The Link Between Vaping and Drug Addiction

photo of a man vaping

The Link Between Vaping and Drug Addiction

photo of a man vapingVaping or vaporizing is an increasingly popular habit, in which liquid solutions, normally tobacco, are vaporized and inhaled as steam. Vaporizers were originally marketed as a safer and cleaner alternative to cigarettes and are today used by an estimated 9% of the U.S. population, or 35 million adults. This upswing in popularity is concerning, not just because vaporizers have only been on the market for a decade, but also because they consistently function as a sort of “gateway” drug, in that high vaporizer usage is associated with drug and alcohol usage. While this is correlation and not likely causation, easy access to large quantities of nicotine may play a role in forming addictions – which eventually lead to other addictions.

That’s especially critical as 1 in 5 high school students now uses a vaporizer, according to the CDC. With an estimated 1 in 5 middle school students doing the same, “vaping” is quickly being picked up by the populations who are most vulnerable to drug addiction and abuse.

What Are Vaporizers?

Vaporizers rapidly heat a liquid medium to turn it into a gas or steam. This liquid, which is normally sold in cartridges, can contain anything from no nicotine to extremely high doses of nicotine, equivalent to several cigarettes at once. For example, some are intended to contain a single cigarette of nicotine in a puff – supposedly with the intent of reducing the needed volume of “smoking”. Unfortunately, this efficiency rarely results in the intended effect. Instead, people consistently enjoy puffing on a vaporizer. In fact, following vaporizers being introduced to the market, cases of nicotine poisoning rose from an average of 1 per day to over 215 per day.

Vaporizer cartridges are also sold with flavor, marijuana, or other substances – meaning that someone using a vaporizer might be inhaling sugar, nicotine, or a stronger drug.

Vaporizers and Cannabis

Vaporizers are very commonly used to smoke marijuana, especially in the medical community. Vaporizing marijuana preserves more of the active ingredients than smoking – meaning that cannabis can be better dosed and better controlled. That’s while reducing contamination from tar and smoke, which can greatly reduce short-term lung pollution. At the same time, it makes cannabis products more accessible and more discrete for those abusing the drug – making it easier to pass off as tobacco or a flavored e-liquid.

So, vaporizers make it somewhat safer for people to use cannabis. At the same time, they introduce risks in the same manner they introduce risks for tobacco products. If it’s easy to inhale 20 inhales in a row – it’s easier to take significantly too much and to start having problems. For example, while marijuana has a very low addiction profile, about 1 in 5 to 1 in 10 users will start to show signs of addiction over time – with vaporizers, it’s much easier to escalate to the kinds of quantities that result in addiction.

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Do Vaporizers Lead to Heavier Drug Use?

photo of two friends vapingMany people use vaporizers for recreational usage. That can result in attempting to add other drugs, which are less safe. In fact, 85% of all vaporizer users occasionally put something other than tobacco or marijuana in their vaporizer. However, these incidents are experimental and incidental at most.

On the other hand, some meth and DMT users are actually switching to using vaporizers rather than glass pipes. For the most part, that’s a very good thing – considering glass pipes result in hundreds of injuries every year. Vaporizers are unlikely to explode or break from the heat. In addition, they’re less likely to burn hands or to start fires. Yet, most research shows that their usage is fairly incidental. Therefore, there is currently no evidence of widespread usage of vaporizers for heavier drugs.

Do Vaporizers Contribute to Addiction?

Vaporizers allow someone to have near-unlimited access to cannabis or nicotine, through a cartridge. For example, most nicotine cartridges contain anywhere from 400-600 doses of nicotine. A 1ml cartridge of “normal” rather than “strong” or “extra strength” e-liquid is normally equivalent to 3-7 cigarettes. A 3ml cartridge can equate to as many as 21 at normal strength, or as many as 70+ at extra strength. With nothing to stop you from going through that at any pace, there’s nothing to stop you from inhaling tobacco at a rate that would be difficult to impossible with traditional cigarettes.

That ability to quickly and easily get a hit of something, without regards to being indoors or out, and without the restrictions of cigarettes, can make it easier to become addicted. That’s especially true for those who already have a problem with tobacco or who have a history of relying on substances to get themselves through the day.

Eventually, vaporizers offer a lot of harm reduction over smoking cigarettes or joints. Without the smoke and tar, they reduce lung pollution. Often, that means it’s safer and easier for people to use the substances they want. However, vaporizers also result in risks for people who have poor impulse control or who have strong habits to puff and smoke. That can be especially dangerous for those with a long history of smoking or those with addictive personalities.

Vaporizers aren’t bad. However, if someone doesn’t’ smoke, it’s always better to avoid starting altogether. If you do smoke, it’s better to use quantity control when switching to vaporizers – because the amount of nicotine or cannabis you inhale can greatly increase when you switch to a cartridge. Buying smaller cartridges, only using a certain number of cartridges per week, etc. Keeping track of how much you’re smoking and when is important if you want to stay in control.

And, of course, people with a past history of substance abuse, minors, and individuals with documented issues with quantity control should never use vaporizers. They’re too easy to abuse and too easy to escalate into an addiction, even with tobacco. If you have a therapist, you can always ask how they feel, although, in most cases, it’s just better if you don’t start.

Vaporizers are not a cause for alarm. However, they are easy to abuse, they can result in addiction, and people with addiction or addictive personalities can rely on them. In some rare cases, people use them to smoke stronger drugs – but in almost every case, those people were smoking stronger drugs using more dangerous methods first. At the same time, millions of teens and young people are using vaporizers, which could lead them to nicotine addiction and reliance on substances.

If you or your loved-one have any questions about our drug rehab or alcohol rehab programs please contact us today and speak with one of our experienced and professional intake advisors. We’re here to help you recover.

Are Drugs Drying Up During Quarantine?

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All across the globe, people are feeling the effects of Covid-19. Also commonly known as the Coronavirus, Covid-19 has caused widespread panic as the rates of infection continue to grow increasingly higher. This pandemic has caused major disruptions to everyone’s daily way of living, even for drug addicts. As we witness this unprecedented time in history, even the manufacturing and distribution of illegal drugs has been affected. Many items, including drugs are drying up during the quarantine.

Many of us have never seen a time in our lives where shelves in grocery stores remain nearly empty as masses of people panic buy items for safekeeping. This virus has also caused economic shut downs, calling for the forced closure of any business deemed non-essential. While the world has slowly tried to return back to normal we are still reminded that this is not over yet. Along with the shutdown of businesses, and the laying off of millions people, has come the restrictions on travel.

Covid-19 has severely impacted day-to-day living.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has not just affected our physical health. Many struggle with mental health issues due to social distancing and fear of these uncertain times.

The coronavirus has caused a number of ramifications on daily life, that are more than surface deep. One issue at the forefront of discussion, at least for some, is the impact it has had on the substance abuse community. Early records indicate that there has been an increased rate of relapse among those in sobriety, this is in part due to unemployment and stimulus money. Seeing as how we are now a few months into this pandemic one may begin to wonder what effect that has had on the drug community in terms of access to their substance of choice?

Drug use has increased, even as the supply of drugs are drying up during the quarantine.

 

While data shows that there has been an increase of drug trade activity, primarily in England, on the dark web, an area of the internet that requires certain knowledge or software in order to access, the majority of the drug trade in the United States has all but dried up. Of course, that is not to say that there is no way to continue getting drugs, because most addicts will find a way. But, for several reasons, the illegal drug trading market has also taken a nose-dive during this time of quarantine and self-isolation.

A major reason why drug dealing has taken a hit is because of a rather obvious reason– the lockdowns that were being enforced across the country. With less and less people going out, drug dealers and buyers who were used to meeting face-to-face somewhere like in the supermarket parking lot would likely be putting themselves more at risk of getting caught as they could easily be seen as most people were at home or otherwise practicing social distancing. Social distancing has also led to a sharp decline in club drugs, such as ecstasy, as people were no longer able to gather together and use drugs to party. This has also led to an increase in pricing, which in turn has also caused some people to stop buying certain drugs on such a frequent basis.

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People often turn to drug use during stressful or unstable times. This has increased dramatically during the coronavirus global pandemic.

The closing of stores also seems to have had a major impact as addicts who made their money by criminal activity, such as pawing stealing items or shoplifting, were now left without a way to make money and support their habit. Without many options to “hustle” or make money to buy these drugs that are being steeply priced, this left many addicts without another option.

As the supply of drugs is drying up, drug street prices have increased.

A major increase in prices across the globe has also become a major concern for those in the illegal drug trade or black market. Many suppliers are being faced with shipment difficulties, causing them to hike up their prices as uncertain availability seems  to loom somewhere in the near distant future. There has been a huge spike in prices for many drugs such as methamphetamine, heroin, marijuana, and spice (synthetic marijuana). Additionally, a large number of suppliers in the illegal drug trade operate their business out of China, a known source of the coronavirus outbreak.

Another explanation for why the drug supply in America is drying up is the increased restrictions on United States borders. Due to this, many Mexican drug cartels are suffering as the transportation of illegal drugs across different countries has become more and more difficult. Many dealers became worried about a border shut down and retreated back to their hometowns in Mexico, leaving a huge hole in the local drug trade of many cities.

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As the government cracks down on the illegal drug trade, availability of certain street drugs is decreasing in American cities.

While the drug trade drying up may sound like a good thing to some, and surely it is, but, what many people may not be aware of are the further implications that this has caused on the drug abusing population. As addicts are now having to look for new sources they are also having to adjust to different products whose strength to them is highly unknown. Unfortunately, has led to an increase of drug-related overdoses even though many drugs are not as readily available.

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People with an addiction are finding other, sometimes more dangerous ways to maintain their drug habit.

Another factor to consider in all of this is what happens when an addict is cut off from their drug of choice? Many of them are unable to stop using drugs on their own, and will turn to other substances, such as heroin or alcohol, in order to continue getting high. This can have major ramifications as people are not used to dealing with that certain substance, this issue has also led to an increased number of unwanted overdoses.

There still remains a huge gap in data as far as how exactly the illegal drug trade has suffered, and just how deep it goes exactly, due to the coronavirus. But many addiction specialists and law enforcement agencies agree that, for the most part, there has been a significant decrease in drug availability. Although that seems to be true, there has also been an increase in overdoses, largely related to opioids, along with increased rates of relapse, as this epidemic continues.

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Isolation can be incredibly difficult for an addict, or someone who is in recovery. Reach out for help. It’s never too late to turn your life around!

If you, or someone you know, may be suffering from a substance abuse disorder, especially during these trying times, then we are here to help. We have many trained addiction specialists who are able and ready to help get you back on track to a healthy and fulfilling life of sobriety, even during quarantine.

Do not hesitate to call, we are here 24/7.

(877)-228-4679

Are Drug Implants the Future of Drug Addiction Treatment?

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One of the most common misconceptions about drug addiction revolved around the idea that addicts somehow lack a sense of self control and moral fortitude. However, decades of research and science have led experts to a deeper understanding of how addiction actually works. Addiction is a brain disorder characterized by compulsive drug seeking and drug use despite harmful consequences. Many people with addiction (or substance abuse disorder) have an intense, unrelenting focus on obtaining and using a certain substance, such as alcohol or methamphetamine, even to the point where it will take over their lives. Many addicts suffer job loss, homelessness, loss of personal relationships, and sometimes even legal trouble. Drug implants are a new development in the field of addiction treatment.

How addiction and human brain function are interlinked

People with a substance use disorder have chemically altered the wiring of their brain and how it functions, because of this many people have distorted thinking, behavior, and bodily functions. The majority of drugs work on an area of the brain commonly known as the “reward center”. When a person uses alcohol or drugs, chemicals, mainly dopamine, are released inside the brain. These chemicals are meant to train the brain for survival, increasing the likelihood a certain action will be repeated again in the future. Over time, with repeated use of drugs or alcohol, the brain begins to rely on this substance because it has been tricked into believing that it needs it in order to survive.

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Addiction tricks your brain into thinking it needs more drugs to survive or even function properly.

Additionally, the brain begins to associate certain things like people, places, or objects with this behavior and can be triggered even years after getting sober. This helps to explain why some people relapse after they have stopped using drugs or alcohol. Thankfully though, there are many treatment options available for those seeking help with a substance abuse problem.

How to find addiction treatment options for yourself, or a loved one in Riverside, California 

Making a quick search on Google for support groups will likely bring up hundreds of results for anonymous 12-step programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). While these are offered in almost every city, for free, sometimes it just isn’t enough, especially for someone who is just getting sober for the first time. Alternatively, depending on the level of care needed, there are many drug and alcohol treatment programs available as well, such as medical detox, inpatient programs, outpatient programs, intensive outpatient programs, group counseling, and so on.

Factors to consider when trying to decide what level of treatment may be appropriate for you or a loved one will depend on many factors, such as: severity of addiction, type of drug used, quantity of drug being used, whether or not multiple drugs are being used at the same time, and how long they have been using drugs or alcohol. If you have any questions, do not hesitate to reach out to one of our addiction treatment specialists for a personalized plan today!

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Our addiction treatment specialists in Riverside, California are available to take your call 24/7.

Unfortunately, addiction treatment is not one size fits all. Otherwise, that would make solving this disease a whole lot easier, and though there may be many tried and true treatment options available for anyone who may be suffering from an active addiction, there are still ongoing studies and clinical trials with the intention of solving this problem. Their passion is to find alternative treatment methods for those individuals who are more likely to benefit from their application. One of the methods that are currently underway, and is actively being studied, is the use of implants to treat drug and/or alcohol addiction. Below is a list of several different methods currently being studied that involve the use of drug implants that work to re-wire the addicted brain.

Naltrexone Drug Implants

Perhaps the most popular of this emerging field of science would be the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) approved treatment of naltrexone implants for addiction. Naltrexone is used to help combat heroin, or other opioid addiction, as well as an addiction to alcohol. An addiction to heroin, or prescription painkillers such as Vicodin, codeine, or Oxycontin, can be extremely dangerous. The safest, sometimes only, way is to attend a medical detox program. The same can be said with an addiction to alcohol. The problem with both these substances is that the cravings for the drug early on in recovery can be extremely intense.

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The Naltrexone implant works by slowly administering an opioid antagonist that helps reduce cravings and prevent relapse.

Fortunately, the naltrexone implant works by delivering a consistent dose of naltrexone into the body for 3-6 months. It is usually implanted into the abdominal wall and has little to no recovery time after surgery. Additionally, there is no need for removal as the implant, resembling a pellet, will eventually dissolve after the allotted time frame. The important part of this medication is that it reduces the craving for drugs or alcohol by blocking the pleasurable effects substances send to the reward center of the brain, essentially re-training the brain to no longer associate drugs and alcohol with a pleasurable experience.

Deep Brain Stimulation

Another promising method for addiction treatment is deep brain stimulation. Deep brain stimulation is also gaining popularity for the treatment of things like obsessive compulsive disorders and Parkinson’s Disease. This approach to treatment hopes to combat the underlying causes for cravings, addiction itself, and relapse. Deep brain stimulation will be the tool to essentially aid in the rewiring of a person’s brain. Typically, an implant resembling that of a pacemaker is inserted under the skin, with a wire attached to the brain. In some cases, though, a person can have a chip implanted directly in the brain. The electrodes they emit target specific areas of the brain, impacting the brain’s reward system.

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Deep brain stimulation targets certain areas of the brain with electric pulses that help to train the brain to operate differently.

Buprenorphine Implants

Another implant meant to aid in the war against the opioid crisis is the buprenorphine implant. It was FDA approved in 2016 as a 6 month subdermal implant for the treatment of opioid dependence. Similar to the naltrexone implant, it releases a study supply of buprenorphine for 6 months. Although, they do not dissolve and must be surgically removed.

Keep in mind these drug implants are just a few of the alternative methods currently being researched. At its heart, addiction is a disease and needs to be treated as such. Thankfully, with decades of research behind the current science, we are becoming better at solving this problem.

Sleep and Addiction: Is Sleeping Too Much Okay?

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Anyone who has ever gone through an addiction to drugs or alcohol, or anyone who has ever watched a loved one struggle with one, knows firsthand just how difficult that journey to sobriety can be. An addiction, or substance use disorder, can wreak havoc on all areas of a person’s life. It can cause financial hardship, deterioration in health, loss of one’s job, homelessness, death, etc. Addiction can also have a devastating effect on a person’s sleep. Some people end up sleeping too much, which can result in other problems for your ultimate recovery from your addiction.

Addiction is often defined as “a brain disease brought on by chronic drug use that interferes with and makes changes to brain circuitry and chemistry, and these changes lead to compulsive drug using behaviors.” These changes in the brain are also what lead to both long-term and short-term sleep difficulties. The connection between drug use and sleep often goes both ways; substance abuse can hinder a person’s ability to sleep, and subsequently, difficulty with one’s sleep can also lead to an addiction or substance abuse problem as people turn to them in order to help them fall asleep.

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Sometimes, withdrawal symptoms from an addiction can cause problems with your sleep schedule, which can result in over-sleeping.

Unfortunately, once someone achieves sobriety, this problem doesn’t just go away. During the first week of sobriety, most people experience some level of withdrawal symptoms, some more severe than others. While the withdrawal symptoms that are experienced can differ depending on things like that type of drugs that were used, the amount of drugs that were used, and how long the person has been using those drugs or alcohol, problems with sleep remain the most common withdrawal symptom regardless of what substances were being used.

Tips for Getting Good Sleep in Sobriety

If you are like millions of other Americans who are new to recovery, then here are a few tips to help you get restful sleep while still maintaining your sobriety.

  • Stick to a Schedule- If you used drugs or alcohol shortly before bed, then it can be even more difficult to fall asleep once you get sober as your brain is no longer sure when it is time to go to bed. Creating a new, and healthy, sleep schedule is essential to getting good sleep while sober. Going to bed at the same time every night will help let your brain know when it is time to go to sleep.
  • Have a Nightly Routine- While this may be difficult for those who work odd hours or those who don’t have a set schedule, doing the same thing each and every night before you go to bed will help ensure you fall asleep faster. Try doing a light exercise 30 minutes before you go to sleep, or read your favorite book for an hour. This will also help train your brain when it is time to go to sleep.
  • Eliminate Screen Time- Research has shown that electronic devices, such as computers, phones, or TVs, can have a negative impact on the quality of one’s sleep. Cutting back on the amount of screen time you have, at least one hour before bed, can greatly reduce the chance of disrupting the quality of sleep.
  • Create a Space for Sleeping- Limit the amount of extracurricular activities you do while in bed, such as checking your phone, watching TV, or stressful conversations with your partner. This will help train your brain that the bed is where you sleep, not for everything else.

These are just a few tips you can implement to help increase the quality of your sleep, especially early on in recovery.

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Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to help you maintain sobriety, early in your recovery from an addiction.

Effects of Oversleeping

While sleep is essential early on recovery, there is still a chance that you could be sleeping too much. There is a difference between getting the right amount of sleep needed to recover and simply just getting too much sleep to begin with. It may sound absurd at first because whoever thought you could get too much sleep, but it is possible. The amount of sleep needed can vary depending on the individual, but most experts agree that anything above 10 hours for an adult is considered to be too much.

Oversleeping can be a sign of many underlying issues, such as depression and heart disease. The effects of oversleeping are much like the effects of not getting enough sleep to begin with. Getting enough sleep especially while undergoing withdrawal from drugs or alcohol is essential as the brain and body need this time to repair itself. However, a person can sleep too much. Here are a few side effects associated with getting too much sleep;

  • Higher risk of obesity
  • Higher risk of diabetes
  • Higher risk of heart disease
  • Depression
  • Increased pain
  • Impaired fertility
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Depression
  • Higher risk of overall mortality (death)
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Sleeping too much can become a problem in addiction recovery.

The importance of a healthy sleeping schedule in addiction recovery

Just like with anything in life, having a proper sleep schedule requires a good amount of balance. While it is important to get enough sleep to ensure a successful sobriety, it is also important to remember that there is such a thing as too much. We know that this can be a struggle for many Americans, as nearly 70 million people in the United States all suffer from a sleep disorder of some kind. There has long been a connection between sleep problems and substance abuse disorders, that is because many drugs and alcohol disrupt that natural circuit in the brain. Not only that, but there is also a link between poor sleep and the rate of relapse. For those in recovery, and anyone else who might be curious, we hope that this information was useful to you!

If you, or a loved one, are new to recovery and are having a difficult time with getting the right amount of sleep, then please reach out to an addiction specialist today. There is no shame in asking for help, especially when you need it! We know what a huge struggle trying to get enough sleep can be, especially early in the road to recovery, that is why we are here and we are always ready to help! We wish you the best!

 

(877) 228-4679

 

Can Brain Imaging Help Beat Drug Addiction?

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The word addiction itself comes from the latin phrase meaning “enslaved to” or “bound by”. Addiction is a disease of the brain that is characterized by the inability to stop using drugs or alcohol despite the user having experienced severe negative consequences throughout their everyday lives, such as job loss, relationship problems, or extreme poverty. People who suffer from this disease experience compulsive behavior related to using drugs and alcohol, they are unable to stop doing them even though they know it will cause further problems in life or keep them from bettering their situation entirely.

People with substance abuse problems have distorted thinking, behavior, and bodily functions. However, not everyone who uses drugs or alcohol will become addicted, there are many factors that can lead to someone developing an addiction, such as genetic predisposition, environmental factors like peer pressure, and dynamics in the family and home. When someone begins using drugs or alcohol, a surge of chemicals, mainly dopamine, are released inside the brain. Dopamine is often referred to as the brain’s reward and pleasure centers, this chemical is released naturally in the brain when we experience pleasurable moments like eating a delicious meal or participating in your favorite activity. When a person continuously uses drugs or alcohol, our brains begin to rely on this surge of chemicals and it needs them in order to function properly.

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Disease is any condition that changes the way an organ functions, much like how heart disease permanently damages the heart. With prolonged and repeated use of drugs and alcohol, the brain begins to change over time, creating new pathways for these chemicals to go back and forth between neurons. This ultimately causes changes to the brain’s structure and the way the brain functions, some of these changes are even permanent. Drugs and alcohol change the brain in many ways but there are 3 areas that are most heavily affected.

Areas of the Brain Affected by Drugs and Alcohol

  • Basal Ganglia- This area of the brain plays an important role in positive forms of motivation and our habit forming principles. This area of the brain allows us to feel pleasure and when it becomes inundated by drugs and alcohol it becomes less sensitive to the natural reward system, making it difficult to feel pleasure without the use of drugs and alcohol.
  • Extended Amygdala- The extended amygdala plays an important role in producing feelings such as anxiety, irritability, and overall uneasiness, which are typically synonymous with feelings of withdrawal. With repeated use of drugs and alcohol, this area of the brain becomes more sensitive, causing the user to seek drugs and alcohol again to avoid these negative feelings.
  • Prefrontal Cortex- Perhaps the most crucial of all, this area of the brain plays an important role in the ability to think, plan, solve problems, make decisions, and exert self control over impulses. This is also the last part of the brain to mature, making teens more susceptible to becoming addicted to drugs and alcohol. When drugs and alcohol are repeatedly used, it shifts the circuits from stress, to reward, to lack of impulse control, ultimately creating a situation where drugs and alcohol have taken over.

How Brain Imaging Can Help Fight Addiction

With the evolution of science, this has changed the model of addiction. What was once seen as lacking moral fortitude or the ability to control one’s actions, scientists and doctors now understand that it requires more than good intentions to fight this disease. Now widely recognized as a brain disease and cataloged as a mental health disorder, doctors and scientists have been conducting brain imaging studies in order to better understand how to effectively treat and manage this chronic disease.

Since addiction causes changes to the brain, there are differences when comparing brain image scans of a non addict to an addict. Areas like the prefrontal cortex, the part of the brain responsible for decision making, show major differences that can be attributed to the lack of self control in addicts and their inability to stop using drugs and alcohol. Using brain scans to help treat addiction has shown significant promise to recovering addicts and their families. Aside from the medical standpoint, brain scans help in many ways when it comes to recovery.

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How Brain Scans Help Recovering Addicts

  • Brain Scans Don’t Lie- Brain scans clearly show toxic damage and exposure that is caused by drugs or alcohol. These illegal substances negatively impact areas of the brain that play an important role in being able to control one’s emotions and critical thinking abilities, brain scans show the damage left by drugs and alcohol.
  • Brain Scans Reveal Effects of Drugs- Seeing as how brain scans don’t lie, it is much easier to understand the correlation between drug and alcohol use and the visible damage caused by them. Substances like marijuana and nicotine cause significant changes in brain function and even everyday things like sugar can impact the way our brains operate on a daily basis.
  • Brain Imaging Shows That There is More Than One Addiction- Through brain imaging, we have been able to gain a deeper understanding into addiction. Now, addiction can be broken down into different categories.
    • Compulsive Addicts
    • Impulsive Addicts
    • Impulsive-Compulsive Addicts
    • Sad or Emotional Addicts
    • Anxious Addicts
    • Temporal Lobe Addicts

Researchers have gained valuable insight into how to effectively treat and manage multiple types of addiction, instead of grouping them all together.

  • Brain Imaging Helps to Break the Stigma and Shame- For years, decades even, addiction was treated as a lack of will power and moral discipline. With the advancement of technology, brain scans prove that drugs and alcohol alter the structure of the brain. An addict who is suffering may also feel as though it is all their fault, brain imaging helps show that addiction is a disorder of the brain.
  • Brain Scans Help Remove Denial- Many people with addictions are in denial that they even have a problem. When an addict is confronted with a brain scan image that shows visible damage from drugs and alcohol, it is difficult to deny that there is an underlying issue.
  • Brain Images Help Families Understand- Much like when an addict is shown their brain on drugs, when a family member is shown the scans of loved one it can help remove any blame they place on each other knowing that addiction is a result of chemical and structural changes to the brain, not something they did personally.
  • Brain Scans Can Reveal Co-occurring Disorders- Another benefit when using brain imaging as an additional tool to combat addiction is that it can also reveal co-occurring disorders, such as traumatic brain injuries, depression, or ADHD. In order to heal from addiction, these issues also need to be addressed.
  • Brain Scans Give Hope- Being able to see that your brain is toxic can be a great motivator. Brain scans also make it easy to track the progress of an individual throughout their treatment plan and their sobriety. Using before and after pictures can help someone stay motivated by being able to actually see the healing of their brain.

With a deeper understanding of addiction, we hope to remove the stigma surrounding it. There is no shame in asking for help, if you or someone you know are addicted to drugs, reach out to us for help today! We have many treatment programs available designed to fit your needs.

 

(877) 228-4679

Can Food Help Treat Addictions?

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Nutritional therapy can greatly increase the effectiveness of drug abuse treatment programs. It turns out, eating healthy can really help people who are recovering from addiction feel better, both mentally and physically. Combined with regular exercise and strength training, proper nutrition is an essential component of a successful recovery plan. As these efforts will greatly improve the physical health of the patients, they also help train the mind to act in it’s own self interest by developing healthy habits to replace the old, unhealthy ones.

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Holiday Stress: How it presents special challenges for recovering addicts and helpful tips to avoid a relapse

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Family gatherings, holiday office parties, everywhere you turn, drug and alcohol use is on prevalent display.  The stresses of the busy holiday season can be overwhelming to even conventionally well-balanced people. Loneliness, buying and being able to afford gifts, long lines in stores, long lines in traffic and financial uncertainty are all potentially stressful endeavors. For many people, seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is in full swing during even the brightest days of the season. The relationships with your family and friends can cause great stress that all comes out during the hustle and bustle of this busy time of year. It certainly is an emotional time for everyone. All of this is especially true for a recovering addict or someone who currently is struggling with substance abuse.

Whether you are just beginning a rehabilitation program, or you are celebrating years of successful sobriety, temptations that challenge your recovery will present themselves this holiday season.

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Holiday stress can challenge even the strongest of those in recovery.

Experiencing feelings of “the blues” is a common occurrence for many individuals between Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Many are reminded of the fact they are alone. Some holidays are key dates reminding us of the loss of a loved one or family member. Perhaps this is the first holiday since a family member’s passing and experiencing it without them just isn’t the same.

For others with a troubled family upbringing, it could be quite the opposite. Many people did not have a good relationship with their family and the holidays can bring up a barrage of emotions tied to past physical or mental abuse within the family. In some instances, personal guilt may arise from memories of your own struggle with addiction and the effect it had on your family and relationships. Throwing yourself into a situation with people you haven’t seen for long periods of time can greatly amplify any emotions you have attached to them.

Likewise for many recovering addicts, the holidays can remind them of times of severe overindulgence, past parties and long benders of hardcore substance abuse. This can lead some people to romanticize these past experiences. For someone in recovery this could be a great temptation to relapse back into his or her old habits.

With the right plan, it is absolutely 100% possible to attend holiday gatherings and events without indulging in drug or alcohol use.

Even if you are currently overtaken by your addiction, there is a way to get sober and stay sober, not only for your family members and loved ones, but for yourself as well. We suggest being prepared with a plan to maintain your sobriety and avoid or at least limit your exposure to potential relapse triggers. Be aware of an exit strategy if everything simply becomes too much to handle. Don’t be embarrassed about your struggle. As we all know with addiction, the struggle is a lifetime battle and you should have your exit strategy thought out well in advance. You should spend time thinking about your plan because your sobriety is absolutely worth the extra effort.

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Having a plan to stay sober for the holidays is an important step in relapse prevention.

Having a concrete plan can help build your personal confidence that you can successfully stay sober. This plan should include: 

  • Having someone to call for help in case you experience relapse triggers.
  • Take a sober friend with you to events, so you don’t feel like you’re the only sober person at the party.
  • Formulate a confident, solid response when someone asks why you aren’t drinking or using drugs. *Hint: your answer is more for yourself than it is for them.
  • If you know you are going to feel uncomfortable, let the hosts know you can only stay for a short time. This will take pressure off of yourself and you won’t feel like you need to stay to please everyone else.
  • Have a non-alcoholic beverage in your hand at all times. Bring your own drinks if you have a preference. Don’t rely upon others to cater to your personal needs.
  • Do your best to surround yourself with supportive, loving, caring people. In many instances, reinforcement from family members can be a great help on your path to recovery.
  • Eat something sweet to temporarily nullify a craving. This has been shown to be effective in distracting your brain, although temporarily.
  • Try to eat healthy and feel healthy. Maintaining a positive, healthy mindset and lifestyle will greatly reduce your urges and cravings. Feeling good is crucial in maintaining sobriety and a sustained recovery.
  • Be honest with yourself. Tell those who you trust about your recovery. Let them know if you feel pressure to use again and use this plan to help you stay away from a relapse.  

Most importantly, be constantly aware of your own mental health and the physical needs associated with your recovery journey. Never be afraid or ashamed to ask for help. If you feel challenged by a family member or loved one, take a step back. Think about your life. Think about your choices. Know you are on the right path and walk away if you feel that your personal well-being is in danger. Knowing these risks will help you know yourself. This will strengthen your perspective and hopefully it will help keep you on the right path.

If you encounter a relapse, or run into an old friend or family member who needs help with their substance abuse, know that help is always just one phone call away. Call us anytime. We are available 24/7, 365 days a year to help.

Call Us Today: (877)-228-4679

Smart Resolutions for the New Year

If you’re planning to make a New Year’s resolution this year, it’s important to be smart about it. This means staying away from any big and broad resolutions that will just set you up for failure. Instead, to reach your goal and enhance your recovery, you’ll need to pick a resolution that’s specific and realistic. Here are some examples of some common resolutions – and what works and what doesn’t, according to the experts at Men’s Health:

Don’t: Resolve to “take control of your health.”
Do: Resolve to “make an appointment for a yearly physical.”
Why it works: Did you know that nearly one in four men haven’t seen a physician in over a year, according to a report from the National Center for Health Statistics. By vowing to scheduling a visit to your doctor, you’re take a doable and actionable step toward taking control of your health.

Don’t: Resolve to “eat healthier.”
Do: Resolve to “eat two pieces of fruit per day and a salad before dinner.”
Why it works: This works in two ways: For one, it’s easier to focus on one or two things than to overhaul your diet completely. And it eliminates the idea of restricting food, which can lead to binge eating.

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Can food help cure addictions? In the field of drug rehabilitation and recovery from addiction, nutrition is an important part of treatment.

Don’t: Resolve to “exercise every day.”
Do: Resolve to “get moving two or three days a week.”
Why it works: “Going from zero to 100 just isn’t realistic,” obesity specialist Spencer Nadolsky, DO, told Men’s Health. What’s more, if fitness isn’t part of your daily routine, you can easily burn yourself out after a month.

Don’t: Resolve to “save money.”
Do: Resolve to “create and stick to a budget.”
Why it works: Again, saving money is too broad and you need to take small steps to reach this goal. Creating and sticking to a budget gives you the tools to save more, Ted Braun, a certified financial planner, told Men’s Health.

Don’t: Resolve to “stress less.”
Do: Resolve to “incorporate relaxation techniques into your daily routine.”
Why it works: Whether you meditate daily or practice breathing techniques, these actionable steps will bring results that will motivate you to stick with your resolution.

Helping You Achieve Your Goal
Are you a man 18 or older who has resolved to get sober this year? At 10 Acre Ranch, we have the treatment and support to help you make it happen. Call 877-228-4679 to verify insurance coverage and start the enrollment process, or to speak with a member of our team about your sobriety goals.

Men and Anxiety Disorder

Depressed cheerless boy sitting in the chair with professional psychologist working in the background with people during psychological recovery group therapy session

Addiction and anxiety disorders often go hand in hand – and this goes for men, too. Although many men suffer from anxiety, they often suffer in silence. In fact, studies show that men have trouble disclosing mental illness symptoms, even thoughts of suicide. Stigma is obviously to blame, as is the mistaken ‘male code’ that says you can’t show weakness, sadness or vulnerability.

But ignoring anxiety or self-medicating – about 20 percent of Americans with an anxiety disorder also have an alcohol or other substance use disorder (SUD and roughly 20 percent of those with an SUD also have an anxiety disorder – is certainly not the answer. Men don’t have to (nor should they) tough out feelings of anxiety alone.

Becoming better educated about anxiety can be a great first step toward seeking support for you or a man in your life. For one, it’s important to understand that there are several types of anxiety disorders (both minor and major), including:

  • Generalized Anxiety Disorder
  • Panic Disorder
  • Obsessive Compulsive Disorder
  • Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
  • Phobias
  • Social anxiety disorder

While symptoms may vary depending on the type and severity of your anxiety disorder, some common physical signs to watch out for include:

  • Pounding or racing heart
  • Excessive sweating
  • Muscle tension
  • Restlessness or agitation
  • Dizziness and vertigo
  • Shortness of breath or choking sensations
  • Insomnia
  • Panic attacks

We all feel anxious from time to time, whether from a high-pressure work situation or family conflict, but for men with anxiety disorder, these feelings will become excessive and interfere with daily life. Luckily, you don’t have to live with the symptoms if you admit your anxiety and start on a proper treatment plan.

Anxiety Treatment at 10 Acre Ranch
Having anxiety and a substance use disorder can turn into a vicious cycle, as the symptoms of one disorder can exacerbate the symptoms of the other. While many men mistakenly turn to alcohol or drugs to temporarily dull anxiety, this type of self-medicating actually worsens symptoms of anxiety. Let our trained professionals help you find a personalized path of recovery. To learn more, call today: 877-228-4679.