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sober during holidays

Staying Sober During the Holidays

Avoiding Relapse During the Holidays

The holiday season is upon us once again. This time of year brings about many joyful opportunities for gathering together with friends and family members to enjoy food, fun, and laughter. However, for many who were once addicted to alcohol or other substances, the holiday season can prove to be a difficult time as well.

It can be difficult for many people who were once addicted to harmful substances to remain sober during a time when stress and many temptations abound. However, with a plan of action in place, it is possible to fight off temptations and remain sober during this trying time of year. The following tips have been gathered to help you remain sober during the holidays and get your new year off to the best and healthiest start.

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What Makes the Holiday Season Difficult for Many People in Recovery

The holiday season is something many people look forward to. It is a time of excitement, cheer, and happiness for most of us. However, there are certain things about this time of year that can trigger a person in recovery to drink or use a substance again. These temptations might include the following triggers or events.

Added Stress During the Holidays

Shopping for gifts for loved ones, making last minute travel plans, and having a house full of loud relatives can add to the already present stress of everyday life. Add in grocery shopping and cooking an elaborate meal for close friends and family and you have the recipe for a very stressful period of time. Handling stress and not letting it build up is an important part of maintaining control of the situation and your reaction to the events that occur. Sometimes controlling how you react to the situation is all you can do, so it’s vital to have proper ways in which to manage stress to help prevent relapse.

Running into Negative Associates

Whenever someone who is addicted to alcohol or other substances seeks proper treatment, part of the recovery plan usually involves creating a new circle of friends and avoiding those they once abused substances with. While attending holiday parties and other gatherings, it is possible that you may run into people you once spent time with when you were actively abusing alcohol or other substances. For many people, this may bring back memories that can create a strong desire to engage in those negative behaviors once again. Having a plan in place for proper ways to handle these temptations before they occur is an important part of triumphing over them.

Temptations at Gatherings

Holiday parties and gatherings usually include both food and alcohol. Just the mere presence of alcohol can be a reminder of the sensations you experienced when you were consuming it regularly. Therefore, it is important to realize ahead of time that these types of gatherings will almost always include alcohol. A support system that you can rely on to distract you from temptations can be helpful. Knowing your limits and weaknesses can also be beneficial. If you feel being confronted with the temptation of alcohol at parties will be too strong, it may be best to avoid attending them at all.

Tips for Remaining Sober During the Holidays

Having a proper plan in place for dealing with the previously mentioned temptations is an important part of overcoming them. The following tips can give you a good idea of different ways to start formulating a plan for remaining sober this holiday season.

Keep Your Distance from Negative Locations or People

Bumping into people you once spent time with while you were engaging in destructive patterns of drinking could potentially set off emotions that can create temptations to drink again. If you know the areas that these people tend to gather, it is best to avoid them altogether. It is even better if you can arrange to spend time with new friends that help you fight the temptations to drink.

Create New and Healthy Traditions

Replacing old patterns of destructive behavior with new and healthy holiday traditions can help you overcome memories and fight off temptations to engage in these actions again. Starting new traditions will give you something exciting to look forward to each holiday season as you create new memories with your loved ones.

Attend Support Meetings or Groups

Support groups can be a huge blessing during the holiday season. It can be very helpful to associate with others who have overcome their addictions just like you. These individuals know firsthand how hard it can be to fight off temptations during the holidays. Their empathy and understanding can go far towards helping you feel a level of support that will prove encouraging all season long.

Create a Network of Support

Creating a strong network of individuals who understand the temptations this season can create will be beneficial for you as well. Knowing their support is just a phone call away can offer the strength and peace of mind you need to have confidence in your ability to remain sober.

Get Adequate Sleep

Adequate sleep, along with the support provided by nutritious foods and moderate exercise, can go a long way toward strengthening your resolve to stay sober. Sleep deprivation, while common during this time of the year, can weaken your resolve to decline tempting activities, events, or invitations. Taking care of the physical needs of your body and mind is an important part of remaining emotionally strong.

Start the New Year in Continued Recovery

You fought long and hard to break free from the chains of alcohol addiction. You probably attended a treatment program, completely changed many aspects of your life, and endured the difficult time of detoxing your body from the effects of alcohol abuse. Remember the things that you have gone through and how hard you have fought to achieve sobriety. Keeping this journey fresh in your mind can help you fight temptations and remain strong this holiday season and all the ones still to come.

never drinking again

Another Sunday of “Never Drinking Again?”

Spending Another Saturday or Sunday Hungover? Weekend Binge-Drinking Is a Serious Issue

“Ugh, I feel awful. I’m never drinking again.”

How many times have you mumbled something similar after waking up with a hangover? You have good intentions when you claim you’re never going to drink again, so you believe your declaration of sobriety. Unfortunately, you find yourself dealing with the hangover/hungover cycle again next weekend…and the weekend after that.

It doesn’t have to be like this. You can break your weekend binge-drinking habit with help from supportive, compassionate people who understand your situation.

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What is binge drinking?

Binge drinking refers to heavy drinking that quickly raises a man or woman’s blood-alcohol content (BAC) to a percentage of 0.08 grams or higher. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this usually occurs when a woman has more than 4 alcoholic beverages or a man has more than 5 alcoholic drinks in a 2-hour period.

Binge drinking is common at parties, bars, and events centered around alcohol. Some adults mindlessly consume multiple drinks as they socialize, dance, or snack on appetizers. Other folks intentionally down alcoholic beverages during drinking games, such as beer pong or Quarters.

Does binge drinking each weekend make me an alcoholic?

Not all binge drinkers are alcoholics. The CDC states that approximately 90% of heavy drinkers do not have an alcohol use disorder. (Alcoholism is an example of an alcohol use disorder.) However, that does leave approximately 10% of heavy drinkers that DO have an alcohol use disorder.

Why is binge drinking bad?

There are numerous risks associated with excessive alcohol consumption, including:

  • Vehicular crashes
  • Abnormal and/or inappropriate behavior
  • Injuries
  • Alcohol poisoning

Drinking heavily may lower your inhibitions, making you more likely to engage in activities you would normally avoid. Some potential side effects of excessive drinking, such as liver damage and memory issues, may not appear immediately.

Can a teen have a binge-drinking problem?

Binge drinking affects people of all ages, including teens and preteens. One out of every 5 drinkers are under the age of 21, and 13% of underage drinkers admit they have had recent episodes of binge drinking.

What should I do if someone I love is a weekend binge drinker?

It’s difficult to watch a loved one battle hangovers or other unwanted side effects caused by binge drinking. If you’re concerned about a loved one’s drinking, don’t lecture her or criticize her actions. Invite her to attend alcohol-free events with you, and let her know that you’re happy to lend an ear if she ever wants to talk about her drinking. Don’t press the issue; you don’t want to push your loved one away.

How do I know if I’m drinking too much?

Ask trusted friends or family members how they feel about your drinking, but keep in mind that some loved ones may sugarcoat potential issues to avoid conflict. Make a list of how your drinking affects your life. It may help to track what, how much, and when you drink on a calendar.

After tracking your alcohol consumption, do you notice a pattern of hangovers, fights with your significant other, or missed shifts at work? These are all signs that your weekend drinking habits are impacting your life in a negative way.

If I have a problem with binge drinking, does that mean I have to give up drinking forever?

This is a common concern that people who consider giving up alcohol completely. It’s difficult to imagine an alcohol-free life, especially if your social outings or business meetings frequently involve alcoholic beverages or if those around you would not be willing to cut out alcohol during gatherings.

Some binge drinkers become dependent on alcohol, so they decide it’s best to adopt a sober lifestyle. There are also people who successfully modify their drinking habits without permanently giving up alcohol. An alcohol abuse specialist can help you decide if you should limit or eliminate alcohol consumption.

You can have fun without alcohol, but adjusting to sobriety takes time. If you decide to quit drinking, make sure you surround yourself with encouraging people who support your path toward sobriety. You deserve a happy, healthy and rewarding life.

happy life not hungover

recognize opioid overdose

How to Recognize an Opioid Overdose

Recognizing an Overdose Early Can Save a Life

It is a sad but true fact that opiate addiction has been steadily on the rise since the early 2000s. This means that the rates of overdose have also been steadily climbing. In fact, the problem has become so widespread that law enforcement and medical professionals are labeling it an epidemic.

The World Health Organization estimates that at least 69,000 people across the globe die from opiate overdoses each year. To help curb this number, we believe it is important that everyone is educated about this class of drugs as well as the symptoms and how to help someone who may be experiencing an overdose. Continue reading to find out how opioids affect a person, how to recognize an opioid overdose, and what steps to take to help save someone’s life. 

What is an Opioid?

Opioids are a category of painkillers that include well-known drugs such as heroin, morphine, OxyContin, Vicodin, methadone and tramadol. Due to the nature of these drugs, it is easy to become dependent on them if a person is not under careful medical supervision.

Most often, these types of drugs are given to people who have serious surgeries, significant injuries or chronic pain, but substances like heroin are most often introduced on the streets, sometimes when a person is unable to get more of their prescribed opioids.

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recognize opioid overdhose

How Do Opioids Affect a Person?

Opiates bind to certain receptors in the brain that help to block pain signals and make the user feel relaxed. When used in a managed setting, they are excellent tools for people who suffer from intense pain.

Issues arise when people take too much at once or begin to use the drugs as a way to escape from real life.

How to Recognize an Opioid Overdose

There are several telltale signs that a person is experiencing an opioid overdose.

Physical signs include:

  • Slowed breathing
  • Bluish tint around fingernails or lips
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Vomiting or painful constipation
  • Inability to be woken from sleep
  • Slow or irregular heartbeat
  • Cold or clammy skin
  • Unusual paleness
  • Extreme mood swings
  • Confusion or drunken behavior

If you encounter someone with these symptoms, it is critical to contact emergency medical services right away because the person’s life is in immediate danger. Opiate overdoses can kill a person quickly, so every moment counts.

How to Help Someone Who Has Overdosed

Though you should immediately call 911 when you recognize an overdose, there are steps you can take to assist the person until help arrives.

If the person is unconscious, roll him or her to one side. This helps prevent people from choking if they vomit while unconscious. If the person is still conscious, do your best to keep the person talking to you and don’t let him or her fall asleep. Because these drugs slow breathing functions, allowing an overdosed person to fall asleep can lead to cessation of breathing.

Don’t leave the person alone if you can help it. A conscious person will be delirious and can easily get into a dangerous situation, and an unconscious person may stop breathing. If left unattended, you won’t be able to administer rescue breathing if necessary.

There is also a treatment for these overdoses called naloxone. This is something that emergency rooms have used for many years to help reverse these types of overdoses, especially heroin-related ones. Due to the dramatic increase in overdose deaths, however, it is now common for emergency medical personnel and even caregivers to carry naloxone with them.

Naloxone comes in nasal spray and injectable forms and can give the overdosed person up to an hour’s respite from overdose symptoms. This does not stop the overdose permanently, so it is still important to call emergency responders to give the person lifesaving medical treatment. In addition, following an overdose, the person will likely require some sort of opioid addiction treatment to ensure that they don’t use heroin or other opioids again once they have recovered from the overdose.

Encountering an opioid overdose can be a frightening experience, but learning how to recognize the signs and give assistance can save lives.

google addiction treatment

Google Stops Addiction Treatment Sponsored Results

There have been stories in the news recently about Google making the decision to halt addiction treatment advertising. This may have slipped under your radar, or you may have noticed and figured that Google knew what they were doing since there have been reports of non-reputable rehabs also in the news. Unfortunately, Google didn’t only stop the ads from rehabs that aren’t legit. Google has instead stopped ALL addiction treatment center advertising, making it more difficult for a person looking for help to find it.

We agree that Google needed to make a change. There needs to be a better process for all medical advertising, but stopping all addiction treatment advertising during what people are calling an opioid epidemic was not the answer. More than 90 American die EACH day from an opioid overdose. Halting ads from reputable facilities that can help with this opioid crisis is not the way to help. Even worse, Google is continuing to sell advertisements to the pharmaceutical manufacturers that some are blaming the opioid problem on.

We need your help. Please sign the change.org petition to Google asking them to allow addiction treatment centers to advertise so that when someone looks for help, they can find it. If you would like more information, please visit FullCirlceSEM.com for the full story.

At Desert Cove Recovery, we are proudly accredited by The Joint Commission for National Quality Approval. We received accreditation in 2015 and met all National Patient Safety Goals. We offer referrals to reputable detox facilities and provide holistic therapies, extended care and outdoor therapies. Recovery is possible and we are here to help.

How Drinking Too Much Can Affect Your Finances

How Drinking Can Impact Your Finances

Many people do not realize the extent of their drinking problem until it begins to negatively affect other aspects of their lives. Consequences like lost work, strained family relationships and damaged health are common side effects of alcoholism. However, another common and frequently overlooked problem is the effect of drinking on your finances.

You may not realize that problem drinking is negatively impacting your financial wellbeing until the effects have become severe. If you are a frequent drinker, it’s worth looking at both the obvious and hidden costs of too much drinking.

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drinking impacts finances

How Can Drinking Impact Finances?

The first and most obvious expense associated with frequent drinking is the cost of alcohol itself. If you go to a bar to drink socially, you can usually expect to pay $5-9 per drink. If you get two drinks per night, three days a week, you’re looking at $120 to $216 a month. If you drink more frequently or tend to binge-drink with four or five drinks per sitting, this number can easily double.

Even staying home and drinking can quickly become expensive. A six-pack of beer may cost around $5 to $15, depending on the brand, and you may go through two or three of these per week. Hard liquor, wine and other beverages can cost more.

As you can see, the occasional drink won’t break the bank. However, making a habit of drinking regularly or drinking too much can snowball into a much larger bill.

Drinking too much impacts your finances in other ways as well:

  1. You may be tempted to spend unwisely while under the influence. You may purchase rounds of drinks for friends or strangers in the bar, or you might order extra food and snacks. People drinking at home may be tempted to make online purchases or other expenditures that they otherwise would not have considered.
  2. Your work productivity can suffer. People who drink frequently are more likely to call into work or show up sick or under-slept. These can damage productivity and, over time, affect overall job performance and opportunities.
  3. Your medical expenses may rise. Alcohol can affect your immune system, leaving you more prone to getting sick. Alcohol-related problems, including issues with the liver and pancreas, can build over time and lead to costly medical expenses.

Excessive drinking also impacts the community. The CDC estimates that excessive alcohol consumption cost the United States $223.5 billion in 2006. These costs were attributed to:

  • Lost workplace productivity
  • Healthcare expenses
  • Motor vehicle crashes
  • Criminal justice expenses

The primary culprits in the study were binge drinkers, or those who drink more than 4 or 5 drinks per occasion. One in six people binge drink, and binge drinking accounts for 76 percent of costs associated with excessive drinking. 

Is Drinking Affecting Your Wallet?

Spending a lot of money on alcohol does not necessarily make you an alcoholic, but it is often a warning sing that your drinking has become problematic. It’s a good idea to sit down with your bank statements or receipts and tally up the real cost of your drinking. Consider:

  • The cost of drinks purchased in bars or consumed at home
  • The cost of purchases made under the influence of alcohol
  • The cost of cab fare or other related expenses

Also take an honest look at your recent work history. If you have had to call into work in order to nurse a hang over on more than one occasion, that could be another sign of excessive drinking.

If your drinking has led to problems with your finances or is otherwise impacting your lifestyle but you don’t know how to stop, it may be time to seek professional assistance. We can help. Contact Desert Cove Recovery today for more information.

SOURCES:
http://theweek.com/articles/457336/how-drinking-much-sabotages-finances
https://www.cdc.gov/features/alcoholconsumption/

addiction treatment centers

Things to Compare Among Residential Treatment Centers in Arizona

The Best Care Possible – A Comparison Among Rehab Centers In Arizona

Don’t make the mistake of believing that all residential treatment centers in Arizona are created equally. Your health and well being should be your primary concern. That means finding the best possible rehab in the state for your care. There are quite a few different rehab treatment centers in Arizona. It’s up to you to do the research and find the best one

How Do You Know Which Is Best?

You’ll notice that a lot of rehab centers look great on the surface. They might have well-designed websites and make plenty of bold claims. However, those are very minor considerations in the grand scheme of things. There are actually many different qualities you must compare among the inpatient treatment centers in Arizona. By comparing these qualities you can find the center that is best suited for you.

Compare Their Histories.

The past is always a great place to start your comparison. It’s safe to assume that most businesses will perform in the future the same as they have in the past. Therefore, if the rehab already has a seedy reputation for not helping its patients, then it’s a bad place to seek recovery. Every treatment center will have its own history and it’s not uncommon for there to be a slight blemish. This is especially true of the reviews you may find online.

Comparing Online Reviews.

Reviews are a very specific part of the treatment’s history that you should consider early on. If you are considering two or more rehab centers, then you should carefully compare as many reviews for the two as you can find. However, finding one or two negative reviews online isn’t a reason to completely shun a particular facility. Some people will have a bad experience no matter what. And, in some cases, people are paid to write false negative reviews. On the contrary, if a significant number of reviews are negative, then it’s probably best to avoid that particular facility.

Comparing Testimonials Is Similar.

You can think of testimonials as reviews that are always positive. Why bother comparing them if you know they are going to be positive? It’s important to compare the testimonials of residential treatment centers in Arizona because they provide you with a snapshot of a patient’s recovery. They are often very uplifting and encouraging. Testimonials let you know what is possible at a certain facility. Almost every rehab center will have testimonials available on their website. Compare all that you can find once you’ve moved on from reading reviews. It’s always a positive sign if you can find testimonials that closely relate to your own personal story and struggles.

Compare Their Track Record Of Success.

Perhaps the most important component of their history to consider is their track record of success. Does only 1 out of every 100 patients actually make a change? Some inpatient treatment centers in Arizona are little more than than vacation spots for people who have no real interest in changing. Those rehab centers don’t foster real growth within their patients and don’t push them to make the change. Obviously, that’s not what you are looking for if you’re interested in honestly kicking your bad habits or helping someone else kick theirs.

Compare The Programs They Offer At Present

Comparing the past is important, but so is comparing what they offer at the present. A prime example of this is comparing the various programs and services that they offer. Some facilities might only offer basic detoxification and release programs. Others will include a variety of different services that may better suit your needs. Programs might include:

– Alcohol and drug detoxification.

– Outdoor therapy.

– 12 step programs.

Compare Their Referral System.

It’s entirely possible that you will require additional services not offered at any of the residential treatment centers in Arizona that you are interested in. In that case, they will need to refer you to another company for those services. Compare the different referral systems put in place by each of the rehab centers you are considering. Some offer completely free referrals while others will actually try to charge for their recommendations. For example, you may find a treatment center that you really like, but they recommend that you receive a detox, which they do not offer. Ideally, the rehab will recommend a detox facility for free. You know that you can trust the recommendation because you have already put your trust in the rehab. But if they are trying to charge for that referral, then you should be skeptical.

Compare How Their Programs Work.

Five different rehabs may offer alcohol dependency programs with the exact same name, but that doesn’t mean they are actually the same program. The care professionals at the center will have implemented their own techniques and procedures to help you through the recovery process. It’s a good idea to read as much information as you can find about their procedures and how their programs work. You may find that you like everything about a particular rehab except how they hand their recovery process. For example, some rehab treatment centers in Arizona stick to a very strict daily regimen and schedule. Others will offer patients a much greater degree of flexibility and freedom. It’s up to you which you think will work best.

Compare Their Payment Options.

You can never overlook the cost of attending rehab. Surprisingly, some rehab centers don’t even accept insurance. Those are the rehabs that are meant to be more of a vacation than an actual place for recovery. A treatment center may not accept every single kind of insurance, but they should accept most of them. Compare the payment and insurance options of the various rehab centers you are considering before signing any contracts.

Research And Make A Decision.

Getting help is extremely important, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take time to do the research. Compare these many qualities among residential treatment centers in Arizona before making a commitment to get help at any one particular center. You’ll likely find that there is only one facility in the area that can meet all of your needs, has a positive history, accepts most insurances, and offers a variety of unique programs. That’s the treatment center that’s right for you.

dual diagnosis treatment centers

Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers Are The Ideal Solution When Rehab Isn’t Enough

Dual Diagnosis Treatment Centers Are The Ideal Solution When Rehab Isn’t Enough

Many people who suffer from drug or alcohol addictions also suffer from some sort of mental illness. The two aren’t necessarily related, but one can often worsen the other. For example, a person may start drinking to deal with the symptoms of a particular mental issue. This drinking causes the symptoms of the mental condition to become even worse, which leads to more drinking. It’s a very destructive cycle and many people don’t even know that it’s happening.

Is There A Solution?

It might seem like going to rehab for a couple of months would solve the problem, but rehab alone often isn’t enough. This is especially true when the person drinks excessively or abuses drugs because of something related specifically to their mental issue. The only reliable solution is to treat the substance abuse and the mental illness at the same time. That is where dual diagnosis treatment centers in Arizona come into play.

What Is Dual Diagnosis In Arizona?

A dual diagnosis center is a facility that treats mental health and alcohol addictions (or drug addictions) at the same time. These two services have traditionally been split between different facilities. The problem with that approach is that the person might leave rehab and then begin abusing drugs again before their mental condition can be treated. Prior to the rise of dual diagnosis treatment centers in Arizona, it was nearly impossible for a patient to have their mental health and drugs addiction treated at the same time.

The Benefits Are Obvious.

A dual diagnosis center is an ideal solution if a patient suffers from a mental condition and a substance abuse problem. As a matter of fact, it may be the only way that the person can ever achieve a full and lasting recovery. The approach to recovery in these treatment centers is somewhat different than what you would expect from a traditional rehab center. There’s a lot more going on behind the scenes than just the basic twelve steps. The patient’s mental and emotional needs are very carefully considered, addressed, and treated.

A Step Above The 12 Steps.

There’s no denying that the 12 steps have helped millions of people deal with their addictions. However, the steps were created in the 1930’s and there was very little understanding of complex psychological problems at the time. The underlying science behind addiction and how it related to mental conditions were not fully understood. Therefore, the 12 steps do little, if anything, to address the psychological issues that can result in a drug dependency. A dual diagnosis center can still implement the 12 steps or a variation of them, but it does so with the aid of psychological and pharmaceutical tools as well.

Custom Recovery Programs Benefit Patients.

Dual diagnosis treatment centers in Arizona work with patients in all states of mental health and alcohol addiction. They must create extremely personalized recovery programs for each and every patient. In a way, this makes a dual diagnosis program more ideal than a traditional rehab even for a patient without a mental condition. Because every patient who stays at a dual diagnosis center is receiving a treatment plan that was designed specifically for them.

The Follow Through Makes A Differences

It’s not uncommon for a rehab center to check a patient in and then have very little to do with them as they recover. Dual diagnosis in Arizona works very differently. Not only is the recovery program designed specifically for each individual patient, but the professionals who work at the recovery center spend a lot of time tracking the recovery and adjusting the program as needed. If something isn’t working, then they take notice and they make the necessary changes. 

Recovery Programs Built Around Proven Treatments.

The 12 steps aren’t the only way to treat the problems of an alcohol addict. There are multiple forms of therapy that have been tailored to address the underlying issues with addiction. One such line of therapy is known as cognitive behavioral therapy(CBT). This focuses on finding the habits that the addict associated with drinking and then rewiring how the brain thinks of those habits. It’s said that every addict has certain triggers that can lead to cravings. CBT can help identify these triggers and then return them to normal actions that are not associated with drugs or alcohol at all.

Helping Patients Understand Themselves.

Many patients who received a dual diagnosis had no idea they were suffering from a mental illness. That means that they likely have very little information regarding their specific condition, its symptoms, or how it can be influenced by drinking. Spending time at dual diagnosis treatment centers in Arizona serves as a learning experience for the patient. They learn about their specific condition and the various symptoms it has. For example, they may have suffered from anxiety or have serious panic attacks without actually knowing what was happening. After experiencing dual diagnosis in Arizona they have a full understanding of these symptoms and know how to react the next time they occur.

Getting The Right Medications.

Mental health and drugs do not work well together. When a patient who deals with both of these problems visits a traditional rehab they may be prescribed more medications to help overcome the addiction. Unfortunately, those medications may not work well with their mental condition. By visiting a dual diagnosis center they have the opportunity to receive the right medications. The doctors and therapists know more about the patient and can choose prescription drugs that are designed specifically for their conditions. That means the medications and the treatment are far more likely to succeed.

It’s The Ideal Solution.

If someone suffers from a mental condition and an addiction to drugs or alcohol, then dual diagnosis in Arizona is the ideal solution. It’s the only way they can receive the absolute best care possible. Dual diagnosis centers will implement a combination of recovery programs, therapy sessions, and medications that are all designed specifically for each individual patient.

If you, or someone you love has received addiction treatment that didn’t properly equip them in recovery, it’s possible that they need dual diagnosis treatment. For information or to speak with a counselor, please give us a call at Desert Cove Recovery today.

Prisons Failing to Provide Adequate Help to Inmates with Behavioral Health Disorders

Inmates with Behavioral Health DisordersPrisons have long been a final destination for drug addicts and people suffering from various types of mental illnesses. Oftentimes they are convicted of selling or using drugs or committing some unlawful act due to their mental state. However, while imprisoned, many of these people are not getting the help they actually need in order to get better.

According to a new study published by the Department of Justice, over 60% of inmates who are in need of help are not receiving any form of treatment. In this case mental health problems include drug abuse. This is despite the fact that there is plenty of information that would indicate that prisons, both state and federal, should have policies in place to help their mental health population.

The study shows that prisoners are five times more likely to have a mental health problem than other U.S. citizens, and most prisoners report that they have had a mental health issue at least once in their lives prior to being convicted.

As part of the study, the researchers wanted to determine how many current prisoners exhibit mental health issues without receiving treatment. They found that many of the inmates polled exhibited major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, all things that can lead to a drug addiction or a higher recidivism rate. What is unknown is how much being in prison escalated their symptoms, although some treatment experts have indicated that incarceration can trigger mental health issues.

“Once you’re in jail, your life is going to be destabilized – you’re going to lose your house, employment, it can have a snowball effect. Again and again we are seeing people who are in crisis and are being put in jail for substance abuse issues or mental health issues and that’s just not the best way to be dealing with those problems. Jails aren’t treatment programs,” explained Wendy Sawyer, an analyst with the Prison Policy Institute.

Of course, the main debate is whether the prison system is intended to help a person or punish the person. If prison policies aim to restore an individual to a working, honest and contributing member of society, then mental health help will need to be provided. There should also be frequent screenings to ensure that prison life is not creating more mental health issues and the focus should be on actual rehabilitation as much as possible.

The Rising Societal Costs of the Heroin Epidemic

Heroin EpidemicSome may think that drug abuse is a problem with only one victim – the user. However, their family members also suffer as well and society feels the effects in the form of dollars. According to a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE, taxpayers shelled out more than $51 billion in 2015 to go towards the fall out of the heroin problem.

Incarcerations due to heroin abuse and the sale of the drug, treatment costs, treatment of infectious diseases caused by heroin use, cost of treating infants born addicted to heroin, loss of productivity at work and heroin deaths were all variables used to calculate the astronomical number. This record-breaking amount is like pouring salt in the wound of already having the highest number of overdose deaths.

The researchers went even further and determined how much each heroin user costs society. According to the data, a single heroin user can cost taxpayers as much as $50,799 a year. This is due to the above variables as well as the fact that heroin users are more likely to be unproductive, and have large blocks of time where they are not working or contributing to the economy.

Interestingly, patients with different chronic problems cost society much less. For instance, a person who is suffering from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease costs society about $2,567 a year. And a person who has diabetes generally costs about $11,148 a year.

“The downstream effects of heroin use, such as the spread of infectious diseases and increased incarceration due to actions associated with heroin use, compounded by their associated costs, would continue to increase the societal burden of heroin use disorder,” explained Dr. Simon Pickard, one of the lead authors of the study from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Of course the research is not only to illustrate the burden heroin addiction has on society, it also indicates that effective treatment and prevention efforts are perhaps the only way to get this incredibly high number down. By getting more people the help they need, not only are we saving billions of dollars, but most importantly, we’re saving lives.

Turning Off Stress-Induced Relapse

Stress-Induced RelapseSobriety can be an elusive thing for many recovering drug addicts. Oftentimes addicts will undergo a period of treatment or abstinence and then seemingly out of nowhere, a relapse occurs. These sometimes-frequent spells of returning to drug use can plague an addict and their loved ones until long-lasting sobriety is hopefully achieved. What is it that causes these relapses? And do they have to be part of recovery?

In order to answer these questions, a team of researchers at Brown University and the University of Wyoming created a study that would examine the biology of a relapse. They began by focusing on the kappa opioid receptors (kORs). These receptors are located on the surface of the brain and are the ultimate target of opioids when they enter the body.

Next, researchers moved to a different part of the brain – the ventral tegmental area. This area of the brain reinforces behaviors related to fulfilling basic needs. Basic needs can include eating and sleeping. But in the brain of the addict, this basic need also can include drugs. Through extensive research, the scientists were able to see that stress can induce this part of the brain to excite the kappa opioid receptors, thus causing the person to seek out drugs.

So, while stress is oftentimes a precursor to relapse, there may be hope. That is because these scientists expanded their experiment to show what happens when certain medications are administered to a person who is experiencing stress. After administering norBNI to rats that were abstinent from opioids for some time but in the midst of experiencing stress, the researchers observed that the kappa opioid receptors were disengaged, no longer producing a craving within the rats.

While this research is still new, it does confirm previous studies that have showed that stress is a problem for maintaining sobriety, but these researchers have taken it a step further with the introduction of a potential medicine for treatment. “Ours is the first demonstration of experience-induced changes in constitutive activity of these receptors,” explained the authors of the study.

In addition to treatments like the one above, many more people are also opting for different approaches to dealing with stress in recovery. One growing movement is rooted in mindfulness-based practices, where there are many forms of exercises and meditations that help people become more consciously aware moment to moment, thus having greater control over their actions.