Understanding Relapse

Addiction can be viewed as a disease, and just like other diseases, understanding one’s health issues and admitting that they need to be addressed and creating a plan for recovery are steps to help overcome addiction. A relapse occurs when an individual who has done the good work of undergoing an alcohol or substance abuse program once again begins using drugs or alcohol. The National Institute of Health notes that although there are now “US Food and Drug Administration–approved treatments for nicotine, alcohol, and opioid addiction, more than two-thirds of individuals are known to relapse after initiating treatment for substance use disorders.”

Some challenges in recovery include addressing past traumas and co-occurring disorders, exploring issues that need to be examined and re-envisioned, modifying behaviors, and developing and implementing stress management techniques.

It’s important to look at relapse as a chance to learn and to grow rather than as a failure. A balanced perspective, patience, and sympathetic overview of the situation can all be aids to personal growth and to re-committing to recovery. Rehab, counseling, and support groups may be quite useful to help to teach new stress management techniques, and help to supply encouragement and feedback while the person working on wellness practices incorporating new techniques in an organic and well-organized way.

Reasons an Individual May Relapse

Relapse is a common fear of people in recovery because committing to giving up drugs and alcohol can be quite challenging. The reality concerning recovery is that it is something that needs to be re-committed to every day, and this is especially true when working through the early period of sobriety. Some common issues that may lead to relapse include:

Early Days: Many people face the challenge of relapse when going through withdrawal and the first year of recovery.

Triggers: Revisiting old environments that the addict spent time in while using, and interacting with acquaintances and friends who are still using drugs and alcohol can provide temptation to give in to addiction.

Challenges: One of the challenges to recovery is of everyday routines, such as returning to work and chores and responsibilities; the previous routines may be overwhelming for some people right out of recovery.

Stressors: Whether moving to a new dream home or facing a lay-off at work, emotionally charged events can cause issues for individuals overcoming addiction.

What to Do If a Relapse Occurs

Re-examine triggers and stressors, such as people, places, events, and anniversaries that may set off a renewed episode of drug or substance abuse. Utilizing this awareness, the individual working through addiction issues can use their own insights or, with the aid of a counselor, develop a plan to avoid falling back into issues of alcohol or drug abuse the future.

A relapse can be an invitation to explore different types of treatment, consider the frequency of treatment sessions, and take into account the occurrence of other health and psychological concerns that may be affecting therapy.

Re-commit to sobriety by drawing up plans to utilize resources. These can be supportive individuals, safe environments, and exploring counseling, therapeutic modalities, and sober living peer programs.

Work with medical professionals to find medications that can help during detox, times of the great pressures, or while learning new techniques to healthy living.

It’s not uncommon for people to relapse a number of times before finally coming to long-lasting sobriety. Research shows that with each effort towards recovery, an individual’s probability of long-term sobriety increases. Many relapses transpire when addicts are still in the early stages of withdrawal. The good news is that the risk of relapse steadily decreases. Consider the viewpoint that relapse is imparting important lessons about what one can do to increase the odds of successful sobriety the next time.

Implementing a Recovery Plan

Awareness: Be aware of the triggers that can challenge sobriety and implement rewards when successfully overcoming them.

Allies: When you are trying a new activity or an old challenge, consider asking for help from an ally if it is possible.

List: Create a list of rewards and things that bring pleasure, such as entertainment, hobbies, engaging in the arts or sports that the person working towards recovery can turn to for inspiration, comfort, and enjoyment.

Celebrate Sobriety Milestones: Whether it’s a day, month, or decade, honor the good work of wellness and recovery.

Preventing Future Relapses

Relapse may be a common part of recovery, yet it’s challenging not to be discouraged by this setback. The recovering addict may feel sad to let down people who are encouraging and helping one work towards sobriety.  People may suffer guilt, embarrassment, and shame at using again, and feel overcome by the challenges of committing to sobriety once more, but this needn’t be the case.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse suggests that treatment address the whole person, with continuous evaluation and modification, just like the approach taken for other chronic diseases.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, do not be afraid to reach out. Newport Beach Recovery Center is here to help. Contact us today to receive more information and to talk to an addiction treatment professional.

A Guide for Addicted Couples

Close relationships, including family and friends, can also be the first casualties of addiction and substance abuse. A significant other is the one most directly in the line of fire when an addict is under the influence. So, as part of the recovery process, it’s important to understand how addiction has affected loved ones and even destroyed relationships. Then, the next step is to implement support systems, and determine how to repair those broken relationships before it’s too late.

How Addiction Affects Couples

Addiction and substance abuse can destroy a marriage or relationship. It can also be psychologically damaging even if the couple stays together, since patterns of co-dependency and enablement, as well as physical and psychological abuse,  can also be part of the equation.

Secrecy:

One of the devastating effects of addiction is the damage to open and honest communications in relationships. Deception and lies can go hand-and-hand with guilt and shame. A reality of substance abuse is that it can change a person’s behavior, even their personality.

Mistrust:

Even if you’ve been with the person for years, it’s still difficult to overcome the loss of trust. After all the painful episodes where trust might have broken or twisted in the past, it can be difficult for a couple to move forward. It takes a lot of strength and forgiveness to rise above as the history of repeated breaches in trust, even if each of them loves each other still.

Financial Difficulties:

Relationships can be even further destroyed and put in jeopardy when substance abuse and sometimes-erratic behavior leads to financial hardship. Beyond just the cost of booze and drugs, addiction leads those affected to make poor decisions, which in turn can lead to a devastating loss.

Partner Support

A relationship where one of the individuals is in recovery is not easy. Depending on the past history, the couple may be struggling with coming to grips with a partner who is trying to improve, perhaps even trying to change their habits, but it can also be easy to fall back into old patterns of addiction. A committed relationship is difficult, but it can also be one of the best ways to keep on that path toward recovery. A loved one/partner can offer support and encouragement, both in demonstrating love and forgiveness, but also in understanding the personal history that may have led to the addiction. A partner can also help by avoiding those people or places that were most associated with substance abuse.

Beyond just assisting in distraction and avoidance, a couple can support each other in a second-chance for their relationship, but also so their lives. Recovery from alcohol and substance abuse is a wake-up call to many, particularly when health, wellness, and even job and joint relationships hang in the balance. It often comes down to a choice of recovery or a permanent split, and even then, the relationship may be beyond repair.

Tap into Couples Therapy

Whether a couple moves forward with that “lifetime of love” together or not, couples’ therapy is an essential component of recovery. With what may have been years of secrecy, lies, growing mistrust, financial hardship, and loss, sobriety may sound too good to be true. Plus, there were probably other episodes when that road to recovery was attempted, with the only result being a heartbreaking relapse.  That’s why couples’ therapy is so important. After a history of a painful and difficult relationship, it’s important that both partners understand that recovery is a joint effort.

How to Sustain Recovery

Substance abuse affects every part of a relationship, so a couple who is working through recovery together can be presented with both positive and negative results. But there are several very important things to keep in mind:

  1. Change doesn’t happen overnight.
  2. Relapse is possible, even when you love each other.
  3. Time really doesn’t heal all wounds, but forgiveness can help.
  4. Each partner is important to the survival of an addicted couple.
  5. The scars may fade, but it may be difficult to forget.
  6. Therapy really is essential to the survival of a couple dealing with addiction.
  7. Couple revitalization and survival also must involve communication and rebuilding a life back together.
  8. Sobriety is a choice an addicted person must make every day, but so too is the decision to support and stay in a relationship that has been dismantled by substance abuse.
  9. A very real part of the recovery of an addicted couple is also the process of building new habits.
  10. While not fast or easy, the journey toward recovery for an addicted couple can be rewarding.

Ultimately, the direction of your recovery may not end up where you’d anticipated, but we don’t have any really great way of predicting the future of a relationship. Even without drug abuse, alcohol, or substance use, a relationship can be hard. So, allow yourself time and space, and seek out the help you need as you journey toward recovery together.  Contact us today to make the first step on the right path to recovery. Newport Beach Recovery Center is here to help.

Sexual Trauma & Substance Abuse: How to Recover from Both

The troubling high rate of boys and girls who experience sexual trauma and abuse leads to a lifetime of challenges that include substance abuse. The signs are all there, and the findings from the  U.S. Department of Health and Human Services support the troubling realities. These traumatized kids turn into adults who struggle to come to terms with the emotional and psychological shrapnel of abuse. Survey results indicated that of those adolescents receiving treatment for substance abuse, some 70% had associated trauma.

In turn, the reports offer insight into some of the most prevalent tendencies and mental-health struggles associated with sexual trauma and abuse. Here’s a quick overview:

Depression

Sexual abuse often leads to feelings of isolation, loneliness, and self-deprecation, which also leads to clinical depression and often to substance abuse. It’s a vicious spiral, which also leads to severe difficulty in functioning on a daily basis in school, at work, or in your interpersonal relationships. It can just be something as simple as weight fluctuations, but there’s also the associated feeling of apathy. A depressed person may just not care what happens anymore, a self-loathing and self-destructive trend that can lead to falling even deeper into the abuse of alcohol and drugs. If the person doesn’t care anymore and simultaneously wants to forget the sexual trauma, substance abuse can be a dangerous avenue toward self-harm.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Any traumatic event can cause severe and long-lasting symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). You may be most familiar with associating PTSD with war and battle, but the effects can be felt when you’ve had a car accident, a surgery, or a vicious attack. The memory becomes linked with the physical and emotional repercussions, as nightmares and panic or anxiety attacks can lead to severe physical reactions: loss of breath, distress and increased heart rate related to sudden sounds, lights, smells, or anything related to the traumatic event.

Dissociation

Also, linked with traumatic encounters and abuse is the dissociation, which is also linked to PTSD. That’s the feeling of being separate or absent from one’s own body. It’s often associated with a feeling of being disconnected, an outsider. In trauma cases, dissociation is a coping mechanism to allow the person to survive and function. Long term, though, it can lead to more troubling effects like trouble focusing or concentrating. In more severe cases, dissociation can lead to a loss of the ability to function for periods of time. Depending on the severity of the dissociation symptoms, those affected by the disorder can also turn to alcohol or substance abuse to help or reinforce the numbing feeling that helps them cope with everyday life, and avoid memories of the past trauma.

How to recover

Even by itself, sexual trauma and abuse present difficult challenges coping with life and all of its challenges. Combined with the major depression, PTSD, and dissociation (as well as the potential for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and other psychological illnesses and disorders), the obstacles may seem insurmountable.

Just as the studies track the troubling trends of trauma and substance abuse, though, they also offer hopeful moments. Recovery is possible, but awareness of the relationship between sexual trauma and substance abuse is key. If we don’t understand or grasp what is happening, we are not able to take the steps to prevent it from happening to other young trauma survivors, and we also will not be prepared to implement the appropriate treatment that’s so desperately needed (and lacking in many cases).

The process of recovery doesn’t happen overnight, and it’s not an easy journey, but with the right help and continued support system in place, you can be on the road of recovery.  Contact us today to make the first step. Newport Beach Recovery has trained professionals to help you get through this.

A Guide to the 10 Most Dangerous Drugs

Any drug can be dangerous or even deadly depending on the dosage, oft-script use, or even based on an individual’s adverse reaction to the substance. While there are potentially harmful side effects for some prescription medications, it’s fairly easy to determine the most dangerous drugs. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) tracks the data every year and then releases a list of the drugs associated with overdose deaths.

Heroin

Heroin tops the list of most dangerous drugs. Although opioids and opium have existed since ancient history, Heroin first surfaced in 1874 and the substance was marketed as a “heroin” because of the “hero” or euphoric feeling. It was mistakenly prescribed as a remedy for colds, coughs, and congestion. Heroin is now an illegal drug that is highly addictive.

Cocaine

Chewing coca, a gift from the gods, was a common practice since ancient times. Tinctures from coca leaves were first used in 1850, and cocaine was extracted in 1855. Through the next few years, cocaine was manufactured and released in various forms, popularized, and recommended for use in improving athletic performance, as a local anesthetic, and as a treatment for substance abuse. Coca-Cola also famously released their soda containing cocaine and caffeine in 1886.  Medical literature reported on the damage caused by snorting cocaine in 1910, and the US banned cocaine in 1914.

Oxycodone

OxyContin was developed in 1916 to replace other addictive substances like codeine and morphine. The generic form, oxycodone, was first released in the US in 1939, and it quickly became the bestselling narcotic pain reliever. Drug abuse and addiction can lead to breathing problems, severe withdrawal symptoms, but also a higher likelihood of heroin use.

Alprazolam

Xanax is a popular trade name for alprazolam, used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. First patented in 1971, it was approved for US medical use in 1981. Alprazolam is one of the most prescribed drugs, but it can also be misused.  Negative side effects can include paranoia, impairment, and fatigue.

Fentanyl

While fentanyl is sometimes compared with morphine, it is 50-100 times more potent. It is prescribed as a shot, lozenge, or patch in instances where other forms of pain relief have been ineffective. Illegal forms are sold as an eye dropper, pills, or nasal sprays; but it is also frequently laced with other drugs like heroin. Drug abuse, then, can lead to death.

Morphine

Morphine is derived from the poppy straw of the opium flower. With a history of opium-based elixirs dating back to ancient times, Friedrich Sertürner discovered morphine (which he first called morphium, after the god of dreams) in 1804. Morphine use can lead to constipation or other side effects. Overdose or addictive use of this drug can lead to respiratory distress and even death.

Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine is a stimulant drug that is sometimes used to treat ADHD or obesity. Amphetamine was first synthesized in 1887. Then, Chemist Nagai Nagayoshi derived methamphetamine from ephedrine in 1893. The drug was released in pill-form by Temmler for use by German soldiers and pilots during World War II. With severe zombie-like exhaustion and violent-outbursts, the drug was discontinued. Methamphetamine is restricted or illegal in many areas.

Methadone

Max Bockmühl and Gustav Ehrhart at the IG Farben company first synthesized methadone in 1937 as an easier-to-use painkiller, with supposedly less chance of addiction. The FDA approved the drug for use in the US in 1947. Then, doctors began prescribing methadone in the 1960s to prevent addicts from using heroin. It’s called the Methadone Maintenance Treatment, and while it did help with the heroin use, methadone drug abuse became a problem.

Hydrocodone

Derived from a poppy, hydrocodone is a semi-synthetic drug, with a high likelihood of dependency and drug abuse.  Carl Mannich and Helene Löwenheim first synthesized the drug in 1920 and the FDA approved it for use in the US in 1943. It is one of the most frequently prescribed opioid, with millions of prescriptions filled every year. Severe side effects are the addiction, allergic reaction, slowed breathing, liver damage, and infection.

Diazepam

Diazepam is a benzodiazepine, most commonly known as Valium. It was approved in 1960 and released in 1963 for use in treating anxiety, vertigo, seizures, insomnia, and alcohol withdrawal with fewer negative side effects when compared with similar drugs. While considered “safer” in general, the drug can still be dangerous and deadly when combined with other sedatives, particularly as an overdose. It has been popularized as a way to “take the edge off” or elevate anxiety or stress, but diazepam use has also been linked with depression, dizziness, or impairment.

Most of the most dangerous and deadly drugs have existed in one form or another since ancient times, and many of them were initially conceived to relieve pain and suffering. With increasing regularity, substance abuse becomes dangerous and deadly. If you or a loved one are struggling with any drug at all, we urge you to reach out for treatment. Contact us today for more information.

What To Do When An Addicted Loved One Refuses Help

Helping a loved one suffering from addiction is not an easy path. From substance abuse to gambling and lack of self-worth, one typically loses control of their actions and mindset as to what is healthy and what is destructive. This often leads to loved ones feeling frustrated and without hope. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “The initial decision to take drugs is voluntary for most people, but repeated drug use can lead to brain changes that challenge an addicted person’s self-control and interfere with their ability to resist intense urges to take drugs.” Because of this, those suffering may refuse help when offered. However, facilities like drug rehabs or an addiction treatment center can provide the necessary tools and assistance to get your loved one the help they need.

But what can you do if your loved one is refusing addiction treatment? For many, the future seems bleak and options are limited. This isn’t, however, the case. Hope still exists and there are concerned professionals who want to help. Not just your loved one, but you as well through the process of recovery.

Don’t Do It Alone

Denial is a powerful weapon for someone suffering from addiction. It fuels a fire within them which states nothing is wrong and they don’t need help. Gathering other family members and friends towards the goal of helping them, however, is a powerful tool.

In addition, according to the NIDA, “There are over 14,500 specialized substance abuse treatment facilities in the United States providing a variety of care options, including counseling, behavioral therapy, medication, case management, and other forms of care.” Seeking advice and help from professionals is also healthy, for you and your loved one. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Whether it be from other family members or even co-workers. Many have faced similar struggles and are willing to stand by your side.

Research Addiction Treatment

Understanding an addiction leads to compassion and the ability to communicate while helping prevent things like enabling. It’s common for those who have never faced an addiction to perceive overcoming addiction as a mind over matter issue. Studies over the years, however, have shown how brain waves and pathways from substance abuse are changed over time. Sometimes recovery involves medicine, while other times it can be treated with experiential therapy. Learning about these various options available and the root causes of addiction will help guide you in the right direction towards getting your loved one in a drug rehab facility which is right for them.

Establish an Open-Line of Communication

Establishing a proper line of communication is imperative. A common reaction to dealing with an addict is to shut down or show tough love through silence. While someone suffering from addiction may not listen to what you have to say, knowing they can talk to someone is extremely important. This will also help with their recovery while in addiction treatment, and once out too.

Relapsing is a very real concept. According to NIDA, “The relapse rate for substance use disorders is estimated to be between 40% and 60%. This rate is similar to rates of relapse for other chronic diseases such as hypertension or asthma.” Being able to communicate, and be comfortable doing so, will help towards preventing a relapse from occurring.

Maintain Your Health

Much like the health of your loved one suffering from addiction is a top priority, so is your health as well. Living with or trying to help an addict can affect your own health through lack of sleep, poor eating habits, stress, and much more. Boundaries are essential.

Don’t be afraid to talk to a professional regarding where to draw the line regarding your own mental and physical health. As the line can often become blurry when dealing with someone who’s suffering from substance abuse.

Seek Help from Addiction Treatment and Drug Rehab Professionals

Modern medicine has come a long way in the last few decades. This is especially true regarding substance abuse recovery. Long gone are the days of forced labor and demeaning a person towards recovery. The 12-step program, along with treatment from a psychologist and psychiatrists has become proven methods.

But it’s also been shown that treatments like music therapy, Muay Thai training, salt water, and group therapies, in addition to these proven methods, create an environment conclusive towards a healthy recovery. Discover what addiction treatment options are available, and which ones will fit the needs of your loved one suffering from addiction. In working together, your loved one suffering from addiction can get the help they need and deserve. Contact us today!

The Link Between Female Eating Disorders and Substance Abuse

Eating disorders and substance abuse are a common phenomenon that co-exists and fuel each other.  The occurrence of these two issues is significant among young women in particular.  Several risk factors may predispose certain people to develop these two disorders and some of those risk factors are genetic. However, several variables must be considered that may cover everything from social issues, self-esteem and family history.

Risk Factors

Both substance abuse and eating disorders have shared risk factors that should be looked at.  Wide and varied factors play a role in the prevalence of this disorder. Research has linked both of these disorders to brain chemistry and family history. Other shared characteristics or risk factors include low self-esteem, depression, anxiety, and social pressures. These are all common experiences for young people and teens. These are also factors that may coincide with suicidal thoughts, compulsive behavior, and social isolation. The predisposition for these disorders is more prevalent among young women and girls.

The Mechanics and Co-occurrence of Both Disorders

As females enter puberty body image issues often emerge. These issues often cause young girls to do things to alter their body image in unhealthy ways. This often shows up in the form of either anorexia or bulimia. These are the two most common eating disorders that often coincide with substance abuse. The predisposition to developing these disorders is greatly increased based on family history and other issues like low-self-esteem. These disorders are often further compounded by a family history of struggle with these two disorders and social pressures that are part of growing up. In fact, most p[eople that struggle with eating disorders are fifty percent more likely to engage in substance abuse. Conversely, thirty-five percent of individuals that have substance abuse problems either struggle or have struggled with eating disorders.  Both of these statistics reveal that people who suffer from substance abuse issues and eating disorders have a much higher tendency towards these disorders than the general population.

The Symbiosis Between Anorexia and Bulimia and Substance Abuse

Anorexia and Bulimia are the two most common eating disorders linked to female substance abuse. An even more revealing look uncovers a link between these two disorders and the abuse of specific substances. it is not uncommon for an eating disorder to develop followed by a substance abuse problem. This is easily explained by noticing the prevalence of eating disorder followed by the abuse of substances like emetics, laxatives, and diuretics. The desire to control body image often leads a person to abuse these types of substances as a way of gaining greater control. However, there are circumstances where substance abuse and eating disorders may begin at the same time and the substance may have little to do with the eating disorder. Instead, the substance may be a coping mechanism used to drown out unpleasant feelings. In situations like these, people who struggle with both of these disorders often choose alcohol, amphetamines, heroin, and cocaine.

A Move Toward Treatment and Healing

As with any issue, early intervention is always preferred. Even though this doesn’t always happen, it’s still possible to overcome both of these disorders.  However, dealing with both of these issues does require treatment that will effectively address both at the same time. This is why Women Addiction treatment must include a plan that focuses on both disorders and the way these two disorders co-exist. This can be tricky because most treatment centers that deal with eating disorders have programs to help with OTC drug abuse but few adequately handle or address medical detoxification. Often this is a need for many patients as well. Fortunately, the link between these two disorders has gained a lot more awareness and many treatment centers are moving towards programs designed to adequately treat these two disorders.

Although many people of all ages struggle with both eating disorders and substance abuse issues, these two disorders are more prevalent among young women and girls. Addressing these issues in an effective way requires an in-depth understanding or all the risk factors and how they come together when both of these disorders are present. Effective treatment is dependent on a focus that doesn’t rest on one disorder but explores both independently and collectively. Contact us today for further help!

What is Dual-Diagnosis Treatment for Addiction?

Treatment for mental health and addiction can often be confusing for people because they aren’t familiar with the meaning of some terminology. For this reason, many people find searching for addiction therapy and mental health therapy to be confusing and overwhelming. Because many people associate these two terms with separate situations, searching for the appropriate treatment may become so overwhelming that many people give up on the search.

Until the late 1990s, the treatment plan for someone with a mental health problem as well as an addiction was addressed separately. In fact, many people were denied treatment for a mental illness until they were clean and sober. Fortunately, it is now known that addiction and mental disorders often go hand-in-hand; referred to as a CO-OCCURRING DISORDER. Dual diagnosis treatment means those experiencing both a substance abuse problem and a mental health issue can receive combined treatment for both issues.

What is a Co-Occurring Disorder?

A co-occurring disorder or a dual diagnosis means that someone is dealing with both a mental health disorder and an addiction or substance use disorder. For instance, you may be diagnosed with alcohol abuse disorder as well as bipolar disorder. In some situations, a substance use disorder begins first, followed by the development of a mental health illness. For instance, someone with an addiction to meth may begin experiencing symptoms of an anxiety disorder. On the other hand, some people who are dealing with a mental illness may develop a substance use disorder. The theory behind a dual diagnosis is that the symptoms of mental illness aren’t being effectively treated, making the individual physically and emotionally uncomfortable, so they turn to substance use to manage their symptoms. For instance, someone with anxiety may turn to the use of alcohol and/or drugs as a coping mechanism. Unfortunately, when mind-altering substances are being abused, both conditions may worsen.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Dual diagnosis treatment is a type of treatment that addresses both disorders simultaneously. Dual diagnosis treatment is critical for identifying and treating both a mental health illness and a substance use disorder; both of which are or may be the underlying source for substance abuse and increasing symptoms of mental illness. Traditionally, substance abuse treatment and mental health treatment were treated separately; dual diagnosis treatment utilizes an integrated program to treat both issues simultaneously, which reduces the risk of symptoms worsening for one problem while treating the other.

There are several ways in which dual diagnosis treatment may be used and since each person has individual needs, the treatment plan will not be the same for everyone. Treatment must be individualized and tailored to the individual in order to accommodate and address the needs and concerns of each person. It is often difficult to pinpoint the primary disorder because each individual case is unique. For instance, emotional instability may result in self-medicating with drugs and/or alcohol in order to calm the psychological pain, whereas some may experience elevated symptoms of mental illness as a result of their substance abuse.

When to Seek Dual Diagnosis Treatment

If you suspect that you or someone you care about may have a mental disorder along with substance use issues, it is important to seek treatment for both issues. When someone is experiencing the symptoms of a dual diagnosis, it is important to not seek substance abuse treatment and then mental health therapy or vice versa. Both issues should be addressed together. Some signs of a dual diagnosis disorder may include:

  • Needing significantly larger doses of drugs or trying different, more intense drugs to get the same high and/or calm symptoms of anxiety, depression or other symptoms of a mental illness
  • Frequent withdrawal symptoms
  • Hiding activities from family and friends
  • Increase in symptoms of mental health disorder when using drugs and/or alcohol
  • Frequent addiction relapses after trying to quit

When searching for a center for addiction therapy, it is important to keep in mind that many with a substance abuse disorder will also need treatment for their mental illness disorder. When both a substance abuse problem and a mental health issue are present, you should seek help from a qualified dual diagnosis treatment center. When a dual diagnosis is present, without seeking treatment for both disorders (substance use and mental health), the treatment may be successful for the disorder being treated; however, the person may quickly resort back to their substance use and/or experience an increase in symptoms of their mental illness. Both must be addressed simultaneously for a successful treatment plan.

Newport Beach Recovery Center Will Help

We know how difficult it may be to yourself or a loved one into a dual-diagnosis program. This is why we are here. Contact us by calling or emailing us for more information. The right help you need is just moments away.

Is Addiction a Disease or a Choice?

People with addictions are often shamed. For many years people with addictions were seen as weak people, or morally deficient at least. There is growing evidence, however, that addiction is a disease.  There is the choice of taking drugs for the first time, and there is the choice to seek help with the addiction, but medical officials are recognizing that it is a disease.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse calls it “a medical illness caused by repeated misuse of a substance or substances.”  The NIH includes alcohol, tobacco, legal and illegal drugs in its umbrella of drug definition. The NIDA considers it a mental disorder and a mental illness.

Starting to use a substance may be a choice a person can make. Repeated use, however, can lead to changes in the brain and that is what the illness of addiction is, according to the NIDA.

The Definition of Addiction

While the NIDA accepts addiction as a disease. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is used by mental health providers, does not call addiction a disease. Instead, it calls it “substance abuse disorder,” with levels of mild, moderate and severe.

There are 11 criteria mental health officials use to determine a person’s level of addiction. If a person has two or three, they are considered a mild user. Having four or five would disrupt the person’s life somewhat, This is moderate and is called “misuse” by mental health officials. Six or more is considered severe, which is the level that is considered addiction. Addiction can be many things, such as alcohol, painkillers, opioids, heroin, and many other drugs.

Dependence, Tolerance & Addiction

There are three levels of misusing substances, according to the NIDA.  Physical dependence can be developed by using any substance regularly, even when it is a prescribed drug used a directed. The body adapts to the substance, and when it is taken away, the body reacts in a negative way.  Craving the substance, and withdrawal symptoms can result when the substance is not there.

Tolerance is when the body adjusts to the substance. Because of that adjustment the person has to take a higher dosage to get the same effect.

Addiction is a chronic disorder, which is where it reaches the level of disease. This is characterized by the person still compulsively using the substance even with negative consequences.

The Brain & Addiction

Drugs that are considered addictive flood the circuits with dopamine, a chemical that gives the person either physical or mental pleasure.  Dopamine works in the brain area that is in charge of movement, emotion, motivation, and reinforcement of rewarding or positive behaviors.  Drugs cause overstimulation of this area of the brain, which encourages the person to repeat the drug use to get that level of pleasure again.

Dr. Michael Mierer, writing for the Harvard Medical School’s online edition, says understanding how the brain works could lessen some of the stigmas of being a drug addict. He also says the science could change how treatment is done. It is known an adolescent’s brain is still forming, and therefore most vulnerable. Intervention at that point in a person’s life would be the most effective time to stop addiction, he wrote.

Over time, with the overstimulation of the brain’s circuits, changes to the brain occur. The person’s self-control gets impaired.  There are changes in the brain that affect judgment, decision making, memory and behavior control.  While the initial use of the substance was a choice and normally voluntary, over time the brain changes to the point that it is no longer voluntary.

What are My Options for Treating Addiction?

The NIDA believes a combination of medication and behavior therapy can help people overcome addiction. That is not all there is to it, but those are the main two things mental health officials use when approaching addiction treatment. The environment, social issues, drug use patterns, and medical history are also issues. Someone with alcoholism, for instance, might also need to change their environment as part of treatment.

The NIDA considers addiction to be a chronic illness, meaning it may never be totally cured. Relapses happen in all chronic illnesses, so mental health workers are not too surprised when a relapse happens. Those with addiction know it is a possibility. Another treatment or a different treatment may be needed when a relapse happens. Once a person is addicted, drug rehab is recommended by mental health officials. There are a lot of drug rehab options in Southern California.

Get Help for Addiction in Newport Beach

If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol it is imperative to take action immediately. Just released data shows that a person is now more likely to die from an accidental drug overdose rather than a car accident. Newport Beach Recovery Center offers women a safe haven, where they can heal in a secluded environment. Contact us today or call us at 1-855-213-3869.

Can I Quit Drinking Cold Turkey?

When you drink alcohol for a long period of time, your body becomes physically and mentally dependent to alcohol. Regular abuse of alcohol causes a chemical change in your brain that alters the way your brain functions, so when your body doesn’t get the alcohol it has become accustomed to, it leads to agonizing withdrawal symptoms and alcohol cravings.

These withdrawal symptoms and cravings may seem impossible to resist when you don’t have the proper medications to ease them. This is only part of the reason why it is extremely challenging to quit drinking without medicine or to quit drinking ‘cold turkey’. If you think you may be dependent on alcohol and decide to stop drinking completely, it is important that you not go it alone. Here are some tips on how to recognize withdrawal symptoms so you can quit drinking alcohol safely.

What is it Like to Withdrawal From Alcohol?

As previously stated, if you drink alcohol on a regular basis or are a heavy drinker, it’s extremely dangerous to quit drinking cold turkey without the help of professionals. The detox process can be extremely painful and uncomfortable. When you make the decision to get sober, there are several factors that will influence the severity of your withdrawal symptoms.

Some of these may include:

  • How long you have been abusing alcohol
  • Your overall physical and mental health
  • The amount of alcohol you have been consuming
  • How often you drink to excess
  • Any co-occurring mental or physical health disorders

Abusing alcohol means having alcohol in your system becomes the norm, so when you quit drinking, your central nervous system and your brain go into high alert in an attempt to restore balance. For heavy drinkers, the body naturally compensates for the lack of alcohol by increasing your hormones and brain chemicals, such as epinephrine, serotonin, and dopamine. If you choose to quit drinking alcohol cold turkey, your body will become flooded with abnormally high levels of these chemicals in order to attempt to balance the normal functioning without the alcohol.

Symptoms of Alcohol Withdrawal

Quitting alcohol may put you at risk for common alcohol withdrawal symptoms, including:

  • Seizures
    • Seizures are often the first severe sign associated with alcohol withdrawal. It typically involves convulsions and involuntary muscle contractions. Withdrawal seizures may occur within 6-48 hours after you stop drinking alcohol. Without medical treatment, seizures often increase in duration and length of time.
  • Delirium tremens (DTs)
    • Approximately 30% of those who experience seizures will also experience DTs, which is considered a medical emergency. Delirium tremens generally occur within 24-48 hours after your last drink and are characterized by delirium, confusion, shakiness, and high blood pressure. Without proper medical assistance and supervision, DTs can put you at significant risk for lethal dehydration, head injuries, stroke or heart attack and choking on vomit. Studies have proven that DTs may result in death if not treated with extreme urgency.
  • Abnormal heart rhythms
    • As part of the process, your heart rate will naturally be erratic. When there is an unusual shift in temperature, breathing, and circulation it may contribute to a racing heart. You may also experience other blood circulation issues, such as high blood pressure.
  • Nausea and vomiting
    • Certain symptoms of withdrawal, such as nausea and vomiting may last for at least a week after you stop drinking. Just like some of the other symptoms of alcohol withdrawal, these issues occur as your brain tries to rebalance chemicals due to the absence of alcohol.
  • Dehydration
    • Alcohol is a diuretic that increases the output of urine and it may increase sweating. Your body may already be dehydrated when you go into alcohol withdrawal, so during withdrawal, you may become even more dehydrated due to the vomiting and diarrhea. Dehydration can lead to extremely dangerous electrolyte imbalances, which can throw off your central nervous system, leading to DTs, mental confusion, seizures, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts. Dehydration in extreme forms can lead to kidney failure and possibly be life-threatening.

Getting Sober at Newport Beach Recovery Center

Quitting alcohol cold turkey is not only dangerous, but it is also potentially life-threatening. The safest way to detox from alcohol in Orange County is in a medical setting with specially trained medical professionals. An additional benefit of being in a safe detoxification environment in California is that while you begin repairing the physical damage of alcohol abuse, you will have access to group and individual therapy and be taught the tools necessary to continue your recovery.

When getting sober in the Los Angeles area, medical professionals will allow you to safely quit alcohol. Doctors, nurses, and behavioral health technicians will be available to help ease the painful alcohol withdrawal symptoms with the safest as well as most effective doses of medications.

Participating in a clinical alcohol detox at Newport Beach Recovery Center means you and your symptoms are monitored around the clock to ensure you are safe and as comfortable as possible. If a patient experiences any life-threatening alcohol withdrawal symptoms, medical staff is readily available to treat whatever arises or transport the patient to the nearest hospital to absolutely ensure their safety.

Putting off today’s problems for tomorrow only makes the problem greater. Call us today at (855) 213-3869 to start your journey.