Addiction Cravings

Tips for Coping with Addiction Cravings

Have you ever woken up with an intense craving for drugs or alcohol? Do you consider yourself an addict, even if you won’t admit it to anyone else?

From 2000 to 2010, Americans spent more than $1 trillion on illegal drugs including heroin, methamphetamine, and prescription opioids. That’s about $100 billion per year. Since then, illegal drug purchases have ballooned to a whopping $400 billion per year.

Answering those addiction cravings can lead to lost wages, hospitalization, and loss of property including cars and homes. So how can you resist the urge to use drugs and continue on the path to sobriety?

If you need to know how to stay sober, this article’s for you. We’ll introduce you to a few coping mechanisms and help you find long-term relapse prevention options.

Acknowledge the Urge

You may have heard people say, “What you resist, persists.” This is doubly true when you’re dealing with an addiction. If you fight the urge to use, it will grow stronger.

If you need to know how to deal with cravings, the first step is learning to put a space in between wanting to use and using. Being able to take a few minutes and think rationally will cut down on the likelihood that you’ll relapse.

When a craving comes up, make a mental note of where you are. Are there certain triggers that are making you want to use?

Do you want to use when you see certain people? Acknowledging that you have a craving is the first step toward dealing with it.

Leave the Situation

One of the best coping skills for addiction is to imagine yourself with wheels on your feet. When you feel caught in a situation that makes you want to use, just roll on out of there.

Leaving situations that give you unpleasant memories or addiction cravings is a vital skill for staying sober. Once you accept your cravings, you also have to accept that there are certain “people, places, and things” that make you want to relapse.

Nobody wants to have to leave their friends behind, but you need to focus on your own recovery.

Accept Your Addiction

The next step in how to fight drug cravings is to accept your addiction. We already said that accepting your cravings is key, but accepting your addiction is a little bit different.

If you accept your addiction, you might want to get treated in an outpatient or inpatient rehab facility. You might share the truth about your addiction with some close friends or family.

Don’t be surprised if your friends say they didn’t realize how bad your addiction had become. Alcohol and drug addiction tend to be isolating conditions, pursued in secret.

If your family has organized an intervention, it might be the perfect time to get started with rehab. They care for you and have noticed that your addiction has gotten way out of control.

Most insurance plans pay for rehab, and there are a wide variety of treatment options.

Attack Your Cravings

The great thing about rehab is that it can teach you how to deal with alcohol cravings. You may need to take some medication to get past your withdrawal symptoms, but that’s something you can talk to your doctor about.

Another way to attack your cravings is to attend local support groups. They offer a non-judgmental place to share your pain of addiction and your hope of a better life.

If your town doesn’t have any drug and alcohol support groups, you can access them online.

You have to be able to tell yourself that your cravings are irrational. You have to take the energy you used to spend on getting high and apply that to your recovery.

Attack your cravings by examining your thought process and orienting yourself toward weekly and monthly sobriety goals.

Find a Fulfilling Activity

When you’re in the midst of a craving, your entire mind is focused on using drugs or alcohol. Wouldn’t it be great if you could replace your cravings with a fun hobby or outdoor activity?

Giving yourself something to do besides drugs and alcohol allows you to dive right into a sober lifestyle. Is there an instrument you’ve always wanted to play?

Would you like to take a trip somewhere? After you give up spending on alcohol and drugs, you may be surprised at how much money you have left over.

If you drink seven beers five days per week and pay $5 for each one, you’re spending $700 per month or $8,400 per year.

Check out this online calculator to get the precise amount you’re spending on alcohol every month.

When you’re contemplating a relapse, think about what you’d like to do with your money.

Prevent a Relapse

Recovery can seem like a long and lonely road, but there are ways to avoid relapsing.

First, you may have to find other ways to deal with physical pain. You could try going to physical therapy, meditating, or taking non-opioid pain medication.

Next, you may need to change your diet. Long-term alcohol or drug abuse can make it more difficult to tell when you’re hungry.

Switching to a diet that is high in fiber and protein can help you put on some muscle and give you the energy to attack each day.

Finally, you might want to participate in ongoing outpatient programs at your local rehab facility. They can treat your depression or other mental health conditions.

Can Rehab Help with Addiction Cravings?

Rehab facilities are specially designed to help you with your addiction cravings. They have a team of highly-trained professionals who are ready to get you past the withdrawal phase and into long-term recovery.

We treat people with a range of addictions, including alcohol, opiates, stimulants, and sleeping pills. Our four locations offer inpatient and outpatient options, mental health treatment, and medication-assisted detox. If our locations are not convenient for you, we can make referrals for rehab facilities in other states.

If you’ve ever considered getting treatment for an addiction, talk to us and let’s hold your hand as you being this journey.

References

Percocet Abuse and Addiction

Percocet Abuse and Addiction: A Recovery Guide

The opioid crisis has shaken the United States in recent years. While there are many prescription drugs to blame, there is one that bears more responsibility than others.

With more than 53 million prescriptions of oxycodone every year, there is no question that drugs like Percocet play a major role in the rise of addiction rates.

Let’s talk about Percocet addiction, its dangers, and what you can do about it.

What is Percocet?

Percocet is the brand name for the two pain-relieving drugs known as oxycodone and acetaminophen. While acetaminophen is in over-the-counter drugs like Tylenol, oxycodone is an opiate.

You have likely heard plenty of conversations on the news or among friends about the opioid epidemic in recent years. This drug is one of the key offenders.

While Percocet uses a smaller amount of oxycodone drugs like Oxycontin, it still leads to addiction, makes you crave a stronger high, and can lead to using stronger drugs like heroin.

How It Works

With the pain-relieving benefits of opiates and the high number of prescriptions given in the U.S., you may be curious to know exactly what it does.

Opioids look like chemicals in your brain and body that attach to tiny parts on nerve cells called opioid receptors. These receptors can slow breathing, stop coughing and reduce feelings of pain.

The Risks

While many believe that this drug gets overprescribed, the drug clearly serves a medical purpose for millions of people.

Unfortunately, because of the pain-relieving effects that most other drugs can’t match, opioids will remain on the market for some time.

There are safer drugs that relieve pain, but many of them don’t work as well. This leads many to seek Percocet without understanding the risks. Let’s talk about the risks of this drug that is selling in massive volumes.

Side Effects

All drugs come with side effects, but these effects aren’t equal. Common side effects of Percocet include nausea, drowsiness, and lightheadedness.

Some of the more serious side effects include:

  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Dizziness
  • Blurred vision
  • Decreased perception of pain

Because of these side effects, you should never use this type of medication before driving or operating machinery.

Addiction

Oxycodone is one of the most commonly abused prescription drugs in the U.S. because of its addictive properties.

If the side effects of the medication weren’t bad enough, once you form a dependency, withdrawal symptoms can include:

  • Shaking
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Depression
  • Profuse sweating
  • Mood swings
  • Inability to feel pleasure

While these withdrawal symptoms are terrifying, the alternative of continued use is far worse.

This is an especially scary drug considering that Percocet is one of the weakest forms of opioids, which gives plenty of room to move up to stronger substances.

In fact, 75% of heroin users reported that their first use of opioids was in the form of prescription medication.

Not only that, the rise of fentanyl use is getting higher, which is believed to be the most lethal drugs in history. Many people who move up to using heroin will still seek a more potent drug, and fentanyl is the final frontier.

Overdose

Pushing aside the use of heroin or other street drugs, overdosing on Percocet is still a likely scenario.

Opioid overdose interferes with your brain’s regulatory processes, which can slow or even stop your breathing, causing death.

When It is Time For Treatment

Most of us will know when it is time for somebody to get treatment, but many people struggling with addiction will need a helping hand.

If you or a loved one are suffering from Percocet abuse, the time for treatment is now. If you believe a loved one is abusing this medication, here are some signs.

How To Spot It

Once you have reason to suspect addiction and abuse, there are some key things to look for.

If your loved one is reporting improvement on their pain and still carrying the medicine with them everywhere or going to the doctor to refill their script, these are key behavioral signs.

If they are isolating themselves, lying about their whereabouts, or reporting that they feel depressed or hopeless while taking the medication, this may be all the information you need.

Other than behavioral indicators, other factors can include who is more susceptible to addiction. People struggling with mental health disorders such as PTSD or depression are far more likely to develop substance abuse issues.

If they fit enough of these criteria, it may be time to intervene. Find out how to do an intervention in the right way.

How To Seek Treatment

If you are in need of recovery, there is no time like the present to get started on the process. It can save you a lot of trouble down the road.

Remember, there are 3 major steps to take once you have acknowledged the problem. First, you must seek treatment, then abstain from the substance, and then maintain that abstinence.

The last is the hardest part, as it is a lifelong battle. Just remember the alternative. The only way to get there is to start. Find out more about our services to help you get to a better life.

Next Steps

Percocet is a serious drug that you should take with the right amount of precaution. If you are being prescribed this medicine, take it only as needed and alert your doctor if you feel you are becoming dependent on it.

If you are struggling with a mental health disorder as well as an addiction to painkillers, learn more about dual diagnosis treatment to find out if it’s right for you.

References

most addictive drugs

The Worst of the Worst: Which of the Most Addictive Drugs Are the Worst for Your Health?

Cocaine, meth, and heroin, oh my! If you ask someone what the most addictive drugs are, they’ll probably site those three (not necessarily in that order).

And we agree – heroin, meth, and cocaine all cause thousands of deaths a year. We have death tolls that tell us which is “worst”, but they’re all life-altering bad.

Learn what two of the most dangerous three can do to a user below.

A Quick Disclaimer

It’s almost impossible to rank which drug is the most dangerous for your health. Why? Because of the way one drug acts on someone is different than the way it acts on another person. At least in subtle ways.

Some people try drugs once and can stop cold turkey. Other people are addicted from the first hit/puff/sniff. It’s all about how your body processes things and if you have addiction in your family.

Or if you’re predisposed to addiction from other factors, like your mental health.

That said – we’re going to use data that shows the number of deaths per drug to rank the dangerous drugs below, but keep in mind there is no real order- at least on an individual basis.

The Most Addictive Drugs: Heroin

Which drug have we seen an uptick of use within the last five years? Unfortunately, it’s not something relatively mild, like Cannabis.

It’s one of the most dangerous drugs (the most deaths), heroin.

Perhaps it’s because the people doing Heroin these days didn’t grow up hearing stories of people overdosing. There hasn’t been a famous death from heroin in quite a while.

At least not one as well-covered as Jim Morrison’s or Sid Vicious’. 

There were over 10,000 deaths from Heroin use in the US, in 2014, and the number goes up every year.

Why is Heroin so Dangerous?

Heroin is very addictive, you can compare it to things we’re seeing now, like fentanyl. In fact, they’re not that chemically different.

Both are depressants, which means they relax your body and create a feeling of euphoria. Both are types of opiates, which are derived from the Poppy plant.

If you’ve ever heard of Opium dens in Asian history – these were the kind of drugs they were doing.

However, heroin is very hard to administer. You can both snort and smoke the powder, but most choose to shoot it up – that is, insert it straight into their bloodstream through their veins.

That involves needles, which aren’t something you want to play with at home. Many heroin addicts care more about getting high than the quality and sterilization of the needle, which is how bloodborne diseases spread.

There are higher rates of hepatitis and HIV-Aids among intravenous drug users.

The Addictive Factor

Heroin is extremely addictive. One addict said that you feel so good on Heroin that you never feel that good again once you’re sober.

If it makes you really feel that good, you can see how quickly it becomes addictive.

But it’s not just that. The body builds up a tolerance to heroin as it does with any other drug. As you build up a tolerance, you have to shoot up more every time, to get the same effect.

And since heroin processes as morphine in your brain, it’s like turning the morphine drip to the highest setting – that’ll shut down your body’s processes and kill you just like that.

Issues with Purity

As if all that wasn’t dangerous enough, it’s rare to get pure heroin anymore. The purest heroin is a white powder, but most of the time it’s seen as tan or brownish. There is some that are black – which you’ve probably heard called black tar heroin.

The problem is, the darker the color, the worse the quality. Drug dealers are famous for “cutting” their drugs, which means that they add in another substance so they have more to sell/

Rat poison is commonly found in heroin, as is fentanyl. Laundry detergent and flour are two other, less harmful ingredients.

Yet- you saw what happened with the Tide Pod challenge. Do you really want to insert those kinds of chemicals into your blood?

Let us answer that for you: you don’t.

Finally, some drug dealers put pure caffeine into the heroin. While this doesn’t sound so dangerous, it can mask the signs of an overdose.

If someone doesn’t feel as high from the drug because of the caffeine, they may take more – and end up administering a lethal dose.

Second Place: Meth

It’s not easy to rank drugs. While there are fewer deaths due to meth use, Meth has a much more visible effect on your body. It’s not a drug anyone who values their looks want to use.

It’s highly addictive as well, probably as addictive (if not more) as heroin. It’s smoked or snorted, so it’s an easier delivery method than shooting up.

Along with the addictive aspect, meth restructures how your brain works – and that can last for up to a week after your last dose.

Drug-Induced Psychosis 

It’s common to experience drug-induced psychosis when coming down from meth. That means that your body experiences some of the symptoms of things like multiple personality disorder and schizophrenia as it tries to regain a sense of normality.

Both of those disorders can create delusions and hallucinations. Delusions can drive people to do dangerous and crazy things, like jump off a bridge if they think someone’s chasing them.

You also see the damage of the teeth, the lungs, the nervous system, and the skin in meth users. They famously have sores all over their body, as one of the common delusions is feeling like you have bugs crawling under your skin.

A lot of the deaths from meth don’t come from the direct use of the drug – but what it causes people to do.

That said, the number of deaths due to meth according to this CDC report was 3,495 in 2014. That’s almost a third of the deaths from heroin, but again, it doesn’t count drug-use-accident related cases.

There are No Good Drugs

When it comes to drugs – you shouldn’t do them unless you’re directed to by a doctor. And if you are directed to by a doctor, only do so in the exact fashion and for the exact amount of time as they direct.

The most addictive drugs are heroin and meth, but benzodiazepines (think, Xanax) and cocaine also make the list.

If you suspect a loved one is using one of these dangerous drugs (or any other!) get them to a rehab center, as soon as possible. Here’s a list of centers nearby, for your convenience. 

References:

hobbies in addiction treatment

How Hobbies Help Your Recovery in Addiction Rehab

Hobbies can sometimes seem like nuisances to us. They can even seem like something we just don’t have the time for in the busyness of everyday life. Addiction treatment, however, thrives on hobbies. 

Many discussions around rehab or recovery can have a negative tone, however, today we will be discussing our hobbies and how they can help us on the long road to recovery. 

Before we begin, it is important to understand that the connection between mental illness and addiction is so strong. We at Addiction Treatment Services understand this connection between addiction and mental health, and we want to help you on the road to recovery. 

First, let’s take a look at why hobbies are helpful, and then we will discuss some specific hobbies that can be beneficial during recovery, so that you have a tangible point of reference going forward. 

How Are Hobbies Helpful? 

Hobbies are an outlet that provide us with something to do while we aren’t busy working and taking care of other responsibilities. They keep us active and motivated without stressing us out. While some hobbies are not extremely productive, such as playing video games, for example, they all leave us feeling good and calm afterwards. 

It is no secret that human beings today have undergone the process of natural selection over time. See, we have a drive in us as part of our evolutionary history to seek out the things that make us feel good, such as eating food, drinking water, and so on. These activities activate reward centers in the brain to release “feel-good” chemicals to reward us for doing them. 

Natural selection has caused us to develop a need to do things that are productive, beneficial to our bodies, or that make us better in some other way. Thanks to the reward centers in the brain, we feel good when we do these types of things. All of this is for the purpose of staying alive. Thus, when we do something that makes us feel good, most of the time, that thing is something that is beneficial to us. 

We enjoy feeling productive just as much as we enjoy activities such as white water rafting, kayaking, or hiking. The reason is because these things make us feel alive. 

How Hobbies Help Your Recovery 

One of the greatest fights you will likely face in addiction is the fight of boredom. Addiction treatment thrives on being busy because otherwise, boredom can quickly lead to relapse. However, none of us want to be busy all the time, since this can make us feel overwhelmed and stressed. 

While nobody wants to be busy constantly, in addiction treatment, it is important to have certain activities or hobbies that do occupy the majority of your time in order to avoid the potential for relapse. 

Hobbies can take up a large amount of your time. Running takes a period of time, as does drawing, or becoming skilled in playing guitar or singing. These things occupy our time, however, they are a different kind of time killer. These periods of time make us feel fulfilled and leave us feeling good. 

This is where we need to differentiate between instant gratification hobbies, like video games and watching television, and productive hobbies. Both are helpful, but in the end, productive hobbies will leave us feeling, well, productive, whereas instant gratification hobbies are simply time wasters that do not lead to anything greater being accomplished. 

Chasing this good feeling of contributing to the world, or your own well-being, is the feeling we should want to chase. This good feeling is so different than the instant gratification that substances provide. If we seek instant hobbies, then we will be creating the same patterns of an addiction, rather than the beneficial patterns of productive hobbies. 

Hobbies Connect Us 

Perhaps one of the most important aspects of hobbies is that they have the potential to unite us in community. We are connected to each other when we do certain hobbies together. Connection is one of the strongest weapons in combating addiction. 

Many of these hobbies bring us together for one common cause and allow us to meet others who share our ideas and beliefs. Being able to hike with someone, overcome obstacles on a  run with someone, or meet to play music together can bonds us in a way that nothing else can. Having a strong support system is key to overcoming obstacles in addiction recovery.  

Now that we have discussed why hobbies are helpful, let’s look below to discover which kind of hobbies can best suit us. It can be difficult to discern. 

Active Hobbies 

Engaging in hobbies that get the body moving are extremely valuable for our overall health, especially while undergoing addiction treatment. This is because exercise can help speed up the body’s detoxification process and lead to more positive feelings. 

For some people, running long distances seems insane, yet to others, it can be therapeutic. It is sometimes referred to as the “runner’s high” where they experience euphoria and little fatigue after miles and miles of running. Running can help us because it is so good for our cardiovascular system. It can also bond us with others through trials, and give us a lot of time to talk to our friends and loved ones if we run together. 

While running may not necessarily be for everyone, there are other hobbies that help addiction recovery. One of them is yoga. Yoga engages the spiritual and mental side of exercise. Prostrating the body into various shapes and poses is actually very taxing work, and it can engage the core of our being as well as help us to relax, calm down, and reflect. 

Other active hobbies you can try are swimming, hiking, biking, or playing sports. 

Creative Hobbies 

Hobbies that are creative give us projects that make us feel like we have made something that contributes to the world in some way. Taking an art class, or just pursuing drawing, or writing, or whatever other creative hobby you enjoy is a great way to get our innermost emotions out on the table. 

Along with this, we can bring beauty into the world musically. Musical talent is something you practice, so picking up an instrument or vocal practice is something that you can do every day. This can also bond you with others if you find others to help teach you how to play your instrument, or just to jam with. 

Finally, journaling, writing poetry, or blogging are all great hobbies that are able to get our thoughts and feelings onto the page. 

Hobbies in Nature

Hiking is a great way to connect with nature. Experts often find that getting out into nature is a great way to improve our overall mood. Camping, fishing, or surfing are all ways we can appreciate the world around us.  

Along with this, spiritual practices like meditation are extremely beneficial to helping us be our fullest person. This is not simply sitting cross legged and humming, but more than that, it is simply the practice of being aware at all times, and this works especially well when done in a beautiful place such as at the beach or in a grassy area. 

Getting Help 

While hobbies are fantastic supports for addiction recovery, it is important to understand that you cannot treat yourself with them alone. Professional addiction treatment is the only true way to get help with your substance abuse problems. 

Addiction Treatment Services exists to help you find the right treatment program for you. We numerous locations to serve you and help you on the road to recovery. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us by calling (855) 247-4046. Please do not hesitate. Get started with your addiction recovery today.

overcoming addiction

Overcoming Addiction: How to Stop Abusing Drugs

Are you one of the many people who developed drug addiction? Does a loved one suffer from drug abuse? If you answered one of the above questions with a ‘yes’, you know how hard life can be in the grip of drugs.

Overcoming addiction may seem like an impossible achievement, but countless people have managed to escape the vicious circle of drug abuse. You can be next.

Overcoming addiction is indeed possible. Read on to find out how to stop abusing drugs.

Understanding Drug Addiction

To fix a problem you have to understand it first. So, what is drug addiction?

In simple terms, drug addiction is any chronic disorder where the sufferer has a compulsive urge to seek and use drugs despite the adverse consequences.

Drug Addiction as a Disease

Drug addiction is in fact classified as a brain disorder because it affects multiple brain functions, including:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Self-control
  • Decision making
  • Reward
  • Pleasure
  • Learning
  • Judgment
  • Memory
  • Behavior

And several others. The changes in the above functions may last for years after stopping the drugs, which is what causes many former addicts to relapse.

So, drug addiction is just like any other disease. It is dangerous, but it is also preventable and treatable. However, if drug addiction is left untreated, it can ruin a person’s life.

If you or a loved one has a drug addiction, know that it is not a character flaw. It is a medical problem just like depression, diabetes, or a broken leg.

Many people think that drug addicts lack willpower or common decency to stop their drug abuse. This is wrong. Nobody can just choose to stop their drug addiction, just like they can’t choose to stop suffering from diabetes or depression.

So, drug addiction cannot be overcome by sheer will alone. As we will see below, you need to understand the challenges and have a clear plan. Recovery is possible, but it takes time and effort. However, the reward is nothing less than your life itself.

What Causes Drug Addiction?

You may think the causes of drug addiction are obvious, but that is not often the case. People can take drugs for many reasons. Some drug use is even justified. Prescription drugs improve and even save the lives of millions of people.

So, what causes people to take illegal drugs or abuse prescription drugs?

In the end, drug abuse boils down to a number of key reasons.

Social Pressure

Teenagers and young adults are often caught in the trap of drugs through social pressure. Many people try drugs for the first time as part of a dare, or when trying to impress their peers. Sometimes, drug use is seen as trendy.

Curiosity

Another common cause among younger addicts is curiosity. Young adults are more likely to try drugs just to see how it is, and to show how “open-minded” they can be.

Such people rarely have the intention to start doing drugs. They just want to get a new experience. However, some drugs like crack cocaine are so addictive, that a single use can get you hooked.

To Avoid Stress, Depression, and Anxiety

People who feel social pressure, anxiety, and depression will resort to drugs to cover their problem. The intense euphoria from using drugs can numb all physical and emotional pain. Some drugs give you a surge of self-confidence, while others calm you down.

People who feel powerless might use cocaine to feel stronger. People who feel anxiety may use opioids to relax and feel happy.

To Get High

It is true that drugs can give people some of the most intense pleasures known to science. The initial pleasure when the drug first kicks in can feel incredibly good. However, this never lasts long and can only be sustained by more drugs. This is what causes the vicious circle of addiction for many people.

To Improve Performance and Focus

Some people, and especially athletes, may resort to drugs in order to boost their athletic performance. Students and academics may also do drugs to improve their academic focus. Such users often resort to prescription drugs.

Your Brain on Drugs

Most people will try drugs for the first time voluntarily. However, once the drugs have affected a person’s brain, it is impossible to resist the urge to take more. The brain’s chemistry changes as a result of drug use, and this is what causes addiction at a biological level.

Most illegal drugs interact with the brain’s reward system. They often do so by triggering the creation of dopamine, the hormone responsible for feeling happy. This is the way our brains tell us to repeat a certain behavior. If we tamper with the reward system, we are causing our brains to reward us for harmful behaviors.

As a person uses more and more of a certain drug, their brain adapts to feelings of euphoria from that drug. This adaptation makes them feel less and less satisfied with taking the same dose. This is known as drug tolerance.

Drug tolerance means that you need to take more and more of the same drug to get the same feelings of euphoria. In the meantime, the brain becomes numb to all other forms of pleasure, such as food, sex, socialization, and resting, which helps reinforce drug abuse as the only form of pleasure that the brain responds to.

The Vicious Circle of Relapsing

Since drug addiction affects the brain, it interferes with a person’s judgment and self-control. This means that people trying to stop their addiction will be prone to relapse and do drugs again.

Drug addiction is a relapsing disease that needs a complex, multidisciplinary approach to treatment.

If you try to stop your addiction by sheer will alone, chances are you will fail due to the nature of drug addiction.  People in recovery can still relapse. Relapsing doesn’t mean that you should stop trying, or that your treatment is not working. It is just a sign that your doctors might have to revise your treatment.

So, what to do if you find yourself addicted to drugs? First of all, don’t lose hope, because drug addiction is manageable and treatable, as we will see below.

How to Overcome Drug Addiction

If you or a loved one currently suffer from drug addiction, don’t lose hope. As we have seen above, addiction is a chronic disease of the brain that causes a compulsion to seek drugs. The good news is that it is not an incurable disease, though the risk of relapsing can make it seem very hard to overcome.

Let’s take a closer look at the steps to overcome your drug addiction.

Accepting Your Problem

Everything starts with understanding and acceptance. You can’t hope to fix your drug addiction if you don’t admit it to yourself. Embrace your problem and start working towards solving it.

Since you are reading this article, you have already taken the first step, so don’t give up! You’re on the right track for a new beginning.

Decide to Make a Change Now

Everyone knows that drugs are bad for them. However, it is hard to decide to make a change here and now. The dark nature of drug addiction causes us to feel uncertain and procrastinate when it comes to deciding to change our harmful habits.

Understanding What is at Stake

Getting sober means changing your life in more ways than you can imagine. In order to get rid of your addiction, you will have to change the way you handle problems, the way you think about yourself, and the way you spend your time every day.

This may sound like a lot, but without the changes, you can’t take back your life. In order to understand what is at stake, you should try to track how much and how often you use. This will help you realize how much your addiction governs your life.

Set Specific Goals

Now that you know what is at stake, you need to set clear goals. You want to get rid of your addiction.

So, when do you start? How much time do you allow yourself before trying another treatment? Do you go cold turkey, or start by limiting your drug use?

Start Changing Habits

Even before committing to recovery you can start with the small steps. Change habits that might be contributing to your addiction. Remove reminders and avoid social interactions with people who can drag you back into drug addiction.

Ask Friends and Family for Support

If you feel like overcoming your drug addiction is hard, remember that you are never alone. Enlist the help of friends and family to support you in your effort. Your friends and family can help you change your habits and give you guidance to avoid relapsing.

Drug Addiction Treatment Options

Now that you have decided to make a change and enlisted the help of friends and family, it is time to consider your treatment options.

Different drugs require different treatments, but all drug addictions have some characteristics in common. We have seen above how drugs affect the chemistry of the brain and our behavior.

All drug addiction treatment options deal with certain core elements of addiction. The most common include:

  • Drug detoxification
  • Medication
  • Behavioral therapy
  • Follow-up treatment
  • Long-term care

Detoxification is the first step, and usually the most painful one. Getting the body rid of the drugs can cause a range of side effects. That is why for many drug addictions, doctors prescribe certain medications to help ease the transition to sobriety. One of the most common ones is methadone, which doctors prescribe to opioid addicts.

Behavioral therapy encompasses counseling, group sessions, and other forms of psychological support that can help you identify the cause of your addiction and avoid relapsing. Behavioral therapy also includes follow-up sessions to check on your progress.

Finally, treatment often includes long-term checks and ongoing care to avoid relapsing and make sure you are living a fulfilling and satisfying life.

Drug Treatment Programs

There are several types of treatment programs, from day treatment to full residential care. With residential treatment, you will be living in a specialized facility and receive dedicated care. Residential treatment can last up to six months.

There are also sober houses and communities where you get to live with other people fighting drug addiction. This gives recovering addicts a safe and friendly community with no possibility to relapse.

You can also opt for outpatient treatment. With outpatient options, you spend your day at a facility but don’t stay there overnight. You return each morning for your activities and checkups.

With day treatment, you will live at home but visit a hospital or facility each day. This will substitute for your daily work, as daily treatment requires up to 8 hours of your time each day.

Finding the Treatment You Deserve and Overcoming Addiction

Overcoming addiction is possible. Here at Addiction Treatment Services, we help you find personalized rehabilitation for you or your loved one.

There many addiction treatment centers across the country that can give you the recovery experience you deserve, but it’s not always easy to pick the right one for you.

Sometimes making the first step is the hardest thing. We are here to help you start your journey to recovery and a healthier, happier life free of drug addiction.

At Addiction Treatment Services, we understand your needs and can help with addiction treatment, intervention, and support. Contact us today and we will help you find the recovery center that best matches your needs.

how to do an intervention

How to Do an Intervention and Do One the Right Way

Do you have a loved one who has completely spiraled out of control with their addiction? Are you worried about them constantly, and feeling like they’re never going to realize their problem on their own?

If the answer is yes, then it may be time to stage an intervention.

Oftentimes, an intervention is the best way to get an addict to realize their problem.

In fact, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, over 90 percent of people get help after experiencing an intervention.

But, this doesn’t mean that an intervention is easy. Interventions are very delicate situations. If you approach it the wrong way and upset the addict, the addict may decide to sever ties with you and you’ll have lost your shot at helping them completely.

With the stakes being so high, how do you make sure you do an intervention the right way?

Read on to learn how to do an intervention and do one the right way.

What Is an Intervention?

Before we dive into how to do an intervention, let’s first get an understanding of what exactly an intervention is.

An intervention involves planning a gathering with family, friends, and an intervention specialist to (lovingly) confront a loved on about their addiction.

During the intervention, you will typically present your loved one with examples of their destructive behavior, and let them know how these destructive behaviors have negatively impacted you.

You will also offer a solution to their behavior. Usually, this means presenting them with a pre-arranged treatment plan, whether that means inpatient rehab or counseling.

The treatment plan should not be vague. Rather, it should have very clear steps and guidelines. And you should explain the goals of this treatment plan.

Once you have announced the treatment plan, you should let the addict know what each loved one in the room will do if the loved one fails to agree to this plan.

This is the gist of what an intervention will consist of. However, each intervention is different and will vary according to the addict’s needs.

Now, let’s dive into what goes into planning and executing a successful intervention.

1. Select Your Intervention Team with Great Care

When planning an intervention, you need to be very careful when selecting the family and friends who will be present for it.

Only those who have a meaningful and loving relationship with the addicted person should be at the intervention.

If there is someone you know who loves the addict dearly, but is currently on bad terms with the addict, then this person should not be there.

The sole purpose of this intervention is to help convince the addict they need help. This is not a time to mend fences; that can be done later.

Also, make sure the people who come to the intervention are also people the addict is comfortable opening up around.

Once your team is assembled, make sure you keep them in the loop about what exactly will happen during the intervention. They should know who is going to speak first, who will say what, etc. No one involved in the intervention (other than the addict) should come in not knowing what the game plan is.

Having a clear game plan helps keep things organized and increases the effectiveness of the intervention.

2. Hire an Intervention Specialist

There is one member of your intervention team who shouldn’t know the addict very well: an intervention specialist.

Some people work solely as intervention specialists, while others are also social workers, therapists, or doctors.

An intervention specialist can help you form your intervention team, and they can help you put together a plan that will increase your chances of success. During the intervention, the specialist can act as the voice of reason when tensions run high.

3. Choose the Right Moment for the Intervention

Staging the intervention at the right time can make or break its success.

The best time to talk to a loved one about their addiction is most definitely when they are sober. If it’s extremely rare that you encounter the addict sober, then choose a time when they are at least close to sober.

If they aren’t sober, there’s a chance they won’t fully register what’s going on and won’t be able to think clearly. There’s a good chance they may not even remember what is said later on.

Plus, choosing a moment when the addict is sober helps ensures the safety of everyone. If they aren’t sober and become angry, there’s a higher chance of them lashing out in a violent manner.

Oftentimes, staging an intervention in the morning is the best bet. It can also be a great idea to hold the intervention after a big drug-related incident has occurred.

For example, if your loved one has been charged recently with drunk driving, holding an intervention shortly after can prove to be highly effective. This is because the consequences of their drug use will be fresh in their minds.

4. Choose the Right Location

Once you know what time the intervention will be held, it’s time to choose the location.

First and foremost, the location should always be private. You may think it’s “safer” to do it in a public place, but this can cause everyone to freeze up and feel uncomfortable about being overheard or causing a scene.

Also, many people think that having an intervention in their home is a great idea. However, this can often backfire, as the addict can simply retreat to their room or the bathroom if they start to get uncomfortable.

Oftentimes, the office of the intervention specialist or therapist is the best location. Being in this sort of setting usually forces people to be on their best behavior. Plus, an unfamiliar setting decreases the chances of the addict attempting to retreat to another room.

5. Choose a Speaking Order

It’s very important to choose a speaking order for the intervention. Otherwise, everyone will try to speak at once and you’ll end up overwhelming the addict.

Be very strategic about who speaks first and who speaks last. It’s usually a good idea to have the first person who speaks be someone the addict loves dearly and doesn’t have any “beef” with.

Usually, this is a child of the addict, or a niece or nephew. It’s someone who won’t have any bias in the situation and can really just speak from their heart.

The last person to speak should also be someone who is very close to the addict and who is directly impacted by their behavior. This is usually a spouse or a parent.

However, it may be the case that family members have already talked to the addict about their problem numerous times, and the addict may be sick of hearing it. In that instance, it can sometimes be best to leave the talking to friends and the interventionist.

Before the intervention, you can role-play different scenarios to find which one works best.

6. Hold a Few Rehearsals

Speaking of role-playing, it can also be a good idea to hold rehearsals before the intervention.

Emotions are going to be running very high during the intervention. This will make coming up with what to say on the spot very difficult. If you know exactly what you’re going to say beforehand, it’s less likely that your emotions will get in the way of you completing your speech as planned.

If someone cannot attend a rehearsal, it’s usually best to ask them to not attend the intervention, as rehearsing is a very crucial step in ensuring the intervention succeeds.

During rehearsals, you may also want to have one person role-play the addict. This way, you’ll be prepared with how to react when the addict tries to counter your statements.

An intervention specialist can be particularly helpful in these moments, as they can help you prepare what to say and coach you on ways to deal with the reactions of the addict.

7. Stay on Script

When planning an intervention, you are going to be spending hours developing the script for it.

This script will detail everything you want to say, how you want to say it, and the order you want to say it in. You will likely do multiple revisions of this script with the interventionist to ensure everything and everyone is included and heard.

When you get to the actual intervention, you may find your emotions taking over and therefore feel tempted to ad lib.

This is not a good idea, so try to stick to the script as best as possible. Don’t plan any sort of surprise speech. Catching other participants off-guard can easily derail the whole intervention.

8. Be Warm and Keep Tempers Controlled

It is never the point of the intervention to belittle the addict so they just feel awful about themselves.

If someone is an addict, their self-worth is already pretty low, and your goal should never be to make it lower.

Therefore, it’s very important to let the addict know that the intervention comes from a place of love and concern, not anger and spite. You can display this best through your body language and tone of voice.

Make sure your body language is warm and open. Do this by keeping your legs and arms uncrossed, leaning in and making eye contact with the addict when your speaking, and keeping your hands unclenched.

Your script will contain words of love and understanding, so make sure your body language matches that sentiment.

Tensions can flare up easily during an intervention, but it is absolutely necessary that everyone keeps their tempers under control. If the addict attempts to pick a fight or bring up old grievances, do not engage. Make sure the conversation always steers towards helping them and loving them.

9. Always Have a Plan B

In a perfect scenario, the addict will calmly and carefully listen to what everyone has to say and then agree to the treatment plan in place.

However, we all know that things are rarely perfect. Therefore, you need to come into the intervention with a backup plan in the event that things don’t go well.

When someone is in the throes of addiction, you never know how they are going to respond. The addict might yell and scream at everyone, leave the room, hysterically cry, or even say horrible, vulgar things that they don’t mean.

Having a backup plan in place will help you be best prepared for this scenario.

Be prepared to wait out the addict’s aggressive behavior. Make sure you are prepared to not cave into it. If the addict gets aggressive and someone else gets aggressive back, then you’ve entered a situation where you are trying to fight fire with fire.

Make sure everyone is prepared for the addict to lash out. Everyone acting in calm solidarity will help the addict calm down and re-engage in the conversation.

10. Never Give Up and Prepare for the Journey Ahead

There’s a chance the first intervention will be a complete fail.

But this shouldn’t stop you from staging another intervention in the near future. It may take multiple interventions and conversations to finally get through to your loved one.

As we said at the beginning of this article, 90 percent of people who undergo an intervention seek treatment after.

However, this doesn’t mean that the same 90 percent who seek treatment stick with their treatment and come out the other end healed. The percentage who do that on the first try is likely much lower.

Therefore, while getting the addict to agree to treatment is a great success, it is only the first step in the journey to recovery. Be grateful for this big victory, but also be prepared for the ups and downs that lie ahead.

How to Do an Intervention: Wrap Up

Now that you know how to do an intervention, it’s time to plan and execute your own.

Remember, you shouldn’t try to do the intervention alone. Check out our intervention specialist page to learn about hiring a qualified interventionist.

Out interventionists will be in your corner every step of the way!

The Different Levels of Care for Addiction Treatment

Drug Rehab: The Different Levels of Care for Addiction Treatment

If you or someone you love is headed to rehab, you likely have a lot of questions. Drug addiction can cause an immense amount of turmoil in a family or relationship. We’ll address that later. For now, it’s important to focus on the present.

If you or the person you care about is willing to go, you’ve already conquered the all-important first step. Drug rehabs offer a variety of treatment options and levels of care. Read on as we outline them all for you, so you know what to expect in the days and months ahead.

With hard work, willingness, and the desire to stay clean you or the person you love can stay away from their addictive substance. It’s only then that the addict can begin to re-engage with their own life and all things that use to matter most.

Levels of Care for the Physically Dependent: The Medical Detox

If you or someone you love is addicted to drugs, there is a high likelihood that they will require medical supervision as they detox. Some drugs form more than a habit. Physical withdrawal symptoms are evidence of the body’s physical dependence on the substance.

Understanding this can help friends and loved ones understand how difficult it’s been for the addict. It’s more than a preference to use drugs. Addicted bodies have formed a harmful substance dependence. One that the addict must feed to survive.

Fortunately, with medical supervision, physical dependence can be broken. This is likely to be an uncomfortable time for the addict as they experience the crippling symptoms of withdrawal. These symptoms can include shaking, sleep disruption, muscle aches, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

For regular opiate users, these withdrawal symptoms usually being within 12 hours. If the opiate user is on an opiate blocker like suboxone or methadone, this can vary. Symptoms are more delayed for those taking opiate blockers.

Some doctors will prescribe medication while in medical detox to help lessen extreme symptoms. These may include medications like clonidine. Medications such as NSAIDs may be prescribed to lessen inflammation. Additionally, hydroxyzine medications are also given to lessen the symptoms of nausea.

The worst withdrawal symptoms are seen in alcoholics and those withdrawing from tranquillizers. It is important for these addicts to seek medical supervision for their detox. This is because they are likely to experience hallucinations, seizures, or heart attacks.

Detoxing can be the most difficult stage of recovery for the addict. This is also the time that they are likely to experience their strongest cravings for their substance of choice. However, with proper medical supervision and support, it is possible to rid the body of toxic substance.

Additionally, this can be an important stage of recovery. Why? Because if given the addict the experience to realize how much of a grasp their substance holds on their lives and bodies.

Inpatient Residential Rehabilitation

If your friend or loved one isn’t physically dependent on their addiction, they will likely skip the medical detox step. They can then begin their recovery at an in-patient rehabilitation center.

Depending on the severity of their addiction and their own insurance limits, an addict will typically spend 30, 60, or 90 days in a residential in-patient rehab. Rehab is the perfect opportunity to get the space necessary from familiar people, places, and situations that they normally associate with their addiction.

By changing their “playmates” and “play places,” they can begin to imagine a new life for themselves in this safe space. It is important that friends and loved ones set boundaries and expectations during this time.

Many addicts will be tempted to leave rehab before completing the duration of the stay suggested. If they choose to do so, they shouldn’t be welcomed home with open arms.

You’ll need to create boundaries that encourage the addict to persevere through the moments when their cravings are strongest. Strong cravings can cause addicts to manipulate the facts and create reasons to leave their new drug-free environment.

Allowing the addict to leave rehab before the end of their suggested stay can be considered “enabling” the addict. Promises are only one of the things frequently broken by addicts and creating a reason to leave rehab is a common manipulation.

Loved ones of can support the addict’s attempts to get and stay clean by staying true to their initial expectations and not conceding. Completing the duration of their stay and creating an after-care plan are two components crucial to staying clean.

Paid aftercare groups and free NA meetings are two great ways to stay accountable to recovery after completing a residential inpatient stay.

Sober Living Communities

After completing a residential stay, rehab counselors may suggest transitioning the addict into a sober living facility. This can be a great step for addicts as they return to living life on life’s terms.

Sober livings are typically run similar to an apartment complex. The addict will share a room or live alone in the complex while remaining accountable to stay clean and sober.

Each sober living has a unique set of requirements and rules for tenants. These requirements typically include regular drug testing, curfew, cleaning duties, and employment.

While sober living may not give the addict absolute freedom, it’s a good way to return to ‘normal life’ while remaining accountable.

It can also be a great opportunity for recovering addicts to make new friends who have similar goals and experiences. Creating bonds within the recovery community is important, as those who immediately return to their previous lifestyle are far more likely to fall back into their previous routine and relapse.

The friends and loved ones of addicts may be disappointed initially. It is unlikely that their partners will able to take part in all the activities they once shared.

This is because Sober Living often curtails late night outings and overnight stays. This is only temporary. With love and compromise, new routines can be formed.

Living clean presents many opportunities for new adventures.

“But I Can’t…” Other Options

If your insurance won’t cover in-patient treatment, there are other options available. Intensive outpatient programs, also known as IOP, are programs typically provided by clinics and hospitals at a cost lower than traditional rehab.

These programs meet daily and provide three-to-four hours of daily treatment and can be more workable for people who are the primary caretaker of a child or unable to pay for inpatient residential treatment.

These programs can work just as well if the addict is committed to recovery. However, the likelihood of temptation is far greater when the addict begins the recovery process without the safety of a new environment.

12-step recovery groups are the single most important resource for the recovering addict. These groups convene at various times throughout the day and in thousands of locations.

You may be stunned when you realize just how many recovery meetings are happening in your area. If you live in a metropolitan area, it’s likely that you can even find a meeting within walking distance.

While the recovering addict may choose to pick a Narcotics Anonymous group as his or her ‘homegroup’, it is important to remember that there is no big difference between an AA, NA, CA, or MA meeting.

The unity of experience and universal unmanageability of addiction give each meeting the ability to provide support to the addict. Do not be deterred from attending an AA meeting (the most commonly held meeting) because you don’t believe drug addicts are welcome.

While some meetings may require you to use the word “alcohol” when sharing, most groups aren’t hung up on the details. A desire to remain clean and sober is the only requirement for attending.

Because staying clean also requires you to also abstain from alcohol, you’ll soon realize the similarity of experience. Just as you’ll also soon find that you’ll be hard pressed to find an alcoholic who hasn’t used or abused drugs before recovery.

While your story may not be exactly the same as those shared in AA, look for the similarities and not the differences. You’ll be sure to identify with the unmanageable nature of alcoholism and see the parallels it shares with your own addiction.

For the Friends and Family of Alcoholics

While your friend or loved one is beginning their recovery journey, it’s important to find levels of care for yourself, as well.

Addiction can cause havoc within families and loving relationships. It is important to have an outlet for the resentment, anger, and hurt you have experienced. Fortunately, regular meetings of Al-Anon are likely all around you.

Al-anon meetings are comprised of the friends and family of the alcoholic or addict and provide support and recovery to those who have shouldered the burden of caring for an addict.

These groups can help you set the boundaries you’ll need moving forward as the addict returns from rehab and you transition back into life together.

Burning Desire: More Obstacles to Recovery

Co-occurring disorders are not uncommon in those who develop alcohol or drug dependence. This often because addicts began their addiction by been self-medicating to control symptoms of another disorder.

These disorders can include but are not limited to bipolar disorder, depression, PTSD, eating disorders, grief or anxiety. Inpatient rehabs typically have professionals on staff that can detect, treat, and provide supportive medication management services. If the addict does not choose to go to an inpatient facility, these disorders may go overlooked.

Finding a therapist to help the addict handle the stresses involved with a new way of life can be wise. These sessions will not take the place of 12-step recovery. They can be helpful when unpacking difficult memories, new responsibilities, and the detection of co-occurring disorders.

Like traditional treatment options, these therapists are available via self-pay or through insurance. If financial concerns common in early sobriety are a concern, consider looking for a low or no-cost facility.

These low-cost facilities often house therapists who have recently graduated. They are there to be of service while fulfilling requirements to start their own practice. They may not have the same experience as someone who has spent 30 years specializing in the treatment of addiction.

It’s important to remember, though that these therapists do not come without their own list of advantages. With a sincere interest in their patient’s care and the most recent science fresh in their minds, these therapists can help support the recovery of the newly clean and sober addict.

Moving Forward

As the addict transitions back into life clean, there are bound to be obstacles. Feelings that have been muted by drugs are likely to bubble to the surface and stressors and temptation abound.

Staying committed to recovery means using all the resources available to you. Lean on a reliable support system and the levels of care need to stay clean.

Over time these needs will stabilize. 12 step groups will become a place for fellowship and service and not a daily necessity for sobriety.

Addicts who choose to get clean and pursue a bigger life beyond addiction haven’t chosen an easy road. No one can convince an addict to get clean and stay clean (though many an Al-Anon has tried over the years).

Living clean and sober is a decision the addict must make for themselves. With the proper levels of care and the willingness needed, recovery is possible.

For more information on substance abuse treatment, visit our blog for more. We’re here to help and you’re not alone.

alcohol addiction recovery

Alcohol Addiction Treatment: The Benefits of Seeking Out Professional Help

According to the most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 15 million adults, aged 18 or older, suffer from Alcohol Use Disorder, or AUD.

This is a chronic brain disease that begins when a person develops a preoccupation with alcohol. It’s characterized by an inability to control and limit alcohol intake. There are many levels of AUD, with alcoholism or alcohol addiction being one of them.

Those who suffer from alcoholism are overcome by the need to drink, though it’s harming both their personal and professional lives. Over time, their tolerance levels become so high that they require more of the substance to achieve the same effect. In turn, they begin to engage in dangerous levels of drinking that could cause physical and emotional harm to themselves and those they hold closest.

Fortunately, there are alcohol addiction recovery programs out there that can help.

If you or someone you know is in the throes of alcoholism, a step toward freedom is closer than you might think. Today, we’re exploring a few benefits of recovery programs. We’ll also share why it’s easier, smarter and more effective to let an expert walk you through the process than try to tackle it yourself.

Ready to learn more? Let’s dig in.

1. Medical Attention

As damaging to one’s health as alcohol addiction can be, the stages of withdrawal can be equally concerning.

When an addict drinks over a long period of time, his or her central nervous system becomes accustomed to the substance. In general, alcohol depresses bodily systems. That means it slows down your brain’s function and alters how your nerves communicate with one another.

The nervous system in a heavy drinker has to work in overdrive most of the time to counteract this response and facilitate normal functioning. When an addict attempts to quit drinking cold turkey, the alcohol is removed from his system, but the brain and central nervous system cannot respond as quickly.

As such, they remain supercharged for an extended period of time. That’s why symptoms of alcohol withdrawal typically include anxiety, heavy sweating, nausea and body shakes. In more severe cases, sufferers can experience hallucinations or even seizures.

A professional alcohol recovery provider will be able to stabilize the addict and monitor him or her for any withdrawal symptoms as they occur. If any issues do arise, the provider can help the addict seek appropriate and immediate medical treatment to prevent further complications.

2. Accountability

Working through an alcoholism recovery program requires more than a one-time meeting. Rather, a professional treatment provider will meet regularly with the addict, who may also require inpatient care.

As such, a level of trust and accountability are established. As the addict knows there will be regular and routine check-ins, he or she is less likely to relapse or attempt to sneak “just one drink” on the sly. This is essential, as the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that a staggering 90% of people suffering from alcoholism relapse four years after completing treatment.

Remember, alcoholism and AUD are chronic brain diseases. Thus, though an addict might have all intentions of personally tackling the condition solo, it’s more than a mental feat. There must be specific tactics used that only an expert trained in this arena will know. Simply wanting to quit and having the ability to do so are two different things.

In many cases, recovery will require a long-term effort and multiple recovery approaches. Throughout the process, accountability will be maintained to help encourage addicts to stay the course and complete each round of treatment.

3. Delving into Attachment Disorders

In some cases, adults might turn to drugs and alcohol as coping mechanisms to make up for a lack of affection or attention. This neglect might stem from childhood or it might have been initiated later in life.

Regardless, these substances can offer a sense of security and comfort to those who feel abandoned, neglected or otherwise unstable. Moreover, this response often occurs without the addict even realizing it.

As one seeks recovery from alcohol and its paralyzing grip, a professional treatment provider can help bring to light any past hurts that might be catalyzing the addictive behavior. In this way, the recovery process can be as emotionally therapeutic as it is physically healing.

A specialist will sit down with the addict over a period of sessions to learn more about his or her past. Were one or both parents absent? Was there physical or emotional abuse in the household? Were there any traumatic events that occurred during the teenage years? Though not always the case, these situations can often trigger addictive behaviors, including excessive drug or alcohol use.

4. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Sometimes, it isn’t a past event or series of events that cause an addict to turn to alcohol in the first place. Rather, they begin to self-medicate with the substance because of a current environment that causes them stress or anxiety.

Perhaps it’s an unfulfilling or overly demanding work environment. Or, maybe they have a difficult time interacting with certain people in their social or family circles. Regardless, trying to fix the situation by drinking is never the answer and can lead to a path of self-destruction.

A professional alcoholism recovery program may include a kind of short-term counseling known as cognitive behavioral therapy. During these sessions, a treatment expert will help guide the addict toward healthy ways to respond to stressors. From meditation to exercise, there are myriad ways to mitigate feelings of anger and mental pressure.

Understanding how to approach these situations and circumstances in this way can help addicts better cope with their daily lives without turning to alcohol.

5. An Emphasis on Social Support

Anyone who has ever lived with or supported a family member who is addicted to alcohol understands that this isn’t a self-contained disease. Rather, its repercussions can stretch across generations.

As such, when someone is recovering from alcoholism, it’s helpful to have his or her family and close friends involved in the process, as well. The reality is that alcoholism affects even the families that look like they have it all together. No one is immune to its grip and it can leave a devastating amount of hurt in its path.

As such, as the addict seeks treatment, having a close circle of loved ones on board can help reduce the risk of relapse. In fact, recent research shows that the presence of such social support can directly influence treatment outcomes in the case of alcohol dependence syndrome.

Of course, this might also be a period of time during which an addict has to make difficult decisions concerning who to keep around socially, and who is enabling the addictive behavior. For instance, an addict may need to remove himself from certain social circles that engage in heavy drinking in an effort to stay sober.

In these cases, a professional recovery expert can help the addict navigate those conversations. During this time, the addict can also establish next steps to move forward successfully without feeling isolated.

6. A Safe Space to Share

It’s physically impossible to stop in most cases. Yet, someone addicted to alcohol might still be ashamed and embarrassed to talk about his or her condition. Fearing judgment from friends and family members, the addict may spiral deeper out of control with no outlet to turn to.

This is where professional treatment can make all the difference. Many times, these programs will include group therapy sessions, where addicts can meet together with others going through the same journey.

Here, they can vent their frustrations, share things that are working for them, celebrate their victories (both big and small) and learn from the experience of like-minded peers. This can improve their mental health, as science reveals that putting our thoughts into words creates a therapeutic effect in our brain.

This group can also act as accountability partners, encouraging an addict to stay the course and complete treatment. In many cases, the program participants keep up with each other and continue that level of support even after the formal recovery process is complete.

7. Discovering a Dual-Diagnosis

Of course, alcohol addiction can originate on its own and be a singular burden. Yet, there are many times when it is only one part of a larger medical diagnosis.

For instance, an addict might be addicted to alcohol and also possess a mental health disorder, such as heightened anxiety. Or, the alcoholism could be an offshoot of depression or even bipolar disorder.

Though the link between alcoholism and other diseases isn’t always cut and dry, researchers have determined that there are often shared traits. In the case of bipolar disorder, for example, they have found that people who suffer from both diseases possess the following:

Genetic Traits

There are differences in the brains of those who suffer from bipolar disorder. These neurological connections can also affect the way someone responds and becomes attached to alcohol. In effect, the risk of alcoholism is heightened.

Disorder-Triggered Anxiety

Those who are bipolar often experience anxiety or depression over their condition. This can make dealing with even the most ordinary situations impossible. As such, they turn to alcohol to calm down, though it only leads to more tension as the cycle continues.

Lowered Inhibitions During Mania

The opposite of depression, when a bipolar person is on a manic upswing, he or she is euphoric. Inhibitions are lower and there is a feeling of almost invincibility. This can lead sufferers to make poor decisions, especially surrounding alcohol. This can increase its use and exacerbate symptoms.

8. Next Steps for Post-Treatment Care

Recovery treatment programs are only part of the process. To increase the chances that an addict will recover for the long-term, there must be a continued commitment toward treating alcohol addiction.

Most reputable treatment programs will include next steps to help guide the addict toward living a life free from the past. These may include medical referrals, print materials, community resources or more. By taking this assistance to heart, an addict can help turn temporary abstinence into more of a lifestyle.

Away from the safety and security net of a recovery program, the real world can look like an intimidating web of triggers and setbacks. Knowing where to turn and who to talk to at any time of day or night is a critical step in preventing a relapse.

Find Alcohol Addiction Recovery Services Today

Deciding to seek professional treatment on the road to alcohol addiction recovery is an important first step. While there are many personal issues that can be overcome without the intervention of others, this is not one of them.

Connecting with trained professionals who are qualified to provide care designed to meet your needs is essential. Yet, with so many options at your fingertips, you might not know where to turn. This process can be especially overwhelming if you’re trying to figure out which providers are included in your insurance coverage and which aren’t.

Thankfully, this is our expertise. We work with major insurance providers, as well as top-notch addiction recovery resources. We’ll work with you every step of the way to determine your ideal course of treatment. Then, we’ll help connect you with services that are included in your coverage.

You’ve already got a lot to think about. Let us take this off your plate. Contact us today to learn more about how we can set you and your family on a path toward healing.