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.

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.

The Importance of 12-step Fellowship

The path to recovery for an addict is one that has many challenges; for the individuals and those close to them. However, it is possible to kick the addiction and lead a healthy lifestyle.  It requires a personal conviction to make the situation better.

No one can underrate the importance of the 12-step fellowship when it comes to helping individuals achieve sobriety. The basis of the program is to give recovering addicts certain steps by which they should live by.

Initially, its application was mainly for those with alcohol addiction. Now, its use has extended to other forms of addiction including overeating, drug addiction, obsessive gambling among others.

The experts also encourage family members to attend the sessions, because it helps to break the co-dependence that addicts and those close to them have.

 What are the 12 steps

The 12 steps are basically guidelines that a recovering addict will use in order to achieve sobriety.  It has been very successful, and even those who have completed the program continue to attend so as to maintain a sober state.

The 12 step program has its basis on religion and God, but people of different beliefs have found an effective way of overcoming addiction using it.  A summary of the 12 steps are:-

  1. Admission –  admitting that you are powerless over the addiction
  2. Recognition – Recognising end  believing that a higher power can help you
  3. Submission –  submitting  to the higher power
  4. Understanding – Making a fearless moral inventory of ourselves
  5. Confession –  admitting  to God,  ourselves and others the exact nature of our wrongs
  6. Readiness –  being ready to have God remove all the defects of character
  7. Humility – humbly asking God to remove the shortcomings
  8. Reparation –  being  willing to make amends with any person you have wronged
  9. Apology –  making amends with any person you have wronged but only if it will not injure you or them
  10. Integrity – continuously taking personal inventory and admitting when  you are wrong
  11. Meditation –  improve conscious contact with God as you understand him through prayer and meditation
  12. Spiritual Awakening – having a spiritual awakening by following the steps above

 Benefits of the 12 Steps to an addict

The reassurance that you’re not alone

The recovery process can be lonely especially if the people around you do not understand what you’re going through.  By interacting with people in a similar situation, you get a sense of belonging.

Group members understand what it is like to live as an addict, and will not judge you in any way.  It also makes it easy for you to share new challenges because you are likely to get good advice from people who have been in that situation.

Fellowship

The fellowship is one of the key aspects of the 12-step program.  Participants encourage each other to succeed in fighting the Demons of addiction.  you have access to additional support by getting a sponsor,  someone who will take you through the entire process by availing themselves to you anytime you need them.

Introspection

Taking an honest look at yourself is a great tool for achieving sobriety.  By admitting that you have shortcomings, and may be making the wrong choices in life,  it becomes easier for you to change.  Introspection will also give you a chance to see how you treat the people who are close to you.  You can then start to rebuild any relationships you may have destroyed during the days of addiction.

Does the program work

 Research around the 12-step program indicates that it can be very effective for those who are willing to go through the process.  However,   anyone who finds themselves in the program due to family Intervention, or through the justice system may not respond well to it.  Just like any other drug treatment program, the rate of relapse in those who are not ready to start the journey of recovery is very high.

Interesting things to note from the research above show that:-

  •  Those who have less religious inclinations tend to benefit more from the program
  •  Older adults and women benefit more from the group sessions
  •  Regular attendance to the program is important for long-term recovery

 Shortcomings of the program

While the success of the program is clear, there are however some people who disagree with it. The program is time-consuming and some people are not comfortable in groups.  There is a heavy emphasis on religion which some people may not agree with.

Others believe that the program encourages the transfer of dependence from family members, to other people in the group including the sponsor.

Final thoughts

The 12-step program will provide a solution for one who is on the path to recovery. there is no use of medication and it, therefore, requires discipline and personal motivation to change.

Family members can also benefit by taking part in the programs because it gives them valuable coping skills of how to live with a recovering addict.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, reach out to us at Newport Beach Recovery Center. We’re here for you. Contact us today.

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.

Benzos & Women: A Common Problem

Drugs such as Xanax, Valium, and Klonopin are often prescribed for conditions like anxiety and insomnia. These drugs are part of a class of drugs called benzodiazepines, or more commonly Benzos. These drugs are often prescribed along with opioids and are only often just as responsible for addictions. In fact, the  National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) has reported that thirty percent of overdoses involving opioids also involve Benzos. The two drugs alone are highly addictive and when combined they can be a very deadly combination. Use, and abuse, of Benzos, has increased over the past several years in every age group but the most affected group is women, who have prescribed this class of drug at a rate twice that of men.

Why Women Become Addicted to Benzos

Most addictions to Benzos start out as the woman being prescribed the medication when she goes to the doctor and complains of anxiety attacks or stress-related insomnia. Women are often more willing to express these things to a doctor. Today’s women are often caretakers to both children and aging parents. They take on many responsibilities and are not as willing to take time for themselves to relax. They worry about the people under their care and forget to care for themselves.

Benzos were meant to be a short-term solution to problems such as anxiety and insomnia but many doctors will prescribe them over a long period of time because they understand the conditions causing the stress in a woman’s life are not always ones that disappear. Women become addicted easier than men because their body weight is lower and chemical changes within their bodies occur more frequently. It becomes easy to rely on the medication to unwind and get a good night’s sleep after a day of worry and stress. When waking up has the woman facing the same stressors, another dose will help her get through the day. The body builds a tolerance to Benzos quickly and larger doses are increasingly required in order to relax.

Signs of Benzo Addiction

Anyone, not just women is at risk of addiction. The fact that women are prescribed Benzos at twice the rate of men accounts in part for the increased number of addictions to Benzos we see in women. Because they are prescribed, and only a small number of women turn to illegal means of obtaining them, the signs of addiction often go unnoticed. Some of these signs include:

*An increased need for the medication to get through the day. Feeling you can’t get through the day without it.

*Immediately reaching for your prescription when you anticipate a stressful situation.

*Having to change brands (say from Valium to Xanax) because a former prescription doesn’t seem to work any longer.

*An inner knowing that tells you it is time to get help.

Treatment

Rehab for Benzo addiction must not only address the physical drug addiction but also the underlying condition that put the woman at risk to start with. While the causes of extreme stress can’t always be eliminated, learning how to deal with these situations is important. In addition to counseling, both individual and group, and possibly even family counseling, learning positive coping skills is necessary. These include learning ways you can relax, methods for taking care of your own needs, and overall skills for relaxation and stress management. Often this is best done on an inpatient basis as it allows you to put aside other responsibilities and concentrate on getting well.

Final Thoughts

Many women feel they don’t have time to devote to recovery. They are afraid that their family or job will be lost without them. It is essential to realize that if you fall apart, you can’t do your best for others. There is a good reason for airlines to caution parents to put on their own air masks first during an emergency. If you aren’t functioning, you can’t be there for others. Newport Beach recovery has experience helping women like you and your loved ones overcome their Benzo addictions. Contact us today and start on your road to recovery now. Tomorrow will dawn brighter and see a stronger you ready to face whatever may come from a place of empowerment.

Sexual Trauma & Substance Abuse: How to Recover from Both

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

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

Depression

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

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

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

Dissociation

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

How to recover

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

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

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

A Guide to the 10 Most Dangerous Drugs

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

Heroin

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

Cocaine

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

Oxycodone

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

Alprazolam

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

Fentanyl

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

Morphine

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

Methamphetamine

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

Methadone

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

Hydrocodone

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

Diazepam

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

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

The Pros + Cons of Couples Addiction Treatment

Addiction is a progressive and fatal disease that can be difficult to overcome. The road to recovery can be difficult for some, while others recover without issue. When it comes to couples that are addicted, it can be an especially difficult process, however, that doesn’t mean couples cannot recover together. There are those professionals who do not support couples addiction treatment, while others are finding success thanks to individualized and evidence-based programming.

The underlying psychological patterns that so often cause addiction are usually laid down during childhood traumas. The roots can include disorders such as depression, anxiety, unchecked rage, and personality maladaptations. It goes almost without saying that relationship difficulties and strife can also be caused by these same dynamics. Therefore, on a certain level, it does make sense to address both addiction and couples problems in the same safe therapeutic setting. If there is a group of the right therapists and patients, then great progress can be made towards mental health and recovery.

The Upside and Downside to Couples Addiction Treatment

Couples counseling, when it takes place in a setting of abstinence from all controlled substances and with the guidance of professional counselors, can conquer these issues and help put them permanently in the past.  This could potentially save the marriage or relationship that has been jeopardized by substance abuse. The assistance of counselors is key.  When a couple finds themselves navigating through recovery without a program of support, it will often happen that one addict will fall back into patterns of substance use while the other one is finding success going clean.  This greatly increases the chances of a double relapse and adds a great weight of recrimination and responsibility to the already difficult situation.  The couple’s individual issues and the way they work together as a team will probably have grown at least somewhat toxic during the process of addictive behavior, so it may not be an easy thing to untangle. Individual conventional behavioral therapy will be necessary as well, as it is essential to conquering the underlying reasons behind each person’s reason for using substances obsessively in the first place. Then a team of therapists must make clear how each addict’s behavior influences the other, creating the addictive team they have become.  This gives the addictive couple the hope to live normal, happy, and productive lives, to be good parents and good family members.  In order for this to become a reality, both people must be willing to humble themselves and go through the full program of couples recovery.

What to Expect in Therapy

Untangling the reasons behind addiction and investigating the problems with a relationship or marriage are no easy tasks by themselves.  Taken together, they represent a great feat that requires deep willingness to get to the root of problems and test each person’s ability to feel great discomfort. Healing is no easy task. It requires each person to look inward and take responsibility for their own emotions, actions, and personal histories. The couples in couples rehab can expect uncomfortable questions, feelings of  vulnerability, and emotional exposure. A deep level of trust has to exist in the relationship for therapy to even have a chance to work. If the relationship is without that trust in both individuals, then therapy will be useless.  Without trust, no true emotional opening can occur. However, the rewards are also great.  The addicted individuals can expect to feel great emotional relief after a successful session or series of sessions. If both people commit to giving the program 100% of their effort and thought, then they can confidently expect immediate improvements in the dynamics of addiction and their relationship. The only barriers that lie in the way of success are in the inability of one or both parties to confront their tumultuous inner landscapes.

Hard Decisions

The individual addicts and their relationship as a whole must be assessed to see if it can remain viable. Both parties should decide if the relationship is worth saving. An addict being married to another addict can be a truly dangerous thing, especially when there are children involved. The couple should consider their children, their family, and the quality of love that they both feel in that relationship. If the relationship is lacking in any way that cannot be repaired, then the couple should do the responsible thing and separate. After all, it is much easier to get sober without another addict’s battle against substance abuse to influence and affect the situation. If there is no possibility of ending the relationship, then it is paramount that both people in the relationship give 100% of their effort to recovery. If they do not, then they face disaster, financial ruin, and possibly death.  A solid commitment from both people to behavioral talk therapy and some sort of structured recovery program will mean that success is absolutely possible.  There is a life after addiction, and therapy can get them there.
Although couples addiction therapy is seemingly overwhelming and may seem impossible, it is possible. With the right professional help and guidance, we can help you get through addiction together. Contact us today to find out more information.

How to Find the Best Drug Rehab for You

Alcoholism is a baffling disease that affects people from all walks of life. Even when someone is aware that they have a drinking problem, it can be virtually impossible for them to give up alcohol, unless they are committed to changing their lifestyle and have a strong support system. An addiction treatment center offers a residential setting, counseling sessions, and group meetings that will assist with the recovery phase.

Receive A Recommendation

A doctor or psychiatrist can assist a patient in locating a treatment center that offers a variety of services and individualized treatment plans. Some treatment centers are expensive to attend, but this does not necessarily mean that a client will receive the level of care that they need. An expensive center may offer luxury accommodations, but be understaffed or not require each resident to attend alcoholics anonymous meetings on a daily basis.

There are, however, some expensive treatment programs that have received rave reviews, but a less expensive center may also be highly recommended and could be a better fit for a person. An individual needs to decide the length of time that they are willing to commit to their recovery, the distance that they are able to travel, and the amount of money that can be invested in a treatment plan.

A caregiver will provide a list of the top drug rehabs that are located within the area that a patient has specified and may provide a brief overview of each establishment. The decision is ultimately left up to an individual, but it may be helpful to hear what a doctor thinks about each facility.

Contact A Few Rehabs & Do Your Research

It can be intimidating to contemplate how different things will be once in a treatment facility and a person who is struggling with an addiction may be worried that their personal needs won’t be met. The best drug treatment centers welcome newcomers to contact the director of a facility to ask questions or request some detailed information about the services that are offered.

For example, if an individual has been diagnosed with two or more conditions, they need to know if there are counselors available who can aid them with each part of the diagnosis. Sometimes, alcoholism becomes apparent after someone has dealt with depression or grief. Learning what triggers the urge to drink alcohol can assist with coping when cravings occur.

It can also be beneficial for someone to voice their fears during personal counseling sessions with a psychiatrist or counselor and this can help a client feel as if their problems aren’t as complex as they initially were. Intensive treatment often involves receiving help with withdrawal symptoms, attending individual and group counseling sessions, and attending daily meetings with other addicts.

Learn About What Each Program Offers Daily

A prospective client can acquire information about the daily schedule that they will be given when they enter a treatment facility. The top addiction treatment programs may offer family meetings and support sessions that will assist in resolving conflicts between relatives or strengthening relationships that were previously damaged because of alcohol abuse.

Residents may be required to clean their personal living space and assist with daily chores in common areas that are shared by the residents. Free time will also be available and these sessions can be used to read, write in a journal, or reflect upon the day’s activities.

When family members are included in a treatment plan, a patient may have a better chance of overcoming their addiction because they will have the support that they need and deserve. People who are part of an addict’s recovery plan will learn about addiction and what to expect as their loved one makes changes in their personal life.

Let Newport Beach Recovery Center Help You Find the Best Rehab for You

Newport Beach Recovery Center prides itself on helping anyone who contacts them, regardless of if you end up in our program or not. Our goal is to make sure all those seeking treatment and recovery find a path to the treatment that fits their individual needs. Call us today or contact us to learn more about how we can help you or a loved one overcome substance abuse for good.