benefits of joint commission accreditation

JCAHO: Benefits of The Joint Commission Accreditation

The importance of being an accredited addiction treatment center cannot be overstated. To provide the best possible care for those struggling with addiction, treatment centers must maintain high standards of quality and accountability. By becoming accredited by a reputable organization such as the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), addiction treatment centers can demonstrate their dedication to providing quality care.

In addition, accreditation can help addiction treatment centers to attract funding and resources from both public and private sources. Finally, accredited addiction treatment centers can provide peace of mind to patients and their families that they are receiving care from a reputable and trustworthy source.

What is JCAHO?

The Joint Commission is a U.S.-based nonprofit organization that accredits and certifies over 21,000 healthcare organizations and programs in the United States. Hospitals that receive accreditation from The Joint Commission are required to undergo on-site surveys every three years. The commission evaluates hospitals against more than 400 standards for quality and safety, and the accreditation process includes a review of the hospital’s policies and procedures, medical records, and interviews with staff.

The Joint Commission’s standards are developed by panels of experts in specific fields, such as infection prevention and control, and are based on best practices. The commission also offers educational resources to help hospitals improve their performance.

History of the Joint Commission

The Joint Commission has been accrediting healthcare organizations since 1951 and began certifying hospitals in 1963. The Joint Commission is the nation’s oldest and largest accrediting body in health care. Since the 50s, the Joint Commission has become the standard for accrediting treatment centers in the United States.

The Joint Commission Board is made up of representatives from each of the five partner organizations: American Hospital Association (AHA), Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), The Joint Commission, AARP, and the Consumers Union. Each of these organizations has a seat on the board and plays an important role in setting policy for the commission. In total, there are 20 members on the Joint Commission Board.

Goals and Objectives of the TJC

The Joint Commission has four main goals which include the following:

  1. To improve the quality of patient care
  2. To reduce the risk of errors and accidents
  3. To improve communication among healthcare providers
  4. To reduce the cost of health care.

The Joint Commission provides healthcare organizations with standards that they can use to improve the quality of patient care. The standards cover a wide range of topics, including patient safety, infection control, and medication management. The Joint Commission also provides education and resources to help healthcare organizations improve patient safety and quality of care.

Why are Quality Care and Safety Important in Healthcare?

Quality care and safety are important in healthcare because they ensure that patients receive the best possible care and treatment and that they are not put at risk of harm. Quality care means that patients receive the right treatment, at the right time, from the right healthcare professionals. It also means that they have access to the best possible resources and information.

There are many reasons why it is important to have access to the best resources and information in treatment for addiction and mental health. One reason is that it can help people learn about their condition and how to better manage it. Additionally, having good resources can also help people connect with others who may be going through similar experiences.

Additionally, good resources can help people find the most effective treatment options available. Finally, having access to good resources can also help reduce the stigma associated with addiction and mental health issues. All of these reasons underscore why it is so important for people to have access to the best resources and information in treatment for addiction and mental health.

What are the Joint Commission Accreditation Standards?

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) has developed standards for risk management in healthcare organizations. These standards require that healthcare organizations have a process in place for identifying, assessing, and mitigating risks. In addition, the JCAHO standards require that healthcare organizations have a system in place for reporting and investigating incidents.

There are three types of Joint Commission accreditation: hospital accreditation, long-term care accreditation, and behavioral health care accreditation. Each type of accreditation has its own set of standards that must be met to receive and maintain accreditation.

Some of the general standards that all accredited organizations must meet include:

  • Providing evidence-based care
  • Using a multidisciplinary approach to care
  • Having a system in place to continually improve the quality of care
  • Maintaining a safe environment for patients, staff, and visitors
  • Managing risks effectively

Joint Commission accreditation is voluntary, but many healthcare organizations seek accreditation to show their commitment to providing high-quality care. Organizations that are accredited by the Joint Commission are required to undergo a review process every three years.

There are also specialized accreditation programs for specific types of healthcare organizations, such as hospitals, home care organizations, and nursing homes. These programs have their own sets of standards that must be met to receive and maintain accreditation.

Necessities for Organizations Being Accredited by the Joint Commission

Organizations that are accredited by the Joint Commission must have a system in place for managing risks effectively. This includes identifying potential risks, assessing the risks, and taking action to mitigate or eliminate the risks.

The risk management process begins with identifying potential risks. This can be done through a variety of methods, such as reviews of past incidents, observations of current practices, and input from employees. Once potential risks have been identified, they must be assessed in terms of their likelihood and impact.

Once potential risks have been identified and assessed, action must be taken to mitigate or eliminate the risks. This may involve changing policies and procedures, providing training to employees, or implementing new technology.

Benefits of Joint Commission Accreditation

There are many benefits to Joint Commission accreditation, including improved patient care and safety, increased efficiency and cost savings, and enhanced organizational credibility and visibility. Perhaps most importantly, accredited organizations are better prepared to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing healthcare environment.

Joint Commission accreditation can help healthcare organizations improve the quality of care they provide to patients and better manage the risks associated with providing care. In addition, accredited organizations are required to meet rigorous standards for safety and quality, which helps to ensure that patients receive the best possible care.

Cost savings is another important benefit of Joint Commission accreditation. Studies have shown that accredited healthcare organizations are more likely to experience lower rates of hospital-acquired infections and other complications, which can lead to significant cost savings.

Cost of JCAHO Accreditation

The cost of Joint Commission accreditation can vary depending on the size and scope of your organization. However, the average cost for a small hospital is approximately $26,000, while the average cost for a large hospital is approximately $130,000. In addition to the initial accreditation fee, there are also annual fees associated with maintaining Joint Commission accreditation. These fees can range from $3,000 to $10,000 per year.

Joint Commission accreditation is an important investment for any healthcare organization. The benefits of accreditation include improved patient safety, quality of care, and overall organizational performance. In addition, Joint Commission-accredited organizations typically have lower liability insurance costs and are more likely to be reimbursed by payers.

Although the upfront cost of Joint Commission accreditation can be significant, the long-term benefits far outweigh the initial investment. For healthcare organizations, Joint Commission accreditation is an essential part of providing high-quality patient care.

Discovery Insititute in New Jersey is JCAHO Approved

As far as accredited treatment for substance use disorder is concerned, look no further than Discovery Institute in New Jersey. Our goal has always been to provide quality addiction treatment services to those suffering from substance use disorder. This is why it’s imperative to us that we are JCAHO-approved.

How to Apply for the Joint Commission Accreditation

There are many steps involved in applying for Joint Commission accreditation. First, you must apply along with certain documents and fees. Once your application is reviewed and approved, you will be scheduled for a site visit from a Joint Commission surveyor. During the site visit, the surveyor will evaluate your organization’s compliance with Joint Commission standards.

If your organization is found to comply, you will be awarded accreditation. However, if there are areas of non-compliance, you will be allowed to correct these issues and maybe re-surveyed them at a later date.

It is important to note that the Joint Commission accreditation process is voluntary. However, many healthcare organizations choose to seek accreditation as a way to demonstrate their commitment to providing quality patient care. By achieving accreditation, organizations can show that they have met or exceeded nationally recognized standards for healthcare quality and safety.

Discovery Institute Can Help You Recover

Regardless of what you or your loved ones are experiencing, Discovery Institute in New Jersey is here to help you recover. Recovery is not an easy process; there are many ways to recover and not everybody has the same needs. This is why we value providing the utmost professional care. If you or a loved one would like to learn more, you can contact us here.

eating disorders on the rise

Eating Disorders On The Rise: COVID-19 and Addiction

DISCLAIMER: At Discovery Institute in New Jersey, our facility is not equipped to deal with eating disorders as a secondary diagnosis in patients.

COVID-19 has taken its toll on millions of individuals living with addiction, as well as, a range of mental health disorders. Various medical studies have proven this sentiment, especially for people suffering from eating disorders such as anorexia nervosa, bulimia nervosa, and binge eating disorder (BED).

Eating disorders are considered among the deadliest mental illnesses among individuals, and it’s the second only to opioid overdose. To paint an even clearer picture of the seriousness of eating disorders, about 26% of individuals with eating disorders attempt suicide. The total economic cost of eating disorders is $64.7 billion annually.

Statistics show an increase in worsening symptoms for those with addiction and other conditions such as eating disorders, depression, and anxiety. This is because heightened stress and frequent triggers during the pandemic may lead some with eating disorders to revert to old coping strategies.

At Discovery Institute in New Jersey, we provide access to care and resources to help you or a loved one effectively treat and manage addiction and mental health issues throughout these challenging times.

Addiction, Eating Disorders, and COVID-19: The Perfect Storm

As if eating disorders and addiction weren’t difficult enough to deal with, individuals suffering, have continued to face an entirely new challenge in the form of a pandemic requiring social distancing. There is no doubt, that COVID-19 has ultimately changed our entire way of life.

​For people with eating disorders and addiction, the pandemic has created new stressors and disrupted treatment plans, despite the demand for access to proper diagnoses and mental health care.

If you have an addictive disorder and another mental health condition, such as an eating disorder or depression, this is called a “dual diagnosis.” This means that you have both an addictive disorder and another mental health condition.

This leads to a cycle in which each condition worsens quickly and with serious consequences. Some people may feel like alcohol or drugs temporarily decrease their symptoms of mental illness. But in the long run, mental health problems can increase your risk of addiction, and vice versa, addiction can make other mental health conditions worse.

Other medical conditions may also increase the risk of addiction. For example, taking prescription painkillers after surgery may put you at risk of addiction. An injury or illness may lead to changes in your lifestyle that make you more likely to use drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism. At Discovery Institute, we can help you develop better-coping strategies for dealing with changes in your health and lifestyle.

Eating Disorders On The Rise During the Pandemic

The connection between disordered eating, addiction, and COVID-19 demonstrates the severity of mental health issues in the United States and worldwide. After the pandemic was declared a national emergency, hospitalization admissions more than doubled during the first 12 months, especially among adolescents with eating disorders, such as anorexia and bulimia nervosa.

According to Jennifer Lombardi, a certified eating disorder specialist and the manager of behavioral health for the Kaiser Permanente Sacramento Medical Center, “The COVID-19 pandemic has created what’s considered to be the perfect storm of high-risk factors for eating disorders.”

Studies surrounding this topic indicated that the main issue lies in eating disorders on the rise because they thrive on secrecy. “During the pandemic, when people are fearful, stressed, and disconnected from others; it’s challenging for them to use healthy coping mechanisms.” Lombardi’s statement proves just how prevalent disordered eating has always been before, but, especially during COVID.

Risk Factors of Addiction

Millions of people from all different backgrounds and beliefs can experience addiction. It can be hard to understand why some people are more prone to it than others. Regardless of your upbringing or moral code, many factors can raise your risk of becoming addicted to alcohol and other drugs. Your genetics, environment, medical history, and age all play a role. Certain types of drugs, and methods of using them, are also more addictive than others.

Addiction is not a matter of weak willpower or lack of morals. When you’re addicted, the chemistry that happens in your brain is completely different from what happens in people who aren’t addicted. One person may be able to occasionally smoke cigarettes for pleasure, while another needs them daily to function. Heredity is a major risk factor for addiction. The other risk factors of addiction include:

  • Genetics (40-60%)
  • Environmental factors
  • Social factors
  • Psychological factors
  • Personality traits
  • Co-occurring disorders (Having both an addiction and mental disorder)

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, up to half of your risk of addiction to alcohol, nicotine, or other drugs is based on your genetics. If you have a family member who has experienced addiction, you are more likely to experience addiction as well. If you have an “addictive personality” you may be at risk for a wide range of addictions. For example, if you have an alcoholic parent, you may decide not to drink but still become addicted to smoking or gambling.

Risk Factors of Eating Disorders

eating disorders on the rise
An eating disorder is a mental disorder often characterized by disturbances in thoughts, behaviors, eating, attitudes towards food, and body weight or shape. In the United States, 28.8 million Americans (9%) will have an eating disorder in their lifetime. Roughly 10,200 deaths per year are a direct result of an eating disorder, which adds up to 1 death every 52 minutes. The lifetime prevalence is an estimation at 8.4% for women and 2.2% for men. If left untreated, eating disorders can cause major health complications.

There are various risk factors for eating disorders. Eating disorders can affect individuals of all racial/ethnic backgrounds, body weights, ages, and genders. Frequently, eating disorders appear during the teen years or even young adulthood. Genetics, psychological factors, and social influences have all been linked to developing eating disorders and adolescents with low self-esteem or depressive symptoms are especially at high risk.

According to Dr. Kelly Allison, Director of the Center for Weight and Eating Disorders at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, “Disordered eating has become more severe in terms of extreme restriction, as well as in those with loss of control eating.” What’s even more troubling than the statement above, is that the average age of patients to be diagnosed with an eating disorder has decreased over time.

It’s important to recognize the overall scope of mental illness, and in this case, how people have been affected during COVID-19. Changes in the daily lives of young people during the pandemic, such as school closures and the cancellation of organized activities such as sports, can disrupt diet and exercise routines and can be a catalyst for the development of addictive behaviors and unhealthy eating habits.

Looking at the data from surveying more than 3.2 million people, researchers have examined in-depth trends and evidence related to the connection between coronavirus and its connection to substance abuse and mental disorders. Results cited numerous explanations and risk factors for why the pandemic has prompted such an increase in disordered eating. Some of them include:

  • Obesity
  • Buying food in large quantities to avoid having to go to the grocery store due to the fear of catching COVID-19
  • Cancellation of hobbies/enjoyable activities
  • Lack of routine
  • Pre-existing mental illness
  • Social media
  • Lack of access to treatment

People surveyed have also reported that limitations in exercise and other physical activities cause them to worry about gaining weight, leading to poor diet or exercise. Also, increased use of social media during the pandemic may expose young people to more negative messages about body image and weight.

Increased Demand for Treatment but Limited Access to Care

One of the most notable and possible factors causing the rise of eating disorders during the pandemic is the increased demand for the treatment of non-COVID-19 conditions, including eating disorders and addiction, but having limited access to proper care to treat them. Having this reduced availability of personal care exacerbates symptoms of these conditions greatly.

This is especially true for adolescents and young adults, as there are fewer face-to-face visits as part of measures to reduce transmission risks. Evaluation and treatment of patients with supposed disordered eating usually require measurements of weight and vital signs and may include a complete physical examination or laboratory tests to receive an accurate diagnosis.

Therefore, methods and resources to give people access to the care they need have started to be provided to patients virtually from the comfort of their own homes via telehealth technology. In some instances, virtual care may replace in-person care for eating disorders, meaning that patients in some programs may have a greater responsibility for self-care.

However, it’s important to note, that telehealth services may not be offered by some rehab facilities and are covered by all insurance providers. Research shows that some people prefer in-person visits more, as they feel as though they receive a more thorough visit with their medical provider.

Treatment of Co-Occurring Disorders

For those with disordered eating behaviors, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic poses specific challenges for those in charge of concerns about eating or self-perception. The confinement inherent in social distancing pursuits can make it difficult to maintain a network of support.

There may also be indirect links to the pandemic. For example, a person not working in the office anymore and has to do so from home can become very isolating. What about the many students and teachers who had to leave school and do it virtually from home? Think about how a teenager with significant symptoms of an eating disorder and severe malnutrition may not have sought medical attention until he returned to live with his parents after college may have closed unexpectedly due to Coronavirus.

A stressful event such as the ones above can lead to the development of symptoms in a young person at risk for eating disorders. During the pandemic, disruption of life, lack of routine, such as grocery shopping and exercise, as well as feelings of lack of control, are possible factors that may contribute to the cause of strain and tension that leads to undesired food behaviors. This can result in more adverse effects for people who are dealing with dietary issues. When everything seems out of control for many, the only thing they think they can control is their food.

At Discovery Institute, we provide dual diagnosis treatment and other resources for people suffering from various conditions. Our team helps patients utilize healthier coping strategies, which can include creating a structured routine, engaging in hobbies, staying connected to a support system, and practicing self-compassion.

Increased Demand but Limited Access to Care

Another possible factor causing the rise of eating disorders during the pandemic is the increased demand for the treatment of non-COVID-19 conditions, including eating disorders but having limited access to the reduced availability of personal care.

This is especially true for adolescents and young adults, as there are fewer face-to-face visits as part of measures to reduce transmission risks. Evaluation and treatment of patients with supposed disordered eating usually require measurements of weight and vital signs and may include a complete physical examination or laboratory tests to receive an accurate diagnosis.

Therefore, methods and resources to give people access to the care they need have started to be provided to patients virtually from the comfort of their own homes via telehealth technology, which allows you to continue receiving therapy over the phone or by video. In some instances, virtual care may replace in-person care for eating disorders, meaning that patients in some addiction treatment programs may have a greater responsibility for self-care.

However, it’s important to note, that telehealth services may not be offered by some rehab facilities and are covered by all insurance providers. Research shows that some people prefer in-person visits more, as they feel as though they receive a more thorough visit with their medical provider. Check with your treatment facility to see if there are any additional online choices you can use.

Helpful Tips for People Struggling During COVID-19

While Discovery Insitute doesn’t treat eating disorders as a secondary diagnosis in patients, here are a few tips for you or your loved ones to help manage your mental and physical well-being at home throughout this challenging time.

Everyone is having a hard time overcoming something during this unprecedented time. Some struggles are personal and some are universal. Connecting and reminding ourselves that we’re not alone in our struggles can be a very useful buffer to combat feelings of loneliness and mental health stigma.

Maintain contact with your loved ones and medical providers

We’re all doing our best to follow social distance guidelines to reduce the spread of COVID-19, but it is just as important to find ways to stay connected with our community and loved ones. There are many ways to stay connected through social media, video calls, etc. In addition, it helps to remember that we are all together. If you’re working with therapists to recover from addiction or mental illness, please keep working with them.

Create a structured schedule/routine

Having a planned schedule can help you avoid harmful habits, especially in today’s climate where sticking to your usual routine may be tough. Due to the current pandemic concerns, you may need to change your normal schedule. It’s fine to accept that this may cause some concern. To stay on track, enlist the help of your medical providers, virtual support networks, family, and friends. Most importantly, this routine should include ample social connection and enjoyable activities/hobbies to help ward against feelings of isolation and loss of control.

Find strategies to move your body in a safe manner

Physical activity and exercise can reduce stress in the body, increase feelings of joy, and keep us grounded. Simple stretches, yoga/meditation, or a brief walk are examples of exercises that can provide pleasant results without triggering disordered behavior. Finding recovery-friendly activities, on the other hand, can be difficult and should be done with the help of your treatment team and family. Please consult with your treatment team to determine what activities are safe and appropriate for you at this time.

Utilize resources that connect you with support systems

If at all possible, it’s important during this unprecedented time to bolster existing support networks with family and friends. Invite them on video dates through Zoom, FaceTime, or Skype. Alternatively, set up a method for connecting with others so that they may offer you support. It’s beneficial to be candid with individuals you trust about the issues you’re facing and how you’re feeling.

Virtual communities can be a valuable resource as well. You can participate in free or low-cost online forums, virtual support groups, online peer networks, recovery mentors, and live meal support through the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA). If you need more resources or are in a crisis, you can also contact the National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) helpline. For parents of children with addiction or mental conditions such as an eating disorder, there are good resources that offer peer/family support and a community to help them through difficult times.

Receive Treatment for Co-Occurring Disorders at Discovery Institute

The overall relationship between COVID-19 and eating disorders is thoroughly explained, supported by evidence-based research surrounding the topic of addiction and mental health issues. Want to know more information about eating disorders on the rise? Mental disorders and addiction stem from something: whether that is genetics, environment, trauma, abuse, or other personal issues. Therefore, treatment at a rehab facility is necessary.

Here at Discovery Institute in New Jersey, we understand the importance of seeking treatment early for mental health disorders. We provide treatment programs and resources to help those suffering from co-occurring disorders. Complete recovery is possible with one of our facilities. Let’s get started today on the journey.

how to deal with addiction in the family

How to Deal With Addiction in the Family: A Helpful 10-Step Guide

In 2018, there was an estimated 5.8% of American adults were alcohol dependent or even experienced alcohol use challenges. More than an estimated 11.7% of Americans in the age range of 12 years or older reported engaging in illicit use in the prior month. The above-mentioned statistics draw a pretty vivid picture of how millions of individuals struggle with substance misuse and addiction. 

Nearly all of these people have friends and family members rooting for their ultimate recovery. Families play a huge role in the individual’s recovery process. This is why it’s crucial to understand how to deal with addiction in the family. Whether you’re in one of the following categories, it’ll present to be imperative that you learn how to cope with an addict. 

  • Friends
  • Siblings
  • Children
  • Parents
  • Spouses 

What Topics Are Covered In Family Therapy?

If you are trying to discover ways on dealing with the addict in the family, you may have concerns or questions regarding the following:

  • Finding support groups for the families of addicts
  • How can you better support your loved one?
  • How can you deal with your loved one’s addiction?

Addiction can happen to anyone. Even if a person lives in a community that is filled with loving individuals. Once an addiction develops, friends and family of the addict in the family are also directly affected. This is why it’s imperative to not only find tools on how to cope with an addict but also have an understanding of how to take care of yourself. Our guide will teach you how to deal with addiction in the family and provide the support and love needed to help the person grow. 

A 10-Step Guide: How to Deal With Addiction in the Family

Step 1: Learn as Much as Possible About Addiction

Education can help several families learn how to escape the blame game. Instead of thinking that the addict in the family has a weak, stubborn, and willful addiction, it might be beneficial to understand how addiction stems from the brain. Once you’re able to understand that addiction is not a choice, it might help you to eliminate the resentment and anger you might have about it. 

Several online resources are geared toward helping families learn more about addiction. Bookstores also offer a huge selection of books about the science behind addiction treatment and the chemistry of addiction in the brain. In addition, there are research teams that are conducting in-depth research every day about drugs

The research teams are learning more about how substances interact with the cells in an individual’s brain. They then use that knowledge to develop new addiction treatment methods that might one day be able to treat or even prevent addiction altogether. The overall knowledge of advancement can boost the family’s sense of hope that addiction can not only be treated but conquered.

Step 2: Connect With Understanding Peers

It is not a simple task to learn how to deal with addiction in the family, an addict in the family, or how to cope with an addict. As research has pointed out, addiction can cause a stressful situation when it’s a close relative. That stress can persist for years, and the long-term dysfunction can make it more difficult for families to effectively communicate. 

Oftentimes, there is a block of mistrust that is formed between every member of the family that is ultimately touched by addiction. When you’re able to connect with peers, it can greatly help especially if you become a part of well-established and trusted programs such as Alateen or Al-Anon. The overall goal of the above-mentioned programs is to assist the families of addicts. 

Programs like that are also able to provide a nonjudgemental and safe space where family members can discuss and learn how to cope with an addict and the overall addiction. Individuals choose to go to these meetings for several reasons, but one survey found that plenty of participants are drawn to program meetings like these because they needed help with:

  • Experiencing fewer issues with the addict in the family
  • Improving overall psychological health
  • Discovering a better quality of life
  • Lowering all levels of stress

These might appear to be lofty goals, but the above-mentioned meetings can help. When attending a meeting and listening to families of an addict, feelings of doubt and isolation might begin to dissipate. Families might also receive the help needed to deal with interpersonal issues. 

Step 3: Attend Family Therapy Meetings

Siblings, parents, and spouses of an addict in the family typically absorb many of the individual’s circumstances relating to the substance abuse. Many have a challenging time expressing how they feel about everything, so oftentimes, they say nothing. Family members who don’t know how to deal with an addiction in the family or how to cope with an addict might even start to become distant because they are simply tired of fighting with that person. 

The family members might begin to blame themselves, especially once the addiction persists or they might even blame the person for their unhappiness. Blame games and silent treatments can keep a family from seeking the help they desperately need. It’s natural for family members not to have the necessary tools they need to assist someone in active recovery.

It’s also normal for family members to not have the energy they need to even help themselves. Family therapy programs are specifically designed to completely break down guilt and distrust. Once this process falls into place, every member of the family has a chance to feel more heard. 

Family therapy programs can assist everyone in feeling more understood. Therefore, understanding one another. After this process occurs, everyone can work through any type of conflict but in a more healthy way. 

Families that were once defined by addiction and anger are now able to be solid family units that can provide support through healthy boundaries and honest communication. Family therapy sessions can indeed take time, but it’s pivotal to not skip any sessions. If you’re a family with a conflicting agenda full of appointments, understand that the sessions are imperative for everyone involved along with their mental health. 

Step 4: Prepare Meals and Eat Them as a Family 

In today’s chaotic and modern world, it’s common to eat meals separately with everyone’s busy schedules. The likely scenario is one partner snacks on a heavy salad at work while the other partner grabs a burger on the way home from work. Then the kids eat ready-to-go meals. 

It’s important to note that a family meal is a great way for everyone to connect at the end of a day that might have been lonely, upsetting, or even stressful. Every meal eaten together can build on the work done in family therapy, and the ritual itself can promote a feeling of togetherness and common ground. Note that the activity doesn’t have to stop at the table either.

Spending quality time making the meal or cleaning up after the meal can thoroughly increase the benefits of sharing a meal. Even if you’re able to commit to one meal a week can create a huge impact. 

Step 5: Manage Expectations

Once the addict in the family commits to attend treatment, the excitement among the family can be exhilarating. The thoughts going through everyone’s heads who thought to themselves, how to deal with an addict in the family are, “Finally our loved one is getting help and things will get better.” Unfortunately, the turnaround for addiction isn’t a quick or easy process.

It can take a very long time for patterns and behaviors associated with addiction and the individual to change. The person can very well hold on to their old habits and in turn, become extremely frustrated with the overall recovery process. Sometimes, it’s the slow shift that leads to huge disappointment. 

When an individual experiences a relapse, it can be super disheartening. During this moment, it’s paramount to remember that relapse doesn’t mean failure for you or them. Addiction is a chronic disease. Therefore, relapse is a normal part of recovery. Even though numerous steps can be taken to help an individual avoid a relapse, it’s important to know that recovery is a lifelong journey that goes up and down, it’s not a simple single event. 

It’s also essential to manage expectations for yourself and other family members. It will take effort and time for these relationships to heal. Families sometimes make the mistake that they can’t engage in much because they aren’t their normal selves. You’re still able to enjoy your time with your loved ones and actively support each other. Even though life isn’t perfect, it can still be meaningful.

Step 6: Stay in Touch With Personal Joy

It will be highly important that every member of the family takes time to engage in self-care and discover an activity that is fulfilling or relaxing to them. This can include many of the following:

  • Playing with children or an instrument
  • Taking nature photographs
  • Volunteering with animals
  • Gardening
  • Cooking
  • Crafting

The activities named above can make the participant feel happy which helps boost mental health and preserve a sense of self-worth and efficacy.

Step 7: Get Adequate Exercise

Starting the day with a quick run or ending the workday by running a few laps in the pool can deliver considerable benefits. Exercise has been proven to reduce depression and stress. Matter of fact, in a 2014 Stress in America survey, it was discovered that 43% of adults exercise to cope with stress. 

When you engage in stretching your tendons and muscles, the brain is prompted to release pleasure chemicals such as oxycontin and dopamine. Instead of yelling at your family member, why not run with them? Instead of pacing around the house, how about yoga? 

High-energy exercise sessions can assist families in releasing their worry and stress more healthily. The object is to find an activity that doesn’t cause harm or lasting scars. Exercising is an amazing way to stay on track with the healing recovery. 

Step 8: Stick To a Formal Sleep and Wake Schedule 

Some of the more dangerous potent behaviors often occur in the middle of the night. Individuals with addictions typically overdose, stumble home from parties, meet dealers, or get themselves into situations that family members have to deal with. It should come as no surprise that family members also struggle with sleep anticipating the next crisis to transpire. 

When regular loss of sleep occurs, the recovery process can be more challenging. It was reported that individuals who slept for only 4 ½ hours a night per week experienced higher levels of stress, sadness, mental exhaustion, and anger. Individuals need adequate sleep to feel like their best selves, and families can better assist when they’re refreshed. 

Step 9: Schedule Private Therapy Sessions

Research has found that families with addiction experienced increased levels of anxiety and depression. Caregivers typically feel worn out from everything that is asked of their loved one and normally doesn’t have the correct coping skills to get through it. The children and siblings can oftentimes feel forgotten or like they have to overcompensate due to the lack of attention. 

To avoid the self-esteem issues that can be caused by the above-mentioned scenarios, a private therapy session can present to be extremely rewarding. It’s a safe place for stressed family members to openly talk and work through various issues. There is usually a skills-based format that is followed here along with:

  • Released codependent behaviors, destructive habits, and thoughts
  • Anger management
  • Assertiveness skills
  • Coping skills

Step 10: Educate and Advocate

There is a huge amount of misinformation on addiction. Some individuals feel addiction is a form of weakness. Then some people feel when family members help, it’s seen as “enabling”. It’s also important to note that language matters. A study by the Recovery Research Institute discovered that the participants were more likely to view individuals like the following: 

  • Socially threatening
  • Blameable
  • Punishable

Especially when the individuals were labeled as “substance abusers” instead of “having a substance use disorder.” It is difficult to stay uplifted in an addiction environment, but family can be a huge part of the change. Careless statements and harsh words are felt more by family. 

When you hear a statement like that, share the truth about addiction through research, therapy sessions, and support groups. You can share your knowledge by providing destigmatizing words that can be used instead. Advocating on behalf of those struggling is empowering and brave. 

Recovery Awaits at Discovery Institute

If you’re in a family walking the life of addiction with your loved one, know that you don’t have to walk this journey alone. Here at Discovery Institute, we provide support for the individual struggling with addiction, and everyone involved. Remember that family support is an integral part of recovery. Our guide can help you and your loved ones learn how to deal with addiction in the family.

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy

Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)

What Is Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT)?

Our cognition, emotions, and behavior are all linked, according to REBT. Therefore, it’s critical to look at people’s beliefs about events and situations they’ve been through. This way, they may comprehend the influence of those events and situations, as well as the emotions that occur as a result of those beliefs. When a person understands what emotions influence their behavior, it can help them make better decisions than abusing drugs or alcohol. 

Developed by psychologist Albert Ellis, rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT) is a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). Rational emotive behavior therapy is a practical method for assisting people in dealing with illogical beliefs and learning to control their emotions, thoughts, and behaviors more healthily and realistically. This therapy is commonly used to help individuals who are in treatment for addiction as their negative thoughts could have caused them to cope with drugs or alcohol. 

REBT emphasizes the notion that rather than life circumstances causing someone to become unhappy, it is the person’s beliefs about the events that have a negative influence. As a result, rational emotive behavior therapy focuses on transforming a person’s life beliefs first and foremost.

The Principles of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy

Problems might arise when people have unreasonable views about themselves or the world. REBT’s purpose is to assist people in recognizing and changing negative beliefs and thought patterns to alleviate psychological issues and mental anguish.

The three irrational thoughts that many people have are the subject of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy. The “Three Basic Musts” describes these ideas. The “Three Basic Musts” according to REBT include:

  • An excessively high expectation of self-worth based on one’s ability to perform well and obtain favor from others
  • An excessively high expectation of others, as well as the expectation of being treated honestly and politely at all times
  • Excessively high anticipation of always getting one’s desired outcome

While people often hold a variety of irrational beliefs, the Three Basic Musts cover the major principles that underpin them. These beliefs can cause negative sensations and thoughts, which can lead to harmful behaviors such as substance misuse.

How Does Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy Work?

Addiction develops as a result of counterproductive thoughts, behaviors, and feelings, according to REBT. The purpose of rational emotive behavior therapy is to replace these negative habits with more realistic and good ones.

The following are the basic premises of how REBT works to change addictive thoughts and behaviors:

  • Changing thoughts: Many people who are addicted to drugs or alcohol have absolutist thinking. This means that they believe they must use drugs or alcohol or else they won’t make it. REBT counteracts these thoughts by encouraging individuals to question their thinking.
  • Changing visualization: Individuals struggling with addiction often have low esteem and trouble visualizing themselves in a positive light. Rational emotive behavior therapy helps people improve their self-image and gain confidence in themselves.
  • Changing behavior: Irrational thoughts often lead to irrational behaviors. This is especially true in the case of addiction. Many addicts feel, and act on, the urgent need to use drugs or alcohol. REBT helps people address their irrational behaviors and think through behaviors before acting.

How does ABC Therapy Modeling work?

The ABC model, created by Dr. Albert Ellis, a psychologist, and researcher, is the basis of REBT. Its name refers to the components of the model. Here’s what each letter stands for:

  • A: Adversity or activating event.
  • B: Your beliefs about the event. It involves both obvious and underlying thoughts about situations, yourself, and others.
  • C: Consequences, which include your behavioral or emotional response.

In the ABC model, B links to A and C. Additionally, B is considered the most important component. That’s because CBT focuses on changing beliefs (B) to create more positive consequences (C).

When using the ABC model, your therapist helps you explore the connection between B and C. They’ll focus on your behavioral or emotional responses and the automatic beliefs that might be behind them. Your therapist will then help you reevaluate these beliefs. Over time, you’ll learn how to recognize other potential beliefs (B) about adverse events (A). This allows the opportunity for healthier consequences (C) and helps you move forward.

Identifying Beliefs and Applying the ABC Model

During rational emotive behavior therapy, your therapist will help you learn how to apply the ABC model to your daily life. If you’re feeling depressed due to a conflict in your relationship, for example, your therapist may help you identify the activating event for your problem before encouraging you to figure out which beliefs led to your negative feelings. They would then work with you to change those beliefs and, ultimately, your emotional response to the conflict.

An important step in this process is recognizing the underlying beliefs that lead to psychological distress. In many cases, these are reflected as absolutes, as in “I must,” “I should,” or “I can’t.” Some of the most common irrational beliefs include:

  • Feeling excessively upset over other people’s mistakes or misconduct
  • Believing that you must be perfectly competent and successful in everything to be valued and worthwhile
  • Believing that you will be happier if you avoid life’s difficulties or challenges
  • Feeling that you have no control over your happiness; that your contentment and joy are dependent upon external forces

Holding unyielding beliefs like these makes it almost impossible to respond to activating situations in a psychologically healthy way. Possessing rigid expectations of ourselves and others only leads to disappointment, recrimination, regret, and anxiety.

Gaining Insight and Changing Behavior With REBT

An important part of the rational emotive behavior therapy process is learning how to replace your irrational beliefs with healthier ones. This process can be daunting and upsetting, and it’s normal to feel some discomfort or to worry that you’ve made a mistake. 

However, the goal of REBT is to help people respond rationally to situations that would typically cause stress, depression, or other negative feelings. When faced with this type of situation in the future, the emotionally healthy response would be to realize that it is not realistic to expect success in every endeavor. All you can do is learn from the situation and move on. Three key insights that rational emotive behavior therapy teaches are:

  • You are worthy of self-acceptance no matter what even when you struggle or make mistakes; there is no need for shame or guilt.
  • Others are also worthy of acceptance, even when their behavior involves something that you don’t like.
  • Negative things will sometimes happen in life, and that doesn’t mean that things are happening in a way they shouldn’t be. Life is not positive all of the time, and there’s no rational reason to expect it to be.

While rational emotive behavior therapy uses cognitive strategies, it focuses on emotions and behaviors as well. In addition to identifying and disputing irrational beliefs, therapists and clients also work together to target the emotional responses that accompany problematic thoughts. Techniques that will be encouraged include:

  • Meditation
  • Journaling
  • Guided imagery

What Can Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy Help With?

REBT has some data to support its benefit in a variety of conditions, including:

The Benefits of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy

When developing REBT, Ellis’s goal was to create an action-oriented approach to psychotherapy that produced results by helping people manage their emotions, cognitions, and behaviors. Indeed, research suggests that REBT is effective at reducing irrational beliefs and changing behavior. We see the same results in sports psychology, where REBT can decrease irrational beliefs and reduce anxiety for athletes.

Several obvious goals come with using rational emotive behavior therapy. The overall goal is to help patients develop a more positive outlook by restructuring these irrational thoughts and beliefs that they hold. As REBT therapists work to restructure thoughts that will change the feelings or behaviors that a person may feel during therapy.

There are many goals associated with REBT and these forms of therapy overall, however, how effective is this type of counseling? Is it worth it to pursue REBT? Overall, rational emotive behavior therapy offers several behavioral benefits, like:

  • Reduced feelings of anger, anxiety, depression, and distress
  • Improved health and quality of life
  • Better school performance and social skills

Effectiveness

Rational emotive behavior therapy has a wide range of potential applications. Because it’s focused on education and taking action, it may be effective for a variety of situations and mental health conditions. It may even lead to lasting change in those who undergo this form of therapy.

Burnout at School or Work

Researchers have studied the impact that REBT has on professional and academic performance. One 2018 study showed that this approach was effective in reducing symptoms of burnout for undergraduate students and continued to help even months after therapy concluded.

Another 2018 study showed similar results for nurses. Group REBT reduced their job-related stress and burnout while increasing their job satisfaction and commitment to their organization.

Depression and Anxiety

Rational emotive behavior therapy may be effective in reducing symptoms for people with depression or anxiety. The positive effects also appear to last even after therapy ends.

REBT has also shown promising results for adolescents experiencing depression. This may be due to its emphasis on teaching techniques like:

  • Identifying cognitive errors
  • Challenging irrational beliefs
  • Separating individuals from their behaviors
  • Practicing acceptance

Rational emotive behavior therapy is quickly gaining popularity as a treatment option for athletes who are experiencing mental health and drug addiction issues. It can be used to restore and maintain athletes’ mental health, helping them learn how to change their outlook and manage their emotions. This often improves their athletic performance, though the goal of REBT in sports psychology is to care for the athlete’s mental well-being first and foremost.

Things to Consider About REBT

REBT can be a daunting process. For some, disputation may feel aggressive or confrontational, and facing irrational thought patterns can be difficult, as it’s not easy to accept these beliefs as unhealthy. The process of changing these thoughts can be even more challenging, as it may involve learning to let go of long-held beliefs.

Rational emotive behavior therapy is meant to teach you life-long skills and, as such, it’s not a passive process. Your sessions may involve reading assignments and homework, and you’ll likely have to step out of your comfort zone to get the benefits of this form of therapy. However, by dedicating time and effort to REBT, you can get closer to recovery

Discovery Institute Can Help You Recover With REBT

Here at Discovery Institute, we offer individualized treatment plans based on a patient’s needs. REBT is one of the ways we address the causes of addiction and help our patients move beyond it. During your first session, your therapist will likely discuss your goals and the activating event (or events) that prompted you to seek treatment

Throughout your treatment, you will probably receive homework assignments to complete and new behaviors to experiment with. Your willingness to try out new beliefs and different behaviors will impact how beneficial rational emotive behavior therapy is for you.

If you or a loved one is struggling with drug addiction, don’t wait. You can contact us if you’re ready to begin your journey towards recovery. Let us help you, today!

group family members discussing is addiction hereditary

Addiction In Families: Is Drug Addiction Hereditary?

Is Addiction Hereditary?

The short answer is yes, drug addiction can be hereditary. Although it’s not as simple as inheriting a “drug addiction gene,” there are several genetic and environmental factors that contribute to addiction.

Addiction is a complex disease that affects both the individual and their loved ones. It can be difficult to determine whether or not addiction is hereditary because there are so many contributing factors. However, research has shown that there is a link between genetics and addiction.

One study found that genes account for about half of the risk for addiction. This suggests that some people may be more predisposed to addiction than others, due to their genetic makeup, this does not mean you’ll automatically develop an addiction.

Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease that causes compulsive drug seeking and use despite harmful consequences to the addicted individual and those around them. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain – they change its structure and how it works. 

These brain changes can be long-lasting, which is why people who are addicted often suffer intense cravings for the drug years after they have stopped using. These cravings are one of the main causes of relapse. Alcoholism is similar but slightly different in that abusers of alcohol do not always

Signs of addiction can include:

  • Behavioral changes such as secrecy, changes in friends and activities, or unusual anger or irritability
  • Physical symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, sweating, trembling, or seizures
  • Psychological symptoms such as mood swings, paranoia, or hallucinations

Addiction is a complex disease that affects both the individual and the family. Studies have shown that addiction can run in families, but it is not clear if this is due to genetics or environmental factors. Some experts believe that there may be an addictive gene that makes some people more likely to become addicted to drugs. However, other experts believe that the environment is more important than genetics in predicting whether someone will develop an addiction. There is no one answer to the question of whether drug addiction can be hereditary.

What Are the Different Risk Factors That Can Lead To Addiction?

Several risk factors can contribute to addiction. Some are environmental while others are biological or hereditary. Environmental risk factors can include exposure to drugs and alcohol at an early age, family problems and instability, and being in a negative peer group. Biological or hereditary risk factors can include having parents or siblings with addiction issues, being born with a predisposition to addiction, and early exposure to drugs or alcohol.

There is a great deal of debate over whether addiction is hereditary or not. Some studies suggest that there is an addictive gene that can be passed down from one generation to the next. However, other studies have shown that addiction is more likely due to environmental factors than it is to genetics. 

Addiction in families

What Are the Role of Genetics in Addiction?

Genetics can also play a role in addiction, which may run in families. This is because genetics are responsible for the way chemicals are sent around within our brains. There is some debate about whether or not there is an addictive gene that contains instructions for how these neurotransmitters work in the brain.

Regardless of whether or not there is a specific gene that can be classified as responsible for addiction, studies have shown that genetics do play a role in addiction. A study published by the National Academy of Sciences stated that alcoholism tends to run in families, even when one or both parents are not alcoholics themselves. This study also found evidence of genetic factors in other types of drug abuse, like cocaine. 

Other research has shown that genetics may put certain people at risk for developing an addiction. For example, most people who smoke marijuana do not become addicted; however, about 10 percent of the population is at risk of becoming dependent on this drug due to hereditary factors. Therefore, someone who uses marijuana might be more likely to develop an addiction if they have family members with histories of other addictions.

Scientists have found that there is some sort of genetic pattern that has been identified with addictions such as alcohol and drug abuse. However, environmental factors also contribute majorly to whether or not an individual will be susceptible to addictions. 

Gender and Addiction

Gender can play a role in the development of addiction. For example, women are more likely to develop addictions to prescription medications and men are more likely to develop addictions to illicit drugs. This may be due in part to the fact that certain drugs interact with different genders differently. For example, women are more sensitive to the effects of opiates like morphine, while men are more sensitive to the effects of cocaine.

Environmental Factors in Addiction

While genetics may play a role in addiction, it is not the only factor that contributes to this disease. Environmental factors also play a significant role. People who grow up in homes where there is violence or addiction are more likely to develop their addictions later in life. 

Additionally, people who have easy access to drugs are more likely to become addicted.

Although a person’s genetics may make them more likely to become addicted, it is certainly not the sole factor in addiction. In fEnvironmentalditions and socioeconomic status play a huge role as well.

Furthermore, there are some debates about whether or not there is an addictive gene present in the human body and how it functions within our brain and nervous system. Nonetheless, research has shown that genetics does contribute to the risk of developing an addiction.

The genetic link to drug addiction has been very controversial for many years. It was not until the 1990s when scientists started establishing evidence that supported this theory. Dr. Nora Volkow, who is currently the director of NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse), discovered in her research that certain brain receptors within our brains are more sensitive to drugs than others due to genetics. 

She also found out through her research that addictive behavior can be passed down from parents to children. However, even though there are clear connections between genetics and addiction, environmental factors still play a major role in developing addictions among individuals especially if they have no family history of it whatsoever. 

Mental Health and Addiction

Mental health symptoms can also increase the risk of addiction. For example, anxiety disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are both associated with an increased vulnerability to developing addictions.

A study that was published in the journal “Mental Health and Addiction” showed that individuals with a history of mental health problems were 3 times more likely to develop an addiction than those without a history of mental health issues.

However, it is important to note that not everyone who possesses this gene will develop an addiction. Many people who have the addictive gene never develop an addiction. 

This is because addiction is a complex disease that is influenced by many different factors, including environmental and social factors that add to potential risks.

What Are Treatment Options for Addiction?

If you or someone you love is struggling with drug addiction, it is important to seek professional help as soon as possible. There are many treatment options available that can help people overcome their addictions and live healthy, sober lives. There is no one-size-fits-all approach to addiction treatment. Individuals must receive treatment that meets the demands of their case.

Behavioral Therapies

Behavioral therapies are a key component of addiction treatment. Behavioral therapies help patients learn how to challenge their compulsive behaviors in favor of healthier ones. There are many different behavioral therapies, but all share the common goal of helping patients to change their thoughts and behaviors.

One such therapy is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT helps patients to identify and challenge the beliefs and thoughts that contribute to their addictive behaviors. In particular, CBT helps patients to develop coping skills that can be used when they feel urges to use drugs.

Another popular behavioral therapy is contingency management. Contingency management involves providing rewards for positive behavior, such as abstinence from drugs or alcohol. This type of therapy can be very effective in helping patients to stay motivated and on track with their treatment goals.

Detoxification

Detoxification is the initial stage of addiction treatment, after an evaluation. Detoxification involves ridding the body of toxic substances that have built up over time in the body. The withdrawal symptoms can be quite uncomfortable, even potentially lethal without the guidance of trained medical staff.

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is a specialized form of addiction treatment that uses medication to help patients overcome addiction. The three medications most commonly used in MAT are methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. These medications help to reduce cravings and address the withdrawal symptoms associated with opioid addiction. MAT is a vital tool in the fight against opioid addiction and is effective in reducing relapse rates.

Residential Treatment

Residential treatment is a type of treatment that involves living at a treatment center for a specific time. This type of treatment is often recommended for people who have severe addictions or for those who have failed to respond to traditional outpatient treatment.

Inpatient treatment is another form of residential treatment. Inpatient treatment involves living in a hospital setting and receiving care around the clock. This type of treatment is recommended for people who are struggling with both drug addiction and mental health issues. 

Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment is the most commonly used type of addiction treatment. Outpatient treatment involves meeting with a therapist or counselor regularly, usually once or twice a week. This type of treatment is recommended for those who have mild addiction issues, as outpatient treatment is generally less intensive than inpatient treatment.

Inpatient vs Outpatient Treatment

One important consideration when choosing a type of treatment is cost. Inpatient care tends to be more expensive than outpatient care because it requires a greater time commitment from the patient and often provides additional support services such as counseling or psychiatric services, which an outpatient program would not necessarily provide. 

Patients who can commit to a rigorous schedule, either due to a high level of motivation or external pressure such as court-ordered attendance might benefit from inpatient treatment; conversely, those who attend an outpatient program may feel that they can miss an occasional session without compromising their recovery efforts.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Dual diagnosis treatment is necessary for patients with co-occurring mental health issues, such as 40-60% of those suffering from addiction. Patients who are struggling with both an addiction and another mental illness require specialized treatment that addresses the unique needs of each condition. Co-occurring disorders can complicate addiction treatment and recovery, as the symptoms of one condition can mask or aggravate the symptoms of the other.

After Care

Relapse prevention planning is an essential part of addiction treatment and recovery. patients should develop a relapse prevention plan with their counselor or therapist, which will help them identify high-risk situations and coping strategies.

Holistic Addiction Treatment

Holistic addiction treatment can be beneficial to those who seek alternative treatment options for their recovery. Holistic addiction treatment plans tend to include elements of both conventional and alternative medicine; holistic addiction treatment many focus on the mind, body, and spirit.

Discovery Institute Empowers You to Change

Addiction is a family disease; sometimes family members will take on certain roles to manage the stress and unease of addiction. You might not recognize yourself after years of abusing substances. You may be struggling with the challenges of recovery but understand that you are not alone. Discovery Institute dedicates itself to providing the utmost quality care to our patients. Your experiences are valid and deserve the attention necessary for your recovery. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, contact us today.

treatment and recovery

What Is the Difference Between Treatment and Recovery?

You’ve just been introduced to a friend of a friend who explains they’ve recently entered recovery at an outpatient facility. Addiction is a disease that robs the mind of its control to regulate function without the presence of a substance. Addiction is formidable because it not only affects the person using it but those around them. Despite the variety of addictive substances and behaviors, it’s the slippery slope of repetitive behaviors that grip even the strongest amongst us. According to the National Center of Drug Abuse Statistics, accidental overdose is the leading cause of death in individuals under the age of 45.

The terms treatment and recovery are quite interchangeable throughout the language of addiction healing. Treatment is best defined as the practices and therapies used to treat addiction in such a facility. Recovery is a broader definition of the metamorphosis from engaging in compulsive behaviors. Recovery is a long road towards healing the body, mind, and soul from the temptations that seek to destroy you. 

Treatment can come in a variety of forms and serves as the method towards recovery. Between 1999-2017, approximately 700,000 people died of a drug overdose in the US. You can seek treatment but without the recovery tools such as group therapy and the 12-Step Program, it will be difficult to maintain without guidance.

What is Treatment?

Addiction treatment is designed to treat the symptoms of addiction in a safe, evidence-based approach to ensure recovery.  Treatment operates within a continuum of care to ensure that each patient is guided through the recovery process on a need basis. Addiction is a powerful disease that can be treated. 

The effectiveness of treatment is often debated but this depends on patient engagement, the medical staff, and the type of therapy being offered. The skills developed in treatment such as CBT tend to remain with the patients long after they have received treatment. Medications can be provided for those who struggle with withdrawal symptoms that come during detox. This is a critical period to determine the severity of the addiction and what next steps are needed to promote recovery.

Those who wish to rid themselves of addiction have the option of going to an inpatient, outpatient, partial hospitalization, and residence program. More often than not, detoxification will take place during the early stage of treatment. Detoxification is designed to eliminate all addictive substances from the body before the remainder of treatment begins. 

The duration of detoxification can last up to 10 days, depending on; the substance, amount used, and frequency of use. For example, some withdrawal symptoms can pose serious health risks such as delirium tremens in alcohol dependence compared to mild benzo withdrawals. Medical detox is typically recommended to provide the utmost care to those struggling, rather than quitting cold turkey for mixed results.

What Is an Inpatient Treatment Program?

Inpatient treatment programs were created to provide 24/7 support and care to patients in recovery. These programs can be provided in hospitals or residences. The patient can expect to receive medical care and participate in therapy sessions. This method is best for those with severe cases of addiction or who require intensive structure to maintain sobriety. 

Inpatient treatment programs can be costly, due to how comprehensive the practice is. The patient has the benefit of living distraction-free and can form relationships within the recovery community. After an initial evaluation period, the patient can expect to spend at least 8-10 weeks.

What Are Outpatient Treatment Programs?

Outpatient treatment programs are an alternative to inpatient treatment programs, mainly due to their flexibility. Outpatient treatment programs are typically more affordable and allow the patient to operate in the real world. They can apply their new life skills and coping mechanisms in a structured environment. Outpatient treatment programs are best suited for those with mild to moderate cases of addiction, allowing them the freedom to work and come back home. 

The patient can expect to receive treatment through scheduled intervals in the day, which might be followed up with individual or group therapy. Each facility is going to bring its own approach and attention to detail, so it’s important to research what fits your needs. Outpatient treatment programs can offer the same levels of care, minus a few amenities or services depending on the facility.

Is Partial Hospitalization Right for Me?

Partial hospitalization programs of day programs are designed to provide thorough care to patients with behavioral health issues without staying overnight at the facility. Partial hospitalization programs have shown effectiveness towards mental and substance use disorders. PHP offers the same intensive care of an inpatient treatment program but the flexibility of an outpatient treatment program. A patient can expect the same bundle of therapies they would find at a conventional addiction treatment facility. Partial hospitalization programs are typically shorter than average residential treatment.

How About Holistic Therapy?

Holistic therapy for addiction is the process of treatment through alternative methods and techniques, without the use of traditional medicine. Holistic therapy is designed to combine the mental, physical and spiritual needs of the patient. Considering that each facility or wellness center operates differently, some overlap between methods could include:

  • Yoga
  • Meditation
  • Tai Chi
  • Acupuncture
  • Massage therapy
  • Art therapy
  • Counseling

Holistic treatment might serve as an affordable alternative to inpatient treatment but each case is specific. Holistic treatment aims to target the root of your addiction through flexible and precise options. Reconnecting with the body and nutrition are vital components of holistic therapy, which allows the body to receive spiritual guidance. 

What is Recovery?

Since substance use disorders are considered high in relapse rates, it’s important to recognize that recovery is a long process. Recovery was created to improve the quality of life through practice. Recovery encompasses more than treatment but rather a lifestyle. 

The term recovery is quite interchangeable in addiction counseling but should be noted for its distinction from treatment. 

It’s common for those in recovery to build a network of those around them in the same camp. It can be rewarding to connect with others who could provide insight into the questions and feelings you or a loved one might be feeling. Simply quitting isn’t enough to maintain sobriety, so proper coping mechanisms and skills are necessary. Addiction must be seen as a serious illness to wash away the taboos of recovery and seeking help when you truly need it.

Recovery can consist of education, individual/group therapy sessions, and even holistic treatment. These therapies can consist of the following:

  • CBT – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • DBT – Dialectical Behavioral Therapy
  • 12-Step Program
  • Matrix Model
  • Contingency Management

Cognitive-behavioral therapy is commonly practiced in treatment and recovery to rewire the brain’s adopted impulses. Dialectical behavioral therapy works to reduce cravings and targets personality disorders, despite being used for substance use disorders. Contingency management is designed to provide rewards for target behavior as a way to reinforce sobriety. The Matrix model operates similarly, with a focus on building the patient’s self-confidence to prevent relapse. The 12-Step Program encourages sobriety through 12-step support group meetings to maintain relationships and a sense of structure in faith.

How Are Treatment and Recovery Different From Each Other? 

There is no one size fits all cure for addiction and treatment programs that should be seen as the main course of recovery. Addiction treatment is the core fundamental to providing the patient with the resources and education to understand their condition. Since a great portion of patients deals with co-occurring disorders, it’s important to find the root of the cause. Higher recovery rates are mostly determined by the individual and the specificity of the care they receive. 

Life After Treatment and Recovery

If you’ve made it past the treatment stage, it’s recommended that you embark on a path of self-discovery. Boredom is one of the key factors that contribute to relapse. Since relapse comes in stages, you will want to address the internal storm of feelings swirling inside you. The remnants of your old life could come back, clawing for you to fall back on old coping mechanisms if someone asks you an uncomfortable question. The structured schedules you experienced during treatment could use an update on the outside world. 

Finding a hobby is very significant towards personal development, before and after your addiction intervention. By establishing a connection with an activity or group, you’ll begin to find rewards that are not based on compulsive behaviors. Seeking additional counseling and leaning on your support system are always great measures to take. 

Engaging in exercise through yoga and group sports could provide a sensational outlet. Journaling is another recommended activity to chronicle your recovery through each step of growth. Support groups are available for continued support. Volunteering could offer a sense of community through accomplishments that serve the greater community, even helping those at risk of substance use themselves.

Find Care Through Discovery Institute

Through these uncertain times, it’s important to remember that recovery is a lifelong journey with many obstacles. Discovery Institute is determined to be the care you need by providing well-rounded treatment. Addiction can make us blind to seeking help and the feelings that brew within can feel intense. If you or a loved one are seeking support, please reach out to us today. Discovery Institute’s mission is to be there for you.

trazodone vs ambien

Tips for Confronting an Alcoholic

When drinking becomes problematic, an individual can no longer control their alcohol use. It is essential to master the task of what to say when confronting an alcoholic. A person might have an alcohol use disorder when the drinking progresses to this point.

It may take some time to learn how to talk to someone about their drinking. For example, the person will continue to drink despite the negative effects it presents on their life.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 1 in 12 adults in America suffers from a substance abuse disorder. In total, that is about 19 million adults. Substance use disorders can indeed manifest in a variety of ways, but alcohol use disorder is specifically important.

The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) discovered that in 2019, more than 14 million adults suffered from an alcohol use disorder. An alcohol use disorder (AUD) is a chronic but treatable condition that can develop with certain psychological adaptations and cognitive changes. AUDs make it difficult for an alcoholic to stop drinking if they wanted to.

What are The Symptoms Of Alcohol Use Disorder?

As a family member of the loved one struggling with alcoholism, it is crucial to be aware of different physical and behavioral signs of the person. Confronting alcoholics isn’t an easy process, but it can be mastered efficiently. There are varying signs to be aware of for each change.

What are the Physical Symptoms?

  • Alcohol on the breath
  • Sleeping more than usual or appearing tired
  • Unsteady gait
  • Bloodshot eyes

What are the Behavioral Symptoms?

  • The individual will appear hostile.
  • The individual will appear moody.
  • The individual will appear angry.
  • The individual will appear less interested in work activities, school work, or relationships.
  • The individual will begin being secretive about their whereabouts, alcohol use, what they are doing, or the people they are with.

What are the Signs Of Alcohol Use Disorder?

  • Expressing the desire to stop drinking or cut down but are unable to
  • Experiencing cravings, which means feeling the need to drink a large amount where they experience a brain fog
  • Continuing to drink even though it causes problems with friends and family
  • Getting into dangerous situations during or after drinking, therefore increasing their chances to harm someone else or themselves
  • Drinking more or higher amounts than originally intended
  • Spending a lot of time recovering from drinking
  • Being unable to meet responsibilities at home, work, or school because of their drinking
  • Cutting back or stopping time spent on activities or other hobbies, what the individual once enjoyed before they started drinking

Other signs of AUD include:

  • Drinking alone, during the day or work hours or drinking while operating a car, heavy machinery, or while attempting dangerous tasks
  • Regularly consuming more alcohol than was planned then feeling guilty or attempting to hide it
  • Experiencing memory loss and frequent blackouts
  • Feeling uneasy or uncomfortable when alcohol is unavailable
  • Experiencing emotional, legal, or financial consequences from drinking
  • Binging heavily, experiencing cravings, and physical changes such as gastrointestinal issues
  • Being unable to control the amount consumed and unable to take a break from it
  • Having shakes or tremors when not drinking

Creating a Plan for Confronting an Alcoholic

Once it has been established that a friend, family member, coworker, or loved one is experiencing alcohol addiction, the thought of preparing a conversation can be emotionally taxing. When a person writes down ideas or a plan, it can be extremely helpful. By writing down the main points, the ideas will be formulated and remembered.

How to Talk to Someone About Their Drinking

Focus concern on your loved one’s drinking

When confronting an alcoholic, it is essential to use “I” statements to express concerns and feelings on the impact of the loved one’s alcohol use. Statements that could be used during this time are “I am concerned about your alcohol use.” Another statement that also could be used is “I’ve noticed that I’m increasingly worried when you come home late at night and I don’t know where you’ve been.”

Explain that you’re worried about your loved one’s health

It is highly recommended that feelings are genuinely expressed by saying a line such as, “I’m concerned that drinking so much every day is harming your health. I’ve noticed that you’re sleeping all day on the weekends.”

Avoid using labels like “alcoholic” or “addict.”

Instead of addressing the individual with a label, focus on the person and the behavior. When people are suffering from alcohol addiction, they can become defensive or upset when they are referred to by those labels.

Be understanding and empathetic

It is important to use empathetic statements, and not blaming ones. One statement to use is, “I know that you are feeling more stressed than usual.” Another great statement to be used is, “I know that you’ve been feeling more pressure and having a hard time at work.”

Offer options instead of demands

A good option to suggest instead of, “You need to get help,” would be, “I was wondering if you would consider seeking a doctor to talk about your alcohol use.” It might be apparent to the loved one that the individual struggling should seek help, but it’s always up to the person to decide what is best for them. The loved one cannot force the individual struggling to engage in a task they aren’t interested in; they can only suggest it.

Steps to Take Before and After Confronting an Alcoholic

Step 1: Seek Support

When an individual seeks support through therapy and resources, it helps lessen the gap. The individual struggling is not in the challenge alone. The resources help the loved one understand the approach and provide additional strategies for addressing the alcohol abuse.

At Discovery Institute, our team understands how each client is unique. We know how to treat and care for each individual by giving them a specialized patient treatment plan.

Step 2: Engage in Self Care

When a loved one is focused on the family member facing an addiction, it is easy to forget about self-love. However, when a person is burnt out, the chances of providing support and love are less likely to occur. To engage in self-care, the family member should make sure to seek therapy during stressful times.

The main objective of attending individual and group therapy is being in a safe place where feelings are processed and encouraged. Healthy boundaries must be set when a person struggles with alcohol use disorder.

It is essential to remember that every feeling is valid, and it isn’t selfish to engage in self-care. Sometimes when a loved one cares for a person struggling, they may engage in rescuing, caretaking, and enabling behaviors unknowingly. Sometimes, an unhealthy emotional reliance develops. This is known as codependency.

Treatment Options for Alcohol Use Disorder

If a loved one presents readily available resources, the individual might be more willing to consider treatment. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) studies show that people who need help for an alcohol abuse disorder will resort back to their old ways if their treatment isn’t readily accessible or immediately available. The earlier someone gets help, the more effective treatment will be.

Detox

Detox is needed when an individual drinks daily, binges on high quantities of alcohol, or cannot control the amount they drink. There are a plethora of individuals who do not feel they need alcohol detox, but it might be required to conquer addiction.

Most people do not have an alcohol use disorder, they engage in drinking casually, socially, on the weekends, and for special occasions. Alcohol is one of the most socially widespread and suitable substances used in society. Individuals must discover for themselves if they are dependent on alcohol to function normally.

Detox can be dangerous if not performed properly. To avoid deadly and dangerous alcohol withdrawal symptoms, the individual must enter a medically supervised facility.

Generally, the person’s detox symptoms will be worse due to how much a person drinks.

Alcohol detox is unique for each individual based on:

  • Underlying emotional and medical issues
  • The amount of time a person has been drinking inordinately
  • How much alcohol the patient was consuming
  • The person’s overall physical health

Therapy

After detox, therapy can be especially beneficial for someone recovering from alcohol use disorder. Some options for therapy include individual therapy, group therapy, and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

Therapy can help your loved one understand what drives them to drink. This can also be good for you when you’re thinking about what to say to an alcoholic. A therapist can give you the tools you need for confronting an alcoholic and telling them that you’re concerned for their health.

Find Help at Discovery Institute Today

Confronting an alcoholic can be tough, but it is necessary to get a loved one the help they need. We specialize in multiple areas of care ranging from residential drug rehab treatment, intensive outpatient treatment, relapse prevention, detox, and many other programs. We value the importance of mental, medical, and spiritual health. Alcohol addiction can be beaten. Contact us today to get started.

ambien withdrawal

Dealing With Ambien Withdrawal

It’s 4 AM, and you’ve flipped through the entire catalogs of all your favorite streaming services. Ambien withdrawal has set in after you recently quit cold turkey. It’s been two weeks since you’ve had an actual night’s rest, and insomnia has officially become your best friend.

According to the American Sleep Association, nearly 70 million Americans struggle with a sleep disorder. Insomnia is a common issue amongst adults, with a recommended 7 hours of sleep daily. This can have drastic effects on a person’s mental and physical health, which could influence other disorders and everyday tasks. Insomnia can last for months, which could require medication to improve sleep quality over time. Sleep is one of the vital functions of the body to make sure you process the day before and to restore individual systems.

Some factors that influence sleep disorders include:

  • Caffeine, drug, and alcohol use
  • High anxiety or stress
  • Poor sleep conditions or environment
  • Being an older woman

What Is Ambien, and What Is It Used For?

Zolpidem is a sedative that works on the GABA receptors in the brain by slowing the activity. Zolpidem can come in tablet or spray form, but absorption can be affected by what you eat. Ambien is the brand name of zolpidem, used to treat sleep disturbances over a short period. It is widely used and promoted as a less addictive alternative to benzodiazepines and other barbiturates. Ambien is noted for its almost euphoric, high effect on the user. It’s recommended that you take it an hour or two before bedtime to prevent further complications. Ambien is designed to improve sleep quality and duration with anticonvulsant qualities.

Ambien addiction is becoming increasingly reviewed, as users will combine this drug with other substances. The recommended dosage for Ambien is roughly 5mg or 10mg for adult men. The effects of Ambien wear off with time as your body adjusts to the sleep cycle and variations in brain activity. Ambien with alcohol can have unpredictable consequences as they are both depressants on the central nervous system. Ambien is noted for being taken with Valium, another sedative to boost the effects.

Addiction develops after a user has taken more than the prescribed amount. The users often don’t recognize they have an addiction due to the perception of the drug. Ambien prescriptions are given in short doses to prevent the body’s need for more of the drug. Since Ambien rewires the natural processes of the brain’s rhythm, it’s important to remember that it has the potential to develop abuse.

Signs of abuse might include:

  • Taking higher doses than prescribed
  • Taking Ambien without a prescription
  • Slurred speech or distorted cognition
  • Sleepwalking, eating, or driving
  • Constant blackouts
  • Impaired coordination
  • Isolation
  • Confusion
  • Constant refills after an initial period
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea

What Are Some Side Effects of Ambien?

Excessive Sedation

The true danger of Ambien is when a user remains awake and attempts to function. Ambien is notable for having a “morning after” effect on the body, often remaining in the system for extended periods (up to 16 hours). Excessive sedation is an issue due to users increasing the dosage to permit potent effects. Due to its response in brain activity, individuals who use Ambien might complete tasks after taking the drug and have no memory of what occurred.

Sleepwalking

Ambien blackouts are a term to describe these behaviors, which are prompted by larger doses. Sleepwalking is one of the major factors of taking Ambien outside of recommended use. Individuals have been known to drive and cook while impaired, which presents a dangerous situation if an accident occurs.  Imagine driving and conversing with a loved one under the influence, but having no memory of how it all happened when you come home to park.

Sleep-Eating

Sleep-eating is potentially dangerous as heavy doses can cause someone to prepare meals, leaving them exposed to fires and other accidents such as eating raw foods. Unexpected weight changes and imbalanced diets can occur during this period. Ambien poses a risk of sex without wakefulness, causing the person to even sleep with a stranger or friend. The transmission of STIs and herpes increases if the sex is not covered through precautions like condoms.

Depressive and Suicidal Thoughts

Another risk factor for Ambien is how it relates to depression and suicide. Ambien has been known to initiate depression and suicidal thoughts in users who did not have a previous history.  The FDA warns that Ambien could have adverse effects on those with a history of depression. Co-occurring disorders can make Ambien use more complicated, as the user might be using the drug to combat mental health issues but could worsen. High doses of Ambien can pose health risks in those with or without a history of mental health.

Hallucinations have been reported in those who use high doses of Ambien with other substances such as alcohol and opioids.

Can I Overdose on Ambien?

Ambien overdose can occur with high doses. Anything from 400-600mg of Ambien can lead to overdose, but the approximate lethal amount of Ambien is equated to 2,000mg, but it depends on how it’s taken. Symptoms of Ambien overdose might include severe drowsiness, irrational thoughts, and abnormal breathing. In the event of an Ambien overdose, the patient’s stomach would need to be pumped. Flumazenil would be administered to combat the sedation of the drug, which could lead to a coma.

What Are Some Common Ambien Withdrawal Symptoms?

Ambien withdrawal symptoms can occur shortly after use has stopped, typically 48 hours. The withdrawals can last up to 1 to 2 weeks, depending on the amount taken and length of time. The bulk of the withdrawals typically appears within three days after use has stopped. The body can develop a tolerance over two weeks, which is essential to determine a window of recovery.

Some common Ambien withdrawal symptoms might include:

  • Rebound insomnia
  • Mood swings and irritability
  • Dizziness
  • Stuffy nose
  • Anxiety
  • Tremors
  • Headaches

What Does the Ambien Withdrawal Timeline Look Like?

Those who are addicted to Ambien will take 10-20mg daily, outside of the recommended dosage of 5mg. Within the first 48 hours of heavy use, one can expect Ambien withdrawals to begin. At the 3-5 day mark, the storm of the worst symptoms manifest. A person might experience nausea, amnesia, and irritability. Panic attacks, tremors, and rebound insomnia are common symptoms during this time. By the two-week mark, the person begins to return to their normal state.

Ambien withdrawal symptoms can vary with the person and their body types. Women are noted to be more susceptible to the adverse effects of Ambien. On average, one can expect the symptoms to be similar to benzodiazepines, lasting up to 2 weeks. If these symptoms last longer than two weeks, post-acute withdrawal symptoms have kicked in — which can last up to 2 years with varying severity.

How Do You Treat Ambien Withdrawal?

Ambien withdrawal should be treated under medical supervision. Tapering off Ambien is a wise decision to prevent the tolerance from building up. The patient’s body needs to adjust to a life without Ambien to prevent panic attacks and overactivity. Detoxification might be necessary, but the withdrawal symptoms are non-lethal. Less than 1% of withdrawal symptoms from Ambien have resulted in seizures. These cases were highlighted by users who decided to quit abruptly without supervision.

Medication

Medication might be provided to handle the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. A medication called quetiapine has been used to treat the symptoms of Ambien withdrawal. Prescription medication treatment programs are becoming more accessible throughout the country. Valium is another medication used to alleviate symptoms through its long-acting release in the body. It’s noted that Valium is prescribed for extreme Ambien addiction and should not be used as a replacement drug.

Although relapse is possible, it’s important to note that medical detox is only a resource for recovery. If an outpatient treatment program is necessary, it could be beneficial to find what underlying causes formed the addiction. Maintaining the flexibility of home life and job is critical to the recovery of those with mild to moderate Ambien addiction. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has shown promising results to understand and modify compulsive behaviors. The stigma of addiction to prescription medication might influence someone to neglect treatment. The fight against addiction is meant to be fought with support.

For individuals stopping Ambien after long-term use, it’s crucial to understand that your sleep cycle is adaptable. Reducing stress in your life would be recommended to give your mind a break before you head to sleep. Reprogramming your sleep cycle through routine would establish a practice of proper sleep health. Caffeine and other addictive substances alter the chemistry in the brain, often promoting wakefulness or disturbance in sleep. It’s important to reduce or cut these out of your lifestyle to ensure a proper slate. By enabling a distraction-free environment, it could be helpful to your overall sleep quality.

Embrace Care Through Discovery Institute

Ambien withdrawal can be a challenging period for those in need of recovery. Discovery Institute encourages the path towards healing by optimizing therapies and care. Addiction treatment should be widely available and specific to each patient. If you or a loved one are grappling with addiction, please contact us today. We’re here to listen and support.

success rate of rehab

Success Rate of Rehab: Does it Work?

The common thought regarding rehab is that it is the end-all-be-all for addiction. Addiction should be seen as a treatable disease like any other. The stigma involved with addiction and treatment can be discouraging to those who wish to rid themselves of this disease. 

Addiction is complex and subtle, so treatment and the language involved should mirror that. The success rate of rehab is always in question, considering that relapse is an inevitable part of the recovery process. Relapse should be considered a window into the unpredictable nature of addiction but that does not mean the person is unworthy of growth.

Multiple studies have demonstrated the benefits of receiving treatment, illuminating the drug rehab success rates. Drug treatment facilities are generally funded at the state and federal levels to combat the addiction crisis in our nation. Private or employed-backed treatment options are also available. 

Those that begin and remain in treatment are at a higher likelihood of maintaining sobriety. Successful recovery requires self-accountability and finding others who empathize with your journey.Relapses have increased since COVID-19 invaded our global landscape. 

The increased isolation and uncertainty of our times have led people to cope with these challenges alone. According to Medscape, drug overdoses have been the leading cause of injury-related accidents in the United States. Successful recovery is defined by the person’s motivation and the quality of their support system to guide them.

The Success Rate of Drug Rehab

So, you’ve recently undergone an intervention for cocaine addiction and now you’re wondering if rehab is for you. You weigh the success rate of rehab considering that a close friend of yours relapsed two years prior. However, the drug rehab success rate can be determined by many factors, including length of stay. 

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are nearly 14,500 specialized drug treatment facilities offering behavioral therapy, medication, and other services in the United States. Conventional treatment programs offer 30 days, 60 days, 90 days stays but extended programs are available. Patients who spend up to 60-90 days of treatment have higher chances of recovery but these chances increase with these positive outcomes. 

The continuum of care lays the foundation for receiving treatment throughout the recovery process. Addiction treatment programs can vary from inpatient, outpatient, medically assisted, and aftercare.

Detoxification 

Detoxification is the preliminary step in the addiction treatment process. For the patient to fully receive the continuum of care, they must rid their bodies of the addictive substances or behaviors to start fresh. Inpatient treatment programs or residences offer the patient an opportunity to receive 24-hour care and a trigger-free environment. 

Outpatient treatment programs are more flexible and defined by similar therapeutic practices to inpatient treatment. Medically assisted treatment is provided at a hospital or clinic, usually admitting opioid or alcohol-dependent patients. Aftercare is a treatment service that could include group therapy sessions and continuing support through peers and mentors.

Co-Occurring Disorders

Another factor that determines the success rate of rehab is individuals struggling with co-occurring disorders, which is a combination of a mental health and substance use disorder. Dual diagnosis treatment is designed to target the internal causes of addiction because treating one can only prompt the other to return. For example, if you have depression and a substance use disorder, treating the substance use disorder will not mean the anxiety will disappear.

The cost of treatment can be a deterrent in seeking support through recovery. Most insurance companies see rehab as a critical resource in the medical field of behavioral health, so payment options are available. Going into treatment today could prevent further social and financial impacts in your life among others. Addiction treatment should be accessible for all of those who seek to better themselves, regardless of the severity.

Which Is Better? Inpatient vs Outpatient Rehab Success Rates

It’s difficult to effectively compare inpatient and outpatient treatment because the severity of the addiction dictates the treatment chosen. The standards for a successful run at a facility can be vague and most facilities don’t follow up with their patients. Inpatient treatment is notable for keeping the patients in a 24-hour residence and upholding the responsibility of the patient. 

The success rate of inpatient rehab could be attributed to the isolation from trigger factors in the patient and round-the-clock medical supervision. The duration of an inpatient rehab will typically be shorter in comparison, due to the amount of care and time dedicated to treatment. Outpatient treatment offers more flexibility and real-time applications for their patients to practice what they’ve learned. Outpatient treatment has a longer duration due to how the facilities portion out scheduled therapies. 

How Is Treatment Success Defined? 

Many factors define the success rate of rehab but success in rehab doesn’t necessarily equate to a successful recovery. The language of “recovery” and “treatment” are often interchangeable, since recovery is defined by a life-long journey while treatment is through the therapeutic tools. Since addiction is a disease of the mind, it’s hard to exactly pinpoint the true benchmarks of recovery. 

Facilities will define their version of success from their admissions. Treatment is defined by its ability to reduce the symptoms of addiction and provide alternative coping mechanisms to the patient through therapies.

Successful treatment outcomes could be defined by:

  • The ability to reduce cravings
  • Reduced use of addictive substances or behaviors
  • Improved physical and mental status
  • Improved legal and social status
  • Better employment opportunities
  • Offering continued support or services for long-term recovery
  • Building a peer and mentor network

A high nurse-patient ratio is a factor to look for in a credited treatment facility. The more attention and care you receive as a patient will directly influence the success of recovery. Medication can be beneficial to those experiencing deeply uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms as they seek treatment. 

Medication along with therapy is a substantial tactic to permit long-term recovery. The success rates of rehab are defined by private companies. As a result, it can be hard to determine the actual success of the overall recovery of each patient. 

 A small portion of facilities keep this data and there are no guidelines for what that means. Finding an accredited facility that fits your needs is your best bet towards healing. The facilities that implement evidence-based treatment are more reliable at addressing the complications of addiction and you should thoroughly research the staff before admittance.

How Can You Identify Effective Treatment?

You can identify effective treatment from how well the components of your life improve over time. Each facility is going to provide you with different therapies and treatment practices, so it’s important to look for one that fits your needs. Effective treatment is determined by how well it affects multiple aspects of the patient’s life, including nutrition and education. 

The more equipped the patient is to deal with their internal and external struggles, the higher the chances will be for their long-term recovery. Imagine a soldier being geared for war with all the possible training and tools at their disposal to combat their enemy. 

Most people struggling with addiction do not seek treatment. The first step you made toward recovery was brave and now the clearing is stretched out for more lessons. Effective treatment is a better alternative to mass incarceration, where a patient has a stronger chance of evolving through therapies and medication.

What Are General Relapse Rates? 

With 40-60% of individuals in recovery relapsing, it is not hard to imagine someone questioning the success rate of rehab. Relapse is best defined as returned use to an addictive substance or behavior after attempting to quit. The way addiction manipulates the brain relies on the repetition of pleasurable behaviors. These can include taking a drag from a cigarette or being rewarded chocolate for exercising. 

A relapse might appear to be sudden within the support system of someone struggling with addiction. Relapse comes in phases and if you keep a close eye, you can pinpoint where you or a loved one are falling under. A freelapse is best defined by the unintentional use of a substance or behavior after committing to abstinence. 

The emotional phase of relapse could begin with you withdrawing from others and suppressing intense emotions related to your recovery. You may not be thinking directly about using but the seeds are there — you might miss a meeting or lie about your feelings to a close one. The mental phase of relapse is where the thoughts of use have started to form and you interact with old thought patterns or people. 

You might be reminiscing about the last hit you took or the party that you blacked out in freshman year of college. This phase usually prompts the physical stage, where you end up using “just this once”. This phase is the most harrowing because the person is fighting two battles:  to remain sober and to escape the temporary pain.

What Does Recovery Look Like After Treatment? 

Recovery is an ongoing journey and the patient should be aware of this as they continue to embark. Someone struggling with addiction could find themselves participating in group therapy sessions for support along with individual therapy to address daily struggles. Since relapse emerges in phases, beginning emotionally, it’s vital to understand your emotional state to prevent urges to use. Discovering a new hobby or group sport can serve as an excellent opportunity to develop self-confidence. Maintaining your relationships in your support system is crucial to recovery because you’ll need people to lean on when the storm gets worse.

Recovery Begins with Discovery Institute

The recovery journey for any person can bring about some difficult choices and points of reflection. Discovery Institute offers a wide range of treatment options to suit your needs. Maintaining sobriety is a lifelong course but it does not have to be harsh. Relapse can be a great learning experience for those struggling with addiction. If you or a loved one are battling this disease, reach out to us soon.

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.