alcoholics anonymous

How to Find an AA Sponsor and How to Be a Good AA Sponsor

Recovering from alcoholism is a lifelong journey that you’re going to need support to do well in. One person that can help give you the support that you need as a recovering alcoholic is an AA sponsor. In fact, it’s strongly advised that recovering alcoholics get AA sponsors to help them stay on track in their recovery. 

You should make sure that the AA sponsor that you choose is well-equipped to take on the AA sponsor responsibilities. It’s also important that AA sponsors are confident in their ability to be AA sponsors. Thus, if someone asks you to be an AA sponsor, make sure that you’re ready to take on the role. Otherwise, you should deny the request for you to be an AA sponsor. 

Being an AA sponsor is an important job. That’s why we’re giving you a guide right here on how to find an AA sponsor. Here, you will also learn how to be a good AA sponsor. 

What’s an AA Sponsor?

An AA sponsor, or alcoholics anonymous sponsor, is a person that guides you through the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step program. An AA sponsor is also a recovering alcoholic. AA sponsors are just so far in their addiction recovery journeys that they are stable in their sobriety. AA sponsors also have a large amount of knowledge on the Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) 12-step program. 

Essentially, a good alcoholics anonymous sponsor acts as a personal AA mentor. Thus, recovering alcoholics that want AA sponsors are responsible for getting their sponsors on their own. 

How to Find an AA Sponsor

AA members are expected to find their own AA sponsors. To do this, AA members must simply go up and ask someone to be their AA sponsor. Just make sure that the person that you ask to be your AA sponsor is a recovering alcoholic that is stable in sobriety and much further along in his or her addiction recovery journey than you are. Below are more tips for how to find an AA sponsor.

Regularly Attend AA 12-step Meetings

The best tip for how to find an AA sponsor is to regularly attend AA 12-step meetings. That’s because AA 12-step meetings are the best places to meet other recovering alcoholics. 

AA 12-step program meetings are also great places to find an AA sponsor because they’re open to new and old recovering alcoholics. Thus, you can easily find someone that’s far along in his or her addiction recovery journey and has already gone through most, if not all, of the 12-steps at an AA 12-step meeting. 

Listen to What Others Say At Your AA 12-step Meetings

Another tip for how to find an AA sponsor is to listen to others during your AA 12-step meetings. Listening to what others say about themselves during 12-step AA meetings can help you find an AA sponsor that you’re confident is stable in sobriety and far along in his or her addiction recovery journey. 

Listening to others at AA 12-step meetings can also help you find a person that has similarities to you. You might want to find someone with some physical, mental, emotional, or experiential similarities to you to be your AA sponsor so that he or she can better understand you and your needs. Just make sure to not find someone that is too similar to you. That’s because having some physical, mental, emotional, and experiential differences between you and your AA sponsor can help your AA sponsor provide you with different perspectives about your addiction journey

Pray and Meditate on Your Choice of an AA Sponsor Prior to Picking One

A third tip for how to find an AA sponsor is to pray and meditate on your AA sponsor pick. While choosing an AA sponsor is important, choosing the wrong AA sponsor can negatively affect you long-term. Thus, it’s important to pray and meditate on your decision. Even if you’re not religious, praying and meditating on your decision can help you confidently choose the right AA sponsor. 

Just Do It

Choosing an AA Sponsor

Our fourth and final tip for how to find an AA sponsor is to just do it. By “do it,” we mean, go up and ask someone to be your AA sponsor. While asking someone to be your AA sponsor may seem awkward at first, once you do it, you’ll be relieved. As long as you’ve taken the time to listen and pick a fellow recovering alcoholic that is stable in sobriety, thoroughly understands the 12-step process, and is far along in his or her addiction recovery journey, then you have nothing to lose by asking that person to be your AA sponsor. 

What You Should Consider When Choosing an AA Sponsor

There are many things that you should consider prior to choosing an AA sponsor. Some of these things are described below. 

How Far Along in Addiction Recovery the Prospective AA Sponsor Is

You should always consider how stable your prospective AA sponsor is in his or her sobriety and how far along your AA sponsor is in his or her addiction recovery journey prior to making that person your AA sponsor. To know how to be a good AA sponsor to you, a recovering alcoholic should be very stable in his or her sobriety and much further along in his or her addiction recovery journey than you are. 

You should also make sure that your prospective AA sponsor is very knowledgeable about the AA 12-step program. Otherwise, that person won’t be able to guide you through it. 

The Availability of Your Prospective AA Sponsor

alcoholics anonymous sponsor

Another thing that you should consider when choosing an AA sponsor is how much time that person has available. This is an important factor because AA sponsors must be available to their sponsees in some way at all times. Therefore, make sure that your prospective AA sponsor doesn’t have a ton of AA sponsees already. 

Also, make sure that your prospective AA sponsor doesn’t have a busy life schedule. That way he or she can be your AA sponsor.

If The Person Wants to Be an AA Sponsor

It’s important to also consider if your prospective AA sponsor even wants to be an AA sponsor. Not everyone that’s far along in addiction recovery and the AA 12-steps like to mentor others. Thus, before choosing an official AA sponsor, make sure that being an AA sponsor is something that that person wants. 

Possible Romantic Attraction Between You and Your AA Sponsor

You should also make sure that you’re not sexually attracted to your prospective AA sponsor. This is important because a romantic relationship between an AA sponsor and an AA sponsee complicates things. 

The best AA sponsor and sponsee relationships are the ones where the biggest things that they have in common are AA and addiction recovery. That way AA and addiction recovery are always the focus of the conversation. 

Many people choose AA sponsors that are of the same sex as them. That way, they will not develop a sexual attraction to their AA sponsors. Alcoholics that are in the LGBT-Q community may want to choose AA sponsors that are a different sex to them. 

Similarities and Differences Between You and Your Prospective AA Sponsor

How to Find an AA Sponsor

You should also consider the level of similarities and differences that you have with your prospective AA sponsor. You should have enough similarities between your AA sponsor and you to make it easy for your AA sponsor to understand you. On the flip side, you should have enough differences between your AA sponsor and you so that your AA sponsor can provide you with different perspectives about your addiction. 

How Much You Trust Your Prospective AA Sponsor

Another thing that you should consider when choosing an AA sponsor is how much you can trust him or her. If your gut allows you to trust someone with all the other qualities of a good AA sponsor, then he or she is likely a good choice of an AA sponsor for you. 

How to Be a Good AA Sponsor

If someone is asking you to be his or her AA sponsor, before saying yes, you should make sure that you have what it takes to be a good AA sponsor. Below are some ways that you can be a good AA sponsor.

Be Even Tempered

To learn how to be a good AA sponsor, you must first learn how to be even-tempered. Being even-tempered is important as an AA sponsor because you will be the listening ears to a vulnerable recovering alcoholic. 

Have At Least One Year of Sobriety Under Your Belt

To be a good AA sponsor, you must be stable in your own sobriety. Thus, you should have at least one year of sobriety under your belt.

Really Know Your 12-Steps

Good AA sponsors have also been attending 12-step AA meetings for quite some time and fully understand the 12-step program. By having such extensive knowledge of the AA 12-step program, you will be able to guide someone else through the program. 

Have a Desire to Sponsor Someone

If you’re not somewhat passionate about something, you’re not going to dedicate the time and effort to be good at it. Thus, prior to learning how to be a good AA sponsor, you must have a genuine desire to do so.

Don’t Sponsor People That You’re Attracted To

AA sponsors should never enter romantic relationships with their sponsees. Thus, to avoid this from happening, good AA sponsors should not allow themselves to be AA sponsors to people that they’re sexually attracted to. 

Be Available

Good AA sponsors are always available to communicate with their sponsees. Therefore, if you don’t have much time on your hands, you shouldn’t be an AA sponsor.

Be a Good Listener

Much of what an AA sponsor does is listen to their sponsees. Thus, good AA sponsors are good listeners.

Push Your Sponsees

Good AA sponsors are invested in the progress that their sponsees are making in their addiction recovery. As a result, good AA sponsors often push their sponsees to gain more perspectives about their journeys with addiction so that they can better understand their triggers and learn more ways to manage their addiction. Some ways that good AA sponsors push their sponsees are by giving them AA literature to read or making them attend different AA group meetings. 

Do Not Impose Personal Views on Your Sponsees

While the AA 12-step program is based on some holistic spiritual values, good AA sponsors know not to take it any further and push their religious beliefs or personal views on life onto their sponsees. Therefore, if you want to learn how to be a good AA sponsor, don’t force your personal beliefs onto others.

Discovery Institute Is Here to Serve Your Addiction Treatment Needs

Here at Discovery Institute, we know the value of AA sponsors. That’s why we encourage the recovering alcoholics that attend our alcohol detox and addiction treatment programs to get one. We also encourage the recovering addicts of our other drug detox and addiction treatment programs to find a sponsor or someone that they can lean on for support while in recovery. 

Here at Discovery Institute, we provide the highest quality clinical care through evidence-based practices. Through such care, we help alcohol and drug addicts overcome their addictions. 

To learn more about Discovery Institute and the detox and addiction treatment programs that we offer, contact us today. Our compassionate treatment specialists are available 24 hours a day to take your call.  

Stress from work

How to Handle Stress at Work in Recovery

The alarm didn’t go off so you missed the bus that takes you to work. When you get to work your boss threatens to fire you—again. All you want to do is sit down and get to work, but your brain buzzes about the potential of unemployment. 

You clock out at the end of the day, deeply stressed about struggling at work. The bottle of alcohol sitting at home seems like a good way to escape. This is how stress and addiction happens. It’s even tougher for individuals to handle stress and recovery when suffering from a substance use disorder. 

A small amount of stress can be a good thing at times. However, too much of it can hurt a person’s physical and mental health. Discovery Institute understands how casual substance use can turn into a substance use disorder because of too much stress. That’s why we show members how to preserve their mental health and handle relapse triggers. 

How Are Stress and Addiction Related? 

Some people may not know that stress is considered a health condition. Research from 2018 shows that around 26% of people feel stressed out at least once a week. People are more prone to feel on edge when they’re struggling at work. They may resort to drug dependency to feel some sense of normalcy. 

stress and addiction

Many people can identify with having a drink after a long day at work. What many fail to realize is that the overwhelming majority of those suffering from addiction are actively employed. Studies show that 70% of non-medical drug use is by employees, most likely to help blow off steam. 

This is what happens to the body when it’s stressed: 

  • It causes physical and emotional strain 
  • Stress releases neurochemicals and hormones 
  • Blood pressure and blood sugar levels rise 
  • Heart rate increases 
  • Muscles tense up 

The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) found that stress and drugs both release similar brain chemicals. Therefore, long-term stress can make some more prone to a substance use disorder. Certain brain mechanisms affect a person when they use substances and when they’re stressed. For one, it affects long-term potentiation (LTP), which has to do with retaining information.  

How To Handle Stress and Addiction While Struggling At Work 

The way to handle stress and addiction while struggling at work is to keep an inventory of how you’re feeling. This is also applicable to other stressors, like school or being in a relationship. Be honest about how you’re feeling, and more importantly, don’t ignore it. 

Stress and relapse can happen by ignoring negative emotions. People resort to drugs and alcohol when they bottle up their feelings. Don’t ruminate on it, but make a mental note. If this happens during work, take a moment to decompress. Walk away from the desk. Go on a bathroom break and take deep breaths. 

Stress and Addiction

However, battling stress and addiction is more than taking bathroom breaks. Besides, you can’t always go to the bathroom in the middle of a stressful situation unless you want rumors starting about irritable bowel syndrome. The best way to handle stressors when you’re struggling at work is to mindfully practice ways to decrease them. 

9 Ways To Handle Stress and Addiction 

1. Start Journaling 

Journaling is a great way to express negative thoughts and emotions positively. The way it does this is by helping those who write one process their feelings. They may not truly understand how they feel until they put it into (written) words. 

Also, it allows people to track how long they’ve felt a certain way. So, if they notice that they’ve been feeling stressed out for a long time they know it’s time to take serious action. It can also help understand what triggers the urge to drink and do drugs. 

2. Spend More Time In Nature 

There is a Japanese practice of mindfulness called forest bathing, or shinrin-yoku. The concept behind it is going to the forest to fully engage in relaxation. Participants are encouraged to be in nature with no intention other than observing the world around them to the fullest. Use all the sense to take in the lush surroundings. 

Those interested in forest bathing don’t necessarily need to go to a forest. Instead, go anywhere that there are trees. For employees, take a step outside and be around trees. Fully concentrate on the sensation of being in nature to reduce the chance of stress and relapse. 

3. Create Art 

Art is another way to express negative emotions positively. Creating anything is an experience that uses both the mental and physical parts of a person’s body. For one, it takes their mind off of doing anything destructive, like giving into the idea of relapse. 

Secondly, it allows them to get their feelings out in the open. Turning stress into something positive is a beautiful experience worth trying out. At work, try to doodle a little. Keep in mind not to resort to this too much at work or you might get in trouble. 

4. Try Out Meditation 

Meditation isn’t just for monks. It’s for everyone, especially those struggling with a substance use disorder. Studies indicate that people who frequently practice mediation can stay calmer throughout the day. One study found that the same parts of the brain that lit up during meditation stayed that way after it when a person consistently practiced it. 

It’s not about clearing the mind. Instead, try to think of yourself as a spectator of your thoughts. Try imagery to guide the meditation. Start thinking about how each part of your body feels. Start at the head and go all the way down to the toes. 

5. Move On To Something New 

Trying to do anything super stressed out is a surefire way to screw it up. Once a person makes a mistake on a task under stress, it makes them even more upset. It’s alright to step away from stressful tasks and come back to them with a renewed state of mind. 

Try working on another task when the pressure becomes too much. It will help make fewer mistakes and make for better work. Move on to a new task in the meantime and return to the other one in a better state of mind. 

6. Set Boundaries 

Setting boundaries are important to prevent stress and relapse. This applies to friends and family members, but also co-workers (even your boss). While it’s scary to assert yourself when you feel like it might jeopardize your job. The opposite is true, though. Setting boundaries at work ensures that your co-workers and boss get the best version of you. 

For instance, your boss decides to call you on the weekends late at night to talk about work ideas. If this is something that stresses you out, then kindly assert your boundaries. Tell them why it would be better for both of you if they contacted you during work hours instead of randomly in the middle of the night. They’ll understand and you’ll be less stressed out. 

7. Listen To Music 

Just like drugs and alcohol, music can release “feel-good” chemicals in the brain. Endorphins make a person feel pleasure and happiness. Music may not release as many as substances, but it does a good job of minimizing stress. If you’re stressed at work, take the time to listen to some of your favorite jams. 

Don’t just mindlessly play it as background music. Mindfully listen. Take a short break and appreciate the melody and lyrics of your favorite music to come back to whatever your doing feeling refreshed. 

8. Look Into Therapy 

At the end of the day, listening to music and journaling can’t fix a serious mental illness. People that deal with stress and addiction may also have a psychological disorder. Only a medical professional can actively help a person suffering from either get out of their mental rut. 

A large majority of employee insurance plans cover mental health services. Some of them cover it in full. A therapist can validate a person’s feelings and help them take action to avoid the risk of relapse. Many decide to go with a therapist that practices cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)  or dialectical behavior therapy (DBT). Evidence-based methods can get better results. 

9. Exercise 

Just like music, drugs, and alcohol, exercise releases “feel-good” chemicals. The mind rewards the body for being active. You don’t have to run a triathlon to benefit from exercise. During your lunch break, do a little yoga or go from a power walk. Either of these activities promotes the production of positive hormones and a healthy way to handle stress. 

How To Know Your Stress and Addiction Are Out of Control 

Stress

Constant stress can easily push a person to relapse. If the amount of stress you feel on a daily basis makes you upset for the majority of the day each day, it’s time to seriously think about getting help. Not only can stress wreak havoc on health, but it can also make drugs and alcohol seem more enticing as a way to escape. 

Discovery Institute Can Help You Ease The Pain of Stress and Addiction

We understand the deep bond between stress and addiction. At Discovery Institute, we make members aware of the nature of the two and how to avoid them both. We use traditional medical practices as well as holistic therapy to calm the mind. If you’re struggling at work and find yourself using drugs and alcohol to numb the frustration, contact us now. We can help. 

Legalized drugs are addictive. Just like any other drug, there are pros and cons.

How Will Recently Legalized Drugs Affect Addiction Rates?

Drugs aren’t just what seedy men with long trenchcoats sell in alleyways. They are a common breakfast beverage and guilty snack. A drug is a substance that changes someone physically or mentally. Caffeine is a drug. Tobacco is one, too. 

Some legalized drugs are controversial. A few states made legal weed news during the last election. One even passed legal mushrooms. There are two sides to whether this was the right move or not. 

What Has Happened To States With Legalized Drugs? 

To put it another way, some drugs are legal. Yet, some states have taken a liberal approach to controversial substances. Marijuana is one of them. Legal mushrooms are another. Since November 4, 2020, more states have loosened their legal stance on it. Although this may be true, the federal government still has a war on drugs. 

As of now, 35 states have legalized/decriminalized marijuana for either recreational or medicinal purposes. Oregon decriminalized small amounts of hard drugs. Also, Oregon approved legal mushrooms with psilocybin in them.  As of the last election, these are the 15 states with recreational marijuana: 

  1. Alaska 
  2. California 
  3. Colorado 
  4. Illinois 
  5. Maine 
  6. Massachusetts 
  7. Michigan 
  8. Nevada  
  9. Oregon 
  10. Vermont 
  11. Washington 
  12. Arizona 
  13. Montana 
  14. New Jersey 
  15. South Dakota 

Recreational marijuana is old legal weed news to some states. Using weed as medicine is even older. To illustrate, PubMed Central (PMC) states California has used cannabis for medical purposes since 1996. States that have legalized drugs like marijuana first can indicate long-term effects. 

Colorado 

To begin with, Colorado is one of the first states to legalize recreational marijuana. Furthermore, a bill passed in 2012 to make it official. This state served as a test drive in some sense. 

To continue, this state decriminalized marijuana for medical purposes before recreational. However, recreational was taboo not even a decade ago. At present, its capital, Denver, totes $320.8 million in revenue from marijuana sales taxes. Unsurprisingly, it’s been rated the state with the best economy. 

On the other hand, Denver Public Health reports that hospitalizations possibly due to marijuana have gone up. As a result, there were around 550 pot-related hospitalizations per 100,000 in 2020 in Denver. In 2011, this number was under 400. 

Washington 

Also, Washington state made legal weed news in 2012. It was passed in 2011 before a governor partially vetoed it. This bill was labeled I-502. The Drug Policy alliance paints a pretty picture for statistics tied to marijuana legalization. 

In summary, one year into pot legalization, this state saw $83 million generated from taxes. In addition, it saved millions on resources for law enforcement. Traffic violations and youth use didn’t increase. But, violent crime decreased since it was passed. 

Oregon 

In 2014 Oregon passed retail marijuana into law. In more recent times, they decriminalized small amounts of hard drugs. More notably, in 2020’s election they passed legal mushrooms with psychoactive effects into law. This makes it the first state to do so.  

Oregon uses revenue from marijuana taxes to fund drug addiction treatment. Their position around drugs is that it is a medical disorder instead of a criminal offense. In this way, those with a substance use disorder are offered an alternative to jail time: lasting recovery. 

Massachusetts 

Moreover, Massachusetts legalized weed in 2016. Massachusetts Public Health projected that pot would boost state revenue by $215.8 million within the first two years. It comes as no surprise that it has the seventh-best economy. This state was one of the first to have recreational dispensaries.

In contrast, what are the health implications? Since its legalization, rates for fatal car accidents where the post-mortem results showed THC increased. With this, 34% of citizens in Massachusetts that consume pot drive while high. Young adults make up the bulk of those who use marijuana. 

Legalized Drugs and Addiction Rates 

At the present time, research indicates that cannabis use disorders have increased from 2008-2016. An independent study by JAMA Psychiatry surveyed 505,796 participants. They did this before recreational pot was legal and afterward. This is what their research found:

  • Ages 12-17: cannabis use disorder went from 2.18% to 2.72% 
  • Ages 26 and older: cannabis user disorder went from 0.9% to 1.23% 
  • Frequent use by ages 26 and older went up by about 23% 
  • Social benefits increased along with public health concerns

Hence, a more lax approach to marijuana has increased drug dependency. The study went on to say that it was unclear whether or not it had to do with medical marijuana or retail. However, adolescent cannabis dependency went up by almost 25%. This number is higher for adults 26 and over. Calculations show that addiction rates went up by about 37%. 

JAMA Psychiatry notes that these spikes might be due to newfound availability, a price decrease for pot, and unperceived risks. Cannabis use disorder in youth, in particular, leads to health complications. It also leads to economic and social obstacles. 

This presents a tricky question. Should drugs be legalized even when they are known to increase addiction rates? How can our country avoid higher addiction rates in lieu of criminalization? Addiction treatment programs may be the answer. 

Legalized Drugs and Incarceration

In short, recently legalized drugs may hurt public health but help social justice. In the distant past, people with alcohol dependencies were thrown into mental asylums or in jail. But, psychiatric research ultimately showed it was a medical condition, not a moral impairment. While alcohol is socially acceptable across the USA, recently legalized drugs aren’t. 

In contrast, those who use them recreationally or who have a substance use disorder are treated as criminals. This applies to states who have a rigid approach to drugs. Alcohol and other substances can impair those who are dependent upon them. Yet, alcohol is legal federally while others aren’t. 

Besides, both Oregon and Washington found that legalizing marijuana improved incarceration rates. According to the Oregon Health Authority, Marijuana arrest rates in Oregon went from 31 per 100,000 adults arrested in 2011 to 3. Combined studies show how incarceration for drug dependency hurts citizens: 

  • Hurts chances of employment 
  • It disproportionately affects minorities 
  • They never learn how to cure their substance use disorder 
  • More funds need to be allocated towards prisons and law enforcement 
  • Children are taken away from their parents 
  • Young adults are removed from school

Non-violent arrests that have to do with substance use are common. Americans have had their entire lives derailed because of drug possession. Recent legislation surrounding legalized drugs has taken this into account. 

Pros of Recently Legalized Drugs

Proponents of recently legalized drugs like legal mushrooms and marijuana argue the pros outweigh the cons. States who have legalized it have had a boost by the millions in terms of revenue. They can take this money to fund addiction treatment centers. In this way, people who have a substance use disorder can recover healthily. 

Treating drug dependency as a medical disorder instead of a criminal offense has multiple benefits. It has to do with the fact that people within treatment centers are certified professionals. Community support specialists, doctors, therapists, wellness coaches, and psychiatrists make up teams. They are equipped to handle substance use disorders within a healthy environment. 

Drug legalization has benefits: 

  • Statewide economic boosts 
  • Fewer funds and less time needed for the war on drugs 
  • Adolescents can have a realistic education over abstinence 
  • Those with addictions to hard drugs can have a softer alternative
  • People with medical conditions can opt for a natural alternative 
  • Use or dependency won’t derail their lives from a legal POV 
  • People with a drug dependency can get help without fear of incarceration
  • Employers can’t discriminate against employees who use legalized drugs without cause 
  • Treats substance use disorders as a medical condition instead of a criminal offense

Hence, those who argue in favor of recently legalized drugs see these benefits. That isn’t to say they don’t believe in any repercussions for risky use. Many would like to see criminal charges towards those who are a threat to society. For example, driving under the influence should end in a criminal offense. 

Cons of Recently Legalized Drugs

On the contrary, others argue there are more cons than pros. Studies show that addiction rates have risen as a whole for drugs that were recently legalized. Car accidents that are related to THC have risen with it. Advocates of this side see the danger in a lax approach to drugs. 

Drug legalization has cons: 

  • Adolescents have easier access 
  • Public opinion on its dangers lessens 
  • Chronic use in adults will increase 
  • Increased availability can lead to frequent use 
  • Health issues related to smoking will increase 
  • Hidden health issues may surface that would have otherwise not 
  • Addiction rates for legalized drugs will increase 
  • Hospitalizations for legalized drugs will increase 

Although the Center for Disease Control has said otherwise, many see legalized soft drugs as a gateway. In some cases, this is the truth. A person who smokes pot might end up smoking crack by accident. This could lead to a lifetime of addiction. 

Legalized Drugs Can Result In Addiction 

Legal or not, people can develop a dependency on anything classified as a drug. Just because a legalized drug is socially acceptable, it doesn’t mean there is no danger. Habitual use creeps on without notice. 

At Discovery Institute we know that drug dependency is a medical disorder. We would never judge anyone for a substance use disorder, even if it’s illegal. If you or a loved one can’t live without drugs and alcohol, contact us now for a permanent solution. 

Holistic Approach

Holistic Approach to Anxiety and Depression Treatment

It is common for anxiety and depression to co-occur or happen at the same time. In fact, almost 45 percent of people with one mental health disorder also struggle with another mental health disorder. Studies have shown half of those struggling with anxiety or depression also struggle with both. But, a holistic approach to anxiety and depression treatment can help manage the symptoms. 

Traditional treatment of anxiety and depression typically includes the use of pharmacotherapy. Drugs such as Xanax and Klonopin are often used in treatment. However, these drugs have risks and side effects some people don’t like. As a result, people are turning to a holistic approach to anxiety and depression treatment. This approach includes vitamins for depression and anxiety treatment.

What are the Symptoms of Each Disorder?

There are some overlapping symptoms of anxiety and depression. These symptoms include irritability and problems sleeping and concentrating. But, some differences define the two disorders. 

Anxiety Symptoms

Many people experience anxiety from time to time. Anxiety is stress and worry. It’s common to have anxiety before a big decision or event. 

However, chronic anxiety is debilitating. It leads to irrational fears and thoughts which affect daily life. For instance, anxiety affects people physically and emotionally. 

Physical symptoms and behavioral changes of anxiety include:

  • Easily fatigued
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Muscle tension
  • Racing heartbeat
  • Teeth grinding
  • Sleep issues – restlessness

Emotional symptoms of anxiety include:

  • Irritability, restlessness
  • Trouble controlling worry or fear
  • Dread
  • Panic

Depression Symptoms

It is common to feel sad or down. But, when the feelings last for weeks, then it might be depression. It is vital not to ignore these feelings as they can get worse. 

Physical symptoms of depression include:

  • Lack of energy and chronic fatigue
  • Trouble concentrating and making decisions
  • Pain, aches, and stomach issues
  • Changes in appetite and weight
  • Trouble sleeping or oversleeping

Emotional symptoms of depression include:

  • Lack of interest in hobbies and fun activities
  • Constant sadness, anxiety, and emptiness
  • Feeling hopeless
  • Irritability, anger
  • Feeling guilty, worthless, and helpless
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Suicide attempts

If you or someone you love are having thoughts of hurting themself or others, it’s vital to call 911.

Supplements and Vitamins for Depression and Anxiety

There are vitamins for depression and anxiety. Specific vitamins address biological factors that add to anxiety and depression. By taking vitamins for depression and anxiety, it helps with low Vitamin B6 and iron. Vitamins can also help with serotonin deficiency. 

However, just taking a few vitamins and supplements isn’t going to make your anxiety or depression go away. But, as part of a holistic approach to anxiety and depression treatment, they help your body find balance. So, what supplements and vitamins for anxiety are available?

Vitamin D

Vitamin D is important for many reasons. Besides regulating your mood, Vitamin D is good for brain and nerve health. Research shows a link between Vitamin D and depression. Therefore, taking Vitamin D supplements can help with your depression. 

Additionally, research shows a link between Vitamin D and anxiety. For instance:

  • A report from 2015 reports people with anxiety or depression to have lower levels of calcidiol, which is a byproduct of Vitamin D breakdown.
  • In a 2017 study, women with type 2 diabetes see improvements in anxiety and depression when taking Vitamin D. 

However, there are things you can do besides taking vitamins for depression and anxiety. For instance, you can spend time outside in the sun. You can also eat foods high in Vitamin D. Foods such as fatty fish like salmon and mackerel are also high in Vitamin D. 

Vitamin B Complex

B vitamins are eight different vitamins that manage different body processes—for example, stress levels.  

  • A study in 2017 reports people with low levels of Vitamin B-12 often struggle with depression and anxiety. 
  • A 2018 study reports when you eat foods high in Vitamin B such as Marmite and Vegemite, struggle less with anxiety and depression. However, when adding Vitamin B-12, you have even better results.

However, if you eat a diet of nutritious and animal-based foods, you should consume enough Vitamin B. But, if you are vegan or vegetarian, you will need supplements.

Magnesium

Magnesium is important for almost every system in your body to work right. In fact, if you are low on magnesium, you risk anxiety and depression. However, eating the following foods can raise magnesium levels. 

  • Black beans
  • Dark chocolate
  • Almonds and cashews
  • Spinach
  • Quinoa
  • Whole wheat

But, high doses of magnesium can cause diarrhea. So, you should start with low doses such as 100 mg. Above all, you should never take more than 350 mg a day unless a doctor says otherwise. 

L-theanine

Green and black tea contain an amino acid called L-theanine. L-theanine is also a mild sedative and anti-anxiety agent. However, you should not consume more than 400 mg a day without a doctor’s approval. 

Multivitamin and Mineral Supplements

If you struggle with anxiety and depression, you may benefit from multiple supplements. A study in 2019 found the following nutrients help with anxiety.

  • B vitamins
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc

So, if you are looking for a holistic approach to anxiety, adding a multi-vitamin is beneficial. However, each brand of vitamins is different. For this reason, it’s best to ask your doctor about vitamins for depression and anxiety.

GABA

Gamma-aminobutyric (GABA) is crucial for serotonin production. It is an amino acid and transmitter in your brain. Specifically, it’s known as the “feel-good” neurotransmitter.  Because serotonin is the nervous system’s most powerful neurotransmitter, GABA helps with mood regulation and relaxation. Although many vitamins help with anxiety, GABA taken directly reduces anxiety symptoms.

Passionflower

Passionflower is a herb commonly used to calm anxiety. It aids in promoting positive moods, ease nervousness, and improve sleep. Passionflower is typically added to teas. However, it’s available in tablet form. 

Valerian Root

Valerian root has been around since ancient Greek times. It has many different medicinal purposes. Although it mainly aids in sleep, it also helps reduce anxiety. Valerian root works by turning acids in the herb into “feel-good” neurotransmitters. As a result, it relaxes the mind and body and also regulates stress. You can consume Valarian root extract in capsule, liquid, or tea form. 

Chamomile

People have used chamomile for thousands of years. This daisy-like flower has calming effects. Additionally, you can find chamomile in essential oils, supplements, and tea. 

Lavender

Lavender is well known for its relaxing effects. In fact, some people believe just smelling the plant eases anxiety. NCBI reports lavender cream on the skin eases stress and anxiety in pregnant women. At the same time, those who use lavender aromatherapy before surgery have less anxiety.

A Holistic Approach to Anxiety and Depression Treatment

A holistic approach to anxiety treatment refers to the whole person. For instance, treatment heals the mind, body, and soul. As more people learn about treating anxiety and depression naturally, the more holistic care is gaining popularity.

A holistic approach to treatment includes substance use disorder. It is common for many people to use drugs or alcohol when struggling with anxiety and depression. A holistic approach to anxiety and depression treatment may include yoga, acupuncture, and other natural therapies. 

Yoga and Meditation

Yoga and meditation are beneficial for your mind, body, and soul. Hatha yoga, which is very popular, focuses on breathing techniques and how your body feels. However, “hot yoga” is done in a sauna. But, yoga, in general, relaxes the body and eases anxiety and depression. 

Meditation, however, has a different effect. The brain produces a “natural high” when you meditate. This effect is similar to the “high” from drugs and alcohol. The best part is meditation doesn’t produce withdrawal symptoms. 

Reiki

Reiki is a very spiritual transfer of energy. This transfer is done through the hands flowing over the body. Practitioners say certain injuries can block energy flow. However, Reiki helps release the flow of energy. This release helps with pain, reduces stress, and enables relaxation. 

Acupuncture

Acupuncture is similar to Reiki. For instance, it focuses on the body’s energy. But, it’s done with tiny needles instead of hands. Acupuncture is also the most widely used holistic therapy in the world. 

Acupuncture benefits the following:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Migraines
  • Chronic pain

Did you notice all the symptoms acupuncture benefits are also symptoms of substance use disorder? For this reason, acupuncture is a natural way to ease withdrawal symptoms. It can also help with triggers and craving and aid in recovery. 

Connect with Nature

Another holistic approach to anxiety and depression is just going outside. Take a walk through a park or hike through nature. Step away from the stressors in life and get lost in nature. Being in nature is also proven to ease anxiety and depression.

Why Does A Holistic Approach to Anxiety Treatment Work?

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) developed the Guiding Principles of Recovery. This guide states, recovery “encompasses an individual’s whole life, including mind, body, spirit, and community. The array of services and supports available should be integrated and coordinated.” 

Holistic recovery treatment implements practical and comprehensive therapies to help people maintain recovery after treatment. Treatment should also help people develop a meaningful life. A holistic approach to anxiety and depression treatment should help you be the best you possible.

Holistic Treatment at Discovery Institute of New Jersey

Are you struggling with anxiety and depression? Or perhaps you are struggling with substance use disorder. Whatever your struggles, our comprehensive and holistic approach to treatment offers your best chance at recovery. Contact us today and find out how. 

 

Is Marijuana a Stimulant or Depressant?

Marijuana tends to affect users differently, which leads people to wonder what exactly is the drug classification for marijuana? 

What Are the Effects of Marijuana?

Many people report pleasant euphoria and a sense of relaxation when they smoke marijuana. Other common effects include:

  • an increased sensory perception—brighter colors, for example
  • laughter,
  • altered sense of the passage of time, 
  • increased appetite.

Unpleasant Effects

Not everybody has pleasant experiences when using marijuana. Instead of relaxation and euphoria, some people feel:

  • anxiety, 
  • fear, 
  • distrust, 
  • panic. 

These effects are more likely when a person takes too much, the marijuana has a higher potency than expected, or the person is not experienced with it. People who have taken large doses of marijuana may experience sudden psychosis, which includes hallucinations, delusions, and a loss of the sense of personal identity.

These are temporary, unpleasant reactions and are different from longer-lasting psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia. However, there may be a link between marijuana use and psychiatric disorders in vulnerable people.

Drug Classifications

Drugs are classified according to their effects and properties. Generally, each one falls into one of these four categories:

  • Depressants: Depressants are drugs that slow down your brain function. Some examples are alcohol, Xanax, and barbiturates.
  • Stimulants: These elevate your mood and increase your energy and alertness. They tend to be highly addictive. Examples are cocaine, methamphetamine, and prescription drugs for ADHD.
  • Hallucinogens: Hallucinogens alter your perception of reality by changing the way the nerve cells in your brain communicate. LSD and MDMA are examples.
  • Opiates: These are painkillers that rapidly produce feelings of euphoria. They are also very addictive and can have long-term effects on your brain. Examples are heroin, morphine, and prescription painkillers.

Where Does Weed Fit In?

The answer to where marijuana fits in these categories is not as clear as you would think. The effects can vary greatly from person to person. And in addition to that, different strains and types of marijuana can produce different effects. 

As a result of this, and according to the University of Maryland, weed can be classified as:

Marijuana as a Depressant

Marijuana affects your nervous system and slows brain function, calming nerves and relaxing muscles. Over time, you can develop a tolerance, which means you keep needing to use more to get the initial effects. You can also become dependent.

Marijuana as a Stimulant

Stimulants have the opposite effect of depressants. They increase your heart rate and blood pressure. Weed is sometimes considered a stimulant because it can cause elevated moods and make you feel alert and energetic, especially right after using them. You can also become dependent on marijuana for the mood-elevating effects.

Marijuana as a Hallucinogen

Hallucinations are false perceptions of objects, events, or senses. Weed is often stereotyped for hallucinogenic effects. But while hallucinations are possible, they rarely occur and don’t happen in all users. However, the symptom of time distortion with marijuana is also part of a hallucination. 

So clearly, marijuana can have various psychological and physical effects that vary from person to person. It makes some people relaxed and sleepy, but it can also give other people an energy boost and increase alertness. It has also been used to treat mental health conditions, such as anxiety and depression. For other people, it can cause anxiety over time.

What are THC and CBD?

THC

THC is tetrahydrocannabinol, and it is the chemical responsible for most of the psychological effects of marijuana. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), it acts a lot like the cannabinoid chemicals naturally made by the body. The receptors for cannabinoid are located in certain areas of the brain. 

THC attaches to these receptors and activates them, which affects these areas of your brain:

  • Memory
  • Pleasure
  • Thinking
  • Concentration
  • Coordination
  • Sensory and time perception

CBD

CBD stands for cannabidiol, and it’s the second most active ingredient in marijuana. Although it is an essential part of medical marijuana, it is obtained directly from the hemp plant, a marijuana plant cousin. 

While CBD is one of the hundreds of marijuana parts, it does not cause a “high.” According to the World Health Organization, “…there is no evidence of public health-related problems associated with the use of pure CBD.” CBD is easy to get in most parts of the U.S. but its exact legal status is constantly changing.

How Does Marijuana Produce Its Effects?

When marijuana is smoked, THC, and other chemicals from the plant pass from the lungs into the bloodstream. They are then rapidly carried throughout the body to the brain. THC stimulates the cells in the brain to release dopamine which creates a euphoric feeling. These effects are felt more quickly when it is smoked. It also interferes with how information is processed in the hippocampus—the part of the brain responsible for forming new memories. 

When cannabis is ingested in foods or beverages, the effects are delayed to some extent. Because the drug must pass through the digestive system, the effects usually appear after 30 minutes to an hour. Eating or drinking marijuana carries considerably less THC into the bloodstream than smoking an equal amount of the plant. Because of this delay, people may accidentally consume more THC than they intended.

Risks of Marijuana Use

The pleasant effects of marijuana make it a popular drug. Actually, it is considered one of the most commonly used illicit drugs in the world. However, the effects also worry mental health advocates. Some of the risks are:

  • Schizophrenia relapse–NIDA has reported that THC can cause a relapse in schizophrenic symptoms.
  • Defective motor skills–Using marijuana can impair driving or similar tasks for about three hours after consumption. In fact, it is the second-most common psychoactive substance found in drivers, reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The most common is alcohol. People using medical marijuana are told not to drive until it has been shown that they can use it and conduct motor tasks successfully.
  • Hallucinations—THC can cause hallucinations, change your thinking, and cause delusions. The effects begin about 10 to 30 minutes after consumption and last about 2 hours. 
  • Anxiety—excessive uneasiness
  • Memory– recall issues

Risks for Younger Users

Using marijuana can cause long-term problems for younger people. Some of the side effects for younger people include:

  • Decrease in IQ
  • Memory loss
  • A decrease in cognition (ability to understand)

The University of Montreal published a study on almost 300 students who found that marijuana’s early use of marijuana can affect teens. People who start smoking marijuana at around age 14 do worse on some cognitive tests than non-smokers. They also have a higher school dropout rate. The ones that waited until around age 17 to start using the drug didn’t seem to have the same impairment.

Medicinal Uses for Marijuana

Marijuana has been used for medicinal purposes for more than 3,000 years. In early 2017, more than half of the United States had legalized the use of medical marijuana. Several states have legalized the drug for recreational use as well. 

THC can be removed from marijuana or synthesized, as in the case of the FDA-approved drug dronabinol. Dronabinol is used to treat or prevent nausea and vomiting typical with cancer medicines. Likewise, it is used to increase the appetites of people with AIDS, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.

All Natural

Some people are claiming marijuana as a better drug than prescription pills because it is “all-natural.” However, that may not be completely true. Just because something is considered “natural” doesn’t mean it’s healthy. Poison ivy grows in the ground and is natural, but that 

Marijuana Edibles and Overdose

Foods containing THC, known as edibles, have become a problem in states that have legalized marijuana because of overdosing. Edibles can sometimes cause overdose because people often ingest a full serving of a cookie (or other edible) instead of a smaller amount. It is easier to swallow a whole cookie, and it’s more attractive to younger people or people who don’t want to inhale it in the form of smoke.

Edibles have extremely high potency. Because of this, when ingested in the gastrointestinal system, the drug can last longer and with more intensity. The effect from inhaling THC will last 45 minutes to a few hours, but edibles can last for 6 to 8 hours. Therefore, edibles are more likely to lead to a trip to the ER with an overdose.

How Does Cannabis Interact With Other Drugs?

For all practical purposes, all chemical compounds interact with other chemical compounds. Whether it’s over-the-counter drugs, prescription medication, or illicit substances, they interact, and it can be from mild to severe. For cannabis, most potential interactions that are known have been identified as relatively mild. The fact is, some drugs work together with cannabis favorably. Some of the interactions that have been studied are:

Marijuana with Blood Pressure Reducing Drugs

THC activates the CB1 and CB2 receptors in the brain at the same time. This causes a stress response in the cardiovascular system that can reduce blood flow in the arteries of the heart. This can multiply the effects of the medication.

Marijuana with Blood Thinners

THC and CBD may increase the effect of drugs used for blood thinning (warfarin or heparin), or drugs known to cause blood thinning (ibuprofen or naproxen, etc.). This happens possibly by slowing down the metabolism of these drugs.

Marijuana with Opioids

A study conducted by Dr. Donald Abrams of UC, San Francisco, concluded that cannabis could safely boost the pain-relieving effects of opioids. His team also found that treating patients with opioids and cannabis may allow for using lower doses of opioids. This will reduce the risk of dependence and cause fewer side effects.

Marijuana with Alcohol

Mixing any drug with alcohol is generally not a good idea. But there is no doubt that alcohol and cannabis are a popular combination. However, current studies can be interpreted negatively or positively.

In some research, there is evidence that alcohol increases blood THC levels (but there is no evidence that the reverse is true). And on the other hand, some studies suggest that people drink less alcohol when they use cannabis. These findings make sense when you consider that THC increases its effects through the use of alcohol, which means that you would need less alcohol.

However, you still need to be careful when using alcohol and cannabis for two reasons:

  1. The combination creates greater dangers when driving than either one alone.
  2. If a person has had too much to drink, to the point where they need to vomit to get rid of the toxins. Cannabis inhibits nausea and vomiting which puts the person at a greater risk of alcohol poisoning.

Marijuana with Sedatives

Cannabis with sedatives doesn’t seem to raise blood levels or increase the sedative action. Therefore, it’s not as risky as combining alcohol with sedatives, which can be fatal, but it is still risky. Better to avoid the combination.

Can You Get Addicted to Marijuana?

Yes, marijuana can lead to a stage of problem use known as marijuana use disorder. In severe cases, this takes the form of addiction. Recent studies imply that 30% of people who use marijuana may have some level of marijuana use disorder. Users who start before the age of 18 are 4 to 7 times more likely to develop a use disorder than adults. 

Marijuana use disorders are frequently connected to dependence—when a person feels withdrawal symptoms when not using the drug. Symptoms of withdrawal are at their worst in the first week after quitting and last up to 2 weeks. Symptoms include:

  • Irritability
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Decreased appetite
  • Cravings
  • Restlessness
  • Physical discomfort

Marijuana Addiction

Addiction occurs when the person can’t stop using the drug even though it interferes with many parts of the person’s life. Studies suggest that 9% of people who use marijuana will become addicted. This figure rises to about 17% for those who start using it during their teen years.

Is Treatment for Marijuana Addiction Available?

Although marijuana use disorders seem to be similar to other substance use disorders, the long-term outcomes may be less severe. Generally, adults seeking treatment for marijuana use have used marijuana nearly every day for more than ten years and have tried to quit more than six times. 

Additionally, adolescents with marijuana use disorders also often have other psychiatric disorders (dual diagnosis). They may also be addicted to other substances such as cocaine or alcohol. Treatments that have been successful include;

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Contingency management therapy
  • Motivational enhancement therapy

Medications for Treatment

The FDA has not approved any medications for the treatment of marijuana use disorder. Since sleep problems are common in marijuana withdrawal, some studies are looking at medications that help with sleep. Other chemicals that are being studied include nutritional supplements and chemicals called FAAH inhibitors that reduce withdrawal symptoms by slowing the body’s own cannabinoids’ breakdown.

A Place to Recover

If your relaxation method, pain relief, or recreation has turned into an addiction, you have no time to wait. Your life could be so much more than that. At Discovery Institute, we are well acquainted with these issues and have over 50 years of success at helping someone like you or someone close to you.

Make the first step and contact us now. Our evidence-based treatment has helped many people reclaim their lives and their futures. We have licensed professionals who are experienced in the treatment of substance use disorders and co-occurring conditions. Do it for yourself or someone you love.

baclofen

Is Baclofen Addictive? What Is It Used For?

What is Baclofen?

Baclofen is a medication prescribed to people that need pain relief from muscle spasms. Although it is still not exactly known how, baclofen is believed to be able to treat painful muscle spasms by interacting with your central nervous system’s GABA receptors and blocking the signals that your nervous system sends out to your muscles to spasm. Baclofen can also improve muscle movement. 

Because of the relaxing effects that baclofen has on muscles, baclofen is considered a muscle relaxer. If you need it to be, you can also use baclofen as one of a combination of medications for combination therapy. People with conditions such as multiple sclerosis and spinal injury and disease are primary candidates for the use of baclofen. 

Baclofen can come in the form of an oral tablet, oral solution, oral powder for suspension, or spinal injection. The peak concentration of baclofen in the bloodstream occurs 1-3 hours after taking the medication orally. The half-life of baclofen is 3-4 hours in the plasma, and the total shelf life of baclofen after its date of manufacture is 3 years. Only a healthcare provider can give you the spinal injection form of baclofen. 

Baclofen is a generic medication. Some brand name versions of baclofen include Gablofen, Lioresal, and Kemstro. Lioresal is the most well-known brand name version of baclofen. 

Many people wonder if baclofen is addictive and is there such a thing as a baclofen withdrawal. To find out the answer to this question, you must first learn about the different ways that people use and misuse baclofen and the effects that such use and misuse causes.

Baclofen Side Effects

  • Drowsiness
  • Dizziness
  • Muscle weakness 
  • Confusion
  • Upset stomach

More dangerous and severe side effects of baclofen include seizures and difficulty breathing. 

Using Baclofen to Treat Addiction

Baclofen was originally created to treat epilepsy but was only minimally successful. It was not until 2009 when a cardiologist named Olivier Amiesen published a memoir that talked about how he was able to recover from alcoholism by taking baclofen that researchers started to look into the ways that baclofen could be helpful in treating addiction. 

There have been many reports and claims of baclofen helping with addiction treatment since that time. Although baclofen use for addiction treatment has become prominent in the medical field, because there is still not enough research to prove that baclofen can help treat addiction, it is still considered an off-label addiction treatment medication. 

Baclofen is used as an off-label addiction treatment medication because its chemical makeup mimics gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a bodily chemical that calms your mood. As a result, baclofen has a calming effect that causes dopamine levels to increase in the body. 

By increasing the body’s dopamine levels, baclofen helps people feel better when dealing with cravings. In fact, the feel-good effects of baclofen can lessen cravings for other substances altogether. As a result, baclofen helps people suffering from addiction manage their withdrawal symptoms. 

Baclofen is great for helping people manage their withdrawals and dependence on substances such as alcohol, opioid, cocaine, and tobacco. Clinical research trials have particularly shown promise in baclofen treating opioid addiction. 

Baclofen Dosage

According to the Electronic Medicines Compendium, you should increase and decrease your dosage of baclofen gradually over time. The action of gradually increasing and decreasing your dosage of medications is called tapering. Not tapering your baclofen dosage could lead to severe side effects. 

The recommended maximum daily dose of baclofen is 100 mg. Most baclofen prescriptions are in small and frequent doses. You’re supposed to take oral forms of baclofen around 3 times a day. When you start taking baclofen, you should do so in small doses at first and then gradually increase to larger doses. When you are stopping taking baclofen, do so in small increments over a period of 1-2 weeks. 

If you suddenly stop taking baclofen, your muscle spasms may get worse. If you miss your doses or do not take your baclofen as scheduled, it may not work as well as it should. This is because a certain amount of baclofen must be in your body at all times for baclofen to work properly. Taking too much baclofen could cause severe side effects or an overdose. 

Risks of Taking Baclofen

Taking baclofen can cause severe allergic reactions. For example, if allergic to baclofen, you could develop trouble breathing and/or swelling of your throat or tongue. Taking baclofen again after a severe allergic reaction could lead to death. Therefore, healthcare professionals suggest not taking baclofen if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. 

If you have epilepsy, baclofen could make your seizures worse. Therefore, make sure to talk to your doctor about whether or not baclofen is safe for you to use. 

People with kidney problems or kidney disease may have issues clearing baclofen from their bodies. As a result, the levels of baclofen in your body when taking it could reach higher than normal levels and cause side effects. To counterbalance this, your doctor may prescribe you a lower than normal dosage of baclofen to start. 

People with a history of strokes could develop more side effects to baclofen than the average person. Baclofen may not even be able to treat your muscle spasms if you have a history with strokes. 

Other people that could develop more side effects to baclofen include the elderly, and people with impaired renal function. If you have galactose intolerance, active peptic ulceration, or porphyria, do not take baclofen. If you have severe psychiatric disorders, seizure disorders, sphincter hypertonia, liver disease, or diabetes mellitus, take baclofen with extreme caution. Baclofen may also not be right for you if you are already receiving antihypertensive therapy. 

Ask your doctor if baclofen is safe for you to use while pregnant or breastfeeding. Children under the age of 12 should not take baclofen. 

Baclofen Misuse

Because of the calming effect and the feel-good increase of dopamine levels that baclofen has on the body, many people start misusing baclofen. One way that people misuse baclofen is by taking more than what is prescribed to them. 

Another way people misuse baclofen is by mixing it with other substances to increase their feel-good effects. If you misuse baclofen while also taking alcohol, tranquilizers, sleeping pills, or other muscle relaxants, it can cause you to experience weakness, dizziness, drowsiness, and imbalance. 

Mixing Baclofen With Other Medications and Substances

Oftentimes, people will combine baclofen with central nervous system depressants to increase its effects. Other substances that people often mix baclofen with to receive a high are opioids, alcohol, and amphetamines

Mixing baclofen with other substances is dangerous because it can lead to severe side effects. It is also dangerous because it could cause baclofen to interact with other substances. 

When a medication interacts with another medication or substance, it alters the effects that that medication or substance has on your body. Some substances and medications that baclofen interacts with include alcohol, anesthetics, tricyclic, antidepressants, antihypertensives, dopaminergic, lithium, memantine, and NSAIDs. 

If you are taking other medications for health reasons, make sure to tell your doctor that before you also start taking baclofen. Taking baclofen with other central nervous system depressants could lead to severe levels of drowsiness. Therefore, you should not operate a vehicle or any other form of heavy machinery while taking this combination of medications. 

Examples of other central nervous depressants include benzodiazepines, like triazolam and midazolam, and narcotics, like oxycodone and codeine.

Mixing Baclofen With Alcohol

Because baclofen and alcohol are both central nervous system depressants, mixing them heightens both of their effects to dangerous levels. People who take baclofen may mix it with alcohol to heighten their euphoric and calming effects. This is not wise as the extreme levels of drowsiness, weakness, dizziness, changes in mood, and agitation that mixing baclofen and alcohol will give you is dangerous. 

Mixing alcohol and baclofen can even increase your blood pressure and heart rate and cause you to have seizures. Drinking alcohol while taking baclofen can also cause you to unknowingly overdose on baclofen. 

Symptoms of Baclofen Overdose

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Severe muscle weakness
  • Problems breathing
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Slowed breathing or respiratory arrest
  • Heart issues
  • Slowed heart rate
  • Vertigo
  • Low body temperature
  • Lightheadedness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Trouble breathing

Is Baclofen Addictive? 

With the euphoric effects that it can cause and the high levels of misuse that it has, of course, it is. If you cannot stop taking baclofen without experiencing withdrawals, then it means that you have developed a dependence on it. 

If your dependence gets so bad that your behavior changes and you will do almost anything to obtain more baclofen, you are suffering from a baclofen addiction.

Baclofen Withdrawal

Chronic misuse of baclofen can lead to dependence and addiction. Once you develop dependence or addiction to baclofen and you try to stop taking the medication, baclofen withdrawal symptoms arise. This is especially true if you stop using baclofen cold turkey. 

Baclofen withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Visual. tactile, and auditory hallucinations
  • Confusion. Delirium, and Delusion
  • Insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Memory problems
  • Anxiety
  • Changes in perception
  • Hyperthermia
  • Depersonalization
  • Psychosis
  • Mania
  • Changes in behavior and mood
  • Tachycardia
  • Seizures
  • Tremors
  • Fever
  • Extreme rebound muscle rigidity and spasticity

Baclofen Addiction Treatment

If you are suffering from a baclofen addiction treatment, know that hope is not lost. Baclofen addiction treatment usually consists of detox, some form of inpatient or outpatient treatment, support groups, and aftercare. Because the sudden stop of baclofen can lead to dangerous effects, it’s important to slowly wean yourself off of the medication during detox. 

Baclofen detox is essential when receiving addiction treatment for baclofen because of the severity of baclofen withdrawal symptoms. If necessary, you can receive medical interventions or co-occurring treatment during baclofen detox. 

Because you will go through an intense detox during your baclofen addiction treatment, it is wise to attend an inpatient or residential treatment program afterward. That way you can receive the 24/7 care that you’ll need to remain sober after treatment is done. 

Discovery Institute Is Here to Help You

At Discovery Institute, we offer numerous detox programs. If you are suffering from a baclofen addiction, you should consider entering our prescription drug detox program. 

After detox, you can then attend our very effective residential or intensive outpatient treatment program. If you are suffering from a mental illness on top of your addiction, we also offer dual diagnosis treatment. We even provide numerous different forms of individual and group counseling and therapy.  

Whether you are looking to receive addiction treatment for baclofen or some other substance or mental health issue, Discovery Institute is here to help. To learn more about the addiction treatment services that we provide, contact us today.

relapse during coronavirus

Addiction Relapse During the Coronavirus Pandemic

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to unwind, the world has locked down, millions of people have been laid-off, and many have been constrained to stay at home orders. Practicing social distancing isn’t natural, and it is affecting one distinct group hard. Individuals recovering from substance use disorder have found it challenging to stay sober with their routine eradicated, and many have ended up relapsing during the isolation. 

A relapse occurs when an individual who has recovered from substance use disorder suddenly breaks their period of abstinence. Cravings can be triggered by feelings of boredom, anxiety, and loneliness. Studies have shown the relationship between addiction and isolation over the years, proving that isolation leads to more acute treatment consequences. 

Now the world is dealing with coronavirus incorporating into those statistics. Where those individuals in recovery would typically consume their day attending support groups, they’re now forced to be isolated at home without the support of peers sharing the same experiences. 

These moments make it tempting to start using again because nobody is around, right? However, there are new support systems accessible to those in recovery. Telehealth treatment options are available to anyone with access to a computer or smartphone.

The ability to remain sober – even during this pandemic – is more achievable than ever. Understanding the signs and symptoms and what to do if triggers occur, can help mitigate a full relapse. 

Signs of Relapse During the Coronavirus Pandemic

Some physical signs of relapse include:

  • Poor hygiene
  • Poor eating 
  • Sleeping problems
  • Regularly lying
  • Bottling up emotions
  • Skipping virtual support meetings
  • Interacting with previous friends who still use

Some common triggers of relapse during a pandemic include:

  • Fear
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Chronic pain
  • Uncertainty
  • Loneliness during isolation
  • Traumatic memories 
  • Financial issues
  • Experiencing mental illness
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Strained relationships with family
  • Grieving the death of a loved one

Relapses are frequent through the substance abuse recovery process that it’s been estimated that up to 60% of patients in recovery relapse at least once before achieving sobriety. 

During the coronavirus pandemic, some individuals are isolating at home alone, while others are choosing to isolate themselves from their families. Family members living with a recovering substance addict must know the warning signs of relapse and what to do if it does occur. 

Understanding the signs and triggers that could lead to relapse are vital in understanding those feelings and knowing what to do when recognizing them.

4 Ways To Prevent A Relapse 

During this coronavirus pandemic, individuals in recovery are either servicing their sobriety or their relapse.

Here are four ways to help prevent relapse during these isolated times:

1 – Filling In Empty Time Slots

Part of becoming and remaining sober means creating healthy new lifestyle changes. However, isolation can disrupt a positive wellness routine. An interruption in daily routines will usually disrupt your emotional stability, also. Therefore, it is vital to learn ways to resist the new imbalance you’re experiencing during the coronavirus pandemic, especially the ones recovering from substance addiction. Make sure that you balance your available time with activities that help with your recovery. Consequently, you can stay focused during isolation.

Practicing art, music, reading, or exercise are all positive habits to help pass the time. Even reaching out to a friend in need can divert you from any loneliness feelings. Regardless, don’t allow yourself too much downtime. Relaxing does feel good, but too much boredom can leave any person susceptible to relapse.

2 – Become Aware Of Your Triggers

While the world practices social distancing, many recovering from substance use disorder are suffering a familiar feeling of their past, isolation. Unfortunately, isolation is one of the most significant causes to trigger a relapse. Also, being isolated in toxic family situations can complicate the problematic aspects of the global stay at home orders. 

Fortunately, there are methods you can practice to resist the adverse effects of isolation, which can help prevent relapse during the coronavirus outbreak. Nevertheless, it must begin with a precise perception of what triggers you to use.

3 – Utilizing Digital Communication

Zoom is a free app and website which makes any online support group affordable and accessible. The growth of Zoom exploded the moment the coronavirus started spreading throughout the U.S. After the national suspension of public gatherings; online Zoom meetings became the only option individuals had to continue connecting with their peers.

The coronavirus pandemic gave Zoom the boost required to become a vital tool for the online recovery environment. Zoom hosts online virtual NA and AA meetings daily while providing the outlet, connection, and accountability that is substantially comparable to in-person group meetings. Various other digital platforms also can be used to communicate with others in the sober community. There are hundreds of forums and blogs available online that allow individuals in recovery the ability to connect and support each other during these isolating times.

4 – Staying Accountable

The most important thing to do when you’re isolated in recovery is to stay accountable to someone other than yourself via telephone, text, or through some other means of communication.

Individuals in recovery know that being alone is difficult. It is vital to have a few reliable people that you can contact daily, whether it is a friend, sponsor, family member, counselor, or therapist who can get you the support you need.

With mindfulness, strategic preparation, constant communication, and accountability, preventing relapse during this pandemic is attainable.

Are You or A Loved One Trying To Avoid Relapse?

If you or a loved one is recovering from substance addiction and finding it challenging to remain sober, know that these temptations aren’t uncommon. Treatment specialists recommend individuals in recovery take care of themselves by practicing daily routines like exercising, eating healthy, consistent sleep routines, and keeping in touch with family and friends.

Discovery Institute can help individuals to continue achieving sobriety during this coronavirus outbreak. If you or a loved one has experienced a relapse during isolation, contact our addiction treatment specialists immediately to get the help needed to get back on track.

intervention during covid-19 outbreak

How to Plan an Intervention During COVID-19 Outbreak

It can be hard to confront someone about their harmful behaviors and lifestyle. So, intervening to stop addiction in a loved one’s life is definitely a challenge. It can be even more difficult to plan and hold an intervention now, during one of the most frightening times our world has seen. 

But, if you have a friend or family member who is struggling with addiction, now is actually the best time to help him or her. But, how can you plan an intervention during the COVID-19 outbreak? Allow us to help you here at Discovery Institute of New Jersey.

What is an Intervention and Why is It Important?

An intervention is a meeting that involves an individual who is suffering from addiction, some loved ones, and a professional interventionist. The purpose of this meeting is to encourage the struggling individual to seek help for substance dependence. The group usually involves close friends or family members. These individuals work together to help the person to see the importance of getting treatment for addiction.

In many cases of addiction, the person who is struggling is not aware of the impact of his or her substance use. The individual may not know just how serious the addiction is. Or, the person may not really even realize that they need help. 

In other cases, people who suffer from addiction feel uncomfortable and even angry when people address their substance use. They may become defensive or aggressive. This can lead to confrontational conversations. It can also cause people to become distant from one another, all the while, preventing individuals from getting the help that they need.

In any of these situations, an intervention may be both helpful and necessary. It can be hard for people who are struggling with substance use disorder to see the full picture. Sometimes, they may be unable to reach out for help due to the negative emotional and mental effects of addiction in their lives. 

Thankfully, interventions can work to help people find their way to freedom with a little help from their loved ones.

Identifying and Addressing Your Concerns About Interventions During COVID-19 Pandemic

Most likely, you already have some major concerns about planning an intervention. But, knowing that we are in the midst of a serious pandemic can make the idea of intervening all the more overwhelming for you. We understand that you may have some questions regarding this matter and we want to assure you by answering some questions you may have.

We spoke with Kevin Morse, Interventionist at LIFTT Confidential, and discussed these very issues.

Here is a snapshot of our discussion, and how and we’ve answered some of your questions surrounding interventions.

Is it even possible to hold an intervention now that social distancing guidelines are in place?

Yes. Here at Discovery Institute, we understand that these guidelines are in place for our protection and for the safety of those around us. So, we certainly work to carry out these recommendations while still helping the families who call on us for interventions.

Are treatment centers even open? If not, how will my loved one get help for addiction? 

Addiction recovery facilities are essential and, thus, are remaining open to help serve those in need. So, once you and your family complete the intervention process and your loved one decides to get help, know that we will be ready to help the individual begin the journey to recovery!

Even if my loved one decides to get help, how can we be sure that he or she will be safe? 

It is absolutely natural and expected to be concerned about sanitation and cleanliness in times like these. And, while our team here already works to keep our facility healthy and safe, we want you to know that we are working even harder to make sure that the building is properly cleaned. 

We also want to assure you that, when we come to help with an intervention, we will carry out the best practices for safety during this viral outbreak. This includes social distancing protocols, mask-wearing, glove-wearing, and any other practices that are necessary to keep everyone safe.

Also, we work to offer the best possible resources to ensure the safety and health of those who come to our facility. That includes providing hand sanitizer and other cleansing methods in addition to providing people with masks for protection.

What if my loved one is nervous about getting treatment?

It is very likely that your loved one will feel less than “at ease” when it comes to starting the recovery process. Beginning treatment for addiction can be a very challenging and even frightening experience for people who do not know what to expect.

This is why we work to prepare our members for the treatment process. That is especially important now that we are dealing with the impact of COVID-19. Our staff is working very hard to make sure the facility is up to par as far as the coronavirus prevention guidelines are concerned. This may mean that our team and members alike may need to wear masks or be physically distant from one another. 

Since enrolling in a treatment facility may already be challenging for some people, these preventative measures could make the process even more difficult. That’s why we work to assure individuals as they come to our facility. 

Our goal is to make the recovery as seamless and enjoyable as possible. So, we strive to prepare each individual as they begin treatment, informing them of the safety measures we’re taking here at our facility. This allows people to feel more at ease in the midst of the abnormalities and uncertainties everyone is facing right now.

Planning an Addiction Intervention During the Coronavirus Outbreak

Now that the coronavirus pandemic is causing many changes in the lives of people all around the world, addiction may become more and more evident. For instance, your young adult child who is home from college may be showing signs of alcohol dependence. But, because you weren’t able to see your child much before now, you are just realizing that this problem is present. 

Perhaps you are spending more time with a sibling now that lockdowns and social distancing protocols are causing your family to stay home. As a result of the extensive amount time you’re spending together, perhaps you’ve noticed that your brother or sister is struggling with prescription drug misuse.

Seeing these signs in your loved one’s life may be very alarming for you. But dealing with a family crisis like addiction in the midst of a worldwide problem can be very troubling and overwhelming. 

Still, it’s best to address this substance use disorder and the related issues sooner rather than later. In all truth, regardless of the news, stories, and rumors that are circulating the globe, no one is fully certain about when this pandemic will end. However, one thing is for certain: your loved one needs help right away. So, it’s best to avoid waiting until the coronavirus situation improves. Now is definitely the time to act in order to save your family member or friend from a life of addiction.

Is Now Really the Best Time for Him/Her to Seek Treatment?

Putting off treatment for addiction is never a good idea. Substance dependence can worsen over time, becoming more and more severe as time goes on. Its effects on physical health can be life-altering. Its impact on emotional and mental health can be devastating. So, it is definitely important for your friend or family member to get help immediately. 

With schedules changing and many people working less or not working at all, loneliness and idleness can settle in. This can lead to an increase in substance misuse in some people’s lives. It can also cause symptoms of depression to develop. This can worsen addiction’s effects as well.

Also, if the individual is not working much or at all, now might be the most convenient time to seek treatment. No looming responsibilities can cause the individual to feel uncomfortable about going through residential or outpatient treatment. Needless to say, this may mean that right now is, in fact, the best time for your loved one to get help!

Let Us Help You and Your Family Today!

If your friend or family member is suffering from substance dependence, you may feel helpless. Maybe you’re unsure about whether or not you can help. But, there is absolutely something you can do to help your struggling loved one. 

Here at Discovery Institute of New Jersey, our mission is to help each person who comes to our facility. We want to see every individual reach a place of peace and freedom from substance dependence. We are fully aware that this is not always easy, nor is it a quick and simple process. But, we are determined and committed to making the journey a successful one. 

If you are ready to hold an intervention to help someone get treatment for addiction, we are here for you! We can help to guide you through the planning process and carry out the intervention when the time comes. We will also provide your loved one with the best of care once they begin treatment here at our facility.

Our programs are designed to meet the specific and individual needs of our members. So, whether your loved one is suffering from alcoholism, heroin use, prescription drug misuse, or co-occurring disorders, we are here to help. 

Discovery Institute offers treatment programs such as:

We offer these programs with the intention of helping people begin building a new and healthier life for themselves. Our compassionate team of trained professionals understands the challenges that may arise on the road to recovery. So, we walk with our members, from start to finish. Rest assured that your loved one is in good hands here at our facility!

If you’re ready to help a struggling individual, just reach out to us today. We look forward to assisting you and your family throughout this time!

lgbtq addiction treatment

LGBTQ Treatment for Addiction: Finding a Friendly Place

Every person that exists is a unique individual that lives their lives in different and beautiful ways. Everyone deserves quality treatment when it comes to substance abuse, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. The LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) community has faced several obstacles that stand in the way of their potential sobriety.

There are treatment centers that exist intending to be sensitive to the needs of those within the LGBTQ community who require substance abuse treatment. Some studies have shown that LGBTQ groups in addiction treatment are more successful than non-specialized treatment programs

LGBTQ Challenges

Some challenges that members of the LGBTQ community face include the following:

  • Discrimination on sexual orientation
  • Hate crimes 
  • Emotional abuse
  • Threats
  • Public humiliation 
  • Rejection 
  • Shame from family or friends
  • Fear
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Loneliness

Compared to the population as a whole, the LGBTQ community, in particular, suffer more from addiction than any other community. There are many obstacles that homosexuals face, as listed above. Because of this hatred that they so often experience, they are more likely to self medicate with drugs or alcohol to cope. This is because these substances can help numb the pain and heartache that they are experiencing. 

There are also a great many transgender people who have felt overwhelming loneliness or anxiousness due to the negativity projected upon their preferred life choices. This could make them more likely to use particular substances and abuse them. There are even some studies that suggest transgender students are between two and three times more likely to use cocaine, meth, and also abuse prescription opioids or benzos.

Depression and Other Behavioral Disorders

Life in the LGBTQ community is immensely difficult. There are many people who, even in the 21st century, hate diversity and become uncomfortable with such a lifestyle. Sadly, for the majority of human existence, this has been the same old story. Fear and hatred boil in the hearts of many individuals, and it’s just not right. Many within the gay community are impacted psychologically as a result.

When equal rights and treatment is even brought into question, a life of uncertainty ensues. This could lead any individual to an anxious or depressive state of mind. Because of this, these behavioral and mental health disorders must be treated properly; that’s why dual diagnosis is so significant in the realm of addiction treatment.

What is a Dual Diagnosis?

Dual diagnosis is referred to when someone is suffering from a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder at the same time. To best understand and combat a co-occurring disorder, one must familiarize themselves with the science of dual diagnosis. It’s so significant because, if not treated properly, one illness could worsen the effects of the other. 

It is significant to note the difference between a co-occurring disorder and a sequence of disorders that influence one another before one misunderstands the concept of dual diagnosis altogether. The most common misunderstanding concerning dual diagnosis is the thought process of one disease influencing the other. It can be difficult to discern which disease came first.

To better understand what this all means, a person suffering from substance abuse could have been doing so long before they experienced a depressive state of being. The two aren’t required to have anything related to the two. The main point to grasp is that they are merely occurring and require treatment simultaneously.

Co-occurring disorders are so important to give attention to. Many people throughout the United States suffer from both a behavioral disorder and substance abuse. The number is well above nine million. That is enough people to cover the population of the entire state of Georgia. Not everything has to be so hopeless, however; there are many options concerning treatment for co-occurring disorders because it is so common. 

Treatment options for dual diagnoses are available for those who need it. If you or a loved one are suffering from a mental health disorder and a substance use disorder simultaneously, it may be time to consider finding help. Mental health and sobriety are very important to us at Discovery, and we want to provide patients with whatever is necessary to progress in their recovery journey. 

Other Treatment Options

While treatment for co-occurring disorders is significant to us at Discovery, other treatment options work better for some patients that we care just as much for. Many unique individuals walk through our doors, and our treatment shouldn’t force them into a mold. 

Some suffer from severe addiction, some suffer from mild addiction; some work well in intimate environments, and some are more successful in a group setting. Regardless of these differences in treatment, we at Discovery are committed to providing our patients with the best we have to offer. 

Inpatient Treatment

Lasting anywhere from 28 days to six months, inpatient residential treatment is for those who are suffering from more severe cases of addiction. This treatment option provides patients with 24/7 access to medical personnel, and weekly, in some cases daily, access to professional therapists and psychiatrists. This method of treatment is more intensive and has proven itself successful in the lives of many. 

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment, often a stepping stone to the world outside rehab for those exiting inpatient treatment, offers minimal disruption to one’s day-to-day life. This recovery method is meant for those who are suffering from a milder case of addiction. Patients who participate in this program are granted 10-12 hours of weekly access to professional therapists and psychiatrists. Outpatient rehab could take anywhere between six months and one year to complete. 

Detox Treatment

Detox, or medically assisted treatment (MAT), is used to help those who are experiencing symptoms of withdrawal come off of drugs easier, more comfortably. Withdrawal is a result of dependency, and for someone to no longer be dependent on a substance, they need to function without it. MAT provides patients with medication to combat the symptoms of withdrawal. 

Therapy in LGBTQ Treatment

For those within the LGBTQ community, the majority of their life may have been immensely difficult. From struggling with confusion as to why people are as hostile as they are to homosexuals or trans people, to the terrifying pressure of coming out, there are a vast array of circumstances that need to be addressed and resolved. Therapy is a good way to start in this regard. 

Generally, therapy is referred to as the process in which qualified professional attempts to help someone heal from whatever ails them psychologically or physically. Many different kinds of therapy have all proven themselves successful, and each one can be structured in a variety of ways. Therapy, no matter the kind, has been known to change the lives of those who participate. 

Ultimately, we aim to be successful in our treatment of the LGBTQ community. To do so, it is imperative that those participating in therapy, no matter which kind, trust the process. Trust goes a long way in rehab, and it could mean the difference between success and frustration. Sometimes, therapeutic methods may seem counterintuitive or silly, but to heal, skilled professionals use a wide variety of methods to treat their patients. Once trust has been established, patients can be sure to make great strides on their road to recovery. 

Treatment Centers For LGBTQ Community

There are many reasons why some of the LGBTQ community won’t seek help. Fear, denial, and depression are all factors that impact someone’s motivation. The biggest reason is perhaps due to the resources available to them in certain areas of the U.S. 

At Discovery, the LGBTQ community can rest assured that we have many different treatment programs to meet their individual needs. Many from these communities have endured isolation and unfair treatment, and we want to address that throughout their addiction treatment. Rehab centers that specialize in this realm of treatment can call co-occurring disorders what they are. 

Discovery Can Help

There are many hardships that those in the LGBTQ community face, and sadly, substance abuse is the reality for many of them. Any number of issues could contribute to someone’s substance abuse, and for those who endure such hostility in this day-in-age, it’s not far fetched to believe that this has something to do with the alarming rate of addiction.

There is no cookie-cutter addiction treatment method. Each individual is unique, with their battles to fight and demons to conquer. Empowering them in a way that caters to their every need is perhaps the most important part of what we do. 

At Discovery, our desire is for each person who enters our facility to feel as though they’re not just a number, but a unique individual. We are passionate about seeing those who struggle with substance abuse through to the end. If you or a loved one is battling addiction, you can contact us here.

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 today to take a step toward healing! 

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

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