Category Archives: Drug Addiction

treating emotional pain and trauma in addiction recovery

Treating Emotional Pain and Trauma in Addiction Recovery

Treating Emotional Pain and Trauma in Addiction Recovery

It might be easy to see someone struggling with addiction and just notice those destructive behaviors, but people are so much more than what they do. Often, there is underlying trauma and emotional pain that triggers this behavior. It can be invisible to the casual observer but deeply imprinted on the person suffering. Addiction is not a silent illness – it can manifest in many ways.

The emotional pain associated with addiction can cause addictions to be worse and can be a barrier for addiction recovery. Sometimes, you don’t even realize how much you are hurting until you’re already deep in a destructive cycle. It is important to understand the link between emotional pain and addictive behaviors so that you can put an end to the cycle and get the help you need for your trauma.

What is Trauma?

Trauma is deeply personal, unique, and pervasive in its influence on daily life. Examples of trauma include abuse, rape, trying financial situations, miscarriage, divorce, etc. Emotional trauma and addiction often go hand-in-hand as a coping mechanism for the suffering.

It is important to understand that any trauma you’ve experienced is not your fault – especially while suffering from addiction. It is important to seek treatment for the emotional, physical, and spiritual disruption that trauma can cause. 

For some, traumatic events can be clear-cut and singular. Other times, trauma is ongoing and subtle. It’s not until the mental and physical effects of the trauma start to manifest that the person even realizes trauma has occurred.

Counselors in addiction recovery are trained to recognize those behaviors that often result from trauma. Those behaviors can include guilt, shame, reclusiveness, paranoia, intrusive and recurring negative thoughts, and difficulty maintaining daily routines. 

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Treating Trauma and Addiction Together

The effects of trauma can be physical, mental, and emotional. These effects can manifest immediately after the trauma or years down the road. In particular, those who have experienced trauma can be more susceptible to self-harm. These thoughts and behaviors are very serious and common, so it’s important not to feel any shame or guilt about seeking healing from the traumatic events that were a catalyst for those destructive behaviors. Sometimes, self-harm comes in the form of addiction to harmful substances. Healing trauma during addiction recovery can be an imperative part of a person’s path to total recovery. 

The best path to recovery is the one that takes into account the underlying causes of the addiction and treats the person as a competent, active participant in their recovery. Therefore, when seeking treatment for your addiction, realize that the best counselors will also treat the underlying trauma in addiction recovery. Similarly, if you seek treatment for the emotional pain associated with trauma, then realize that it is best to treat the addictive and destructive habits resulting from that trauma with direct intervention. This way you can move on from your past towards a clean, trauma-free future.

Taking Time to Heal the Whole You

When you’re ready to heal the whole you, and take a deep, reflective path to a stronger, happier you, then it’s time to contact an addiction recovery counselor who specializes in holistic care. There are many facets to a person, their trauma, and their addiction. By addressing trauma in addiction recovery, you can begin to unlock trauma you didn’t even know about.

The staff at Desert Cove Recovery are leaders in the industry by using comprehensive, individualized approaches to create a recovery program that works for you. The counselors at Desert Cove Recovery are trained to treat the whole person and the root cause of the addiction using a state-of-the-art holistic approach to get you onto the path to recovery sooner. Reach out today to see how Desert Cove Recovery can help you start the rest of your life. 

sober culture isn't boring

Sober Culture Isn’t Boring

Sober Culture Isn’t Boring

When you’re addicted to drugs or alcohol, your addiction is at the center of your world. For many people, their social lives revolve around it, which is one of the many reasons why they may find it difficult to get the help they need to get sober.

What will my life be like if I’m sober? The short answer is better. More and more people are choosing a life without drugs or alcohol, making a sober culture more of the norm rather than the exception.

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What Are the Benefits of Being Part of Sober Culture?

Anyone who has been on both sides of addiction will tell you that being sober is a much better way of life. There are countless celebrities who have chosen sobriety and have shared their stories in hopes to inspire others to do the same.

Florence Welch, of the band Florence + The Machine, is just one musician who is now living a sober life. She acknowledges that she used to drink excessively, causing her to not give 100% to her career. Once she decided to battle her addiction, Welch says everything changed and she began to get her life back.

Award-winning musician Keith Urban is another celebrity who has been open about his sobriety. Urban admits to using drugs and alcohol which he says took away the time he could have been using to create music.

Other celebrities like Bradley Cooper, Rob Lowe, and Tobey Maguire, are just a few of a handful who have openly talked about their addiction and recovery in hopes of encouraging others to embrace the sober culture.

Even people who are not celebrities often share their sobriety stories, in hopes of getting others to battle their addiction. This is done in a variety of ways including in group settings, online, and through social media. For many people, it is not only a way of helping others but is also cathartic as they learn to live a sober life.

If you’re still questioning why you should get sober, consider these benefits that everyone can relate to:

Being Sober Allows You to Remember ALL of Your Activities

Many individuals will admit that there are many parts of their lives that are blocked out because of their drug and alcohol use. When you choose to be sober, you are always present in your life and will have memories of what you’ve done.

Sobriety Makes You Healthier

Poor eating habits, minimal exercise, and damage to your body are just some of the negative aspects of addiction. Being sober means treating your body better and living a healthier life.

Real Friendships

Many individuals have relationships that are centered around their addiction. These friendships are not healthy. When you choose to be sober, you can start establishing relationships that can exist without an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

You can Focus on Work and Hobbies

Addiction steals you away from positive hobbies and from being productive at work. Being sober allows you to focus and excel in different areas of your life.

How Can I Begin to Live a Sober Life?

Living a sober life begins with the realization that you need help. When you choose to get help at Desert Cove Recovery, you will have the help of knowledgeable and caring staff who will take the time to get to know you and your addiction.

The staff at Desert Cove Recovery believes that everyone’s addiction story is unique. That’s why each program differs from person to person. Once your addiction is examined, you will find out if a detox program is needed. This helps to rid your body of the substance you’re addicted to under the supervision of medical staff.

From there, you will begin your treatment which may include a combination of the 12-step process as well as holistic treatment to care for the mind and body. Individual and group therapy are often recommended as well as behavioral therapy to look into the psychological problems that may be involved with addiction.

A big part of sobriety is learning how to live in the outside world minus the addiction. Desert Cove Recovery also takes relapse prevention very seriously and works with each patient to educate them and plan for the future.

If you’re ready to take the first step to live a sober life, call Desert Cove Recovery today to speak to one of our staff members or send us a message online. Let us help you discover the benefits of embracing a sober culture.

 

Effects of Marijuana Use in the Developing Brain

Effects of Marijuana Use in the Developing Brain

Effects of Marijuana Use in the Developing Brain

Did you know that the brain doesn’t stop developing until around age 25? So, the “adult” brain at 18 is not so adult after all. Recent neuroimaging shows the structure of the brain is still changing and growing even into a person’s mid- to late- 20s.   With the brain still developing, the effects of marijuana use by young adults are far-reaching.

Detrimental habits picked up in adolescence and early adulthood, such as a habit of marijuana usage, can have lifelong implications. Heavy marijuana usage in your teens can actually change the way your brain develops.

The prefrontal cortex is responsible for planning, judgment, decision making, and personality. It also happens to be the last area of the brain to mature. Some other areas most likely to keep growing well into the early 20s are the areas linked to cognitive ability, social thinking, higher order thinking, and perception.

Changes in the Brain

Decreased IQ

In 2012, a longitudinal study done by Duke University saw that people who smoked marijuana consistently over a 20 year period, with heavy usage in their formative years, had an average IQ drop of 6 points between ages 13 and 38. That is roughly the same decline as those with prolonged lead exposure.

Scientists believe that teens and young adults are particularly susceptible to increased negative side effects of heavy drug use because the brain is not fully developed. As usage increases, the body’s normal development is stunted by the effects of marijuana on the brain.

Deregulated Emotions & Increased Stress

In addition to decreased cognitive abilities, young adults who use marijuana are more likely to have deregulated emotions and increased stress response. As consistent marijuana users grow into adults, the stress response on a cellular level actually slows down. This makes it more difficult for adults to regulate themselves and respond to stress appropriately with marijuana to help them cope. This can make everything from buying a car to getting up for work on-time a struggle, potentially leading to social development problems as time goes on.

Physical Changes in the Brain

Various studies have shown that consistent marijuana use during the developmental years affects the brain’s growth and stability.  A scientific review of 43 studies by scientists at the University of Barcelona found consistent cannabis use to be linked to structural brain abnormalities and altered neural activity.  For those who consistently smoked (5 out of 7 days a week) or more than 2,500 times in their lifetime, MRI results showed decreased white matter and decreased the size of the amygdala, the part of the brain responsible for making rational decisions. This stunted growth may be the reason marijuana can sometimes be a gateway drug – it desensitizes you to the danger of drug abuse which makes taking drugs an easier decision.

Increased Psychosomatic Symptoms

Addiction is a disease that takes a heavy toll. It can have many physical and emotional effects. Marijuana addiction has been linked to increased depression, anxiety, panic attacks, psychosis, and suicide, particularly in young adults. In the absence of marijuana as a coping mechanism, these symptoms become even more extreme.

Marijuana usage has seen an increase in potency and strength over the past few years, making it particularly damaging to the new generation of teens and young adults using it. The increased prevalence of stronger, more virulent marijuana makes the effects on the developing brain that much more potent and easier to underestimate.

Hormonal shifts in early adulthood tend to shift the person toward a more relaxed, even-keeled demeanor but the opposite becomes true in a heavy marijuana user who has had an altered mind state for an extended period of time. The effects of marijuana on a developing brain can be life-long and extend far past just the laziness that is often associated with frequent usage.

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Effects on Marijuana on the Developing Brain

When to Get Help

Heavy marijuana use in early adulthood has been linked with harder circumstances to overcome in life including poor school performance, higher dropout rates, increased welfare dependency, more unemployment, and overall lower life satisfaction. Don’t let that happen to you – get the help you need before it takes over your life!

If it’s time for you or a loved to receive treatment for marijuana addiction recovery, then Desert Cove Recovery in Scottsdale, AZ is the place for you. The counselors, psychologists, and nurses on staff are all highly qualified to create a treatment plan that utilizes the 12-step recovery system along with cutting-edge technology to help you live a healthy, drug-free life.

The combination of traditional treatment options and today’s technology provides a holistic approach to addiction recovery that offers solutions to those who are seeking help for the first time or those who struggle with chronic relapse. The effects of marijuana on the developing brain are scary, but with the help of Desert Cove Recovery, there can be a brighter future ahead.

 

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.

 

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.

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.

Substance Abuse vs Addiction

Substance Abuse vs Addiction

Substance Abuse vs Addiction

All too often, the phrase “substance abuse” is used interchangeably with the word “addiction.” Abuse and addiction take similar physical, psychological, and social tolls for those who are suffering. However, it is important to understand the difference between substance abuse vs addiction. Learning about each will help you identify if an individual is casually abusing drugs or alcohol or in serious need of assistance to break an addiction.

Recognizing Substance Abuse

Substance abuse and addiction are not actually the same thing. On the surface, substance abuse may not look like extreme or dangerous behavior. In fact, it may not stand out as abnormal at all. If drinking or recreational drug use has become normalized in your social circle, you could even be abusing substances without knowing it. 

Substance abuse involves using a substance, whether it be alcohol, prescription drugs, or illicit “street” drugs, to a point that becomes a hazard to your health. This includes using medications in ways other than prescribed.

When Substance Use Starts to Affect Your LIfe

Substance abuse also includes using substances to a point where doing so starts to affect your ability to live your life as you had prior to using. This point can come far quicker than many people realize. As soon as you start using your substance of choice to cope with emotions, thoughts, stress, or living situations, you are abusing that particular substance. This is true even if you have not experienced any consequences yet as a result. 

For example, consider alcohol consumption. According to the USDA, a safe and moderate level of alcohol consumption is no more than one drink per day for women and two drinks per day for men. Someone who drinks more than this is abusing alcohol by definitions, even if their consumption does not appear excessive to others. It has been shown drinking past the recommended daily limit increases the risk alcohol will affect your health, put at risk for DUIs, and other undesirable outcomes. 

Most individuals who abuse substances but are not yet addicted, feel like they can stop whenever they want to. Some people abuse substances intermittently instead of regularly. This can mask the fact that there is a problem. Substance abuse is still a widespread issue causing problems in many people’s lives. The CDC notes that more than 10 percent of people over the age of 12 have used some type of illicit drug in the past month. While not everyone who abuses drugs will go on to develop an addiction, many will. 

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Substance Abuse vs Addiction

When Substance Abuse Becomes Addiction

Addiction is a more serious problem than substance abuse. While substance abuse can be situational, addiction is a pervasive problem affecting every aspect of a person’s life. Substance abuse is a negative behavior that a person chooses whereas addiction is a disease of the brain. Many people are able to stop abusing substances on their own, but recovering from addiction is a significantly more complex task usually requiring outside help. 

The main hallmark of addiction is physical dependency. After a person abuses drugs or alcohol for a long enough period, their brain starts to change physically, making it difficult for the person to feel normal without their substance of choice. Drug or alcohol use causes a rush of dopamine in the brain. Eventually, the brain acclimates to the euphoria and begins to demand more, building a tolerance and creating an addiction.

When an addicted person does not have drugs or alcohol in their system, the lack of dopamine beings to show ill effects. Addicted individuals will start to experience withdrawal symptoms like tremors, nausea, and hallucinations (withdrawal symptoms vary from substance to substance). Essentially the person loses their ability to function normally when not drunk or high. 

Is Addiction a Choice?

Substance abuse may be a choice, but addiction rarely is. One of the defining traits of addiction is the inability to stop using drugs or alcohol, despite the negative social or health consequences. To an addicted person, seeking out and using their substance of choice is the most important thing in life.

Addiction will cause users to lie, steal, and sneak around to use drugs or alcohol. It is not that they are inherently bad people. It is simply their illness has hijacked the decision-making parts of their brain, leading them to take actions unfathomable prior to developing an addiction. 

Addiction is widespread with more than 15 million adults in the United States addicted to alcohol, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Further, addictive behaviors cost the U.S. more than $740 billion every year in health care costs and lost productivity. The good news is addiction is treatable, although only about. Unfortunately, only about 10 percent of those addicted actually receive treatment. 

Are You Dealing With Substance Abuse or Addiction?

If you are wondering whether you or a loved has a problem with drugs or alcohol, the odds are likely that you may indeed have a problem. Whether or not the substance abuse has progressed to the level of addiction, it is important to seek help as soon as possible before the problem gets worse.

You or a loved one may be addicted to a substance if any of the following are true: 

  • You use drugs or alcohol alone.
  • You lie to friends or loved ones about your substance use.
  • You feel out of control and cannot stop drinking or using even when you want to.
  • You experience physical withdrawals when you cannot use your substance of choice.
  • Your drinking or drug use is affecting your relationships, job, or academic performance.

Seeking Help and Getting Sober

It is never too late to seek professional guidance when it comes to substance use. Substance abuse versus addiction is indeed an important question. However, most important is finding the help you or your loved needs.

If you or someone you know may be struggling with either substance abuse or addiction, let them know specially trained professionals are here to help, in addition to their friends, family, and the community they live in. Contact a professional at Desert Cove Recovery today for more information.

 

how addiction affects each generation

How Addiction Affects Each Generation

How Addiction Affects Each Generation

When it comes to an addiction, your age and the generation you are a part of can have a major impact on how you respond to this condition. The causes and factors surrounding addiction vary greatly according to how old a person is, as the reason for dependent behavior can be rooted in significant life events which revolve around a person’s age. How an addiction can affect a person differs based on many various factors, including socio-economic status, the presence of co-occurring disorders, and a history of trauma. But age is an often-forgotten element when it comes to putting together important parts of the picture.

The Role Age Plays in Addiction

The reasons why a person will end up developing a serious addiction can be significantly influenced by their particular age group. For instance, binge drinking is a significant problem for individuals aged 18-25, as peer pressure can play a role in convincing someone to drink. But for people aged 40-64, the same type of social pressure in regards to drinking will not as prevalent. However, this generation struggles more with prescription drug abuse, due to it being widely available and often prescribed for medical conditions which can impact an older population.

This fact can be illustrated by a recent statistics from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) which detail the differences between specific age groups in relation to one’s age. The rate at which U.S. adolescents aged 12-17 developed a substance addiction was 5% in 2014, or approximately 1.3 million individuals. People aged 18-25 have the highest rate of substance abuse across the board, as this group is particular vulnerable to struggling with addiction.

Although painkillers and opioids are a big concern for an older generation in regards to becoming addicted, it is actually the millennial generation which struggles the most with a prescription drug addiction. Studies have shown how this particular section of the population is much more likely to abuse things such as Vicodin, Adderall, and OxyContin than they are marijuana. This differs from the drug of choice for baby boomers, as this group was more likely to use marijuana, cocaine, and psychedelics during their youth.

One of the reasons researchers speculate that millennials are struggling more with prescription drugs abuse than their parents is due to the fact that mental health issues have become more common. It is thought that the rise in ‘helicopter parenting’, where many millennials were overly protected from the world, is a factor in why this generation is finding itself more prone to become addicted to prescription drugs. The Good Men Project states that because these individuals have been stripped of their mental defenses, their ability to deal with life in a healthy way can be reduced, increasing the likelihood of resorting to negative coping skills.

However, older individuals also struggle with addiction, as this generation is prone to abuse things such as Fentanyl, opioids, and other prescription drugs. In fact, addiction has become one of the leading causes of death among people aged 40-64. Individuals who are 25-35 still have the highest rate of death as a result of an overdose, highlighting how drug addiction is impacting a younger generation more intensely than the older generation.

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how addiction affects each generation

How Treatment Differs According to One’s Age

The route a clinician will take in order to properly treat a patient’s addiction can be very different depending on how old the person is. A treatment plan for a married 50 year-old addicted to drugs or alcohol will look much different than a single person in their late teens. Financial pressure, health concerns, and life stress can be a major source of addiction for someone who is in their middle age.

The most effective approach to providing substance abuse treatment which works is to take a holistic approach to a person’s unique circumstances, including their age demographic group. Certain methods of intervention are specifically designed to work best with a targeted age group, making the selection of a particular treatment modality especially important. A skilled clinician will be able to efficiently navigate a person towards recovery by helping to address the underlying cause for their addiction.

For older adults, treatment may include an assessment of one’s finances, career, mental acuity, and family dynamics in order to gain insight into the causes of a person’s condition. It may include an approach which takes into account health and wellness concerns, conditions which may be specific to a person’s age. It may also include the importance of rediscovering meaning and purpose in life as a way to overcome a crippling addiction.

If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction and needs to find a way forward that works, contact the caring professionals at Desert Cove Recovery. We treat all age groups and work directly with our clients to address their unique concerns and circumstances. Our trusted team will help guide you through the recovery process, working directly with you to create a treatment plan that will have you on the path to a new lease on life.

Young Adults at Risk for Addiction Show Variation in Key Brain Region

Young Adults at Risk for Addiction Show Variation in Key Brain Region

An international team led by researchers at the University of Cambridge have discovered that young adults who are at risk for addiction show distinct differences in an important region of the brain. The study adds more credence to the idea that a person’s biological makeup is an important factor in determining if they will develop an addiction during their lifetime.

The years during adolescence and young adulthood figure prominently in a person’s development. During these years, someone may start to demonstrate behaviors associated with addiction. These behaviors suggest that people in this age group may be at risk for addiction and substance abuse.

Impulsivity Associated with Addiction Risk

Impulsivity is one of the behaviors associated with the risk of addiction. There are times when a person needs to make decisions quickly, such as when there is a danger and they must take action to avoid an immediate threat. At other times, it’s a better idea to stop and think carefully before taking any action. Impulsivity is acting without considering the consequences of one’s actions.

Most people do act impulsively on occasion, and it’s not uncommon. However, people who are living with disorders such as substance abuse, behavioral addictions, anxiety, depression or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) experience higher levels of impulsivity.

99 Young People Participated in Study

In a study recently published in the journal Neuropsychopharmacology, researchers from Cambridge University’s Department of Psychiatry and Denmark’s Aarhus University found a “strong association” between increased impulsivity in young adults and certain abnormalities in nerve cells located in the putamen. This part of the brain has already been identified as a key region connected with addictive disorders.

Ninety-nine young people between the ages of 16-26 completed a computer-based measure of impulsivity as part of the study. The researchers scanned the participants’ brains with a sequence that can identify myelin content.

Myelin Levels Related to Impulsivity

Myelin is a protein-rich covering that coats a nerve cell. It works in the same manner as the plastic coating that is placed around electric wiring and is needed for rapid nerve conduction between the body and the brain.

The researchers found that people who demonstrated higher levels of impulsivity also had lower levels of myelin in the putamen. This conclusion builds on previous studies conducted with rodents at Cambridge University and at other locations.

Dr. Camilla Nord, of the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, the lead author of the study, said that people who show a heightened level of impulsivity are also more likely to experience a number of mental health issues, which include substance abuse, eating disorders, behavioral addictions, and ADHD. Dr. Nord went on to explain that this suggests impulsivity is an endophenotype. This is defined as “ a set of behavioural and brain changes that increases people’s general risk for developing a group of psychiatric and neurological disorders.”

Long-acting Buprenorphine Injections Effective Opioid Addiction Treatment

Long-acting Buprenorphine Injections Effective Opioid Addiction Treatment

A monthly injection of buprenorphine BUP-XR is more effective than a placebo for treating opioid addiction, according to the results of a new study. This formulation is the extended release version.

A daily dose version of buprenorphine was approved by the FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) in 2002. It has been an effective treatment for opioid use disorder. Daily doses mean patients must commit to taking it each day; they may start to experience cravings for opioids once they get close to the end of the 24-hour cycle when they can take more medication.

Medication Assisted Therapy and Treatment for Opioid Addiction

Buprenorphine and methadone are both used in MAT (Medication Assisted Therapy) to treat opioid addiction. These medications are used in combination with behavioral counseling as part of a “whole patient” approach. The medications are used to control cravings and clients work with a counselor to develop new ways of thinking and responding to life stresses.

Extended Release Buprenorphine Called Sublocade

The extended-release version of buprenorphine was approved by the FDA in November 2017, which is being marketed under the brand name Sublocade. Approval was based on positive results in a Phase III human subjects study. The study has been published in The Lancet to make it available to the wider scientific community.

Double-Blind Study Conducted

Researchers divided 200 participants in the randomized, double-blind study into three groups. All of them had a mean duration of opioid use of between 11 and 12 years. Two of the groups were given different monthly doses of BUP-XR and one was given a placebo.

Both groups who were given BUP-XR reported “substantial portions of participants” abstaining from opioids. They also experienced relief from opioid withdrawal symptoms and control from cravings for opioids without having to take medication on a daily basis.