Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) was started in the 1950s. It has helped many people with mental disorders live a better life. People who do not have mental disorders but feel unhappy with their current way of life might also be positively affected by CBT. At the Discovery Institute of New Jersey, we incorporate CBT into our treatment programs. CBT is a short-term treatment that does not involve any medication, though it can be paired with medication if the client needs it.

What is CBT?

CBT combines the current theories on how people learn (behaviorism) under the theory that how you learn affects how you think and interpret events in your lives (cognition). Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on an educational approach and goal setting. In CBT, individuals can set specific and individualized goals. For example, instead of setting a goal such as “stand up for yourself three times a day”, an individual may aim for something like “be more assertive”.  

Who Can Benefit From CBT?

Many people can find relief from many of their symptoms through CBT. Individuals who suffer from the following mental or behavioral health conditions:

Problems like substance abuse, personality disorders, and bulimia do not happen on their own. People who develop these disorders are often greatly affected by their past and/or present environments. This is one reason that CBT is available for families as a whole. Special CBT programs for couples also exist.

Cognitive behavioral therapy can also take place in a group setting, also known as group therapy. For people who struggle with social skills, a group setting provides hands-on practice of the concepts being taught while working on them under the supervision of a licensed professional. 

How Does CBT Work?

There are several distinct steps to CBT. At the beginning of each session, there is a mood check-up to gauge how the patient is feeling and what steps might need to be taken to help them before the session starts. CBT can feel very physically draining at times and can be emotionally uncomfortable at times. But, the process is necessary when it comes to recovery from addiction and its effects.

Step 1: Identifying problematic situations and conditions in your own life

This might seem unnecessary as some problem situations and conditions might seem obvious. But this step might also do things like uncover hidden triggers in a person’s life. Sometimes, people may not notice certain triggers and stressors in their lives. On the other hand, they may feel unable to accept the truth about these triggers. In other cases, individuals may be in denial over these issues.

For example, some people in early recovery can find odd things like listening to a song that they used to listen to while they abused substances makes them develop strong cravings. It might not make sense to the person at the time. But the therapist can help find the connection and help the patient make modifications. 

Step 2: Become aware of your thoughts, feelings, and beliefs about the problem(s)

In group therapy, you will explore this by talking to the group. In individual therapy, you will “self-talk” or talk about those thoughts, feelings, and beliefs, aloud to yourself in the presence of the therapist until you have a firm understanding of them.

Step 3: Identify negative or inaccurate thinking

Some thought patterns such as inaccurate thinking could affect a person. For someone with an avoidant personality disorder, thoughts that someone might criticize them are overwhelming. People in this phase of CBT might be asked to pay attention to their physical sensations, emotions, and behaviors when confronted with those situations. 

Step 4: Reshape negative or inaccurate thinking

This is one of the hardest steps for many individuals. The negative or inaccurate thoughts for many patients might have been developing over years or even decades. Many people in CBT go for long-standing problems. Someone with personality disorders, or even more traditionally treated problems like bipolar disorder or depression might go years before receiving treatment.

The Effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

The effects of CBT are long-lasting. If needed patients can go back to a CBT therapist for a “refresher” course. However, in an overwhelming number of instances the person can mindfully practice instead of using those skills that have become a habit. CBT is most effective when depression and anxiety are the main problem area. This does not mean that it is not effective or when used for other problem areas. 

Issues from disorders such as addiction that are directly related to the disorder like managing cravings are not the only areas that CBT improves. This therapeutic approach also seeks to improve the patient’s social skills to help them get and maintain a job and healthy relationships. Disorders like substance abuse disorder are not popularly known to affect the person in non-substance related areas. For example, someone deep into a heroin dependency might become so socially isolated that when they decide to stop abusing heroin, they feel like they are losing their ‘best friend’, the drug. They might need help to socially readjust to spending time with other people.

CBT can be used in combination with other therapies. Substance abuse clinics often combine CBT with more traditional talk therapy and other behavioral therapies to produce long term recovery journeys. Other less traditional therapies like music therapy and art therapy might also be involved. People with personality disorders often benefit from a variety of behavioral therapies such as Interpersonal Therapy (IPT) and Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT).

What are Common CBT Goals?

As mentioned earlier, individuals in cognitive behavioral therapy can set goals. These goals are important components of the recovery process. Common CBT goals are including the following:

Setting more realistic goals and problem-solving skills

Individuals who are working to recover from substance abuse may often feel overwhelmed. It can be hard to transition from a life of continuous substance use to a life of abstinence from substance use. The very thought of it can be enough to keep individuals from succeeding. 

However, the journey to recovery can be much less overwhelming if people set reachable, achievable, and realistic goals. Therapy approaches like CBT can help people to do just that. 

Goals should be attainable and realistic. They should also be specific and include solutions. For example, individuals in recovery may not benefit from setting a goal like “I won’t use alcohol to cope with stress anymore.” Although this is obviously a good plan, the approach may not be beneficial because it doesn’t include a solution. Instead, those in recovery should think along other lines: “I have used alcohol to cope with stress. But, from now on, I will talk and think through my emotions. I won’t ignore them or use alcohol to help me forget about them. Instead, I will speak with my therapist, think about the consequences of unhealthy coping methods, or convert my negative emotions and energy to positive ones.”

Learning to manage anxiety

Anxiety is often a trigger for substance abuse. But, cognitive behavioral therapy can help individuals to develop healthy coping alternatives. These coping methods can help individuals in many areas of their lives. For instance, individuals can learn to practice positive self-talk. They may be able to learn how to say things like, “Everything will be alright if this presentation is not perfect. I will still have the chance to get a good grade”. 

Determining which situations are often avoided and gradually approaching them

Sometimes, people turn to substance abuse instead of dealing with the difficult situations they encounter. Instead of dealing with those challenges, obstacles, and struggles, they may drink or use drugs

However, therapy works to help individuals to learn how to approach those challenges in a healthy way. 

Identifying and engaging in enjoyable activities such as hobbies, social activities, and exercise

Enjoyable activities help people enjoy their days and exercise releases endorphins that make people feel better. Adding hobbies, exercise, and social activities can help a person round out their day instead of becoming stuck in problem areas like a bad day at work for the rest of the day.

Identify negative thoughts

An example of a negative thought might be “I always look stupid when I ask questions”. Therapy can help you to keep track of your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. This will you and your therapist identify different symptoms. This will make it easier to change your thoughts and behaviors. 

Find Help and Hope at Discovery Institute

If you are struggling with alcoholism or drug abuse, know that you are not alone. Many others are suffering from the same challenges. But, just as you are not alone in your struggle, you don’t have to be alone in your recovery. We are here to help you find freedom from substance abuse in your life.

Here at Discovery Institute, our staff is dedicated to helping individuals to fight the effects of alcoholism and drug abuse. We understand that each of our clients is different. So, we work to provide each individual with unique and specific care. 

You don’t have to continue struggling with substance dependence. You can break free from it. Recovery is only a phone call away. If you want to end substance abuse in your life, just reach out to us today.

Drug Classifications

Drug Classifications: Understand the Different Categories

How Are Drugs Classified?

A drug may be classified by the chemical type of the active ingredient or by the way it is used to treat a particular condition. Each drug can be classified into one or more drug classes.

There are five main categories of drugs based on their chemical ingredients and their effect on users. 

1.Central Nervous System Depressants

These drugs tend to slow down the activity of the CNS. It is important to note that the term “depressant” describes the effect on the CNS, not mood.

  • Examples are alcohol, barbiturates, sedatives.
  • Noticeable signs of use include lethargy, lack of concentration, and excessive sleeping
  • Addiction to depressants is common.
  • Mixing barbiturates or tranquilizers is extremely dangerous and can be fatal.
  • Withdrawal from barbiturate addiction can be challenging. It requires medical supervision.
  • Nearly 50% of traffic fatalities are alcohol-related.

Addiction to CNS Depressants

Those who have become addicted to a prescription CNS depressant and stop using the drug abruptly may experience a withdrawal, which can begin as early as a few hours after the drug was last taken. Withdrawal symptoms from these drugs can be severe ad—in the case of certain medications—potentially life-threatening. Symptoms include seizures. Shakiness, anxiety, insomnia, and severe cravings.

People addicted to these medications should undergo medically supervised detoxification because the dosage they take should be tapered gradually. Counseling, either in an outpatient or inpatient program, can help people through this process.  

One type of counseling, cognitive-behavioral therapy, focuses on modifying the person’s thinking, expectations, and behaviors while improving ways to cope with life’s stresses.

Often, CNS depressant misuse occurs along with the use of other drugs, such as alcohol or opioids. In those cases, the person should seek treatment that addresses polysubstance abuse.

2. Central Nervous System Stimulants

  • Examples are amphetamines (diet pills, Ritalin and Methadrine), cocaine, caffeine.
  • Some noticeable signs of stimulant use include abnormal cheerfulness or talkativeness, frequent urination, sleeping difficulty, and loss of appetite. Withdrawal signs may include depression, drowsiness, weakness, lack of interest, and hunger.
  • Cocaine caused over 80,000 emergency room visits nationwide last year.
  • “Speed” is commonly being sold in middle and high schools today. Most of these sales involve pills that look like prescription amphetamines but are caffeine tablets. These pills are not as destructive as real speed, but teens often consume large quantities to produce the desired effect. Teens may then assume they can consume the same quantity of real speed and have a serious drug reaction.

Addiction to CNS Stimulants

When misusing a prescription stimulant, people can swallow the medicine in its normal form. Alternatively, they can crush tablets or open the capsules, dissolve the powder in water, and inject the liquid into a vein. Some can also snort or smoke the powder.

Stimulants increase the activity of the brain chemicals dopamine and norepinephrine. Dopamine is involved in the reinforcement of rewarding behaviors. Norepinephrine affects blood pressure, heart rate, blood sugar, and breathing.

Misuse of prescription stimulants can lead to substance use disorder (SUD). Long term use can cause a person to develop a tolerance, which means that he or she needs higher and/or more frequent doses of the drug to get the desired effect. A SUD develops when continued use of the drug causes health, work, home or school issues. Individuals should discuss concerns with a health care provider.

Behavioral therapies, including cognitive-behavioral therapy and contingency management (motivational incentives), can be effective in helping people with prescription stimulant addiction. 

3. Opiates and Opioids

  • The most popular examples of opiates are heroin and morphine. Demerol, Darvon, and methadone are examples of opioids. Opiates occur naturally while opioids are man-made drugs that create similar effects.
  • These substances produce euphoria and a sense of well being—in effect, blocking out pain and problems. The user may experience sleepiness, lack of focus, and loss of appetite.
  • Opiate abuse and addiction is rare among children, however, the use of Darvocet and similar prescription opioids is common.

Addiction to Opiates

In the 1990s, there was a push by public health officials to improve pain treatment in the United States. This push is what led to pain becoming the “fifth vital sign”. Medical staff was given the impression that pain should be relieved. Narcotics are excellent pain relievers and too often became the “go-to” treatment for pain.

Although the effort was well-intentioned, the consequences are now apparent. The overuse of prescription opioids has been a significant contributor to the current “opioid epidemic.”  

Because doctors have needed to reduce opioid prescribing, many people have to turn to street dealers to get drugs. But prescription narcotics are expensive. So people have often switched to heroin, which is much cheaper. And dealers often lace street heroin with the even more dangerous drug fentanyl.

The beginning of treatment for addiction is detoxification—a controlled and medically supervised withdrawal from the drug. Withdrawal symptoms—agitation, anxiety, tremors, hot and cold flashes, vomiting, and diarrhea—are not life-threatening but are incredibly uncomfortable.

Evidence shows that methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone all reduce opioid use and opioid use disorder-related symptoms. They may reduce the risk of infectious disease transmission as well as criminal behavior associated with drug use.

These medications also increase the likelihood that a person will remain in treatment, which itself is associated with a lower risk of overdose mortality, reduced risk of contracting an STD, reduced criminal justice involvement, and a higher likelihood of employment.

The ultimate aim is to wean off the maintenance medication, but the treatment provider should make this decision jointly with the patient, and tapering the medicine must be done gradually. It may take months or years in some cases.

Counseling is a mainstay of drug abuse treatment for many people. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, family counseling, and other types of therapy can help a patient stay sober. Psychotherapy can also treat the other mental health conditions that often play a part in prescription drug abuse.

4. Hallucinogens

  • Examples are LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide), mescaline, peyote, and methamphetamine.
  • These substances produce changes in perception, visual illusions, and alteration of the senses.
  • A person under the influence of a hallucinogen may have difficulty concentrating, flights of disconnected ideas, and wide mood swings.
  • MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine) is a designer drug that young people think of as a harmless sexual stimulant. Other common names are “ecstasy,” “X-T-C,” “essence,” and “clarity.” In smokeable form, it is called “ice.” It is much more likely to produce drug-induced psychosis than crack cocaine and much more likely to produce destructive and violent outbursts.
  • Much of what currently passes for LSD, mescaline, and other hallucinogens are PCP (a.k.a “angel dust”), a large animal tranquilizer. This is also an extremely dangerous drug that can cause violent reactions, long-term psychological effects, and even brain damage.
  • When mescaline is in pill form, it is usually PCP and therefore very dangerous.

Addiction to Hallucinogens

Hallucinogens are a group of drugs that alter a person’s awareness of their surroundings as well as their thoughts and feelings. They are commonly split into two categories: classic hallucinogens (such as LSD) and dissociative drugs (such as PCP).  

Both types can cause hallucinations or sensations and images that seem real though they aren’t. Dissociative drugs can cause users to feel out of control or disconnected from their bodies and environment.

Research suggests that classic hallucinogens work at least partially by temporarily disrupting communication between brain chemical systems throughout the brain and spinal cord. Some hallucinogens interfere with the action of the brain chemical serotonin, which regulates mood, sensory perception, sleep, and hunger.

Dissociative hallucinogenic drugs interfere with the brain’s chemical glutamate which regulates pain perception, responses to the environment, emotion, and learning and memory.

Although hallucinogens are not considered addictive because it doesn’t cause uncontrollable drug-seeking behavior, it does produce tolerance. Some users who take the drug repeatedly must take higher doses to achieve the same effect. This is extremely risky, given the unpredictability of the drugs. 

There are no approved medications to treat addiction to hallucinogens. Behavioral treatments can be helpful for patients with a variety of addictions. But more research is necessary to find out if behavioral therapies are effective for addiction to hallucinogens.

5. Marijuana  

This section includes psycho-active drugs that don’t fit into the other classifications but are psycho-active.

  • The use of marijuana causes similar signs and symptoms as hallucinogens but to a lesser degree.
  • Bloodshot, or red eyes are a sign of recent marijuana use. The possession of products such as Clear Eyes to cover eye irritation may be an indication of frequent use.
  • Other signs of marijuana use are carrying rolling papers, having a small decorative pipe, frequently using Febreeze or other air cleaners, having a sudden craving for junk food, and having paper clips with burn marks.
  • Many people consider marijuana to be the classic “gateway” drug. Continued use will often result in addicts moving on to other drugs.
  • Volatile substances (glue, gasoline, paint).

Addiction to Marijuana

Marijuana use disorders appear to be very similar to other substance use disorders, although the long-term clinical outcomes may be less severe. On average, adults seeking treatment for marijuana use disorders have used marijuana nearly every day for more than 10 years and have attempted to quit more than six times.

People with marijuana use disorders, especially adolescents, often also suffer from other psychiatric disorders (dual diagnosis). They may also use or develop addictions to other substances, such as cocaine or alcohol.

Studies indicate that effectively treating the mental health disorder with standard treatments involving medications and behavioral therapies may help reduce marijuana use, particularly among those involved with heavy use and those with more chronic mental disorders. 

Cognitive-behavioral therapy, contingency management, and motivational enhancement therapy have shown promise in treating those individuals.

There are currently no medications for the treatment of marijuana use disorder, but research is active and ongoing.  

What Classes of Prescription Drugs Do People Most Commonly Misuse?

Opioids

Opioids are medications that reduce the intensity of pain-signal perception. They have been used for centuries to treat pain cough and diarrhea. The most common modern use of opioids is to treat acute pain. However, since the 1990s, they have been increasingly used to treat chronic pain despite little evidence for their effectiveness when used long term.

In addition to relieving pain, opioids also activate reward regions in the brain, causing the euphoria that underlies the potential for misuse and substance use disorder.

Central Nervous System Depressants

CNS depressants include tranquilizers, sedatives, and hypnotics, which are substances that can slow brain activity. This makes them useful for treating anxiety and sleep disorders. Although the different classes of CNS depressants work in unique ways, it is through their ability to inhibit brain activity that they produce a drowsy or calming effect that is medically beneficial.

During the first few days of taking a depressant, a person usually feels sleepy and uncoordinated, but as the body becomes accustomed to the effects of the drug and tolerance develops, these side effects begin to disappear. If one uses these drugs long term, he or she may need larger doses to achieve the medicinal effects.

Stimulants

Stimulants increase alertness, attention, and energy. They also elevate blood pressure, heart rate, and respiration. Historically, stimulants were used to treat asthma and other respiratory problems, obesity, neurological disorders, and a variety of other ailments.  

As the potential for abuse and addiction became more prominent, the amount of conditions treated with stimulants has gone down. Now, stimulants are prescribed for the treatment of only a few health conditions, including attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) narcolepsy, and occasionally treatment-resistant depression.

Non-medical use of stimulants can induce a feeling of euphoria, and these medications increase blood pressure, heart rate, and constrict blood vessels. Also, taking high doses of a stimulant may result in dangerously high body temperature land an irregular heartbeat either the potential for cardiovascular failure or seizures.

The increase in stimulant prescriptions over the last 20 years has led to their greater availability and increased risk for nonmedical use. Because many perceive them to be generally safe and effective, prescription stimulants such as Adderall are being misused more frequently.

Where Do You Fit In?

No matter your drug of choice, you can see that there are hazards and life-threatening dangers. Don’t wait to hit bottom. Research shows that the earlier individuals seek treatment, the better their chance at success and not relapsing.  

If you or a loved one needs help, there is help waiting. Make the first step by calling us at (844) 443-1101. We at Discovery Institute have been helping families recover from addiction for over 40 years. We have provided personalized, compassionate, and effective treatment for over 7,000 individuals. Contact us now!

References:

www.depts.washington.edu
www.drugabuse.gov
www.harvard.edu

making amends

Making Amends: How to Rebuild Relationships after Battling Addiction

If you’ve struggled with addiction, you’re not alone. Millions of people are fighting that battle alongside you, and you’re the last person who needs to be told what a hard battle it is. The good news is that addiction is a treatable condition. With proper care, attention, determination, and resilience, you can overcome addiction. If you’ve managed to do this, congratulations are in order.

Unfortunately, there’s also a harsh truth awaiting on the other side of that journey. It’s entirely possible that some people were hurt by your struggle with addiction. As important as your recovery is, it’s not enough to mend those wounds all on its own.

At the Discovery Institute, we want you to know everything about addiction. Below, we will be talking about making amends. First, we will cover the importance of making amends and setting boundaries, then we will talk about the steps this process will normally take.

For that, you’re going to have to make an active effort, but that’s easier said than done. In order to help guide you in the process, we’ve put together this guide on how to make amends and rebuild your relationships.

The Importance of Making Amends

If you struggle with addiction and are seeking to make amends with family members or friends, sometimes it seems like a crazy thing to do. You may be asking why you would want to see these people again; it is not only hurtful for them, it is also a difficult place for you. In the following piece, we will be looking at the whole process of making amends, how to do it, and what to do afterward. However, it is important before this to understand why making amends is so important.

One of the hardest aspects of addiction is that, since it is a disease, your brain is literally rewired to chase the high. Substances change a person’s memory, motivation, and pleasure centers, so that they may no longer feel normal without the substance. Amends come in here. It can be difficult because although you “were not yourself” when you did the harmful things throughout your addiction, it’s important to accept that your actions affected others in a negative way.

An important aspect of the recovery journey is engaging the paradox that you were suffering from a disease and, at the same time, you played a part in the issues that came as a bi-product of an addictive lifestyle. Acknowledging your agency in this while accepting that you cannot control these actions because of the substances, is the first step in many programs for recovery.

The Benefits of Making Amends After Addiction

Beyond this, there are many benefits when it comes to making amends. Making amends is somewhat of a threshold; it shows that you are trying to leave behind the life you used to live and move into a new way of life. It is easy to say that you are moving on. However, if you have not helped people to heal from what happened during your struggle with addiction, then that part of you still exists to that person.

Feelings of guilt, depression, stress, or past memories of trauma are all triggers for addiction. This is why making amends is so important in the recovery process. It allows you to feel a sense of relief. But, it also allows you to help others feel a sense of relief. This will help you to build a community and establish healthy relationships with those around you. Having people by your side who have forgiven you will also give a great sense of accountability. They will be there to remind you that you are not the same person. Doing this provides a great break with your past self, helps to facilitate a sense of relief, and can give you a great group to rally around.

Lastly, making amends leads to understanding. There is a ton of stigma around addiction. This is due to a misunderstanding. When you make amends, when you apologize, it usually will lead to understanding. The person may ask why you hurt them, which will lead to an educating discussion on addiction. Making amends is part of ending the stigma.

The Importance of Boundaries

A huge part of making amends is setting boundaries. It is important to ask the question “will this bring hurt to the person or to me?” Sometimes, it is just too painful for the other person to have you back in their life. Even if you have the best intentions, it may be too hard to see you. Having you back in their lives, at least for right now, may be too painful for their well-being. On the other hand, you may not be able to handle seeing this person. These memories could be traumatic, or they could be a toxic person in your life. In these situations, you need to set boundaries. Make amends with the person in your own way, but keep your needs and theirs in mind.

Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous

Narcotics Anonymous (NA) and Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) use the twelve steps formula. They have been proven to be extremely successful and helpful for alcoholics and narcotic addicts. They center around the idea that what is discussed in the meetings stays in the meetings. It may not surprise you to know that an integral part of the twelve steps involves making amends. Steps 8 and 9 focus on making amends.

Step 8 states: “We made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all”. Step  9 says: “We made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.”

These steps are incredible ways to recover, and their integration of making amends should reveal the importance. Consider seeking out a meeting. They are very open and welcoming places. A crucial part of AA and NA is being a judgment-free area. Do not worry about feeling judged there, because everyone is united around recovery.

Confronting Reality

Now that you’ve beaten your addiction, it’s understandable that you’d want to move forward and never look back. The problem with that is that it’s impossible to correct your mistakes if you don’t confront them.

Usually, your family and friends are the first to suffer when addiction reaches its full force. While you may have moved on, it’s very possible the echoes of that pain are still affecting them. So, as difficult as it is, you need to have a firm understanding of how your addiction affected the people around you. This doesn’t mean you need to dwell on the past and feel guilty. But it does mean that you’re going to have to look your wrongdoings head-on. By facing the reality of your past, you better equip yourself to deal with your present and future. 

Lead With an Apology

If you’ve ever received a heartfelt apology, you know there are few things more healing than that. This is why it should be the very first step you take when you reach out to your loved ones.

Even if you feel like a totally different person than you were while suffering from addiction, people need proof that you’ve changed. What better way to start than by letting them know you have genuine remorse for your actions?

With all that in mind, you should prepare yourself for the very real possibility that they’re not ready to hear your apology yet. Sometimes, you’ll be met with resentment and anger even upon saying sorry. Other times, they won’t be ready to talk with you at all. The only thing you can do is honor and respect those wishes. It can be hard to hear, but it’s likely that they’re working through some very complex emotions, just like you are. Give them the time they need to process everything.

It’s also important that you take the lead on this. Don’t wait to be called out for your past behaviors before apologizing for them. Complete honesty is crucial during every step of this process.

Furthermore, be detailed in your apology. Explain exactly what it is you’re apologizing for. The purpose of this step is to make sure you understand what you’ve done wrong.

Step two is confronting those things out loud. An apology won’t mean much if it’s vague and general. By being specific, you show the person that you have a clear understanding of how you hurt them. Sometimes, the apology comes with a more material aspect. If you’ve stolen money or goods from someone, it’s only right that you pay them back. This shows that your apology is more than empty words.

Demonstrate Your Change through Actions

Remember that time thing we talked about? Well, it also applies here. One of the biggest aspects of rebuilding your relationships is establishing trust through your actions, and that is going to take some time. The simple fact is that your loved ones may not trust you due to the effects of addiction on your life. Your duty now is to show them that your change is genuine and lasting. 

Staying sober isn’t easy for everyone. Post-recovery life comes with its share of hurdles and bumps in the road. But don’t let them throw you off course. Your family and friends need to be shown that this new you is here to stay. 

This ties back into making tangible reparations for your mistakes wherever applicable. Your actions need to be well-intentioned and consistent in order to be meaningful. Again, this process is going to take time. Rebuilding trust isn’t easy but by staying strong and unwavering, you’ll strengthen those bonds again.

Communication is Key

Addiction aside, the truth is that almost everyone could do learn to communicate better. For you, it’s going to be doubly important. As much as this process is about your loved ones, it’s also about you. Healing is a two-way street. That’s why you have to keep the channels of communication open at all times.

Explain what you’re going through. That doesn’t mean you should make it all about you, but strive to be honest about how you’re feeling. Suppressing your feelings does no one any favors. Learning to communicate healthily about those feelings will go a long way to righting old wrongs. This also means that you need to check in on others. Make sure to stay involved and interested in what they’re experiencing. None of this works without communication. Keep the conversation going.

Recovery is a Continual Journey

The main thing to remember here is that recovery is an ongoing process that you’re going to be pursuing for the rest of your life. That doesn’t mean it’s always going to be this hard. It just means that the work on yourself and maintaining your relationships shouldn’t cease. Keep striving for more and never stop trying to better yourself.

If you haven’t made it to this stage yet but are still ready to beat your addiction, you deserve a fresh start. Don’t hesitate to look into this excellent rehab program to provide that extra assistance you need.

Allow Us to Help

It is not too late. Whether you are ready to make amends, or you are thinking about taking your first steps toward recovery, getting professionally treated is the most important part of your journey. We want you to know that you have options. At the Discovery Institute, we are always ready to hear from you. Whether you have questions, need help immediately, or just want to talk about something going on, consider reaching out today. We are always here for you. You owe it to yourself, your loved ones, and the recovery community. Get help today by contacting us here at Discovery! 

References

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery

Alcohol and the Liver

The Effects of Alcohol on Your Liver

Unfortunately, individuals who are suffering from alcohol abuse also face the risk of developing physical health problems. Although it’s not likely that these issues will develop right away, continued alcohol abuse can negatively affect the body in the long run.

The liver is one of the most important organs in your entire body. It sits alongside the gallbladder and the pancreas, and together these organs keep the digestive tract running smoothly. The main role of the liver is to filter the blood coming into the digestive tract before passing it through the rest of the body. Known as the great detoxifying organ, the liver is an extremely valuable organ. This is why a poorly functioning liver can pose serious and dangerous health complications.

A large proportion of those suffering from alcohol addiction or binge drinking disorders will develop serious alcohol-related liver diseases as a consequence. When too much alcohol is consumed, the liver is unable to properly detoxify the blood before letting it pass through the body. This causes the liver and eventually other bodily functions to shut down. A reputable detox program and long term rehabilitation plan will help anyone suffering from alcohol addiction detoxify their body and begin to rebuild a healthy lifestyle. 

How Does the Body Process Alcohol? 

When the liver is functioning properly, it filters and converts toxic substances to be safely distributed to the rest of the body through blood. Most of the alcohol people drink will go through this process, and the potentially dangerous chemicals in alcohol will be metabolized before entering the bloodstream. 

Although it varies from person to person, it typically takes an hour to process one alcoholic beverage. This time will increase as the person keeps drinking since the liver isn’t designed to handle a large amount of alcohol at a time. 

In small doses, the dangerous ingredients of alcohol will be removed before reaching other parts of the body. If the liver can’t filter everything out properly, these toxins will reach the brain, the heart, and the rest of the body.

How Much Alcohol is Too Much? 

The basic guide to follow is that individuals should limit themselves to one or two alcoholic beverages per day. This should be measured not by the number of cups, but by the amount of pure alcohol in each serving. For example, a double shot in one glass is not one drink; it’s two. 

At the same time, servings should not be averaged over a period of time. Having seven drinks in one night but remaining sober the rest of the week does not equal “one drink per day”. Heavy consumption in a short period of time is considered binge drinking and increases your chances of developing liver disease. 

Again, these numbers may vary based on a lot of different factors. Some people may be much heavier in weight and larger in size and could hypothetically “handle” more alcohol — but sticking to one per day (if any!) is the safest bet. 

Types of Liver Diseases

Although there are many different kinds of liver diseases, there are 3 main types when relating to alcohol consumption. Risk factors for developing all three include the severity of alcohol addiction, family history, and other health conditions. While mostly treatable, some may cause permanent damage. The three most commonly developed alcoholic conditions include fatty liver, hepatitis, and alcoholic cirrhosis.

Fatty Liver 

Fatty liver is the most common alcohol-related liver disease, and the most easily developed. Most patients with alcoholic fatty liver disease make a strong recovery if they receive treatment early enough. Sometimes for a variety of reasons, patients do not seek treatment and this can result in permanent damage. Risk factors include excessive alcohol use, family history, co-occurring addictions, and the use of prescription medications. 

Hepatitis

Hepatitis is a liver disease that can form in different levels of severity. Alcoholic hepatitis is an inflammatory condition of the liver caused by heavy alcohol consumption over an extended period of time. Binge drinking will also aggravate the condition, which can be life-threatening if left untreated. 

Continued drinking can lead to additional health problems such as fatal liver damage or co-occurring kidney failure. 

Alcoholic cirrhosis

Cirrhosis is developed after prolonged liver damage and is considered irreversible. Cirrhosis is a deep scarring of the liver tissue which leaves the liver unable to process and detoxify the blood properly. There is no proven cure for cirrhosis, and typically in order to survive, individuals will require a transplant. Reducing and stopping all alcohol use is the only preventive measure for alcoholic cirrhosis. 

Symptoms Of Liver Disease 

People suffering from alcohol addiction or binge drinking disorder are at a much higher risk of developing a serious liver condition than the average individual. People who abuse alcohol and have a co-occurring infection or health issue that involves the liver have an even higher risk of developing a dangerous liver condition.

On average, consuming more than two drinks on a daily basis puts you at risk for liver disease.

Symptoms that could be caused by liver disease include :

  • Yellowish skin and eyes (jaundice)
  • Abdominal pain and swelling
  • Swelling in legs and ankles
  • Dark urine
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Itchy skin
  • The tendency to bruise easily
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Fever
  • Disorientation
  • Weakness
  • Loss of appetite
  • Pale, bloody, or tar-colored stool

These symptoms can resemble a lot of health conditions, so if you are experiencing any of the above and also drink more than the recommended amount, be sure to talk to your doctor about the possibility of liver damage. 

Complications of Liver Disease

For those who continue to drink, the prognosis for any liver condition will worsen. The longer the individual drinks, the more serious complications will become. 

Alcoholic hepatitis can lead to hepatic encephalopathy which occurs when there is a mass buildup of toxins in the body. This level of toxicity can reach the brain and lead to coma, stroke, and death. Prognosis will also worsen if you develop cirrhosis. This condition itself is considered life-threatening. 

Treatment Options for Liver Disease 

Liver disease isn’t only caused by alcohol consumption, but drinking more than the daily recommended amount increases your chances of developing a liver condition by more than 50%. Depending on the severity of your liver disease, there are some treatment options available.

The main goal of treatment plans for liver disease includes repairing the damage already done to the liver, and then strengthening it so it can process more toxins. 

Treatment for early diagnosed fatty liver disease is typically achieved through a combination of nutritional and lifestyle changes, along with quitting drinking completely. This will include drinking more water, developing an exercise routine, and replacing fatty foods with lean meats,  fruits, and vegetables. 

More serious conditions like hepatitis and cirrhosis require a much more complex treatment plan. These plans will likely include medications to reduce high levels of inflammation in your liver to help it run more smoothly. Alongside these medications, your doctor may also recommend a variety of holistic supplements. Holistic supplements will be easier on the body and less taxing than intense medications since everything needs to pass through the liver to get to the blood.

Some supplements that are helpful for liver conditions include:

  • NAC
  • Artichoke Leaf
  • Turmeric Root. 
  • Dandelion Root
  • Yellow Dock Root
  • Beetroot
  • Ginger
  • Milk Thistle 

Always check with your primary doctor before trying supplements to be sure they are safe to take with any health conditions or pre-existing prescriptions. 

If you have end-stage or serious liver failure, you may need a liver transplant. Liver transplants require alcohol abstinence for at least six months prior to the transplant. 

Treating Alcoholism: Detox, Treatment, and Therapy

When it comes to treating alcoholism, it’s important to consider the components of a good treatment program. If you are suffering from alcohol use disorder (AUD), there are many treatment options and resources available.

As you begin treatment, it’s likely that you will start with a detox program. This process will help to cleanse your body from the toxins of alcohol and any other harmful substances. Then, you will continue your treatment process by engaging in various therapies and holistic treatments.

You may take part in group therapy in order to gain more interpersonal skills and develop a support system. Individual therapy will also be a part of your treatment. Through this type of therapy, you can discuss any challenges and difficulties you are experiencing. Your therapist can help walk you through the healing process and help you to establish relapse prevention methods.

Also, the journey to recovery may include family counseling, which can help you and your family to learn more about and work through the effects of alcoholism.

Get Treatment for Alcohol Abuse Disorder Today

Liver damage can pose life-threatening health concerns that may or may not be responsive to treatment. To truly prevent the development of liver disease, it’s important to stop drinking and begin the path to sobriety. At The Discovery Institute, our trained professionals can help you get the best treatment to ensure you can live a sober life. Call us today at (844) 433-1101  for more information about our recovery and prevention programs.  

Court-Ordered Drug Assessment

A Guide to Getting Your Court-Ordered Substance Abuse Evaluation

A substance abuse evaluation helps to measure the level of addiction in an individual. It also assists professionals in creating an effective treatment plan that can meet the specific needs of each person. This helps to ensure that these individuals have the best chance at a successful recovery.

Battling a substance abuse problem or addiction can have severe, even fatal, consequences. It can cause damage to the mind, body, mind, and relationships. When an addict suffers from uncontrollable substance use, they often get into dangerous situations and put their health at risk. When someone reaches this point and needs help, they will usually go through a substance abuse evaluation. This may be either by choice or court-ordered.

Once a person is convicted of driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs (DUI), they will most likely be court-ordered by their state to complete a substance abuse evaluation. Some states require this evaluation as a prerequisite to participating in programs, such as diversion or deferred sentencing, that allow the offender to avoid a DUI conviction.

Usually, a certified state agency administers substance abuse evaluations. The overall purpose, process, and types of assessments and treatments tend to be uniform. But each state has its own requirements. 

Here are some other examples of circumstances or convictions in which a court-ordered substance abuse evaluation may be required:

  • Minor in Possession (MIP)
  • Arrested for possession of drugs or alcohol
  • Disorderly conduct
  • Public intoxication
  • Using a false ID

Purpose

The substance abuse evaluation identifies the possible presence and the extent of the offender’s drug or alcohol problem. It also allows for the development of a treatment plan that addresses the individual’s specific problem and circumstances.

Some essential points of the purpose of a substance abuse evaluation are:

  • To determine if the individual has a drug or alcohol addiction
  • To assess the level of severity of the substance use or addiction
  • Discover if there are any co-occurring conditions, including physical or mental health concerns, or other drug use
  • To measure the extent to which the individual’s substance use affects their life
  • To provide an overview of the person and their particular circumstances so that the treatment can best suit their needs for recovery

After a person is arrested for a DUI, the court might require the individual to go through a substance abuse evaluation during the criminal proceedings. Criminal proceedings will differ by state. Some require the completion of a theft evaluation before sentencing. In these cases, the substance abuse evaluation will impact how a judge sentences an offender. It can often result in a reduction, elimination, or increase of penalties that would otherwise be imposed. On the other hand, other states require the evaluation to take place within a specified period post-sentencing as a condition of probation, or part of a diversion, deferred sentencing, or similar program.

Process

Generally speaking, the process of substance abuse evaluations includes two separate sections. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) states that the parts of this process are screening and assessment.

A court-ordered substance abuse evaluation will generally consist of a detailed interview with a treatment provider. The provider will then review the offender’s history, regarding the substance, criminal history, driving record, and arrest report. The offender may also need to provide a drug and alcohol urinalysis screening.

Screening

A screening tool is not the same as an assessment. Screening for substance use is one of several tools that can help to identify if further evaluation is necessary. Only a qualified professional should analyze the results of all screenings and assessments.

Before intake, treatment providers will perform a detailed screening to determine the presence, scope, and severity of a person’s substance abuse issues. Several trained professionals administer the screenings. (This may include social workers, counselors, psychiatrists, and other mental health professionals.) The screening process will often consist of direct, yes-or-no questions. In some cases, patients will start this process online. The purpose of the screening process is to look for:

  • The specific type of substance
  • The existence or threat of substance use disorder (SUD)
  • If preliminary interventions would be helpful to prevent the onset of addiction
  • The length of time the prospective patient has used drugs or alcohol

Screening Methods

Some commonly used resources in the substance abuse screening process include the Alcohol Use Inventory (AUI), Substance Abuse Subtle Screening (SASSI), CAGE questionnaire, Brief Screener for Alcohol, Tobacco, and other Drugs (BSTAD), and Tobacco, Alcohol, and other Drugs (TAPS).

AUI – This is a screening tool intended for supposed alcohol abuse only. The questions take feelings, attitudes, behaviors, and lifestyle into consideration. Despite the questioning in this method, AUI’s potentially fatal flaw is the need for transparency.

SASSI – This is a self-reporting tool that is easy to take, administer, and score. This type of screening looks deeper into the psychological side of substance use. It assesses the responses as well as how the answers are given. It screens for openness, defensiveness, and aggressiveness. This helps to determine if an individual has a substance abuse problem. It has scientific evidence to show that it has 93 percent accuracy when diagnosing substance dependence.

CAGE –  This tests for alcohol misuse using four simple questions. It is brief and non-invasive. For accuracy, it is vital for the person answering the questions to be truthful.

BSTAD – This screening method is for teens and adolescents. It is a self-assessment that individuals can take online with or without a clinician present. A professional should interpret the results from this assessment.

TAPS – This a versatile screening tool that provides a more in-depth screen.  It can be taken online or done face-to-face. It explores recent and past substance abuse habits.  A professional reviews the results.

Assessment

The assessment part of the substance abuse evaluation process is more detailed and is mainly based on the screening results. Individuals will answer questions to identify the exact nature of their substance use what specific factors caused its development and continuation of usage. 

The assessment is complete once a substance use disorder has been identified, and any other co-occurring associated mental health conditions, lifestyle factors, and medical issues. An experienced professional should conduct the assessment. This is because professionals have the skill to be more in-depth and can make direct, informed decisions about treatment.

Some of the common resources used in modern substance abuse evaluations include the Diagnostic Interview Schedule-IV (DIS-IV) and the Addiction Severity Index (ASI). In some circumstances, substance abuse assessments can use input from family or loved ones for accurate results.

DIS-IV –  This type of interview administers a structured set of questions developed by knowledge acquired from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

ASI – This is a semi-structured interview that showcases recent and lifetime use habits. Itis extensive and used as a standardized tool to test individuals entering rehabilitation. During this interview process, the administrator will consider medical history, substance use, any time in custody. The administrator will also consider the person’s employment status, their relationship and familial statuses, and mental health.

Recommendation for Treatment

Depending on the interview, supporting documentation, and screening results, after a patient has completed their court-ordered evaluation, the treatment provider will usually recommend a customized care plan. The plan they recommend will address the individual’s specific needs. This includes things such as whether a patient will benefit from inpatient or outpatient care. They can also determine if they need or are eligible to receive medication-assisted treatment (MAT), and more.

A range of people trained in addiction may process the components of this procedure. A social worker, counselor, therapist, psychologist, psychiatrist, doctor or nurse, will evaluate the tests and interviews. The medical professional will ask questions about the person’s health history, any past and present drug and/or alcohol use, the manner and behaviors in which substance use affected their life, and any history of past treatments for these concerns. A physical may be necessary if a physician administers the evaluation.

Typically, the individual has to pay for the costs of the evaluation and the treatment program. The evaluation fees will vary by each state, but the price is usually around $100 to $150. Individuals make this payment directly to the agency that did the evaluation.

You should not be afraid to find out if you or someone close to you needs help with a drug or alcohol addiction. If a substance abuse disorder has affected your life, consider taking a substance abuse evaluation as soon as possible. This action can determine the right treatment for you. Identifying substance use disorder is a crucial first step in overcoming the disorder and having success in long-term recovery.


If you’re ready to begin your journey to recovery from substance abuse, please contact us here at Discovery Institute. We will work to help you leave addiction in your past and move forward in your life.

Relapse Prevention Therapy

The Importance of Relapse Prevention Therapy

Relapse prevention therapy is treatment designed to identify the reasons, behaviors, and outcomes of relapse in a person during the aftercare stage of addiction treatment. Being able to understand and prepare for relapse is imperative to addiction recovery. Relapse prevention therapy armors newly sober individuals with the self-confidence and knowledge they need to live out their normal lives without fear of relapse.

We at the Discovery Institute want you to know that it is not too late. We are always here for you, and want you to be as educated as possible. Below, we will be discussing relapse prevention therapy. This kind of treatment is especially important because recovery is never a “one and done” ordeal. Recovery is a lifelong journey that we want to be a part of with you.

The Dangers of Relapse

Many people who are in recovery and some professionals in the industry look at relapse as an unavoidable part of addiction recovery. The rate of relapse is high, so being prepared and informed about relapse is of growing importance. Many overdose deaths happen right after relapse.

Tolerance is when an addict can use a high dose of a drug or alcohol because their body has grown accustomed to it. After detoxification and elimination of the drug circulation throughout the body, tolerance decreases. When a relapsing addict takes the amount of drug or alcohol they were used to before sobriety, their bodies no longer are able to handle it. High overdose rates occurring post-relapse give an addict a responsibility to know what to do in relapse situations.

Identifying Commonalities in Relapse

Since relapse rates are so high, there have been studies on the process of relapse. Behaviors seen before relapse are usually similar. Because of these similarities, they are also avoidable through relapse prevention therapy. Three situations most commonly seen directly before relapse are social pressure, self-conflict, and a decreased emotional state.

Effective coping responses and behaviors are a necessary defense against these high-risk relapse situations. Relapse prevention therapy gives individuals the tools they need in order to cope with these high-risk situations. We will now discuss the four stages of relapse. It is important to know if a relapse is coming so that you can identify it and consciously avoid it.

Stage 1: Emotional Relapse

The first stage of relapse is the emotional stage. Some refer to this as the internal stage of relapse. Characterized in this stage are events, whether external or internal, that will affect the person’s life. One aspect of this is change. When a person’s life has a drastic change (break-up, loss of a loved one, getting fired, etc.,) they may feel internal pressure and stress. Stress is another large part of the internal stage.

Also, what begins to happen internally is the individual will realize they crave the substance. Relapse prevention therapy must take into account the idea of denial. Denial is a common defense mechanism for addicts. Usually, when an individual begins recovery, they must learn to accept that they have lost control of their lives. Denial can often be a large inhibitor in place of acceptance. However, when stage 1 of relapse occurs, denial often reactivates.

Lastly, one of the most detrimental aspects of stage 1 is P.A.W, or Post-Acute Withdrawal. Post-acute withdrawal is when the individual begins to feel withdrawal effects even when they have not taken the substance in a long time.

Stage 2: Mental Relapse

In the second step of relapse, an individual’s behavior will change. A social breakdown may occur and the person will experience a loss of structure in his or her life. This is where the internal problems from step 1 begin to manifest outwardly. 

During the mental stage of relapse, individuals tend to begin thinking about their previous substance abuse. They may start to dwell on the times when they used to drink or use drugs. Individuals may begin to consider or even follow through with spending time with people who used to abuse substances with them. 

While thinking about their past lives, individuals in mental relapse may not consider the negative effects of their substance use. Instead, they may romanticize and fantasize about alcohol or drug abuse. They might simply think about the “positive” effects of substance use (i.e. euphoria, etc.) But, the unhealthy and harmful results of substance abuse may not come up in their minds.

First, a change in behavior is characteristic of stage 2. A normally calm and reserved person will appear more stressed. Another common sign is a studious individual will begin to skip classes, or a good worker will begin to miss many days on the job. Then, there is a social breakdown, in which the person may isolate themselves from their group of friends, or their behavior change becomes so detrimental that they are no longer able to participate in group activities. 

Next, there is a loss of structure. The normal routine that kept a person safe will begin to break down. This leads into step 3.

Stage 3: Loss of Control

When a person is in this stage, they lose control of their life through a loss of judgment. They experience a behavioral loss of control. A loss of judgment is when the individual begins to consider actions that are clearly detrimental to themselves or others. A behavioral loss of control is doing those things that were thought of in loss of judgment: acting irrationally without considering the consequences.

Finally, individuals in this stage of relapse may think there are no options for them. Maybe they begin to feel that their only social outlets are through parties with alcohol or drugs. This leads the individual to feel as though they have nowhere to go but relapse.

Stage 4: Physical Relapse

At the final stage is when the physical use of drugs or alcohol actually occurs. Individuals commonly think fo this stage as the definition of relapse. But, as we have discussed, relapse occurs in stages. This final stage is the only one that involves the physical use of alcohol or drugs. But, relapse prevention therapy works to help people identify the signs and stages leading to this phase. 

If you are experiencing any of these stages or you are worried you may be on track: stop and reach out to us. Below we will be discussing a few practical ways to engage in relapse prevention therapy.

Relapse Prevention Therapy

There are a number of different approaches to relapse prevention therapy. The three most commonly utilized are:

  • Coping Skills- sessions that identify high-risk situations and how to cope with them without relapse.
  • Clinical Therapy- sessions that focus on understanding the process and consequences of relapse.
  • Lifestyle Change- sessions that encourage treatment prior to relapse and a moderated lifestyle.

Coping Skills

A huge part of relapse prevention therapy is coping skills. In these times of relapse prevention therapy, it is helpful to identify your triggers. These are the thoughts, feelings, places, people, or memories that all play a part in triggering a relapse.

Part of relapse prevention therapy is identifying these triggers and asking the individual how to cope. The practice of managing triggers is an integral part of relapse prevention therapy. This is because when we are triggered, we are not ourselves. Oftentimes we cognitively know we should not relapse, but our mind is working against us. This is why it is so important to identify these scenarios and put up safeguards to prevent them.

Clinical Therapy

Therapy is one of the best ways to improve relapse prevention. It is also an incredible way to encourage growth as a person. Even if you do not struggle with addiction, consider seeing a licensed professional. Therapy is all about exposing the underlying motivations for our actions. Sometimes, events that occurred in the past affect an individual’s present-day behaviors. Part of relapse prevention therapy is identifying those emotions or thought processes that inhibit our growth. Good clinical practice helps us to identify what we need out of life to grow.

Lifestyle Change

Finally, lifestyle change involves changing one’s habits, work environments, or other surroundings so that you can prevent relapse. This could involve changing your hobbies from things that lead us to boredom or isolation, to healthy beneficial activities. For some people, lifestyle change may include relocation. It might be necessary to move to a new neighborhood, city, or even state in order to continue recovery from addiction.

For others, the biggest lifestyle change might be a change in friends. Perhaps, individuals in recovery may need to develop a new friend group full of individuals who support them and hold them accountable. It may be hard to get rid of toxic people because they were at one point your friends. However, regardless of how they are toxic, you need the influence of people who build you up, as opposed to tearing you down.

Seeking Relapse Prevention Therapy

At the Discovery Institute of New Jersey, we offer relapse prevention programs for all of our clients. We understand the need for knowledge and preparation of relapse. Whether you are seeking a detox program for the first time or you have relapsed, we can help! Our relapse prevention therapy programs can aid in your recovery journey. If you have any questions about our relapse prevention therapy or any of our other programs, our team is here to help. Just call us today for more information about our services and resources.

References:

https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh23-2/151-160.pdf

http://dhhr.wv.gov/bhhf/Documents/MAT%202017/M114%20Relapse%20Prevention%20Plan.pdf 

Married to and Addict

Being the Spouse of an Addict: How Substance Abuse Affects Marriage

Marriage is a union based on love, trust, and a safe place for either spouse to confide. When an individual is married to a person who is suffering from addiction, it can easily break this marital bond. The marriage can quickly turn into a relationship that consists of fear and abuse. Those who are married to individuals who have drug or alcohol addictions may feel helpless. But, there is hope for those who are suffering from substance abuse. There is also healing for their spouses! 

If you are married to someone who is struggling with alcoholism or drug abuse, know that we are here for you. At Discovery Institute, we strive to provide support and guidance for those who come to us for help. First, however, it helps to understand what is happening in your marriage, your personal life, and the life of your spouse.

Addiction Can Destroy Relationships

Addiction is one of the greatest challenges a marriage can face. There are many ups and downs in intimate relationships. Being involved in a close relationship with someone who is suffering from addiction can be a roller coaster of emotional stress, chaos, and violence. The behaviors addiction causes include mental and physical abuse to loved ones. This can destroy trust, which is an essential part of any healthy relationship. Addiction can also lead to financial problems. When children are involved, addiction can prompt arguments over parental responsibilities, cause neglect, and even endangerment.

A drug abuse problem destroys everything in a person’s life, especially romantic and sexual relationships. The insidious nature of a substance abuse problem slips its way into an addict’s life under the disguise of a drink to get through the day, or to get high in a social setting with friends. This behavior slowly develops into an everyday addiction.

The Impact of Addiction in the Home

A drug problem alters the perspective in which a person views the world around them. Their attention, energy, and focus are directed to satisfying a need for more. The dynamics of the relationship start to change as he or she becomes less of a romantic or sexual companion and more of a tool to further the addiction. Sometimes, individuals may even begin to enable their partners, which can be very problematic.

Excessive use of certain types of recreational drugs, like alcohol, marijuana, and cause erectile problems in males. This effect can also lead an addict to abuse prescription male enhancement drugs to combat the diminished sexual function brought on by their use of other drugs.

A relationship has many components, and sexuality is one of them. The way the other parts of a relationship play out can be determined by how the substance problem impacts the sexual component. Being married to a drug addict means that the chances of emotional and physical abuse between partners increase when intimacy and trust levels are affected by a decreasing sexual capacity, and increased periods of depression and rocky mood swings occur.

Dealing With Harmful Behavior

You may define harmful behavior as just being physical. But it doesn’t have to be physical in order to legally and medically be considered abusive. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, any kind of behavior where one partner attempts to exercise dominance and force over another unwilling partner is abusive.

In this case, when a person is married to a drug addict, this kind of abusive behavior can be when the addict forces a spouse to finance their drug addiction. They may also threaten violence against their spouse, partner or their children if their demands. Other forms of abuse and neglect can occur as well to support the substance abuse habit, such as:

  • Yelling at a partner, insulting them, humiliation tactics, and belittling (emotional abuse)
  • Partners can be raped (even within a marriage), bullied into performing sexual favors, used in a sexually demeaning way, or denied sex
  • Use of fear and threats to manipulate and control a partner by forcing them to participate in drug abuse, or be a part of a drug high

Being Responsible for Your Partner’s Actions

If you are in a relationship with someone who is suffering from addiction, you have seen the horrible effects that the disease can bring. Addiction isn’t just affecting your spouse; it’s also affecting you. Often, spouses of drug addicts are responsible for the repercussions of their partner’s behavior. 

Depending on the level of severity of the condition, you may have dealt with irrational behavior, sickness, lying, cheating, and other forms of unacceptable behavior. You are affected by the damages, fines, and other legal matters that can occur. But the addiction problem also affects your emotional well-being. The constant worrying and sleepless nights fearing a call from the authorities or medical facility regarding your spouse can take a significant toll on an individual’s mental and physical health.

Mental Health and Addiction

When you are married to a drug addict, you witness your spouse not only battling the substance abuse problem, but they may also suffer from a mental health condition as well. Professionals call this a dual diagnosis.

  • An estimated 20% of Americans who have depression or an anxiety disorder also suffer from a substance use disorder.

Mental health problems and substance use disorders are sometimes co-occurring. Some reasons are that certain types of illegal drugs can cause people with an addiction to have one or more symptoms of a mental health problem. Pre-existing mental health problems can sometimes lead to alcohol or drug use because some individuals that suffer from mental health disorders use these substances as a form of self-medication. Both mental and substance use disorders have the same underlying causes, like changes in brain composition, genetic vulnerabilities, or going through stress or trauma early in life.

Over one in four adults that have a serious mental health problem also have a substance use problem. Substance abuse problems can develop more often with specific mental health problems, such as:

The Life-Threatening Effects of Substance Abuse

Addiction can come in many forms. Whether your spouse has a problem with alcohol, opioids, cocaine, or other substances, addiction is harmful and deadly. Every year, thousands of Americans are killed, and millions of lives are impacted as a result of addiction. Addiction not only puts the life of the addict in danger, but the lives of their loved ones are at stake as well. Substance abuse can cause violent, irrational, and reckless behavior, which can affect the lives of their spouse, children, other family members, friends, and others.

Addiction Statistics in America

  • An estimated 21 million Americans suffer from at least one addiction, but only a mere 10% receive treatment.
  • Deaths due to drug overdose have tripled since the early 1990s.
  • From 1999 to 2017, there were over 700,000 deaths from a drug overdose in America.
  • Every year, alcohol and drug addiction cost the U.S. economy over $600 billion.
  • Over 90% of people who have an addiction started to drink alcohol or use drugs before they reached 18 years old.
  • Addictive drug use is more common among Americans between the ages of 18 and 25.

Treatment

Being married to someone who has an addiction can seem like a hopeless cycle of emotional, physical, and financial strain. If your spouse is willing to get help to end this vicious cycle, there are treatment options. Some include:

Getting your partner help for drug addiction is one of the greatest things you can do as a spouse for him or her and your relationship. You may need to consider staging an intervention. But, in any case, professional treatment will prove to be important for your well-being and the health of your spouse.

Treatment for a drug addict in a marriage is not only for addressing the individual’s behavior, but it also involves the spouse or partner and treating the relationship as a whole. Research has proven that including partners in the treatment process at some point is very crucial in its success.

Many couples experience disappointment and surprise in that their arguments and fights continue after the substance abuse problem is over. Problems in a relationship that are not related to addiction do not simply go away after treatment. 

Thankfully, resources like family therapy and counseling can help couples to heal. Addiction has a way of penetrating even the strongest and most loving relationships. But, through professional care and guidance, families can experience true healing and freedom.

Seek Help Today 

It is important to remember that substance abuse by a spouse or partner causes damage to the marriage or relationship. It’s best to treat these issues because they can lead to turbulence and conflict. 

If your spouse is suffering from substance abuse, you may be wondering what to do. It’s not easy to know how to properly help someone who is struggling with such a severe issue. But, there is hope! You can find the help and support you need when you contact us here at the Discovery Institute of New Jersey. Just call (844) 433-1101 today to take a step toward healing! 

Posted in Uncategorized
Teen Rehab for Depression

The Need for Teen Rehab: Depression and Teenagers

Unfortunately, many people suffer from the effects of depression. It affects the daily lives of those who are dealing with it. Sometimes, it even co-occurs with addiction, leading to even more intense symptoms and effects. It’s important for those who are struggling with depression to get help from compassionate professionals.

What is Depression and Who Does it Affect? 

Depression is a mental disorder that changes the way someone thinks, acts and feels. It affects an individual’s hippocampus, amygdala and prefrontal cortex areas of the brain and causes negative feelings and thoughts by raising cortisol levels. This can lead to side effects like negative body image, social seclusion and, in severe cases, harmful acts like suicide. 

Within the U.S., depression disorders are running rampant. Researchers believe approximately 17.3 million American adult and 1.9 million children ages 3-17 suffer from depression every year. That averages about 7.1% of all American citizens.

Different Types of Depression

There are seven common types of depression that can affect an individual so severely that they can require treatment to help understand and overcome the disorder. Those types include:

  • Major Depressive Disorder (MDD): this is what licensed professionals deem “clinical depression.”  
  • Postpartum Depression: Because pregnancy hormones are so different than regular hormones women experience on a daily basis, they can affect a woman’s mental health to the point of severe confusion and hallucination.
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Depression, sleepiness and weight gain that occurs during months of cold weather but then goes away once the weather becomes warmer outside.
  • Persistent Depressive Disorder (PMDD): Also known as dysthymia, this disorder means individual experiences more “depressed days” than normal days during a 2 year period.
  • Bipolar Disorder: A mood disorder characterized by periods of “mania.” Individuals who suffer from this disorder can experience happiness one minute and rage the next with no explanation.
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder: Severe versions of premenstrual syndrome symptoms like mood swings and food cravings.
  • Atypical Depression: Depression that is unpredictable. Individuals may experience this type of depression until a positive event in their life is approaching and then the symptoms will go away.

Signs of Depression

If you believe your teenager is suffering from depression, there are some key symptoms to look out for. Some of the telltale symptoms include but are not limited to: 

  • Fatigue
  • Apathy
  • Purposelessness
  • Intense sadness
  • Low self-esteem
  • Guilt or shame
  • Lack of energy
  • Lack of motivation
  • Feelings of worthlessness
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Thoughts of self-harm or suicide
  • Difficulty with focus or concentration
  • Sleeping problems (insomnia or excessive sleeping)
  • Changes in appetite (causing weight fluctuations)

Depression can cause serious feelings of doubt and guilt because of the way someone struggling with the disorder feels. Individuals who suffer from depression struggle with realizing that their disorder is not their fault. More times than not, depression comes from outside sources and situations that have affected a person’s mental stability instead of something they have inflicted on themselves.

In order to come to terms with their emotions and thoughts, some depressed individuals choose to acknowledge their disorders and seek professional help and medication. Although this is a healthy way to deal with depression, some individuals choose a different path. 

It is very possible someone will use substances like alcohol to help numb the pain and confusion they feel. Because of this, they will often times become addicted to alcohol and require it in everyday life.

Depression in Teens vs. Adults

There are many factors that go into why an individual might develop depression, and it affects everyone differently. When comparing depression in adults to depression in teenagers, there are enormous differences.  

For starters, most brains develop until an individual is in their early 20’s, so adults don’t have to worry about changing brain function causing their depression. Because teenagers’ brains are still developing, the receptors inside can become damaged through physical activities or just on its own. When these neurotransmitters inside the brain are unable to transmit brain signals the way they’re supposed to, the individual affected could potentially develop mental illness due to “faulty signals.” 

Hormones also have a large effect on the development of depression in the teenage years because they are constantly changing the balance. This is could trigger depression in a teen due to the way their hormones make them feel happy, sad or mad one minute and a completely different mood the next. Adult hormones, unless ill, pregnant or going through menopause, level off around the same time their brains fully develop. Because of this, changes in hormonal balances aren’t usually the cause of adult depression.

Specialized Treatment for Teens

The reason the specialized treatment is needed for teenagers with depression is that they’re still developing both physically and mentally. In order for them to receive the level of treatment they need, they must have a specific treatment plan made for their still-developing bodies. The positive of this is that they are sometimes able to grow out of their depression because they’re constantly changing.

Doctors who work with teenage depression oftentimes recommend that they go through what’s known as “psychotherapy” first. Psychotherapy includes programs like individual therapy and cognitive behavior evaluations. This gives the specialists more of an idea of what has caused the depression and how to go about treating it in the most effective way.

With depression, medication is usually prescribed as a way to help the teen cope with their symptoms. These medications work with the neurotransmitters in the brain to change the cognitive processes. When given to teens to help with their depression, these medications are heavily monitored because they can cause suicidal thoughts and behaviors.

Different Levels of Care

There are three main types of centers that teens suffering from depression can be checked into to receive treatment. These include outpatient, intensive outpatient, and residential services. The severity of an addiction someone is facing will determine the intensity of treatment that doctors will recommend. 

The two most common treatments are outpatient and residential inpatient services. Residential inpatient treatment is the highest level of treatment available. It is what people typically associate with the word “rehab.” This type of care is generally best for anyone with a more severe addiction problem. Patients in a residential program spend long lengths of time in a treatment facility. Medical professionals monitor them around the clock to ensure their safety, as well.

Outpatient services, both regular and intensive, are different from residential treatment. Regular outpatient attendees can attend school and work on a regular basis to support their families or achieve a degree. They maintain a somewhat “normal” lifestyle while attending treatment in their off time. This level of care is usually best for someone who has already completed residential treatment. Intensive outpatient treatment requires more hours of therapy. IOP patients usually live in a residence where there are other individuals going through the same struggle with addiction that they are.

What is Dual Diagnosis and Why is it Important?

There are many causes of depression. But what if another disorder is the root of what’s driving your teenager to become depressed? When a young adult develops an addiction disorder to things like drugs and alcohol, the substance can gradually start to disrupt signals within the brain. Teenagers’ brains are still changing and growing. So, this disruption is a lot more likely to happen which is what leads to the depression to develop. A dual diagnosis treatment will then be necessary in order to overcome depression.

People who have a dual diagnosis have both a mental illness and a substance abuse disorder at the same time. It does not matter which disorder develops first. It is, however, important for both disorders to receive equal recognition in order to start the treatment process. By acknowledging that both disorders are present, it gives professionals a better sense of what treatment plan to follow.

Dual diagnosis treatment is based on integrated intervention. When a person has a dual diagnosis, it’s important for him or her to get treatment that addresses both disorders. Treatment starts with getting patients the help they need with their substance abuse. In order to work on their depression, they must first become sober. After the initial detoxification, the individual must remain in supportive housing to slowly regain a normal lifestyle. This also allows people to surround themselves with like-minded people who are struggling with similar situations. This helps them realize they are not alone in their journey.

When teenage depression and substance abuse disorders are diagnosed at the same time, they have a higher likelihood of making a full recovery. This also lowers their chances of relapsing back into their old ways once treatment is complete.

Finding the Right Fit

When considering finding teen rehab and depression treatment for your child, it is important to look at all the factors and benefits of many different treatment facilities. There are many different centers out there with both pros and cons. It is important to look into if the center is able to specifically treat “teen depression,” or if it is above the cost you’re willing to spend. The main thing you want to remember when choosing a facility is that they have great reviews and successful cases of helping teens fight and overcome their depression.

For more information about addiction treatment, therapy for depression, and help for dual diagnosis, contact us here at Discovery Institute. Just call (844) 433-1101 today.

https://www.dbsalliance.org/education/depression/statistics/

https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Mental-Health-Conditions/Related-Conditions/Dual-Diagnosis

Posted in Uncategorized
group therapy topics

What are Common Group Therapy Topics in Addiction Treatment?

Generally, there are a plethora of discussion topics with group addiction therapy programs to help clients become an overcomer. Group therapy is an innovative way to help with an addiction to drugs and alcohol. This approach to therapy helps stimulate growth in your recovery process.

Group Therapy Topics in Addiction Treatment

Some addiction group topics are: 

  • Triggers
  • Self-Care
  • Processing Group
  • Practicing Thankfulness
  • Art Therapy
  • Writing Therapy
  • Focus Groups
  • Role-Playing and Role Modeling Groups 
  • Activities that keep you busy

Triggers

Triggers are what provokes you to do a certain action. This is the main addiction group topic. Learning what provokes a certain action, in turn, can help you resist that action. Addiction group subjects help provide a safe group setting. This helps the individual share their story and help them feel less alone. Listening to others in a group therapy session might make the patient become aware of another trigger that they were not aware of, to begin with. 

Self-Care

Another addiction group topic is self-care. This is a very important step to recovery. Taking care of yourself will prosper your journey and increase the chances of recovery and keep you away from drugs and alcohol. This will help you feel good about yourself and about life in general. Self-esteem and self-worth are a couple of the other items examined in this group addiction topic.

Processing Group Therapy

This type of addiction topic in group therapy helps the patient self-examine their feelings they may or may not have known about. In this group, sometimes alarming events are revealed. This helps with dealing with these feelings and help the process of healing. This atmosphere is intense but remains respectful.

Practicing Thankfulness

This group therapy topic reminds the individual of the good in their lives. It helps bring out an appreciation for what they have and for life in general. It reminds the patient of the positive aspects of their lives. Being thankful and positive is a great way to cope under pressure.

Art Therapy

Another topic commonly found in group therapy for addiction is art therapy. The expression of art therapy is emotionally calming. This form of therapy helps in expressing your creativity in an alternate way. Using multiple colors is a great way to express yourself.

Writing Therapy

This type of therapy for addiction group topics is a unique form of therapy for expressing oneself. Writing therapy can help you to express yourself in a way that encourages growth and progress in the recovery process. This is also valuable to contemplate one’s emotions. Writing is a great way to communicate with others without using the spoken word.

Focus Group

A Focus group helps to pay close attention to a particular addiction group topic. This gives the patients in the group the ability to highlight a discussion for the addiction group to focus on. This, in turn, may help to get the focus on what may be driving the addiction.

Role-Playing and Role Modeling 

Role-playing and role modeling is another topic for group addiction. This expounds on who the patient wants to model their life after. Who and what the patient models their life after will have an effect on their lives and this will have an effect on future decisions. Role-playing helps give examples of how they would want their life to be emulated. Role-playing also emulates how the patients want to react to the world and how the world reacts to them.

Activities

A great tool used in group therapy for addiction is using activities such as exercising. Exercising produces endorphins. It is a great help to heal the body and mind. Exercising and being active in general helps the mind stay busy and helps keep the mind off of cravings. Other great expressions of addiction group topics include journaling, enjoying music, helping others. These activities keep you busy and fresh which may curb cravings. 

Pregnancy and Addiction: A Collision Course for Disaster

There are many groups that specialize in addiction topics that are specific for pregnant women. Having addiction group topics that are unique to pregnant women greatly helps addicted women who are pregnant. Addiction not only impacts the woman herself, but this also impacts the baby she is carrying. It is important for the mother-to-be to be healthy so the baby is healthy also. Some subjects for addiction group therapy that may be included are: 

  • Parenting Education Group
  • Drug Abuse Education Group
  • Parenting Group
  • Obstetric Group
  • Lamaze Birth Group
  • Relapse Prevention Group
  • Lactation Group
  • Mock Narcotic Anonymous Group

Parenting Education Group

The parenting education group is a well-needed group for mothers-to-be to develop the competence and confidence they need to care for a child. They also receive specialized training to care for newborns who have been affected by narcotics. In mothers that are addicted to narcotics, facts show that there is a higher rate of SIDS. Since this is the case many mothers are given lessons to learn CPR. CPR is a good practice to learn in case your baby or child is in danger and cannot breathe.

Drug Abuse Education Group

This educational group therapy for pregnant women is pertinent for both the woman and the baby. In this setting, the women are educated on the effect of narcotics on the child they are carrying. This topic for addiction group therapy is pertinent to guiding and educating the women on addiction and the causes and effects. Education is key to getting both the mother and baby healthy.

Parenting Group

This is a crucial addiction group topic. This group helps the mothers and mothers-to-be to focus on the care of the children. This group spotlights many problems that may arise when rearing children. A great aspect of this group helps bring attention to caring for an infant with exposure to narcotics. 

Obstetrics Group

This addiction group topic is a foundation that specializes in pregnant women with addiction. Obstetrics is tending to and treatment of women during their time of carrying a child and during the birthing process. This fantastic addiction group topic helps the mother to see the impact of narcotics on the baby in the womb.

Lamaze Birth Group

The Lamaze Birth Group is an addiction group topic that aids women through the birthing process. This is an essential support system for pregnant women. Lamaze is designed for all expectant mothers. If an expectant mother does not have a partner, she is paired with a lady who successfully went through the treatment program and can aid and guide the expectant mother. This will help the mother feel like she has support in her time of need.

Relapse Prevention Group

Relapse prevention groups for pregnant women are similar to conventional relapse prevention groups. This group is to help maintain growth to sobriety and being narcotic free. This group helps women to have a healthy and happy future and for having the chains of addiction-free for life.

Lactation Group

This group is constructed for women who are breastfeeding. Breastfeeding is the most nutritious way for the baby to be fed. This group is facilitated by a nurse who specialized in lactation or breastfeeding. This group gives the new mother new confidence in helping to provide for her new baby.

Mock Narcotic Anonymous Group

Mock Narcotic Anonymous Group is a different addiction group topic. This type of group therapy is for the ladies who have progressed to the latter stages of therapy. This addiction therapy group teaches clients the importance of presenting something valuable to others.

The Importance of Addiction Group Topics

The importance of talking about addiction group topics in a group setting is to heal as a group. Talking among your peers in a group setting helps heal wounds. Advice among your peers can prove helpful. Whatever addiction treatment for group therapy that is chosen will help you get closer to your goals. Treatment is necessary to see your goals come to fruition. Getting help with addiction through group therapy is a great way to begin your treatment.

Group therapy helps patients to endure and nurture their feelings. Group therapy is a great way to help develop their interpersonal skills. They help with maintaining healthy relationships. Group therapy often helps with a feeling of loneliness. In a group setting, patients get their strength from other individuals within their group going through similar circumstances. The variety of addiction group topics brings a more personalized approach to the healing process. It also helps them feel like they are not alone.

If you are struggling with addiction or have a loved one that is struggling with addiction contact us. You can call us at (844) 433-1101 for all your addiction recovery needs. 

References

https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/other-related-conditions/stress/physical-activity-reduces-st

Growing Rate of Alcoholism in Seniors

The Growing Rise of Alcoholism in Seniors and the Rehab Options Available

The reality of substance abuse can be difficult to accept, even for seniors. There are many senior citizens who struggle with alcoholism, and these people are in need of exceptional treatment options.

There’s no one-size-fits-all formula for recovery; seniors are no exception to this rule. In other words, medical practice for alcohol abuse that works well for young adults may not work well for elderly individuals. Not only that, but the complications that come with senior recovery are vastly different than that of an average adult or young person. 

Understanding alcoholism’s impact within the context of seniors can help others better evaluate as to what treatment is necessary to fit their rehab needs. This is just as significant as any other aspect of the recovery journey. Healing begins with understanding.

What is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism could be described as an insatiable longing to consume alcohol. This is a very dangerous form of substance abuse. Most often, all somebody who suffers from alcoholism can do is keep their mind on alcohol. As a result, the temptation to abuse the substance grows exponentially, leading to the abuse of alcohol.

When anybody uses alcohol, the effect it has on the mind is intoxicating. The pleasure center in the brain is activated. A person’s desires are manipulated as a result, and over time, that desire becomes more and more difficult to satisfy. This encourages users to place drinking above everything else on their list of priorities.

Abusing alcohol is the top priority of anybody that wrestles with alcoholism. This often leads to them neglecting their families or loved ones. Monetary problems could also prevail as a result of that undeniable desire to drink. Alcohol is an expensive substance to keep on the shelf if someone is drinking often. This quickly turns into a financial burden in which the user places the necessity for alcohol above things such as medical bills or rent. When these kinds of issues arise, alcoholism has the power to tear loved ones apart.

Factors of Alcoholism

Alcoholism is often a result of the following:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Marital problems
  • Abuse of any kind

Alcoholism is a complicated illness. A  person who prioritizes drinking over anything else doesn’t just get there overnight. It all started somewhere and followed a chain of events that eventually led to that person becoming hooked. There are a seemingly infinite amount of circumstances that have the potential to lead somebody to find their identity in alcohol use.

Symptoms of Alcoholism

Someone who suffers from alcoholism may express the following symptoms:

  • Lack of interest in any activity
  • Lack of motivation
  • Consistently inebriated 
  • Consistently lying
  • Irritability
  • Frequently falling
  • Cognitive decline
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Alcoholics are likely cognizant of the fact that they’re addicted, and that addiction is a problem. Some who suffer often keep the truth of it suppressed because they’re scared to admit that they have a problem. Accepting the fact that the struggle is real can be a scary thing; it is much easier to deny that there is even a problem. This is why finding professional help is necessary when confronting alcoholism. 

The Consequences of Alcoholism 

  • Poor mental health
  • Cancer
  • Liver disease
  • Heart issues

Awareness of the consequences of alcoholism is imperative to combating it. Alcoholism could lead to a consequence that nobody is prepared for. It is important to seek professional help immediately if you believe a senior you love is wrestling with this illness.

Alcohol and the Elderly Physique

Tolerance for alcohol diminishes as the body ages. In other words, the effects of alcohol often accelerate as somebody gets older as opposed to when they were younger. As people age, fat replaces their muscle. Usually, alcohol absorbs quicker into muscle than it does to fat. Therefore it takes much longer to absorb completely, which results in higher blood-alcohol content.

Because of this, the body also takes a lot longer to digest alcohol, so it stays in their system much longer. As humans get older, the percentage of water that makes their bodies up declines by 15 percent. Less water means less hydration, and since alcohol dehydrates anyways, it makes it more difficult for a senior to stay hydrated.

How to Approach a Struggling Senior

The best way to approach anybody struggling with alcoholism is with love, respect, and understanding. As people age, they become more sensitive to shame and the stigma that alcoholism carries with it. Attacking them with guilt will only worsen the issue. They want to know that they are loved just as much as a young person does. Do more listening than talking, and ask deep questions that provoke accurate self-reflection. This goes a long way with the elderly.

Treatment Options

Understanding alcoholism can be difficult, and it can be just as difficult figuring out one’s options when it comes to rehab treatment. However, it is imperative that even before seeking help, those struggling experience understanding, love, and care. Love and compassion have the potential to bridge the gap between trust and suspicion. 

It is only after they are approached in a graceful manner that discussing rehab becomes an appropriate topic of conversation. Thankfully, at Discovery, there’s no shortage of treatment options, and our first priority is to provide you with the best care available for your loved one. 

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment is a treatment method that is best for more serious cases of addiction. If the need should arise, this treatment includes 24/7 access to medical personnel. It also provides the patient with a place to live in the care of one of our facilities. This treatment could last anywhere from 28 days to six months. Discovery’s inpatient program may be just what your loved one needs to combat their illness.

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment provides patients with access to the best therapists and psychiatrists that Discovery has to offer anywhere from 10 to 12 hours a week. This method of recovery is designed to treat milder cases of addiction and allows patients to recover while living in the comfort of their own home. This is very convenient for those who have a milder condition and a need to stay home to take care of their families.

Detox

Detox from alcohol includes the following side-effects:

  • Seizures 
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Sweating
  • Fatigue
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

Cutting off somebody who’s been drinking rather excessively for a long period of time is a dangerous thing to do. At Discovery, we want to be sure that we’re doing it right. The draw towards alcohol is difficult to overcome and can have a negative impact on someone who struggles with alcoholism. Medically assisted treatment (MAT) is available at Discovery and uses medicine to help a patient come off of frequent alcohol use gradually, and in a more comfortable way than cold-turkey.

Discovery is There for You

Discovery is committed to helping seniors who struggle with alcoholism. Our family desires to provide patients with the best care available so that we can help guide them to a place of stability. The last thing we want to happen is for your loved one to struggle with substance abuse, as it can have terrible consequences. These kinds of circumstances require the undivided attention of professional medical personnel that knows how to treat the effects of alcoholism.

It is imperative to us that we help those who want to be free from alcoholism move on to lead a life of stability and sobriety. We want more than anything to help them function healthier in their daily lives. However, treating patients can become difficult due to the fact that there is no one-size-fits-all formula for treatment; every individual is unique and deserves quality, individualized treatment. Thankfully, our treatment options at Discovery are equipped to handle the most complex of circumstances. 

Every patient who walks through our doors deserves to feel as though they can live a life of freedom. Regardless of how much time they spend here, patients can know without a shadow of a doubt that they are being treated with the care they deserve. If there is a senior in your life that needs rehab, it is important to seek help immediately. Ask us about our treatment options, or contact us here. You can also call us at  (844) 433-1101. 

References

https://www.aafp.org/afp/2000/0315/p1710.html

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/facts-about-aging-and-alcohol

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/addiction/what-is-addiction

Posted in Uncategorized
Benzo Detox at Home

The Dangers of at-Home Benzo Detox

Drugs used to combat anxiety are widely known as one of the many catalysts for addiction. Benzodiazepines are one of the more popular among them. Those who recognize the need for rehabilitation often find it necessary to detox at home, whether it’s because they want to cut costs, or simply aren’t aware of their recovery options

A lack of awareness about rehab treatment options could lead to self-diagnosis and self-treatment. This a real danger to those who are trying to recover in a healthy way. Recovering from drug addiction is a difficult journey, but it could be much easier if done the correct way.

Recovering from substance abuse is a scary and dangerous process, and it’s even more dangerous when somebody tries detoxing on their own. Sadly, not a lot of people recognize the dangers of trying to detox on their own. This lack of understanding could be detrimental to a person’s health and well-being. 

What Are Benzos?

The term “benzos” is short for Benzodiazepines. These drugs compose a class of medications by doctors used to treat the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Seizures
  • Panic attacks
  • Insomnia

Benzos are drugs that attach to the sedation receptors of the brain. These receptors are responsible for calming people down when they’re upset. When anxiety or stress make themselves known, the body produces extra molecules that attach to those receptors. 

Benzodiazepines are not to be confused with opioids, as they often are. People use opioids to relieve pain and these substances focus more on the pain receptors of the brain. It is significant to note that individuals should never take opioids and benzos concurrently, although benzos can be used in combination with other prescription drugs. 

The side-effects of benzos include the following:

  • Daytime grogginess 
  • Drowsiness
  • Rebound insomnia
  • Coordination and balance
  • Impaired memory 
  • Impaired retention 

If somebody is drinking alcohol while taking benzos, the side-effects could worsen. Doctors suggest abstaining from alcohol or at least minimizing a patient’s consumption frequency. It is imperative to avoid using alcohol when taking benzos. This is due to the fact that it could lead to intensifying any of the above symptoms. 

What is Dependency?

Some signs that you or a loved one may be dependant on a drug include the following:

  • Lack of self-care/grooming
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Changes in eating habits
  • Lack of interest 
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Mood swings
  • Nausea
  • Restlessness
  • Shaking

Dependency is best described as neurons in the brain responding to regular drug activity and not functioning normally when a drug is absent. Chemical signals in their brain change when a substance is used. Thoughts, actions, and feelings are triggered when this happens. This is commonly referred to as the pleasure center of the brain. 

The pleasure center of the brain helps people taste and enjoy food, be entertained, and love. When a substance is used, dopamine rushes to the brain. The pleasure center is then triggered. Because the first high is always the strongest, the user feels that they need more of the drug every time they use it. People become more likely to experience withdrawal every time a drug is used. This is where dependency stems from. 

Detox

Detox from drugs and alcohol could include the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Restlessness
  • Hallucinations
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Seizures 
  • Nausea 

Drug detox can be incredibly difficult, and cutting oneself off from drugs cold-turkey leads to serious withdrawal. Drug cravings are sometimes insatiable. A person who’s been suffering from addiction to benzos for a long time could experience many negative effects if they try detoxing on their own. Detox in a professional, controlled environment uses medicine to wean someone off drugs gradually and comfortably.

Detox’s purpose is to safely manage the symptoms of withdrawal as a result of ceasing drug use. Although it is known that detox is mostly necessary for the initial stages of recovery, it could still have a positive impact on every patient’s journey.

Dangers of Detox from Home

Given the possible side-effects of drug detox, it’s safe to say that doing it alone, without assisted medication and medical professionals, is a very dangerous game to play. The body could experience intensified symptoms of withdrawal. 

Dependence on a particular drug could occur in the time frame of a week or a month.  When the body becomes dependent on benzos, it becomes limited in its ability to sedate itself apart from it.  It does this because the body ceases the production of sedative chemicals when patients are on benzos. In a nutshell, weaning someone off of benzos could cause them a great amount of anxiety.

Symptoms of withdrawal from benzos specifically overlap with that of the side-effects of detox. In addition to this, some of the following effects also occur:

  • Flushed feelings
  • Increased pulse rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Insomnia 
  • Confusion
  • Loss of realistic perception

Withdrawal symptoms are tough to deal with. No sane person wants to feel the way that those experiencing withdrawal from benzos feel. It is imperative to understand the impact that benzo withdrawal can have on a person. These effects don’t just last one day and then disappear. 

There are two phases of benzo withdrawal:

  • Acute phase: This phase lasts anywhere from 7 to 90 days.
  • Post-Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS): This phase could last up to two whole years

Depending on the kind of benzos somebody is taking, recovery time will vary. For example, while it takes seven days to complete the Xanax withdrawal phase, it could take up to 90 days to withdraw from Valium use. This time-span lies within the realm of the acute phase.

During the PAWS phase, anxiety and insomnia will gradually rise. Though lengthy, this is a milder phase than the other. Often times, those suffering from the PAWS phase of withdrawal tend to make the withdrawal a bigger deal than it actually is. Professionals often use counseling and medicine to treat the symptoms of withdrawal.

The duration and difficulty of withdrawal from benzos rely on the following:

  • Length of usage
  • Dosage
  • Type of drug 
  • Method used taking benzos
  • Medical or mental health
  • Other concurrent drug abuse

It is important to note that there is no guaranteed timeline for the length of benzo withdrawal symptoms. Each patient is unique and experiences withdrawal in their own way. That being said, there is also no cookie-cutter treatment method. The only thing for certain is that at-home benzo detox is not safe. It is better to get an evaluation by a professional.

What are My Options?

If somebody is experiencing the symptoms of withdrawal, detox treatment at Discovery can help that person get professional medical treatment to relieve their addiction comfortably. It is also important to remember that even those who have been prescribed benzos from a doctor can be dealing with the symptoms of withdrawal; they need help just as much as someone who abuses benzos illegally.

In the benzo detox treatment program at Discovery, we administer medications. This helps to control and diminish detrimental withdrawal symptoms. We strive to provide those who struggle with benzo withdrawal with the help they need. Our team works to allow our clients to experience maximum comfort. Seeking professional treatment for benzo withdrawal is imperative to the safety and comfort of patients who are struggling. 

Patients who struggle with addiction don’t need to be given treatment that intensifies their withdrawal symptoms. The sometimes uncontrollable desire for drugs can cause a patient to hit rock bottom, and this is extremely harmful to the recovery process. Medically assisted detox treatment allows these patients to harness those cravings and bring them under control.

Discovery is There for You

Here at Discovery Institute in New Jersey, our goal is to help those who are wrestling with addiction and withdrawal from benzos and substances like it. Our family here aims to supply patients with the best care at our disposal so that we can lead them to a place of stability and sobriety. The last thing we want to happen is for a patient to diagnose and attempt to treat themselves. This sort of treatment requires the care of professionals so that they can recover completely without the dangers that come with inevitable withdrawal.

Recovery doesn’t just take care of itself. However, that’s not to say that our detox treatment options won’t get our patients there. There are doctors and medicine within our facilities that can help keep patients from feeling overwhelmed, as though recovery is impossible; it’s not. 

The lives of those who deal with benzo addiction can be incredibly difficult. Withdrawal is very real, and if a patient wants help, they should have access to it. If not, it has the potential to tear apart relationships and the livelihood of those recovering.

We believe it is imperative to come alongside those who want so badly to be free from addiction at Discovery. Ultimately, we want to encourage them so that they can function healthily in their daily lives. However, treating patients can become difficult due to the uniqueness of each individual. Thankfully, our detox program at Discovery has the necessary resources to handle complex circumstances. 

Contact Us Today

Our desire at Discovery is to bring every patient that walks through our doors to a state of sobriety. We want to do that the healthiest way possible. No matter how long they spend here, patients can rest assured that they are being treated with the utmost care. If you are suffering from an addiction to benzos and want help, ask us about our detox treatment options. You can contact us here, or call us at (844) 433-1101. 

References

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/neurobiology-drug-addiction/section-iii-action-heroin-morphine/8-definition-dependence

https://www.health.harvard.edu/mind-and-mood/benzodiazepines_and_the_alternatives

https://www.drugabuse.gov/drugs-abuse/opioids/benzodiazepines-opioids

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/1675694

https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/servicesandsupport/alcohol-and-drugs–dependence-and-addiction

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/drugs-brain

https://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/teaching-packets/understanding-drug-abuse-addiction/section-iii/7-medical-detoxification

blackout drunk

Do You Get Blackout Drunk? Here’s What is Actually Happening

Blackout Drunk 

Getting blackout drunk is undoubtedly a sign of alcoholism. However, the number of drinks it takes to get to that point varies according to the individual. Regardless of whether it takes three drinks or ten, there’s no doubt that blacking out is a detrimental result of drinking far too much.

Suffering from a blackout is no walk in the park. In fact, those who suffer are often enslaved to the magnetic nature of the substance. Because of this, drinking becomes the person’s priority number one. Blackouts are born as a direct result of the insatiable hold alcohol has on a person. However, it is worth mentioning that not everybody who suffers from a blackout also suffers from alcoholism.

What Happens When You Are Blackout Drunk?

According to Medical Daily, when you black out, “your brain loses its ability to form short-term memories and commit information to long-term storage.” In other terms, you are walking and talking, but nobody’s home. This is why people who are drunk tend to repeat the same things over and over, or forget something they did and try to do it again a few minutes later. The next morning they’ll wake up with no recollection of what actually happened. 

Binge drinking is one of the biggest causes of blacking out. Binge drinking is defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism as “rapid alcohol consumption that raises blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 percent or more.” This is the legal limit in most states. This is the point where blackouts are possible, especially for people with a lower tolerance. 

At 0.16 and higher BAC, blackouts are much more likely to occur. 

Blackouts happen to some people more so than others depending on genetics, mood disorders, and medical conditions. It can also matter what you ate that day, and certainly if you are taking any medications. ALWAYS consult with a physician before drinking with medication because this combination can be deadly. 

Short and Long-term Effects

Have you ever seen someone look for something in the fridge, forget and look for it a few minutes later when they are drunk? Or someone who is constantly misplacing their beer even though they had it in their hands a few minutes before? This is because a blackout is blocking memory receptors in the brain to help them know what happened in the last few minutes. 

As far as long-term memory is concerned, there are people who wake up in the morning after a night of drinking with no recollection about what happened. This is a rather terrifying experience. It is impossible to remember everything that happened the night before a blackout.

As far as the long-term effects of frequent blackouts, it does have an impact. It can lead to issues with memory loss and retention. There is evidence to suggest that it can also be a contributing factor to Alzheimer’s and dementia. 

Alcohol and Memory Loss

Those who have suffered from blackouts in the past are more likely to forget very simple things than those who don’t drink at all. Alcohol creates a barrier to converting short-term memory to long-term storage in the brain. Someone impacted in such a way just can’t remember things the right way. This is most obvious when a person is drunk, but blackouts over a long period of time could make memory loss obvious even when somebody is sober.

Heavy drinking plays a large role in memory loss and retention, and it can also cause a particular region of the brain known as the hippocampus to become smaller and cause changes to neurons within that region. The Hippocampus is the center of emotions and memories. People who drink heavy regularly can damage to the Hippocampus. As a result, brain cells shrink. 

Brain chemicals are vulnerable to even the smallest amounts of alcohol. These chemicals are referred to as Glutamate. Glutamate has an impact on memory and often is the cause for temporarily blacking out. This also has an impact on day-to-day functions such as paying bills on time, showing up late to meetings, or forgetting about appointments that have been set. In fact, people who suffer from blackouts are more likely to suffer from these symptoms than somebody who does not.

Blacking Out in Social Environments

In a decent social environment, it is likely that people don’t plan on blacking out. However, intention and followthrough are two completely different things. Alcohol has the ability to impair a person’s judgment or memory even after a few drinks. The more someone drinks, the more impaired they become. 

When alcohol is consumed quickly without having eaten anything all day, blackouts can become that much more likely. Not only this, but the potential for memory loss grows even more. All of that to say there could be any number of reasons someone blacks out without having intended to do so. 

Interestingly enough, blackouts are more common among drinkers in social environments. This should motivate casual drinkers to be more aware of gradual, acute intoxication. Blackouts are no respecter of good intentions, nor do they respect age or different life circumstances. In fact, a person who is casually drinking could be tempted the least of anybody to abuse alcohol and still potentially blackout. It is imperative that people undergo proper precautions when drinking even in the most relaxed of environments.

How to be Sure it Doesn’t Happen Again

Some reports have shown that avoiding alcohol altogether from the time-span of a few months to a year may help the brain function normally again. Abstinence also helps reverse the negative impact blackouts have on a person (i.e. memory loss, problem-solving, retention, etc.). For somebody who blacks out more frequently than others after only drinking a small portion, abstinence from alcohol might be the best way to treat it. However, there are more strategies than just abstinence. 

Food

In the human body, the stomach is a very small muscle and has minimal capacity in absorbing liquids. The small intestine, however, has much more room to absorb liquids because the small intestine is covered by villi; villi increase the surface area of a membrane. The key is in the valve between the stomach and the small intestine. When someone eats, they allow that gap to close so that the alcohol takes a lot longer to move into the person’s bloodstream.

Water

The more alcohol somebody ingests, the more likely they are to become dehydrated. When people are well-hydrated, they don’t drink alcohol as quickly as they do when they aren’t. This encourages the person to take sips of their beverage less often.

Rest

Not enough is said about rest and the impact that exhaustion has on the body. Blackouts become more likely if somebody is sleep-deprived. Making a habit of resting well for every day of someone’s life can help them avoid blackouts.

Cutting Back

The more straight shots of alcohol a person consumes, the more likely they are to blackout. Cutting back on the amount of alcohol in a drink helps them slow down their consumption. Changing up the ratio of non-alcohol to alcohol in a drink could mean the difference between a fun time and a bad morning as a result of a blackout.

Pacing

The faster someone drinks, the more likely they are to become drunk quicker. However, it won’t happen gradually. Drunkenness is more likely to sneak up on someone if they’re not careful enough in their pacing. One way to slow down the pace is to come up with a ratio for non-alcoholic drinks to alcoholic drinks. For example, every glass of beer equals two glasses of water. 

Discovery Wants to Help You

Discovery Health is committed to helping those who struggle with alcoholism and blackouts. Our team wants to provide their patients with the utmost care so that we can guide them to a place of stability. The last thing we want is for somebody to blackout and have long-term damage without getting the help they deserve. These kinds of services require the care of medical professionals that know how to treat the effects of blackouts and alcoholism.

It is so important to us that we stand with those who want to be free from the impact blackouts have had on their lives. We want to help them function healthily in their day-to-day lives. However, treating patients can become difficult due to the uniqueness of each individual. There is no one-size-fits-all formula for treatment, but thankfully, our treatment options at Discovery are equipped to handle the most complex of circumstances. 

Every patient who walks through our doors deserves a life of sobriety and stability. Regardless of how long they spend their time here, patients can be absolutely certain that they are being treated with the best care available. If you or a loved one are suffering from blackouts and are seeking help, ask us about our treatment options. You can contact us here, or call us at  (844) 433-1101. 

References

https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/aa63/aa63.htm

https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/arh27-2/186-196.htm