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The Impact of Holidays and Booze

Holidays and Booze: The Real Impact of This Dangerous Tradition

As we prepare for the holidays, our minds are filled with images of family celebrations. We look forward to getting together with friends and relatives we haven’t seen in a while. We go about the festivities without a single thought for those who suffer during this joyful season. Far too many people become depressed during the holidays for many reasons. Others struggle with high stress during this busy time of year. Unfortunately, these individuals often self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. As a result, the CDC has declared December, January, and March as the deadliest months for substance-induced deaths.  Let’s take a look at some of the CDC’s findings to understand better why the holidays and booze are not always a good idea.

Why the Holidays are the Most Dangerous Time of Year

Did you know that since 1999, more than 91,000 drug- and alcohol-related deaths were reported for December?  What happens during December to cause such a large uptick in the number of deaths?

According to a survey conducted by the CDC, the majority of Americans are highly stressed during the holidays.  Results of the survey show that more than 25.4% of respondents admitted to feeling more depressed this time of year.  The top 5 reasons for their depression are as follows:

  • Financial issues – 32.5%
  • Relationship problems – 21.9%
  • Missing someone who passed away – 14.4%
  • Loneliness – 9.5%
  • Too much to do – 8.4%

Anxiety and stress also play a role in higher levels of depression during the holidays.  As mentioned before, stress and depression often lead to increased alcohol or drug consumption.  But, this “solution” often makes their depression worse. This happens because alcohol decreases serotonin levels in the brain.  Serotonin regulates mood, hunger, memory, sleep and other functions. Using alcohol to dampen feelings of depression often has the opposite effect.  In many cases, the holidays and booze combination can lead to suicidal thoughts or behaviors.  

Holidays and Booze: Trends by the Numbers

Holiday alcohol consumption adversely impacts millions of individuals and families every year.  To get a better idea the how significantly the numbers change this time of year, the CDC released these results of their survey:

  • 28.6% of respondents said they drink more alcohol during the holidays
  • 30.6% of men said they consumed more alcohol
  • 26.7% of women said they increased their alcohol intake
  • 30.8% of millennials increased their alcohol intake
  • 17.9% of baby boomers said they drank more during holidays

Of course, much of this increased drinking is the result of attending more parties than usual during the holidays.  Also, stress and depression play a role in the increased numbers. As a result, the number of drug and alcohol-related deaths climb during the season.

How the Holidays Affect People Who are in Recovery

The festive atmosphere surrounding the holidays can be a challenge for anyone who is in recovery from alcohol or drug addiction.  They often fear to go to parties that could present triggers. But, if they don’t go to the party, they feel left out and can become depressed.  With this in mind, the CDC asked respondents who were in recovery how they feel overall during the holidays. Here are some of the results:

  • 27.2% said they felt happier during the holidays
  • 38.4% said they felt more depressed
  • 60.8% felt moderately stressed
  • 27.3% felt overwhelmingly stressed
  • 55.4% said they felt moderately anxious
  • 31.8% felt overwhelmingly anxious

These responses reveal that stress, anxiety, and depression are heightened during this time of year.  This can be a considerable challenge for a person who is recovering from addiction. With so many triggers to deal with over a short period, it can be difficult to maintain their sobriety.

Maintaining Sobriety During the Holidays

The CDC recommends the following tips for staying sober while dealing with the holidays and booze-related events:

  1. Work out or get regular exercise daily
  2. Stick with healthy foods and snacks
  3. Get enough sleep
  4. Spend time with family and friends
  5. Skip gatherings that you are uncomfortable about
  6. Keep to your routine as much as possible
  7. Attend AA, NA, or other meetings for added support
  8. Reach out for help if you feel inclined to partake in alcohol

These tips were shared by the participants of the CDC survey in hopes that someone will benefit.

At Behavioral Rehabilitation Services, we understand how stressful the holidays and booze can be for someone in recovery.  We hope the above information will help you stay on your path to sobriety and enjoy the holidays without incident.  

 

Dual Diagnosis Problem

Could You be Suffering from a Dual Diagnosis Problem?

Studies have shown that over half of all individuals who struggle with addictions actually have mental issues along with the addiction. When this is the diagnosis, it is called a dual diagnosis problem or co-occurring disorder. Dual diagnosis means that while a person is struggling with addiction, it may actually be caused by another underlying issue such as depression or bipolar disorder, just to mention a couple. These individuals might be using drugs or alcohol to numb the effects of a mental or emotional disorder from which they are suffering. If you are suffering from a dual diagnosis problem, both issues must be treated.

Treating only Addiction for a Dual Diagnosis Problem

If you have a dual diagnosis problem and only the addiction is treated, you will be more likely to relapse back into drug or alcohol abuse. You may be in recovery from the addiction, however, if you are still struggling with a mood disorder it will make it harder for you to remain in recovery. As long as the mental disorder still exists, you may be tempted to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Unless both conditions are treated, your chances of recovery are not good.

Self-Medicating Only Worsens Problems

If you are self-medicating to mask or cover up your feelings of depression or some other mood disorder, you are problem making matters worse instead of helping. For instance, if you are depressed and feeling sad, you might take an amphetamine or drink alcohol to make yourself feel better and more confident about yourself. Taking a drug or drinking alcohol may help the way you feel for a short amount of time but in the end, you are only making matters worse.

Self-medicating may help for a short period of time but when the effects of the drug or alcohol wear off, you may even worsen your problems. Any type of harmful substance affects the brain. Therefore, by using any type of substance, you can actually worsen the mental disorder. Self-medicating could also delay your dual diagnosis problem being identified. The problem cannot be treated if it can’t be identified.

Treating a Dual Diagnosis Problem

While having a dual diagnosis problem seems overwhelming to the patient, it is completely treatable. A dual diagnosis problem must be treated from the beginning. A good treatment plan must be designed which will address the addiction as well as the underlying cause or causes for the addiction. A counselor or specialist who is qualified in both areas, (mental disorders and addiction) can address both issues simultaneously.

At our addiction treatment facility, we know that each individual is unique and deserves an individualized treatment plan for their specific needs. After an assessment has been made and the patient is confirmed to have a dual diagnosis problem, an individualized treatment program will be designed to fit their needs and preferences. The patient will be treated for the addiction and the underlying mental disorder at the same time.

One-on-One Counseling for Dual Diagnosis

A major part of treatment will consist of one-on-one counseling with a counselor who has had special training in both fields (addiction and mental disorders). One-on-one counseling is completely confidential and the patient can feel free to discuss any issues or traumatic experiences that may have led to the addictive behavior. Our counselors are compassionate and nonjudgmental making it easy to talk and share any information about past experiences with them.

If you think that you may be struggling with a dual diagnosis problem, or may have a loved one who is, contact us to learn more about this problem and our individualized treatment programs. Any of our experienced representatives can answer any questions you may have about treatment plans or any other information about our treatment facility. Call today.

National Take-Back Day

DEA National Take-Back Day This Year: October 27, 2018

The DEA National Take-Back Day is a day delegated each year when individuals can take prescription drugs which they have in their homes that are no longer being used for whatever reason. It could be that they were prescribed an opioid painkiller which they could not tolerate or it could have been on a benzodiazepine such as Valium or Xanax which they only took a few of or could not tolerate the effects of it. For whatever reason the medication was not taken, it is not safe to have these drugs lying around the house not being used as prescribed.

Abused Prescription Medications

Most of the prescription medications which are abused by individuals and responsible for drug addictions or even overdoses are taken unknowingly from medicine cabinets or other hiding places in homes. Individuals who are abusing drugs will look in medicine cabinets and elsewhere in family’s or friends’ homes to see if there is anything they can steal or talk someone into giving them. Many times repair personnel will go into people’s bathrooms and search for prescription drugs that they can steal.

You see now why it is so dangerous and can even be deadly for someone if you leave prescription medication lying around that could be taken and used for the wrong purposes (only to get “high” by someone who it is not intended for.) Prescription medication should never be taken by anyone other than the person for whom it is prescribed.

Teens and “Skittle” Parties

Most individuals have heard of “Skittle Parties” but some do not really know what is involved with these parties. When teens are having Skittle parties, each of them goes through their parent’s (or others’) medicine cabinets and take whatever pills they can find. They may even go to grandparents’ homes and go through their cabinets expecting them to have different prescriptions because of their ages. They then all take the pills they have found to the party where everyone combines their finds in a bowl. (It is called Skittle Parties because of the different colors and varieties of pills).

The kids then take turns choosing something from the bowl not knowing in the least what they are getting ready to take and what different types of pills they may be taking together. They don’t know how the drugs will affect them and they have no idea if they may be allergic to some of the ingredients in these different medications. This is highly dangerous and can easily end in fatalities. The biggest problem is that the teens think that the drugs must be safe because they are prescribed by a legal physician. They have no thought about how dangerous to mix various drugs and how dangerous it can be to do so.

Importance of National Take-Back Day

Prescription drugs getting into the wrong hands of abusers and addicts is the most important reason for the National Take-Back Day! Individuals who have prescriptions that they are not going to use for whatever reason do not realize the importance of getting rid of them, or they don’t know how to safely get rid of the unused prescriptions.

National Take-Back Day is a time that is used to not only get rid of unwanted prescription pills but also to educate the public about the potential for abuse that these drugs have which generally leads to addiction. These drugs are not safe simply because they are written by physicians for a medical purpose. In the wrong hands, they can be deadly.

Spread the Word About National Take-Back Day

Please spread the word about National Take-Back Day and gather your old or unused prescription drugs to take to a location near you. You can find a location near you simply by going online and entering your zip code or address. You will be informed of a collection site which is near you that is participating in National Take-Back Day. Mark this date on your calendars (October 27, 2018)and safely get rid of any potentially dangerous drugs from your home. Let’s all work together to keep these drugs out of the wrong hands or the hands of teens who are curious about the effects of prescription drugs.

Depression and Substance Abuse

Depression and Substance Abuse:  A Dangerous Combination

Everyone has those days when they feel that the whole world is against them.  Sometimes it’s because of problems at work, or troubled relationships, or financial issues.  But, it’s important to remember that a bad day does not necessarily mean you are depressed. The consequences of depression and substance abuse have destroyed far too many lives.  That is a good reason to avoid medications if possible.

If you’re having a bad day, try doing some of the things that make you happy and see how you respond.  Don’t be tempted to go to your doctor to get a prescription for an antidepressant when things aren’t going your way.  This is a behavior that has led many people into a lifetime of substance abuse. To get an idea of how dangerous the combination of depression and substance abuse can become, take a look at the following facts.

Factors That Cause Depression Also Contribute to Substance Abuse

In a nationwide study of more than 43,000 adults, researchers found that about 20 percent of the participants struggled with both depression and alcohol addiction.  The study also reveals that many of the factors that contribute to depression also fuel substance abuse problems. In many cases, the person has a family history of drug abuse and depression. Many of the participants also had imbalances in brain chemistry or instances of past trauma. These facts demonstrate that there is a strong connection between substance abuse and depression.

When a person has a dual-diagnosis such as depression and substance abuse, finding the right treatment program is crucial to successful recovery.  The facility must be equipped to manage and treat both aspects of the disorder concurrently. But, how does a person determine whether they are clinically depressed or simply having a period of life challenges?  No one gets through life without a few short periods of irritability, frustration, grief, or sadness. We need to know how to differentiate between a case of the blues and clinical depression. There is a huge difference. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

Take Heed of These Symptoms of Depression

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) defines depression as:

A condition lasting for a minimum of two weeks and which interferes with one’s ability to work, function in a social setting and maintain healthy relationships.”

When a person is depressed he or she will usually display five or more of the following symptoms daily:

  • Changes in appetite, weight changes
  • Anxiety, general irritability
  • Feelings of hopelessness
  • Erratic sleep patterns
  • Low energy levels
  • Feelings of guilt
  • Lack of interest in daily routines
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Feeling worthless
  • Sadness, tearfulness
  • Thoughts of suicide, or suicidal attempts

Depression typically interferes with a person’s ability to function in daily responsibilities, perform at work, or maintain healthy relationships. It is usually at this point that the individual turns to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate the pain and emptiness they experience.  Eventually, the depression and substance abuse feed each other, and the condition spirals out of control.

Breaking the Cycle of Depression and Substance Abuse

Sometimes it’s difficult to determine which came first, the depression or the substance abuse.  They both share similar underlying causes. For instance, some people attempt to self-medicate what they believe is depression with drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately, rather than resolve the problem, it generally only gets worse. The substances can exacerbate the depression, fueling the need for more of the substance, and the cycle continues.  On the other hand, a person who is struggling with substance abuse often falls into a depression over their inability to control the behavior.

Another factor in the depression and substance abuse equation stems from imbalances in the brain’s chemical pathways  When these pathways are disrupted the individual can experience depression. If they turn to stimulants to counteract the symptoms, the drug cause more damage to the brain by interfering with dopamine production, and this leads to an increased need for the drug.

Breaking the cycle of depression and substance abuse should only be attempted by experienced addiction treatment providers. Dual-diagnosis disorders must be handled carefully. Each contributing factor of the disorder must be addressed before the individual can recover.  This level of treatment must include counseling, skills training, relapse prevention techniques, confidence building activities, and much more.

Let Behavioral Rehabilitation Services Help You or Your Loved One

Finding the right program to help you or a loved one overcome depression and substance abuse is one phone call away.  At Behavioral Rehabilitation Services, you’ll get the support, guidance, education, and tools you need to heal from this life-altering disorder.  Contact us today to learn more about our program.

Crackdown on Opioid Dealers

Crackdown on Opioid Dealers: Prosecuting Overdose Deaths as Homicides

The opioid epidemic continues to wreak havoc across the nation despite increased efforts to control the situation. In one more desperate attempt to prevent overdose deaths, a crackdown on opioid dealers is in the works. If a person dies from an overdose, the dealer who sold the drugs will be charged with homicide and can spend up to 20 years or more in prison. Federal prosecutors are confident that this measure will have a positive effect on the growing fentanyl overdose deaths.

In 2016, drug overdoses caused the deaths of more than 64,000 Americans, and the number continues to rise. Over 20,000 of those deaths were attributed to fentanyl, and about 15,000 were attributed to heroin. In the past, these deaths were approached by law enforcement as accidental or as “death by misadventure.” Today, however, a paradigm shift is underway. Because of the increased use of fentanyl by profit-hungry dealers, overdoses are skyrocketing.

How the Crackdown on Opioid Dealers Works

The Feds are focused on eliminating the root of the problem, unscrupulous dealers. But, it will be difficult to prove the exact cause of death in some cases. This is especially true when the deceased was a poly-substance abuser. These individuals were likely suffering overall poor health due to the many drugs in their system, making them more susceptible to disease or death.

Many states have a variety of legal standards for identifying the cause of death. These standards can include “direct result,” “caused by,” “results from,” or “caused by.” Each of these standards has its legal ramifications. Although the legal process can make the crackdown on opioid dealers more difficult, it is worth the effort. When a dealer knowingly sells a person fentanyl-laced opioids or heroin, he deliberately puts that person’s life in danger.

Why are Dealers Using Fentanyl so Abundantly?

According to the CDC, fentanyl and other opioids caused more than 27,000 deaths in 2017. This number is an increase over the 20,000 deaths in 2016. These deaths occur because many of the victims are unaware that fentanyl is present in the substance they purchase.

Fentanyl is classified by the DEA as a Schedule II drug. This classification means the drug has a high potential for abuse and addiction. The drug is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. Fentanyl is cheaper and more readily available than many other substances, making it a money-maker for dealers.

To get a different perspective on the need for a strong crackdown on opioid dealers, take a look at these numbers:

  • Inspectors at a Philadelphia port confiscated $1.7 million worth of fentanyl that had shipped from China to the US.
  • In 2016, officers seized 440 pounds of fentanyl nationwide.
  • In 2017, more than 951 pounds of fentanyl were seized by federal agents nationwide.
  • American heroin addicts have increased 500 percent in the past decade.
  • Nearly half of all opioid-related deaths in 2016 involved fentanyl, according to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).

It’s not difficult to see that the fentanyl problem is on the rise. Lack of awareness about the potential dangers of fentanyl is one of the contributing factors. Devious dealers are also a big part of the problem. As a nation, each of us is affected in some way by substance-related crime and activity. With the shocking number of needless deaths continuing to rise, we welcome any efforts to put an end to the problem.

Behavioral Rehabilitation Services Can Help You Overcome Opioid Addiction

At BRS, our experts have years of experience in working with addicts. Recent graduates of our program are sharing their success stories with the public to be part of the solution to addiction. Our comprehensive program is designed to address each contributing aspect of addiction to ensure a lasting recovery. Learn more about how we can help you or a loved one by contacting us today. While we hope the crackdown on opioid dealers will have an impact on saving lives, we will continue to do our part by helping our clients successfully recovery from opioid abuse or addiction.

CBT in Addiction Treatment

How Does CBT Help a Person Overcome Addiction?

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, known as CBT, is a non-12 step approach to addiction treatment.  This treatment method helps recovering addicts reverse unhealthy behaviors that contributed to their addiction.  The CBT approach is founded on understanding why a person abuses drugs or alcohol. Experts believe that the physical dependence on addictive substances is a symptom of an underlying problem.  Once these issues are addressed professionally, the person is less likely to relapse. CBT in addiction treatment is a proven and highly effective component of a comprehensive program.

CBT is a combination of evidence-based therapies known as Dialectical Behavior Therapy, Rational Living Therapy, Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, Cognitive Therapy, and Rational Behavior Therapy.  The two main components of CBT are functional analysis and skills training.

Functional analysis focuses on helping the person identify the thoughts and feelings or circumstances that he or she experiences before and after using a substance.  Skills training allows patients to unlearn destructive habits and replace them with healthier behaviors.

Factors to Consider Before Using CBT in Addiction Treatment

When considering CBT in addiction treatment, a person needs to understand the key components of the program so they will know what to expect.  For instance:

  • CBT is not a long-term therapy.  It has a specified time for completion.
  • It is highly structured with specific agendas and based on what the client wants, not what the therapist wants.   The patient reveals his or her goals and the therapist helps guide the person in such a way that to facilitate reaching the goals.
  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is proven by solid clinical trials to be effective.
  • The method is flexible and can be utilized in an inpatient or outpatient environment in both group or individual sessions.
  • CBT is founded on the belief that our behaviors are learned reactions.  The therapy helps a person identify their dysfunctional responses and lean ways to avoid repeating that behavior in the future.  It’s about understanding what needs to change.
  • The therapy sessions are interactive.  The patient is encouraged to share his or her wants, needs, and concerns.

Overall, the cognitive model of therapy seeks to address the fact that a person’s reactions are based on their perception of a situation than the situation itself.  The goal is to help a person think more realistically and discard distorted thought patterns that lead to poor decision-making. The skills learned in CBT in addiction treatment can be applied in all areas of a person’s life.

What is Distorted or Dysfunctional Thinking?

As mentioned earlier, addiction is the result of underlying problems coupled with the effects of addictive substances on the brain.  Most addicts struggle with emotional issues, dysfunctional family life, genetic predisposition to addiction, environmental issues and more.  Some of the problems were contributing factors to the addiction, while others occurred because of the addiction. Nevertheless, the person must learn new ways of thinking and better methods for coping with stressful situations.

Some of the distorted thought patterns addressed during CBT include:

Fortune Telling – You assume you know what is going to happen.  For instance, your negative thought patterns may convince you that you won’t get the new job or promotion or be approved for a loan.  This distorted thinking can keep you from taking positive steps toward attaining your goals.

Mind Reading – Many people assume that they know what someone else is thinking.  Thinking that someone considers you stupid or that they don’t like you is a form of mind reading.  Despite any evidence to support this thought process, you base your reaction to that person on your perceived notions.

Over-Generalizing – Jumping to conclusions or seeing things as all-or-nothing can jeopardize a project or influence your opinion of a person.  If there is one thing that upsets you or bothers you, you decide to abandon the project or the person.

Catastrophizing – Exaggerating or imagining the worst outcome.  For instance, if your boss wants to talk to you, you imagine that you are in trouble or will be fired.  Or, it rains on the first day of vacation, so you believe that it will ruin the rest of the trip as well.

Summary of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Goals

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is designed to help clients reach specific goals.  Emphasis on helping a person understand their emotions leads to distinguishing between healthy and unhealthy feelings.  CBT in addiction treatment shows a person how their distorted perceptions contribute to the painful feelings they experience. The therapist guides the patient through examining their current situation to solve problems.  Finally, CBT teaches clients how to develop improved self-control and change core beliefs that have fueled their addiction.

If you would like to know more about CBT, contact us today.  Also, if you or a loved one is in search of a treatment program for drug or alcohol addiction, we can help.

Relapse While in Recovery

What Happens if I Relapse While in Recovery from Addiction?

When anyone is in recovery from addiction, relapse is possible. However, you cannot view a relapse while in recovery as a failure. No person is always successful on their first attempt at anything. It is the same for recovery from addiction. You need to view a relapse while in recovery as a part of the process through which you are going. Recovering from addiction is a hard venture for everyone who attempts to live in sobriety after being addicted to any substance for a period.

Cigarette smoking is an excellent example of a relapse while in recovery. Hardly any individual recovers from being addicted to cigarettes the first time they try to quit. So, what do they do? They try again and again until they go for more extended periods without smoking and eventually, one day they realize they have stopped for good. It’s the same way with any substance of addiction. You can’t give up and look at yourself as a failure because you experience a relapse.

What Can Cause a Relapse While in Recovery?

There are many issues or events which can cause a relapse while in recovery. There is always the possibility of losing a loved one due to tragedy or chronic illness. The loss of a loved one is always hard for individuals to endure and deal with the pain. If you are recently starting your recovery, a loss such as this could easily cause you to turn back to your substance of abuse. You may not feel that you can handle this situation without drugs or alcohol to cope with the pain.

Another reason for a relapse while in recovery is being overly confident. You may feel that you have your substance abuse under control and can handle any situation without relapsing. Being overconfident can give you a false feeling that you can return to your old hangouts, such as bars or other places where drugs may be used without feeling the urge to use again.

You also may think that you can still hang out with the same friends who abuse drugs or alcohol without having cravings; you may feel that you can have one beer or drink when you are out with friends, or maybe partake in smoking only one joint. Recovery doesn’t work this way though. You have to abstain from drugs and alcohol, or you will be in a full relapse before you know it.

Focus on Building Your New Life Without Drugs or Alcohol

Many different things can cause a relapse while in recovery. The main thing for you to focus on though is not merely trying to avoid a relapse while in recovery, but building a new life for yourself while in recovery. Concentrate on your new life without drugs or alcohol. You can start exercising and eating healthy foods. Working on your physical health is a wonderful way to feel better about yourself.

If you lost relationships with loved ones such as family and close friends, you could work on reconnecting with them and form a new bond by showing them that you are back to your old self (the person you were before substance abuse ruined your relationships). You can experience such a feeling of accomplishment by rekindling these family ties and friendships.

Continue going to group meetings with others who are in recovery from addiction. You can form new friendships with others who are recovering from addiction. You can enjoy activities together that don’t include drugs or alcohol. Learn a new hobby that you can enjoy with a friend. Take some courses that might help you in a new career that interests you. There are so many activities in which you can participate that don’t involve abusing substances.

If You Do Experience a Relapse While in Recovery

If you do experience a relapse, remember that you have not failed at recovery and you are not a failure and doomed to a life of addiction. The old saying, “Rome wasn’t built in a day,” can pertain to many different occasions and circumstances. Recovery wasn’t accomplished in a day, and it wasn’t lost in a day.

If you experience a relapse while in recovery, you merely look at it as what it is, a setback. You start over just like the cigarette smoker who starts again. Failure is not an option! You can do this, keep persevering. Go through another treatment program or start attending more group meetings. You may want to find a sponsor who you can call in your weak moments. There are many ways you can continue through the process known as “recovery.”

Opiate Overdose Deaths

How Many Overdose Deaths are Attributed to Opiates Yearly in the United States?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there have been more than 200,000 prescribed opiate overdose deaths between the years of 1999 to 2016 on a national scale. From these statistics, about 64,000 of the people who died were U.S. citizens.  According to newer statistics, about 46 opiate overdose deaths occur daily in the United States.

Sometimes, even more than 46 people die per day, making these numbers only an approximate representation. However, this means that about 16,790 people in the United States overdose with deaths attributed to opiates yearly. With these heartbreaking statistics, it is important to take action with the intent of reducing these numbers, but first, it is important to understand opiates and the reasons why opiate overdose deaths occur in the first place.

Some of the most common opiates that contribute to opiate overdose deaths include:

  • Methadone
  • Oxycodone
  • Hydrocodone

About These Common Drugs that Contribute to Opiate Overdose Deaths

Methadone – Those who take this prescribed drug are utilizing it to help prevent severe pain. However, this drug alone contributes to about one-third of all U.S. overdoses. Because of methadone’s ability to remain within the system for a prolonged amount of time, this drug has a tendency to have a negative effect on heart rates as well as breathing patterns.

Oxycodone – This drug is commonly prescribed in hopes of treating severe to moderate pain. However, with a drug overdose by oxycodone, it is usually quite unexpected due to its gradual build up within the body’s system. This, in turn, creates a tolerance to the drug that is sometimes overlooked when it is prescribed at a higher dosage. Oxycodone is also highly addictive, even furthering complications and increasing the chances of overdosing.

Hydrocodone – This narcotic is also a drug that is used to help ease and prevent severe pain. This drug can be countered by Narcan which is usually administered when the first signs of a Hydrocodone overdose are apparent. However, this drug also comes with its own list of negative effects to the body.

Why Overdosing Occurs

  • Those who are addicted to opiates are more likely to overdose.
  • Wrong amounts of the opiates are prescribed or taken by the patient.
  • Alcohol is oftentimes seen as the contributor to an overdose.

The Affected United States

40% of the affected United States has opiate prescriptions, but still, end up overdosing.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, the states contributing to the highest number of opiate overdose deaths include West Virginia, Maryland, Maine, and Utah.

In 2016, the affected numbers of Non-Hispanic Whites, Alaskan Natives, and American Indians were higher than those affected that were Non-Hispanic Blacks or Hispanics.

The number of men affected is much higher than women.

Signs of an Opiate Overdose

  • Slowed heart rate
  • Slowed or no breathing
  • Unresponsive
  • Cold skin
  • Blue/gray skin or lips

If you know someone who is experiencing these symptoms, it is extremely important to get help right away. It is very likely that the person will recover if attended to on time by a healthcare professional.

What to Do in the Event of an Overdose

With the Good Samaritan Law in mind, it is important to react accordingly.

  • Call 911.
  • Turn the affected onto their side to help clear their lungs of anything preventing them from their natural breathing rhythm.
  • Start administering CPR if the person still is not breathing and you are able to do so.

Preventing Future Opiate Overdose Deaths

Staying drug-free is the best way to prevent an overdose; however, these prescribed drugs can’t always be avoided. Because of this, you should:

  • Always consult your physician about any adverse side-effects.
  • Give your physician an accurate list of all drugs being taken to prevent any negative reactions.
  • Never drink alcohol when taking opiates.
  • Never chew on the prescribed pill; chewing on the pill can release the ingredients of the pill too quickly, sending your body into shock or an immediate overdose.
  • Only take the prescribed drugs as directed.

It is important to remember that overdosing can occur to anyone. It can even happen to those who are following the proper procedures in taking these prescribed drugs due to building a tolerance to the drugs. Therefore, it is important to always have someone who can be with the person taking medicine so that they can react accordingly in the event of an opiate overdose.

Disposing of Unused Rx Drugs

Why It’s Important to Properly Dispose of Unused Rx Drugs

Studies show that the majority of misused prescription drugs are obtained from friends or family.  Government agencies such as the DEA and FDA are seeking ways to solve this crisis.  One method they have initiated is known as Prescription Drug Take-Back Day.  This is a semi-annual event that provides an opportunity for people to dispose of unused opioids and other prescription drugs that might fall into the wrong hands.   Properly disposing of unused Rx drugs is an excellent way to protect young people, and adults,  from the harmful effects of these substances.

Options for Disposing of Unused Rx Drugs

In the past, people were advised to dispose of unused prescription drugs by flushing them down the toilet.  Environmentalists are not in favor of this option because they fear that the drugs’ residue can have an adverse impact on the environment and human health.

The FDA conducted a study on the potential risks of flushing by using 15 different medicines.  They determined that the potential risks to humans and the environment is small compared to the potential dangers of the drugs being ingested directly.  Flushing the drugs gets them out of the reach of people and pets.  However, this option should only be considered if a take-back program is not available at the time.

Disposing of unused Rx drugs in the trash can be a bad idea.  Desperate abusers or addicts have no problems with going through the trash to get what they want.  If using this method of drug disposal, you should mix the substance with something undesirable such as cat litter or coffee grounds.   The mixture should then be sealed in a bag or container to prevent leaks.

What is the Best Way of Disposing of Unused Rx Drugs?

The best method for disposing of unused Rx drugs is through a Drug Take-Back program.  These programs are closely monitored to ensure that the drugs are not diverted. More information can be found at the DEA website here.

Another option for getting rid of unused medicine is to take them to a DEA registered collector.  These authorized permanent collection sites can be found in pharmacies, hospitals, or law enforcement facilities.  Also, local law enforcement agencies may sponsor a drug take-back event in local communities.

Some medications come with a disposal instruction sheet.  These instructions should be followed carefully.  A list of medicines that are approved for disposal by flushing can be found on the FDA’s website.

Are the Take-Back Methods Effective?

The take-back days are usually in October and April.  During the last take-back day, more than 456 tons of prescriptions pills were collected.  More than 5,300 sites participated across the U.S.

It’s also interesting to note that more than 6.4 million people abuse prescription drugs, and most of the drugs were obtained from family or friends’ medicine cabinets.

The goal of the Take-Back program is to keep these unused drugs from getting into the hands of someone who has the intent to abuse them.  After President Trump declared opioid abuse as a public health emergency, the DEA facilitated the 14th Prescription Drug Take-Back Day in 2017.  The events are held twice a year in communities nationwide.

If you need to dispose of your unused medications, please check your local agencies to find out when the next take-back day occurs.

You can also contact us at our toll-free number if you need more information about this topic or if you want information about drug addiction treatment programs.

Before Going to Rehab

5 Things You Need to Ask Before Going to Rehab

Going to rehab once is hard enough.  You don’t want to have to repeat the process because the program didn’t work for you.  Also, being an addict once is more than enough. You don’t want to go through rehab and then relapse and become an addict again.  So, when you’re ready to choose a rehab, you’ll want to ask five specific questions before going to rehab that will help you make an informed choice to get the right program that will work the first time.

What You Need to Know Before Going to Rehab

How do you know you’re choosing the right program that will provide the tools you need to remain drug-free for good?  The best way to choose a rehab is to do some research before making a decision. Knowing what to expect can help you understand your role in the recovery process and will make the experience more productive.

The Internet has an abundance of information about rehab, and you’ll feel overwhelmed by all the options. Hundreds of facilities are all claiming to be the best.  But, don’t be tempted to settle for the first one at the top of the list. Take a deep breath and use this list to help you sort through the choices before going to rehab.

Five of the most important questions to ask about rehab include:

  1. How many licensed, full-time employees do they have?
  2. What is their stance on medication-assisted recovery?
  3. How many people attend a group therapy session?
  4. How often will you meet with a therapist alone?
  5. Do they offer private rooms or will you have to bunk with others?

The answers to these questions will give you an idea of whether you’re going to feel like you’re lost in the crowd.

Your Needs and Preferences are Important

Going to rehab today is a much better experience than ever before.  The programs are structured in a way to allow for individualized plans that are suited specifically to each patient.  You can choose from traditional programs, faith-based, holistic, and many more.

Also, options such as residential, intensive outpatient (IOP), and partial hospitalization (PHP) are available.  The severity of your addiction and the substance involved will play a role in determining which type of treatment is best for you.

Some other things you’ll want to know about a facility:

  • Do they offer a specialized program or do they claim to be experts at everything?  If they claim to be experts at everything, they probably aren’t great at anything.
  • Are they a for-profit or non-profit facility?  For-profit facilities often offer extra types of therapies and amenities.  But, non-profit facilities also offer good options and they’re not likely to be concerned with seeking money.
  • Does everything sound too good to be true?  Trust your instincts on this.  Many facilities make claims that are often completely false.
  • What is the length of the program?  Is it open-ended or will you be forced to leave in 30 days whether or not you feel ready to be on your own yet?  Remember, you don’t want a quick-fix. You want a program that allows you time to heal emotionally, physically, and spiritually.
  • Do they offer detox on-site?  On-site detox is ideal because you won’t be tempted to leave detox and just go back home.  Detox isn’t a cure for your addiction. It just the first step in the overall treatment process that includes rehabilitation and aftercare.

You’ll also need to decide whether you want a facility that is close to home or further away.  The good thing about choosing one close to home is that your family will be able to visit. Also, if it’s close by, you can actually visit the facility before making your choice.

If you need more information before going to rehab and what to expect, please contact us today.

Vitamins and Nutrition in Recovery

Rehab Programs Helping Addicts Replenish Vitamin Deficiencies in Recovery

Drug and alcohol abuse is prevalent in America today and contributes to a host of problems. Addiction costs the country more than $740 billion annually due to losses in productivity, health care costs, and crime. Addiction takes a toll on the personal lives of addicts and their families, causing personal pain, damaged relationships, and broken families. And addiction certainly exacts a cost on the health of the user: addiction can lead to death, infectious disease, or chronic health problems, even after recovery. One less commonly noted impact of addiction on health is a vitamin deficiency.  Read more to learn about the importance of vitamins and nutrition in recovery from addiction.

Addiction-Related Vitamin Deficiency

Malnutrition is fairly common among people suffering from addiction; one study shows that 70% of addicts suffer from vitamin D deficiency and low levels of vitamin C, and another study shows that 50% of addicts in detox are deficient in either iron or vitamins, especially vitamins A, C, and E. These deficiencies stem from two causes: primary and secondary malnutrition. In primary malnutrition, addicts fail to eat a nourishing diet, choosing to abuse drugs or alcohol instead of eating. They consume too few calories overall, and the foods that they choose to eat may fail to provide proper nutrition. This can be because some drugs specifically impact appetite; for example, stimulant drugs, such as methamphetamine, can suppress appetite and disrupt hormonal regulation, interfering with calorie consumption and nutrient processing. With secondary malnutrition, the addict consumes sufficient calories but the substance abuse causes improper nutrient metabolism, absorption, utilization, or excretion.

Importance of Vitamins and Nutrition in Recovery

Whether the cause is an overall lack of calories or failure to properly digest and absorb calories, the fact is that many addicts enter addiction treatment in a malnourished state that can interfere with recovery. Poor nutrition causes low levels of neurotransmitters, brain chemicals that pass messages from one part of the brain to another. Low neurotransmitter levels can cause depression, agitation, and dysregulation during the early phases of recovery. Specifically, low levels of serotonin cause sleep problems, irritability, and depression. Low dopamine levels can cause aggression and drug cravings.

How can nutrition help during recovery? Are there specific drug detox vitamins? The answer is yes. By supplementing the addict in recovery with the building blocks of these neurotransmitters, they can rebuild their neurotransmitter levels to help overcome mental health problems during recovery. Vitamins and supplements that can help include:

  • Amino acids: critical for the building of neurotransmitters
  • Folic acid and Vitamins B6 and B12 for serotonin production
  • Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids to improve neurotransmitter function and help with depression
  • Iron to help with fatigue, depression, and attention
  • Vitamin D to improve immune function

As addicts transition to life in recovery, they often experience drug cravings, irritability, anxiety, and depression. Addressing the vitamin deficiencies can help to ease those symptoms.

If we look at methamphetamine use, in particular, there are specific health concerns for people recovering from meth addiction. Methamphetamine users often struggle with dental problems, including dental disease and missing teeth. These dental problems can impact what recovering meth addicts can eat, and these dietary constraints must be taken into consideration during recovery. It may be useful to consult a nutritionist for help in finding foods of the right consistency that will still provide sufficient vitamins and nutrition in recovery.

A Healthy Approach to Recovery

Addressing the nutritional needs of the recovering addict is part of a healthy approach to recovery, viewing the addict as a whole person instead of looking only at the drug addiction.  In fact, studies show that a healthy body fosters and healthy mind.  When the mind and body are in optimal health, the person is less likely to experiment with addictive substances.  This is why vitamins and nutrition in recovery are essential to restoring a person to an improved state of health and vitality.

If you or someone you love is looking for drug treatment, we can help. Call our toll-free number today.

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.

Enabling an Addicted Loved One

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.  Are you enabling an addicted loved one? If so, you can get something called compassion exhaustion; you have to learn to take care of yourself.

Enabling an Addicted Loved One

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. Enabling an addicted loved one can hurt them more than helping them in the long run.

Losing Compassion While Enabling an Addicted Loved One

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 enabling an 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 to therapists and healthcare workers:

“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 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 enabling an addicted loved one, 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 our toll-free number.

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. 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.

Asking for Addiction Help

Asking for Addiction Help: Why It Can Be a Difficult Process for Addicts

It does take a lot of work and a lot of effort to successfully accomplish beating alcohol addiction. The grim truth of the matter here is that this is a very dangerous and risky problem that causes all kinds of worries and hardships for people, and which need to be more effectively addressed. What we have on our hands truly is a full-on nightmare when it comes to alcohol addiction. The best way to address this is by asking for addiction help with professional detox and rehab programs like Behavioral Rehabilitation Services.

Beating Alcohol Addiction

When people who are battling alcohol addiction ask how to overcome alcohol, there is a simple answer. Rehab. But what if a person does not know how to get help or does not know how to ask? The first thing a person must do is just to come to the understanding and the realization that they need to get help for their alcohol addiction or it will be the end of them. That has to be the first approach here by far. There is no doubt that getting off of alcohol takes a lot of work and a lot of effort, to say the least, and the person has to want it and they have to be willing to reach out and go for it.

Don’t Fear Asking for Addiction Help

When they are ready to get help, they need to start talking to family members and loved ones and people who will help them, and they need to do this quickly too. They also need to start talking to rehab centers as well, as all of these programs will make a big difference for the person in getting them the help that they ultimately need to beat addiction once and for all and for good. Asking for addiction help can be tough, but it is necessary.

Our country is constantly faced with all kinds of difficulties and problems of one kind or the other. That is just a part of life. One of the problems that have been becoming significantly more difficult has been the problem of alcohol addiction.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the problem that is alcohol addiction has been growing at a rapidly increasing rate in this country and has been causing lots of problems of its own. Case in point, alcohol now statistically speaking has more people addicted to it then all of the drug addicts in this country combined. This is to say that alcohol abuse and consumption is a sincerely concerning and constantly growing problem, one of which creates a lot of risk and difficulty for the rest of us.

For the actual numbers on it from the NIAAA, there are about 10 million Americans who are addicted to alcohol this country, and about 60,000 who die from alcohol every year. Compare that to 8 million drug addicts, and about 40,000 drug deaths annually. What this all shows us is that alcohol addiction has grown significantly in this country since the turn of the century, and a lot of that is because of the whole opinion and attitude towards alcoholism has become far more accepting of it as a problem, unfortunately.

Treatment at Behavioral Rehabilitation

Behavioral Rehabilitation Services can offer extensive and very helpful recovery services for people. If you or a loved one are asking for addiction help, or need more information on treatment programs, reach out to Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today at our toll-free number to take the first step towards a better future and a better life that is totally free and clear of alcohol abuse and addiction.

Finances After Drug Addiction

How You Can Rebuild Your Finances After Drug Addiction

Addiction to drugs and alcohol takes a toll on many aspects of a person’s life.  Personal relationships often suffer. The user’s health can be impacted both in the short-term and the long-term.  Hobbies and pleasant pastimes may be replaced with substance abuse.  Over time, the user puts aside personal interests and healthy strategies for coping with stress.  When people enter recovery, they expect that their bodies will have to recover physically, that they will have to rebuild damaged relationships, and that they will have to learn how to handle stress without using drugs or alcohol.  But what may come as a surprise is that the effects of addiction extend into their financial lives.  Many times, substance abusers find that their finances are in shambles and that during recovery they will have to know how to rebuild their finances after drug addiction. At Behavioral Rehabilitation Services, we offer training to help clients with this issue.

Addiction and Finances After Drug Addiction

One of the many ways addiction affects your life is about how you have earned and spent your money.  It has the double negative impact of reducing your income while increasing your expenses.

  • Job productivity suffers because the user may frequently be late or absent to work, resulting in a smaller paycheck.  Most likely, the user’s job performance suffers even when he or she makes it into work.  Eventually, the user’s co-workers and their employer may become frustrated, and the user will lose their job.  With no income, and with the poor job prospects that come with a  spotty employment record, the user will have a hard time finding a new source of income.
  • Expenses increase because drugs and alcohol cost a lot of money.  A 2014 report prepared for the White House indicates that drug addicts spent a total of about $100 billion annually on illegal drugs.  The nature of the disease that is addiction will cause people to choose to spend their money on drugs or alcohol, even when it is money they cannot afford to pay.
  • Debt piles up as users neglect their financial obligations in favor of spending money on drugs and alcohol.  They may wrack up credit card debt as they pay for their daily household expenses with credit cards or take cash advances for drug money.  They may be late or default on mortgage payments when they have no more money.  They may take out personal loans from family and friends as they become truly desperate.

As a result, by the time addicts end up in treatment, they often find themselves without a job and surrounded by debt obligations that they cannot meet.

Financial Training After Addiction

Recovery is a time of transition and can be very stressful as the addict learns how to navigate life without the crutch of substance abuse. Financial distress is just another stressor during this difficult time, making real financial training an essential part of recovery. You can learn to manage your finances after drug addiction.  At Behavioral Rehabilitation Services, we help addicts in recovery by teaching them how to achieve financial stability through responsible economic management.  The skills we teach include:

  • How to remain gainfully employed
  • How to live comfortably within your budget
  • How to honor your financial obligations
  • How bank accounts work and how to manage your own
  • How credit cards work and how to handle your own
  • Why it is essential to save money and how to do so
  • How your financial stability impacts your relationships
  • How your financial stability impacts your sobriety

These skills help the user in recovery so that financial stress does not lead to a relapse.

You Can Manage Your Finances After Drug Addiction

Financial training is just one of many critical areas of support we offer at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services. You can regain your life and become the responsible person you were before drug addiction. Contact us today if you or someone you love struggles with addiction or rebuilding finances after drug addiction.

Breathwork and Yoga in Recovery

Breathwork and Yoga: How They Promote a Stronger Addiction Recovery

Just breathe.” It’s the advice you’ve probably been given hundreds of times in your life, either because you were stressed out about school or work, upset about problems at home, or you just felt like nothing was going right. Breathing is central to life, as we all know, but what many people don’t know is that learning simple breathing exercises and yoga stretches can be a helpful tool in regaining clarity and improving mood, and may even aid in the addiction recovery process. For more information about breathwork and yoga in recovery, contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today to speak to an experienced substance abuse recovery counselor about your treatment options.

Benefits of Breathwork and Yoga in Recovery

Breathing is connected to a number of essential functions in the body, and the way in which you breathe has a significant impact on those functions. The natural metabolic processes performed by cells and organs in the body produce waste, like carbon dioxide, which is removed from the body during exhalation. When your breath is quick and shallow, as opposed to slow and deep, the body is unable to keep up with its job of expelling toxins through exhalation, which means there is more strain on other parts of the body to get rid of the waste products. Breathing also spurs the lymphatic system to more quickly remove other forms of waste from the body’s cells, which aids in detoxification and keeps the body and brain functioning optimally.

Because physical and mental well-being are inextricably linked and because breath affects brain chemistry, feeling healthier physically will automatically improve your psychological health. Research shows that implementing breathing exercises such as those learned in yoga practice affects the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain tied to thoughts, emotions, and mood, which produce more of the feel-good chemicals in the brain that makes you happier and healthier. The following are some essential health benefits of breathwork and yoga in recovery:

  • Natural pain relief
  • Muscle relaxation
  • Increased oxygen to the cells
  • Detoxification
  • Lower blood pressure
  • More feel-good chemicals in the brain

Yoga for Addiction Rehab

Recovering from an addiction to drugs or alcohol is never easy, but there are ways you can make the process easier on your body and mind, one of which involves regular deep breathing exercises. An important part of addiction recovery consists of removing harmful substances from your system and replacing them with natural chemicals that help your body and brain function more effectively and efficiently, and breathing exercises in yoga can aid in this process. Yoga is all about healing the body and mind, reconnecting with your inner self, and regaining control over the way you feel, and these benefits are entirely imperative for lasting recovery. One of the most important benefits of breathing and yoga for addiction rehab is relaxation. Chronic stress is a huge risk factor for substance abuse and relapse in recovery, and by merely breathing more deeply and slowly when under pressure, you can improve oxygen flow throughout the body, reduce muscle constriction and immediately feel calmer and more in-control, thereby reducing your vulnerability to addiction and relapse. Therefore, breathwork and yoga in recovery are imperative for your well-being.

Call BRS Rehab for Help

Recovery from an addiction to drugs or alcohol is an ongoing process, one that comes with plenty of successes and challenges, and yoga for rehabilitation is one way recovering addicts can improve their physical and mental health and increase their chances of long-term sobriety. If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance use disorder, and you think rehab may be a good option for recovery; call to discuss your treatment options with a knowledgeable addiction recovery counselor.

Enabling an Addict

How to Stop Enabling an Addict and Making Excuses for Them

Being part of a family means surrounding yourself with people who love you. A family is willing to help you shoulder any burdens with which you may be struggling. Of course, it’s natural for family members to support, protect, and insulate one another. However, when a loved one has an addiction, that love, support, and protection can sometimes transform into enabling an addict. Despite the family’s intentions, enabling an addict may make their problem easier to maintain. If someone you love is struggling with an addiction, and you fear you may be an enabler, contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services. You can discuss with a trained addiction counselor how you and your family can break the enabling cycle.

What Does Enabling Mean?

Family members are expected to help one another through difficult times, but to enable an addict is something entirely different. In a healthy relationship, for example, one partner might offer to take over all the laundry or cleaning duties during a week in which the other partner is exceptionally busy at work. They do this to take some of the pressure off of an already stressed loved one. In an enabling relationship, one partner may take over the laundry duties out of necessity. They clean the soiled clothes belonging to the other partner. In this case, the one partner may be worried that the other can’t handle the chore alone. They feel that they must shoulder the task to ensure that the laundry is clean.

How to Stop Enabling an Addict

When enabling an addict, the loved ones become efficient at taking over their chores and tasks. They are primarily covering for the addict making his life easier. Therefore, because there are no negative consequences, the user finds it simpler to maintain his addiction. Enabling is a habit, a harmful and destructive one, and like any habit, you can break it. Following are some steps families can take to break the cycle of enabling:

  • Get help from a peer support group. It can help a great deal to surround yourself with other people who know about the challenges addicts and their loved ones face. Even if you don’t feel comfortable sharing your own story, it can be helpful to listen and see that you aren’t alone.
  • Have an open and honest conversation with the addict. The best way to make meaningful changes in an enabling relationship is to be open and honest with the user. Point out specific behaviors you would like to modify and share the reasons these changes need to take place.
  • Stop making excuses to cover up the addict’s behavior. If you want to stop enabling an addict, it’s imperative that you make sure the user sees the consequences of his addiction. Stop covering for him at work and home, and force him to face the impact on his own.
  • Work with a counselor. Often, family members focus so much on taking care of the addict, that they fail to recognize the adverse effects the addiction has on their health. It’s not unusual for an addict’s loved ones to develop headaches, backaches, depression, anxiety or digestive problems due to stress. Talking to a counselor can help family members work through the emotional and physical issues the addiction is causing.

BRS Rehab Can Help

It is entirely natural to want to help a loved one who is struggling, so they aren’t dealing with their addiction alone. However, being an enabler is a surefire way to ensure that an addict continues down the same path of destructive substance abuse. If a member of your family is abusing drugs or alcohol, and you want to know how you can avoid being an enabler, call Behavioral Rehabilitation Services to find out more about how to stop enabling an addict.

Addiction Recovery Counselor

How to Strengthen the Bond with Your Spouse During Addiction Recovery

Overcoming a substance abuse disorder is one of the most difficult things an addict will have to do in their life. For those whose marriage has been affected by addiction, another extremely difficult task involves strengthening the bond between themselves and their spouse. They have to rebuild the trust they lost by abusing drugs or alcohol in the first place. If you and your spouse are attempting to repair your relationship during or following substance abuse treatment, contact Behavioral Rehabilitation Services and speak to a certified addiction recovery counselor.

The Impact of Addiction on a Family

Alcoholism and drug addiction can have a devastating impact on a marriage. In addition to causing financial difficulties and physical trauma for the addict himself, a substance abuse disorder can cause lasting harm to the family as a whole. In some cases, the spouse of an addict may experience feelings of inadequacy or powerlessness in the face of the substance abuse. These feelings can lead to resentment and marital discord. However, it’s important that the couple understands that this is a problem that can be addressed with the right tools.

Ways to Strengthen the Bond During Addiction Recovery

The following are some ways in which an addict can strengthen the bond with their spouse during addiction recovery:

  • Own up to your problems. The first step in the process of addiction recovery involves taking ownership of your problem. By being accountable for your actions, you can show your spouse that you are committing yourself fully to repairing your marriage.
  • Make the effort to get help. Achieving and maintaining lasting recovery following addiction treatment requires the assistance of a trained addiction recovery counselor. Actively seeking help from a rehab facility or support group can help couples rebuild trust in their relationship.
  • Practice abstinence. The difference between abstinence and moderation is huge in the recovery process. Research has shown that abstinence, or the practice of avoiding past harmful behaviors completely, is the safest and surest way to achieve long-term recovery.
  • Let your actions speak louder than your words. You can tell your spouse a thousand times that you’re going to get help. However, it’s not until you actually take that step that the healing process can truly begin.
  • Set your family as your first priority. For an addict, drinking or using drugs becomes their top priority. Making the effort to put your family first is an important part of the recovery process. Make time for them and show them that their well-being is your first priority.
  • Practice mindfulness. It’s easy to lose yourself in addiction. However, you must make the decision to seek treatment. It is imperative that you show your spouse that the “real you” is back. You can do this by being present in the moment and enjoying the time you spend with them.
  • Work on being trustworthy. Rebuilding trust during addiction recovery is no easy task, but honesty is key. Try being more open about where you’re going and what you’re doing. By doing this, your spouse will naturally begin to trust you again over time.

An Addiction Recovery Counselor at BRS Can Help

The most important thing to remember during treatment is that recovery is an ongoing process. Rebuilding the trust you lost, and strengthening the bond with your spouse and family members cannot be done overnight. Family dynamics in addiction can be complicated, especially for addicts who have kept their loved ones in the dark in regards to their substance abuse. A person can lose trust in a moment and take a long time to rebuild that trust. However, with these tips, recovering addicts can show their loved ones that they are serious about staying sober. They will gradually begin to strengthen the bonds that were torn apart by addiction. If someone you love is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, speak to an addiction recovery counselor at Behavioral Rehabilitation Services today.

Financial Training in Rehab

Clients Can Benefit from Financial Training in Rehab

In today’s world, financial training in rehab is crucial to helping recovering addicts succeed in rebuilding their lives after treatment.  If someone you know is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, chances are, he or she is also facing financial instability or distress, a common consequence of, or precursor to, prolonged substance abuse.

For some people, their continuous use of drugs and alcohol lands them in a difficult financial situation, as they struggle to pay for their basic living necessities while also bankrolling their drug habit, but for others, they turn to substance abuse as a way to cope with financial failure. Whatever the circumstances surrounding their particular situation, many alcoholics and drug addicts who enter into a substance abuse treatment program lack the skills and responsibility to handle their finances.  Without professional help, these individuals will continue to face financial problems once they have completed treatment and are back in the real world, which can land them right back in the same dangerous situation.

Warning Signs of Financial Distress

Financial instability in and of itself can be tough for a recovering addict to deal with, but it can also lead to a relapse, for recovering addicts who are unable to cope with the embarrassment or complications of financial losses or failure. Unfortunately, this vicious cycle is what keeps many users returning to their old habits and abusing drugs or alcohol, even after successfully completing treatment at a rehab facility. The most common ways that financial instability or distress manifests itself in substance abusers include the following:

  • Struggling to pay bills on time
  • Living paycheck to paycheck
  • Borrowing or stealing money from others
  • Becoming buried in credit card debt
  • Taking out loans and being unable to pay them back
  • Being unable to pay for necessities like food, clothes or rent
  • Working a second or third job, but still never having enough money
  • Facing problems with illegal lending organizations

Benefits of Financial Training in Rehab

One way to avoid financial instability or distress following treatment at a rehab facility is to participate in financial training during rehab. The primary goal of financial training in rehab is to help recovering addicts develop the skills and tools they need to successfully gain control over their finances, to improve their chances of maintaining sobriety once they have completed treatment. Teaching an addict how to achieve financial stability for himself and his loved ones involve a variety of skills, including the following:

  • Making smart buying decisions
  • How to stay gainfully employed
  • Ways to save money, and why it is important to do so
  • To successfully manage credit cards
  • Efficiently  manage a bank account
  • Take care of financial obligations
  • Live within the individual’s means
  • Understanding the adverse consequences of excess spending
  • Understanding how financial stability directly corresponds with maintaining sobriety

Financial Training Services at BRS

Substance abuse programs at professional rehabilitation facilities are meant to treat all aspects of an individual’s addiction and not to address such a significant issue as financial instability would be the equivalent of failure. Fortunately for those recovering addicts who are struggling with financial distress, some top-tier rehab facilities in the United States, like Behavioral Rehabilitation Services, offer financial training services specifically geared towards helping clients learn how to make confident financial decisions for themselves and their loved ones after completing their treatment program. Behavioral Rehabilitation Services offers some financial training in rehab courses designed to provide clients with the knowledge and skills they need to finally take control of their finances, feel financially independent and secure, and successfully handle any financial difficulties in the future, without turning to drugs or alcohol.