Am I Addicted to Opioids?

Addiction is a serious disease that comes in many shapes and forms. One drug that is highly addictive is opioids. Opioids are split into two categories: legal and illegal. Legal opioids, such as codeine and Percocet, happen to be some of the most commonly prescribed pain medications in the US. They are extremely addictive, even when taken as prescribed. It’s estimated that about 2 million Americans a year misuse opioids. 

If you’ve found yourself here because you feel like you’ve been abusing opioids and are not sure if you’re addicted, keep reading to find out common signs and symptoms of an opioid addiction. Please note the purpose of this blog is to raise awareness for warning signs of addiction, not to provide a diagnosis. 

What Is an Opioid Addiction?

This is an addiction that usually involves medications that are used to help people cope with acute and chronic pain. Acute pain can be caused by surgeries or accidents, like breaking a bone. Some of the most common forms of opioid medications include OxyContin, Hydrocodone, Lortab, Percocet, and Vicodin. If someone has an addiction to opioids, their brain chemistry has been changed to believe that it requires these medications just to remain alive. 

How Does It Happen?

An opioid addiction often begins both innocently and innocuously. Many people who have an addiction to opioid medications are initially prescribed pain medications to help them manage a serious medical condition or injury. For example, if you need to have surgery, you will be prescribed pain medicine to manage the pain post-op. If you consistently take the medication, your body will become physically dependent on the drug. 

Opioids are powerful medications that are supposed to help manage acute pain, not chronic pain. Unfortunately, many people end up taking opioids for chronic pain anyway. Back pain is one of the most common reasons why someone might be prescribed opioid medications. Eventually, people who use legal opioids may start to use illegal opioids as well, such as heroin. 

Signs and Symptoms of an Opioid Addiction

If you think you’re suffering from an addiction to opioids, there are a few signs and symptoms to look for: 

  • Taking more pills daily than prescribed
  • Starting to feel like your prescription isn’t strong enough
  • Obsessive thoughts about the medication
  • Running out of your pills before the refill is ready
  • Starting to buy pills illegally because you can’t get a prescription refill
  • Going to different doctors to try to secure multiple prescriptions
  • Feelings of wanting to isolate and not be around family or friends
  • Feelings of being depressed and not interested in anything
  • Being worried when you only have a few pills left 

People who suffer from an addiction to opioids may end up progressing to street drugs in an effort to control their pain because prescription medications no longer work for their discomfort. If you or a loved one may be struggling with opioids, please reach out to us today. 

Let Us Help You!

At Newport Beach Recovery Center, we are a drug and alcohol rehab center located in the beautiful area of Costa Mesa, CA. Our trained professionals have an extensive amount of experience dealing with a wide variety of addiction and substance abuse issues. We are here to assist individuals and families who are struggling with addiction throughout the Costa Mesa, CA area. Please contact us today to learn more about how our addiction treatment program can help you!

Opioid Epidemic: Everything You Need To Know

The opioid epidemic is very real, and communities all over America are dealing with the fallout of aggressive over-prescription of opioids. Tens of thousands of people became addicted to opioid-based painkillers and engaged in substance abuse as a direct result. The opioid addiction crisis has sent many people to seek out addiction treatment in order to recover from an addiction they were led into by pharmaceutical companies seeking profit in any way possible. The Centers for Disease Control estimates the cost of prescription opioid abuse costs the U.S. $78.5 billion annually from loss of productivity, healthcare-related to the addiction, addiction treatment, and law enforcement activities involving opioid substance abuse.

How the Opioid Epidemic Began

For most of the 20th century, physicians prescribed opiates for pain relief on a limited basis. They were prescribed for certain types of injuries or conditions and as needed, but physicians preferred to resort to other forms of pain relief. Then in the 1990s, the medical field decided to take patient pain more seriously and loosened up on prescribing opioids for pain relief. Around the same time, pharmaceutical companies began a nationwide marketing push to promote their opioid pills for pain relief and touted the low risk of addiction in combination with the effectiveness of the pills.

These changes coincided with a change in how Americans live their daily lives which resulted in more social isolation and untreated mental health issues that include depression and anxiety. These issues can manifest as physical pain. Physicians are more likely to prescribe opioids for people with anxiety instead of treating the condition. In turn, the patient is at increased risk of developing an opioid addiction due to the highly addictive nature of opioids.

Another aspect of the opioid epidemic is the fact that people have different perceptions of pain. One individual may feel that the pain they’re experiencing is manageable and at a level 2 on a scale from 1-10 while another may feel that the same pain is at a level 9. Because there’s no effective way for physicians to verify the pain apart from their own experience and judgment, they will prescribe opiates for the patient who’s self-reporting a level 7 pain that’s really a level 2.

Ending the Opioid Crisis

Resolving the opioid epidemic isn’t going to be easy. There are people who have a legitimate need for opioid-based pain killers which means the medication still needs to be manufactured. Physicians have to balance prescription with the risk of opioid addiction and the potential for eventual addiction treatment for their patients. No physician wants to harm their patients; In fact, it’s part of the Hippocratic oath. There will most likely always be a risk of opioid addiction until a more effective, non-addictive pain reliever has been discovered.

Physician education is another aspect of ending the crisis. It’s not unusual for a physician to take the word of a drug manufacturer when it comes to the efficacy of a medication. Thousands of physicians fell prey to pharmaceutical manufacturers’ claims of their opiates being safe to use and shows a need for medical professionals to engage in ongoing education about addictive substances and their potential for patient abuse. Physicians who are informed are more likely to engage in the responsible prescription of pain medication and less likely to prescribe opiates to patients who self-report pain without a definitive physical cause.

Encouraging people addicted to opioids to get addiction treatment for their substance abuse can be highly beneficial for themselves and the communities affected by the opioid crisis. Patients who enter addiction treatment programs are also more likely to get their underlying mental health issues addressed and properly treated. Those who successfully resolve their addiction and find help for their mental health issues are returned to society with the tools they need to lead a productive life. They also talk about the benefits of getting clean and healthy to others who may be ready to change their lives for the better and also take action.

The Final Efforts

The fallout from the opioid epidemic is going to take time to resolve. It has a high relapse rate due to the physical changes in the brain that cause addiction. Reducing the brain’s physical need for the euphoric effects of opioid consumption is not an easy task, and it can take a long time for someone to get free from that craving. Proactive efforts to prevent new cases of addiction are being made, but more needs to be done to reduce prescription opioid addiction and the resulting substance abuse. The opioid epidemic is far from over, and the country is just starting to get control of the situation. Building upon the efforts already made can help the country heal and move forward from the damage done by opioid addiction.

How to Cope with Losing a Loved One to Addiction

Even though it’s not something that anyone finds it to be particularly pleasant, everyone knows that coping with the death of a loved one is a natural part of life. There is no denying that any type of loss is painful, but there is something about the loss of a loved one from addiction that puts things in a different category altogether. Addiction is a deadly disease, it doesn’t discriminate against anyone, it affects men, women, and children and it has destroyed many innocent lives. Unfortunately, losing a loved one to drug abuse is all too common. If you have lost a loved one to substance abuse, it is critical that you learn how to cope with the loss and not allow this devastation to consume your life as well. Here are some ways to cope with the loss of a loved one from addiction.

Get Support

Loss and unresolved grief are burdens that are commonly carried. It’s important to keep yourself in the company of supporting and loving others that you share your feelings and experiences with. It’s easy to fall into the trap of isolation, but it is critical for your own emotional health to increase your contact with family and friends, attend grief meetings and share from your heart. Do not be afraid to open up about what is going on inside your emotions.

Avoid Holding Back

Holding back your emotions doesn’t benefit you or those around you. Pain is inevitable, but you must grieve effectively and in order to do this, it’s essential that you share and release your pain with others. It’s often beneficial to talk with others who have also lost a loved one to addiction, such as groups that are designed specifically for loved ones of men and women who had a substance abuse problem. For instance, Al-Anon groups are typically located in most cities, and they will not only be able to provide you with information regarding addiction but direct you to additional support groups that help with the grieving process.

Grieve in a Healthy Way

It is essential for your emotional as well as physical health that you allow yourself to not only grieve but to grieve in a healthy way. There are many stages of the grieving process, and your health depends on your experience in all stages. Over time the shock and the denial will gradually fade, so focusing on living in the present will help ground you through the denial phase of grief. Another phase is anger and you’re entitled to be angry, so allow yourself to be angry by expressing the anger in healthy ways. It is critical that you remember that you were and are powerless over what has happened. Depression is also a stage of grief that you must get through, but once you have worked through the anger and hurt, it will eliminate the risk for harboring resentments, which creates unnecessary distances between you and your loved ones when you need them the most. Although it’s difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel-acceptance will eventually come.

Living Your Life Well

One of the best ways to honor your lost loved one is to live your life the way they would want it for you. So, don’t forget to take care of yourself. The grieving process is stressful and overwhelming, but it’s critical that you not lose yourself in the process. Participating in activities you enjoy, such as taking a walk, listening to your favorite music or finishing that book you started is a great way to calm your mind and rejuvenate your emotional and physical strength.

After losing a loved one to substance abuse, it is common for family and friends to blame themselves, to look for ways that they could have helped or try to look for what they may have done wrong. Do not blame yourself or others! Harboring these feelings will prevent you from moving on and prevent you from healthy grieving. It’s important that you are gentle with yourself and give yourself space, time and patience you need to work through the loss.

Signs of Drug Addiction in Women

Research relating to addiction is often focused on men, primarily because earlier researchers generally assumed that addiction was mostly a male problem or that women with drug addiction have the same experiences as men have. However, there are significant environmental and biological factors; an addiction in women is so significantly different that it affects the way their treatment is approached. Not only is the approach to addiction treatment different for women than in men, but the signs of addiction in women may also be different. Here are some of the signs of drug addiction in women.

Physical Signs of Drug Addiction in Women

It’s important to note that drug addiction can affect women from all walks of life. The first step to identifying if a female in your life has an addiction problem is though physical signs. If you notice any of the following signs, it’s essential that ask them straightforward questions, including “are you using drugs”? If you suspect a drug addiction, it’s important to encourage them to seek addiction treatment immediately. Physical signs of an addiction to drugs may include:

  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Dilated or pinpoint pupils
  • Sudden weight changes, either weight gain or weight loss
  • Difficulty walking, tremors and/or slurred speech
  • Overly energetic, increased alertness or hyperactivity
  • Lethargy
  • Change in sleep patterns
  • Marks on the skin
  • Frequent picking at or itching of the skin

Behavioral Signs of Drug Addiction in Women

If you haven’t witnessed the person in question using drugs or you have seen the physical signs of addiction, but you still suspect drug abuse, there are behavioral changes that may indicate addiction. It is important, however, to keep in mind that everyone’s behaviors often change for different reasons. For instance, the behaviors of a teenage girl may change as they transfer into adulthood. With that said, drug addiction can cause a wide range of behavioral changes in women, including:

  • Lack of motivation at work, school or home
  • Decrease in concern for personal hygiene and appearance
  • Increase in impulsive risks
  • Frequently borrowing money without an explanation
  • Changes and/or problems in relationships
  • Loss of interest in activities they once enjoyed
  • Withdrawing from social circles, friends, and family
  • Unexplained accidents, isolation or secrecy
  • Avoiding conversations and hiding things

Psychological Signs of Drug Addiction in Women

Teenage girls are notorious for their moodiness and personality changes, but extreme changes in their demeanor is often a sign of drug or alcohol use, especially in adult females. Many of the psychological signs of drug addiction are short-term, but with ongoing use, it can lead to long-term emotional and mental effects in women. Some of the common psychological signs of addiction in women may include:

  • Hallucinations or delusions
  • Increased confusion
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Short-term memory is diminished
  • Increased aggressiveness, hostility and belligerence
  • Sudden symptoms of a co-occurring disorder, such as depression, anxiety or paranoia
  • Loss of control
  • Compulsive drug cravings
  • Inability to stop drug use due to psychological dependence

Studies have shown that women are more prone to developing a drug addiction through less use of the drug than men. Women also tend to experience more social consequences, and they have a more difficult time quitting as well as a higher risk of relapse. This is due in part to the way women respond to stress. Women are also more likely than men to relapse into drug use in response to stress triggers. Unfortunately, women are also less likely to seek addiction treatment. The reason for this is because there is much more stigma attached to women and substance abuse. There is addiction treatment available that is designed specifically for women, which treats both the addiction as well as any co-occurring disorders. If you know a female that is suffering with drug addiction, it is essential for their life to encourage them to seek treatment as soon as possible.

Domestic Violence: How It Can Lead To Substance Abuse

Unfortunately, it is common for domestic violence and addiction to go hand-in-hand. It is common for both men and women that engage in domestic violence to blame their actions on drugs or alcohol. When the abuser sobers up, they are often remorseful and claim they weren’t aware of what they were doing. For either the abuser or the victim, substance abuse can increase the risk of more violence. An addiction to drugs or alcohol leads to extremely intense and damaging mental and physical conditions for the abuser as well as the victim. The good news is that there is help available for the women and men that are violent or are the victims of domestic violence.

Diminished Self-Control

Substance abuse can diminish self-control and reduce inhibitions over their emotions, which may lead to domestic violence, often it’s because they are unable to cope with their inner turmoil. Alcohol and drug abuse may also make it extremely difficult for them to make good decisions about their behavior in the heat of the moment.  This poor degree of self-control may easily lead to domestic violence on the part of the abuser. An addiction to drugs or alcohol alters nervous structures and chemicals in the brain; drug abuse changes personalities and changes priorities. For these reasons and many more, it is critical that they be treated for both their addiction and violent tendencies.

Are Substance Abusers More Like to Become a Domestic Violence Victim?

Studies have shown that substance abuse may increase the risk of women and men being victims of domestic abuse. Drugs and alcohol have a significant effect on your body and its various systems; substance abuse alters the thinking of the user. For instance, using alcohol creates negative effects on cognitive capabilities, which may result in those who are using to exercise poor judgment and place themselves at risk of being the victim of domestic violence. There is also evidence of a high probability that women and men who are victims of violence have substance abuse problems. Sadly, children of those who abuse drugs and alcohol are also often attacked during the abuse of a loved one. It is common for many of these children to become accustomed to these behaviors from childhood, resulting in them becoming abusers or victims of domestic violence in adulthood.

Treatment for Domestic Violence and Substance Abuse

Treatment for domestic violence and substance abuse should be integrated. Just like other co-occurring disorders, collaboration among healthcare professionals is essential in order to best address each individual condition. The trauma that is often caused by domestic violence victims generally requires different treatment options that the treatment methods for the abuser; however, when substance abuse is mixed into the factor, it is critical that the treatment methods be done at the same time for the best chances of recovery.

Because of the trauma and severity relating to domestic violence as well as the stigma that is often related to substance abuse, it is common for people to be discouraged about seeking treatment. Many people that experience domestic violence have gone through other traumas in their lives, such as sexual abuse, childhood neglect and other types of violence. For this reason, experiencing any type of discrimination can be extremely traumatic on its own, which limits their access to support and services. Since many victims of domestic violence turn to substance abuse in an attempt to deal with the trauma of the abuse, disclosing their alcohol and drug abuse to others is often the primary reason they delay seeking treatment. However, it is critical to understand that domestic violence generally results in physical and emotional injuries as well as other health problems if you do not seek help. Treatment can help you learn how to overcome being a victim of abuse, resist being the abuser and put your substance abuse behind you.

Stress and Substance Abuse: How Strong is the Connection?

Recent advances in the study of addiction and the science of recovery have delivered strong evidence that a link exists between stress, drug use, drug abuse, and addiction. Stress has long been recognized as both a necessary element for personal growth and learning as well as a significant health hazard. In order for a human being to remain healthy, happy, and productive- some degree of stress is necessary. The question is, where is the balancing point before stress becomes a hazard- and how much of a risk of addiction does stress impose on and men and women?

Stress: The Addiction Connection

The research has shown time and again, that the initiation of drug use, drug abuse, and relapse are more likely to occur in persons who exhibit signs of stress or who report feeling stressed. A number of studies are currently in circulation in addiction medicine circles which offer compelling, statistically supported arguments for this claim.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, different people have different tolerances to stress or “stress thresholds.” They explain that stress has a physiological basis, and once the threshold is reached, the hypothalamus is engaged, releasing the “corticotropin-releasing hormones,” the stress hormone known more broadly as cortisol. When this happens, the individual receives a strong chemical signal within the brain that triggers pleasure and/or comfort seeing behaviors. 

How Much Stress is Too Much?

This idea has gained a great deal of traction in the world of addiction treatment. The notion that self-control can be compared to a muscle that has a limited amount of energy and a limited lifting capacity has taken root in treatment culture and practice. This is particularly true of evidence-based treatment programs. The simple reason for this that the idea is both backed up my massive amounts of statistical evidence- and it is strongly in agreement with the common intuition about self-control- ie; that it is limited.

Of course, there is no universal stress threshold that applies to everyone. One person’s resistance to stress is dependent on perceptions about one’s self, the type of stressor experienced, and underlying physiological factors rendering the individual’s capacity for self-control.

The studies promoting this view are largely unanimous in their findings. They show that persons exposed to stress;

  • Are more likely to abuse alcohol or other drugs
  • Are more likely to continue using alcohol or other drugs
  • Exhibit a decreased expressed interest in exhibiting self-control
  • Report increases ideations related to using drugs or alcohol
  • Report a sharp increase in interest in drugs which they have used before

The researchers agree that the biological mechanism that makes an individual capable of resisting temptation is a delicate one. Their findings support the notion that stress can disrupt the mechanism of self-control, deplete its chemical reserves- rendering the self-control mechanism effectively inoperative.

Addiction as a Disease Process

Over the years, the notion that addiction is not a moral failing, but the disease has received a great deal of push-back. There is some reason to resist the idea because if the moral component of drug abuse is removed, it would seem that addicts would have one less emotional resource to draw upon in their recovery.

Still, the evidence that addiction is, in fact, disease and not a character flaw is strongly supported by these findings on stress and drug use. While these developments may take some moral impetus away from the recovering addict- it is a virtual certainty that advances in addiction treatment will develop as a result of this relatively new understanding.

Evidence-Based Addiction Treatment

Divided roughly into Pharmacotherapies and Behavioral Therapies, evidence-based addiction treatment is based on empirical, statistical, and medical evidence which shows a given treatment to have the effect of reducing use, abuse, and relapse- making recovery more likely.

The scientific movement which views self-control as limited physiological research has been a big part of the rise of the evidence-based treatment model.

Possibly the greatest advance has been the reduction in the perceived stigma of entering treatment as a confession of weakness or a moral failing. Recovering from an addiction may be difficult, but it is possible. Ceasing to be a “bad” or “weak person,” on the other hand- is not so straight forward. It would appear that removing the stigma of immorality from addiction has made it easier for those who need help to seek it.

Of course, when all is said and done- we are all still responsible for our own actions. The harm done to one’s self and others as the result of addictions is still the responsibility of the person who committed harmful actions. But it is widely recognized that forgiving one’s self is an important part of overcoming addiction- and by understanding the true nature of self-control, self-forgiveness becomes much more achievable.

How to Quit Heroin: Should You Go It Alone, or Seek Addiction Treatment?

If you have developed a heroin problem and are considering quitting, you deserve credit. Reaching this point means you have the wisdom to know that you have a problem- and that’s no small task. Maybe you have learned from the mistakes of others. Maybe you have hit rock bottom, or maybe someone in your life loves you enough to step in and say something. Whatever it is that’s brought you here, looking for answers- may this be the beginning of your journey to recovery.

How to Quit Heroin

To begin, it should be said that quitting heroin is never something that should be done alone. For those who have become physically dependent on the drug, quitting without help can be dangerous. If you are physically dependent on heroin, alcohol, or any opioid drug- professional medical detox services are often necessary to achieve a safe and effective recovery. That being said, there are ways to quit heroin- and you are not alone. Many people have faced the challenge of heroin addiction, and help is out there.

1. Quitting Cold Turkey

The importance of seeking professional detox services for those who are dependent on opiates cannot be overstated. However, if you are confident that you are healthy enough, and that your level of physical dependence is low enough- it is possible to go cold turkey– endure the withdrawals and successfully come off of the drug.

For some people, the challenge of overcoming withdrawals is appealing. For others, the pain barrier will simply be too much. Some degree of self-knowledge would be a great help here- otherwise, you risk enduring a day or two of painful withdrawals only to fail. This can lead to a sense of shame, which can deepen any addiction. In short- going cold turkey is not for everyone and there are significant risks.

2. Weaning off Slowly

Once again, we are talking about a method of quitting that is best suited to a certain personality type. Coming off slowly may be less painful, but the period of relapse risk is longer. With this method, it will be critical to obtain support and cut one’s self off from any use of triggers and drug connections.

During the weaning off period, you might consider going on vacation, staying away from social events- and binging on movies, television, video games, indulgent food, and so on. Research has shown that our capacity for resisting temptation is like a muscle. It can only perform so much work before it fails. So during a weaning off period, making heroin (and all harmful drugs) the only temptation you will avoid may be wise.

It will be important to set up rules for yourself that you intend to follow. Get others involved. Tell people you trust what you intend to do and ask them to check in on you periodically. Set a definite start date for yourself- after which you will begin using less.

Weaning one’s self off heroine comes with one major roadblock- if you do not have the supply you need at the start- you will have to obtain more during the weaning period which means not only breaking the law but also coming into contact with trigger people and scenarios. For these reasons, we cannot recommend weaning off of heroin outside of a professional replacement therapy regimen.

3. Abandon all Bridges to Drug Use

Regardless of the method, you use to quit, cutting all ties to use, both emotional and interpersonal, is critical. Much of the addiction process is psychological. That is not to say that there is not a physical reality to addiction- there is. But much of it has to do with emotional factors, perceptions, and habits. Bridges to use are not just drug connections- but people, events, places, music, or anything that triggers positive thoughts about using heroin.

Eliminating and avoiding any and all triggers must become a major part of any recovering addicts’ daily life.

4. Find a Safe and Secluded Place to Stay

Unless you intend to complete your recovery in a rehabilitation center, you will need a place to stay where former drug connections, friends-in-use, and other triggers are not a factor.

Your recovery location should have everything you need during your initial recovery. This includes food, entertainment, and ideally- the loving support of family or loved ones not connected to your addiction.

Seek Support & Professional Help

At the end of the day, beating a heroin addiction is not something anyone should try to do alone. Heroin is infamously addictive and dangerous.

If you or someone you love has developed an addiction to heroin, professional recovery services are the best prescription. At a detox and recovery center, recovering addicts can obtain distance from the people and locations that trigger use, access sympathetic support, and avail themselves of any necessary medical help.

 

How Gender Specific Treatment is Beneficial for Women

Overcoming drug and alcohol addiction is tough for anyone, but modern research is indicating that women are less likely than men to undergo treatment. This is because of a multitude of factors, including the fact that women often do not have easy access to treatment. Furthermore, many addiction treatment programs have not been updated in years, and they stem from methods that were primarily geared towards male clientele at one point in time. In reality, women and men tend to experience addiction differently in the first place.

Fortunately, an increasing amount of treatment programs (like those at Newport Beach Recovery) are starting to both recognize the problem and address it. While all people may benefit from gender-specific treatment, women, in particular, may experience higher success rates and greater life improvement in general.

It’s natural to have questions. But if you or a loved one are suffering from addiction, there’s no better time than now to find a treatment program that works. Here’s how gender-specific addiction treatment can be beneficial for women.

How Do Women Experience Addiction Differently?

To fully understand how gender-specific treatment works, it is important to realize the ways in which a person may experience addiction based on their gender. While on the surface it may not seem that gender plays much of a role in addiction, the truth is quite the contrary. In addition to many women not having easy access to addiction treatment, women also tend to be more hesitant to seek treatment in the first place. Because of women’s average lower body weight and naturally higher proportions of fatty tissue, women also tend to become addicted faster to substances and experience more severe effects.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, women also tend to relapse more often than men even after seeking treatment.

What Do the Statistics Say?

National data consistently demonstrates that gender plays an important role in addiction and recovery. In fact, a report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recently showed that fewer women overall use substances, but they are more likely to use certain ones than men are. Specifically, far higher percentages of women than men tend to use opioids, prescription pain relievers, methamphetamine/amphetamine, heroin, cocaine, etc. than their male counterparts (who stick more to alcohol and marijuana).

It may also be because of these differences that women tend to relapse more often and experience more intense cravings. Though the studies here can be a little conflicting at times, the general consensus about women having a more difficult time staying sober remains the same.

Likewise, a study from DrugAbuse.gov shows that women use smaller amounts of substances for shorter periods of time before becoming addicted. Around 19.5 million U.S. women over the age of 18 use illicit substances in a single year alone. The same study also cited data from the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) that shows pregnant women who use drugs or alcohol are two to three times more likely to miscarry or deliver a stillborn baby. Meanwhile, those that are born to mothers who used substances during pregnancy are at a far higher risk of a wide variety of medical disorders.

What Exactly is Gender-Specific Treatment?

It’s crucial for successful addiction treatment programs to take into account the fact that drugs and alcohol tend to affect women more severely. And because women are at a higher risk of relapse, any program that is geared towards them must have a strong focus on preventing relapse. Gender-specific treatment goes far beyond the initial stages of detoxification and incorporates various physical and mental therapy methods to help with this.

More specifically, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism stipulates that a gender-specific treatment program (for any substance, not just alcohol) must meet the following criteria:

  • They seek to improve/provide care for women who seek help with their mental health
  • They refer women to specialized treatment for their specific addiction
  • They are aware of and identify certain groups of women who may benefit the most from gender-specific intervention and treatment
  • They take certain female-specific risk factors into account

How is the Right Gender-Specific Treatment Program Found?

Overcoming any kind of substance addiction is challenging regardless of gender. And just like men, women should carefully consider their treatment options before just jumping into the first program they find. That said, it is important to ask questions early on about what to expect while in treatment and how successful the program has been for others. And as far as gender-specific addiction treatment goes, it may be worthwhile to ask how many other women have been treated as well as how many women are on staff.

But it’s crucial not to wait. To learn more about gender-specific treatment, contact the experienced and caring professionals at Newport Beach Recovery today.

How To Talk To Your Family About Your Addiction Problem

It is never easy to have a conversation where you are left feeling vulnerable, and few conversations are more difficult than discussing a personal drug or alcohol addiction with friends and family. For a variety of reasons, you may be afraid. You need to look past the fear if you want to maintain or rebuild an honest relationship with the people you love most.

To help combat your nerves before getting started, ask yourself a few basic questions and honestly assess your answers. These will help you determine if now is the right time to have a conversation or pursue addiction treatment.

Do I party or have an addiction?

Sometimes it is hard to admit you have an addiction, particularly when you associate your behaviors with a party or social lifestyle. If you are still trying to determine if your regular drinks after work are a problem, you may want to discuss addiction recovery with a third-party before talking to your family. Someone else who has battled their way forward from a drug or alcohol dependency or who is skilled in treatment can help you see how your drinking or use is impacting your life. This can help you develop the confidence needed to describe your battle to others.

Am I ready to get help?

After you have talked to someone about the possibility of treatment and recovery, you need to assess if you are ready to move forward with finding a treatment program. Your family can be of tremendous help here, but only when you can commit to a journey toward sobriety.

Can I take responsibility for my actions?

As you started drinking or using drugs, it is possible your habit started to impact your relationships with friends and family. If that is the case, you need to be prepared to admit this. Part of a long-term program will include working to repair fractured relationships you want to maintain. Discussing and acknowledging your behavior at the beginning is a big step forward.

And it is important to realize “damage” to a relationship does not have to be a dramatic fight or a full breakdown while high or drunk. It can be an extended period of not returning phone calls, failing to be there when you had a friend in need or skipping out on basic obligations.

There may also be hurt feelings you have caused or pain left in your wake you never noticed. Part of speaking to your family could include hearing about things you did you never knew would hurt those you loved. You need to be prepared to have these difficult conversations if your family starts a larger discussion. Sometimes, they may not share until your recovery journey unfolds further or not at all.

Will my family support me?

It is important to acknowledge you are responsible for your addiction recovery. This means not blaming others for your behavior. However, it is also important to recognize some family members or friends can act as triggers for you. Whether they goad you emotionally or tempt you with their own drinking or drug use, they are a toxic presence in your life.

When you feel your family is unlikely to support you on your treatment path or may even sabotage you, you should not feel compelled to involve them in the process. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tell them in most circumstances. It does mean a phone call relaying you are entering a treatment program for XX amount of days is sufficient. As you become more confident in your sobriety, you may feel better about talking to a wider range of people, but there is no need to potentially sabotage your progress as you are getting started.

How can I start the conversation?

The best way to start a hard conversation is to lay the biggest truth on the table immediately. State that you are addicted and are starting a treatment program. If you are comfortable speaking more about the ins and outs of your addiction, your behavior and how you decided to seek treatment, do so. When your emotions are too raw, let your family ask you questions and answer them truthfully.

What are my next steps?

Before or after talking to your family, it is up to you to sign up for a drug or alcohol addiction treatment and recovery program like Newport Beach Recovery in Costa Mesa, CA. Discuss your treatment program with your family members and advise them on how they can help you with the recovery process. You are likely to find a much larger source of support than you realized, and this will be key for your long-term success in a program.

The Benefits To An Outpatient Program

With an outpatient program for addiction treatment, patients can attend treatment while also having time to do everything else that is important to them. Whether it is taking care of family, going to work or taking classes, outpatient therapy can serve as a great way to get addiction treatment without having to stay at a rehabilitation center.

What are the benefits of outpatient programs?

These programs offer many advantages in comparison to other forms of addiction treatment.

  • Flexibility to find a program that works best with your schedule. Outpatient addiction treatments have a range of options that fit into your life. Some of these programs include group therapy, day treatment and even family therapy.
  • More cost-effective than residential programs. Since you do not have to pay for meals and overnight accommodations, these addiction treatment programs are typically less expensive than inpatient options.
  • Build a network of support from others in addiction treatment who can hold you accountable when not in outpatient programs. Having support from others in your addiction program who can relate to what you are going through can be helpful. It can definitely help to build a community of people who understand your struggles and temptations because they have been there, too.
  • Do not have to worry about taking off work or school, or rejecting other activities while in an outpatient program. Because outpatient treatments are on your schedule, there is room in your life to still work or attend classes while in addiction treatment. Plus the ability to stay in contact with your social network can lower stress, which is incredibly important as you battle addiction.
  • Living in the real world while also attending addiction treatment. One of the most difficult parts for patients who graduate in an inpatient program is returning to the real world. By doing an outpatient program, addiction is managed while also dealing with external factors and threats to recovery.

Who benefits from outpatient programs?

Outpatient addiction programs can be a great asset for many people. Addictions can vary, but outpatient treatment can be a tool for any of them. Besides the person battling addiction, there are other people who can benefit from outpatient programs.

  • Employers. If a person can get treatment in the evenings, employers will not have to worry about replacing someone during business hours. Plus, this helps the employee not have to use paid-time-off.
  • Families. You will not have to miss your child’s soccer game. You can be there on the weekends. You can see your family. Going to an outpatient program means that you do not have to wait for your family to visit you in order to spend time with them. You are able to live your life, while also getting help for your addiction. Plus there are also opportunities for families to be a part of the treatment process with family counseling and therapy, to provide your loved ones with the resources to know how to talk to you and support you through your recovery.
  • Friends. With an outpatient recovery program, friends can see you as you get treatment for addiction. There is not a wait or an awkward pause between getting treated and seeing your friends. This is a process that friends can benefit from since they can be a part of the journey and watch as you go through treatment.
  • Pets. Of course, your fluffiest family members benefit from having your care. Not having to get a sitter to watch your home and pets is a great perk of outpatient addiction treatment.

Why are outpatient programs used?

Outpatient programs can be used as a post-inpatient program to ensure recovery is held accountable. Outpatient programs can also be useful to people who might not have the option to complete residential addiction treatment. Overall, outpatient treatment provides an alternative approach to residency programs, but can also be used as a tool after inpatient addiction treatment is complete.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, don’t be afraid to reach out! Contact us today here at Newport Beach Recovery Center!