Self-Medicating Toward Addiction

beautiful lady self-medicating toward addiction

Regarding mental illness, when it rains it pours. At least that is often the reality in the field of addiction medicine. To be clear, addiction is a form of mental illness with many symptoms, one of which is the misuse of drugs and/or alcohol. It’s a disease of the mind that has no known cure to date, but there are effective methods of treatment. Upon completing treatment, those who redouble their recovery efforts via a program like the 12-Steps often have positive outcomes.

Again, drug and alcohol use is but a symptom. There is a lot of work that needs to be done. Work which will mitigate the risk of relapse and spiraling back into active use. But, for a significant number of addicts and alcoholics, addiction is not the only mental health disorder on the table. It is extremely common for people meeting the criteria for addiction to have co-occurring mental health disorders. Often referred to as having a dual diagnosis.

Anyone working in the field knows firsthand the consequences of not treating both addiction and the dual diagnosis, together. This makes sense. Addiction is often precipitated by another form of mental illness, such as depression. The symptoms of untreated depression lead to the dangerous practice of self-medication. Which does the opposite of help, in any respect.

Self-Medicating Toward Dependence and Addiction

People whose anxiety, bipolar disorder or depression is left untreated, are essentially left to their own devices. Functioning under the cloud of depressive or manic symptoms is rarely tenable. In an attempt to quiet one’s troubled mind, drugs and alcohol often become the preferred method of treatment (escape, actually). The continued practice of using mind-altering substances to cope is a slippery slope to dependence, and ultimately addiction. People who engage in this practice actually convince themselves that the substances are helping. When, in fact, they are not.

Research has shown that illicit substance use makes the symptoms of one’s mental health disorder worse. Having the unintended effect of exacerbating the symptoms one is trying to keep at bay. The longer the act of using drugs to cope with mental illness continues, the more severe and often episodes occur. People living with a co-occurring mental health disorder are at great risk of harm. Every year, a significant number of people who meet the criteria for a co-occurring disorder take their own life. Therefore, it is so vital that people living with a mental health disorder are encouraged to talk about their condition. And by doing so, they become empowered to seek treatment.

So, just how common is mental illness in America? A new government report showed almost 1 in 5 American adults struggles with mental illness or addiction each year. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration’s (SAMHSA) report indicates nearly 44 million American adults living with mental illness, HealthDay reports.

“The presence of [any mental illness] in every state reinforces that mental illness is a major public health concern in the United States,” the report noted. “Overall treatment levels remain low, and addressing the mental health of U.S. adults remains a concern for state and national public health officials.”

Treatment Is The Answer, It Works

While treatment rates are low, they are effective for most people who seek assistance. At 10 Acre Ranch, we have helped many men, from young adults to seniors, recover from co-occurring mental health disorders. If you are battling regular episodes of depression, et al., and are dependent on substances, please contact us today. We can help you break the cycle of addiction, while simultaneously addressing the co-occurring mental illness.

Prescription Opioids: Reducing Pain Patient Use

Bottles of prescription medicine opioids

As long as doctors continue to prescribe opioids, certain patients will be in need of addiction treatment. That is a fact. Prescription opioids, or opioids of any kind for that matter, are addictive. While not everyone who takes opioids will fall into the cycle of addiction, the odds are extremely high. Millions of Americans have found that out the hard way, just by going to a doctor and complaining of pain.

Scientists and researchers continue to work hard to find opioid alternatives. Or find ways to make opioids less addictive. But, in the meantime opioids will continue to be prescribed to most people experiencing moderate to severe pain. Which is why it is so important that physicians and medical practices do everything in their power to mitigate the risks of patient addiction. Such as:

  • Only prescribing opioids when it is absolutely necessary.
  • Screening patients for a history of addiction and utilizing prescription drug monitoring programs.
  • Prescribing in low doses and mild strengths.
  • Limiting the number of refills.
  • Drug testing patients to ensure the drugs are actually being taken, and not diverted.

Everything listed above may seem like common sense. But, as a matter fact, many doctors have been resistant to being told how to prescribe. Or being instructed on how to care for their patients. This is the case, even though most physicians lack training in addiction, or spotting the signs of it. Hubris, perhaps. With so many patients succumbing to overdose, the aforementioned suggestions can’t be ignored. And fortunately, some doctors have been receptive to prescribing guidelines that could save lives. Managing to reduce the amount of opioids their patients are taking, potentially saving lives.

TOPCARE Model for Opioids

A study conducted by researchers at Boston Medical Center’s Grayken Center for Addiction Medicine showed that reducing prescription opioid use among patients significantly was possible. Using the Transforming Opioid Prescribing in Primary Care model, doctors were able to reduce patient opioid use by 40 percent, according to the research published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The TOPCARE model involves a nurse care manager who oversees chronic pain patients’ treatment plans. Ensuring that patient monitoring occurs, assisting prescribers and coordinating opioid educational sessions for doctors.

“The TOPCARE model was so effective in lowering opioid use that two of the study sites hired nurse care managers to continue the intervention and expand services to their primary care providers. Future research should look at data from state prescription drug monitoring programs and data on other substance use to get a more comprehensive view of how patients are using opioids,” said Karen E Lasser, MD, MPH, co-principal investigator of the study.

Opioid Addiction Treatment

While TOPCARE monitoring may help to limit the number of new opioid addicts, it does little to reverse patient addiction. Primary care physicians and nurse care managers must do everything in their power to spot signs of addiction in their patients. By doing so, they can intervene and refer patients to addiction treatment services in their area.

Getting addicted to opioids is easy, breaking the cycle of addiction usually requires help. If you have become addicted to your pain medication, please contact 10 Acre Ranch. We specialize in the treatment of opioid use disorders. The longer one puts off treatment, the worse the condition will get. Along with an increased risk of overdose.

Social Model of Addiction Recovery


If you are in recovery from addiction or if you are still actively using drugs or alcohol, you are acutely aware of the fact that the disease is typified by solitude. While active users may be accompanied by others spiraling towards a similar bottom, the reality is that you are in fact alone. Nobody is going to support you in any fashion, short of maybe some friends and family members who could be enabling your destructive behavior. Perhaps you are still using and happen to be in a romantic relationship, if so there is good chance that it is unhealthy due to its codependent nature.

The point is that meaningful relationships in active addiction are virtually nonexistent. Even when you are around others, you are in every way alone. Conversely, in active recovery meaningful relationships are in abundance. The social model of addiction recovery centers around relying upon one another for support. It is such relationships that in many ways give you reasons to stay the course, you are there for others and they are there for you.

The road to addiction and beyond is a lonely road, the path to recovery involves walking side by side with others, as equals. It is often said recovery cannot be achieved on one’s own, only with the help of others. And there is plenty of evidence to support such claims.

The Social Model of Addiction Recovery

Isolation for addicts and alcoholics is a destructive behavior. In recovery, much emphasis is placed on getting out of one’s comfort zone and working hard to embrace the power of the group and its lifesaving qualities. At 10 Acre Ranch, we instill in our clients the power of the group. We know if you are feeling down others can assist you in getting back up, and vice versa.

In treatment, you and the other clients take part in groups that become the model for how you will sustain recovery upon discharge via 12 Step recovery. On multiple nights a week, clients are taken to various meetings to see and participate in a program of recovery that has helped countless individuals find a new way of living since the 1930’s.

One learns that a sponsor is not a boss or a parent, but rather a friend who can guide you through the Steps and can give you suggestions for overcoming situations that, left to one’s own devices, could lead to relapse. It isn’t a secret that people with substance use disorders don’t respond well to orders and commands, which is why the social model is so effective. In recovery we are all equals, there is no hierarchy. Through such a format, people can learn what a healthy relationship looks like, they can learn the value of open and honest lines of interpersonal communication.

Recovering Without Distraction

At our Southern California treatment facility, we understand that in early recovery distractions can be counterproductive. The greatest distraction for men is without a doubt the fairer sex. Once the drugs and alcohol are out of your system, people often remember what a sex drive is. How appealing being in the company of women is after years, decades even, of being in a fog. One of the most common routes to relapse in early recovery is without a doubt romantic attachments.

Being in a home surrounded by other males, gives you time to form lasting bonds with other men. It is not uncommon for men who go through treatment together to be friends for the rest of their lives, even if they reside in opposite ends of the country.

If you are still in the grips of addiction, we hope that you will contact us as soon as possible. We can help you break the cycle of addiction and give you the tools necessary for living a life in recovery. Please take a moment to watch a short video below:

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Addiction In America – War In Mexico


Much of the news these days is focused on the Middle East, with ISIS taking front and center as being many Americans’ biggest concern. We have all seen the devastation in Syria on television and on the front pages. The death toll is staggering. While every one of us should feel disturbed by the carnage caused by this civil war being fought overseas, it is important to remember that the drugs being used and abused by Americans also come with a heavy price.

People die in this country every day from addiction, both from overdoses and the damage done by years of abuse. But, we would be wise to remember that the drugs that feed the fire of the United States’ insatiable drug habit, come to us by a bloody road. The clear majority of illegal drugs used today in this country arrive via Central America—particularly through Mexico.

At any given time, or in any given year, several Mexican drug cartels vie for the power to fuel the fire of addiction raging just north of the border. And negotiations usually take the form of gunfire, not peaceful talks. As a result, a global survey has revealed that after Syria, Mexico has become the second deadliest conflict area in the world.

A War for Drugs

In 2016, there were 23,000 intentional homicides in Mexico. The smaller central American countries have not been left unscathed either, with 16,000 having been killed during the same time in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala. But it is important to remember that the deaths are not always the result of one cartel or gang fighting another, in each of the aforementioned countries the military has been tasked with fighting the war against transnational drug trafficking. And the cartels themselves have military grade weapons.

“The death toll in Mexico’s conflict surpasses those for Afghanistan and Somalia. This is even more surprising, considering that the conflict deaths are nearly all attributable to small arms. Mexico is a conflict marked by the absence of artillery, tanks or combat aviation,” said John Chipman, International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) chief executive and director-general, in the statement.

The cartels, to be sure, are not going anywhere as long as there is demand. There are millions of Americans with untreated addiction. Each year, those same people spend billions of dollars to maintain the very habit that is, in fact, killing them. Billions of dollars which are destined to line the pockets of cartel bosses south of the border.

Every time a particular cartel or boss, like Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, is taken down there is always someone else to fill the void.

Treating Addiction is The Best Weapon

Encouraging people to seek help for addiction not only helps individuals, it helps society. Not just ours. Thousands of innocent Mexicans, with zero affiliation to the cartels, have lost their lives just because of proximity. By ending the stigma of addiction more people will begin to see that recovery is possible, that treatment does work. For too long substance use been viewed as a crime, and that the solution to the problem was incarceration. We know that wars on drugs have little effect on addiction rates, but on the other hand treatment has a huge effect.

If you or a loved one is battling an alcohol or substance use disorder, please contact 10 Acre Ranch today. We can help break the cycle of addiction, and start you down the most important road of life.

Retraining Your Brain for Greater Impulse Control

photo of a woman meditating in the forest

Have you ever experienced “buyer’s remorse”, jumped to conclusions or let your temper get the best of you – only later to berate yourself for not thinking things through? While there are only so many hours in the day to plan each next step, a repeated pattern of impulsive behavior can become a destructive force in your life that makes you feel out of control, erratic and unpredictable. Not a healthy way to live.

Controlling your behavior is an important aspect of living an emotionally stable and healthy lifestyle and it is a life skill that is especially critical for those on a path to addiction recovery. By training your brain to recognize the leading indicators of impulsive behaviors, you can apply those same skills to reduce your risk of addiction relapse.

Here Are 3 Strategies You Can Use to Become More Mindful and Less Impulsive Throughout the Day.

(1) Make a list of the impulsive behaviors that you want to correct. But, the goal here isn’t to strive for “perfection”. Just think about the types of behaviors you can change that will have the most positive impact on your life.

(2) Identify the triggers that lead to those impulsive decisions. For example, do you want to cut back on making impulsive purchases can start saving money towards a new car? Think about the people, places or emotions that typically are associated with spending money on things you don’t really need. Sometimes, the simple act of recognizing your behaviors can help you curb your impulsive instincts to react.

(3) Take a mental health break. If you do start to feel “wound up” and exposed to some of your impulsive behavior triggers, make the choice to take a step back and remove yourself from the situation. Chances are, you’ll be able to calm down, become more mindful of your emotions and take a more rational approach to your actions.

Access Comprehensive Addiction Treatment While Addressing Behavioral Health Issues

Many individuals struggling with chemical dependency are also dealing with mental illness. When addiction co-occurs with other disorders, clients require a specialized addiction recovery plan. 10 Acre Ranch counselors, social workers, and addiction specialists can help clients manage both diagnoses to optimize the chance of treatment success.

To learn more about our CA men’s rehab program and how we can help, call 10 Acre Ranch at (877) 228-4679 today.

Avoiding Common Relapse Triggers: Protecting Your Sobriety Post-Rehab

a man following the road to recovery by avoiding relapse triggers

Choosing a life of sobriety is a bold step towards a brand new life. It’s a chance to rediscover yourself, make a fresh start and recharge mentally, physically and spiritually. The courageous choice to end the cycle of unhealthy behaviors isn’t always easy, but the long-lasting rewards are certainly worth the effort.

That’s why it’s important for individuals who have made the courageous choice to seek help for an addiction to alcohol or drugs to understand the underlying environmental and social triggers that may increase the risk of relapse. If you’ve invested the time and energy to make profound strides in your recovery, it’s important to protect your newfound and well-earned sobriety.

By working with licensed addiction recovery specialists, you can identify the potential hazards that might derail your efforts and arm yourself with proven strategies for protecting your health.

3 Common Relapse Triggers

Your emotions. Feeling depressed, anxious or stressed can trigger unhealthy coping mechanisms. If you turned to drugs or alcohol in the past as a way of dealing with uncomfortable emotions, take the time to make a list of healthy strategies you can use instead.

Social situations. It’s common for individuals with addiction issues to associate certain social situations with substance abuse. Take the time to reflect on your past to identify where and when drugs and alcohol were within easy reach. If necessary, consider avoiding places like bars and instead choose to socialize with your friends in drug-free zones.

Happy occasions. You might not realize that attending a celebratory event like a birthday party, wedding or even a baseball game can make relapse more likely. If you’re having fun catching up with friends and family, it’s easy to become distracted from your goals and become tempted to revert to old habits.

By knowing the warning signs and triggers for a potential relapse, you can protect your sobriety and continue your journey to better health.

Getting the Addiction Treatment You Need

If you’re struggling with alcohol addiction or drug abuse, 10 Acre Ranch can help you break free. Our Southern California rehab for men offers personalized treatment, as well as extensive aftercare support to help you maintain your hard-won sobriety. By emphasizing exercise, nutritional balance, and recreational activities, we encourage clients to develop a healing lifestyle that sticks—during and after recovery.

Call (877) 228-4679 for program details or to discuss your customized recovery program with an addiction counselor.