What Is Rehab

Rehab used to mean professional healthcare therapies to improve, maintain, or restore physical strength, cognition, and mobility. Usually after illness, injury or surgery.

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10 Dos And Don’ts When Your Loved One Is In Rehab

Advice to the younger, more codependent me from the stronger, more independent me – thanks to nine months in the rooms of recovery. When your loved one is in Detox:

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12 Warning Signs That Someone Is Using

Something’s not right, but you can’t pin point what’s wrong. Your feelings run from disbelief, fear and betrayal to anger, concern and back again.  Addiction doesn’t go away on it’s own. Here are 12 warning signs that need immediate attention.

In an intimate and caring relationship, accepting your loved one is a substance abuser is the hardest thing in the world. Someone you love is caught up in something dangerous and beyond your control. What you do and how you handle it is important. Taking care of yourself and being able to understand and accept the situation improves your quality of life. Accordingly, your example might lead your loved one to change.

First Be Observant

Do some detective work. Watch what’s going on, and make notes about how your loved one is acting toward you and everything else. Learn about addiction and the changes that occur in personality and behavior.

Know The 12 Warning Signs

Not all of these will apply to your loved one, but these are the most common warning signs of substance and alcohol abuse and addiction:

  1. Mood swings
  2. Anger, impatience, irritable behavior, especially when confronted
  3. Sudden appearance of new friends
  4. Secrecy about activities and whereabouts
  5. You found items that you suspect might be drug paraphernalia
  6. Pupils are often either enlarged or constricted. Methamphetamine and cocaine enlarge the pupil while heroin and other opiates will constrict the pupils.
  7. Smells different. Alcohol, marijuana and other drugs can change body odor.
  8. Loss of appetite
  9. Money and other items are disappearing.
  10. Neglecting things that used to be important—family, church, relationships, activities
  11. Neglecting personal hygiene and personal appearance
  12. Sudden secret phone calls and texting

Educate Yourself About Substances

Learn about the different classes and types of drugs. Most drugs have fairly precise symptoms if you know what to look for. Treating marijuana is a little different than treating heroin. Some medications can help with alcohol and opiate addictions. Researching is scary, but not knowing is dangerous. 

Get Help

Yes, trying drugs or alcohol for the first time is a choice, but becoming addicted is not.

Addiction is now medically described as an chronic relapsing brain disease. Don’t try to change anyone on your own, it won’t work. Seek professional help from a therapist, addiction professional, or a doctor. Recovery Guidance lists help for families and those who are addicted. Click here to search for family resources


Want help, but not sure where to start? Take our our self-assessment guide.

 

Is Sugar Sabotaging Your Sobriety

You’re trying to quit pain meds., but the chronic pain is relentless. And the pain makes you depressed. Perhaps you muddle through, doing the best you can. Since you didn’t give up and take a pill you treat yourself to some ice cream. The pain, cravings, depression, and fear of relapse come in cycles. How can you cope? Here’s one way sugar might be sabotaging your sobriety.

Sugar, Heroin, and Cocaine, Oh My

Researchers at NIDA and Princeton University found in brain scans that sugar, heroin and cocaine all light up the same areas of the brain. Gambling and alcohol also follow the same path. Scientists have found another common connection between sugar, heroin, and cocaine; many people come into treatment with low levels of dopamine. Dopamine is also known as the happiness molecule. When the brain notices dopamine levels are low, it wants more. Thus, strong cravings begin. The cravings can be directed at drugs, if the person is addicted, or at food. So, we give in. The brain is happy for a short while. Then dopamine gets low. The brain remembers what worked before, but this time, it will need even more.  In Dopamine for Dinner, Dr. Laura LaPiana, PsyD, explains, “The number one transfer addiction is sugar and that complicates issues of the brain healing, depression, and mood.”

Sugar Causes Pain

We’ve all felt the emotional pain of jeans that no longer fit, or a killer sweater that’s become a casualty of the ice cream war. Sugar can also cause physical pain. How? Some foods cause our bodies to have an adverse reaction. When we eat those foods, our body attacks the food as if it were intruder. It attacks by sending extra blood to the injured area. The increased blood flow creates redness, warmth, swelling and pain. We also call this inflammation. Sugar is a highly inflammatory food.

Sugar harms in another way too. While your body is busy fighting off the effects of sugar, it doesn’t have the extra resources to fight other injuries and illnesses. As a result, some people experience chronic low-grade pain.  The more you eat, the more your body reacts to attack the sugar. You have more pain.

Pain Triggers The Need For Pain Meds

In 2007, counselors and yoga teachers at Malibu Beach Recovery Center connected the dots between eating sugar and drug cravings. They found that “addicts of all sorts (illicit drugs, prescription drugs, and/or alcohol) can recover more easily by following a version of the Montignac diet.”  Their “diet,” also known as the Malibu Beach Recovery Diet, is based on these principles:

  1. Protein increases the number of dopamine receptors in your brain.
  2. Omega 3 fatty acids help the dopamine receptors function better.
  3. Fresh fruit helps your body make its own serotonin, which also helps the function of dopamine.
  4. Processed sugars including corn syrup, molasses, and honey are avoided. Instead, use Stevia, agave syrup, and small amounts of Splenda.

 

Cutting sugar from your diet won’t eliminate all of your cravings for highly addictive substances, but it is one way you can take control of your sobriety.


Want help, but not sure where to start? Click here try our self-assessment guide.

Which Surgeries Pose The Biggest Addiction Risk

Some people who become addicted to opioid pain relievers begin taking the drugs after painful surgeries. Which surgeries increase patients’ addiction risk?

In 2016, doctors handed out so many pain pills prescriptions that 3.3 billion pills went unused. Research firm, QuintilesIMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics, ties this factor to the current American opioid epidemic.

Some Surgeries Carry A Bigger Addiction Risk

Colectomy was the most dangerous risk with 18% of patients becoming long-term users, according to QuintilesIMS. Knee replacement patients came in second at 17% of patients who took the drugs. Hernia and hysterectomy surgeries showed to be lower-risk with about a 7% risk of misuse each. Women, overall, showed to be particularly vulnerable.

According to the report, almost three million Americans took opioids after surgery. Doctors prescribed pain meds to one in 10 post-operative patients for three to six months after their first dose post-surgery.

“The bigger the incision, the more painful something ought to be,” anesthesiologist Dr. Eric Sun told HuffPost.  The colectomy is often an invasive surgery that removes part or all of the colon. He also said that “knee surgeries tend to be very painful,” and that “people complain about those.”

Refilling Script 10 Times Is A Warning Sign

A study published in Jama Internal Medicine defines chronic opioid users as:

Those who fill 10 or more prescriptions after a few months have passed since their surgeries.

Knee replacement and open gallbladder surgical patients had the highest risk for developing opioid addictions based on Jama’s research.

Who Is To Blame?

Some may blame doctors as the root cause of addiction through excessive prescription-writing, but post-op pain is real and doctors are required by law to compassionately treat their patients for their pain.

“There’s a lot of other things you can give that can help, but at the end of the day, if someone is in a lot of pain, opioids are part of the mainstay,” Sun said.

“That’s sort of the next phase in all this research,” he said. “We know there’s a problem. The question is: What do you do about it? How do you keep these people from transitioning to long-term use?”

Content Originally Published By: Ariel Scotti @ New York Daily News


Want help, but not sure where to start? Click here to try our self-assessment guide.

Ten Things To Know Before You Seek Addiction Treatment

Searching for effective addiction treatment can be overwhelming. There’s many, many options, and each option offers many, many choices.  Since almost all of them promise a full recovery, it’s hard to know which service you need or where to even begin. Here’s ten simple facts to put your mind at ease before you start searching.

1. Addiction Can Happen To Anyone

And anyone can be addicted to any number of substances such as:

  • Alcohol
  • Stimulants (amphetamine, Ritalin, methamphetamine)
  • Cocaine
  • Sedatives (tranquilizers, sleep medications, anti-anxiety medications)
  • Opioids (heroin, fentanyl, carfentanyl, and prescribed pain relievers, such as oxycontin, vicodin and lortab)
  • Marijuana

You can become addicted if you just drink beer.  You can become addicted if you just use marijuana.  Because some of these substances are more powerful or potent than others, addiction can be faster with them.  All of the above substances can produce an addiction.

2. Virtually All Addiction Begins During Adolescence – Over 90%

Many wise, older people think young kids get addicted because because adolescence is a period of experimentation and rebellion.  On the contrary, addiction so often begins in adolescence because drugs affect the brain. Developing adolescent brains are more vulnerable.

The adolescent brain (12 – 25) is more susceptible to drug effects than the adult brain.

3. Addiction Is Not Related To Intelligence Or Social Standing

Many intelligent individuals from “good families” become addicted.

4. Addiction Is Partially Hereditary

Like most other chronic illnesses, addiction is more likely among those who have an addicted family member.  Addiction is also more likely among those with a psychiatric illness like depression, anxiety, or thought disorder. This is why smoking marijuana every week may be harmless to some individuals, but it’s seriously addicting to others.

5. Addiction Is A Chronic Illnesses That Affects the Brain

Addiction is a chronic illness or disease. This disease affects the motivational, stress and inhibitory circuits of the brain. As a result, the new brain functions sometimes lead to disturbing behaviors like:

  • Lying
  • Inability to fulfill promises
  • Impulsivity
  • Mood changes

Addiction does NOT happen all at once, and sometimes it takes years of substance misuse to produce these brain changes.  These changes last for many months, even after the substance use stops. Some people may never return to their “normal” pre-addictive functioning.

6. Most People Who Become Addicted Ultimately Recover

People who struggle with addiction are not a lost cause. Recovery rates for most addictions are similar to the recovery rates for other chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension and asthma. Recovery really means three things:

  1. Eliminating or significantly reducing all substance use. Uncontrolled substance use is the cardinal symptom of addiction.
  2. Improving overall health and function. Stopping substance use will be hollow unless it is accompanied by improved quality of life.
  3. Learning to recognize and self-manage threats to relapse. Returning to normal life involves cravings and relapse threats, but these can be managed.

Over 4 million formerly addicted individuals are now in stable recovery.  Many people recover without treatment, but good treatment accelerates the process.

7. An Addicted Person Doesn’t Have To “Hit Bottom

Some people say, “there is nothing you can do until a person is ready to stop,”  but this simply isn’t true.  Families and society in general can help people find recovery in two ways:

  1. By applying constructive but steady pressure
  2. By assisting in the treatment process

 

Many people seek recovery because someone gave them an ultimatum.  Yet others get into recovery after trying many options.  To be successful, people need continuing support from a boss, spouse, or family member.

8. There Are No Short-term Treatments

Have you heard about ultra-rapid detoxes, one-week detoxes and 30-day programs?  All of these can be helpful, but they are just the beginning phase of treatment. None are effective by themselves.  Like all other chronic illnesses, recovery is more likely with continuing care and monitoring.

9. Medications Can Help Gain And Maintain Recovery

The FDA has approved medications help people recovery from cigarette, opioid and alcohol addictions. At this point, not all treatment providers offer these medications. These medications aren’t appropriate for all cases, but many people find medications to be an important piece of their treatment plan.

10. Family Participation Improves Their Recovery

What can you do to help?

  1. Support your loved ones. Your constructive support and encouragement is invaluable.
  2. Learn about their treatment and respect their choices.
  3. Be willing to un-learn some destructive attitudes and behaviors. (All families have them.)
  4. Share responsibilities for developing new, constructive attitudes and behaviors.

 

Good treatment involves the whole family. Now that you are armed with the truth about addiction and treatment, click here to take our our self-assessment guide.