Lone Wolf Entrepreneurs: Are You at Risk for Developing Addiction?

Addiction is a lonely disorder, and as people fall deeper and deeper into alcoholism or substance abuse, the more likely they are to isolate themselves from the people around them. This is especially true for the lone wolf entrepreneur, whose introverted nature may make him more susceptible to alcoholism, and which may, in turn, make him more withdrawn and isolated. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today at (877) 474-7029 to speak to a knowledgeable substance abuse counselor about your options. With the help of a professional rehab facility, you can get the treatment you need, develop a strong support system, and overcome your addiction for good.

Why Do Alcoholics Isolate Themselves?

For most people, drinking alcohol is a social activity. Whether we are on a romantic date for two or surrounded by hundreds of people at a wedding or another big event, we find pleasure in drinking in the company of other people. Alcoholics, on the other hand, often like to drink alone, either to avoid being judged or because they feel like isolation and secretive use is imperative to protecting and prolonging their addiction. As their substance abuse progresses, they may become increasingly isolated and withdrawn, which is a huge red flag for addiction. Even if they continue to drink with friends and family members on certain occasions, alcoholics still tend to feel like they are separate from everyone else, or like they are somehow cut off from the rest of the world. This is when substance abuse can do the most damage – when the alcoholic feels like he has to face his addiction alone – and that is the main reason recovering alcoholics are encouraged to attend group therapy, so they can benefit from the connections made with like-minded people dealing with similar difficulties and challenges.

Signs of a Functioning Alcoholic

When an alcoholic manages to keep his drinking a secret, while convincing the rest of the world that he is a happy, healthy and productive member of society, this is considered high functioning alcoholism. A functioning alcoholic is someone who does not fit the typical stereotype of an alcoholic, which we think of as someone who can’t hold down a job or support himself financially. A functioning alcoholic engages in secretive use, often to a devastating degree, while maintaining what appears to be a “normal” home, work and social life, with a happy family, loyal friends and a successful career. Despite the fact that everything may seem fine in this situation, a functioning alcoholic is still putting his health in danger, perhaps even more so, because this particular type of substance abuse is more difficult to spot. Some common signs of a functioning alcoholic include:

  • Isolating from friends and family
  • Being in denial about their drinking
  • Setting strict drinking limits for themselves
  • Asking friends or loved ones to help them cover up the consequences of their drinking
  • Consuming alcohol to cope with their problems
  • Drinking alone and in secret
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they don’t drink

Functioning alcoholics can go years without being confronted about their problem or without being discovered, even by friends and loved ones. However, as time goes on, the risk of suffering the consequences of high functioning alcoholism increases dramatically, and the façade the alcoholic has worked so hard to build up will begin to crumble. A functioning alcoholic may, for example, be arrested for drinking and driving, or may suffer a failed marriage or some other tragedy before it becomes obvious that he or she needs help.

Entrepreneurs and Alcoholism

An entrepreneur is someone who creates and operates a business or businesses, and while this type of person often seems successful and powerful to the rest of us, many entrepreneurs subscribe to the idea of “fake it till you make it.” Entrepreneurs often have to juggle many different roles in their businesses and may face countless setbacks before becoming successful, including staffing problems, lost customers, increased competition, decreased revenue and disputes with partners, all the while eating poorly, sleeping too little and neglecting their health. This takes a significant physical and emotional toll on the body, and drinking becomes a way for them to keep themselves going. After all, running a business is risky and stressful, and a common coping mechanism for people who are stressed out is to drink.

Successful, high-powered entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg and Elon Musk achieve a sort of hero status in our culture, but what many of these entrepreneurs don’t show the world is the silent struggle they are experiencing on the inside. They want the people around them to think they are successful and have it all together, but in reality, many entrepreneurs continually find themselves on the brink of a breakdown. Recent research has drawn a strong link between entrepreneurship and certain mood disorders, like depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts, indicating that many successful business owners who are very visible and charismatic are actually harboring secret demons that they feel they must hide from the outside world. Rather than show their vulnerability and risk their professional reputation, they keep it bottled up and turn to alcohol to cope.

Contact BRS Rehab for Help

Statistics suggest that roughly half of all alcoholics meet the criteria for high functioning alcoholism, which means they are able to maintain a career, support their family and have a strong social network, all while drinking to excess in secret. Furthermore, research shows that entrepreneurs experience more anxiety and stress than other workers, which puts them at a greater risk for mood disorders and substance abuse. It may be more than just a stressful job that puts entrepreneurs at risk for developing addiction though. Researchers have found that many entrepreneurs share certain character traits, like high energy, motivation and creativity, that predispose them to mood swings, strong emotional states and possibly even addiction. If you recognize the signs of a functioning alcoholic in a loved one, contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today to find out how you can help. With the help of an individualized treatment plan and an experienced addiction recovery counselor, your loved one can finally overcome his or her addiction and get a fresh start in life.

Are Support Groups the Key to Fighting Addiction Isolation?

It’s very common for people facing an addiction disorder to isolate themselves from friends and family and spend a significant amount of time alone; in fact, isolating behavior is one of the top red flags to keep an eye out for if you suspect a loved one is abusing drugs or alcohol. Because their brains liken obtaining and consuming drugs or alcohol to survival, addicts and alcoholics are content to spend their time wasting away in a prison of their own creation, as long as they can get their next fix. However, when it comes to substance abuse, the danger lies in the willingness of an addict to live in isolation, and the key to fighting an addiction disorder is breaking free from that isolation and relying on a strong support system to get clean. For more information about fighting addiction isolation and achieving lasting recovery, contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today at (877) 474-7112 to speak to a qualified addiction recovery counselor.

Why do Addicts Isolate Themselves?

Addiction is a lonely disorder; no one wants to be around someone who is using, and someone who is using doesn’t want other people around either. There is a stigma associated with addiction, and most addicts find isolation and secretive use is imperative to protecting and prolonging their addiction. The isolation indicative of addiction can present itself in another way too, though. A high-functioning alcoholic, for example, still engages in secretive use, but at the same time has everyone around him convinced that he’s got it all together. This type of addict appears to be happy, healthy and successful, even while he is abusing alcohol, sometimes to a devastating degree. Such is functional alcoholism.

Unfortunately, the isolation that naturally comes with addiction and functional alcoholism is also what allows it to continue, and the only way to achieve lasting recovery and break free from the destructive cycle of addiction is to reach out and ask for help, either from friends and loved ones who want nothing more than to see you succeed, or from a support group with like-minded individuals who have been through similar trials and can offer first-hand advice on how to get through it. Even functional alcoholics eventually suffer the physical and psychological consequences of their alcohol abuse and may begin to isolate, too ashamed and afraid to let their friends and family members see who they really are. As their substance of choice takes on a more significant role in their lives, it’s only a matter of time before the cracks in the façade begin to show.

The Dangers of Addiction Isolation

For most people, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to be alone sometimes, but for addicts, the time they spend alone is the time they find themselves most overcome by euphoric recall, cravings to use and other urges common in addiction recovery, and the more time alone they have to obsess over drug and alcohol use, the more likely they are to give into their desires and relapse. The key here is the brain. Research has shown that prolonged alcohol or drug abuse can change the way the brain functions, and once the brain becomes accustomed to the presence of drugs or alcohol in the body over a period of time, it begins to crave the substance just to function normally, which is the beginning of addiction. Even after an addict makes the decision to quit drinking or using drugs and get sober, the changes the substance use imposes on the brain can make relapse all the more likely.

How to Fight Addiction Isolation

Addiction and alcoholism cannot be overcome alone, and as an addict, the best way to fight isolating behavior is to attend a support group, where addicts are encouraged to communicate with one another to work towards the common goal of recovery. Support groups come in all shapes and sizes, and whether you choose to attend a religious-based support group or 12-Step meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous, the fact that you are communicating with other people and sharing your experiences with fellow addicts who also want to get sober is healing in and of itself. The very nature of a support group is to bring people in similar situations together to share common experiences and help one another while also helping themselves, and you’ll find that when you’re in the company of other people, even people who are struggling just like you, you are no longer alone with your thoughts.

Even if you don’t have access to an organized support group or recovery program, or you don’t feel comfortable sharing your experiences with a group of strangers, you can fight addiction isolation by simply picking up the phone and having a conversation with someone who cares about your well-being. The simple act of talking to another person can be therapeutic, even if that person isn’t in recovery and even if you choose not to divulge exactly how you are feeling at that moment. The conversation will refocus your attention on something other than drinking or using drugs, and learning how to harness this ability to refocus your mind is the first step on the path to long-term sobriety. If you recognize signs of addiction isolation in a loved one, there are some things you should and shouldn’t do to help, including the following:

  • Be compassionate – Tell the person that you love them and are there for them, no matter what.
  • Be proactive – If the person’s isolation is becoming severe, get help immediately.
  • Share your experience – If you want to help the person find an addiction recovery program, share how your own program helped you.
  • Remind the person of better times – If they were able to stop using in the past, remind them of what it was like to be sober.
  • Don’t shame them – Don’t resort to threats or shame to try to convince the person to get help. It will only make the situation worse.
  • Don’t be passive-aggressive – Being passive-aggressive will only make the person feel abandoned and alone.
  • Don’t nag – The more times you say the same thing, the less the person will listen.
  • Don’t be overly enthusiastic – Being overly enthusiastic and acting like everything is perfectly fine will be seen as a sham. You have to be real when dealing with addiction.

Call BRS Rehab Today for Help

Whether the addiction or the isolation comes first, many people with substance use disorders keep to themselves, and this can spur a vicious cycle of isolation and abuse. The key to lasting recovery is to build a social network of people who are clean and sober and who are motivated to help you stay clean and sober as well. If you surround yourself with people who abuse drugs or alcohol, or if you insist on isolating yourself from others, it’s only a matter of time before you will start using again too. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction isolation, or if you are looking for an effective recovery program to treat your addiction, contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today to discuss your treatment options with an experienced substance abuse counselor. BRS Rehab offers individualized programs for a variety of addiction disorders, and will work with you to find the treatment path that works best for you.

Childhood Trauma: How Often Does it Lead to Addiction

Childhood trauma, including neglect and physical and sexual abuse, is a serious problem in the United States, and it is known that early exposure to trauma significantly increases the risk of psychiatric disorders in adulthood, as well as the risk of substance use disorders and addiction. A child’s physical and emotional experiences play a large role in shaping who he or she becomes later in life, particularly experiences as devastating as abuse or neglect, and understanding the role childhood trauma plays in an individual’s addiction disorder can help improve his or her chances of a successful recovery. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol possibly caused by exposure to childhood trauma, contact our substance abuse counselors at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services by calling (877) 479-7580 today.

What is Trauma?

Traumatic events in early life can have any number of long-lasting, adverse consequences, sometimes leading to debilitating mental health disorders or substance use disorders. There are a number of experiences that can constitute trauma in childhood, including physical abuse, sexual assault, serious accidents, the death of a loved one, physical or emotional neglect, separation from a parent or caregiver, domestic violence, a dysfunctional household, or any other event that overwhelms the individual’s ability to cope or changes how he or she perceives his or her place in the world. The reason why understanding and acknowledging that trauma occurred is important, is because numerous studies have reported that trauma in childhood can activate survival-oriented behaviors that lead to substance abuse and addiction. The most common reasons people begin abusing drugs or alcohol after suffering trauma include the following:

  • To escape memories
  • To soothe pain
  • To stay safe
  • To feel in control
  • To redefine who they are
  • To treat themselves the way they feel they deserve
  • To create a world they can tolerate

Abusing drugs or alcohol essentially becomes a coping mechanism for those who suffer childhood trauma, allowing them to lie to themselves and others in an effort to avoid facing the painful truth. And while experiencing childhood trauma doesn’t automatically guarantee that someone will develop a substance use disorder, trauma is a major underlying source of addiction-related behavior, including drug addiction, alcoholism and eating disorders.

Why Are Some People Prone to Addiction?

There is extensive research highlighting the myriad lasting effects of childhood trauma, and as one study states, “exposure to traumatic experiences, especially those occurring in childhood, has been linked to substance use disorders (SUDs), including abuse and dependence.” In one report involving more than 500 participants from Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia, researchers found high rates of lifetime dependence on various substances among the highly-traumatized population. The researchers also found a strong connection between the level of substance abuse, particularly cocaine, and levels of childhood physical, sexual and emotional abuse, as well as current post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms.

It’s not only young children who are prone to addiction later in life because of trauma. In a national survey of adolescents from 2003, teens who had suffered physical or sexual abuse were three times more likely to report past or current substance abuse than those without a history of trauma, and in surveys of adolescents receiving treatment for substance use disorders, more than 70% had a history of trauma. Additionally, evidence has shown that the link between trauma and substance abuse is particularly strong among adolescents with PTSD, indicating that up to 59% of young people with PTSD develop substance abuse problems.

The Grady Memorial Hospital study also found evidence suggesting that gender may play a role in the connection between trauma and substance abuse. In women, there was a significant connection between sexual abuse and lifetime cocaine and marijuana exposure, and physical abuse in men was strongly linked to current cocaine and lifetime/current heroin use, while in women, it was linked to lifetime marijuana and cocaine use. Emotional abuse in men, on the other hand, was associated with current heroin exposure, while in women, it was tied to heavier lifetime cocaine use.

Profile of an Addict

There are many reasons why there is such a strong correlation between childhood trauma and substance abuse, and the best way to understand this correlation is to understand how heavily certain experiences, positive and negative, influence the development of the brain. For example, there is ample evidence suggesting that childhood trauma compromises neural function and structure, which increases the risk of cognitive defects and mental health disorders later in life, including major depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and substance abuse. Studies have also shown that maltreatment in childhood can cause extremely high levels of stress that impede the normal development of the brain, and suggested that prolonged exposure to such stress may initiate certain physiological responses that can cause disruptions in the brain that make childhood trauma victims particularly prone to addiction.

In addition to changes in the structure and function of the brain, there are other ways childhood trauma can lead to addiction in adulthood. One possibility is that children and adolescents become addicted to drugs or alcohol because of attempts to self-medicate or to relieve anxiety and any residual effects of being victimized at a young age. Children also have a more limited ability to process traumatic experiences than adults, which makes the effect of trauma more likely to linger, eventually turning into a substance use disorder later in life. Additionally, if the adult to whom a child looks for advice and guidance is the source of the abuse or neglect, the lack of family support may cause the child to turn to drugs or alcohol, as may the substance abuse of another family member the child looks up to or considers a role model.

How Treatment Can Help

In light of the strong connection between childhood trauma and substance abuse, knowing when an individual has suffered physical, emotional or psychological abuse is imperative, so treatment can be tailored to the unique needs of the individual, especially in instances where there are no other indicators of addiction. Substance abuse and other post-trauma related behaviors are often driven by fear, and effective addiction treatment is centered around resolving that sense of fear, which means treating not just the addiction itself, but the underlying causes of the addiction. Substance abuse treatment is essentially geared towards helping recovering addicts replace their unhealthy coping mechanisms (alcoholism, drug abuse) with healthy coping mechanisms (meditation, exercise, talking it out) to improve their chances of lasting recovery. At Behavioral Rehabilitation Services, addiction treatment is multifaceted for this exact reason; our comprehensive treatment programs are designed to treat the client as a whole.

Contact BRS Today for Help

According to national statistics, approximately two-thirds of all addicts have previously suffered some type of physical or sexual trauma in childhood. Sadly, substance abuse isn’t a cure for the effects of childhood trauma, and anyone who finds themselves dependent on drugs or alcohol because of something that happened in their past should seek treatment immediately from a professional rehabilitation facility. If you or a loved one is facing an addiction disorder, contact our addiction recovery experts at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today. With the help of a professional rehab facility, you can overcome your addiction, identify and address the consequences of your childhood trauma, and start fresh as a happy and healthy member of society.

Cocaine and Cancer: The Deadly Connection You Don’t Know About

Despite cancer death rates declining over the last couple of decades, the wide group of diseases continues to be among the leading causes of death worldwide. 14 million new cases of cancer were discovered in 2012 and there were 8.2 million cancer-related deaths that same year. The number of new cancer cases that will arise in the next 20 years will increase to 22 million.

  • The most common cancers of 2016 were breast cancer, lung and bronchus cancer, prostate, colon, and rectal cancers, bladder cancer, non-Hodgkin lymphoma, melanoma of the skin, thyroid cancer, endometrial cancer, kidney and renal pelvis cancer, leukemia, and pancreatic cancer.
  • Cancer mortality is higher among men than women with 207.9 per 100,000 men and 145.4 per 100,000 women.
  • Roughly 39.6 percent of men and women, at some point during their lifetimes, will be diagnosed with cancer (based on data from 2010-2012).
  • In the United States, national spending for cancer care totaled almost $125 billion in 2010 and has the potential of reaching $156 billion by 2020.

There are many contributing factors that increase one’s chances of developing cancer. Things like diet and nutrition, hormonal changes, sun exposure and genetic history are all risk factors. Many don’t realize that substance abuse is also a major contributor to cancer and one that is preventable.

Can cocaine give you cancer?

The threat of cancer is hardly the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the dangers and negative consequences of drug abuse, but it is a huge risk when it comes to many different substances of abuse.

Cocaine is the illicit substance that is currently being found to link directly to cancer and is a very powerful and addictive stimulant drug that is made from the leaves of the coca plant native to South America. One reason for this is that it is a common practice among cocaine dealers to mix in or add other substances to the drug in order to increase the amount of product being made and distributed while increasing their own profits. Sometimes the substance that is being added to cut the cocaine is in fact carcinogenic. Carcinogens are substances capable of causing cancer in the living tissues of the body.

Phenacetin, a carcinogenic substance, was found in a certain line of cocaine being sold in the United Kingdom. Being exposed to that particular substance has shown to increase the risk of kidney problems and cancer.

You may also be wondering “Does crack cause cancer?” Whether you are snorting coke or smoking crack, both can be laced with cancer-causing carcinogens. Smoking crack can have serious long-term side effects such as cancer of the lungs, throat, or mouth and cause respiratory diseases that are most commonly related to the inhaling of smoke. Smoking crack pipes can also cause blisters and burns on the user’s mouth, lips, and fingers which can lead to permanent damage like dermal marks and scarring. It also leads to permanent lung damage by restricting the movement of oxygen to the lungs which can cause scarring, a chronic cough, trouble breathing, and pain.

Cancer / Cocaine Study

Recently, a study was done at the University of Southern California (USC) School of Medicine. The researchers who were conducting the study found that men who use cocaine are twice as likely to develop intermediate- or high-grade non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL), than that of individuals who abstain from using the drug. Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma is cancer that starts in the white blood cells called lymphocyte, which is part of the body’s immune system.

Rebecca Nelson, a doctoral student at USC School of Medicine, recently said in an article published by the British Journal of Cancer, that for those individuals who use cocaine more frequently, which means they have used it on at least nine or more occasions, the risk for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma more than triples that of nonusers.

Nelson worked on the study with co-authors, who are USC School of Medicine faculty members, Leslie Bernstein, Ph.D., professor of preventive medicine; Alexandra Levine, MD, professor and chief of hematology; and Gary Marks, MD, associated professor of preventive medicine.

The researchers examined 378 Los Angeles citizens who were diagnosed with NHL. The patients, who were between the ages of 18 and 75, were paired with healthy controls of the same age, ethnicity, sex and social background. Researchers questioned the controls and patients about their use of alcohol, tobacco, and 10 recreational drugs which included cocaine, marijuana, heroin, amphetamines, magic mushrooms, barbiturates, quaaludes, LSD, PCP and “poppers” such as amyl nitrate and butyl nitrate.

Professor of preventative medicine Leslie Bernstein said, “In general, the patients used more drugs than controls, but less alcohol.” Researchers also discovered that men reported using drugs on a much more frequent basis than the women did. After considering other factors, such as medical history, the researchers were able to find a link between cocaine and cancer.

Nelson went on to say, “We saw a similar increased risk for the cancer in women using cocaine, but there were so few female drug-takers in the study that it’s impossible to draw any conclusions.”

For the first time in medical history, a direct link has been found between cocaine and cancer, said Bernstein. The authors of the study theorize that cocaine may trigger white blood cell activity and growth, as a result speeding up the propagation of possible genetic errors that can lead to cancer. Bernstein notes that the study will need to be repeated before any scientists can say with certainty if it is cocaine itself that is prompting the disease or if some other factors, still unknown, are also playing a role.

Cocaine damages many physical and mental aspects of the user such as damage to the inside of the nose, runny nose, nosebleeds, increased heartbeat, constricted blood vessels, heart attacks, and can cause behavioral changes like:

  • Unusual excitement.
  • Aggression.
  • Paranoia.
  • Poor judgment.
  • Delusions and hallucinations.
  • Depression and/ or apathy.
  • Unusual sleep patterns.
  • Agitation and irritability.
  • Exhaustion.
  • Lack of concentration and/or focus.

Cocaine can cause dental damage from users grinding their teeth and clenching their jaws. Their teeth can also become so weak that they chip and break and may even fall out. Permanent sores and scars are also a potential as addicts tend to pick and scratch at their skin, whether from a hallucination or general itchiness as a side effect of taking the drug.

Prolonged use of cocaine also causes a significant amount of damage to the brain over time as cocaine triggers a large release of dopamine in the brains neuro-receptors that control pleasure and movement. Normally the brain controls the release of dopamine in response to something that may be a potential reward or pleasure, such as the smell of good food. And if it were operating normally, it would then recycle back into the cell that originally released it, shutting off the signal in the central nervous system. Cocaine inhibits dopamine from recycling which causes an immoderate amount to build up between nerve cells. This overabundance of dopamine disturbs the brains communication signals and causes what is most commonly referred to as a “high”.

Common Relapse Rates: Are Some Drugs Harder to Quit?

Recovering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol is never easy, and one of the most significant challenges in fighting drug addiction is the risk of relapse, or a return to drug abuse following an attempt to quit. A relapse can occur with any type of addiction, and is typically spurred by one or more emotional, mental or physical “triggers,” or stimuli that result in drug-seeking behavior, which can be difficult to manage without the proper skills and support. Drug addiction relapse is a common occurrence, and as devastating as it may seem, it’s important to remember that a relapse is a setback, not a failure. Learning how to avoid relapses, and how to respond if you do relapse, are vital components of your substance abuse treatment program. For more information about drug addiction treatment and common reasons for relapse, call (877) 476-8320 today to speak to a qualified substance abuse recovery counselor at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services.

Common Reasons for Relapse

Recovery from drug addiction is an ongoing process, and the unfortunate truth is that a large percentage of recovering addicts relapse after treatment, particularly during the first 30 days of recovery, when an addict is still learning how to deal with cravings and triggers. In fact, relapse is considered a normal part of the recovery process, though it can become a serious issue if the right steps aren’t taken to get the addict back on track. The reasons why addicts relapse vary based on the person, the substance they are abusing, and the circumstances surrounding their addiction, but there are common relapse triggers that affect a large percentage of recovering addicts, including the following:

  • Negative emotions
  • Social pressure
  • Being in the presence of drugs or alcohol
  • Pain
  • Boredom
  • Stress
  • Family history of addiction
  • Mental health issues
  • Failure to seek aftercare
  • Self-pity

Opioid Painkiller Relapse Rates

There are a number of factors that may play into a recovering addict’s risk of relapse, including emotional, physical and environmental triggers, and there is also evidence that suggests certain drugs may be more difficult to quit, thereby increasing the risk of relapse for individuals recovering from an addiction to these substances. According to studies, hallucinogens like ketamine and LSD have a relapse rate of 46%, as do inhalants like aerosol sprays and gases, which is rather low, compared to opioid painkillers like morphine and hydrocodone, which have a relapse rate of 97%. Opiates are typically prescribed to treat chronic pain, but they only mask the problem, they don’t cure it. As a result, users often find themselves taking higher and higher doses of drugs like hydrocodone and oxycodone, until they eventually become addicted and are unable to get through the day without them.

How Opioid Painkillers Affect the Body

Opioid painkillers available legally by prescription work by attaching to and activating opioid receptor proteins on nerve cells in the body and brain, thereby inhibiting the transmission of pain signals. When taken for a short period of time under medical supervision, opioids can be safe and effective in the treatment of chronic pain. However, because the drugs produce euphoria in addition to pain relief, they carry a high risk of abuse and addiction. Even when used appropriately, opioid painkillers can result in dependency, and when misused, the drugs can lead to overdose, respiratory depression, and death. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, among the more than 64,000 drug overdose deaths estimated in 2016, the most dramatic increase occurred among deaths related to synthetic opioids, with over 20,000 overdose deaths.

The Jump from Opioid Drugs to Heroin

Opioid painkillers are dangerous enough on their own, and the risk of an opioid relapse is among the highest in the country. Sadly, because of the chemical similarities between opioids and heroin, people who abuse morphine and other prescription painkillers often graduate to heroin, a highly addictive, illegal drug made from morphine that is most often injected into the bloodstream to achieve a sensation of euphoria. According to data tracking heroin use in the United States, nearly 80% of heroin users reported using prescription opioids prior to heroin. The intense, pleasurable feeling from injecting heroin happens almost immediately, but wears off rather quickly, which typically results in repeated use and a physical dependence on the drug. Individuals who become dependent on heroin may experience symptoms of withdrawal, which can include:

  • Stomach cramps
  • Muscle weakness
  • Sweating
  • Moodiness
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever and chills
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Increased heart rate and blood pressure

Withdrawal is the uncomfortable stage that occurs after drug removal, and avoidance of these intensely unpleasant symptoms is a common reason for a relapse on drugs. In addition to opioid painkillers and heroin, some other drugs with high relapse rates include alcohol, marijuana, methamphetamine, cocaine, and crack.

How to Avoid a Relapse on Drugs

One of the most important skills an addict learns in treatment is how to deal with relapse triggers – events, relationships or interactions that cause an addict to justify using again. These triggers are often associated with old memories or routines, so they vary from person to person, but the strategies for dealing with them remain the same. The following are some ways to avoid a relapse on drugs:

  • Know your triggers
  • Avoid people and places that make you think about using
  • Avoid exposure to alcohol and drugs
  • Have a strong support system
  • Attend therapy or support groups after treatment
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle
  • Remember your treatment program
  • Consider a sober living home
  • Take your medication regularly
  • Foster positive, healthy relationships with friends and family members

Signs of a Potential Relapse

While relapse is a common occurrence, it’s not typically something that happens spontaneously, without warning. There are specific signs to watch out for in yourself or another recovering addict that might signal a possible drug relapse, including the following:

  • Reconnecting with old drinking or drug-using buddies
  • Longing for the old days of substance abuse
  • Feeling like you can use again without becoming addicted
  • Feeling depressed, anxious or lonely
  • Ruining healthy and supportive relationships
  • Feeling resentment towards the people who are trying to help
  • Experiencing a sudden reappearance of withdrawal symptoms
  • Experiencing intense feelings of stress or tension
  • Losing faith in your recovery program

Call Behavioral Rehabilitation Services Today

Drug addiction affects people of all ages and walks of life, and relapse, too, crosses all demographic borders. According to statistics, 47% of addicts relapse during the first year after substance abuse treatment, and 61% of those who relapse will do so more than once. The best way to avoid an addiction relapse is by being prepared and having a plan in place, and discussing your relapse triggers with your therapist or support group can help ensure that you are aware of your triggers and how best to handle them should a potential relapse situation arise. If a relapse does occur, it’s likely you will experience feelings of guilt, anger, shame or regret, which may lead to further drug use if no one steps in to help. If you or someone you know is at risk for a drug relapse, contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today at (877) 476-8320 to discuss the best way to move forward.

addiction

Are Addictive Tendencies Fueling America’s Super Successful Leaders?

Addiction is a problem that affects millions of people around the world, and many of us know at least one person struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol. Still, the majority of people in this country don’t truly understand what drives a person’s addiction, and how even the most successful leaders in the business world can fall victim to substance abuse and addiction. In fact, the impulsive and compulsive tendencies and traits that compel an addict to continue using drugs or alcohol despite negative consequences may be the very same traits that fuel some of our most successful leaders in the United States, simultaneously driving their success and making them prone to addiction. If you know a successful individual who may be at risk for addiction, contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today at (877) 474-7112 today to speak with a qualified addiction recovery counselor.

What is an Addictive Personality?

As a whole, our society tends to file drug addicts and alcoholics away in a convenient, albeit inaccurate, category. Addicts are weak-willed individuals with no discipline, self-control, or drive to succeed in life. They lack the morals and willpower to control their impulses, and that’s why they fall victim to their addiction time and time again. Successful people, on the other hand, are driven, determined and resilient, and these traits are the key to their success. The problem with this common perspective lies in the fact that successful people possess many of the same personality traits as addicts, and while these traits may make them more prone to addiction, they also help them succeed in the professional arena. In fact, some of the most revered figures in history – Alexander the Great, Sigmund Freud, Aldous Huxley and Winston Churchill, for example – had addictive personalities, defined as a specific set of personality traits that predispose an individual to developing an addiction. Some of the traits that factor into an addictive personality include:

  • Impulsivity
  • Heightened stress and lack of coping skills
  • A sense of social alienation and a tolerance for deviance
  • Valuing nonconformity
  • A weak commitment to socially valued goals for achievement
  • Experiencing other mental health disorders
  • Being disconnected and cautious
  • Apathy
  • A desire to take risks
  • Being obsessive and compulsive
  • The inability to self-regulate
  • Being adventurous

In regards to successful leaders, the impulsivity trait that spurs their desire to take risks and experiment with new, potentially dangerous activities is likely the main contributing factor to their addictive personality, and a 2010 study published by Reuters ties this hyper-impulsive behavior to the levels of dopamine in the brain and the individual’s sensitivity to the neurotransmitter. According to the study, “People with high levels of the hormone dopamine in the brain, and low sensitivity to it tend to be greater risk takers and may be more prone to addictive behavior drug abuse and gambling.” A person suffering from an addictive personality tends to spend excessive time on a behavior or activity, which could be anything from gambling to exercising to having sex to working, and an addiction occurs when the person’s engagement in the activity or experience begins to affect his quality of life. Many people with addictive personalities isolate themselves from others in order to hide their addiction and to keep up the appearance of a successful and happy life, which is the definition of a high-functioning addict.

Why are Certain People Prone to Addiction?

Decades of research has identified pleasure as the driving force behind addiction – the reason addicts continue to use drugs or alcohol despite negative consequences – and studies suggest that the irresistible pleasure high-powered business leaders derive from professional success is borne of the same brain reward pathways that make addicts a slave to their substance of choice. The most important reward pathway in the brain is the mesolimbic dopamine system, which is responsible for producing feelings of pleasure in response to natural behaviors, like consuming food, drinking water or engaging in social interactions. However, the brain’s reward center can also be artificially activated by certain drugs, like cocaine, nicotine, alcohol or heroin, which carry a high risk for addiction.

When a person becomes addicted to drugs or alcohol, their addiction “hijacks” the reward center, and the brain is essentially rewired to release pleasure chemicals for actions that are harmful. With repeated use, the drugs begin to mimic these pleasure chemicals, or cause an overproduction of them in the brain, flooding neuroreceptors with the neurotransmitter dopamine and causing the “high” that is associated with drug abuse. Over time, the brain becomes unable to produce normal levels of the pleasure chemicals on its own, and, as a result, craves the drugs that will restore dopamine levels to normal, which is the very nature of drug addiction.

How do Addictive Tendencies Affect Successful Leaders?

Drugs and alcohol aren’t the only things that can activate the brain’s pleasure circuits. Any action or behavior that triggers a pleasure buzz can become addictive, so to speak, and successful executives who find a compulsive pleasure in high-risk, high-reward business ventures may possess the same risk-taking personality traits often found in addicts. While these personality traits may serve them well in the business world, they also make them more prone to addiction. A person with an addiction-prone personality is more likely to act on impulses and has a hard time dealing with delayed gratification, much like the successful business leaders we admire for their tenacity, creativity, hunger for innovation, willingness to take risks and refusal to settle for less than the very best. Unfortunately, this type of person also tends to suffer from some sort of depression or low self-esteem and typically has a low tolerance for stress, and abusing drugs or alcohol often becomes a coping mechanism for dealing with these issues.

How to Spot an Addiction Disorder

For successful business leaders, hiding their addiction from others may be the only way they can continue to use without someone stepping in to stop them, and this often makes it incredibly difficult for family members to spot an addiction disorder in their loved one. The following are some physical, behavioral and emotional signs to watch out for if you believe your loved one may be addicted to drugs or alcohol:

  • Dilated pupils
  • Change in eating habits
  • Appearing pale or undernourished
  • Excessive sniffing and runny nose
  • Being overactive or underactive
  • Repetitive speech patterns
  • Missing school or work
  • Legal or financial problems
  • Disrupted sleep patterns
  • Irritability
  • Inability to deal with stress
  • Confused easily
  • Loss of interest in once-enjoyed activities
  • Isolating or being secretive about activities
  • Borrowing or stealing money
  • Being argumentative

Contact BRS Rehab Today for Help

Most of us would agree that super successful business leaders are wired differently than most other people, but what many of us don’t realize is that the personality traits that we admire in super successful leaders and that make them high achievers in the professional world – namely compulsive risk-taking and novelty-seeking behavior – are also central to the personality of an addict. If you or someone you know is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, call Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today at (877) 474-7112. Our substance abuse counselors understand the importance of discretion in drug addiction treatment, especially for successful business leaders, and are trained to develop personalized treatment plans based on the unique recovery needs of each individual client.

cocaine abuse

Behavior and Addiction: The Relationship Between Cocaine Abuse and Impulsivity

One of the most commonly-abused illicit stimulant drugs, cocaine is highly addictive and abusing it in any form can have devastating effects on the body and brain, possibly causing long-term physical complications and unexpected behavioral changes. Cocaine drug abuse is a serious issue that at the very least can lead to serious health problems, and at the worst can lead to addiction, overdose or death.

If you recognize the signs of cocaine abuse in a loved one, such as irritability, fatigue, dilated pupils or unusual impulsive behavior, contact the substance abuse recovery counselors at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today by calling (877) 474-7029. With the experts at BRS Rehab on your side, you can help your loved one achieve lasting recovery from cocaine abuse or addiction.

Cocaine Drug Abuse

Cocaine is a powerful illicit drug derived from the leaves of the coca plant native to South America. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, cocaine is a highly addictive drug that disrupts normal brain communication and causes a euphoric high that keeps users coming back for more. There are a variety of ways people can use cocaine, the most common being snorting cocaine powder through the nose or rubbing it into their gums, dissolving the powder in water and injecting it into the bloodstream, and smoking cocaine that has been processed to make a rock crystal. Regardless of the route of administration though, cocaine rapidly increases the supply of a neurotransmitter called dopamine in the brain, and people who use the drug often take it repeatedly within a short time period, at increasingly higher doses, to maintain their high. The result is a host of behavioral effects, including:

  • Extreme happiness
  • Increased energy
  • Mental alertness
  • Hypersensitivity to sight, touch, and sound
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia
  • Reduced inhibitions
  • Panic attacks
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness and increased movement

What to Know about Cocaine

The reason cocaine is so addictive is because the drug acts on the pleasure center of the brain, and with repeated use, cocaine can actually cause lasting changes to the brain’s normal functioning. Cocaine acts as a central nervous system stimulant, and the way the drug alters the brain’s functioning is by increasing levels of a natural chemical messenger called dopamine. Dopamine plays a key role in a portion of the brain called the limbic system, which produces pleasurable sensations in response to certain behaviors and actions, such as sex and food consumption.

While these types of activities produce relatively modest boosts in dopamine levels, cocaine use triggers extreme pleasure boosts by preventing dopamine from being recycled back into the cell that released it, which causes excessive amounts of the chemical to build up between nerve cells. When dopamine levels are significantly increased in this way, the associated feelings of pleasure and euphoria also increase dramatically, and this rewarding feedback loop only reinforces the likelihood of future cocaine use.

Cocaine Dependence and Withdrawal

Over time, the brain’s reward system becomes accustomed to the surplus dopamine triggered by cocaine use and no longer produces the same amount of pleasure as it did when the drug use first began. In turn, users may begin taking more and more cocaine over time to achieve the same pleasurable effects as before, which only further affects the brain’s production of dopamine. When dopamine levels fall below this “new normal,” i.e. when the individual stops using cocaine or uses it less frequently or at lower doses, withdrawal symptoms kick in. Some common withdrawal symptoms associated with cocaine use include:

  • Depression
  • Slowed thinking
  • Fatigue
  • Increased appetite
  • Unpleasant dreams and insomnia
  • Irritability
  • Thoughts of suicide
  • Restlessness
  • A general feeling of discomfort

Unfortunately, the severity of cocaine withdrawal symptoms only gives the user a stronger incentive for continued use, and it’s when this incentive becomes compulsive, meaning cocaine use becomes the focal point of the individual’s daily existence, that the risk of cocaine dependence and addiction is highest. Cocaine-dependent users face a higher risk for other substance use disorders, as well as personality disorders, depressive disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder, which gives you an idea of the scope of the adverse effect cocaine abuse has on the brain and body.

The Role of Impulsivity in Cocaine Abuse

The very nature of drug addiction is the inability or diminished ability to control impulses to use, and cocaine addiction is often characterized by risk-taking or sensation-seeking behavior, as well as poor decision-making. Among the adverse effects associated with cocaine abuse is an unusually high level of the trait known as impulsivity, or a tendency to act quickly and without adequate thought or planning in response to internal or external stimuli. High levels of impulsivity result in addicts preferring smaller, short-term benefits over larger, delayed gratification.

According to one 2012 study published in the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, cocaine use can increase an individual’s tendency towards impulsivity by altering the brain’s normal functioning, thereby decreasing their ability to delay reward. There is also research suggesting that people who already have unusually strong tendencies towards impulsivity may be predisposed to cocaine use and addiction.

Cocaine Abuse Facts

In 2014, an estimated 1.5 million Americans aged 12 and older were reported to be current (past-month) cocaine users, and that same year, more than 5,400 people died from a cocaine overdose. Sadly, because cocaine triggers feelings of euphoria and pleasure during use, many people continue taking the drug despite serious negative consequences, such as financial problems, difficulties with personal relationships, adverse physical side effects, or trouble at work. Cocaine is so powerfully addictive and has such as a strong effect on the body and brain, that even former users can suffer the effects of cocaine abuse. For instance, research shows that during periods of abstinence, when cocaine is not being used, the memory of using cocaine or exposure to certain cues associated with past drug use can trigger strong cravings, which increases the risk of a cocaine relapse.

Cocaine’s powerful and short-lived stimulant effects are the main reasons the drug has such a high potential for abuse. The effects of cocaine typically appear almost immediately and dissipate within a few minutes to an hour. However, taking large amounts of cocaine at once or using the drug over a long period of time can intensify its effects, possibly resulting in bizarre, unpredictable and even violent behavior, coupled with an increased risk of adverse psychological or physiological effects. Some possible long-term effects of cocaine abuse include:

  • Heart failure
  • Respiratory failure
  • Stroke
  • Irregular heart rhythm
  • Seizures
  • Cerebral hemorrhage
  • Auditory and tactile hallucinations
  • Delirium or psychosis
  • Organ damage
  • Significant weight loss
  • Movement disorders
  • Impaired cognitive function
  • Brain damage
  • Severe depression

Due to the stimulant effects of cocaine, use of the drug triggers a number of sensations and physiologic changes in the body, which can spiral out of control when a person uses too much of the drug, possibly leading to an overdose. A cocaine overdose can be intentional or unintentional and occurs when an individual’s drug use causes a toxic reaction that can lead to serious adverse effects or death, even for first-time users.

Contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services Today

Cocaine is such a powerful drug that tolerance and addiction can occur after just one use, and the changes in the brain brought on by cocaine abuse can be long-lasting. Fortunately, there are treatment options for cocaine addiction that can help addicts understand and change their compulsive drug-seeking behaviors and achieve long-term recovery. At Behavioral Rehabilitation Services, cocaine addiction treatment centers around the recovery needs of the client, with personalized programs designed to treat not just the addiction itself, but the underlying causes of the addiction as well. If you or a loved one is struggling with the effects of cocaine drug abuse, get professional help at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services by calling (877) 474-7029 today.

enabler and addiction recovery

An Examination of the Role an Enabler Plays in the Addiction Recovery Process

In talking about substance abuse and addiction recovery, we often come across terms like “enabler” or “codependent,” and these types of relationships occur more often than you might think in the addiction recovery process. To enable someone is to give that person the means or authority to act or behave in a certain way, and in terms of addiction recovery, to enable a substance abuser is to take away the natural consequences of the addictive behavior, thereby allowing the substance abuse to continue, unimpeded. There is a significant difference between supporting a loved one in recovery and acting as a codependent partner, and it often takes a conscious decision on the part of the caretaker to play a role in a loved one’s recovery, rather than a role in their addiction. If you believe you may be an enabler or codependent partner to an addict, don’t hesitate to get the help you both need to achieve long-term recovery. Contact the substance abuse experts at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today to find out how you can break the destructive cycle of addiction-related codependency.

Supporting a Loved One in Recovery

Friends and family members may not realize how influential their behavior is to someone in recovery, but the truth is, their words and actions can have a significant impact on an addict’s behavior. Well-intentioned family members supporting a loved one in recovery may not have an addiction problem themselves, but by allowing their legitimate concern to transform into obsessive worry, a caretaker may just as easily feed into the addict’s substance abuse, allowing it to continue, or begin again, without consequence. Such is the close relationship between addiction and codependency. One example of a codependent relationship is a wife who knows her husband is abusing drugs, but makes excuses for his behavior and continues providing emotional and financial support, which allows the husband’s addictive behaviors to continue, uninterrupted and consequence-free.

The connection between addiction and codependency is often one of opportunity. Addicts typically experience a number of problems stemming from their substance abuse, including problems at work, financial difficulties, and issues in their personal and professional relationships, but when an addict’s close friend or family member continuously steps in to protect the addict, offering support, lending money or covering up mistakes, the relationship between the addict and the caretaker may become one of codependence. Even after an addict seeks treatment and begins the recovery process, codependent relationships are a concern, as they may make it easier for the addict to relapse, or fall back into old addictive behaviors. The following are some key signs you may be in an addiction-related codependent relationship:

  • You feel responsible for solving the other person’s problems
  • You find it impossible to say no and end up giving more to the relationship than the other person
  • You become upset when you feel as though your efforts aren’t being recognized
  • You need to feel in control all the time and avoid conflict at any cost
  • You have a hard time trusting yourself to meet the other person’s needs
  • You feel as though your only value in the relationship comes from being able to “fix” the other person or clean up their messes
  • You would do anything to hold onto the relationship, even if it compromises your beliefs or morals
  • You’re unwilling to speak up, set boundaries or assert your own wants or needs in the relationship
  • You’re willing to put your own health or safety at risk to “save” the other person
  • You have a hard time identifying your own feelings, separate from the other person’s
  • You only feel important or valued when the other person needs you

It is natural for a friend or loved one to want to protect an addict from the harmful consequences of his or her addictive behaviors, but there is a fine line between helping an addict navigate the challenging road to recovery, and becoming an enabler. In fact, concerned friends or family members can play a direct role in allowing an addict’s substance abuse to continue, by putting their energy into offsetting the potential damage of the addiction, which may lessen the addict’s motivation to seek rehabilitation. This type of addiction-related codependency can easily lead to feelings of resentment, guilt, self-pity, and anger on the part of the caretaker, and by suppressing or overcompensating for these feelings, the caretaker only reinforces the addict’s destructive habits.

How to Break Codependent Behavior

In the most general terms, codependency is the need to be needed. Sometimes referred to as a “relationship addiction,” codependency occurs when an individual develops an excessive, or obsessive, dependence on a friend or loved one, to the point where that person relies on the other to meet nearly all their emotional needs. Over time, the codependent individual becomes so used to putting the other person’s wants and needs before their own that they eventually lose sight of their own goals and have a hard time identifying their own feelings apart from the other person’s. With addiction-related codependency, one destructive behavior reinforces the other, to the point where the caretaker begins making significant life decisions for the addict, thereby hindering the addict’s ability to act independently, and making it easier for him or her to maintain the unhealthy addictive behavior. It’s important to learn how to break codependent behavior, for the good of the addict and the caretaker alike. The following are some steps to overcome codependency and stop enabling an addict:

  • The caretaker deliberately removes him or herself from the relationship, allowing the addict to suffer the consequences of his or her own mistakes.
  • The caretaker sets healthy boundaries and makes it clear that the addict will be responsible for problems concerning work, family, finances, and other personal issues.
  • The caretaker takes part in activities and outings that do not involve the addict, to cultivate a healthier, more balanced lifestyle for everyone involved.
  • The caretaker learns to make decisions based on his or her own enjoyment, rather than constantly catering to the addict’s wants and needs.
  • The addict and caretaker seek professional help to learn how to deal with the emotional stress that comes with substance abuse and addiction.

Identifying Enablers in Addiction Recovery

After going through the process of alcohol or drug abuse rehabilitation, it’s imperative that recovering addicts take stock of their relationships with friends and family members, to determine which ones may have an enabling effect on them. Identifying enablers or codependent relationships and decreasing their role in an addict’s life can help reduce the chances of relapse, as can building and fostering healthy relationships that offer meaningful support and promote lasting recovery. While identifying enablers isn’t about finding someone to blame for an addict’s substance abuse or relapse, it is a step in the right direction in terms of long-term addiction recovery.

Contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services for Help

Supporting a loved one in recovery can be extremely difficult and emotionally trying, and it’s easy for a caretaker’s concern for an addicted loved one to transform into something more harmful than helpful, like a codependent relationship. The caretaker may try to pass this off as an effort to help the addict get sober, but this type of codependency only reinforces the addictive behavior, preventing the addict from ever having to address the destructive substance abuse. Getting over codependency is the key to helping an addict recover from his or her substance abuse, and can help both the caretaker and the addict begin to heal and make meaningful changes in their lives. If you feel you or someone you know may be an enabler or codependent to an addict, contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today at (877) 476-8320 to find out how to get the help you need.

substance abuse

Graduation: What is the Link Between Education and Substance Abuse?

Inaccurate stereotypes of any kind are harmful, and those that perpetuate the negative stigma of addiction only further damage efforts to reduce substance abuse rates in this country and improve access to effective treatment for individuals of all ages and walks of life. For instance, it is a commonly-held belief that individuals addicted to drugs or alcohol, as a whole, are poor, homeless, unemployed and uneducated, and many people are of the opinion that addiction is an affliction of the lazy or weak-willed. Instead, research shows that, while substance abuse is, in fact, more common among individuals of lower economic status, or those living in poverty, the two aren’t directly linked, nor do they prove a cause and effect relationship. Rather, substance abuse is merely a byproduct of the lifestyle led by people of limited financial means. That being said, in most cases, a person’s propensity towards drug abuse and addiction is multifaceted, influenced by other factors, like education, genetics, and parental substance abuse. Below you’ll find more information about the link between education and substance abuse, and how to get professional help for someone struggling with a substance abuse disorder.

What Makes Someone an Addict?

There are a great number of factors that influence an individual’s propensity towards addiction, including, but not limited to, genetics, mental health, parental substance abuse, a history of abuse or neglect, socioeconomic status and level of education, and the latter two are perhaps the most hotly debated of these influences. It can be said that the risk factors that predispose certain people to substance abuse are less prevalent in higher-income families and among individuals with a higher level of education. However, that isn’t to say that wealthy people are immune to substance abuse and addiction – they most certainly are not – only that these issues are less likely to occur in households that aren’t living at or below the poverty level. Whatever factors that influence their addiction, what makes someone an addict is their compulsive desire to use drugs or alcohol despite negative consequences caused by the substance abuse, such as job loss, financial difficulties or strained relationships with friends and loved ones.

Warning Signs of Substance Abuse

It can be difficult to recognize the signs of substance abuse in a loved one, especially if that person has become practiced at hiding his or her addiction from friends and family members, which is often the case regardless of a person’s income or level of education. The following are some common physical and behavioral signs of substance abuse to watch out for:

Physical:

  • Hallucinations
  • Paranoia
  • Involuntary shaking
  • Chills and sweating
  • Dilated pupils
  • Decreased coordination
  • Anxiety
  • Increased blood pressure and heart rate
  • Difficulty concentrating or remembering
  • Slowed reaction time

Behavioral:

  • Lack of interest in clothing or grooming
  • Sudden requests for money without a reasonable explanation
  • Unexpected weight loss or gain
  • Frequently missing work or school
  • A sudden drop in grades or work performance
  • Being secretive about where he or she is going
  • Stealing or borrowing money from loved ones
  • Drastic changes in relationships with family and friends
  • Lack of energy or motivation

Link Between Education Level and Substance Abuse

The link between education level and substance abuse is an uncertain one. According to one survey comparing high school seniors from 1981 and 1986, seniors of all economic backgrounds in 1986 were using drugs less than seniors in 1981. What was most notable about the survey though, was that the most significant decline (13%) was among students whose parents had some graduate education, while the least significant decline (2.7%) was among students whose parents did not attend high school. In another study involving more than 30,000 men and women between the ages of 20 and 93, researchers measured education level, alcohol use, obesity and smoking, and found that those with the lowest level of education were most frequently heavy drinkers, heavy smokers, obese, and physically inactive.

As a general rule, education helps people develop accurate perceptions of risk and learn the skills necessary to keep themselves safe and out of serious trouble. High school students, for example, are taught basic information about their health and well-being that helps them recognize the serious health implications of abusing alcohol and drugs. An individual with a higher education may also have access to early intervention and prevention resources that allow them to avoid problem drinking or drug use. In one study published in the American Journal of Public Health, researchers found that “Individuals who had dropped out of high school were 6.34 times more likely to develop alcohol abuse or dependence than were individuals with a college degree.” On the other side of the same coin, researchers have also found a strong association between early substance abuse and lower levels of educational attainment, meaning that teens and young adults who become dependent on alcohol or drugs are less likely to finish college than those who don’t use alcohol or drugs until later in life and never become dependent.

Substance Abuse Among Business Executives

It should also be noted that there is opposing research suggesting that individuals with a higher education are actually the ones who are more prone to addiction, and statistics from the National Institute on Drug Abuse seem to support that finding, reporting that, by the time individuals reach their senior year of high school, almost 70% will have tried alcohol, 50% will have abused an illicit drug, nearly 40% will have smoked a cigarette, and 20% will have used a prescription drug recreationally, and this behavior only continues into college. In this line of thinking, the higher an individual’s education, the more likely they are to abuse drugs or alcohol, either because they make more money and have the disposable income to support this type of habit, or because they are under a great deal of stress at work and drugs or alcohol become their escape. In fact, according to a 2015 Gallup poll, “upper-income and highly educated Americans are more likely than other Americans to say they drink alcohol,” and individuals earning more than $75,000 per year drink more alcohol than any other economic group. Another study conducted by a neuroscience professor at Johns Hopkins’ School of Medicine in 2013, even went so far as to suggest that the very personality traits that make business executives so successful – their determination, drive and risk-taking and novelty-seeking behavior – are the same personality traits of an addict.

Seeking Treatment for Substance Abuse

It’s possible that individuals who drop out of high school and those who enter college but fail to earn a degree may be at increased risk for a substance use disorder. Still, it’s important to understand that a low education level is not a definite indicator of substance abuse. The majority of people who are not highly-educated do not go on to abuse drugs and alcohol. However, it’s possible that a lack of education, in combination with any number of other contributing factors, may predispose certain individuals to substance abuse and addiction. Whatever factors play a role in an individual’s addiction disorder, seeking treatment at a professional rehab facility can significantly improve the chances of lasting recovery. If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, call (877) 474-7113 today to speak to the substance abuse recovery counselors at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services about your treatment options.

lawyers and addiction

Lawyers and Addiction: An Exploration of Drug Abuse in the Industry

The legal profession is characterized by risky business ventures, big paychecks and long hours at the office, and with that lavish lifestyle and competitive work environment comes a greater risk of substance abuse and addiction, which appears to be prevalent among successful lawyers and other high-powered executives. In one tragic story of a successful Silicon Valley lawyer and drug addict who died from a systemic bacterial infection common among intravenous drug users, his ex-wife, who looked back at the months leading up to his death, remarked, “The further I probed, the more apparent it became that drug abuse among America’s lawyers is on the rise and deeply hidden.” Unfortunately, this leaves the issue of substance abuse among lawyers unaddressed, and the functional alcoholics in the legal profession without the help they need. If you think someone you know may be a high-functioning alcoholic or drug addict, contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today at (877) 479-7580 for help.

What is a Functional Alcoholic?

The issue of addiction among high-powered executives has been explored to some extent, but research on the prevalence of substance abuse and drug addiction among lawyers, in particular, is limited, and many in the legal profession seem content to leave it that way. One study, published last year in the Journal of Addiction Medicine, involved 12,825 licensed, practicing attorneys, and found that 19% struggled with anxiety, 21% qualified as problem drinkers, and 28% experienced mild or more serious depression. Only 3,419 of the lawyers responded to questions about drug use, a fact that Patrick Krill, the study’s lead author, and a lawyer himself, found telling. “It’s left to speculation what motivated 75% of attorneys to skip over the section on drug use as if it wasn’t there.” Of those that did answer, 5.6% used opioids, 5.6% used cocaine, crack and stimulant drugs, 10.2% used marijuana and hash, and nearly 16% used sedatives.

In the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health report on substance abuse by industry, released by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), professional services, including the legal profession, ranked ninth out of 19 industries in terms of illicit drug use. In the 2014 Comprehensive Survey of Lawyer Assistance Programs, the American Bar Association named alcohol the number one substance abuse-related problem among lawyers, with prescription drugs being the second. Sadly, in spite of this research highlighting the issue of drinking and drug use among lawyers, the problem persists. “There are a lot of theories about what is going on in the legal profession,” says J. Kim Wright, author of Lawyers as Peacemakers: Practicing Holistic, Problem-Solving Law and Lawyers as Changemakers: The Global Integrative Law Movement, and a lawyer herself. “Something is broken. Lawyers often believe they are the broken piece of the system, rather than the culture is dysfunctional, the entire legal system is broken. Other lawyers think – or even say – ‘I’m doing fine, and if you aren’t doing fine, it is your fault.’ We’re left to our own devices to find a way to fix ourselves.”

Causes of Substance Abuse Among Lawyers

Work-related stress is a major contributing factor to the trend of drug abuse among high-powered executives, especially lawyers, who face immense pressure on a daily basis to meet certain professional expectations and stay a step ahead of everyone else in a fiercely competitive industry, where, as Wil Miller, a family law attorney in Washington state, puts it, “you are financially rewarded for being hostile.” Depression, too, plays a role. In a 1990 Johns Hopkins University study of more than 100 professions, researchers found that lawyers are 3.6 times more likely to suffer from depression, compared with other professions, and a 2014 survey of Yale Law School students reported that 70% of students struggled with mental health issues during their time in law school. In fact, lawyers being particularly vulnerable to alcoholism, depression, and addiction is an effect that appears to be initiated in law school, an environment that, as Dr. Link Christin, adjunct professor of law at William Mitchell College of Law in Minnesota, puts it, “is very confidential, secretive, competitive, and adversarial. It tends to be very intellectual rather than feeling, [and] it encourages you to isolate and not share because you don’t want to be seen as weak and vulnerable.”

What is a Functional Alcoholic

A common misconception about alcoholism is that an alcoholic is someone who drinks too much too often and whose life is falling apart because of their drinking, but not all problem drinking fits into that neat little mold. Some alcoholics manage to keep their problem drinking from interfering with their personal, professional and social relationships and may be in denial about their alcoholism. These people are called high-functioning alcoholics or functional alcoholics, and they are able to cover up the external signs of their alcoholism, making their problem drinking more difficult for others to spot. It’s important to remember that a person can still be an alcoholic even though he appears to have a great personal and professional life, with a loving family, a job that pays well and a large circle of friends.

For lawyers struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction, their problem drinking or drug use is easier to hide from friends and loved ones because, on the outside, they appear to be successful, happy and well-liked. They also work long hours at the office, during which they can use, and are expected to nab prospective clients, which may involve drinking or drug use, and perform well in a highly-competitive industry, which may prompt the abuse of stimulants like Adderall, cocaine or amphetamine, or painkillers like Vicodin or OxyContin to stay on top of their game. Unfortunately, it’s a short jump from opioid painkillers to heroin, which is typically cheaper and easier to obtain than prescription drugs. Says Dr. Indra Cidambi, medical director at an ambulatory detox facility in New Jersey, “These aren’t the majority of lawyers. But there are quite a number abusing drugs, and once they get to heroin, it’s very hard to break it.”

How to Tell if Someone is a Functioning Alcoholic

For all the ways we expect alcoholics and drug addicts to act, it’s not always easy to tell if someone is a functional alcoholic, especially when they make an effort to hide their problem drinking from friends, family members, and co-workers, and that is the nature of a high-functioning alcoholic. They somehow manage to keep up appearances while relying on alcohol to function on a daily basis. Some functional alcoholic signs to watch out for include a person:

  • Planning their day around drinking
  • Having three drinks to everyone else’s one drink
  • Exhibiting physical signs of overindulgence (shakiness in the morning, insomnia, stomach problems)
  • Binging or getting so drunk they black out
  • Going through periods of abstinence where they make it a point not to drink, and then going back to drinking often and heavily

Treating Drug Addiction in the Legal Profession

Despite the growing trend of drug abuse and addiction in the legal profession, law-firm leadership is still slow to discuss substance abuse with their lawyers, often because they don’t know what signs to look for, and are simply too busy themselves to notice when these signs arise. So deeply rooted is the culture of privacy in the legal profession, and so devoted to clocking billable hours are law firms, that many lawyers who are functioning alcoholics don’t feel as though they can ask for help, or simply don’t have the time to. It’s this so-called “dysfunctional culture” that makes lawyers so susceptible to the effects of drug abuse and addiction. If someone you know is struggling with an addiction and doesn’t have the ability to ask for help, call (877) 479-7580 today to speak to the addiction recovery experts at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services.

Nature Walks in Addiction Recovery

Benefits of Nature Walks in Addiction Recovery

Walking can provide ‘low-impact’ exercise for those who enjoy leisure and need physical activity. Any exercise can help increase the production of endorphins, dopamine, serotonin, and norepinephrine in the brain. Nature walks in addiction recovery can help to provide pleasure and a sense of well-being for those who are starting new lives without substance abuse. Any natural way that your body can produce those chemicals without the introduction of outside substances can help your brain to re-learn the appropriate ways to ‘experience’ joy or pleasure, which can ease the symptoms of withdrawal for someone overcoming an addiction. The BRS website has more information on rehabilitation, and a great facility if you are seeking recovery for yourself or a loved one.

Some of the Benefits of Nature Walks in Addiction Recovery

Aside from the direct benefits of exercise, being in nature can be very therapeutic as well. When in nature, a person tends to experience stress relief and relaxation. Furthermore, someone who gets outside often may have less risk for depression, or an easier time dealing with an existing problem with depression. The outdoors also gives the mind plenty to think about while enjoying overall stillness or serenity. It is not often that the brain is still for an addict. For this reason, the individual may experience a sense of boredom when he or she decides to seek help and stop using. Nature walks in addiction recovery can combat that boredom with the inherent stillness associated with being outside while also giving the mind ‘space’ to think and beautiful things to look at which can promote healthy mental patterns.

Another significant benefit that being in nature provides for someone in recovery is the sense of humility or ‘smallness,’ and the aloneness required for healthy introspection and reflection. A lot of addicts tend to seek a feeling of control or power when using. The truth is, not a single person has total control over his or her own life. To realize this can be a very freeing experience. Yes, we must make choices and undergo the consequences attached to them; however, nature can be a good reminder that the world is much bigger than ‘self.’  In these moments during which someone can see further than his or her problems, having space and quietness to think is essential. These moments help, also, to repattern the brain into more selfless thought. To spend excessive amounts of time thinking about yourself or your own problems can be exhausting and counterproductive to treatment and recovery. Most people who walk in nature on a routine basis also experience an increased attention span because they are forced to pay attention to the many small aspects of the world around them. Lower blood pressure, fewer worries, and reduction of stress are also all attributed to walking in nature.

Nature Reminds Us of More to Life Than ‘Self’

There is also something to be said about becoming aware that life is all around you. Reminders of this may be trees and plants or the many animals that share the outdoors with us. To see other life being played out innocently around us can be a reminder of the positivity associated with life in general. The seasons and their changing may also provide perspective. To see that with or without us, the world will change incessantly. Knowing this can be another freeing experience for those in recovery.  

Any time that can be filled with positivity or health is essential in that it can help to replace time that would, otherwise, have been spent indulging in unhealthy practices. Any replacement for using, or for the unhealthy lifestyle associated with addiction is time well spent. Sometimes all that an individual may need is a sense of belonging or activity that is new, and resides outside of the patterns that were habitually repeated through addiction. It is imperative to ‘throw away’ any patterns or habits that were prevalent during the active drug use that could be associated with the drug or alcohol of choice. This can leave someone with a lot of spare time with which to deal.

Health and Mental Benefits of Being Outside

Health benefits of exercise and being outside, especially in combination with the mental benefits of nature, can be one of the most gratifying ‘time replacement’ schemes. Spirituality can also be visited while in nature. It is very easy to reflect on core beliefs or even to contemplate (maybe for the first time) what you believe when you are out in nature. Spirituality can be a great mental exercise and can provide a sense of connectedness.

It is, of course, essential to consider any limitations posed by your body before you venture out. If walking is difficult for you, or if you have special requirements, maybe choose a pathway or sidewalk that can accommodate your needs. Lastly, occasionally, it might be beneficial to bring a healthy friend or family member with you. After all, we are all here to invest in one another. Whatever your pace, whatever your style, nature walks in addiction recovery provide valuable space from the negativity, and can give a glimpse into success and the beauty that surrounds us.

Drug Detox Programs

What to Expect During Drug Detox

The first step in recovery is the drug detox process. Drug detox is the process of weaning the patient off of the substance to which he or she is addicted, and the body is allowed to rid itself of the lingering toxins that remain after using the drug. It is vital that detoxification is monitored by professionals; this is because the shock that is experienced by the body when the drug is no longer being introduced, can be very painful and sometimes dangerous. These symptoms are called withdrawal. Withdrawal symptoms can be minor and pose little to no threat to the safety of the patient or others; however, some symptoms can, indeed, be dangerous.

Drug Withdrawal Symptoms

The symptoms of withdrawal will vary from person to person, and are contingent upon the length of time during which the drugs were used, what type of drugs were used, and how intensely the substance was used. Alcohol and other depressants can cause anxiety, hallucinations, tremors, seizures, and other similar symptoms. Whereas, opioids and painkillers can have withdrawal symptoms like muscle aches and increased pain sensitivity. Stimulants can cause severe symptoms of drug withdrawal that can include depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts or self-harm. Withdrawal symptoms that can be experienced more generally include mood swings, sleeping problems, physical symptoms similar to those of the flu or a cold, intense cravings, and many others. The physical symptoms of withdrawal are usually shorter-lived than the psychological withdrawal symptoms. The drug detox process mainly focuses on the physical aspects of addiction. The mental issues are continually dealt with throughout treatment, and often beyond.

The Drug Detox Process Can Vary

There are several types of drug detox programs available. The type of detox treatment can depend on the kind of addiction, the severity of the habit, and the personal preferences and requirements of the patient. Outpatient detox programs are usually only recommended for less severe addictions or use problems. The reason for this is because the patient cannot be continually monitored, and may be prescribed methadone or another appropriate drug to help satiate the cravings. It is not uncommon for the patient to sell his or her prescription, or to abuse it. This is just a perpetuation of the problem. The benefits of outpatient detoxification treatment can include cost, convenience, and less time is required.

Inpatient detox is usually preferred. It provides doctors and staff that can monitor the patient’s health, and see to it that the patient does not have the opportunity to relapse or engage in behavior that impedes the detox or treatment process. Another benefit of inpatient treatment is that the guest can be transitioned smoothly into rehabilitation treatment, and can stay, in comfort, away from the triggers and routine associated with using. It may be more expensive, but insurance may be accepted. Payment plans are also not uncommon. The time required for inpatient treatment may be a good thing. Often it is beneficial for the guest to experience the upheaval and reconstruction of life and habits or patterns. This will provide a ‘blank slate’ on which a new lifestyle can be built.

The psychological effects of withdrawal can be grueling to deal with. It is essential to seek a detox facility that has people on staff that can talk to you. Counselling is often started after the stabilization phase of detox. This can be powerful because the effects of withdrawal can be discussed and contemplated as they are being experienced. The method of detox employed will be different case to case. If you are quitting all substance abuse, with only medical supervision, you may experience severe withdrawal symptoms throughout detox. This is sometimes called quitting ‘cold-turkey.’ Short-term medicated detox involves the use of medication for the first portion of the detox program to help alleviate some of the pain or discomfort associated with the withdrawal symptoms. A long-term medicated detox involves the use of medication throughout more of the detoxification process. This is usually administered cases of addiction with greater severity. This is beneficial to those who have taken harder drugs for more extended periods of time.

Contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services for More Information About Drug Detox

The initial withdrawal symptoms experienced in a detox program can be tough to endure. It is vital that you find a center that you trust, and that can provide the right care for you. Although the rest of treatment at a rehabilitation facility offers a majority of the stepping stones in recovery, the first and often most difficult are the drug detox process. The rewarding feeling of being clean is a huge boost, and a big first step to health. It can seem like a lot of responsibility and an overwhelming thing to decide to get help, but life after detox and treatment is worth it. It is never too late, and the human body is impressive. Success starts with a choice. We, as humans, are gifted the consciousness and power of choice. If you are interested in learning more about drug detox and rehab, visit http://brsrehab.com/treatment-program/detox/.

addiction treatment

Why Private Addiction Treatment Isn’t Just for Celebrities

When people find themselves stuck with an addiction to drugs and alcohol, this is often a very distressing and disconcerting affliction to be stricken with. As one can imagine, being inhibited by an addiction that affects both the body and mind can be quite traumatic, especially when one can’t kick the habit on their own. Addiction is embarrassing. It’s a very private issue, and people get very distressed when they can’t do something about it on their own and they have to reach out and get help with it.

Because of the privacy vs. embarrassment aspect of addiction, many addicts often feel as though they just can’t go to rehab. They often feel as though they simply cannot confront the idea of someone else finding out about their addiction, or even worse, several people finding out about their addiction. This puts such persons in a lose-lose situation. They can’t kick their habit on their own, so that has to go to rehab. But they can’t go to rehab because they don’t want to disclose the fact that they have an addiction! But they can’t just keep on walking down the dwindling, downhill spiral of the life of an active substance abuser. We all know the very real and sooner than anticipated end that awaits those who continue to live the life of an addict.

This is why private addiction rehab, literally private drug addiction treatment, is so valuable.

Private Addiction Treatment

The idea of the need for private addiction treatment is not a new concept. In 1935, the Alcoholics Anonymous approach was created in Akron, Ohio, with the driving principle of anonymity and privacy within addiction treatment. Then, in 1948, just thirteen years later, Narcotics Anonymous was founded on the same principle of confidentiality that Alcoholics Anonymous had, only for drug addicts instead of alcohol addicts.

So we can see that this is not a new idea, and the benefit of confidentiality and discretion within addiction treatment has great value. In fact, one of the main reasons why struggling addicts will not seek out rehab is because they feel it will not be confidential. Private drug rehab does exist though, and with many benefits too. Some of these are:

  • Private, confidential treatment is often more intimate and one on one. Rehabs that honor and respect their clients’ privacy will often be smaller, with a lower client to counselor ratio, and with far more one on one attention as a result.
  • Such treatment centers also generally speaking have more comfortable detoxification services. There are fewer clients within the program, so clients can get more attention and more intensive monitoring and assistance during the withdrawal procedure.
  • Private treatment centers are more distraction-free. Without the hustle and bustle of a large, loud, public treatment center, clients of a smaller, private center are able to relax more easily. Clients will also have an easier time focusing on holistic healing, exercise, nutrition programs, outdoor activities, community outings, one on one sessions, and group therapies.
  • Private treatment centers leave a lasting impression on their clients. Lifelong relationships are often built at such centers, as the smaller, tight-knit group effect builds a stronger recovery and a more lasting effect on clients. Such treatment centers build off of the secluded, private setting that they have been able to create to truly make clients feel at a home away from home.

The primary goal and mission at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services is private addiction treatment. For more information on privacy at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services, call today for a confidential discussion with a Behavioral Rehabilitation Services representative at 1 (877) 479-7580.

enabling

Can You Get Compassion Exhaustion from Enabling an Addicted Loved One

As drug and alcohol addiction continues to plague our country, the family members and loved ones of addicts get hurt more and more. Addiction is a growing problem, with more people getting addicted each year than those who beat addiction. Not only that, but the addictions themselves are getting worse with each passing year. This is such that the problem of “drug addiction” and “alcohol addiction” are actually a lot more lethal than they used to be. All we have to do is look at the CDC’s death report on substance abuse to know that substance abuse claims more lives than it used to. And it’s not just because there are more addicts either. Statistically speaking the substances that are abused in 2017 are riskier than the substances abused in 1997.

According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, there are more than twenty-three million people hooked on drugs and alcohol in this country. With twenty-three million people addicted, it does not take a genius to know that there are a lot of people connected to those twenty-three million. Even if each addict only has about five or six family members, loved ones, friends, or business associates to whom they are very close, that is still over one-hundred million people being constantly, adversely affected by someone’s substance abuse. As much as we as a country need to come together and address those who are addicted, we also need to address those who are affected by another person’s addiction.

Losing Compassion

To an outsider looking in, a family member or loved one’s addiction can often feel like a never-ending cycle of viciousness and misery. In a lot of ways it is. If you spend too much time helping your addicted loved one, you could begin to experience compassion exhaustion or compassion fatigue. You might actually start losing compassion for your addicted loved one.

Nicole Urdang, a medical doctor and specialist on holistic medicine, had this to say about addressing compassion fatigue:

“It might manifest as insomnia, overeating, skipping meals, addictive behavior, isolating oneself, depression, anxiety, or anger. We might find ourselves fighting with partners or children, having no patience, feeling exhausted, noticing a lowered libido, unmotivated, and, paradoxically, being less interested in what our clients have to say,” she said. “Believe it or not, these are all helpful, as they quickly alert us to our depleted state. If we are paying attention and are committed to radical self-care, we can act on this awareness by rebalancing our life. If that is not possible, simply taking short breaks throughout the day to close your eyes, focus on your breath, or put your hands on your heart and send yourself some compassion can all make a big difference.”

Her words speak to the importance of taking care of oneself while also caring for others. Losing compassion for a loved one is not what you want to have happen. Rather, a tough love approach that still holds on to compassion for a loved one (while absolutely not enabling them) is key. It is better to have tough love than enablement, better to have compassion than sympathy, and better to have empathy for them than to enable them.

When one is truly able to step away from enabling their loved ones, they can regain their own stable ground and footing. They can present rehabilitation as an effective solution for their loved one and the only solution that they are willing to give. For help in accomplishing this, contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today at 1(877) 479-7580.

How to Cope and Stay Sober

How Recovering Addicts Can Cope and Stay Sober

There are many reasons that people turn to drugs, the most prevalent being a reach for some way to numb or quiet emotional pain or emptiness. Sometimes this involves the ‘dampening’ or suppression of past pain or trauma. According to statistics, cocaine is the second most widely used drug in the United States. Cocaine is also notorious for the ‘numbing’ effect of its high. It is known to give those who use it a sense of control and a boost of (perceived) strength or energy. This ‘cocaine numb’ is similar to effects produced by other stimulants; however, cocaine is fairly common and widely available. For additional information on what cocaine can do, click here.  As well as the inherent danger of cocaine’s side effects, there is considerable danger in taking any drug to mask or suppress emotional pain or to cope with stressful situations or feelings. There are ways, however, for recovering addicts to cope and stay sober.

You Can Learn to Cope and Stay Sober

Whatever has proven to be difficult for the user to overcome, when neglected, will never become better. Those emotions or pains will be there just the same at the end of the high or distraction provided by the drug. The only thing gained may be an addiction to a drug. This is the compounded chaos which is all too common for an addict.  It is imperative for an addict, or someone with an addictive personality, to learn to cope and stay sober. A recovering addict can cope without the use of drugs or foreign substances. Yes, this can be very difficult if other substances have already been introduced or leaned upon for emotional relief in the past.

It may be beneficial, if you or someone you know struggles with addiction, to enroll in a 12-step program or another program. It is often helpful to surround yourself with others who are going through similar situations. This can provide a sense of community and even accountability. This kind of network of support may prove to be invaluable.

Another aspect of health associated with the ability to remain sober or clean is confidence and a sense of identity. If there are areas of your life or personality that may be underdeveloped due to past addictions, maybe it is an excellent time to do some self-exploration. For instance, if you or your loved one have not had a hobby or preferred activity, it may help to develop one.

Behavioral Therapy can be Beneficial

Positivity can be extremely powerful. Behavioral therapy refocuses negative thoughts or patterns by replacing them with positive counterparts. This can be done, to some extent, on your own. An example of this would be if you find yourself upset about long work hours, try instead, to think of the blessing of having a job to provide money and an outlet or purpose.

It is also recommended that beliefs and foundational identifiers such as spirituality and family values be followed intensely. This sense of self and purpose can give a person something to hold on to when purpose may have, otherwise, been hard to find. Whether it be a higher-power or parents, siblings, or children, something outside of ourselves can help by bringing the focus and pressure off of the ‘self.’

Don’t Let Yourself Become Overwhelmed

Lastly, life can be overwhelming. This is especially true when the future is looked upon all at once. It is often within the addictive personality to look at the big picture (health, work, children, global issues, etc.) and become overwhelmed. At this point, the ‘big picture’ is replaced with whatever substance is typically abused to cope. It is important not to dwell on the big scary stuff and focus on accomplishing the task at hand or the ‘next right thing.’ If you keep moving forward with that in mind, you can cope and stay sober. Then all of a sudden, the stuff that seems overwhelming may be well on the way to becoming that which has become overcome or accomplished. Life is too short to spend time worrying or struggling, and too long to spend looking at the end.

executives in recovery

Executives in Recovery: How to Re-enter the Workplace After Rehab

Alcoholism can be a devastating disease, damaging the lives of alcoholics and the people who love them. Alcohol addiction can lead to broken relationships, divorce, and separation of children from their parents. It can destroy user’s financial lives through poor monetary decisions and lost jobs or wages. While these consequences are daunting, treatment for workaholics can save the life of the alcoholic and, in doing so, dramatically improve the life of his or her family and loved ones. While treatment for alcoholics is no easy feat, it is just the beginning, not the end, of recovery. Upon completion of a treatment program, the alcoholic in recovery must re-enter his old life and learn how to navigate its challenges as a sober adult.

Alcoholics in the Workforce

Legally, employers have the right to fire employees for subpar performance, whether it is due to substance abuse problems or any other reasons. However, many employers want to help employees struggling with addiction. Many employers will hold an employee’s job for the duration of rehab or allow the individual to attend rehab with an understanding that they will have a job if they are able to successfully complete treatment and maintain a sober lifestyle. Larger companies may have specific policies set up to deal with employees who struggle with substance abuse.

Returning to the Workforce

Coming back to work after rehab comes with its own set of challenges. Depending on the individual’s behavior before rehab, coworkers may gossip about the reasons behind the leave-of-absence and may be nosy. It is important to remember that, by law, the reasons for departure and return are confidential, and the employee has a right to privacy. If the alcoholic in recovery wishes to share his story, that is his decision.

In terms of job expectations, the U.S. Department of Labor suggests creating a return-to-work agreement before the employee comes back. It should outline the employer’s expectations for the returning employee, including zero-tolerance for substance abuse, with the stipulation that breaking the agreement is grounds for termination. Another challenge in returning to work after rehab is learning to deal with the stress without the release of alcohol abuse. The recovering alcoholic will need to utilize new strategies, such as mindfulness exercises, yoga, breathing, or other physical activities to reduce stress.

Reducing Stress To Avoid Relapse

While returning to work can be challenging, it also offers some benefits to the recovering alcoholic. The workplace is a structured environment that provides opportunities for creative thinking, problem, solving, and socialization. It gives the individual a purpose and an identity. But for recovering addicts, there is always the risk of replacing one addiction for another, and one risk for a recovering alcoholic is becoming a work addict.

Recovering alcoholics fresh out of treatment may throw themselves back into work and quickly develop the hallmarks of addiction, such missing out on social obligations to work, thinking about and craving work at inappropriate times, and allowing work to negatively impact personal lives and relationships. Working too much may lead to burnout or create too much work-related stress, which can trigger a relapse of alcohol use.

When returning to work, alcoholics in recovery be mindful that becoming a workaholic is a possibility and be on the lookout for changes in work habits, such as skipping important events or losing interest in previously enjoyable activities. Recovering alcoholics should gradually increase work responsibilities instead of jumping right back in and resist the urge to prove themselves to coworkers and employers. Work addiction treatment is available if needed. Call our toll-free number today for help with any type of addiction.

Alcohol Detoxification

What Should You Expect During Alcohol Detoxification?

Alcohol has been normalized in American society. It permeates our culture via books, television, movies, and advertisements. It is portrayed as a giver of good times, a bonding experience, and something of independence and romance. The truth is that alcohol is a depressant. It slows the central nervous system (CNS) and can cause drowsiness and delayed reaction time and other related symptoms. It is the cause of more than half of all of the deaths related to driving in the United States. It causes the internal organs to fail and steals time from family and raids the pocketbooks of struggling spouses. Although the withdrawal symptoms associated with alcohol detoxification can be excruciating, the result is a more rewarding and healthy life.

When tolerance to alcohol is built, the body learns to compensate and to keep the brain in a more wakeful state. When you decide to quit drinking, there will be symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Some people choose to stop ‘cold turkey’ (all at once and without help). Stopping without support may or may not be a good idea, depending on the severity of the addiction. If you have not been drinking long, or if you do not drink very much, withdrawals may not occur, or they may be minor symptoms. These less-serious symptoms can include shaking or tremors, anxiety, nausea and vomiting, headache, insomnia, and excessive sweating. These usually commence after as few as six hours after you stop consuming alcohol. Though generally not life-threatening, these symptoms can be uncomfortable enough to cause a relapse or additional drinking to stave off further withdrawals.

Alcohol Detoxification Programs

If you have tried to quit before, or you drink frequently and want to stop, it is recommended that you seek an alcohol detoxification program. A detox program can be beneficial because there are medical doctors and staff present that can see to it that you remain safe and sober through detox. Alcohol detoxification is the process by which your body is allowed to rid itself of the toxins that have built up internally over the period during which alcohol was ingested. Several severe symptoms of withdrawal should be monitored by a physician. These can include hallucinations, seizures, confusion, high blood pressure, and fever. These are sometimes associated with Delirium Tremens (DTs). DTs are symptoms including vivid hallucinations and delusions. DTs are relatively rare, however.

Inpatient detox programs are usually preferred because the patient can be monitored and because they provide accountability for the patient to remain sober through the withdrawal stages of detoxification. It is essential that the facility at which you (or whoever is recovering from alcohol addiction) is clean, safe, comfortable, and conducive to rest and positivity. Some programs will involve more group-oriented treatment, while others may focus more on the individuals on a more singular basis. Everyone is different, and treatment should be chosen according to the needs of the patient.

During alcohol detoxification, it will be beneficial to stick to the prescribed or suggested regimen of vitamins, the recommended diet, and water/fluid intake. For detox to work efficiently, the body must be given the proper nutrition. The amount of water required by the body to rid itself of toxins is substantial. To allow this process to happen without depriving the rest of the body’s functions of the water needed to be completed, plenty of water must be ingested. It is also a good idea to drink plenty of water anyway. Sometimes, vitamin drinks or electrolytes are also given for the patient to drink. 

Maintain Positivity in Recovery

As with overcoming anything in life, simplification can be helpful in the journey to sobriety (in detox, and at home). Having a space that is quiet and calm to collect your thoughts and relax will help greatly. Since alcohol is often used in groups or at parties or other social events, it might be good to set boundaries for yourself. These boundaries might include a curfew, places that you should avoid (like restaurants that serve alcohol) or even limited time spent with people that you might feel are not healthy to be around. It will also prove to be helpful to surround yourself with positivity in any way possible. Try only watching ‘upbeat’ or positive television shows. Music should be kept happy as well. Keeping your surroundings clean and simple, and maintaining your hygiene will promote positivity.

Remember, you are worth healthy change. If a better version of yourself can be achieved, it is essential that you try. Alcohol detoxification and rehab can seem overwhelming, along with the symptoms of withdrawal pains. This does not mean, however, that you will not have fun along the way to sobriety, or that you will not feel a fantastic sense of accomplishment every step of the journey. Detox is the first step. The human body is impressive and can get rid of the toxins that harm it. If you are interested in detox for yourself or a loved one, click here for lots of helpful information and resources.

moderate drinking

When Moderate Drinking is Never an Acceptable Outcome After Addiction Rehab

What is Alcoholism?

Alcoholism is an addiction, characterized by cravings for alcohol and a compulsion to drink, even when the drinker knows he or she will suffer harmful side effects from it. Alcoholic’s bodies become physically accustomed to the presence of alcohol, and they may even suffer from symptoms of withdrawal if they stop drinking alcohol.

Abstinence from Alcohol

Current addiction treatment programs consider abstinence from alcohol to be the most effective means of recovering from alcoholism and maintaining sobriety long-term. This means absolutely no alcohol consumption, at present or in the future. Abstinence-based programs maintain that there is no level of drinking that is safe for alcoholics in recovery; in fact, many programs consider an alcoholic who stops drinking to be continuously “in recovery” but never “recovered,” because any amount of drinking could trigger a relapse. That being said, there is a current movement called “Moderation Management” proposing that alcoholics can learn to drink responsibly. This begs the question: Can problem drinkers learn moderation?

Can An Alcoholic Drink in Moderation?

The Moderation Management program is designed to help alcoholics change their behavior so that their drinking is no longer a problem. Like many addiction treatment programs, this one begins with abstaining from alcohol, but instead of attempting to maintain that abstinence forever, members can transition to moderate alcohol use after 30 days. Moderation Management guidelines include:

  • Attending meetings in-person or online
  • Monitoring alcohol consumption
  • Conducting a regular self-inventory
  • Abstaining from alcohol 3-4 days each week
  • Limiting drinking; for women, this means no more than 3 drinks per day or 9 per week; for men, no more than 4 drinks per day or 14 per week

While this treatment model may be appealing to current alcoholics who do not want to stop drinking, evidence shows that as many as 15% of Moderation Management members have clinical symptoms of alcoholism, suggesting that the program is not completely effective.

Why Is It Difficult for Problem Drinkers to Learn Moderation?

It is challenging for problem drinkers to drink in moderation for the same reasons that they became problem drinkers in the first place. The causes of alcoholism vary from person to person but may include a genetic predisposition or other mental health issues such as anxiety or depression. These root causes will not go away, and continued drinking may even mask them, preventing the alcoholic from receiving proper treatment.

A person with a strong family history of alcoholism may have a genetic tendency toward addiction that will always be triggered by alcohol consumption, even at low levels. A person who suffers from undiagnosed depression or anxiety may drink to self-medicate and continuing to drink will further the condition and prevent the individual from seeking treatment for either problem. Even people without any of these conditions may drink as a social crutch or as a stress management technique, and unless they truly stop drinking, they will never learn how to handle stressful situations in a healthy manner.

In addition, alcoholics frequently lack the ability to regulate their drinking–that is part of the reason they developed a drinking problem. Moderation is a poor management technique because alcoholics cannot stop at the “just right” level of drinking–any exposure to alcohol triggers cravings for more. The idea of drinking in moderation is more likely a way for the alcoholic to placate the people pressuring him or her to change or to deny to himself the extent of the problem behavior.

For these reasons, the answer is no: alcoholics cannot drink in moderation. Complete abstinence from alcohol is the best treatment approach for alcoholism. If you would like more information on alcohol abstinence, call our toll-free number.

executive addicts

Executive Addicts: How their Children Respond to their Addictions

Seeing anyone you love fall into the grips of addiction is a confusing and terrifying experience, but when it’s a child watching a parent that they look up to and rely on to feel safe and secure exhibiting the physical and psychological effects of addiction, the emotional effect on the child can be long-lasting. Executives are susceptible to addiction too, possibly even more so than other people because of the stress they face at work on a daily basis, and understanding the importance of family and addiction treatment for executives can mean the difference between tearing your family apart and keeping it together. For more information about family dynamics in addiction, or to find out what executive addiction recovery program is best suited to your situation, call (877) 474-7113 to speak to an experienced substance abuse counselor today.

Family Dynamics in Addiction

Living with an addicted parent is traumatizing for children, and, true to the destructive cycle of addiction, the trauma and neglect that accompanies addiction can increase a child’s risk of suffering from his or her own substance use disorder later in life. It becomes easier for a child to numb his or her feelings or disconnect from them than it is to experience the anger, hurt, confusion and guilt that comes with having an addict as a parent. It is often only after an addict parent recognizes the adverse effect addiction has had on his family that he finally agrees to seek treatment. In some cases, it takes the addict’s loved ones staging an intervention to finally put an end to the substance abuse. After all, family members are often the ones who bear the brunt of abuse during the years of addiction, including lying, theft, medical problems, financial problems and job loss, and by seeking treatment at a rehab facility, the addict can start on the path to healing these open wounds.

Roles of Family Members in Addiction

Even when there is another, sober parent in the house, it’s easy for a child to become caught between trying to “cure” the addicted parent and trying to comfort the sober parent, which is more than any child should have to deal with. Many children faced with the reality of addiction in a parent try to do anything they can to help, either by reassuring the other parent, taking on household chores that are falling to the wayside, or caring for younger siblings whose physical and emotional needs aren’t being met by their parents. Younger children may cling to the belief that if they are “good” enough or “helpful” enough, everything will be fine. However, there is a fine line between helping and enabling, in which a family member allows an addict’s behavior to continue by smoothing over family upsets and covering for the addict with other family members. It’s easy for the roles of family members in addiction to become blurred, but in the wake of an addiction disorder, it’s important to remember that, as a parent, it’s your duty to care for your children and keep them safe. Exposing them to the destructive world of addiction is only preparing them for a future life of addiction.

Call Best Rehabilitation Services Today for Help

If you are an executive struggling with a debilitating addiction problem, don’t underestimate the havoc your addiction can wreak on your household, and the lasting negative effect it can have on your children. Call Best Rehabilitation Services today at (877) 474-7113, to speak to a qualified addiction recovery counselor about your substance abuse treatment options.

Functioning Drug Addicts

Do Functioning Drug Addicts Struggle with Addiction?

What do you think of when you hear the term “drug addict?”  Perhaps someone who looks sickly, someone who has neglected his or her health in pursuit of the next high?  Maybe too thin from skipping too many meals?  If you think of an alcoholic, do you picture a stumbling drunk?  While these images are not necessarily wrong, they fail to capture the many people who struggle with addiction while maintaining the facade of a healthy, happy life: functioning drug addicts.  A functioning addict might put on a shirt and tie every morning and head off to work, but his struggle with substance abuse is just as real as that of a junkie on the street.  But exactly, “What is a functional addict?”

Functioning Drug Addicts

Functioning drug addicts are people who struggle with substance abuse but continue to “function” as healthy individuals.  They continue to hold a job, pay their bills, participate in the family, and maintain a social life, while at the same time keeping up a drug or alcohol habit.  In many ways, these addicts are leading a double life–the life of a responsible, healthy adult, and the life of an addict.  Colleagues at work, friends, and family members typically are unaware of their struggle with addiction, or if they do know about it, fail to realize the extent of the substance abuse.  How can you tell if someone you care about has a private substance abuse problem?

Functioning Addict Symptoms

Functioning drug or alcohol addicts work hard to keep their abuse a secret.  When confronted, they will most likely deny that they have a problem, and they are probably in denial about it themselves as well.  But there are some signs that a person is hiding an addiction:

  • Rapid weight loss or gain
  • Changes in appearance, such as bloodshot eyes, dilated pupils, heavy eyelids, or glassy eyes
  • Detectable odor of alcohol,  strong mouthwash, or mints
  • Secretive behavior
  • Frequent absence or lateness
  • Inappropriate or unusual clothing, such as long sleeves in summertime to hide track marks
  • Changes in mood
  • Erratic behavior
  • Overreacting or acting overly emotional
  • Making excuses for appearance, action, or attitude

Substance Abuse and Failure at Work

While functioning addicts can maintain a facade of a healthy, happy life for a time, eventually, that facade will break, and the substance abuse will come out.  Addiction impacts the user’s health and behavior, and at some point will cause a problem that reveals the abuse.  This reveal may come about at home, perhaps by missing too many family events or by dramatically inappropriate behavior such as fighting or being abusive.  This may take place in the form of a work failure: chronic absenteeism, missed deadlines, or excessive lateness can lead to a work reprimand or firing.  While upsetting or embarrassing at first, this failure may be just what the addict needs to confront his or her addiction.  Such a striking failure reveals the extent of the problem to the user and his family, forcing him to admit he has a problem.  It can also force the family to acknowledge the addiction; they may be willing to tolerate some level of substance abuse at home as long as it does not impact the user’s employment. Recognizing the substance abuse allows the user and those who care about him to take an honest look at his life, identify the cause of the failure, create a solution, and make out a plan of action.  

Call Behavioral Rehabilitation Services

If you suspect that someone you love is secretly struggling with addiction, help is available.  Call our substance abuse counselors today to find the right treatment approach.