Tag Archives: Addiction

effect of sugar in addiction recovery process

Effect of Sugar In Addiction Recovery Process

Effect of Sugar In Addiction Recovery Process

It’s long been a common practice to help those recovering from an addiction to using replacement therapy. For instance, when assisting smokers in quitting, practitioners will often prescribe low-doses of nicotine products to wean someone off of cigarettes altogether eventually. This is sometimes even a practice in alcohol use disorders, with the ultimate goal to be abstaining from alcohol altogether. It’s also not uncommon to use sugar in addiction recovery, as it’s often thought to be a harmless replacement.

But what happens when we try to replace one addiction with another substance? It may be as highly addictive, but seemingly innocuous when compared to alcohol or drug misuse and addiction. Are you, in effect, creating a new dependency when you use sugar in addiction recovery? There has been a log of research on the connection between sugar and addictive behaviors. If you’re looking for sobriety, sugar is most likely not the best recovery plan.

Sugar In Addiction Recovery: Rewarding Surviving

There’s a fair amount of research available about the effects of sugar on your brain. Dopamine is a ‘feel-good’ chemical that is released in your body when you experience something pleasurable. It’s released when you eat food you enjoy, engage in sexual activity, enjoy music at a favorite concert, and even when you participate in drug use. Dopamine makes you feel good, and research suggests that eating sugary foods produces dopamine in your body. Your brain uses dopamine as a reward for reinforcing behaviors that it believes are important to survival. Some of these behaviors are eating foods in high protein for nutrition, sexual activity for procreation, etc. In essence, the dopamine is an encouragement chemical so that you continue engaging in the behavior.

Unfortunately, that dopamine release happens regardless of whether an activity or substance is good for us. Research has found high-levels of dopamine may lead to increased risk-taking behavior. When it comes to the effect of sugar in addiction recovery, it can lead to unhealthy body habits, obesity, diabetes, and more.

Sugar can be as much as eight times as addictive as cocaine is. So, when you replace alcohol with sugar, you may just be replacing one dangerous addiction with another.

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Effect of Sugar in Addiction Recovery Process

How Sugar And Alcohol Are Connected

Lou Lebentz is a specialist in addiction, trauma, eating disorders, and addictions. She says that replacing alcohol with sugar is dangerous because alcohol is sugar and hits the same part of the brain that alcohol does. Because it also causes the release of dopamine, like alcohol, sugar can cause you to crave more. This can cause you to continually try to keep up with the reward center in your brain for that ‘high’ that comes with both alcohol consumption and sugar intake.

She also says that nutritionally speaking, sugar is not beneficial in any way. It has no nutritional content, and it is thought to be toxic to your body. She believes it can be especially dangerous for someone who suffers from alcohol misuse or addiction because you already have an overworked liver. Since sugar is part fructose, your body processes it in the liver. Lebentz says that there is a global epidemic of Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver Disease (NAFLD), and she believes that this is because of the consumption of sugar. NAFLD can cause cirrhosis of the liver, just as alcohol misuse can, so replacing alcohol with sugar can still do similar damage to your body.

Desperately Seeking Sugar

When you want to achieve sobriety, you don’t want to do so by creating a new addiction. If you meet your cravings with sugar, you may inadvertently be creating a new dependency to maintain similar ‘high’ feelings. It’s natural for your brain to crave that euphoric feeling, but you don’t want to replace one addiction with another to recreate it. There are other ways to achieve sobriety without using sugar in the addiction recovery process. Desert Cove Recovery can help you do so in a holistic approach that treats your physical and emotional cravings.

You can achieve long-term sobriety without replacing one addiction for a different addiction. Desert Cove Recovery’s alcohol recovery program is individualized to treat your mind, body, and spirit. Desert Cove Recovery knows that you need a customized plan to help you recover from alcohol misuse. They compassionately employ an effective 12-step program combined with individualized and group therapies to address the roots of your addiction, as well as healthy strategies for battling it.

Create New Healthy Habits, Not New Addictions

Desert Cove Recovery’s facilities are in beautiful Scottsdale, Arizona. It’s an intimate setting that allows you to be serious about your sobriety and focus on getting healthy, not creating new habits and addictions that are not good for you.

Most importantly, alcohol addiction prevents you from living the life you were meant to live. Though it’s easily accessible and perhaps not as socially isolating, sugar in addiction recovery can chain you down in a different way. Desert Cove Recovery has the experience you need to help you break the bonds of addiction.

If you’re struggling with addiction, contact Desert Cove Recovery. They’re waiting to walk with you on the path to full sobriety and freedom.

Outpatient Addiction Rehabs Arizona

Outpatient Addiction Rehabs Arizona

Outpatient Addiction Rehabs Arizona

When you or someone you love has an addiction problem, realizing the need for help is the first and most challenging step. Once you admit you have a problem and commit to getting help, you must choose the right rehab program for you. Since each person’s addiction is different, their path to recovery will also be unique. Some patients benefit from inpatient rehab while others see better results with outpatient addiction rehabs Arizona. Let’s take a look at what someone should expect and what they should look for in an outpatient rehab center.

What Can I Expect from Outpatient Addiction Rehabs Arizona?

Unlike rehab programs where people live at a treatment facility, outpatient programs allow individuals to live at their homes and come to a facility for treatment. If you’re thinking of exploring this route, you can expect the following as you enter a program:

Be prepared to answer questions.

For rehab to be successful, those treating you need to know as much about you and your addiction as possible. Answering questions about how often you drink or use drugs is a must. If you’re not honest, you can’t expect to see great results. Before you enter an outpatient program, you will also be asked to take a drug test and complete a physical exam.

Be prepared to talk about what led to your addiction.

You need to be willing to open up and talk about any issues that may have led you to abuse drugs or alcohol. Many times the root of the addiction needs to be tackled so that you can get sober and learn to live a sober life.

Learn how to set boundaries.

In an inpatient rehab facility, you are essentially “closed off” to the rest of the world and the temptations that exist. In an outpatient addiction rehab setting, you may still encounter temptations.

An effective outpatient addiction rehab will teach you to effectively set boundaries that will help you as you navigate sobriety. Limiting the time you spend with certain people and in certain places may have to be one of those boundaries.
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What are the Benefits of Outpatient Addiction Rehab?

There are many benefits to choosing outpatient addiction rehab. Besides many outpatient programs being less expensive than in-house programs, you can also benefit in these ways:

You can continue your routine. You don’t need to take time off of work or school to get help. Many people still go to work or school every day and get the treatments they need. Maintaining a routine can help you to make the transition to sobriety easier because you learn to balance the real world with your road to sobriety at the same time.

You can get the support of family and friends. Getting sober takes a lot of support from family and friends. With outpatient rehab, that support can be available daily.

You may have more privacy. You won’t have to take off large amounts of time from work to attend outpatient rehab. So, you don’t need to explain your situation to your employer if you don’t want to. You can be discreet as you go to rehab if you choose.

Get the Help You Need

The need for outpatient addiction rehab centers is great in Arizona as statistics rank Arizona 8th for states with the largest drug problem. Desert Cove Recovery provides excellent outpatient addiction rehab that individuals need to get sober and to live a sober life.

Desert Cove Recovery realizes that every patient’s addiction is different, so every person’s recovery plan must be unique as well. There is an Intensive Outpatient Program available that includes group sessions as well as one-on-one sessions. Due to Desert Cove Recovery’s location in Scottsdale, Arizona, patients can take advantage of equine therapy, which has shown to reduce stress and addiction triggers.

If you’re ready to begin your path to sobriety, call Desert Cove Recovery today.

Long-term Dental Study to Determine Whether OTC Meds as Effective as Opioids

Long-term Dental Study to Determine Whether OTC Meds as Effective as Opioids

Rutgers University School of Dentistry will be heading a long-term study looking at whether non-addictive pain medications (acetaminophen and ibuprofen – OTC meds) are as effective as opioids after dental work. The National Institute of Health will be spending close to $12 million to fund the research, which will take place over several years and involve approximately 1,800 of the dental school’s patients.

Potential for Abuse Present with Opioids

Dr. Joseph Wineman, the former president of the Southern Nevada Dental Association, said he hopes the study will lead to some useful results. He noted that “[O]pioids always present the potential for prescription abuse.”

Dr. Wineman used the example of a patient who will find that one tablet isn’t providing the expected level of pain relief. That patient will then take five tablets, thinking that if one isn’t working “properly,” then increasing the dose must be the right solution.

He also stated that even the most painful dental procedures shouldn’t open up the door to drug dependency. Dr. Wineman said that having wisdom teeth removed shouldn’t be the cause of drug addiction unless a patient “goes overboard” and takes all the medication they have.

Dentists Talk to Patients About Pain Management & OTC Meds

The University of Las Vegas School of Dentistry teaches students and residents how to communicate with patients about appropriate pain management following common procedures such as tooth extractions, root canals or oral surgery. Part of the dentist’s scope of practice includes interviewing the patient and evaluating their level of pain, according to Dr. John Gallob, the Director of Faculty Dental Practice. He says that when pain medication is used appropriately, the likelihood of a dental patient becoming addicted is “incredibly rare.”

Dr. Wineman pointed out that dentists can check the Pharmacy Management Program (PMP) to ensure that a patient isn’t abusing potentially addictive pain medications. The PMP will tell the dentist whether their patient already has a prescription for opioids and if he recently picked up one for a certain number of pills. The dentist can prescribe pain medication for the dental procedure accordingly.

ADA Policy Recommends Non-opioid Pain Medications

Since 2011, the American Dental Association (ADA) has worked with its members to raise awareness about the potential harm that opioids can cause to dental patients and their families. It states that a growing number of studies support its policy that dentists should consider prescribing non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), either on their own or in combination with acetaminophen, as opposed to opioids as the first choice for acute pain management.

Colorado Doctors Trying Medication to Respond to Meth Addiction Crisis

Colorado Doctors Trying Medication to Respond to Meth Addiction Crisis

With the opioid crisis taking up so much space in popular media, it’s been easy to forget about other illicit drugs affecting people’s lives. In Colorado, methamphetamine (meth) use is widespread, due to its easy availability and inexpensive cost.

Heroin Users Switching to Meth

Some heroin users are switching to methamphetamine as their drug of choice, believing that they can’t overdose on meth or other stimulants. This is absolutely untrue, according to Lisa Raville, the executive director of the Denver’s Harm Reduction Center, which operates the city’s needle exchange program. She wants clients who come through her program to understand the risks associated with meth use.

Denver law enforcement has reported a total of 1,468 arrests on possession charges in 2018. This figure represents a 217 percent jump in similar charges since 2014. Jason Dunn, the state’s US. attorney commented that while there has been some progress on the opioid front, “we’re still losing ground on the methamphetamine front.”

CO Doctors Using MAT for Meth Addiction

To combat this problem, Colorado doctors are turning to MAT (medication-assisted treatment). This approach uses a combination of specific drugs, such as Naltrexone, to help control a client’s cravings and other withdrawal symptoms, and talk therapy (individual and group) to treat the addiction.

MAT is a standard treatment for opioid addiction. Doctors are starting to use this method to treat those addicted to methamphetamines as well. Naltrexone and another medication, Vivitrol, haven’t been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat meth addiction yet, although a number of patients who have tried it report positive results.

Health Risks of Methamphetamine Use

Meth is a very powerful stimulant and even in small doses, it can lead to decreased appetite as well as increased alertness and physical activity. It also affects the user’s cardiovascular system and may lead to a number of health issues, such as:

• Rapid heart rate
• Increased blood pressure
• Irregular heart rate

In an overdose, the person may experience elevated body temperature (hyperthermia) or convulsions. This is a medical emergency requiring immediate treatment.

With long-term use, users need to take more of the drug, take it more often or change their method of use to get the sense of euphoria they are seeking. They may also have difficulty feeling pleasure unless they use meth, which may lead to even more drug use. Withdrawal symptoms occur when someone who is a chronic user of the drug stops taking it. These symptoms include fatigue, anxiety, and depression, along with intense cravings for the drug.

 

FDA Proposes New Rules for Opioid Manufacturers, New Drugs to be Less Addictive

FDA Proposes New Rules for Opioid Manufacturers, New Drugs to be Less Addictive

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is proposing that rules for opioid manufacturers be tightened to make new drugs less addictive. The Agency’s Acting Commissioner Ned Sharpless withdrew the previous guidelines and introduced a new framework for evaluating new opioids coming onto the US market.

Under the new proposal, drug manufacturers would have to state directly whether their medication has “any characteristics that would mitigate the risks of overdose, abuse or the development of addiction.”

Drug Companies Would Have to be More Transparent About Risks

The FDA has also stated that companies should state clearly whether their product has new or greater risks compared to other opioid pain medications on the market. The companies should also record whether their product presents any public health implications to non-patients, including members of the patient’s household and visitors to the home.

The Trump administration has vowed to crack down on illicit opioid use. More than 130 people lose their lives each day from an opioid overdose. In 2017, approximately 47,000 people died due to opioid misuse, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Opioid Crisis Priority for FDA

In a statement, Mr. Sharpless said that addressing the opioid crisis is an important issue for the US and that it remains a “top public health priority” for the FDA. He went on to say that the agency is taking new measures to take on the crisis, while also paying attention to the needs of patients who need access to pain management.

About 1,600 civil cases brought against opioid manufacturers are being consolidated and transferred to a judge in Ohio’s Northern District. The cases include one involving Purdue Pharma, the maker of OxyContin. In April, a former CEO of Rochester Cooperative was indicted. Prosecutors say this is the first time an executive of a drug company has faced criminal charges related to the opioid epidemic.

The FDA has admitted that this class of drugs “presents unique challenges” because they help relieve patients’ pain but they also have the potential for considerable harm if they are abused.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

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

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

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

What Causes Alcohol Withdrawal?

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

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

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

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

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms: What to Expect

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

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

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

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

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

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Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

What to Expect Next?

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

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

Get Help with Safe Alcohol Withdrawal

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

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

ways to overcome stress in addiction recovery

Ways to Overcome Stress in Addiction Recovery

Ways to Overcome Stress in Addiction Recovery

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

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

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

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

Keep a Stress Journal

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

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

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

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

Examine Your Coping Skills

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

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

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ways to overcome stress in addiction recovery

Get Your 30 Minutes of Exercise

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

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

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

Socialize with Friends

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

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

Get a Better Quality of Sleep

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

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

Laughter is Still the Best Medicine

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

Successful Stress Management

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

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

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

 

 

 

 

comparing behavioral addiction and substance addiction

A Comparison of Behavioral Addiction and Substance Addiction

A Comparison of Behavioral Addiction and Substance Addiction

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

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

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

The Dangers of Addiction

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

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

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

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A Comparison of Behavioral Addiction and Substance Addiction

Behavioral Addiction

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

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

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

Substance Addiction

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

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

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

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

Treating Behavioral Addiction and Substance Addiction with Rehabilitation

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

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

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

quit drinking for good

You Can Quit Drinking for Good

You Can Quit Drinking for Good

Many alcoholics may have trouble admitting they have a drinking problem because alcohol is socially accepted as opposed to other drugs that lead to addiction. But, statistics show that one in eight Americans is an alcoholic. That amounts to more than 12 percent of the U.S. population. Knowing that excessive drinking is a problem many people face can help someone get the help they need to quit drinking for good. Admitting there is a problem is the first step; one that can be the most difficult to face.

Why It Can Be Difficult to Quit Drinking for Good

Once you admit you have a drinking problem, the next step is to seek help. If you think you can do this alone, you may want to reconsider. Many people try it on their own and run into one or more of these issues that prevent them from quitting drinking.

Long-term alcohol use affects brain chemistry

When you decide you want to stop drinking, it’s not as easy as just making a conscious decision. When you use alcohol for a long period of time, your brain chemistry changes leaving you feeling as though you need alcohol to function. Professionals know how to safely handle withdrawal symptoms as you detox from alcohol.

You may experience severe withdrawal symptoms

When people try to quit drinking on their own, they may experience withdrawal symptoms they can’t handle on their own. These can include nausea, vomiting, trembling, anxiety, and much more. At an alcohol rehab program, professionals can determine how to help you detox from alcohol and deal with withdrawal symptoms in a safe way so that you’re not tempted to drink again.
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Alcohol is socially accepted

Unlike drugs, which are illegal, alcohol is legal and socially accepted. If you’re out with friends or at a party, you may be offered a drink or two by people who don’t realize you have an addiction. While they may be able to stop at that point, it’s different for you. If you are trying to quit on your own and are offered alcohol while you’re out, quitting can become increasingly difficult.

How Rehab Can Help for Long-Term Recovery

If you have realized you have an alcohol problem and are ready to seek the help you need to live a sober life, extended care rehab can help. Many people have the misconception that alcohol rehab programs solely consist of AA meetings. While meetings can be part of the recovery process, they are not the entire process. Since everyone’s addiction is treated differently, so is everyone’s recovery.

When you seek help, you will first be evaluated to see if detox is necessary. No other therapy can begin until your body is free from the substance you’ve become addicted to. Professionals at the rehab facility will assure that your detox is medically monitored and that any withdrawal symptoms are dealt with safely by a medical team.

From that point, the course of your treatment will be determined. Some people do well in shortened programs, depending on their level of addiction, while others need more time to sort through their issues and start living a sober life. Whichever category you fall into is perfectly fine. The important thing is that you are now seeking the help you need. Everything else will begin to fall into place as long as you are following the steps of your program and putting in the work that is necessary to succeed.

In order to help you recover, you will likely go through therapy sessions to help you determine what led to your addiction. This is an important part of the recovery process because you need to learn what triggers to avoid, or how to deal with those triggers should you not be able to completely avoid them, in order to get well.

Often times hearing other people’s stories through group sessions can help people recover because they realize they are truly not alone. Knowing that there are other people who are going through the same thing at the same time can be comforting. It can also help to build new friendships and bonds with people who have the same goals.

How Extended Care Rehab Can Help

For some people, short term programs are enough, but for others, extended care rehab is needed. This will be determined by your clinician. The benefits of extended care rehab are that you can work on physical and body issues to help with your recovery. These areas may not be entirely addressed during a regular rehab stay.

At Desert Cove Recovery extended care recovery programs are available to those who need it. During this program, you can expect individual therapy sessions where a therapist will address your issues one-on-one. There are also group therapy sessions available as well as a relapse prevention program that will focus specifically on how to maintain your sobriety.

The final part of the process relies on the transition process to help you succeed out in the world once you leave the program. Once you do leave, you may still attend meetings from time to time on an outpatient basis.

If you’re ready to start your path to recovery, contact Desert Cove Recovery today. One of our caring staff members will answer your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also fill out an online form to get in contact with our team. They will help you to begin living a sober 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.”