Boredom in Recovery

How to Combat Boredom in Recovery

Right now, 22 million Americans are in recovery from a drug or alcohol addiction. Dealing with boredom in recovery is one of the biggest causes of relapse.

Boredom is a dangerous state of mind that can open up the floodgates to behaviors that are harmful and addicting. Especially when a person is in the delicate state of new sobriety.

But there is hope! Read on for the best ways you can deal with boredom in recovery in productive ways.

Unplug

So many people try coping with boredom by turning to electronic devices. They surf the net or social media sites or binge watch entire seasons on Netflix.

But though staring at a screen may seem like a good way to preoccupy yourself, the truth is you may be experiencing sensory overload. This reduces your ability to focus on anything for any length of time.

Plus, when you are staring at a screen, you aren’t living your life, you are just passively taking in information.

Take a look at your screen habits and set some boundaries. Start by powering off for an hour at the same time every day.

You could also set rules about how much time you will spend scrolling Facebook. A timer is a great way to stick to your goals.

As you unplug, your ability to focus and think clearly will improve. And you’ll find that when you are bored, you’ll be better able to find productive activities to turn to.

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness helps you focus on the current moment without worrying about the future or ruminating on the past.

Boredom and addiction go hand-in-hand because boredom opens up a window for self-doubt and negative self-talk.

Mindfulness is one of the best tips for dealing with boredom in recovery. Meditation is a wonderful way that you can begin to become more mindful.

It may sound easy, but takes a lot of practice to successfully do for any length of time.

Best of all, as you start to pay attention to what you see, smell, hear and feel, the world becomes a richer and more fascinating place.

Hit the Gym

Exercise is the cure for so many of life’s ailments.

Trouble sleeping? Aches and pains? Low sex drive?

Exercise helps with all of these. When you are dealing with boredom in recovery, you are likely feeling pessimistic.

Exercise sends a rush of endorphins to your brain. Then, you experience a natural euphoric state that helps you feel good about yourself and your life.

So hit the gym and leave it all on the floor. You’ll get rid of some nervous energy and improve how your mind and body feel as well.

Try a New Hobby

You have heard that removing an addiction is not enough. You also need to replace that with new habits and interests.

One of the best ways of dealing with boredom in recovery is to find a new hobby or interest.

There must be something you’ve always found interesting but never done. Maybe you can take up rowing or woodworking.

Perhaps you’d love to learn how to quilt. Or you might want to finally learn Portuguese or cake decorating.

It really doesn’t matter what hobby you choose. A new interest will improve your mental health and focus.

Not to mention that it’s a great way to start new friendships. Look for local groups or classes and get involved.

Create a Daily Schedule

One of the best ways that you can learn how to deal with boredom is to create a schedule for yourself.

A large part of being bored is having no clear idea of what you should do next. Having a schedule keeps you on track and engaged with your activities.

Include meal prep and cooking healthy enjoyable meals. Make sure you schedule in a daily walk or spending time outdoors gardening or reading.

Set aside time to write in your journal and connect with your support group. And add in time for volunteering and learning new skills.

Set a Goal and Work Towards it

People who are goal-oriented have a purpose for their lives. And it doesn’t have to be a huge life-changing goal, either.

It can be a fitness goal like train for and run a marathon. Or it can be something like take a cooking class and learn how to cook Italian food.

The best thing is if you can make your goal measurable and give yourself a deadline. Six months to a year is often a good timeframe. Longer and you may get discouraged, too short and you may not have enough time to reach your goal.

Having a goal is an excellent way of coping with boredom during recovery.

Get Outside Your Comfort Zone

Former First Lady, Eleanor Roosevelt said: “Do one thing every day that scares you.”

When you force yourself to get outside of your comfort zone, you stretch your limits and grow as a person. If you’re shy to talk to new people, start up a conversation in the grocery checkout line.

If you’re afraid of public speaking, join an improv club or a debate team. The result is that you will become a more courageous and adventurous person. And that will serve you well in your new life of sobriety.

Final Thoughts on Boredom in Recovery

Thanks for reading. As you can see boredom in recovery is manageable. There are so many proactive approaches you can take when dealing with boredom.

Do you have questions about addiction, treatment or scheduling an intervention? Contact us today and get the help you deserve.

References

Ashford, R. D., & Canode, B. (2018, August 29). It’s time to measure addiction recovery rates, not just addiction rates. Retrieved from https://www.statnews.com/2018/08/30/measure-addiction-recovery-rates/

Bennett, C. (2011, December 01). The 4 Most Common Causes Of Addiction Relapse. Retrieved from https://www.huffpost.com/entry/dispositions-of-relapse_n_988137

addiction in the media

Study Finds Media Skews Depiction of Drug Problem

addiction in the mediaPeople in the addiction treatment and recovery community have long been fighting an uphill battle regarding the stigma surrounding addiction. Although it appears that progress is being made in educating more people about addiction, there is still a tendency to err on the side of criminalizing the behavior rather than supporting treatment and successful recovery programs.

One of the biggest offenders of this has been traditional mainstream media, and a recent study examined how prescription painkiller abuse was depicted by some of the largest media outlets over more than a decade.

According to the study, the number of stories having to do with prescription opioid abuse increased significantly since 1998. Of the sample of media outlets examined, the number of stories jumped from 13 that year up to 63 by 2012, which was an increase of 484%. Two-thirds of these stories depicted opioid abuse along with criminal activity, while only 3% of them offered readers or viewers treatment solutions.

“Results of a recent experimental study suggest that portrayals of successful treatment of opioid analgesic abuse can improve public attitudes toward and reduce willingness to discriminate against individuals experiencing the condition, but only slightly over one-third of news stories depicted an individual engaging in treatment,” explained the researchers.

While most treatment professionals would agree that more coverage of the substance abuse problem is needed to increase overall awareness, having a more balanced and responsible approach to the subject would be a much better service to the general public. The truth is that addiction does not discriminate and can affect anyone. It is also true that prevention, intervention, and treatment are effective and that long-term recovery is made possible every day.

Prescription Painkillers

The Problem with Pain Management and Addiction

Prescription PainkillersPain management is a tricky problem that many healthcare providers struggle with addressing on a daily basis. Measuring to what degree a patient is in pain is very subjective and oftentimes the most important factor in determining whether or not they should be prescribed narcotic painkillers.

Doctors and nurses are taught to take pain very seriously. The American Pain Society designated pain to be the fifth vital sign in 1995 and the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) developed monitoring standards in which to measure pain in a patient. So, with the increased awareness of pain and the understanding that it is necessary to treat pain, doctors are put in a strange position. They are tasked with addressing and helping to alleviate a person’s pain, but they also need to make sure that they are not prescribing narcotic painkillers to someone who is lying or exaggerating about their symptoms in order to receive drugs.

The American College of Preventive Medicine reports that 5.3 million Americans abuse narcotic painkillers every month. Some of these people get their pills off the street and some of these people get them directly from a doctor. No matter where they are obtaining their drugs, one this is clear, the pills came after some diagnosis of pain somewhere. Dealers who have a chronic pain problem can acquire the pills and then sell them on the street for one dollar per milligram, or addicts can go into a hospital and complain of pain and hope that a doctor is willing to write them a prescription. It has become the general consensus that we have created the problem together – doctors, patients and drug companies.

There is an incredible amount of people who abuse pain management attempts by doctors, but there is also a large group that suffers from legitimate chronic pain and needs the aid of medication as part of their therapy. The Institute of Medicine came out with a report that stated that more than 100 million people in the United States suffer from chronic pain. Recent reports of the ineffectiveness of opioid narcotics to treat chronic pain, along with their intensely high potential for abuse, have spurred leaders to develop and use non-narcotic treatments instead.

Children of Alcoholics and Drug Addicts – Breaking the Cycle

parentAddiction treatment professionals have long cautioned parents and children that addiction is a disease and can be passed down to other family members. The extent to which substance abuse dependency can affect offspring has always been in question, as there are learned behaviors as well as genetic factors that formulate the risk of the pattern repeating with a new generation.

Research suggests that children who are born to a family with one immediate relative that suffers from a drug or alcohol problem are eight times more likely to develop a similar problem later on life. This compelling information points to a greater need for education and prevention, including being able to identify and address other risk factors that could act as triggers.

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), 12% of U.S. children live in a household where one or person is an addict. Further data shows that there are at least 28 million Americans who are children of alcoholics.

“This doesn’t mean it’s certain that a child of addicted parents will become addicted. But, what the studies do show is that since addiction has a genetic component, children of addicted parents are predisposed to the disease – just as they would be if their parent had heart disease or diabetes,” explained David Bohl, a program operator in Illinois.

However, unlike many other hereditary diseases, children have a much greater chance of avoiding substance abuse issues for themselves. If they are aware that these problems exist within their family they have the ability to break the chain through conscious effort. Understanding how binge drinking and drug experimentation can lead to abuse is an important part of breaking that chain.

For people who do get caught up in repeating the cycle, there is help available. Contact Addiction Treatment Services for information about effective rehabilitation programs and intervention services today.

More Doctors Prescribing Buprenorphine

sacovergDrug treatment programs have long been regarded as the best solution to help someone get clean from illegal drugs. While the country grapples with the increasing use of drugs like heroin and prescription painkillers, some wonder why more addicts are not seeking help from rehabilitation facilities.

Experts agree that the stigma attached to drug abuse prevents some people from feeling comfortable in enrolling in a treatment facility. In addition to the perceived shun from society, users often have a difficult time admitting that they need help and following through with their admittance into treatment. Many point out that the painful withdrawal symptoms from heroin or prescription painkillers cause addicts to give up their quest for sobriety in favor of preventing the painful, flulike symptoms. However, a recent study shows that the gap between addicts and at some forms of treatment might be getting smaller, due to more physicians ability to prescribe medication to help with the process.

Buprenorphine is a medication that, when taken, helps to alleviate the withdrawal symptoms that people feel when they stop using heroin or prescription painkillers. In order to obtain a prescription for buprenorphine, someone has to go to a doctor that is approved to prescribe, or they have to turn to a treatment program. In the past, many addicts have found it difficult to locate a doctor with this ability, but now more and more doctors are obtaining the certificate that allows them to treat addicts. In fact, it has been reported that 98.9% of physicians were not licensed to dispense buprenorphine prior to 2011. That number has since dropped to 46.8%. The dramatic increase of doctors who are willing and able to help treat opioid dependency has led to a 74% increase in the availability of this form of treatment.

It must be stated, though, that the administration of buprenorphine alone doesn’t cure an addiction to heroin or painkillers. Long-term maintenance programs don’t provide the full solutions either, as the end goal should be to get off any opioid if at all possible. This is evidenced by the fact that buprenorphine itself is a drug that is abused on the street, and why doctors who prescribe the medication typically refer people to a treatment facility to address the full issues related to the substance abuse problem. If you are looking for help to recover from an opiate addiction, contact us today we’ll help you locate a treatment program that works.

2015 National Drug Facts Week

ndfw2015The National Drug Facts Week wrapped up at the end of January. It is a week designed to enlighten and educate young people about the dangers of drugs and the facts about drug abuse. Children and teenagers often get their information about drugs from television, the Internet or their friends, and then use that information as the basis for their decisions about drug and alcohol use.

Unfortunately, relying on these sources for information regarding drugs and alcohol can lead young people into engaging in risky, dangerous and even deadly behavior. Teenagers are especially very susceptible to peer pressure and feeling the need to fit in. National Drug Facts Week aims to arm these young people with the facts and allow them to make more informed decisions in this area.

One thing that young adults may not realize is that drug and alcohol abuse cost the public billions of dollars. This may not mean something to them immediately, but a closer look at why drug use is so expensive may shed some light into the world of addiction that many children and teenagers do not understand. Healthcare for overdoses, psychotic breaks, injuries due to substance abuse and rehabilitation programs are all contributing to inflate the overall cost of drug abuse.

National Drug Facts Week was launched in 2010 by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) . To counteract the myths they get from other sources, NIDA scientists want to stimulate events in communities so teens can learn what science has taught us about drug abuse and addiction.

Participating events occurred this year in communities and schools throughout the country, with the intent on having honest conversations about the effects of drugs and alcohol. Observances such as this and others throughout the year are very necessary in continuing to combat addiction, as prevention is the earliest chance to save lives before intervention and treatment is needed.

Increases in Insurance Coverage for Behavioral Health Lead to Concerns of Provider Shortage

hhsacainsInsurance coverage for behavioral health increased for Americans through the passage of the Affordable Care Act, but the demand for mental health and addiction treatment services hasn’t noticeably changed yet. This could be a result of a combination of factors. The first is that some states haven’t expanded Medicaid coverage. Another is that patients aren’t aware of the benefits to which their new insurance plans give them access.

The question is: when these stop gaps are filled, will there be enough healthcare providers to treat those who seek treatment for substance abuse and mental health disorders?

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) found tens of millions of people are in need of behavioral health treatment. Without healthcare coverage, people are more likely to postpone or skip treatment all together. Foregoing treatment for behavioral health disorders could lead to increased substance abuse, homelessness, unemployment and even suicide.

With the updated Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act (2008), insurance companies are now required to provide the same coverages for substance abuse and mental illness as they would provide for medical or surgical procedures. A plan that covers behavioral health now covers many inpatient or outpatient services, emergency care and medications used to treat substance abuse. When the law was passed, one-third of those with private insurance did not have coverage for substance abuse, opening treatment opportunities for those who could previously not afford it.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, over half of U.S. counties, all rural, do not have a practicing psychiatrist, psychologists or social workers. The agency estimates a shortage of more than 7,500 psychiatrists and other professionals trained in mental healthcare.

“There has always been a long-standing shortage,” said Bob Carolla, a spokesman for the National Alliance for Mental Health. Carolla said that expanding healthcare is good, but healthcare providers need to be prepared to handle the growing demand for it.

If you have health insurance coverage and would like a complimentary substance abuse benefits check, contact Addiction Treatment Services today to find out some effective rehabilitation options.

CDC Indicates Sharp Rise in Heroin and Opioid Overdoses in US

cdcodsOverdose deaths from heroin abuse and prescription pain medication abuse (opioids) increased through much of the United States in 2012. In fact, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reviewed the data from 28 states and found that twice as many people died from prescription opioid overdoses than died from heroin overdoses.

There are a couple of things that appear to be driving the increase of heroin overdoses. First, there is the widespread exposure to painkillers that can often find addicts winding up on heroin. Second, there seems to be an increase in heroin supply to meet this increasing demand. No all prescription opioid users become heroin users, but previous research showed that 3 out of 4 new heroin users abused painkillers before using heroin.

Heroin’s cheaper price and increasing availability have been contributing factors. Since heroin and prescription painkillers are in the same category of substance, users experience the similar effects from both drugs. Therefore, the relationship between the two drugs is not surprising.

CDC Director Tom Frienden, MD, MPH says that reducing inappropriate prescribing practices is an important part of the strategy targeting overdoses from both heroin and the medications. “Addressing prescription opioid abuse by changing prescribing is likely to prevent heroin use in the long term,” he said.

Researchers also believe it is important to help those who are addicted to heroin and painkillers with effective treatment services in conjunction with the preventative measures. While some may recommend opioid replacement therapy, we work with facilities that help people fully detox from heroin and other opiates, and incorporate long-term residential treatment.