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Supporting Sobriety Through the Holidays

November 23rd, 2016

 Supporting Sobriety Through the Holidays

 

The holiday season is filled with warmth and happiness. Many spend the last few months of the year eagerly awaiting these special dates in a state of joy, and families gather together to dine and celebrate. For others, however, the holidays season brings an array of negative emotions and can be hard to get through. This is especially true for those in addiction recovery. Besides the regular stress of present-buying and holiday travel, those in recovery face additional obstacles during the season. Fortunately, if someone you care about is in recovery, there are tips you can offer to help them get through difficult situations.

Staying Sober at Gatherings

Regardless of culture and religion, the typical holiday gathering involves an abundance of alcohol, and being surrounded by substances can be difficult for those in recovery. This could be a trigger for relapse, or simply put the person in a very uncomfortable spot.  The excitement of spending time with friends and family can turn into anxiety about encountering alcohol in every corner. Here are some steps your loved one can take to manage such situations:

  • Offer your support. Before attending a party or gathering, it’s important to talk to a friend or relative who will also be there about the situation. Having a support buddy to talk to in moments of discomfort provides a safety net for your loved one.
  • Take a break. If a situation is stressful, it is okay to take a break. Advise your friend or relative in recovery to go for a walk, call their sponsor, or read a chapter in a book.
  • Don’t be scared to leave. Your loved one may feel obligated to stay through the whole gathering, but they should always remember that recovery comes first. It is absolutely okay to remove oneself from an environment that may be triggering, and the family and friends at the event will understand.
  • Attend a meeting. Always remember that there are local AA/NA meeting for additional support! If your loved one plans to travel, help them do some research to find their nearest meeting.

Coping with Holiday Blues

Another reason the holiday season is difficult for some is it often brings along bouts of sadness. Whether it is from missing a loved one who is no longer with us, feeling financially inept or other reasons, depression is often present around these times. Since almost one-third of people with major depression also have a substance abuse problem, it is not uncommon to deal with holiday blues while in recovery.  However, there are things those in recovery can do to keep their spirits up:

  • Don’t isolate. If your loved one is feeling down, they may feel like they don’t have the strength to attend events or hang out with anyone. However, staying cooped up will only give their mind room to fill with negative thoughts. Even small outings such as visiting a relative or having lunch with a friend can help.
  • Get in the spirit of giving. Practicing generosity will not only help others, but it will help your loved one feel good as well. They can donate presents for underprivileged children, make care packages for the homeless, or even volunteer with a local organization.
  • Practice gratitude. Breaking the chains of addiction is no easy task, but they have managed to do it and are now living a sober life! Your loved one can make a list of things they are grateful for, send “thank you” cards as needed, and remember the countless ways in which recovery has made their life better.

Supporting Loved Ones in Recovery

There are ways to be helpful and supportive throughout the season. Let your loved ones know that you are proud of them. Offer to be his or her support buddy, and be there for them to listen, step outside the party for a while, or even join them in sobriety at certain events. Most importantly, remind them that recovery is the best gift they can give you.

The holiday season can be a stressful time for people in recovery, but it can still be filled with love and joy. After all, the holidays are not about drinking or using – they are about showing love and gratitude. If you find yourself or a loved one needing help with a substance addiction, please don’t hesitate to call us at 855-545-6777. Our admissions counselors are glad to answer any questions you may have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – even on holidays.

Meet Our Clinical Director of Outpatient Services

November 15th, 2016

Brian Murphy, Clinical Director of Outpatient Services

Meet Brian Murphy, Clinical Director of The Treatment Center Outpatient Services. As Clinical Director, Brian guides the Outpatient Services team as they help patients transition from the early stages of recovery into a healthy and secure sober lifestyle. Along with his team of therapists and case managers, Brian strives to give patients the best treatment, carrying out The Treatment Center’s mission of providing the highest standard of patient care.

Brian and his team at Outpatient Services understand that recovery is a continuous, lifelong journey. After participating in a 30-day inpatient program, patients often need assistance transitioning into a sober lifestyle outside of treatment. With the help of programs such as individual and group therapy, anger management, family workshops, relapse prevention and more, patients in Outpatient Services are able to reinforce their foundation as they step back into life outside treatment.

In this video, Brian explains his vision and goals for Outpatient Services and how he and his staff work hard to accomplish them and help patients transform their lives:

“Restoring hope is so important because we see so many folks come without any hope, and that’s what we help you focus on. How can you rebuild your life, not going back but moving forward? How can we help you let go of the past so that you can embrace your destiny?

Hi, my name is Brian Murphy, Clinical Director of The Treatment Center Outpatient Services. As Clinical Director of the Outpatient Services program, what I strive to accomplish is leading my team of therapists and case managers to provide the best care that they can, which is what we do on a daily basis.

My main goal is to continue the vision and philosophy of The Treatment Center, which is to provide excellent evidence-based treatment and recovery options as well as a personal, caring environment for every single one of our patients.

At Outpatient Services what we do as folks transfer from inpatient, we can provide all that structure support therapy that’s going to help them bridge that gap from early recovery to a maintenance stage and moving on into a lifelong experience of growth, recovery and healing. We have programs like relapse prevention, an experiential workshop, hypnotherapy, family therapy, as well as provide a supportive, caring, loving environment with all of our staff and professionals that deal with the issues that you’re facing.

Our patients work through triggering emotions, thoughts and events that have crippled them in the past. Rather than using substances, what they do is begin to practice and use new skills that are functional in their life. They also learn how to love themselves and be loved by others.

I know as a family member, addiction and alcoholism is very confusing. That’s why we’re here to help you help them to be able to break the chains of the past, and create a new future for your loved one and your family.

If you think that your loved one is struggling with these issues, please give us a call.”

Carfentanil: The Latest Deadly Opiate

October 4th, 2016

Carfentanil - The Latest Deadly Opiate

Carfentanil, a powerful sedative normally used to tranquilize large animals such as horses and elephants, is the latest deadly opiate being sold on the streets and causing an increase in overdose deaths. In the past month, roughly 300 people in at least four states have died at the hands of the potent sedative. Ohio and Florida have so far seen the most cases of carfentanil use, but it is still difficult to determine just how much this drug is being abused around the country because not many labs are equipped to test for it at the moment.

What is Carfentanil?

Carfentanil (also known as Wildnil or Carfentanyl) is a synthetic opioid that, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, is approximately 10,000 times stronger than morphine. It is also 100 times more potent than the more commonly known fentanyl, which has its own body count. This large-animal tranquilizer is not approved for human use in any way, as very minimal amounts can be deadly. In fact, officers and health officials have to take precautions to avoid accidentally inhaling or even touching carfentanil. When tending to overdose victims, they wear protective masks and gloves to avoid any sort of direct contact with the drug.

Most carfentanil on U.S. streets appears to be originating from labs in China, where the synthetic drug can be manufactured inexpensively and shipped to online buyers. Carfentanil can be pressed into pills or mixed with heroin. The drug is added to heroin to increase the length and potency of its high, but because it is clear and odorless, users may not even know when it is present. In addition, it is still uncertain how often carfentanil is being combined with heroin or other opioids. This makes street drugs all the more dangerous, as users may be thinking they are taking their usual dose of heroin while actually taking a much stronger dose of carfentanil that may lead to their death.

Effects of Carfentanil on the Body

Carfentanil produces effects of numbness like other opioids, but will also induce sedation because of its potency. Similar to opiates such as fentanyl, carfentanil can cause the following side effects:

  • Itching
  • Nausea
  • Clammy skin
  • Constricted pupils
  • Lightheadedness and lethargy
  • Respiratory depression
  • Heart failure

The human body can take hours to metabolize carfentanil, allowing it to produce a longer-lasting high while making it difficult to reserve its effects after an overdose. Naloxone, an emergency antidote used to counteract opioid overdoses, has proven to be less effective with the extremely-potent drug. In situations where one or two shots of Naloxone are usually enough to reverse a heroin overdose, carfentanil calls for approximately six shots, and even that much will sometimes not be enough to stop the drug’s deadly effects.

Signs of Opioid Overdose

Opioid overdoses can be fatal and require urgent medical attention, so it is important to recognize them as soon as possible when they occur and take action by calling 911. A person who is suffering from an opioid overdose will likely experience some of the following symptoms:

  • Pale, clammy face
  • Limp body
  • Blue or purple colored fingernails
  • Vomiting
  • Gurgling or choking sounds
  • Slowed or stopped breathing
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Inability to speak

Since carfentanil is so much stronger, the signs of an opioid overdose may happen more quickly and be more severe.

The Ongoing Opioid Epidemic

These cases of carfentanil overdoses are part of the growing opioid epidemic that has been impacting the United States for years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of opioid overdoses has quadrupled since 1999. There were more overdose deaths in 2014 than any other year on record, and three out of five involved an opioid.

od-rate-of-deaths-fullsize-tw-v2-1

Over half of the overdose deaths in 2014 were caused by prescription opioids such as Oxycodone, Methadone and Hydrocodone. However, in recent years, there has been a surge in synthetic opioid usage. Carfentanil is the latest synthetic opioid to trend in the United States, and has already started to contribute to the epidemic with the numerous overdoses it is causing. Law enforcement has started to crack down on the drug, moving forward with the first federal carfentanil case in the country. Two dealers were indicted last week in Cincinnati after lab tests of drugs they sold out of their apartment came back positive for heroin, fentanyl and carfentanil.

Meanwhile, the opioid crisis is taking more and move lives. Street drugs like heroin are often laced unbeknownst to users, making them even more dangerous and increasing the risk of overdose. Recently, a photo surfaced of two unconscious adults who had overdosed in their car with a 4-year-old sitting in the backseat. They are just a few of the many victims affected by the ongoing epidemic. These opiates are extremely addictive, but recovery is possible with professional help.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an opioid addiction, find help today by calling us at 855-545-6777. Our admissions counselors are glad to answer any questions you may have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Tackle Your Drug and Alcohol Addiction

September 25th, 2016

Let’s face it: admitting that you or a loved one has a drug or alcohol problem is terrifying. You find yourself not knowing what to do, where to go or what questions to ask. The truth is, you are not alone in this battle, and there is hope. It’s time to tackle your addiction once and for all.

tackle-your-addiction

The Treatment Center acts as your own personal defense against drugs and alcohol. Our treatment teams are comprised of board-certified medical doctors, nurses, therapists, counselors and more. Together, they have decades of experience helping individuals recover from drug and alcohol addiction. They will help you work through any underlying issues contributing to your substance abuse and teach you healthy coping mechanisms to maintain a sober lifestyle.

If you or a loved one are in need of drug and alcohol treatment, look no further. Our comprehensive treatment programs provide individuals with the tools they need for a successful future. Contact us today at (844) 9-TACKLE. We are available 24/7, including holidays, to answer any questions you may have. All consultations are free and confidential.

How Addiction Recovery Improves Lives

September 15th, 2016

How Addiction Recovery Improves Lives

September is National Recovery Month! Every year, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services (SAMHSA) sponsors Recovery Month with the goal of increasing understanding and raising awareness of mental health and substance use disorders, as well as celebrating those in recovery.

Recovery Month aims to spread the message that prevention works, treatment is effective, and people recover. This time of the year also reminds those suffering from addiction that they are not alone–in fact, according to SAMHSA, 21.5 million people aged 12 or older were classified with substance dependence or abuse in the past year, and as many as 1 in 10 Americans in that age range used an illicit drug in the past 30 days. With such a vast amount of people facing substance use disorders, it is important we give this issue the attention it deserves by increasing awareness and providing those in need with the right tools and education.

Millions of Americas suffering from addiction experience positive life-changing transformations through recovery. SAMHSA defines recovery from mental health or substance use disorders as, “a process of change through which individuals improve their health and wellness, live a self-directed life, and strive to reach their full potential.” This comprehensive definition points to the fact that recovery is different for everyone, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to treating these disorders. However, no matter which path is taken on the road to recovery, one thing is for sure–recovery from substance addiction brings endless benefits and life improvements. Below are just some of the ways in which recovery can enhance your life.

Health Improvement

There are countless physical and mental health benefits brought on by addiction recovery, as substance abuse is linked to many medical issues. Alcohol consumption, for example, can damage the brain as well as most body organs, and is linked to an increased risk of several types of cancer. Heroin is associated with increased risk of infectious diseases, and cocaine use can negatively affect the heart as well as the respiratory, nervous and digestive systems. Other drugs, such as prescription medications, amphetamines, steroids and inhalants, also negatively impact physical health. People suffering from addiction often neglect their overall health. Those in recovery, on the other hand, increasingly engage in healthy behaviors such as regular exercise, healthy eating and even regular dental checkups.

In addition, drug and alcohol addictions often go hand-in-hand with mental health issues. According to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, nearly one-third of individuals with a mental health disorder abuse drugs and/or alcohol. However, recovery from addiction to these substances can greatly improve a person’s mental health. As a matter of fact, the Life in Recovery Survey reports that recovery reduces untreated mental health problems by 400%.

Career Improvement

Professional endeavors are another important life aspect that can be majorly improved by addiction recovery. Alcohol and drugs greatly impact their users’ professional lives with issues such as decreased productivity, employee morale and increased absences. Workplace injuries and even fatalities are also increased by substance use. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, breathalyzer tests found that 16% of emergency room patients with on-the-job injuries had consumed alcohol, and 11% of workplace fatality victims had been drinking.

In addition, recovery can improve employment stability. Workers who have had three or more jobs in the last five years are about twice as likely to be users of illegal substances as those who have only had one or two jobs. According to the Life in Recovery Survey, steady employment in recovery is increased by more than 50%. As the duration of recovery increases, the rates of steady employment increase. The Survey also shows that as recovery duration increases, more people go back to school or obtain other types of job training, and more people even start their own business.

Family and Personal Life Improvement

As many of us have heard before, addiction is a family disease. Whether it is parents desperately trying to heal their child, spouses doing their best to help their partners, or children dealing with the consequences of their parents’ troubles, families are deeply impacted by the perils of addiction. However, recovery helps those whose family lives have been damaged by addiction. Addiction recovery is associated with a 50% increase in family-activity participation, and involvement in domestic violence decreases dramatically.

Those in recovery can also experience significant improvements in their personal lives. Volunteering in the community and/or a civic group increases more and more as recovery progresses, and voting rates rise as well. Also, people in recovery are more likely to pay taxes, have good credit, pay back debts and make financial plans for the future. In addition, more people report having their own place to live, having a bank account and paying their bills on time as recovery progresses.

Life in Recovery is Better

The numbers prove just how much recovery can improve lives, but the most valuable evidence comes from the people who live in recovery every day. Here is what they have to say:

“Today, I have a whole different outlook on life. My life is positive, it’s happy, and I’m able to help other people who are just like me.” – Heather

“Now, I am not scared to face life and life problems that are thrown at me, I have great relationships with my family and I’m no longer controlled by drugs and alcohol.” – Jordan

“When I was using and I was in my addiction, I didn’t even know a life like this was possible. Now, I have my family back in my life who I have a great relationship with and they trust me again. I have friends in my life who actually care about me and my wellbeing.” – Mark

Life in recovery is better in countless ways. Join us in the observance of Recovery Month–visit us on Facebook to see and share recovery facts and stories. You can even find a Recovery Month event in your area, such as Art of Recovery, an open mic and art exhibit in Lake Worth, FL featuring a performance by recovery singer/songwriter, Elizabeth Edwards. Most importantly, if you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, don’t hesitate to reach out for help and get started on the road to recovery.

The Link Between Alcohol & Cancer

August 31st, 2016
Link-Between-Alcohol-&-Cancer

Alcohol consumption, especially in frequent and/or large amounts, has long been known to negatively affect drinkers in a variety of ways. Alcohol significantly contributes to social and economic concerns–it causes the weakening of relationships, lack of productivity at work, and costs that are detrimental to the community. Alcohol is also the third leading cause of preventable death. An average of six people die every day due to alcohol poisoning in the United States. Other fatal effects of alcohol use include traffic accidents, injuries, interpersonal violence and even suicide. In addition, there are commonly known health risks from long-term alcohol abuse, such as cirrhosis, liver damage, heart disease and stomach bleeding. However, alcohol consumption also poses a lesser-known threat: cancer.

More and more research is proving that alcohol consumption increases the risk of at least seven different cancers. A new publication by a scientific journal, Addiction, covers years of research data from around the world and reports that drinking alcohol can cause the following types of cancer: throat, larynx, esophagus, liver, colon, rectum and female breast. There is even strong evidence that other cancers could be caused by alcohol as well. The publication states that, according to current estimates, “alcohol-attributable cancers at these sites make up 5.8% of all cancer deaths world-wide.” This actually makes alcohol use one of the main risk factors for cancer, along with tobacco use, unhealthy diets and physical inactivity.

How Does Alcohol Increase the Risk of Cancer?

There are different ways in which alcohol affects the human body that increase the risk of cancer, and they may vary. Here are some ways in which alcohol can cause cancer:

  • Alcohol impairs the body’s ability to absorb important nutrients whose low levels are associated with cancer risk, such as folate, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin D and more.
  • The human body converts alcohol into acetaldehyde, a toxic chemical that not only damages DNA, but also prevents our cells from repairing the damage inflicted.
  • Some carcinogenic contaminants added during fermentation may be found in alcoholic drinks.
  • Drinking raises the levels of estrogen in blood, which is linked to the risk of developing female breast cancer because of estrogen’s importance in the growth of breast tissue. In fact, the increased risk of female breast cancer seems to be one of the cancers most affected by alcohol consumption. A study conducted in the UK concluded that in women, for every 10 grams of alcohol consumed per day, there was a 12 percent increase in the risk of breast cancer.

Should Only Heavy Drinkers Be Worried?

You might think the risk of cancer from alcohol is only a concern for heavy drinkers, but that’s not the case. Although the risks are higher for those who consume alcohol regularly or drink large amounts, all drinkers are advised to cut down on their intake.

Studies show that even light to moderate drinking increases the risk for cancer, so there is no entirely “safe” alcohol limit when it comes to cancer risk. It is also important to note that all types of alcoholic drinks are linked to the increased risk of cancer, regardless of whether they are in the form of beer, wine or spirits. The amount of alcohol consumed over time is the main factor in the increase of cancer risk, not the type of beverage.

Those who smoke should especially consider reducing their alcohol intake, because alcohol and tobacco have been proven to work together to harm the cells in our bodies. Alcohol, for example, makes it easier for the carcinogenic chemicals in cigarettes to be absorbed into the mouth and throat. The use of both of these drugs combined presents a much greater risk for cancer than the use of either one by itself–a study conducted in 2012 found that drinkers who also smoked cigarettes were 3 times as likely to develop cancer as drinkers who did not smoke.

What Can We Do?

The answer is simple: reduce your alcohol intake. Scientists have found that over time, the alcohol-related risk of cancer decreases in people who quit drinking. As a factor in more than 200 diseases and injury conditions, alcohol consumption is a dangerous habit that is very much worth kicking. Quitting or limiting your alcohol consumption will not only reduce your risk of cancer and other diseases, but also benefit you in numerous other ways.

Here are just some of the other benefits of being alcohol-free:

  • Better sleep
  • Increased concentration, productivity and work performance
  • Lower levels of cholesterol and glucose
  • Improved complexion
  • Less empty calories consumed
  • More money saved

The negative effects of alcohol are undeniable. Whether it is by dividing families, posing a financial burden, causing traffic accidents or bringing about disease, alcohol consumption has the potential to destroy and end lives. Quitting alcohol isn’t always easy, but it is possible, even for those who suffer from alcoholism.

If you or someone you know needs help recovering from alcoholism, we can help – chat with an admissions counselor or call us at 844-816-1662.

Treating Pain Without Opiates

August 26th, 2016

Treating Pain Without Opiates

After having surgery, Ted found himself in a great deal of pain and was prescribed Opiates to help manage his discomfort. Although the painkillers helped at first, they soon became a problem. It became clear Ted wasn’t going to be able to stop using the opiates on his own, so his wife and children found The Treatment Center online and called for help.

While under our care, Ted benefitted greatly from the pain management program, which provides evidence-based treatment for pain sufferers by offering a variety of holistic therapies. These holistic methods helped Ted manage his pain with treatments like massages, acupuncture, laser therapy, hot rocks and chiropractic services. Holistic therapies are also designed to reduce cravings, help with anxiety, promote relaxation and encourage general wellness.

In this video, Ted shares how his life has been renewed and his gratitude towards The Treatment Center. Watch his Hope Diaries video to hear his full story:

“With therapy, the chiropractor, and the massages, it’s the way to go to stay away from the opioids. Because those pills, they help you at first, but in the long run, all they’re doing is hurting you.

Hello, my name’s Ted, and before The Treatment Center, I was in really bad pain.

When it all started, I had surgery and it just progressed from there. They kept feeding me pain pills and I didn’t understand the pain pills at the time. It just got to the point, over a six-year period, I woke up one morning and man, I was out. I just couldn’t handle the withdrawal that I was going through.

So my wife called my kids over and they did an intervention, got online, and found The Treatment Center. They got me here and since I’ve been here, I have learned a lot about opiates: what they

really do, what it does to the brain, and what the brain does to compensate for the pain pill.

I’m a firm believer in that because of the treatment that The Treatment Center has found for me, which is in the holistic part of it. I go through acupuncture, hot rocks, laser therapy and the chiropractor.

Then the massages that they give here, I get up off the table I feel like I’m floating.

They’ve done a number on me to where I don’t feel as if I need another surgery. I don’t feel as if I need the rods and screws and all that stuff put in my back. It’s really been a Godsend and I’d like to thank them for that. They’ve done a lot for me and I hope they can do more for more people that’s coming through.

If you really want to get off your addiction, get away from it and get your life back, I highly recommend you call The Treatment Center. For what it’s done for me, I know it can do for you.”

Combating the Epidemic Levels of Opiate Addiction

August 25th, 2016

Combating-the-epidemic-levels

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is taking new measures to combat our country’s opioid epidemic, which was described by HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell as, “One of the most pressing public health issues in the United States.” The HHS’s new actions include the following:

Eliminating Potential Financial Incentives for Doctors Prescribing Opioids

In order to eliminate monetary incentives for prescribing opioids, HHS proposes removing pain management questions from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS)’s hospital payment calculation. The HCAHPS is a patient satisfaction survey required for all hospitals in the U.S., and it contains questions about pain management that are tied to Medicare payments to hospitals. This connection sometimes makes physicians feel pressured to overprescribe opioids. Removing the pain management questions from the hospital payment calculation would mean that the questions are still on the survey, but they no longer affect the payment to hospitals.

New Policy for Indian Health Service

In an effort to reduce inappropriate prescribing, HHS has also made adjustments to its Indian Health Service (IHS). IHS, which provides healthcare to Native American and Alaskan Native peoples, will now require prescribers and pharmacists to check their state’s Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) database before prescribing opioids. PDMP databases help identify patients who may have opioid misuse problems. IHS will also provide law enforcement officers with naloxone and train them on its proper use. Naloxone is an overdose-reversing drug that can quickly restore breathing that has stopped or slowed due to an opioid overdose.

The actions taken by HHS are a step forward in the U.S.’s battle against opioid misuse. Focusing on prevention and treatment is a great approach that even President Obama has committed to. In addition to these new measures, HHS announced that it will initiate over a dozen new scientific studies on opioid misuse and pain management. Expanding our knowledge on these topics will arm us with the right tools to fight the epidemic.

Opiate Addiction: There is Hope

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 78 Americans die from an opioid overdose every day, and half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription drug. Recovery from an opioid addiction is possible. If you or someone you love is struggling, help is available. Call us today at (877) 443-7342. Our compassionate and knowledgeable admission counselors are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, even on holidays.

Tips for Staying Sober this Fourth of July

June 29th, 2016

Tips For Staying Sober This Fourth of July
 

The day America celebrates its independence, The Fourth of July, is traditionally a day associated with barbecuing, fireworks and drinking. For those in recovery, especially early on, it can be a particularly difficult holiday to celebrate and enjoy in a safe and sober manner. Reminiscing on past times of drinking and revelry on The Fourth can be a big trigger toward relapse. Combine the memories of bygone Fourth of July’s with being surrounded by people drinking, and it can be even more dangerous to a person’s sobriety. With all of this going on, The Fourth can still be enjoyed in a safe and sober way. There are plenty of activities to do and new sober memories to be made.

Some of you may plan to enjoy the holiday with family and friends who are not in sobriety, and will be around alcohol. People are social creatures, and it can be a big trigger watching others drinking while abstaining from alcohol. When confronted with a situation that’s causing thoughts of drinking, just remember it’s okay to walk away and take a breather. Removing oneself from the situation to obtain a clear head can be a useful coping tool. Walk around the park or neighborhood for ten minutes until the urge to drink passes.

It’s also important to reach out to sober support and be honest about the feelings and thoughts that are occurring. If there is someone at the party who is a support, even if they are non-sober, don’t hesitate to speak with them about the situation as well. Worst case scenario, make sure you have an exit plan if the urge to drink does not cease, and the situation becomes overwhelming. Maintaining recovery should far exceed any need to stay in a situation that is causing relapse triggers.

Others may be planning to spend The Fourth amongst fellow people in recovery. Many AA/NA clubhouses and sober homes throw July Fourth celebrations where people can enjoy the day partaking in sober activities. Ask around at meetings and with friends, chances are people will know of a few different sober parties that will be occurring. The clubhouses will also be having meetings throughout the day during the festivities.

Most towns have family friendly firework shows where people are able to enjoy the day without being surrounded by drinking. It can be fun to get a group of friends together for some outdoor activities. Being surrounded by others enjoying the holiday sober will help alleviate any triggers of relapse that might arise and provide a positive outlet if support is needed.

Let the holiday become a celebration of the fun that can be had sober and allow it to become a time of fellowship and bonding with those you care about. Holidays, such as July Fourth, can be a trigger for many if they don’t take the little steps to make it a safe and sober celebration. It’s important to still enjoy holidays in recovery and learn new ways to do so.

Depression and Substance Abuse: Dealing with a Dual Diagnosis

May 30th, 2016

Depression and Substance Abuse

Depression and Substance Abuse

Depression is often a gateway into substance abuse. Individuals suffering from depression may turn to drugs and alcohol as a means to escape their negative emotions. Almost one-third of people with major depression also have a substance abuse problem. Unfortunately, drinking and using drugs only makes depression worse in the long run.

What comes first –the depression or the substance use? It’s difficult to discern whether substance use leads to depression, or if people drink and drug because they feel depressed. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, roughly 20% of Americans with an anxiety or mood disorder, such as depression, have a substance use disorder. And about 20% of those with a substance use disorder also have an anxiety or mood disorder.

More about Depression

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 350 million people suffer from depression worldwide, and only about 50% of these people will ever receive treatment. In fact, depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide. Unlike ordinary sadness, which may occur temporarily after a loss or major life event, the symptoms of depression occur nearly every day for weeks – and sometimes months or years – interfering with every aspect of a person’s life. Depression can increase the risk of chronic illness – including substance abuse.

People often think that using drugs and alcohol may relieve their depression symptoms, but chemical intoxication actually makes depressive episodes worse, increasing the frequency and intensity of symptoms.

Treating Depression and Substance Use

Solely treating one disorder will not eliminate the other. For example, treating the substance abuse will not help with the depression. Instead, it is necessary to treat both disorders together, particularly to decrease the chance of relapse. It is best to enter an integrated dual diagnosis program that will address both the substance use and the depression.

The Treatment Center’s intensive dual diagnosis treatment program will help you recover from substance abuse and mental illness. With the proper treatment, you can find freedom from addiction and relief from depression. For more information on our dual diagnosis program, call (877) 392-3342. Our admissions counselors are prepared to answer any questions you may have on how we can help you or your loved one.


What You Need to Know

• Depression is the leading cause of disability worldwide
• Over 350 million people suffer from depression worldwide
• Nearly one-third of people with major depression also have a substance abuse problem
• If you are struggling with both depression and substance abuse, it is essential to enter an integrated dual diagnosis treatment program

The Treatment Center has been awarded
the Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval.