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. 

Continued after infographic:

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.

 

genetic test for opioid addiction

Genetic Test for Opioid Addiction Could Soon be a Reality

If you could order a genetic test that could tell you whether you were at risk for opioid abuse later in life, would you take it? What factors are considered in this genetic test for opioid addiction? The test would be something like the one available from companies currently offering health predisposition information along with DNA testing. Instead of indicating whether someone has a higher-than-average risk of developing heart disease, the proposed test would tell who is at risk for opioid addiction.

A New Jersey research institute is working with leaders in the medical community, scientists and academics to unravel the genetic code as it pertains to opioid dependency. 
genetic test for opioid addiction

Team Investigates Factors Contributing to Opioid Abuse

The Coriell Institute for Medical Research, Rowan University’s Cooper Medical School and Cooper University Health Care have come together to launch the Camden Opioid Research Initiative (CORI). This team will investigate “genetic and biological factors that contribute to opioid abuse.”

One key part of the study will involve collecting and testing tissue samples from people who have lost their lives from an opioid overdose. The researchers will also be studying people currently in treatment for opioid addiction, along with patients who are receiving prescription opioids for chronic pain treatment but have not become addicted. The findings from the two groups will be compared.

Stefan Zajic, the principal scientist and scientific lead for CORI, explained that the dream for scientists would be to have access to a profile or algorithm that would provide doctors and patients with information about genetic factors that may influence their susceptibility to opioid addiction.

Genetic Test Could Influence Future Prescribing Habits

If a genetic test for opioid addiction were available to indicate to healthcare providers which patients are at higher risk for opioid addiction, a doctor could take that factor into consideration when making decisions about which medications to prescribe. The doctor may choose to prescribe a non-opioid, adjust the dose if he or she decides to prescribe an opioid medication or prescribe a smaller number of pills so that the patient can be monitored more closely for follow-up.

The research team will work with the medical examiner’s office to establish a biobank of the tissue samples (with the respective families’ permission). Zajic believes it will be the first one of its kind in the country. The tissue samples will be made available to researchers in the field of opioid abuse going forward.

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.

Continued after infographic:

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.

tell my employer i'm going to rehab

Should I Tell my Employer I’m Going to Rehab?

Should I Tell my Employer I’m Going to Rehab?

You have taken the first steps toward recovery by looking into drug treatment centers in Arizona, but now you face some difficult questions. If you are stuck wondering “Should I tell my employer I’m going to rehab? And if so, how?” you are on a good path toward recovery already. In general, the answer is yes, you should be honest about your situation.

Remember that getting treatment is a good thing.

You are more likely to keep your job in the long term if you seek treatment by going to rehab than if you continue to struggle with addiction on your own. If your addiction has been affecting your work, for example with poor work performance, spotty attendance, or compromised decision-making skills, you will be far more likely to improve the quality of your work after receiving treatment than if you continue repeating the same mistakes. It may even be a relief for your boss to know any erratic behavior you’ve been exhibiting has a cause and that you are working on a solution.

How do I tell my employer I’m going to rehab?

Be honest. If your boss or coworkers already suspect something is up with you, it will be much less suspicious if you are up front about going to rehab rather than adding extra layers of lies and deceit to cover it up. Being honest also makes you come across as a responsible person taking initiative for your health.  Not to mention, if someone at work finds out you have lied and are actually at a drug treatment center in Arizona, that does not bode well for your future at the company.

If your boss allows it, schedule a one-on-one meeting so you don’t have to rush through the conversation at an inopportune time during the workday.  If privacy is important to you, emphasize that you need discretion. Make your needs clear, but be respectful of company time and your boss’s schedule.

Understand your rights as an employee.

Before taking any official action, check company policy to see if rehab is protected or addressed. It may fall under your legally-protected sick leave, which guarantees you will have a job to come back to. Some companies offer counseling or related help with finding an addiction treatment center. Even if your company’s policy does not address rehab specifically, an open and honest conversation with your boss or a human resources manager should help you understand your options. If you lie about where you are for the duration of your absence, your leave might not be legally protected, and that could put your job in jeopardy.

Continued after video:

Don’t be embarrassed.

Every employee struggles with something, but not everyone is capable of reaching out for help and seeking treatment. The fact that you are taking active steps to better yourself is a strong mark in your favor.

Understand that some people may react poorly to your announcement. That is okay. You can feel assured that you are making a healthy decision for yourself by choosing to get well, and that indirectly means you are making the best choice for your company as well. Stand your ground and do not let anyone pressure you into not seeking treatment. You are doing the right thing. 

Take some initiative to plan ahead.

Get as many important, time-sensitive projects finished as possible before you leave. Explain your job functions to a close colleague, so if the company has to bring on a temporary replacement while you are gone, you are helping to ensure a smooth transition. This extra effort and concern for the company’s time and money will cast you in a more favorable light than if you were to leave without much notice or preparation.

Do not feel pressured to explain everything.

You do not owe anyone, including your boss, a detailed explanation of your situation or your choices. You are not on trial; you are simply notifying your employer that you will be taking leave.

If you feel you are in a position where you simply cannot be honest and up front about where you will be going, that’s okay. Your health and recovery are more important.  Do what you need to do in order to attend rehab and get healthy, and worry about the rest later.

Many treatment facilities offer job assistance at the end of your stay, so you do not have to feel like your job is the only option in the world. If your current opportunity ends, you will find another when you are healthy.

What is a good drug treatment center in Arizona that can help me?

Desert Cove Recovery offers a helping hand through every step of your recovery journey, starting with detox and ending with extended care for long-term help. Whether your preference lies with the classic twelve step treatment or with more holistic methods, Desert Cove Recovery will make every effort to address your unique needs as an individual.

There is no need to fear being cooped up in a hospital room for weeks on end. Spending time in nature with the Outdoor Therapy program gives you time to take in the fresh air and the beautiful Arizona scenery while you get back on your feet.

How can I get started?

Contact a treatment professional at Desert Cove Recovery to get more information or inquiry about program availability. 

You can also contact your insurance or physician’s office if you need a referral, or for help deciding what the best course is for you moving forward.  

addicted to marijuana

Can You Get Addicted to Marijuana?

Can You Get Addicted to Marijuana?

When a person thinks about substance abuse and addiction, the idea of someone who addicted to marijuana is usually not the first thing that comes to mind. Substances such as heroin, alcohol, cocaine, and opioids are often what a person brings to mind when they hear the words “drug addiction”. However, despite the recent legalization and normalization of marijuana as a socially acceptable substance, it doesn’t take away from the fact that a person can still become addicted to marijuana.

What Does an Addiction to Marijuana Look Like?

The notion that someone can become seriously addicted to marijuana may seem silly to many individuals, as the substance is often viewed as a harmless substance in relation to harder drugs, such as heroin or cocaine. However, the fact that it’s practically impossible to experience a lethal overdose from marijuana doesn’t mean it’s impossible to develop a serious dependence which may require professional help.

Although marijuana has become a more mainstream substance that has lost much of its taboo status, it doesn’t take away from the fact that marijuana can still be a substance which people can become dependent upon. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, approximately 30 percent of marijuana users have some degree of marijuana use disorder. For those individuals who use the substance before the age of 18, the risk of developing a dependence disorder is four to seven times more likely. This fact highlights the risks for individuals who decide to use marijuana before they reach adulthood.

Someone who is addicted to marijuana is likely to experience some level of withdrawal symptoms when they are not under the influence of the drug. These symptoms can be things such as increased irritability, decreased appetite, difficulties with sleep, and other forms of physical discomfort as a result of not using marijuana. Dependence occurs when the brain begins to adapt to large amounts of marijuana being consumed, which reduces the amount the of endocannabinoid neurotransmitters produced in the body.

Continued after video:

How Would I Know I’m Addicted to Marijuana?

A person will know they are addicted to marijuana when they begin to rely on the substance in order to function on a day-to-day basis. If a person believes they are incapable of facing normal, everyday tasks without being under the influence of marijuana, it is a likely indication that they are dependent upon this substance. The number of people with some form of a marijuana use disorder has risen in recent years, perhaps in large part due to the increased availability and new legal status in many states. In 2015, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, there were approximately 4 million individuals in the United States with a marijuana use disorder.

The Similarities Between Marijuana Addiction and Other Forms of Substance Dependence

Many people tend to brush off the idea that being addicted to marijuana can be anywhere close to having a dependence to things such as opioids or heroin, but there are certainly a few similarities to become aware of. Much like how a person may be prescribed opioids for pain and become addicted to this substance, an individual may end up finding themselves addicted to marijuana after they began to use the drug for medicinal reasons. Individuals often begin using marijuana for its medicinal benefits, but may end up abusing the substance purely to get high.

Like many other forms of serious addiction, a dependence on marijuana can progress from a harmless and innocent attempt at treating a specific condition to becoming an unhealthy habit that is hard to avoid. A person may believe they are in control of their use and can stop at any time, but in reality they may be unable to stop without experiencing some level of withdrawal. A marijuana addiction can impact many facets of a person’s life and compound other difficult areas in one’s life. Without a doubt, an addiction to marijuana is an unfortunate reality which can become a serious problem if not properly addressed.

Getting Help for Marijuana Addiction or Dependence

Overcoming an addiction to marijuana can feel incredibly challenging, especially if you’re going it alone without any outside support. If you’re seeking support to make this important self-transformation a reality and are looking for an excellent addiction treatment center, contact Desert Cove Recovery today. Our trusted team will help guide you through the rehab process, working side-by-side with you to create a treatment plan that works. We can help you live a life free from addiction and empower you to become your best self.

 

er missing opportunity to send overdose patients to addiction treatment

ERs Missing Opportunity to Send OD Patients on to Addiction Treatment

In spite of the current opioid crisis that has been making headlines on a regular basis, Emergency Room (ER) doctors and staff have been missing opportunities to refer overdose patients to addiction treatment. The results of a recent study conducted on Medicaid claims in West Virginia indicate the health care system “doesn’t seem to be set up” for referring patients to further help.

Hospital Codes for Opioid Poisoning Examined During Study

The researchers examined insurance claims made for 301 people who overdosed in the years 2014 and 2015. By analyzing the hospital codes used for opioid poisoning, they were able to follow the treatment the patients received. The researchers were specifically looking to see whether the patients were billed in the months following their ER visit for health care services such as:

  • Counseling or mental health care
  • Opioid counseling visits
  • Prescriptions for psychiatric drugs (anti-depressants, anxiety medications, etc.)
  • Prescriptions for substance abuse medications

As a result of their work, the researchers found that less than 10 percent of the patients received (per month) substance abuse medications such as buprenorphine. Since methadone isn’t covered by West Virginia Medicaid, it wasn’t included in the study.

In the month the overdose occurred, about 15 percent of the patients received mental health counseling. In the 12 months after the overdose, that number had dropped to lower than 10 percent of patients per month.

Researchers Expected More Addiction Treatment for Overdose Patients

Neel Koyawala, a second-year medical student at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, the lead author of the study, said that the researchers “had expected more…especially given the national news about opioid abuse.”

Andrew Kolodny, the co-director of Opioid Policy Research at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, said that resources should be focused on getting patients who have experienced nonfatal overdoses into treatment.

He compared the situation to someone coming into the ER with a heart attack. Patients and their families take for granted that heart medication and a referral to a cardiologist will be provided when the patient is discharged. Kolodny wants to see patients who come to the ER with an overdose to get started on buprenorphine in the hospital and receive a referral to some type of addiction treatment when they leave.

Both Kolodny and Koyawala point to a combination of lack of training and understanding among health care professionals for what continues to happen to overdose patients after they are stabilized.

Dr. Matt Christiansen, an assistant professor at Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine’s Department of Family & Community Health, stated that [a substance abuse patient’s] risk of overdose is the same the day after as it was on the day of an overdose.

what sober living is like

Top 10 Myths of Sober Living and What Sober Living is Like

Top 10 Myths of Sober Living and What Sober Living is Like

The path to sobriety is rarely a straight one. Treatment options range from local support groups to inpatient treatment centers. In the middle are sober living homes, offering individuals a drug and alcohol free residence where they may focus weaning themselves from harmful substances. Unfortunately, the myths of sober living and what it is actually like are preventing patients from considering sober living homes.

Below is a list of the top 10 myths often associated with sober living homes. Although there is always the exception to every rule, or in this case myth, most sober living homes are helping individuals find their path to sobriety. A sober living home may be the most effective option for you or a loved one struggling with addiction.

1. Sober Living Homes Are Always In Bad Neighborhoods

Local non-profit organizations or government programs often supported the first sober living homes. With limited funding, homes were established where it was more cost-effective at the time. This meant homes were opened in less desirable neighborhoods where the property values were more affordable.

However, as the stigma of addiction shifted, overall funding increased, and the introduction of private treatment facilities grew, so too did the establishment of sober living homes in more comfortable areas. Today you will find sober living homes in nearly every type of neighborhood. From the inner cities to the posh suburbs, finding a sober living home in a neighborhood of your liking has never been easier.  

2. Poor Maintenance Plagues Sober Living Homes

When fixated on the myth that all sober homes are in bad neighborhoods, the likely vision most individuals will have is that of a dilapidated house in need of dire repair. Although some homes may indeed require attention, the privatization of sober living homes has meant companies need to attract new patients to survive.

The need to attract new patients has shifted sober living homes from having been treatment centers of last resort to now becoming the first choice patients seek to become sober. The more inviting a sober home is, the more likely to attract clients and the funding needing to keep the doors open.

Continued after infographic:

myths of sober living and what it's like

3. Sober Living Homes Are Not Regulated

While it may be true that sober living homes might not receive the same scrutiny as other medically related residences such as assisted living or nursing homes; they are far from being unregulated. Depending on local ordinances, governments consider most sober living homes either apartments or short-term living accommodations (like a hotel).

In either instance, the laws and regulations for such facilities are much more stringent than if the local government consider the location simply a single-family home. Further, if any medical services were provided by the sober home on premises, additional regulations would apply.

4. Drug Use is Common in Sober Living Homes

While every sober living home has their own set of rules, the ultimate goal of sober living is to provide a place removed from the temptations of the outside world. Many sober living homes subject residences to random drug tests.

How a particular sober living home resident responds to a positive drug test determines the perceived leniency toward drug use. Rules related to drug or alcohol use can range from soft to strict. For example, an individual caught using a banned substance may only be required to seek counseling. More strict locations may ask individuals to leave entirely.

5. Safety is Concern in Sober Living Homes

Sober homes exist to help suffering individuals from all walks of life. There are indeed facilities who will welcome former criminals as they work to transition back into society. Such homes are beacons of hope for those whose addiction may or may not be directly connected to their criminal activity.

While some sober homes accept all individuals regardless of history, others are more restrictive on who they accept. On the other hand, there are sober living homes that specialize in working specifically with individuals who have had run-ins with the law. Ultimately, it is the sober home’s responsibility to keep their residents safe. Consider the home’s safety record just as you would any other residence you might consider.  

6. Pets are Not Allowed

The decision whether to allow pets entirely rests with the sober home. Although it is true many locations will not allow pets of any kind, more homes are opening up allowing pets on-site. Caring for a pet can help promote responsible behaviors as well as providing a loving companion for someone in recovery. Researchers are exploring the benefits caring for a pet might have for those recovering from addiction.    

7. Most Sober Living Homes are Full

New sober living homes are opening all the time. The best run facilities are able to accept new residents almost immediately. If space is not immediately available, most sober living homes are a part of a larger network that can assist in placement very quickly. Treatment professionals understand recovery success is partially dependent on how fast an individual can be enrolled and begin treatment when they feel ready to start.  

8. Residents are Not Allowed to See Family or Friends

The support of family and friends is a critical aspect of addiction recovery. Nearly all sober living homes allow visitations from those who care about you. There may be, however, restrictions and rules governing when and how often residents may receive visitors. Often visitors must be approved by the sober living home’s manager while the resident has to meet certain progress milestones. In some circumstances, program rules may allow residents may be to leave the home overnight.   

9. It Is Free to Live in a Sober Living Home

Most sober living homes charge rent. A few homes may receive charitable assistance or government subsidies, but more homes are now privately owned and have developed a rent schedule based upon the services provided, number of residents, and length of stay.

There are sober living homes who do not charge their residents. However, most often these homes are for individuals who do not have any financial means to pay rent. Once residents begin to hold down a job, rent will be required of them.

10. All Sober Living Homes Are the Same

Sober living homes come in a variety of different program types. Individuals seeking recovery, along with their counselors, can select the best program to fit their needs including:

  • Sober houses
  • Halfway houses
  • Sober apartments
  • Sober dormitories
  • Transitional housing

For people who suffer from certain mental illnesses or come from a correctional facility, locked residences are also available. However, the differences between sober living homes go way beyond the type of residence. Residences can be very simple in style providing basic living facilities, to high-end luxury apartments.

Choosing a Sober Living Home

Separating the myths of sober living and what it is actually like is an important first step in continuing the journey to clean living. Sober living through Desert Cove Recovery teaches residents how to address the root causes of their addiction. Counseling and therapy are provided in a comfortable, substance-free environment, allowing residents to realize the meaning and purpose of their lives. We have inpatient services in our network ready to work with you or your loved one to receive the most effective treatment.

signs it's time to go to rehab

10 Signs It’s Time to Go to Rehab

10 Signs It’s Time to Go to Rehab

Approximately 21.7 million people in the United States are in need of some type of treatment for drug or alcohol abuse, yet only a small fraction of individuals actually get the help they need. Many people decide to avoid entering rehab because they don’t believe they need it. Or perhaps they simply avoid seeking help because they are ashamed or uncertain if they are able to afford it. If you or someone you know is dealing with an addiction, here are ten signs it’s time to go to rehab.

1. You have Physical Health Problems as a Result of Your Drug/Alcohol Use

Substance abuse can affect your health in a number of ways, but it may not be initially apparent to you, as it can take a period of time before you begin to notice the signs. If you have begun to notice physical changes to your body as a result of your drug/alcohol abuse, it’s critical to begin the process of looking into rehab. Your body is giving you clear warning signs of the severity of your condition.

2. Your Relationships with Friends and Family Have Become Strained

An addiction to drugs or alcohol can put a strain on your relationships over time, as addiction can create tension between you and those close to you. Repeated drug and alcohol use can begin to make an individual more irritable and prone to arguing. Individuals who are in the throes of a serious addiction often find themselves having an excessive amount of disagreements with loved ones, placing a strain on the relationship. If your drinking or drug use has reached the point of creating significant distance between you and your friends and family, it is a clear indication that your addiction requires professional assistance.

3.  You Begin to Rely on the Substance to Get You Through the Day

Many addictions start out as simply using a substance occasionally, as the user believes themselves to be in control of their use. As an addiction begins to progress, individuals can begin to rely more heavily on the substance in order to function throughout their day. When a person begins to feel as though they ‘need’ a substance in order to get them through their day, this is a strong signal that an addiction has become a serious condition.

4. You Begin to Value Your Addiction Over All Other Interests

A major indication that an addiction has reached a crisis point is when an individual begins to lose interest in the activities or people which used to provide the largest amount of satisfaction. An artist who was once an avid painter but is no longer interested in making art as a result of their addiction is an example of someone suffering with a serious dependence. If you have begun to prioritize using a particular substance or alcohol above everything else in your life, it’s probably time to seek help.

5. Your Work or Academic Life has Suffered

The start of an addiction is often difficult to notice, as you are able to incorporate using without much change to the rest of your life. However, as an addiction begins to develop into a serious problem, you will likely begin to suffer the effects in other areas of your life. If your work or academic life has been negatively affected as a result of your addiction, it’s a clear sign an intervention may be required.

Continued after infographic: 

10 signs it's time to go to rehab arizona

6. You’ve Been Untruthful About Your Use

Perhaps you believe a friend or family member’s questions about your drug or alcohol use are none of their business, but lying about your use is a signal that you’ve begun to lose control. If you feel the need to be untruthful about your addiction, it’s a sign that you feel the need to hide your use from others. If it wasn’t an addiction, you likely wouldn’t feel ashamed of being honest about it.

7. You’ve Experienced Legal Trouble as a Result of Using

If you’ve had a run-in with the law as a result of your drinking or substance use, it’s a major indication that you have lost control of your behavior and are in need of professional intervention to correct the situation. A DUI, OWI, or public intoxication offense is something to be treated as a wake-up call instead of brushing it aside.

8. You’re Missing Important Events or Obligations

The belief that one’s addiction is only negatively impacting that individual is simply not true. An addictive behavior can have consequences for those close to you as well. Missing your son or daughter’s sporting event or school play in favor of getting high or drinking alcohol is a serious sign that you need help.

9. Quitting on Your Own Hasn’t Worked

Maybe you’ve taken the important step of attempting to quit drinking or using drugs, yet you simply haven’t been able to stick with it. Simply admitting you have a problem and attempting to abstain from a substance on your own is often not enough, as the allure of drugs and alcohol can be too tempting for a person to avoid. Having a supportive environment to detox in and relearn positive coping skills can be the thing a person struggling with addiction needs the most.

10. Family and Friends Let You Know You Need Help

If family or friends have spoken to you recently to let you know their concerns about your drug or alcohol abuse, it’s a clear indication that you have a problem. While it’s certainly not an easy thing to hear, as it can bring on intense feelings of shame and guilt, it’s often what can be needed to motivate a person to seek the help they need.

Sometimes, overcoming addiction on your own simply isn’t possible. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction and are considering your options, contact the caring professionals at Desert Cove Recovery. We offer our clients reliable addiction solutions to get you on the path to recovery.