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:
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.
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.
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.
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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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.
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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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.
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.
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. Continued after video:
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.
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.
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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.
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.
When you decide that you’ve had enough of your addiction and want to get sober, there are things you need to do in order to stay on track. One of those things is to learn how to have fun in sobriety and begin to disassociate having fun with being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
At one point in your life, those two probably went hand in hand, leading you to believe that you can’t have fun without supporting your addiction. As you work towards your sobriety, you’ll learn that there are plenty of activities that can be done and lots of fun to be had without reverting back to your old habits.
Starting on the Path to Sobriety
Part of learning that you can have fun in sobriety is by choosing a rehab program to start the recovery process. When you enter a rehab program you will receive structure and support to handle your addiction. The support will help to keep you on the right track, while the structure of a rehab program will teach you how to cope with recovering from your addiction.
Through group and individual therapy sessions, you can begin to understand the motives that lead to your addiction as well as the behaviors and activities associated with them. As you learn to have fun in sobriety, this is important so that you can avoid those activities and prevent a relapse from happening.
Rehab programs also allow you to meet new people who can help to introduce you to new activities. Having someone to do an activity with you makes it that much more enjoyable. Plus, you’re building friendships with those who can understand what you’re going through because they’re going through the same thing.
As you go through a rehab program you will also gain the clarity and the energy to want to try new activities. When you’re under the influence of drugs and alcohol, all clarity is gone and you barely have the energy to get up in the morning. A rehab program will help to instill healthy habits that will revitalize your mind and body.
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Why it’s Important to Have Fun in Sobriety
Learning to have fun in sobriety is important because learning new activities can help keep your mind off your addiction. You can also associate yourself with a new group of people who don’t believe that you need to feed into your addiction to have fun.
Sobriety does not have to be boring. You can find enjoyment and feel good without being under the influence. Plus, you’ll actually be able to remember the fun you had. Chances are you may not have many memories of the activities you did when you were battling your addiction.
Fun Activities During Sobriety
As you continue on your road to sobriety you need to find activities that are fun for you. Sit down and think about your interests and what you like to do. Do you enjoy outdoor activities? Are you into the arts? Do you like pets? Is there something you’ve always wanted to try but never did? Answering these questions can help you find your new activities. If you’re still searching, here are some ideas to get you started.
Take an art or writing class
Many people in rehab programs find they can express themselves through art or writing. This artistic release gives them an outlet as they work to maintain a sober life.
Take a hike or new gym class
Exercise releases those feel-good endorphins that we all need. Whether it’s a hike in the great outdoors or a new gym class, being active is not only good for the body, but also for the soul. You may also want to try a yoga class to help connect your mind and body. The deep breaths yoga requires can help release your body of toxins and leave you feeling rejuvenated.
If you love pets, why not volunteer at an animal shelter? If not an animal shelter, there are many other places that are always seeking volunteers. This is not only helpful to the recipients but can also make you feel good that you are giving back to the community.
Explore new hobbies
Complete the following sentence, “I’ve also wanted to learn how to _____.” Whatever fills that blank can result in your new hobby. Check in your area to see where you can learn more about your new hobby. Do some research online to see if your activity is something that can be learned over the internet. Many times there are online classes and tutorials that can help.
If you’re ready to get started on your journey to sobriety and learn how to have fun in sobriety, Desert Cove Recovery is here. Call us today to speak to a highly trained member of our staff or fill out an online form. Help is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, year-round.
Approximately 20 percent of people who take Xanax, Valium and other benzodiazepines (benzos) are not using them as directed by their doctor, according to the results of a US survey. The results also show that adults are using this potentially-addictive medication more than twice as often as previously reported.
Nearly 13 percent of those surveyed said they had used benzos within the past 12 months.Studies conducted in 2013-14 estimated that four-six percent of adults were taking them.
What are Benzodiazepines?
Benzodiazepines are prescribed by doctors to treat anxiety and panic attacks, along with insomnia. Drugs in this class commonly produce a sedative effect in patients and can also cause weakness or unsteadiness.
Approximately 25.3 million adults stated they used benzodiazepines as prescribed by their doctor during the past year. The researchers said they were surprised to discover that middle-aged respondents (between ages 50-64) are taking benzodiazepines more often than any other age group. Just over 14 percent reported they had used this class of drugs during the previous year.
Another 5.3 million respondents said they had misused their medications. Misusing a prescription means using it in a way other than directed by a doctor, including taking a higher dose, taking it more often or longer than prescribed.
Benzodiazepine Misuse Common Among Young Adults
Lead researcher Dr. Donovan Maust commented that young adults in the 18-25 age group are most likely to misuse benzodiazepines. He is an assistant professor at the University of Michigan’s Department of Psychiatry. Dr. Maust said that misuse for this type of drug is “as common as prescription use,” which he described as being disturbing.
Overdose Deaths due to Benzos “Snowballed” in Last 10 Years
These survey results, which were published in the journal Psychiatric Services, are similar to reports released earlier in 2018 which warned that overdose deaths related to benzodiazepines have snowballed over the past decade. The overdose rate coincides with a steady increase in prescription rates for this class of drugs.
Benzodiazepine-related overdoses increased sevenfold in the years 1999-2015, jumping from 1,135 to 8,791 deaths. These figures originally appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine (February 2018).
For those suffering from addiction, it can seem like there is no hope for recovery. The prevalence of alcohol, prescription, and recreational drug abuse & addiction has continued to rise for years, making the illness affect more people than ever. As one of the leading causes of preventable death in the United States, it’s clear that getting those in need the help they deserve is crucial to the well-being of the nation.
Fortunately, with the help of trustworthy and reliable rehabilitation facilities, there is hope. Rehabilitation programs are available that help sufferers to kick their addiction, recover from the damage it caused, and move on to a healthier drug-free life. However, rehab isn’t a one-size-fits-all kind of treatment – you will have to find the right approach for your situation.
There are a wide array of addiction treatment centers nationwide, each with their own personal philosophy, procedure, and treatments. There are two main treatment methods – 12-step rehab programs or non-12-step rehab programs. While sorting through all the possible rehab centers is not easy, perhaps the best way to begin is to decide which methodology best suits you and your personal circumstances.
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How Do the 12-Steps Work?
Easily the most common approach to addiction treatment, the traditional 12-step program focuses on self-help and community-driven treatment through meetings, peer counseling, and other social forms of therapy. Depending on whether the program is being administered in a rehab center or through a public venue meetup, the specifics of the treatment will vary but most programs emphasize 3 things: acceptance, social responsibility, and commitment.
The 12-step program is not necessarily a scientific approach to treating addiction, but rather a spiritual or philosophical approach that focuses on accepting that you have a problem you cannot control alone, being willing to accept help from others, and committing to improving your situation through regular participation. They leverage social responsibility and emphasize the community as a whole as a motivator to help yourself to help those around you.
Many 12-step programs are often religious in nature and those who are religious themselves may more greatly benefit from the approach, but nonreligious users have had success as well.
What Does 12-Step Rehab Offer?
While traditional 12-step rehab follows a specific set of teachings, you’re more likely to find hybrid programs that are influenced by the 12 steps instead of following them exactly. Treatment centers like Desert Cove Recovery often employ an array of treatment options to supplement the 12 steps, including one-on-one therapy sessions with an addiction therapist, mental health treatment to address underlying causes of addiction, and other holistic approaches while helping you to find acceptance, peace, and love with the guidance of the 12 steps.
Desert Cove Recovery 12-step rehab program teaches patients that nobody is perfect, and everyone makes mistakes. Addiction can make the user feel powerless, but self-improvement and salvation are always possible with the courage & motivation to admit your faults and resign yourself to a higher power. Once you’ve achieved acceptance, you can proceed to make amends with those you have wronged and continue your healthy habits to lead a sober lifestyle, encouraging others to do the same by guiding & sponsoring others who are struggling.
What Are the Alternatives to 12-Step Rehab?
Many treatment programs move away from a social therapy focus and implement individualized evidence-based treatments along with group-based options to support them. They focus on the individual while sometimes incorporating the community, emphasizing personal responsibility for your actions and working to improve yourself as a whole. Some of these programs may be religious, while others are not.
One of the primary examples of alternative treatment options is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), which focuses on addressing what thoughts or feelings cause the need to abuse drugs or alcohol. Another is pharmacotherapy, which uses medication to curb the withdrawal effects of kicking an addiction to make the recovery process safer and easier. Both of these treatments are conducted by trained medical professionals, making them both safe.
Comparing Rehab Program Options
As stated previously, there are a variety of different treatment approaches available for treating addiction. Most facilities will have their own unique implementation of the 12 steps, incorporating their personal philosophies to offer more comprehensive care.
The 12-step program is community-driven treatment that focuses on group therapy, building a community, and helping yourself through helping others. The program itself implements an overarching set of guidelines that can be applied to many cases of addiction in order to begin healing. Rather than addressing the cause of the addiction, users are encouraged to resign to their addiction, make amends for their wrongdoings, and start over by living a clean life. Some programs will include other therapies, as is the case at Desert Cove Recovery, however, some other 12-step based rehabs rely solely on the 12 steps as a basis of treatment. The focus upon community, acceptance and primary interaction with other people in a similar situation can be a great source of comfort and strength for many sufferers who feel that they cannot fight their illness alone.
Non-12-step program treatments usually focus on the individual, emphasizing self-care, addressing flaws, and improving on any shortcomings directly rather than starting over. Many programs may also take a holistic approach to treatment, treating the body, mind, and spirit of the individual based on their specific needs and situation. The focus upon the ‘root’ of a person’s is designed to find a way out of the addictive cycle by addressing the fundamental personal, mental and physical circumstances that lead to an individual’s illness. This can be a longer, less uniform approach to recovery that requires fundamental changes in a person’s life and relationships.
Level of Care
The standard 12-step program does not prioritize formal individualized therapy. Instead in many cases they will assign a sponsor or partner to each member, with their partner acting as their primary support system. These sponsors and partners are often recovering or have recovered themselves, and don’t necessarily have professional experience or qualifications. They do however often have an affinity and understanding of the trials and obstacles that must be faced and overcome in the journey from addiction to recovery. Many people in rehab find a great deal of solace and comfort in this relationship.
Non-12-step programs usually include heavy individualized therapy treatment, often with group therapy as a secondary point. Patients in these programs will likely meet with a therapist or psychiatrist to address their personal situation, address any triggers for the addiction, and build a personalized treatment plan.
As they are not unique to the individual, 12-step programs have had their effectiveness questioned. Dr. Lance Dodes, a retired assistant clinical professor of psychiatry estimates that 12-step programs only have a 5-10 percent success rate (source). This is because programs like Alcoholics Anonymous – the most famous implementation of the 12-step process – are one-size-fits-all in their approach. Such programs do however have a large volume of participants across the US and have been helping people with addiction since the 1930s. Their positive impact upon individuals and communities is difficult to ignore.
Due to the wide variety in different non-12-step programs, it is hard to calculate the success rate of treatment. However, cognitive behavioral therapy – one of the most popular non-12-step forms of treating addiction, was shown to be 60% effective at keeping patients who abused cocaine clean over a 1-year period, according to a study by RA Rawson of the University of California. (source)
Cost & Availability
Traditional 12-step rehab programs like Alcoholics Anonymous are volunteer-run and open to the public, making them entirely free and relatively easily available. Hybrid 12-step rehab programs are often offered at addiction treatment facilities and need to be paid for, making them not free, but usually available depending on your location.
Non-12-step programs are often run by licensed professionals and individualized, primarily requiring an appointment or reservation to be seen or admitted. They can be costly depending on the specifics of the individual program, but many insurance plans cover treatment like cognitive behavioral therapy and others to a certain degree. The availability of these programs depends on the type of program you are seeking and your location, but they are usually available enough that you will likely be able to find treatment near you.
Choosing a Rehab That Offers the Best of Both Worlds
The key to addiction treatment is comprehensive and versatile care. Both 12-step and non-12 step methodologies provide routes to recovery. Recently there has been a growth in programs that combine the communal benefits of 12-step programs with targeted individual treatment methods such as CBT. Studies have shown that combining the 12-steps program with newer target methodologies such as CBT can lead to much higher recovery success rates.
At Desert Cove Recovery, we seek to utilize the benefits of both these processes. Our licensed treatment facility offers specialized treatment with a holistic approach that allows us to treat your body, mind, and spirit by integrating the 12-step program into our proven techniques and treatments. We’ve been helping people to beat their addictions and live happier, healthier lives drug-free. If you’re struggling with addiction but are ready to change your life for the better, we’d love to be your guides on the path to recovery. To learn more, give us a call.
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