Back to Work After Drug Rehab

an employee being welcome at work after drug rehab

Back to Work After Drug Rehab

an employee being welcome at work after drug rehabIf you’ve either taken time off work to go to treatment or are moving back into the workforce for the first time after a longer period of unemployment, it can be challenging.

Workplaces are stressful, often demand that we invest a considerable amount of time in something that we might not care about, and expose us to people, emotions, commute, and even substances. That’s especially true if you’re going back to a workplace where you used before or if you habitually used drugs or alcohol to cope with your job in the past.

Going back to work is intimidating. However, you can manage and you can go back to work after drug rehab while continuing to take care of yourself and to maintain your sobriety.

Go to Therapy

Most modern rehab treatment includes considerable aftercare and ongoing counseling and therapy – whether via one-on-one sessions, by connecting you to another therapist, or by telehealth. It’s important that you continue to invest in that treatment and self-care, especially as you move back into the workplace. Likely, you’ll need ongoing therapy as well as a self-help or support group like AA, NA, LifeRing, or SMART.

If you’re very worried, you might also want to opt into staying in a sober house in the interim. These “halfway houses” provide an intermediate environment, in which you’ll have support and accountability, social meals, and people to share with as you move back into the workplace.

Manage Stress

Managing stress is one of the most important steps to having a healthy and balanced life. While that can be difficult in a modern world, you can do it. Often, managing stress means taking care of yourself, taking care of your environment, and learning when to say no. For example, you might opt to take up a meditative practice, but it won’t do too much if you’re constantly stressed by other things in your environment. You need a holistic approach that starts with your basic life structure and extends to your job.

What does that mean?

Eat Well – Good nutrition helps you to maintain energy, improve health over time, avoid mood swings, avoid energy crashes, and even feel happier. Many people entering rehab actually struggle with nutritional deficiencies, so ensuring you eat well on average will also work to correct long-term feelings of being sick or feeling down – because nutritional deficiencies can have very similar symptoms to mental health disorders. Here, you don’t have to be perfect. Just try to make sure you eat a varied diet, eat enough fruit and vegetables, and meal-prep or buy healthy meals if you don’t have energy to cook when you get home.

Get Enough Sleep – Most people need anywhere from 6-10 hours of sleep in a day. Most of us have a good idea of how much sleep it takes to wake up feeling good. Often, building a consistent sleeping schedule, where you go to bed and wake up at about the same times every day will make it easier to consistently get the sleep you need to have energy and to avoid stress.

Exercise – 30-60 minutes of light to moderate exercise a day will reduce stress, improve your mood, and boost energy levels. That might be a walk at work during lunch, it might be biking to work, it might be playing sports with friends or going to the gym after work. Whatever you choose, make sure it’s something you enjoy and that you can maintain because you’ll have to. Doing too much can cause you to crash so it’s also important to be careful here.

Avoid Caffeine and Sugar – We often go back to the workplace and then use caffeine and sugar to sustain energy levels throughout the day. That can be damaging, not just to your energy and stress levels but also to your sobriety. Why? Caffeine and sugar can react in the body in similar ways to other substances, you might find yourself leaning on either or both in the same way that you would have on drugs or alcohol. And, that will eventually lead back to relapse. Of course, neither are bad in moderation, you just shouldn’t be using either to get through your day.  

HELPING SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA RECOVER.

Get Your Questions Answered

Set Boundaries

a couple discussing important things, wife setting boundariesIt’s important that you have good work boundaries. That will sometimes mean choosing a workplace that offers support for having mental health problems, for not drinking, and for having problems that mean you sometimes have to stay home. Good boundaries mean:

  • Saying no when asked to work overtime or to do something that would cut into your energy or stress levels. Having time to yourself and time to enjoy living are important
  • Being able to stand up for yourself, to handle interpersonal disputes professionally, and to ask for help if there is conflict in the workplace, even with a superior
  • Being able to say no to drinking and to attending events in which alcohol is present

It may also be a good idea to discuss your former drug or alcohol use problem with your colleagues so that you can ask for assistance around that. People may be very willing to contribute and to help, to avoid alcohol around you, etc., but they can’t do that if they don’t know.

Take Steps to Accommodate Living Well

You should never have to hate your job. You should never have to dread any part of your day. While sometimes it’s unavoidable, such as if you’re in a very temporary position, you should never aim to force yourself to endure something awful every day. You can always look at which parts of your day that are difficult and work to improve them. Sometimes that will mean changing your work, changing the type of work you do, or even working less. In other cases, you can make simpler changes like looking for a better commute, changing how you commute, or moving closer to work (or getting a job closer to your house).

Similarly, you can look at any part of your day and take the same approach. Do you hate getting ready in the morning? Do most of the work the day before. Do you hate commute? Look for a job that allows you to work from home most days. Is cooking a stress factor? Meal prep or order food in bulk. If you can creatively look for solutions, you can improve specific factors you’re stressed about.

Of course, that’s not always as easy as it sounds. Sometimes you will just have difficulty with everything because of a mental health disorder. Sometimes you’ll be stuck in a situation because of money. The important thing is that you take steps to make your current situation as good as possible so you can cope with it.

Going back to work after an addiction can be challenging. You’ll have to reintegrate into the workplace, you’ll have to handle stress and commute, and you’ll have to manage your colleagues. That will mean getting to know people (again or for the first time), sometimes sharing your past, and investing in taking care of yourself and in managing stress and energy levels long-term.

Hopefully, you’ve learned most of this in rehab. However, knowing something and building long-term habits are extremely different things and taking the time to make those habits reality can be challenging. At the same time, they will help you to live and to enjoy life long-term. Good luck going back to work.

If you or your loved-one struggles from substance abuse please contact us today and speak with one of our experienced and professional intake advisors about our detox, partial hospitalization, and residential treatment programs. We’re here to help you recover.

Tips for Maintaining Good Mental Health

Tips for Maintaining Good Mental Health

Traditionally, when we talk about maintaining good health, we’ve focused on our physical health. Fortunately, this has been changing, and the focus on health has grown to include mental and spiritual health. Over time, healthcare providers have realized that mental and physical health are interrelated. If you are living with a chronic physical condition, your mental health can suffer. Likewise, if you are living with a chronic mental health condition, your physical health can suffer. Because the two are so tightly woven together, we all need tips for maintaining good mental health.  At 10 Acre Ranch, we understand the importance of maintaining good mental health, and we can help you develop strategies for doing so. 

What Is Mental Health?

You might hear a lot of talk about mental health but also wonder what it is. Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Mental health is vital at every stage of life. Various factors impact our mental health, including biological factors, life experiences, and our genes. For instance, if you have a history of childhood or other trauma, you may need to maintain your mental health more actively than others do. Likewise, if you have a history of addiction, you will have to proactively approach your mental health to ensure that you maintain your recovery. 

Why Is Focusing on Mental Health Important?

There was a time when discussions around mental health only focused on what was “wrong.” Today, mental health is starting to be viewed more like physical health. To maintain your physical health, you are encouraged to visit a physician regularly rather than waiting until you are sick. Similarly, you don’t have to wait for a mental health crisis before speaking to a mental health professional. By incorporating some tips for maintaining good mental health, you might even be able to avoid a crisis. Your mental health impacts every aspect of your life. It affects your perception of the world around you and how you process the things that happen in your life.  Positive mental health enables you to better cope with stress and create a meaningful life. 

Tips for Maintaining Good Mental Health

In essence, being proactive about your mental health is just like being proactive about your mental health. If you know you have a risk of heart disease, you will likely make better diet choices, exercise regularly, and see a doctor annually so that you can minimize your risk of having a heart attack. If you know you have a mental health disorder, you can see a mental health professional before you are in crisis. Even if you do not see a mental health professional, you can incorporate tips for maintaining good mental health, including:

  • Connecting with others in your community or family
  • Maintaining a positive attitude
  • Incorporating movement such as walking
  • Helping others in your community or family
  • Ensuring that you get enough sleep
  • Use activities such as journaling or drawing
  • Use mindfulness techniques such as meditation or yoga

As you choose strategies to help you maintain good mental health, focus on the things that bring you joy or feed your soul. Perhaps sitting on the beach and watching the ocean brings you peace. Maybe it’s a walk in the woods or a walk with your dog. No matter what it is, choose the thing that helps you stay healthy.

Get Help Today at 10 Acre Ranch

At 10 Acre Ranch, we’ve provided Southern California with expert and caring mental health and addiction treatment for over 25 years.  Our mission is to rebuild lives, restore families, and improve communities. We are one of the leading rehab facilities in California with a full range of therapeutic offerings.  We provide a warm and welcoming environment where we tailor healing to the whole person. We are committed to helping you break the destructive cycle of isolation that many develop during active addiction. Contact us today and let us help you maintain your mental health and conquer your addiction. 

Is There a Connection Between Borderline Personality Disorder and Drug Addiction?

Is There a Connection Between Borderline Personality Disorder and Drug Addiction?

Addiction is a complex disease that is often hard to understand. Add in a co-occurring mental health disorder, and you may be overwhelmed. The good news is that you don’t have to be. Over time, we’ve learned a great deal about the relationship between mental illnesses such as borderline personality disorder and addiction. We’ve also learned a lot about how to treat both separately and together. If you are struggling with addiction and borderline personality disorder, you do not have to struggle alone.  At 10 Acre Ranch, we understand how hard it is to recover from addiction. We also know that you may feel that it’s that much more challenging because of a co-occurring mental illness. We are here to support and treat both. 

What Is Borderline Personality Disorder?

Borderline personality disorder, sometimes referred to as BPD, is a mental illness associated with an ongoing pattern of varying moods, self-image, and behavior. Those with a borderline personality disorder will often act impulsively and may have problems in relationships. One of the key symptoms associated with a borderline personality disorder is that the individual has difficulty with how they view themselves and their place in the world. What this looks like from the outside is quickly changing interests and even values. Additional signs and symptoms that may be seen include:

  • Self-harming behavior
  • Recurring thoughts of suicidal behavior or threats
  • Persistent feelings of emptiness
  • Difficulty controlling anger
  • Feelings of dissociation

Knowing the signs and symptoms of borderline personality disorder, it is not hard to see how borderline personality disorder and drug addiction occur together. The feelings of BPD coupled with its impulsivity are a key reason why many who suffer from BPD self-medicate with drugs and alcohol.

What Is Drug Addiction?

Drug addiction is a chronic disease characterized by both drug seeking and compulsive use despite any harmful consequences. Addiction is a disease of isolation that affects the mind, body, and spirit. Approximately ten percent of the United States population struggles with addiction. Over time, continued drug and alcohol use change the pathways in the brain. It is these changes that make it so challenging to get sober and stay sober. Many who find themselves addicted to a substance will also find that it takes more than one attempt to find lasting sobriety. Those who suffer from a co-occurring mental disorder and addiction are best served by seeking treatment at a facility that can treat both simultaneously. 

Is There a Connection Between Borderline Personality Disorder and Drug Addiction?

Nearly four percent of the United States population suffers from addiction and also has a mental illness. Therefore, it is not surprising that there is a correlation between borderline personality disorder and drug addiction. Researchers have found that half of those who have borderline personality disorder also have a substance use disorder. Similarly, about twenty-five percent of those with a substance use disorder also have a borderline personality disorder. Researchers believe that the struggle with emotions and the impulsivity of borderline personality disorder results in this connection between BPD and drug addiction. In addition to their being a connection, there is further evidence that those with a borderline personality disorder may experience relapses more often than those without it.

Benefits of Going to 10 Acre Ranch for Rehab

At 10 Acre Ranch, we’ve provided Southern California with expert addiction treatment for nearly three decades.  We understand the importance of treating any co-occurring mental health illnesses, such as borderline personality disorder while treating your addiction. Our mission is to rebuild lives, restore families, and improve communities. We are one of the leading rehab facilities in California and offer a wide range of programs that will meet your needs.  We are experts in helping people safely detox and stop using meth.  We provide a warm and welcoming environment where we integrate the treatment to heal the whole person. We are committed to helping you break free from active addiction and build a life in recovery.  Contact us today and let us help you with your addiction!  

The Connection Between Borderline Personality Disorder and Drug Addiction

Connection Between Borderline Personality Disorder and Drug Addiction

Individuals with mental illness are twice as likely to misuse drugs and alcohol than those without mental illness. The likelihood increases for adolescents with mental illness and for those with borderline personality disorder. This connection between mental illness and addiction highlights the importance of understanding the links between the two. Fortunately, much research has been done in this area. As a result, most addiction treatment programs include treatment for mental health disorders, or co-occurring disorders. At 10 Acre Ranch, we understand how to treat addiction and mental illness together so that you can begin a path toward long-term sobriety. 

Borderline Personality Disorder Explained

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is a mental illness that often results in impulsive actions and problems in relationships.  Individuals with borderline personality disorder often exhibit a pattern of fluctuating moods, self-image, and behavior. Additionally those with BPD experience intense episodes of anger, depression, and anxiety. These episodes can last a few hours or several days.  

Those with borderline personality disorder tend to view the world in extremes and these extremes can change quickly. Additional signs and symptoms of borderline personality disorder include suicidal thoughts, impulsive behaviors, unstable relationships, fear of abandonment, and chronic feelings of emptiness. As with addiction, researchers believe that genetics, biological, and social factors play a role in the development of borderline personality disorder. 

The Connection Between Borderline Personality Disorder and Drug Addiction

The connection between borderline personality disorder and drug addiction is quite strong. Nearly eighty percent of adults with borderline personality disorder will also develop addiction sometime in their lives. This colliding of the two presents unique challenges. It is not surprising that individuals facing both will likely be more impulsive and less stable. 

Individuals with borderline personality disorder may also suffer from anxiety and post traumatic stress disorders. The combination of these disorders increases the risk for self-medicating with drugs and addiction. Additionally, those with borderline personality disorder may seek to simply fit in with others by using drugs. 

How To Treat Borderline Personality Disorder and Drug Addiction

Treating those with borderline personality disorder and drug addiction is more complex. Researchers have found that dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) improved patients’ overall functional level and resulted in more drug-free days. Other therapies continue to be explored for their effectiveness in treating this combination. However, what is known is that early intervention is more successful than later interventions. Because of their impulsivity, those with borderline personality disorder are more likely to relapse and may relapse repeatedly. Researchers have found some success with medications such as naltrexone as a relapse prevention tool when paired with DBT therapy. Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) allows for the treatment of both borderline personality disorder and addiction at the same time.  Whatever approach is taken, the key is a clinician who is well-versed in treating borderline personality disorder and drug addiction. 

Benefits of Going To 10 Acre Ranch for Rehab

At 10 Acre Ranch, we’ve been providing Southern California with expert addiction treatment for nearly three decades.  We know how to treat co-occurring mental health disorders and we can put our experience to work for you. Our mission is to rebuild lives, restore families, and improve communities. We are one of the leading rehab facilities in California and offer a wide range of programs that will meet your needs.  Our team are experts in helping people safely detox from drugs and do the work to stop using drugs.  We provide a warm and welcoming environment where we integrate the treatment to heal the whole person. We are committed to helping you break free from active addiction.  Contact us today and let us help you with your addiction!  

10 Ways to Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder & Drug Addiction

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This time of year can be very difficult, especially for those who suffer from addiction, as holidays and moments of celebration are often considered to be triggers for those in recovery because of the social aspects of casual drinking or drug use during the winter months. What can make it even more difficult to remain sober during this time is when a recovering addict also suffers from Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as SAD or seasonal depression.

Addiction is characterized as a brain disorder and can often be coupled with other mental health diagnoses or mood disorders, such as bipolar disorder or seasonal affective disorder (SAD). For people who live with both a mental health disorder and struggle with addiction, just know that you are not alone. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 20 percent of people who are diagnosed with a mood disorder, such as SAD, also suffer from a substance abuse problem.

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People who suffer from mental health issues, are more likely to use substances, like drugs or alcohol to self-medicate.

Symptoms of SAD

If you are unsure whether or not you may be suffering from seasonal depression you can always speak with a mental health professional. Common symptoms of SAD include those of major depression along with several others. People who are suffering from seasonal depression may experience all or some of the following;

  • Depressed mood
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Lack of energy
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Changes in appetite and sleep patterns
  • Loss of pleasure in certain activities
  • Social withdrawal
  • Cravings for carbohydrates (unique to SAD)
  • Excessive daytime sleeping (unique to SAD)
  • Heaviness in arms and legs (unique to SAD)

Causes of Seasonal Affective Disorder

Researchers and doctors are still unsure about the exact cause for seasonal affective disorder but some factors that attribute to this condition include;

  • Biological Clock (Circadian rhythm)- As the days grow shorter around the fall or autumn season, we begin to lose sunlight, which can disrupt your body’s internal clock, causing feelings of depression.
  • Serotonin Levels- The reduced sunlight can lead to a drop in the brain’s chemical that affects mood, the neurotransmitter serotonin.
  • Melatonin Levels- The seasonal change can disrupt the body’s natural production of melatonin, which plays a role in sleep patterns and moods.

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Changes in the weather can affect your mental health in very prominent ways.

10 Ways to Fight Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

            If you are one of many suffering from the symptoms of seasonal depression and are wondering how to treat SAD, then do not worry, there are many treatment options available that can help alleviate some of the symptoms.

  1. Know the signs and symptoms- Knowing what is happening with you and your body can help greatly in managing the symptoms. If you begin feeling sad during the autumn months, being aware of your seasonal depression can help keep you from spiraling down a hole that seems impossible to get out of, simply just by understanding what is going on.
  2. Try light from a box- Light therapy is reported to be one of the most effective treatments for the “winter blues”. There are specialty light boxes or lamps designed to produce effects similar to natural light, helping to restore your body’s natural circadian rhythm and production of melatonin. Research suggests that sitting in front of a light box first thing in the morning, everyday, during the fall and winter months for at least 30 minutes can greatly reduce the symptoms of SAD.
  3. Get outside as much as you can- Nature is a form of therapy for almost any mental health disorder. So, try to make it a point to go on a at least a 10 minute nature walk every day, or as often as possible, regardless of the weather. Studies have shown that even short walks increase mood, along with other mental and physical health benefits. Not to mention, the sunlight you get from being outside is much more beneficial than that from a window, helping to promote natural production of serotonin and melatonin. Going outside around noon when the sun is brightest can help reap the most benefits in a short amount of time.
  4. Exercise regularly- Aside from talking a daily break in nature , trying to exercise regularly is especially important for people suffering from SAD. Exercise is a proven treatment for many forms of depression. Try combining your daily exercise with going outside to help decrease the symptoms of seasonal depression.
  5. Take vitamin D- Low levels of vitamin D have been linked to SAD in at least one study, so doctors have begun urging patients to up their vitamin D intake, especially during the winter months.
  6. Caring for plants- Research has shown that gardening can help reduce feelings of depression. By caring for something small during the winter months, it can help alleviate some of the symptoms of seasonal depression.
  7. Stay Connected- Avoid the sometimes overwhelming feeling to remain reclusive during the cold months. Stay connected with your family and remain active in your support groups, such as AA, even when you feel like hibernating. Staying connected with your support group can help combat feelings of depression by getting you out of the house and by allowing you the opportunity to express out loud how you are feeling.
  8. Paint walls in lighter colors- Studies suggest that people who suffer from seasonal depression feel better when they are surrounded by lighter colors. Aside from the mood lifting ambiance, sometimes just doing the activity of painting alone can be a soothing process for someone with a depressive disorder.
  9. Keep a journal- Sometimes we have thoughts or feelings we are uncomfortable sharing with others, by writing them down we can begin to understand our emotions better. Writing down our negative thoughts or emotions gives us the opportunity to cope with them and feel as though we have gotten them off our chest, allowing ourselves the chance to fully process them. Plan on writing for at least 20 minutes a day, and try doing it before bed so that you can express the last 24 hours in as much detail as possible.
  10. Try aromatherapy- Essential oils can activate the same part of the brain that is responsible for controlling moods and our internal clock. Purchase an oil diffuser for your home or workspace, or try adding a couple drops in your bath.

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Understanding yourself and your mental health can greatly help you overcome the “winter blues”. Seek help before you become overwhelmed!

 

While all of these tips are useful, knowing when to get contact a professional for help is the most important. If you are having extreme thoughts of suicide or are having a difficult time with coping during the winter months, or in general, then there is nothing wrong with getting help. Speak with your doctor, who can potentially prescribe medications, or contact a counselor or therapist who can help you cope with the emotions of depression. If you are a recovering addict and find that you are struggling to stay sober, we are always here to help! Reach out to us today to begin specialized treatment.

 

(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

The Importance of Peer Support Systems in Addiction Recovery

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When someone enters our residential addiction treatment facility in Riverside, California, we strongly emphasize a ‘social model’ of recovery. Our treatment program is unique, in that we strive to help our patients get ready for life outside of a professional addiction treatment program. Our residential, inpatient alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs immerse the individual in a community of fellow people who have just began their road to recovery. This experience with peers in a supportive, compassionate environment helps our patients learn new skills to cope with emotional and social stress. The reactions to these situations are guided in a social atmosphere and are crucial to help our clients avoid potential relapse triggers that may occur later in their journey towards sobriety.

12 step programs and support groups still play a major role in modern addiction treatment.

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Men’s drug rehab in Riverside, California.

In recovery from substance abuse, 12 step programs like Alcoholic’s Anonymous or Narcotic’s Anonymous help create relationships, most importantly the relationship with a sponsor. This relationship will allow for a continuation of care and community support following a formal drug rehab program. These types of support structures help welcome newcomers and guide them through the early, sometimes turbulent stages of recovery.

Beginning 12-Step participation while in treatment, especially at group meetings held at the treatment program, and 12-Step attendance at the same time that one is enrolled in specialty treatment, are associated with better outcomes.”- NCBI (National Center for Biotechnology Information)

Consistent participation is the key when it comes to any attempt at alcohol or drug rehabilitation. Addiction is a disease and just like any other disease, addiction can be treated with both psychological and medical treatment methods. While evidence based medical approaches to care have advanced the addiction treatment industry into the 21st century, a strong foundation of interpersonal support is still a critical component in helping people abstain from further substance use. Ongoing, consistent social support is essential to a successful recovery.

Peer support and 12 step groups are most effective in helping people recover from addiction when coupled with behavioral therapy and applicable medical treatments as determined by a medical doctor. Long-term sobriety should be the ultimate goal of any reputable treatment program. While some people’s lives have been saved through the tenants of 12-step programs, it doesn’t always work for everyone, in every situation. A custom, personalized treatment plan should be developed on an individual basis to ensure the best results. Most often, these plans of action will incorporate a variety of treatment methods to address the unique needs of each of our patients.

Peer support is available, outside of traditional 12-step program environments.

In many ways, recovery is a very personal experience that is different for each individual. Upon entering a drug rehabilitation program, you begin to notice your inward reasons for using drugs and alcohol, while finding ways to rebuild your life into the one you want from sobriety. Although much of your recovery is dependent on your personal willingness to change, the benefits of outside social support should not be underestimated.

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Support groups will help you continue your recovery from addiction outside of a treatment center.

Your family members, friends, co-workers and neighbors can be helpful in your recovery, but it is important to sever ties with those who may have had a negative influence on your life. This can often be the most difficult part of recovery for many people. Finding supportive, understanding, compassionate peers and family members to help you through your recovery is important. Many proclaim this as one of the primary benefits of 12 step programs. Surrounding yourself with positive peer influences can greatly help you navigate through early relapse triggers and develop appropriate responses to challenging situations. 12 step programs are a valuable resource that can help you find positive social contacts who understand your situation.

While unhealthy people and situations contributed to and helped enable your substance abuse, positive, healthy relationships can help create a sort of positive peer pressure to help you overcome your addiction. It is very likely in a support group to find others who have been where you are and they may be able to offer advice on your journey to stay clean.

Addiction can be an isolating experience. Know that you are not alone in your recovery. 

Talking about your life, your choices and experiences with like-minded individuals can greatly help you overcome the underlying reasons you developed an addiction in the first place. Cognitive behavioral therapy, relapse prevention and other types of individual and group therapy sessions will allow you to talk through your problem and find solutions in a typical drug rehab setting. It is important to continue this work for a long period after you leave the care of an addiction treatment center. Research has shown a significant decrease in the risk of relapse among people who participate in peer support programs.

Facility in Riverside

Holding yourself accountable is another very important aspect of healing that will greatly lend to your sobriety. A support network can also help hold you accountable to your goals in recovery. These connections can be incredibly helpful through the everyday challenges you will face while attempting to maintain your sobriety. It should be very easy for you to be open and honest with your sponsor and other peers from a 12 step program. They will not approach your situations and challenges with judgment, so you can usually trust them. Even in the event of a relapse, your support group won’t give up on you. Relapse does not mean that you have failed at recovery. Addiction and mental health specialists now consider relapse to be a completely normal part of recovery from an addiction. We employ the social model of recovery to help you maintain your sobriety long after you leave our immediate care.

Finding professional help is a great first step towards a new life. Call us today to discuss your options and begin your journey. We are open 24/7 to take your call:

(877) 228-4679

A Brief History of Mental Health & Substance Abuse Treatment

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Throughout history, the use of illicit substances is documented as far back as the earliest of recorded human civilization. 5,000 year-old Egyptian hieroglyphs show us that people who suffered from alcohol addiction were cared for in the homes of other people. Both the ancient Greek and Roman empires carry records of not only people suffering from alcoholism, but also for those people receiving treatment in “public, or private asylums.”(1) The ancient Chinese civilizations also had problems with their citizens abusing opium, which was first imported from Great Britain. Opium abuse also gave westerners a sense of moral obligation to colonize the greater part of Asia and help them wean off of their addiction to opium. As such, the British government began compelling the Chinese to cut poppy production after the second Opium War.

In America the first instances of any substance abuse treatment were in the Native Americans’ ‘sobriety circles’. The European settlers of the 1600’s had brought alcoholic beverages to the Americas and soon they began trading alcohol to native tribes, sometimes for nefarious reasons. It is known that the European settlers would give chiefs gifts of alcohol before they negotiated settlement and trade deals, to loosen them up. It has been argued that the European settlers of the 1600 and beyond would often give alcohol to native populations to decimate them and make them conquered more easily. Members of many tribes attributed the alcoholic liquids to ‘bad spirits’. They would gather those affected in a circle formation to give them a sense of tribe and to try to repel those bad spirits. The 12-step program model is loosely based on the natives’ sobriety circles.

In colonial America, Benjamin Rush, the father of modern psychiatry was the first to attribute addiction as a type of mental illness and therefore one that could be treated. This was the first time addiction was seen as anything different than the stigma of a moral failing. In Rush’s mind, alcoholism was a chronic disease that could be treated with various techniques. Those techniques became very hot properties, as every form of experimenter and entrepreneur wanted to try to profit off of the treatment of this disease. This led to some practices that we now know today to be very harmful such as electro shock therapy and injecting the body with various substances like gold, silver, mercury and arsenic. This injection therapy was the brain-child of Dr. Leslie Keely and while that method was unorthodox, and just plain wrong, one of his ideas, a 31-day stay at a treatment facility is the foundational drug and alcohol abuse treatment models primarily used today.

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History of mental health treatment techniques and substance abuse therapy.

These substance abuse treatment centers were a huge step in understanding addiction and the ability to treat it as a disease.

Along came the era of prohibition and the temperance movement thought they had a major victory in reducing alcoholism in the United States. Prohibition however, was a colossal failure. Alcohol use continued to rise and after thirteen years, the 21st amendment was ratified to help fight organized crime and allow citizens to continue to consume alcohol legally. After just 2 short years, Bill Wilson and Dr. Bob Smith founded Alcoholics Anonymous. In the formation, they channeled the concept of the sobriety circles from the Native Americans and also were the first to use the 12 steps in recovery. These steps were a pathway of different techniques, geared towards living a life free from alcohol or drugs. AA remains today as the most commonly used resource for someone looking to steer away from substance abuse.

Many people have found the help they need in AA or their offshoot, Narcotics Anonymous (NA). Still, others criticized the use of the ‘higher power’ and surrendering to being powerless against their addictions. As this was the classic AA model, today there are alternative versions of the program for agnostics and secular considerations of the twelve-step program.

The Minnesota model really cemented the version of the substance abuse treatment facility that we know and understand today. In 1948, this model incorporated the principles of the 12-step program, but added family involvement within a 28-day inpatient stay. AA was attended both during and after the inpatient stay. They also believed that addicts could help each other through their recovery so the hospital was staffed with both medical professionals and trained resource personnel that were usually recovering addicts themselves. This treatment model was instrumental in suggesting that alcoholics and other addicts were not morally inept and instead had a physical disease that was treatable. The stigma of substance abuse continues to this day, but more and more are becoming increasingly understanding of the concept of addiction as a disease, instead of a moral failing.

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During the early years of substance abuse treatment, many experimental methods were adopted and tested.

One example was the United States Narcotics Farm in Lexington, Kentucky. This farm legitimately had good intentions in helping addicts recover from their disease. They were among the first to use methadone to help heroin addicts, a practice that continues with success to this day. The Central Intelligence Agency however found an unnoticed resource with the farm, using it to conduct early experiments with LSD on their patients. The Federal Government decided to turn its work with substance abuse to the states in 1975.

Substance abuse and mental health treatment has come a long way since then, and science is still progressing to more effectively treat those in need.

Medications have been developed to help fight substance abuse and are showing great promise. Medically assisted treatment (MAT) programs are being used today to fight the current opioid epidemic. These medications help the patient control and manage their withdrawal symptoms, which is a reason many don’t want to quit their addictions. A recent move towards an evidence-based approach to recovery has advanced rehabilitation facilities in a positive way. This approach uses scientific verification to prove the success of their treatment or rehabilitation programs. However, there are still a lot of recovery centers that try to take advantage of addicts, as they are seen as a vulnerable and marginalized group.

Progress in psychology and psychotherapy have shown addiction specialists a deep connection between mental health and substance abuse. Today virtually all alcohol and drug abuse treatment programs use a combination of social, psychological and medical treatments.

As we continue to learn from our history, there is continual pressure for the substance abuse treatment industry to innovate and evolve with the trends and new discoveries science has offered. This pressure is guiding the treatment industry in the right direction, but there are still many who need help. If you or your family member or loved ones are seeking treatment, give us a call right away. We are open 24/7 and we can help you get the help you need.

(877) 228-4679

(1) White WL (1998) Slaying the Dragon. Chestnut Health Systems, Bloomington