How Stress Impacts Addiction and What You Can Do about That Relationship

People can grow addicted to harmful substances for a variety of reasons.

According to the Mayo Clinic, factors that can significantly raise the likelihood of you developing some form of substance addiction include mental health disorders, your family history, and the current situations involving your friends and family.

The reality is that if you aren’t careful, it can become very easy to fall prey to the perceived allure of addictive substances.

Those are not the only factors that can place you at greater risk for developing an addiction, however. Stress can also play a large role in how willing you are to use addictive substances.

Stress Hormones May Be Causing People to Crave Addictive Substances

An article published earlier this year by Tufts Now shines a spotlight on experiments being conducted by neuroscientist Klaus Miczek and his colleague, research assistant professor Herb Covington. Thanks to the experiments they have performed, a clearer picture of how stress can lead people to become addicted is starting to develop.

Experiments conducted on various animals have revealed that exposure to social stress can cause behavioral changes that sustain for extended periods of time. The exposure doesn’t even have to last that long for the changes to take hold.

There’s an interesting chain of progression that goes from when stress is first experienced leading up to when an addictive substance is sought after.

It starts with exposure to the stressful situation as that will subsequently lead to stress hormones being released by the brain. Those hormones then trigger specific dopamine neurons. After those dopamine neurons have been triggered, the increased craving for addictive substances is increased.

Why We Turn to Addictive Substances to Deal with Stress

If stress hormones do cause certain changes in the brain that eventually result in us wanting to consume an addictive substance of some kind, there is another important question that emerges. That question: Why do we have a tendency to look for addictive substances when we are dealing with a stressful situation?

This is not some kind of new phenomenon after all. Drinking after work is a habit for many and from there, it can develop into something more harmful.

Part of the reason why many people lean on alcohol and other addictive substances when they are feeling stressed out could be because of how those items can affect the brain.

As noted by Healthline, alcohol in particular is a sedative. In that capacity, alcohol can work as a kind of stress reliever. You can feel better and become more relaxed as a result of you having a drink.

Going back to the risk factors mentioned earlier, it’s also possible that we lean on addictive substances while in the throes of a stressful situation because we’ve observed others in our lives doing so in the past and have adopted that habit as our own.

Combine the immediate effects that a substance can have on us with the at-times difficult to struggle against inertia of a way of life we’ve grown accustomed to and it becomes easier to understand why people become addicted.

The Different Sources of Stress

For the average person, stress is completely unavoidable. If you go to school or work, chances are you will feel pressure of some kind.

You can probably think back to some of your high school days and recall just how stressful it was getting prepared for big exams and presentations. For those who are now members of the workforce, deadlines for projects are frequent sources of stress.

Traumatic events that took place earlier in your life can also make you more prone to feeling stressed out later on. That early event may also serve as a constant source of stress that becomes very difficult to get away from.

Per Psychology Today, chronic stress can increase our motivation to use and abuse addictive substances. Unless you can find some way to reduce the amount of stress you experience on a regular basis, you may find it harder and harder to fight against addiction. That is why it is essential for people to seek out a form of addiction treatment that works for them and significantly lowers the number of stressful situations they have to be in.

 How to Cope with Stress and Addiction

One of the best ways for you to get rid of your tendency to use addictive substances is to remove yourself from overly stressful situations. Quitting your job or your studies may not be options, but you can at least address the other sources of chronic stress that may be plaguing you at the moment.

Another option is to check in to a rehab or addiction treatment facility. While at a rehab facility, you can focus more on yourself and leave behind the stressful situations that have grown to characterize your everyday life. Even a temporary stay may be able to work wonders and ease you off of your addiction.

Stress may be inescapable and addictive substances enticing, but you don’t have to give in to either of them.

Addiction Treatment and Recovery Options – When Do I Need Help?

According to a 2012 survey on addiction and health in the United States, conducted by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, as little as 10 percent of individuals who admit that they are struggling with substance dependence or abuse of some kind have actually received any kind of treatment. This is a terrifying and saddening statistic and is made all the more worrisome when one stops and thinks about the various types of substances people are addicted to.

Lack of Treatment Sought for Addictions

Many people choose to forego any kind of treatment for their addiction disorder because they believe things are not really all that bad and they don’t need any help or treatment yet. They have yet to hit rock bottom or they do not believe that their problem is bad enough to warrant any sort of treatment or intervention. The truth of the matter is: if you’re questioning whether or not you need help getting sober, you likely do. Whether your addiction is related to drugs such as heroin or methamphetamine, prescription medications like Oxycontin or phenylalanines,  or other substances like caffeine or alcohol, it is important that you get treatment for your addiction sooner rather than later!

Understanding Your Addiction and Its Severity

If you are beginning to have problems with your personal life, social interactions, relationships, work or school life, and any other areas of your life because of your substance use, then you probably have an addiction. Addiction is diagnosed on a spectrum and there is a range of various criteria that will be used to determine how bad your addiction is- mild, moderate, or severe. Medical and mental health professionals use eleven criteria to determine if someone is addicted to or abusing a substance:

  • Lack of control over when and where and how much the substance is consumed or used
  • The individual has a desire to quit but has been unable to do so under their own power
  • The individual is spending a lot of time, effort, money, and energy to get the substance
  • Cravings for the substance that begin to interfere with normal activities when not satisfied
  • Lack of responsibility in terms of how much the substance is used or while it’s being used
  • Problems with relationships in personal, romantic, social, work, or school environment
  • No interest in doing things that the individual normally enjoyed for the sake of the substance
  • Dangerous use of the substance repeatedly occurring and concerns and warnings not heeded
  • Worsening situations and a visible decline in health, hygiene, mental sharpness, etc
  • Tolerance develops which requires more of the substance to be consumed for desired effects
  • Withdrawal symptoms and cravings get severe when the substance is withheld

Your Addiction Can Get Worse

Because addiction severity is measured on a spectrum, a diagnosis of a mild addiction may be better than a severe addiction, but it is not a reason to be flippant about getting addiction treatment and help. It’s easy to take an it-could-be-worse approach but it is important to remember that addiction is a progressive disease. If it is not taken seriously and if you not get help sooner rather than later, it will get worse and it will get worse quickly in almost all cases. If you’re only a mild case right now, this is the time to act and seek help before the addiction grows and takes an even stronger hold. Think of it like you would a problem with your car- it might be minor now and not be affecting how the car runs or operates; however if left un-fixed the problem could eventually lead to a serious breakdown of the key part of the car and cause a major accident or render the car useless. Addictions can do the same to your mind and body when left untreated!

Get The Help You Need For Recovery

Addiction is not simply a lifestyle choice or a mistake. While most addictions originate from a poor choice or a bad decision that was made at one point and time, the underlying addiction itself is a chronic disease, and truly is no different than other disease people have to deal with their entire lives like asthma, hypertension, diabetes, cancer and so forth. Someone diagnosed with Stage 1 or 2 cancer would seek help to treat and control their disease.  Someone with diabetes and a blood sugar of 200 would work to take steps to control their disease. Someone with asthma would use their inhaler at the signs of a mild asthma attack rather than waiting for it to get worse. You don’t have to hit rock bottom and be out of all other options before you get help for your addiction. Get help before things get worse and take back your life. Call Newport Beach Recovery of Costa Mesa, CA. Learn more about rehab and how treatments can help you beat your addiction once and for all with the finest recovery program in the area!

How to Deal with Trauma in Sobriety

There is a very strong connection between trauma and addiction. One often leads to the other. People struggling to numb the effects of traumatic experiences in their lives will often self-medicate on drugs and alcohol. While this works as a quick-fix, continued abuse of these substances quickly leads to addiction, exposing the addict to additional trauma. On the other hand, trauma may be the result of a lifestyle of abusing drugs and alcohol.

Trauma and Addiction Co-occurrence

 

Trauma occurs as a result of experiences that are too disturbing that they overwhelm an individual’s ability to cope. This varies from person to person, depending on their resilience. For example, adults are generally more resilient in the face of traumatic experiences than children. Examples of traumatic events include sexual assault, child abuse, military combat, domestic violence, natural disasters, car accidents, battling life-threatening ailments and any other events that elicit fear, intense pain, and dreadful memories.

Unresolved trauma may lead to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) which presents symptoms such as nightmares, anxiety, depression, irrational fear, and a predisposition to addiction. Alcohol and drugs offer trauma survivors temporary reprieve and escape from painful feelings giving them an illusion of control over their lives and the world around them. Unfortunately, substance abuse does more harm than good in the long run. It soon becomes a problem and instead of helping ease the pain causes more harm to the already suffering trauma survivor.

Another possible explanation for the addiction and trauma connection begins with substance abuse. The lifestyle of an addict exposes him/her to dangerous neighborhoods, unsavory acquaintances, and dangerous behavior. It is no surprise that most addicts are victims of crime, abuse, violence, accidents, and other traumatic events.
Treating trauma and addiction

Drug and alcohol abuse is a valid coping mechanism since it effectively dulls the emotional pain and suppresses the memory of trauma. Evidence of past trauma can be so well hid in some addicts that many treatment centers end up not noticing it. Non-trauma-focused, addiction treatments set up alcohol and substance abusers for relapses or other addictive behaviors such as gambling, overeating, and sexual promiscuity, among others.

Regardless of which comes first, trauma or addiction, both have to be treated if the sufferer is to lead a healthy life. One cannot maintain sobriety while still harboring unresolved trauma. It is recommended that addicts first detox before working on recovery from addiction and trauma in an integrative and comprehensive manner with clear minds and stronger bodies.
Fortunately, there are a number of effective treatment plans that help addicts kick their addictions and conquer their trauma. These include medication and comprehensive therapies that teach coping skills, mindfulness, problem-solving, and relapse-prevention skills that lead to lifelong sobriety and improved quality of life.

 

Dealing with Trauma in Sobriety

Getting over a traumatic experience is easier said than done. Most recovering addicts prefer not to face the pain and fail to realize how it is intertwined with their addictions until it is too late. They choose to bury and ignore past trauma with the hope that it will go away and as a result, are unable to maintain their sobriety.
After a successful detox and a commitment to stay sober with the help of coping tools and skills, the next step is to heal from your trauma. Dealing with trauma in sobriety can be a difficult task which does not happen overnight. With the right attitude, however, you can deal with and overcome your trauma while maintaining your sobriety.
Healing from trauma is a process
When you’ve numbed yourself for so long with drugs and alcohol, the feelings may flood back and overwhelm you during recovery. You must recognize this as progress. The healing process may be tough, but as long as you are moving from one stage to another, you are making progress.

 

Drugs and Alcohol Abuse Will Not Help

It is important to realize that using drugs and alcohol may numb the pain, but once the euphoric state of mind has passed, the symptoms of unresolved trauma will still be there and are likely to be more disruptive than ever. While there is a temptation to take a break from the pain caused by the traumatic event, you must realize that escapism by way of substance abuse will not help.

 

You Are Stronger Than You Know

If you have survived a traumatic event and addiction, you are strong enough to survive the recovery. You must stop seeking temporary safety and face your trauma with the knowledge that you are worthy of love and redemption.

 

Your Habit Makes Perfect Sense

Trauma survivors have every right to chase after feelings of safety, worth, control, and to numb their painful feelings. Trauma changes you, and it is only rational to turn to substance abuse even if it is for the illusion of normalcy. You must, therefore, realize that even though your habits are bad, your intentions are pure. You only need a new coping mechanism that is healthy.  To make meaningful and lasting life changes while recovering from addiction, one has to change their thoughts, behavior, relationships, environment, and face the trauma that fueled their addictions in the first place.

 

Signs It’s Time To Stage An Intervention

Dealing with drug addiction can be the hardest thing to do. That is because most of these addicts don’t realize that they are suffering. For a drug addict, all they care about is getting their high, and this can be risky. Firstly, they will spend all their money on drugs without thinking about their basic needs. As we all know, drug addiction is a condition that gets worse with time. If you meet a drug addict miserable in the streets, know that they were once ordinary people with healthy lives until the drugs ruined them.

What does it mean to stage an intervention?

When someone is new to using drugs, they will look normal for a while, not knowing that they are a time bomb. When real symptoms start showing, however, even the people close to them will realize that something is wrong. This should be the right time to stage an intervention because the signs of addiction are now too apparent. For those who don’t know stage an intervention is, note that it is a way of helping a drug addict entirely. However, it requires the people close to the addict to come together and plot a solution.

What happens in a stage intervention group?

Usually, the people close to the addict decide to come together so that under the leadership of one of the members. The group first meet to discuss the condition of the patient then begin strategizing on what needs to be done. This is very important because the group needs to work in an organized manner. Drug addicts can be cunning, and without a proper plan, they can play games with you when you are thinking that they are recovering.

After the group is done and ready, the next move is usually to confront the addict. This also should be done with a lot of caution because you don’t want the addict feeling as everyone is fed up with them. The best time to confront the addict is when they are sober at least and can have a conversation. What follows should be according to the plane, and the group needs to stay intact and active until the mission is done.

The good thing with staging an intervention is that the addict gets to be helped by the people who care about them the most. Realizing this will drive them to stick to their addiction treatment because even an addict cannot stand breaking the hearts of everyone around them.

How to know when to stage an intervention

One of the main signs that it is time to stage an intervention is when you notice strange behavior with an addict. These can include a change in their schedule when they started coming home late and exhausted, avoiding everyone, including food. A change in behavior can be considered as an advanced level of addiction. That is because the body system is getting comfortable with the substance and taking control.

Increased tolerance to drugs is also not a good sign. This happens when the addict always wants a little bit more of the drug every time. They will want to have more bottles of beer whenever he or she is out for a drink with friends. This can get to a point where the addict wants to have more bottles of beer even if there is no occasion. That is how someone ends up drinking every day.

Short-term memory loss, is also known as mental fogging is another clear sign that it is time to stop the drugs. At this point, the addict will forget things so fast, and at times, cannot remember what has happened a few seconds ago. Among the worse addiction symptoms, mental fogging is the worst because the addict will no longer be useful to the community.

You can quickly point out a drug addict from the way he or she looks. They usually don’t care about their looks, and in most cases, they are untidy. No one wants to be around a smelly person, and for someone to allow themselves to smell, they must have a mental problem. Drug addicts don’t mind wearing the same clothes for even a week as long as at the end of it all; they have their drug.

Magnified emotions are also a sign of drug addiction. Note that addict is generally rebellious and will not want anyone to come between them with their drugs. They will get emotional when you attempt to stop them from doing what they want and will always be in a bad mood.

Conclusion

Staging an intervention does not entirely mean that the group is responsible for helping the addict out of the problem. Part of the solution can be convincing the addict to go for rehab. However, the group is a vital part of the recovery process because a recovering drug addict needs all the support they can get. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, contact us for help! Addiction is a serious disease and needs to be treated as such. At Newport Beach Recovery Center, we provide everything you need to start on the path to recovery.

Tips To Help You Recover Your Loved One From Addiction

Addiction is one of the traps that are almost impossible to come out from. That is because it can have a permanent effect on the brain. The first step of addiction treatment is acceptance. The victim needs to admit that they have a problem and need help.

Next, he or she is examined to determine the level of addiction so that a suitable treatment can be administered. It is although essential to know that an addict that has recovered from addiction can quickly backslide and get back into their habit against their will. Relapse is the worst thing that can happen after spending so much money on rehab services. However, there are ways of keeping a recovering addict from relapsing, and they include;

Ensuring that they complete the treatment program

Completion of an addiction treatment program means that the patient is loaded with the right information about how to fight their urge. Addicts that drop out of the program midway show clear signs that they are not ready to change their ways. One of the leading relapse causes is the inability to resist the temptation. Without any guard, you will have no choice but to give in.

Supporting their interests

One of the main signs of drug addiction is isolation. A drug addict will want to avoid people as much as they can because they are embarrassed. This leads most of them to lose interest in many things since the substance has clouded their judgment about everything. During addiction recovery, patients are encouraged and guided into finding their way back to what they used to be passionate about. These can be anything from sports, music and even fashion.

To help them stay distracted from thinking about relapsing, you need to draw them deeper into their interests. For example, if the patient is passionate about playing soccer, buying those boots or a ball is a great way to start. You can organize for them to join a local team.

Change the environment

Relapse recovery can be interrupted by simple triggers like seeing someone using the drug can quickly bring up the urge. That is why it is suitable for recovering patients from changing locations after completing their treatment. This should reduce any chances of the patient accessing the drugs. Note that one of the main reasons for addiction is having access to the substance.

The friends to the recovering addict who is in most chances abusers as well are also living in the same area. We all understand how it’s hard being the black sheep when taking the patient to a new location, ensure that they cannot get access to the drugs. Also, ensure that the people around them are kind and caring. You don’t want your recovering patient to go back to abusing drugs because they did not feel accepted and loved.

Encourage patient to stick to meditation

Meditation after addiction treatment is a way of calming down an addict and suppress the urge to use drugs. A recovering addict goes through so much trouble, and without following the prescribed medication, they become anxious and vulnerable to relapse. One of the common problems that have led recovering addicts back to addiction is lack of sleep. These medications, however, are meant to make the patient comfortable and in control.

Maintaining therapy should also be considered as part of the medication process. That is because it plays a significant role in helping a recovering patient re-connect with the world once more. A therapist helps these patients to make rational decisions and holds their hand through the post-treatment period until the patient has fully recovered.

Propose other ways of dealing with stressful situations

Stress and other human problems are known to be one of the leading causes of drug addiction. When this habit gets out of hand, things can get worse because addicts are not stable. During the treatment period, such addicts have been taught how they need to approach problems and solve them quickly. Your work is to keep reminding such patient about how to carry out themselves and solve challenges like a normal human being.

You will also want to engage the patient through sporting activities. This will help them greatly with anxiety another emotional disorders that can make them become violent and cause significant damage.

Conclusion

Relapse prevention is vital for any recovering addict because anything can trigger back their addiction. According to experts, a drug addict can get back to addiction way faster than the time spent in the rehab. That is why most rehab centers spend more time preparing the patients for the outside world like how to get in touch with their loved ones again.

Support groups are also another great way of ensuring that an addict does not relapse. That is because, within these groups, patients are allowed to support each other and encourage them to go clean. The best thing with help groups is, participants are people who are going through the same thing and are self-motivated to overcome their addiction. Contact us today if you or a loved one are struggling with addiction. At Newport Recovery Center, we are here to help you get sober!

The power of Music in Recovery

Music is a cross-cultural experience. You don’t have to understand the words or be familiar with the genre to feel the effects of a superior composition. Music’s ability to change our moods, minds, and behavior is well documented in popular culture. However, the power of music during recovery from addiction is still a newer concept.

Music therapy is a comprehensive treatment system that combines listening, theory, and performance. Adding this therapy to an addiction treatment plan helps patients find relief through some of the most difficult points of their journey while also strengthening them for what lies beyond. How does musical therapy help those fighting through addiction treatment feel better, stay stronger, and recover more quickly?

The Physical Effects of Music

The effects of music aren’t just mental. The mental effects of music cascade throughout the body, producing physical results that can aid the addiction treatment process. These include:

  • Improve communication. Listening to and performing certain genres of music have been proven to increase vital mental skills. A study from the Institute of Music and Mind at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada found that those who use their musical skills frequently show increased activity in the auditory cortex of the brain. This area translates sounds into understandable words and phrases and is vitally connected with our communication skills. Playing instruments can make it easier for patients in treatment to communicate with those who are there to help them.
  • Improved memory and learning. The auditory cortex isn’t the only brain structure positively impacted by music. The prefrontal cortex, which is the seat of our sensory processing abilities, is also improved through performing and listening to music. Over time, patients are able to retain long and short term memories better, which helps them learn new ways of coping with life’s stresses without reaching for a substance.
  • Increased dopamine production. Dopamine is a vital neurotransmitter. Substance abuse damages the body’s ability to naturally produce this substance in useful amounts. Music naturally stimulates dopamine production, which helps even moods, relaxes the body, and calms the mind.

The Mental Effects of Music

Everyone knows how a good piece of music makes them feel. Crashing cymbals, twinkling keyboards, and artfully strummed guitars can lift spirits and stimulate a change of mind. During the recovery process, these effects can be used to the patient’s advantage in many ways.

  • During the detox stage, calming music can help patients cope with the physical and mental stress that comes with the experience. Once the acute stage is passed, playing calming music can help patients keep a level of mood throughout treatment.
  • When the urge to relapse pops up, music can inspire patients to stick with their program. In these cases, upbeat and meaningful tunes are the most effective. Many patients enjoy music with spiritual overtones that help them connect to their higher power for aid.
  • Music can connect support groups. Singing and performing together as a group helps members connect on a safe, emotional level. This facilitates group and private talk therapy sessions. When they’re alone, group members can turn to that piece of music to help them when they can’t reach their support system.

Techniques in Music Therapy

How is music therapy used in the recovery process?

  • Performance. Singing and playing instruments is a physical experience that helps patients work out stress in a healthy way. Keeping your hands and mind busy is a great way to fight the urge to relapse.
  • Meditation. Quietly listening to inspirational tunes while alone is another successful therapy tactic. The right selection can lower blood pressure, relax tense muscles, and help patients cope through difficult stages.
  • Exercise aid. Physical exercise is a well-known technique for resetting the body after detox. Add music to a workout to stay inspired, engaged, and joyfully active through the sweat session.

These techniques can be effective in group or private sessions. Music therapy is also easily adapted into a home practice to support the work outpatients do with their therapists.

Music is more than a pastime. When used consciously and purposefully, it can help those fighting addictions by providing a healthy outlet for many of the negative emotions that can come along with the healing process.  Talk to your addiction treatment specialist about adding music therapy to your program.

Depression and Substance Abuse: A Guide for Women

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women are twice more likely to suffer depression than men.  The National Institute on Drug Abuse also places the number of women above age 18 to have used drugs in their lifetime at 19.4 million.  With such compelling statistics, it is clear that depression and drug abuse are key issues among women in the country.

Below is a depression and substance abuse guide for women:

The relationship between depression and addiction

Research shows that there is a strong connection between major depression and substance abuse. This is mostly because the main factors that contribute to depression also play a part in substance abuse disorders. Similarly, the various effects of addiction can mask or worsen the symptoms of mental illness. If you notice that your loved one has co-occurring depression and substance abuse, you should consider discussing the problem with them affectionately and compassionately before seeking a structured intervention.

Facts about depression and substance abuse

To identify the most effective treatment program for depression and addiction, here are a few facts you should know about the two disorders.

  • Generally, women have various reasons for using drugs and will use these substances in a different way than men.
  • There are times when women will respond differently to substances. For instance, they could have more drug cravings, become more sensitive to the effects of drugs due to sex hormones, or experience significantly different brain changes.
  • The risk of dying from a drug overdose or the effects of certain substances is higher in women than in men.
  • Women who are addicted to certain substances can experience panic attacks, anxiety, or even depression.
  • Factors that can trigger substance abuse and depression in women include domestic violence, divorce, death of a partner, or loss of child custody.

Substance use during pregnancy can pose a serious health risk to mother and unborn baby, both in the short and long term.

Common causes of depression

While the exact causes of depression have not been identified, there are several theories about the roots of the condition.

  • Brain structure and chemistry – brains of individuals with depressive disorders have a different structure from those without. The areas responsible for cognition, mood, sleeping, and metabolic function will have a unique appearance. Depression has also been linked to imbalances in brain chemicals that regulate moods, appetite, and energy levels.
  • Environmental factors – a history of emotional, sexual or physical abuse and a disorderly home environment during childhood can contribute towards depression in adolescence or adulthood. The good news is that trauma therapy can help heal the wounds inflicted by these experiences. Some scientists have also linked depression to genetics, with people who have relatives suffering from the condition being at risk of developing the same condition.
  • Situational factors – some of the experiences and setbacks we face in life can also result in depression if the emotions surrounding the events are not resolved.

Signs and symptoms to look out for

It is important to identify depression and substance abuse in good time to seek the necessary interventions. Here are some of the signs and symptoms to look out for.

  • Mood swings, erratic behavior and shifts in personality
  • Substance abuse affecting school, work, family obligations and responsibilities
  • Problems with concentration and memory
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Withdrawing and loss of interest in hobbies and daily activities
  • Unintentional weight loss or gain, poor hygiene
  • Suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts
  • Inability to control the amount of time spent using drugs
  • Financial problems

Consequences of untreated depression and substance abuse

When ignored or left untreated, depression and substance abuse disorders can have serious consequences. Long-term health problems may include

  • Heart disease
  • Respiratory complications and diseases
  • Liver and kidney damage or disease
  • Skin infections
  •  Stroke
  • Brain damage
  • Overdose or death
  •  Cognitive defects

In case one abuses drugs during pregnancy, the baby may be born with several health problems. These include low birth weight, congenital disabilities, premature birth, small head size or sudden infant death syndrome.

Types of depressive disorders

Depression comes in many forms, making it important to know the different subtypes of the condition. The different forms are influenced by the cause of the symptoms, duration, and severity. Some common types of depressive disorders are major depressive disorder, persistent depressive disorder, bipolar, postpartum, seasonal affective disorder, and psychosis. All these types require attention and specialized treatment.

Treatment options and programs

Since depression and substance abuse affect women differently, treatment for the two conditions may be different than for men. Struggling with these conditions can bring feelings of isolation, loneliness, and worthlessness. Similarly, family members can feel frustrated and stressed. It is important, to be honest about the problem as you seek help.

In most cases, depression and substance abuse disorders will be treated using a combination of therapy and medications. Effective interventions and depression treatment will include antidepressant medication, cognitive behavioral therapy, motivational interviewing, trauma therapies, and family systems therapy.

There are different treatment options that you can choose from. These include outpatient services, intensive outpatient programs, partial hospitalization program, medical detox, residential treatment programs, and inpatient rehabilitation. It is important to choose the right treatment for the patient’s condition.

In conclusion, once a patient has received the necessary treatment, family and loved ones should offer the care and support they need to resume a normal life. There is always the possibility of relapse when it comes to depression and substance abuse. A strong support network will help the affected persons feel loved and valued, putting them firmly on the path to full recovery.

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.