical help.

Medicinal Treatment Options

Sufferers of opioid addiction will often relapse when they only abstain from opioid use after detoxification. For some, the recovery process often includes relapse as a key component. Unfortunately, for those addicted to opioids, a relapse could be fatal.

One way to assist in abstaining from opioid use after detoxification is to begin a medicinal program. Medicines have been developed to reduce both cravings and negative withdrawal effects. The medicines have been successful in not creating the euphoric feelings produced by opioids, limiting their own addictiveness.

Methadone is one such drug created to eliminate cravings and withdrawal symptoms. A synthetic drug, Methadone acts on the very same opioid reactors in the brain by activating them slowly and reducing the desire to use. With more than 4 decades of successful use, the drug has become a staple in the long-term success of opioid treatment. However, Methadone prescriptions must be filled through specialized opioid treatment centers. 

In 2002, the FDA approved Buprenorphine. Similar to Methadone, Buprenorphine attaches to opioid receptors in the brain. By slowly activating the receptors, the patients craving for opioids becomes greatly diminished. Moreover, because of the FDA’s approval, certified physicians instead of specialized treatment facilities may prescribe Buprenorphine.

Behavioral Treatment Options for Opioid Addiction

In general, behavioral treatment begins by evaluating the history and reasons for a patient’s opioid addiction. Behavioral treatment starts immediately after a patient completes the detoxification process. The goal is to work quickly and change behavioral patterns that could lead to opioid use.

Not only must there be an effort to eliminate the intake of opioids, but also an approach to address the anxieties, concerns, and worries recovering individuals will face during opioid addiction treatment. Arizona inpatient facilities offer programs specifically designed to help rebuild an individual’s self-awareness and prepare them for returning to normal life. Mental, behavioral, and emotional rehabilitation is as important to the long-term sobriety success as the conquering the physical addiction to opioid drugs.

For example, a treatment center may offer individual counseling with trained and licensed staff. Confidential therapies are provided allowing patients to explore various topics. Without bias or judgment, patients learn the origins of their addiction and the path that led them there. By identifying the triggers of opioid use and the patient’s individual strengths, recovering opioid users learn ways to suppress triggers and remain sober.

Opioid Addiction Treatment Arizona

Finding the right treatment center in Arizona is an important first step on the road to recovery. When evaluating your options, consider expanding your search well beyond your local community. Facilities such as Desert Cove Recovery offer an opportunity to provide a private environment to support your recovery, ensuring a patient’s employment status or reputation remains intact.

Rehabs also need to be able to provide a wide range of treatment solutions. Establishments specializing only in detoxification will endure patients with a much higher relapse rate than centers such as Desert Cove Recovery who offer options from holistic care to outdoor therapy.

No matter where you live if you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, give us a call today. Help is just a phone call away.

 

 

Essential Oils Help With Addiction

How Essential Oils Help With Addiction

How Essential Oils Help With Addiction

In the pursuit of addiction recovery, a multi-pronged plan is always helpful. The goal is mental, physical and spiritual health so the more resources one engages, the better. This is why a holistic treatment center and, by extension, a holistic approach, is always a great route to take. Essential oils are a great addition to the holistic toolbox as indeed essential oils can help greatly with addiction. We will spend some time looking at which essential oils can be of service and how they will help. 

While some recovery methods treat only the physical symptoms and the addiction itself, a holistic treatment center likes to emphasize the treatment of the whole person. Improving their entire well-being includes physical, mental, spiritual and psychological condition. A holistic approach takes care to assess the overall spirit of the person and their quality of life. To that end, essential oils are a highly effective tool in fortifying the emotional components involved in overcoming any addictions. Essential oils promote physical balance and emotional peace, and treating these things makes it difficult for any negative energies or destructive memories to take up any space in the body. Essential oils may also help to improve the mental state.

List of Essential Oils that Help with Addiction

Though not a comprehensive list, we will take a look at which of the essential oils can help with the recovery process and what specific ailment each oil addresses:

Geranium Essential Oil

This oil promotes love and trust. It encourages the release of pain and grief, two of the most common emotions that addicts find themselves trying to avoid or mask, resulting in said addictions. Once the pain and grief are alleviated, geranium comes in and promotes more trust, which can help rebuild healthy relationships. 

Grapefruit Essential Oil

Regulating metabolism is the main advantage of this essential oil.  It also helps maintain proper serotonin levels and promotes nourishment of all types. According to an article in Medical News Today, serotonin is commonly referred to as the “happy chemical,” so boosting serotonin is a reasonable goal in the fight for recovery. Grapefruit ultimately is a mood enhancer.

Lemon Essential Oil

Lemon essential oil is good at combating mental fatigue and clearing any confusion. The main target of lemon oil is liver function and so it acts a cleanser for the organ. The citrus nature of lemon oil is naturally refreshing and invigorating. This is a great asset to anyone in recovery because lifting energy levels is a vital part of the process.  

Peppermint Oil

This essential oil also addresses a specific physical symptom of the long recovery process: nausea. Nausea and vomiting are often a large part of the withdrawal phase of addiction recovery; peppermint oils can aid in that relief. Peppermint is also an effective deterrent for headaches; a few drops of peppermint oils on the temples can be cooling and soothing in the midst of head pain. Beyond the physical, however, peppermint is great at boosting the emotional state.  It promotes joy, buoyancy, and mental clarity. These are all necessary for a stable and positive mindset while fighting addictions. 

Tea Tree Oil

This oil (also known as Melaleuca) is mostly known for being an antiseptic agent. Along these lines, tea tree oil can clear dark energies that might be blocking paths. It is a good oil to reset functions. 

Lavender Oil

One of the biggest advantages of lavender oil is relaxation. Lavender promotes calm, heightens the ability to communicate and allows for speaking one’s truth. Many find lavender is especially useful at bedtime, as its relaxing qualities promote peace and restfulness. 

There are other essential oils that aid in the recovery process, but starting with these six will put you well on your way to re-building a healthy emotional foundation to steel you against addictions. It is important to note that essential oils are not a direct substitute for talk therapy or any other medical/clinical rehabilitation efforts. Essential oils should be used in conjunction with, or as a supplement to, more traditional methods of rehab. 

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How To Apply Essential Oils

Each essential oil is different and it is important to look up guidelines and tips for how to apply/utilize specific oils. Certain oils are too strong to be applied directly and doing some may cause damage to certain organs. It is important to be diligent about which oils need a carrier oil for application or which oils need to be diluted. 

But the main methods are:

Spraying

Some oils can be diluted in water and used as a spray for linens, clothes or the air.

Diffusing

If you own a diffuser, you can follow proper instructions on how to fill it with water and then put a few drops of one oil or a combination of chosen oils, based on the intended outcome. This will get the oil circulating in the air.

Steaming

Fill a sink or a large pot with hot water, add a few drops of whatever oil you need and then put a towel over your head and inhale the steam. This will help you breathe in the oil and reap the benefits held within. 

Apply to Skin

Some oils can be applied directly to the skin. The most effective place is to the bottoms of the feet.

Ingested

Certain oils can be added to water and other drinks and ingested directly into the digestive tract.

Through these methods and with these oils, a holistic approach can be a successful route to addiction recovery. For more information, contact Desert Cove Recovery.

 

Rehab in Arizona Discusses Alcoholism During the Opioid Crisis

Rehab in Arizona Discusses Alcoholism During the Opioid Crisis

Rehab in Arizona Discusses Alcoholism During the Opioid Crisis

Very few people who pay attention to the news or engage in social media are aware of the enormous crisis we face with the abuse of opiates and opioid drugs. But many may not know that alcoholism is still by far the number one addiction epidemic in the United States, and the growing concern around alcoholism during the opioid crisis has been grossly overlooked.

While Desert Cove Recovery, a premier rehab in Arizona, believes it’s important to work toward ending the opioid crisis, the fact that alcohol abuse and alcoholism contribute to more than 88,000 deaths a year is quite alarming. In fact, The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism claims that the deaths due to the use of all other drugs combined are only 30,000 in number per year. Unfortunately, too many people underestimate the dangers that alcoholism can bring.

Not only can an alcohol overdose kill a person just as a drug overdose can, but the continued abuse of alcohol slowly and undoubtedly adds to the deterioration of one’s body and relationships. With so much focus on today’s opioid crisis, the alcoholism epidemic continues to grow quietly but steadily, destroying lives in the process.

During The Opioid Crisis, Alcoholism Concerns Rise

According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, it’s estimated that almost 16 million people over the age of 12 have an alcohol addiction. That number is 50% higher than the figures reported just a decade before and the numbers keep growing. A 2017 report from The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that of the 19.7 million Americans over the age of 12 with a substance abuse disorder, almost 74% of them are addicted to alcohol, compared to those who suffer from drug addiction.

With statistics that show alcoholism to be more than twice as big a problem, alcoholism is clearly still a deadly issue for Americans. It’s the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States, but it’s a backseat killer as press and awareness for the dangers of opioid abuse and addiction seem to be at a historic high.

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Taking Priority: Lumping Substance Abuse Together and Ranking Unequally

Even though there is still an alcoholism epidemic during the opioid crisis America is facing, a quick Google search will show that there is far more current news and initiative happening to address the opioid crisis. Or, what is often seen in studies is the lumping together of alcohol abuse and addiction with drug abuse, even though opioid abuse is often separate from ‘illicit drug’ use and abuse.

While President Trump has shared his concern about alcoholism because of his brother’s death due to alcoholism in 1981 and even donated $100,000 for alcoholism research, there have been no executive campaigns to end alcohol addiction or bring awareness to the alcoholism epidemic. Yet, at a 2019 Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit, the President reiterated his commitment to ending the opioid crisis once and for all.

While the efforts to end opioid abuse and addiction are needed and worthy, there is just as much need to address the alcoholism epidemic during the opioid crisis as well.

Rehab in Arizona Discusses Different Epidemics Need Different Solutions

One of the most critical factors in ending the alcoholism epidemic and preventing needless deaths and destruction of relationships comes in the form of treatment and recovery. While today’s society views drug addiction as severe and more often than not, requiring professional help, alcohol abuse and addiction are often overlooked as issues that ‘people can stop on their own.’

That’s just not always the case. At Desert Cove Recovery, our knowledgeable staff understands that overcoming alcohol addiction is not easy. With so much focus on the opioid crisis, it’s easy for alcohol abuse to go under the radar, especially considering it’s easy and legal to obtain and relatively inexpensive to buy. We know that to battle the alcoholism epidemic during the opioid crisis, we need to take unique approaches that consider the seriousness of alcoholism.

Desert Cove Recovery also knows that not only is alcohol abuse often overlooked, but instead glamorized in entertainment and advertisements. As a premier rehab in Arizona, we understand that treatment and recovery begin with compassionate and concerned care that is committed to helping you live your best life—without dependence upon alcohol. More, our staff knows that statistically, those who abuse alcohol are also more inclined to abuse other damaging substances as well, and we work to create individualized treatment plans that are geared toward your full recovery, health, and happiness—substance abuse-free.

Desert Cove Recovery believes in the holistic treatment of alcohol addiction and integrates 12-steps of recovery with cutting-edge techniques that were designed by clinicians and experts who know how to help you retake control of your life. We specialize in treating addictions by looking at and focusing on the underlying conditions that lay behind the addictive behaviors and habits. We offer a safe and nurturing environment that takes alcoholism seriously and commit ourselves to help you find the freedom and health you deserve.

The alcoholism epidemic is just as real and dangerous as the opioid crisis is, and we want to be sure your recovery and road to long-term health and happiness are taken just as seriously. Call us today to get your life back.

warning signs of heroin addiction

Warning Signs of Heroin Addiction

Warning Signs of Heroin Addiction

Drug addiction is truly an epidemic across the country, affecting increasing numbers of individuals all the time. Some people start with prescription drugs, never realizing that using opioids and similar painkillers may leave them pre-disposed to long-lasting addictions. Others use street drugs and can never seem to break their habits on their own. If you believe that someone you love may be using heroin, is important to recognize some of the common signs of heroin addiction. Whether you are suffering from the addiction or someone you love is struggling, you can always seek help at our Arizona treatment center.

How Big of a Problem Is Drug Abuse?

Drug abuse is a growing problem in the United States with almost 20 million people over the age of 12 having a problem with substance abuse in 2017. Over a third of these adults used illicit drugs. In Arizona, heroin-related deaths have more than doubled between 2013 and 2016.

This problem extends beyond the individual and into his or her family and community. Many older generations now have grandchildren living with them as parents are incapacitated from drug use. The health care system is burdened with caring for these individuals’ health concerns, and even law enforcement agencies have found their resources taxed in responding to drug-related crimes.

What Is Heroin?

Heroin is an illegal drug known as an analgesic. This means that it decreases pain throughout the body and gives a person an overall calm, relaxed feeling. Heroin usage has shot up in recent years. Some people turn to it after abusing prescription drugs. Because such prescription opioids as OxyContin and Vicodin are so similar to heroin, they are the most frequent gateway drugs.

Heroin comes from morphine and is ultimately produced from the poppy plant. It may be white, brown or black and can be called big H, hell dust or smack on the street. The black powdered version is sometimes called black tar heroin. Powders are easy to mix with other substances, such as sugar, making it nearly impossible for users to know how pure their heroin is or how much they are using. Users can inject, smoke or snort heroin although many choose to snort it.

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signs of heroin addiction

What Are the Behavioral Signs of Heroin Addiction?

Heroin causes many behavioral symptoms, including secrecy and hostile behaviors. The individual may be unable to maintain eye contact and may suddenly cut off certain relationships while remaining relationships are quite strained.

In addition, the individual may lose motivation at work or school. Even extracurricular activities or social activities that they once loved may be dropped in favor of getting their next high. Those who suffer from addiction can veer from one extreme behavior to the next, having a difficult time managing their emotions. Depression or anxiety are frequently based on when the last time the individual had a dose of heroin.

What Are the Physical Signs of Heroin Addiction?

Heroin is an incredibly addictive drug that creates a quick high before making users feel very sleepy. They may feel as if they are in a “twilight zone.” Inside the body, heroin quickly rushes to the brain where it attaches itself to opioid receptors. Thus, it decreases pain while creating a highly pleasurable feeling. Much like other opioids, it specifically affects the heart rate and respiratory rate.

Physical signs and symptoms may also include the following:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Dry mouth
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Small pupils

Further physical signs of heroin addiction will develop following prolonged use of the drug. Over time, users may develop heart disease, which could include infection of the heart lining. Men may suffer from sexual dysfunction while women may have irregular menstrual cycles. Gastrointestinal symptoms could include stomach cramps and constipation. The liver and kidneys may also become diseased and may be unable to rid the body of toxins.

What Are the Visual Signs of Heroin Addiction?

You may notice that a person is acting differently from normal, leading you to wonder if he or she has used heroin. You may even see the person’s drug paraphernalia, such as needles, pipes or straws with burn marks. By understanding the visual signs of addiction, you can help your loved one seek quick treatment and experience the least amount of damage to the body from this drug.

After the person experiences the euphoria or high of initial use, they will seem to become very sleepy and may nod off for no obvious reason. This is probably the easiest sign to notice. Additionally, you may notice that their pupils are very small, which is described as “pinpoint.”

Changes in the person’s appearance is another common visual sign of addiction. He or she may have a newly unkempt appearance or may even be hiding his or her body to cover up needle marks.

Opioid withdrawal symptoms, such as cold flashes, vomiting, restlessness or full body pain, may occur if the person cannot get another dose of heroin at the right time or uses heroin that is not as pure as what he typically uses.

How Can Our Heroin Treatment Center Help?

It can be nearly impossible to break an addiction to heroin or opioids on your own. You need help to deal with your symptoms, break your dangerous habits and turn your life around. At our Arizona treatment center, you will be surrounded with support from the moment you walk through the doors. You will find compassionate but experienced professionals who can help you through the difficult detox period and who will help you deal with your physical and mental symptoms. At Desert Cove Recovery, you will find help from other individuals who are going through the same process that you are.

From medications and physical treatments to therapy sessions and biofeedback, we can help you break free from your heroin addiction and rediscover the fullness of your life once again. Contact Desert Cove Recovery today and find hope and help for the rest of your life.

alcohol's impact on sleep

Alcohol’s Impact On Sleep

Alcohol’s Impact On Sleep

It’s a common occurrence; you have a hard time falling asleep and think a small drink before bed will help calm you down and help you fall asleep. You’re not wrong; having an alcoholic drink or two may likely induce sleep more quickly, as it’s sedative properties take your body over. But you may not know about alcohol’s impact on sleep once you’ve drifted off, and how harmful the overall impact can be.

Alcohol’s sedative effect doesn’t last for long as our bodies quickly build a tolerance for the sedation of alcohol and we find ourselves needing to consume more alcohol for the same ‘get-to-sleep,’ effects. Before you know it, you’re relying all too heavily on alcohol to get you to sleep, and that’s just the start of problems for your brain and body.

Not only are you relying on the sedative effects of alcohol to put you to sleep (or too often, help you pass out), you are damaging the quality of your sleep as well. Research has shown that even small amounts of alcohol in our systems as we go to sleep have a tremendous impact on our sleep cycles and restorative sleep properties, and our entire night’s sleep is affected. Alcohol’s impact on sleep is multi-faceted and affects our bodies and our brains.

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alcohol use disorder's impact on sleep

How Does Alcohol Impact Our Sleep Rhythms?

When we drink alcohol before bed, even a glass, research shows that our brains have more slow-wave sleep patterns. This Delta activity is important for sleeping deeply and soundly while your brain is imprinting memories and committing learned things for later access. That sounds great in theory, but the problem is that alcohol before bed also brings with it Alpha activity.

Alpha activity doesn’t typically happen during sleep as much as when you’re resting but acting together, the alpha and delta activity can hinder your sleep and the restorative properties your brain gets from sleep. The alpha wave intrusion has also been linked with fatigue, sleep disorders and major depressive disorders. In essence, alcohol before sleeping can mimic those degenerative conditions.

Our bodies also work on sleep and circadian rhythms. You might have heard the term and thought it nothing more than a pattern your body goes through daily, and at the core, that’s accurate. That said, circadian rhythms are physical and mental changes and they primarily respond to darkness and light. This is why we tend to sleep at night and be awake during day hours.

How Do Circadian Rhythm Disruptions Affect Our Health?

Experts believe that alcohol before bed affects the production of chemicals in our body that triggers our circadian rhythms to do their jobs. Yes, the production of sleep-inducing adenosine helps us fall asleep more quickly, but it doesn’t last long, and we tend to wake up more in the middle of the night. This means that we aren’t getting fully restorative sleep, and over time, this has a major impact on our brain and body functions.

It’s important that we maintain our body’s natural circadian rhythms as best we can. When we don’t, we can affect everything from our liver to our gut flora and microbiome. Our gut and microbiome are what many call the body’s second brain. When we affect our body’s circadian rhythms with alcohol consumption, we are also affecting our gut and could even lead to developing leaky gut syndrome. Our bodies and our brains depend on restorative sleep for overall health and wellness.

What Is Restorative Sleep and Why Is It So Important?

Perhaps you’ve heard of REM (Rapid-Eye Movement) Sleep and know it to be important to a good night’s rest. But do you know how important REM sleep is? It’s the truly way sleep ‘feeds’ one’s brain at night and is considered the most restorative type of sleep.

When one is in REM sleep, their brain activity is rapidly increased and restoring the taxation of the day’s events on the brain so that you can get up refreshed and ready to tackle the next day with vim and vigor. The problem with alcohol before bed, though, and particularly increasing amounts to help one fall asleep, is that alcohol blocks REM sleep.

And while at the surface, that feeling of grogginess and exhaustion the next day can leave one feeling miserable, repeated interruption of REM sleep can have other physiological effects too. When we sleep uninterruptedly, our brains take the opportunity to remove the neurotoxins we’ve encountered through the day. Interrupted sleep that brings about less REM sleep means our brains can’t efficiently clean those toxins out, and this can set them up for higher risks of diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

Excessive Alcohol Consumption Destroys Sleep Patterns

No, a glass of wine or a beer here or there before bed will not be a deal-breaker for good sleep habits for the rest of your life. But as is often the case with consuming alcohol for sleep induction or other physiological or psychological pain, our bodies need more and more alcohol to bring about the same effects. Initially, a glass of wine or a beer will be all we need to ‘put us to sleep.’ But over time, our tolerance will build and we’ll find ourselves struggling to get to sleep with the same amount. Before we know it, addiction sets in.

Sleep deprivation itself is a form of torture because we know how not getting restorative sleep can affect our entire lives. When alcohol use disorder is thrown into the mix, it’s a vicious cycle of can’t-win, exacerbated by conditions like sleepwalking, obstructive sleep apnea, exhaustion and insomnia. Sadly, sleep deprivation can make alcohol recovery even more difficult and daunting.

This is where the caring and compassionate staff at Desert Cove Recovery comes in.

Recovering Your Sleep and Your Life

While alcohol’s impact on sleep is tremendously multi-faceted, the staff at Desert Cove Recovery knows that alcohol’s impact on your life is even greater. And, because they know sleep disturbances can hinder addiction recovery, they work with you through the process of recovery in a caring and individualized way that takes all of your concerns into account.

One of the most difficult things one has to do to begin recovery is to admit that addiction exists. When you’ve not been getting restorative sleep, you see things at a different angle, and this admittance can be even more grueling.

Desert Cove Recovery understands this and wants to help you recover not only a good night’s sleep, but your best life—the one you were meant to live before alcohol became dominant in your life. The rehab programs at Desert Cove were designed to help clients overcome addiction and lead happy and healthy lives, and this includes helping you learn to get through things in this life without relying on alcohol to do so.

There is hope for better sleep, better health and happiness without alcohol and you just need to take the first steps of contact with Desert Cove Recovery to start that path. Make the call; you deserve it.

fulfilling life after addiction

Living a Fulfilling Life after Addiction

Living a Fulfilling Life after Addiction

Addiction is estimated to affect as many as 20 million people in the U.S. and nearly 7 percent of people across the industrialized world. Although the prevalence of this very serious chronic ailment remains high, a great deal of progress has been made over the last few decades in its treatment. In fact, we know far more about addiction now and how to effectively treat it than at any time in the past.

However, once many individuals exit rehab, they begin to realize the hard work is not behind them. The real challenge lies in staying the course and preventing addiction from reconquering one’s life. For many who have struggled with alcohol or other substance use disorders, the key in remaining free of addiction’s iron grasp lies in constructing a positive life after addiction.

The Real Key to Long-Term Success

Despite the fact that evidence-based treatment is now able to produce short-term recovery success rates of 90 percent or higher, the most important factor in long-term successful recovery remains the ability to reconstruct one’s life in ways that do not rely on the use of substances as a central girder. As one man who beat his addictions put it, “the decision to get off drugs was easy, but the decision to stay off drugs was always elusive.”

12-step programs have long required that their participants subscribe to a higher power as a means to displace substance abuse as life’s foundational pillar. But many who once struggled with addiction have successfully gotten their lives together without turning their free-will over to a deity. How do they do it?

Discover Your Deeper Passions

One of the most surefire ways to beat addiction over the long term is by realizing a simple truth: There are many things that are far more important and rewarding than using drugs or alcohol. In fact, aside from using substances in controlled moderation, abusing drugs and alcohol ends up consuming an individual to the point where they no longer care about anything else besides their next fix.

The truth is that drug abuse produces nothing of lasting value. Someone who replaces their drug habit with a hobby or other activity about which they are passionate may soon find that they are able to enjoy other endeavors they never would have had the time for beforehand. If someone who overuses alcohol spends 40 hours per week in an unproductive fog, quitting drinking and spending that time on something like learning the piano or becoming a computer programmer could easily turn them into an expert in a matter of years. And once that ball gets rolling, it tends to be self-reinforcing.

The simple fact is that people who are truly passionate about something — anything — simply don’t have time to abuse drugs or alcohol.

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Rekindle Relationships with Friends & Family

One of the oft-heard refrains from people who have managed to stay on the course to recovery is that they feel almost as if time has stopped: Their sober version is a close facsimile of the person that they were prior to starting heavy drug or alcohol abuse. This is because relationships are the benchmarks of our lives, helping to fill out the map of where we have been and where we may be heading. And so much of what makes up normal relationships with people, including a clear recollection of shared experiences, is sacrificed when drugs and alcohol are the primary focus of one’s life.

Forging new relationships or rekindling old ones with friends and family, especially those who do not abuse drugs and alcohol, is another one of the most effective ways to prevent a relapse. The simple truth is that people who have not centered their lives around drugs or alcohol tend to be a hugely positive influence on someone who is trying to live a fulfilling life after addiction. And those who one may have shut out or turned away as a result of their substance abuse may now be far more open to once again becoming a part of the life of someone who has demonstrated a genuine will to change and to stay sober.

 A Shift in Perspective

Contrarily, those who remain sober for extended periods are often shocked at how intolerable and uninviting the lifestyles of fellow substance abusers are when seen from the other side. Some people who have formerly suffered from addiction find continuing motivation in the realization of all the trouble that they left behind when they made the decision to give up their addictions. Many former addicts point to the deaths of close substance-abusing friends and acquaintances as one of the most sobering wakeup calls that they have received.

Setting Yourself Up for Success

One of the most well-attested findings in the addiction recovery literature is the fact that those with strong social support networks are able to successfully recover at rates that far exceed those who are alone in their efforts or who have only fellow addicts to turn to for social support. Friends, family and addiction support groups are all fine ways of maintaining that social support bulwark against relapse that is so critical in the first years of recovery.

Desert Cove Recovery is focused on helping people to achieve sobriety and live a fulfilling life after addiction. With our modern, evidence-based approach, we will work with those who choose sobriety to find approaches that are suitable to their individual needs.

Unlike many other programs, we focus strongly on helping our clients build and maintain adequate and lasting social support while discovering their unique purpose in life. We aim to help them to construct a meaningful existence that is driven by healthy passions and that is no longer an empty cell in which their fleeting impulses keep them confined.

For more information on our revolutionary and highly effective long-term approach to addiction recovery, call Desert Cove Recovery today.

dating while in recovery

Dating While in Recovery

Dating While in Recovery

When you’re in a recovery program for addiction, you should be focusing on yourself and ways you can live a sober life. A lot of time and energy goes into the recovery process which is why dating while in recovery is not always recommended.

How Dating May Hinder Recovery

While some may look at dating as no big deal, it can bring its own set of challenges and obstacles that may hinder recovery. This is not to say that a partner may not offer much-needed support, but if things start heading south, so could your recovery.

Since your focus is on getting and staying sober, much of your time may be dedicated to meetings and therapy sessions. This lack of time to spend with a significant other could compromise a relationship. Not everyone will understand why you can’t make it to dinner or why you may need to cancel at the last minute because you desperately need to go to a meeting.

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If you’re a recovering alcoholic and are having struggles with remaining sober, your date should respectfully abstain from drinking while you’re out together. If he or she doesn’t, this could pose an unwanted temptation that may be difficult to resist. This may be a red flag to end this relationship. You will also want to avoid people from your past who were linked to your addiction. This can be a major roadblock to your recovery.

Also, if the relationship doesn’t work out, it may lead you to relapse because you’re heartbroken. Heartbreak can lead to many unhealthy behaviors with drinking and drug use being at the top of the list for those in recovery.

There are many people who will substitute their substance addiction for an addiction to a relationship. This can also be dangerous and hinder a person’s recovery. An addictive relationship while dating is not healthy for anyone, especially someone who is in recovery.

How to Handle Dating While in Recovery

Although it can be tricky, there are many people who do date successfully while in recovery. If the relationship is new and began while you’re in recovery, there are some things you can do to make it healthier for you.

Be Honest

Be honest about your addiction and your past and current struggles. Honesty is a big component of any relationship. Be upfront about your addiction and recovery. Some people can’t handle this, so it’s better to know sooner rather than later.

Don’t compromise your recovery time for date time. Anyone you’re dating should understand the importance of therapy and other activities you need to make your recovery last. They shouldn’t encourage you to skip those activities for a date. They should understand that your sobriety comes first. It’s taken you a long time to get to where you are and the journey isn’t over yet.

Take Your Time

Don’t rush into anything. You shouldn’t put a relationship in fast forward mode while in recovery. Take it slow. You have a lot on your plate and don’t need a high-stress, high-maintenance relationship to cloud your goals. Anyone worth being with will be understanding and won’t force you to take your relationship any faster than you feel comfortable. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, much like your recovery.

It’s OK To Be “High Maintenance”

Choose date locations that support your recovery. While some people may look at that as being high maintenance, it’s not high maintenance to choose a location that will support your recovery. While a quiet dinner may be a great choice for a date, a bar or nightclub is not. Either one of those may lead to the temptation to drink or do other activities that don’t support your recovery. Another good date choice may be a movie or physical activity like a hike or run. Choosing the right location can make all the difference in your recovery. If your partner can’t understand this, then perhaps it’s time to move on.

Be Prepared for ALL of the Emotions

Channel emotions into positive activities if heartbreak happens. No matter how hard you try to make a relationship work, there are many times when things fail and you end up getting your heart broken. It’s important to channel any negative emotions and sadness that comes out of this into positive activities like exercising, volunteering, and maintaining a healthy diet. You may also want to try journaling to get all of your raw emotions down on paper. The important thing is to find an activity that does not involve revisiting your old patterns. You don’t want to risk your sobriety for a broken relationship.

Get Support

If you’re dating while in recovery or considering starting a relationship, the folks at Desert Cove Recovery can help to keep you on track. A variety of rehab and recovery programs are offered including 12-step programs, holistic treatment, and extended care programs.

We will help to find the right program for you and give you the support and encouragement you need in all aspects of your recovery, including dating while in recovery. Contact us today to get started on the path to a sober life.

 

ways to overcome stress in addiction recovery

Ways to Overcome Stress in Addiction Recovery

Ways to Overcome Stress in Addiction Recovery

The use of drugs or alcohol often begins as a way to self-medicate the symptoms of stress. Unfortunately, seemingly harmless habits can turn into addictions that require treatment. How those affected address stress in addiction recovery plays an important role in the rehabilitation process.

Fortunately, professional treatment centers have strategies to help you overcome stress during the recovery process including:

  • Keep a stress journal
  • Self-examination of coping skills
  • Laughing
  • Fitness regimes
  • Get better sleep
  • Socializing with friends

Applying one or more of these methods can help decrease stress levels, improve life balance, and reduce the chance of relapse.

Keep a Stress Journal

Starting a stress journal and making daily entries can provide insight into the stressors that affect you. Over time, you can use the journal to identify the actions you take that led to the exposure of stressors. Furthermore, you will have the opportunity to track any mistakes you made in dealing with them, giving you a blueprint of how to avoid them in the future.

Maintaining a stress journal should be simple. Spend just a couple minutes a day collecting a few key pieces of information include the following:

  • Cause of the stress
  • Your reaction to the situation
  • How you alleviated the stress
  • Emotional reactions to the stressor

Combined, these details will paint a picture you can reflect on, opening up opportunities to avoid stressors and enhancing your recovery.

Examine Your Coping Skills

In the past, you may have turned to drugs or alcohol to deal with stress in your life. However, if you have been through treatment, you now recognize this is an unhealthy response. Similarly, excessive sleeping, cigarette smoking, binge watching TV programs, and procrastinating are also poor ways of dealing with stress. Using your journal, identify when you turn to one of these coping mechanisms.

The ways in which you cope with stress in addiction is the second part of developing a healthy approach to managing stress. The first, identifying what and where your stressors exist, is balanced by examining and changing poor coping skills.

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ways to overcome stress in addiction recovery

Get Your 30 Minutes of Exercise

While a keeping a stress journal and examining your coping methods can reduce stress by themselves, one of the most powerful ways is through exercise. Doctors recommend getting a minimum of 30 minutes of exercise each day. A moderate to high intensity workout can consist of any physical activity that engages and strengthens your different muscle groups.

In addition to the various physical health benefits that exercise provides, exercise reduces stress. As blood pumps faster and delivers more oxygen to the brain, the brain responds by releasing endorphins. Endorphins are chemicals that interact with pleasure receptors in the brain. The result is the creation of a natural “high” and positive emotion.

The joy you experience may very likely encourage you to exercise more often. More importantly, more exercise will continue to lower the level of stress hormones in your body.

Socialize with Friends

Socializing with friends you trust can help you in two ways. First, it provides a safe outlet for your negative feelings. Discussing your problems with friends can reduce the stress you feel about different situations. This is true even if they are not able to offer advice on resolving a particular issue.

Secondly, socializing and enjoying the time you spend with your friends is a positive escape from stress. Having fun with friends takes your mind off of stressful problems and gives your body a chance to reduce the stress you’re experiencing. Socializing is a return to normalcy, a feeling that is a positive reflection of your recovery progress.

Get a Better Quality of Sleep

While sleeping excessively to avoid problems is unhealthy, many people experience a sleep deficiency that can become equally problematic. If you are not getting seven to eight hours of quality sleep each night, you may be causing a boost in stress levels.

To counteract this imbalance of stress, look for ways to get a better quality of sleep each night. You may need to limit caffeine consumption to the morning hours, shut down electronic devices an hour before bed, or engage in relaxation techniques. Yoga, meditation, or reading books can help you relax before bed. As an added bonus, these practices are also great for reducing stress by themselves.

Laughter is Still the Best Medicine

When people are stressed, the body creates the stress hormone cortisol. Cortisol, combined with a boosted release of adrenaline, causes a more intense feeling of stress. However, when we laugh, the brain releases endorphins that counteract the effects that stress hormones have on the body. You can initiate this biochemical reaction by watching a funny movie or TV show, searching for videos of stand-up comics, or going to a live comedy show. Any entertainment that will bring out your sense of humor can help you reduce stress in a natural and healthy way.

Successful Stress Management

The road to recovery can be long and hard. It is important to work with a treatment center who understands the complex rehabilitation journey. Sobriety is not only about breaking free from physical addiction through detoxification, but also about the mental fortitude required to remain drug and alcohol free.

Rehabilitation centers such as Desert Cove Recovery, have trained professionals specializing in treating the mental aspects of recovery. Much of the mental recovery process is indeed about managing stress and how to cope in the presence of stressors.

If you or a loved are may be struggling with substance abuse, addiction, or stress in addiction, know that there are specially trained professionals here to help. It is never too late to seek professional guidance when it comes to substance abuse. The most important step is finding the help you or your loved one needs. 

 

 

 

 

comparing behavioral addiction and substance addiction

A Comparison of Behavioral Addiction and Substance Addiction

A Comparison of Behavioral Addiction and Substance Addiction

If you or anyone you know is suffering or has suffered with addiction, you know how serious of a problem it can become. Drugs, alcohol, and smoking are obvious addictions that can destroy your life and health, but there is more to addiction than simply substance abuse.

It can be hard to notice an addiction when the behavior isn’t directly dangerous to your health like drug or alcohol abuse is. Despite posing a lesser immediate threat, these behavioral addictions can be equally crippling, but are often taken less seriously than others. In some cases, they can even evolve into substance addiction, making it important that you seek treatment for both behavioral addiction and substance addiction so that your addiction can’t progress further.

However, you can’t seek treatment if you don’t know there’s a problem. Identifying your addiction, understanding the consequences of it, and deciding to seek help are the first steps to recovery.

The Dangers of Addiction

Whether it’s sex, drugs, or rock and roll, when we do something that we enjoy the reward pathways in our brain release dopamine – the “feel good” hormone. This chemical rush acts as positive reinforcement to our body, telling us that what we did was good for us. Over time, this conditions your brain to seek out the dopamine release to the point of a physical or mental reaction when it doesn’t get what it wants. This is what causes an addiction, with the addiction type depending on how you achieve the release.

Many times, addiction results from using something (like a drug or activity) as a coping mechanism for mental disorders like depression or anxiety. These disorders can make it hard for the brain and body to achieve the dopamine release, so once something is introduced that activates the reward center in the brain, a need for it – or addiction – develops.

Addictions are dangerous because they alter your mental state, affecting your decision making and potentially leading to dangerous consequences. This can be going bankrupt from a gambling addiction or dying from withdrawal symptoms from substance abuse.

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A Comparison of Behavioral Addiction and Substance Addiction

Behavioral Addiction

Just about everyone at some point in their life becomes infatuated with something. Whether you go through a stage of animal obsession with a room full of stuffed animals or develop a passion for baseball, human beings are wired to do what they enjoy. Unfortunately, the things that make us feel good are not always good for us. This is especially true when that passion or obsession escalates to a need or addiction that becomes out of our control.

Behavioral addiction leans more towards the psychological or mental side of addiction than the 2-sided substance addiction. It occurs when your addiction comes from a certain action or behavior that stimulates the reward center in your brain rather than a substance activating the response. This can be something like sex, gambling, sky diving, shopping, eating unhealthily, and other potentially harmful behaviors that don’t involve altering your body or blood chemistry directly.

Behavioral addiction is slightly more taboo than substance addiction, with some questioning whether or not it actually qualifies as an addiction. This is possibly because culturally, outside of drug use, being addicted to something is synonymous with loving or enjoying something. It can also be underestimated because there is no chemical or physical need for it in the same way that alcohol or benzodiazepine withdrawals can be fatal – though both can cause physiological symptoms. However, behavioral addictions can have a similar effect on your brain as substance addiction does (or even lead to substance addiction), making it something to take seriously.

Substance Addiction

Drug abuse is an epidemic in the United States. Many people know someone who suffers from or has suffered from alcoholism or drug use that cost them their life, destroyed their health, or ripped their family apart. These addictions are often easier to see because they manifest physically as opposed to behavioral addictions that tend to be more mentally focused.

Substance addiction is the most common form of addiction in the country, with more than 21.5 million Americans suffering with a drug use disorder in 2014. It occurs when someone mentally and physically needs to take a drug or substance to achieve a dopamine release and feel “normal”, otherwise they will experience withdrawal symptoms that can be lethal if untreated.

Behavioral addiction and substance addiction are similar in that both addictions are caused by the comfort or happiness the behavior or action provides, but substance abuse adds a chemical dependence on top of the mental addiction which makes it more physically dangerous (and likely causes it to be taken more seriously than behavioral addiction).

Substance addiction can be something simple like frequent binge drinking that leads to liver damage or something as extreme as abusing opioids and potentially overdosing as your body builds a tolerance to the drug.

Treating Behavioral Addiction and Substance Addiction with Rehabilitation

When it comes to treating addiction, it’s important to seek professional help regardless of whether it is substance or behavioral addiction. An addiction often develops due to a reliance on a coping mechanism for a mental disorder. By treating the underlying cause, it helps to prevent you from seeking a new coping mechanism after kicking your current addiction. This is known as addiction transfer, and though your new addiction may be less harmful than a substance addiction, addictive behavior can still be dangerous to your mental and physical health because it can evolve into something serious again.

If you’re ready to address the addictive tendencies that make you human and get to the core of your addiction, you’ll need the help of addiction and recovery specialists. The experts at Desert Cove Recovery provide a comprehensive holistic treatment program influenced by the 12-step process to ensure that all aspects of your addiction are addressed so that you can prevent relapse and move on with your life. Offering inpatient programs for drug, alcohol, and behavioral addictions, anyone who is suffering with addiction can get the help they need in a safe and professional environment.

If you’d like to learn more about how Desert Cove Recovery can help you take control of your life back, contact us today.