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Archive for the ‘Recovery’ Category

Mind-Body Therapies in Addiction Treatment

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

Mind-Body Therapies in Addiction TreatmentThe phrase “addiction treatment” usually brings to mind detoxification and treating physical symptoms. Proper detox is key in helping addicts achieve sobriety, and physical symptoms must be dealt with to ensure addicts do not turn back to drugs for relief. However, treating the mind is vital, too. Low self-esteem, extreme stress, mental illness, and other such issues contribute to substance abuse. In many cases, they are the roots of addiction. Mind-body therapy teaches addicts to recognize these issues, and gives them healthy coping mechanisms.

Additionally, drug and alcohol abuse has myriad negative effects on brain chemistry. Long-term addicts often struggle with memory loss, cognition problems, and the inability to make sound decisions. They often fail to recognize potential consequences of their actions. Along with counseling, mind-body therapy or holistic therapy helps retrain the mind to think beyond a next drink or fix. As their brains and bodies heal, addicts relearn to take responsibility for their actions and decision-making. Over time, their memory and cognition improve as well.

How Addiction Affects the Brain

To use mind-body therapy effectively, providers must know how and why addiction affects the brain. Within everyone’s brain, there is a neural reward system. Our reward center, sometimes called the pleasure center, is activated when experiences give us pleasure. Most people’s reward systems are activated when they engage in a hobby, eat a favorite food, enjoy intercourse with a partner, or spend time with their families and friends. For an addict, however, these experiences no longer provide rewards. The addict’s reward center has been rewired to prioritize his or her substance of choice, recognizing it as the only worthwhile reward available.

Addiction also compromises survival needs. A non-addicted person understands what he or she must do to survive, and the brain prioritizes those needs. They include food, water, and shelter. In contrast, an addicted person no longer responds to survival needs. In an addict’s mind, the substance of choice is the key to survival. Addicts will pursue their substances at any cost out of a real fear they will die without them. As a result, many addicts deal with malnutrition, severe lack of sleep, and myriad health problems.

Mind-body therapy such as meditation, yoga, and acupuncture rewire the brain so it does not respond favorably to substance abuse. The addict’s neural pathways, especially those to the reward center, are retrained to interpret healthy activities and experiences as pleasurable. The brain is also retrained to respond to survival needs. As the mind recovers, addicts begin focusing on self-care, hygiene, nutrition, and adequate sleep.

Types of Mind-Body Therapy

There are several types of holistic therapies, and rehabilitation facilities around the country are embracing them more each day.

Yoga –  is one of the most popular, partially because it has so many physical benefits. Yoga can be modified to fit any fitness level, making it ideal for addicts whose muscles have weakened or atrophied. Yoga has been proven to reduce stress and actually grow new gray matter in the brain. This may help the brain physically heal itself more than most other mind-body therapies, because substance abuse has not damaged the new gray matter.

Meditation – Many people meditate in conjunction with or while performing yoga. Despite its connotation, meditation need not be religious, although many people use it that way. Addicts are encouraged to meditate because the practice helps their brain calm down. During addiction, the brain is constantly “on.” It fires signals at frenetic paces as the addict searches for a drink or fix, or works out how to manipulate people and systems. The brain is also challenged to function without sleep and food, running almost entirely on chemicals. Meditation teaches the brain how to quiet itself, hushing those frenetic signals. Additionally, meditation significantly decreases symptoms of depression and anxiety. This is particularly beneficial for people addicted to prescription anxiety medications.

Acupuncture – is another mind-body therapy that may help addicts. Much of the evidence for acupuncture is anecdotal; study sizes have been too small and poorly controlled to provide much statistical backup. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has found acupuncture has some positive impacts on alcoholics and opiate or heroin addicts. Studies indicate acupuncture reduces drug cravings, lessens the pain of withdrawal symptoms, and calms the nervous system.

Animal – Acupuncture, meditation, and yoga are often the three things people think of when mind-body therapy is mentioned. There are several lesser known types, though. Many addiction treatment centers use animal contact or pet therapy to reach their clients. Animal contact therapy can be as complex as a full-fledged equine or farming program, or as simple as spending quality time with dogs and cats.

Non-Traditional Mind-Body Therapy

Addiction treatment providers use animal contact because it reteaches addicts what it means to have someone depend on them. Addicts often become so dependent on their substances, they develop a narrow and self-centered worldview. Animal therapy gently forces them to think about the world around them. Animals cannot be manipulated or let us down the way people can, so addicts must relearn patience and kindness to get an animal to do what they ask. Additionally, like many mind-body therapies, animal contact therapy releases endorphins, showing an addict what it means to feel happy without substances.

Art, music, and other creative therapies are also used in various treatment centers. These therapies let the addict focus on creating something rather than engaging in destructive behavior. They also build self-esteem and self-confidence, which many addicts sorely lack. Like yoga and animal therapy, creative therapies can be continued after treatment, giving the addict a healthy outlet for his or her feelings.

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Benefits of Acupuncture

The Benefits of Acupuncture During Drug and Alcohol Detox

Friday, January 20th, 2017

The Benefits of Acupuncture During Drug & Alcohol DetoxAddiction is more common than we may think. According to the National Study on Drug Use and Health, there were 20.8 million people aged 12 or older suffering from a substance abuse disorder in 2015. Of these, more than 15 million had an alcohol use disorder, while 7.7 million were dealing with an addiction to drugs. Based on these numbers, researchers estimate that about 1 in 12 people living in the United States require substance abuse treatment.

Effective treatment for substance abuse disorders is multifaceted and requires a holistic approach. By addressing mind, body, and spirit during rehabilitation, patients can adapt healthy lifestyle changes that support long-term recovery. Acupuncture is one such method. Learn about the benefits of acupuncture for drug and alcohol addiction treatment and the detox process.

What is Acupuncture?

Acupuncture is a complementary therapy that involves stimulating certain points of the body with needles to relieve pain or other symptoms associated with certain medical conditions.

The earliest written account of the practice dates to 100 B.C. in China; although researchers believe acupuncture predates its written accounts. According to Chinese philosophy, acupuncture works by improving energy flow through the body (called qi or chi) and achieving proper balance.

The type of acupuncture delivered in hospitals and treatment centers throughout the United States does not follow traditional eastern philosophy. Physicians and researchers have developed several theories for how acupuncture works. Most involve the idea that nerve stimulation creates a flow of positive activity through the body – the brain may release endorphins, stimulate nerve growth factor, or decrease inflammatory proteins in the body.

Does Acupuncture Work?

Acupuncture is becoming an increasingly popular complementary therapy in western medicine. One of the largest reviews of the literature to date involves a meta-analysis of 29 studies encompassing 18,000 patients and published in the Archives of Internal Medicine. This meta-analysis found acupuncture to be moderately effective for the treatment of pain and a “reasonable referral option” and complementary therapy for patients.

Since it is the most popular alternative medicine practice in the United States, researchers continuously study the efficacy of acupuncture to treat a range of conditions from depression to drug addiction.

The Role of Acupuncture in Addiction Recovery

Patients suffering from addiction, who are admitted for treatment, report some uncomfortable symptoms during detox. Withdrawal from alcohol and other drugs may produce nausea, vomiting, insomnia, mood swings, changes in body temperature, profuse sweating, hot flashes, chills, fatigue, or anxiety. Proponents of the practice report acupuncture may be effective in treating all these symptoms.

A recent study reported in the Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing found that patients suffering from drug and alcohol addiction who received a particular type of acupuncture that stimulates the ear experienced an increased sensation of well-being and relaxation after treatment.

Auricular Acupuncture and Addiction Treatment

The most common type of acupuncture used in addiction treatment centers is auricular acupuncture (AA). This practice involves the insertion of three or four needles in the ear to relieve symptoms of nausea, pain, and anxiety. According to ancient Chinese medicine, these points connect to the kidneys, lungs, and liver, all of which drug addiction affects adversely.

A study conducted at Yale University found that 55 percent of cocaine addicts receiving auricular acupuncture tested clean in their last week of treatment, compared to the 23.5 percent of the control group who didn’t receive AA. Both groups were engaged in other forms of treatment, including 12-step programs, psychotherapy, and group sessions.

Why Does Acupuncture Work for Detox?

The literature surrounding acupuncture use in addiction treatment is varied. Most theories involving the efficacy of acupuncture focus on the physiological basis for drug addiction. For example, we believe dopamine is the common mechanism for many illicit drugs, producing the exhilarating rush that leads addicts to seek their next highs. A dopamine imbalance within the body also helps produce common symptoms of withdrawal.

Researchers have established that acupuncture follows similar pathways. For example, acupuncture stimulates activity in the hypothalamus, and the subsequent production of endorphins creates a feeling of well-being while relieving pain.

Bridging Modern and Ancient Medicine

Chinese philosophy says that our health depends on the balance of two sides of ourselves – yin and yang. In this view, illness is the direct result of an imbalance of these energies.

While we often see modern and Chinese medicine as being at direct odds with one another, in some ways they are not so different. Traditional science hypothesizes that our bodies are continually working toward homeostasis or a state of equilibrium.

Chronic over-stimulation of the brain from drug use interrupts the brain’s homeostasis by creating dips and spikes in endorphins. Administration of acupuncture during withdrawal helps the body regulate these endorphins and achieve equilibrium. When we look at it this way, the guiding philosophies between ancient and modern medicine aren’t dissimilar.

Acupuncture Complements Other Treatments

The benefits of acupuncture during addiction treatment and detox are numerous. Patients report increased relaxation, a sense of well-being, and less nausea. Acupuncture also provides analgesia, which is particularly useful for those addicted to opioids due to chronic pain.

Acupuncture is an effective complementary therapy for those who struggle with addiction. When used in tandem with other conventional therapies, patients will be better equipped to face the recovery process and lead healthy, productive lives.

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How Addiction Recovery Improves Lives

Thursday, 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.

Depression and Substance Abuse: Dealing with a Dual Diagnosis

Monday, 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

Mental Health and Wellness: 8 Steps That Make a Big Difference

Friday, May 20th, 2016

Improving Your Mental Health and Wellness

Mental Health and Wellness

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), wellness is not the absence of disease, illness or stress; rather, wellness is the presence of a purposeful life, active involvement in satisfying work and play, healthy and joyful relationships, a healthy body and living environment, and happiness. SAMHSA’s definition of wellness is: “maintaining an overall quality of life and the pursuit of optimal emotional, mental and physical health.”

For people with, or at risk for, behavioral health conditions, focusing on mental health and wellness is particularly vital. It is equally important to focus on our mental health as it is to focus on our physical health. There are many ways to improve or maintain mental health and wellness, but what works for one person may not work for another. It is important to figure out what works best for you and your specific situation. The following are eight tips for mental wellness:

  1. Connection: Research has demonstrated the benefits of social connections, which include happiness, better health, and a longer life
  2. Physical Activity: Daily physical activity can help your mood by decreasing stress, anger and tension, as well as reducing anxiety and depression.
  3. A Balanced Diet: A well-balanced diet boosts your energy and fuels your brain, and good nutrition can help in times of stress.
  4. Plenty of Rest: If you get enough sleep each night, you’re more likely to perform better and enjoy greater well-being.
  5. Think Positively and Practice Gratitude: Thinking negative thoughts can bring down our moods and even our health. Instead, try practicing gratitude and thinking positively.
  6. Help Others: Research indicates that those who help other people experience less depression, fewer pains, and better health.
  7. Create Joy in Your Life: Laughter decreases pain and promotes muscle relaxation. Creating feel-good experiences in your life can improve your ability to bounce back from stress, solve problems and think positively.
  8. Seek Professional Help if You Need It: Professional help can make a major difference. You do not have to be in a crisis to reach out for help. A mental health professional can help you with problem solving and coping strategies.

It is a common misconception that only people with mental illnesses should pay attention to their mental health. But the truth is that our emotions, attitudes and thoughts affect our productivity, energy and overall health. Focusing on our mental wellness strengthens our ability to cope and deal with situations, whether they are minor or serious. We all can take simple steps that make a big difference in promoting our health and well-being.

Tips on Preventing and Treating Opioid Abuse

Wednesday, May 18th, 2016

Furanyl Fentanyl: A Dangerous New Opioid

Preventing and Treating Opioid Abuse

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 78 Americans die from an opioid overdose every day. In the last several years, the United States has witnessed an increase in overdose deaths, particularly as they relate to synthetic opioids, such as fentanyl. We have recently discussed the dangers of fentanyl in one of our blogs, but information is surfacing that there is a new form of deadly fentanyl circulating. Chinese laboratories are producing and selling a new form of fentanyl – called furanyl fentanyl – to get around China’s recent export ban on the synthetic drug that is responsible for thousands of overdose deaths across the United States.

Furanyl fentanyl is a slightly altered version of fentanyl that is not currently on the United States’ government’s list of controlled substances. This means that the slightly tweaked version of fentanyl is technically legal for dealers to sell. The United States is moving quickly to ban the new fentanyl product. The US Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) spokesman Russell Baer stated that the DEA plans to classify furanyl fentanyl as an analog to fentanyl, which means that the altered version would be treated in the same fashion as fentanyl.

The chemical structure of furanyl fentanyl and its effect on the body’s central nervous system is nearly identical to that of fentanyl. Last fall, China banned more than 116 synthetic drugs, which included other analogs of fentanyl, such as acetyl fentanyl. As soon as the ban was imposed, furanyl fentanyl began to appear in the United States. Furanyl fentanyl was recently identified as the cause of death in a fatal overdose of a 30-year-old-man in Illinois. This is apparently the first public reporting of a case in which furanyl fentanyl caused a deadly overdose.

Opioid Abuse Prevention

According to the CDC, at least half of all opioid overdose deaths involve a prescription opioid. While the best form of opioid abuse prevention would be to recommend abstinence, we cannot stop people from taking opioid medications for pain. What we can do is educate families on the risks of opioid abuse and provide early interventions before an individual loses everything to their dependency.

The negative side effects, potential for abuse and fatal nature of prescription opioids are well-documented. If you have been prescribed prescription opioids and are concerned about the possibility of dependency, we urge you to get a second opinion regarding non-opioid alternatives for chronic pain, including holistic therapies, such as cold laser therapy, chiropractic care and acupuncture. Help is available and recovery from an opioid dependency is possible.

Freedom from Addiction

If you are considering whether or not you or a loved one is struggling with an opioid dependency, we urge you to seek help now. Opioid abuse and addiction is deadly, so it is essential that you reach out for help as soon as possible.

At The Treatment Center, we utilize top-notch holistic therapies to treat pain without the use of narcotics. We will provide you with an assessment of your health, as well as an understanding that there are treatment alternatives to prescription painkillers. If you are already stuck in the vicious cycle of opioid use and need professional inpatient detoxification services, the experienced medical staff at The Treatment Center will help you detox safely. We will help you learn a new way to live, without abusing drugs and alcohol. Do not delay any longer – reach out for help today. Call The Treatment Center at (877) 443-7342, or chat with an admissions counselor online.


What You Need to Know:

  • Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid narcotic — a prescription drug primarily used for cancer patients in severe pain
  • Fentanyl is 50-100 times more toxic than morphine
  • Overdose deaths related to fentanyl have been on the rise because it is often sold as heroin
  • In China, fentanyl continues to be altered slightly to get around export bans — e.g., furanyl fentanyl
  • There are non-narcotic alternatives for treating chronic pain
  • Recovery from an opioid dependency is possible

National Prevention Week: May 15-21, 2016

Monday, May 16th, 2016

SAMHSA’s National Prevention Week: Strong as One, Stronger Together

National Prevention Week

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) National Prevention Week occurs May 15-21, 2016. National Prevention Week is an annual observance dedicated to increasing public awareness of, and action around, substance abuse and mental health issues. The theme for this year is: “Strong as One. Stronger Together.” According to SAMHSA, there are three primary goals of National Prevention Week: to involve communities in raising awareness of behavioral health issues, to foster relationships with federal agencies and national organizations and to promote and distribute quality resources and publications regarding behavioral health.

This year, the daily themes of SAMHSA’s National Prevention Week are as follows:
• Monday, May 16: Prevention of Tobacco Use
• Tuesday, May 17: Prevention of Underage Drinking and Alcohol Misuse
• Wednesday, May 18: Prevention of Prescription and Opioid Drug Misuse
• Thursday, May 19: Prevention of Illicit Drug Use and Youth Marijuana Use
• Friday, May 20: Prevention of Suicide
• Saturday, May 21: Promotion of Mental Health and Wellness

Prevalence of Co-Occurring Mental Health Issues and Substance Abuse

Approximately 37% of individuals with alcoholism and 53% of individuals suffering from drug addictions have at least one serious mental illness, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. And according to SAMHSA, approximately 7.9 million adults in the United States had co-occurring disorders in 2014. More than 50% of those with a dual diagnosis did not receive any treatment to help them progress in their recovery. More men than women are diagnosed with co-occurring disorders, but the percentage of females living with a dual diagnosis has increased in recent years (SAMHSA). Of the almost 3 million adults employed and living with a dual diagnosis, only about 40% received any treatment for either disorder, and less than 5% received treatment for both issues.

Prevention of Substance Abuse and Mental Illness

Mental and substance use disorders have a powerful effect on the health of individuals, their families and their communities. These disorders are among the top conditions that lead to disability and result in significant costs to families, employers and publicly funded health systems.

Preventing mental and/or substance use disorders in children, adolescents and young adults is critical to Americans’ physical and behavioral health as a whole. People with a mental health disorder are more likely to use drugs and alcohol than those not suffering from a mental illness. Symptoms that signal the development of a behavioral disorder typically manifest two to four years before a disorder surfaces. If families and communities can intervene early, behavioral health disorders may be prevented altogether. Data shows that early intervention following the first episode of a serious mental illness can also make an impact.

“I’m Already Struggling, What Can I Do?”

If you are struggling with addiction and mental illness, help is available and recovery is possible. It is never “too late” to seek help for a mental or substance use disorder. Reaching out to a loved one and a behavioral health professional is the first step in preventing or recovering from mental health and/or substance use disorders. Professionals can help you receive the treatment you need to recover from both mental illness and addiction. They may suggest you attend an inpatient program, or they may recommend treatment in an outpatient setting. Regardless of how far along you are in your disorder, help is available.

Find Freedom from Mental Illness and Addiction

By being aware of the signs and symptoms of behavioral health disorders, we can help individuals receive the help they need before their struggles progress into full-blown mental health or substance use disorders.

If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be struggling with mental illness or substance abuse, reach out for help today. Call The Treatment Center at (877) 443-7342. We have compassionate and experienced admissions counselors prepared to answer any questions you may have on how we can help you or your loved one.

HALT: Useful Acronym for Addiction Recovery

Monday, April 25th, 2016

HALT: Useful Acronym for Addiction Recovery

By TTC Alumni, Lindsay Plunkett

Now that we’ve committed to a lifestyle devoid of mind altering substances, we are more aware of the situations that cause us to feel the urge to regress into our old habits. Recovering from an addiction doesn’t occur simply by ceasing drug and alcohol use, but by creating a life that is more conducive to a lifestyle of recovery. Avoiding high-risk situations is an important and preventative way to avoid urges that can lead to relapse in early recovery. A handy way to discern if you are placing yourself in a high-risk situation is by referring to the acronym ‘HALT.’

• Hungry
• Angry
• Lonely
• Tired

These feelings can be symptoms warning you to pay more attention to your emotional and mental states. We all know drugs and alcohol can produce mind-altering affects, but so can these naturally occurring physical and emotional states. Before reading too much into the urge you are feeling to act out in an unhealthy way, reflect on what may be the cause. By making sure your basic needs are met, you can react more appropriately to stress.

When we are hungry, our blood glucose levels drop in order to signal our brains that we need to eat to supply our bodies with more energy. This drop in the blood glucose level causes us to feel irritable and sometimes lightheaded. Instead of reaching for something sugary for a quick fix, try something rich in protein. Foods high in protein have the highest satiety value and leave you feeling fuller longer.

If something or someone has caused you to feel angry, your decision-making skills become very impaired. We tend to want to act out in a way that would provide us with immediate relief from these unpleasant emotions. The same goes for when we feel lonely- we want to escape the negative emotions as soon as possible with little thought to the consequence later on. We have to remember that as addict and alcoholics, we tend to anticipate a small consequence accompanying a very large reward. The reality is always the opposite- giving in to the urge to relapse is over romanticized, and the consequence is far more complex than we anticipate.

Rather than acting on impulse, utilize your sponsor and talk to them about how you’re feeling. Chances are, they’ll be able to relate and guide you through it with help of their own experience. Having someone with a bit more insight than you do allows you to view the situation from a more enlightened perspective, while still receiving reassurance that what you’re feeling is completely normal.

Being tired also affects our judgement and stress levels in negative ways. According to Psychology Today, there are four easy and effective ways to combat fatigue:

1. Make fewer decisions: have a set routine in place that will allow you to rely on going with the flow of things while still managing to be productive.
2. Start seeing green: studies have shown that just by taking a moment to gaze outside and soak in the vibrant displays of nature encouraged increased productivity and concentration.
3. Get moving: 20 minutes of exercise increases performance, and blood flow to the brain, as well as promotes creativity, improves mood, and your memory.
4. Take a break: even if you can only spare 15 minutes, setting aside time to center yourself allows you to put things back into perspective and focus on your own needs.

By keeping that continuous connection with ourselves and our Higher Power, we are more likely to stay on track and continue moving forward. Don’t forget to put yourself first.

What Is Medical Detox?

Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

Understanding Medical Detox

As alcohol and drug users explore rehabilitation treatment options, they may come across facilities that offer medical detox. If you’re asking, “What is a medical detox?” you’re not alone. Short for medical detoxification, the process allows an individual to adjust to life without drugs or alcohol slowly with a health care professional instead of stopping cold turkey. Medical detoxes often prevent addicts from returning to their unhealthy habits, making the process an important part of long-lasting recovery.

The Experience of Withdrawal Without Detox

For many, addiction is both physical and mental. When an addict is accustomed to drinking a bottle of whiskey or more per day or taking ever-increasing doses of opioids in an effort to get high stops using, he or she craves the experience. Dramatized depictions of withdrawal often miss the true agony of the experience. Without aid, an addict must often find the motivation to avoid people, places, and things that enable the negative lifestyle. After deciding to quit, he or she must wait out the stomach upset, trembling, anxiety, and other symptoms that make giving up on a feel-good fix so difficult.

Quitting drugs also means facing the reality of the world. Many people use drugs and alcohol to escape. They don’t want to face their underlying mental health, relationship, and career problems. Instead of identifying and changing the source of unhappiness, they mask it with mind-altering substances. Over time, this crutch gets harder to leave behind. A person’s identity can fuse to the substance of choice and make him or her feel lost in the truest sense of the word.

The realities of withdrawal are raw and painful but not unendurable. In many cases, an individual can give up a substance without medical intervention. Only certain drug users need medical attention to prevent severe complications, and other users reach out for medical support, because they know they won’t give up the substance without help.

Symptoms of Withdrawal

Every addiction is unique, and every withdrawal experience is different. While medical professionals can offer generalized descriptions of the experience, an individual may or may not feel all the associated symptoms. The severity of the symptoms also changes depending on a person’s physiology and the severity of the addiction.

Alcohol Abuse Withdrawal:

  • Rapid Heartbeat
  • Fever
  • Confusion

Opioid Withdrawal:

  • Causes Muscle Aches
  • Excessive Sweating
  • Stomach Upset
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation

Cocaine Withdrawal:

  • Increased Appetite
  • Malaise
  • Agitation
  • Fatigue

Methamphetamine Withdrawal:

  • Dry Mouth
  • Uncontrollable Shaking
  • Fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Insomnia

A Few Other Symptoms of Withdrawal:

  • Fatigue
  • Sweating
  • Anxiety
  • Upset Stomach
  • Depression

Some people will stop feeling these effects after a few days or weeks, while others will struggle with lingering symptoms for months. Without medical support, the timeframe for withdrawal may last longer than anticipated and nudge users back toward old habits.

Complications During Withdrawal

When long-term heavy alcohol, prescription opioid, benzodiazepine, and heroin users decide to quit the habit, they will more than likely require a medical detox. Without a slow and controlled process, a user may experience extreme psychological distress and physical pain, seizures, hallucinations, or fever. After a point, any of these symptoms can result in serious health consequences.

Medical detoxes minimize the symptoms and complications associated with withdrawal. In the event of a complication, a medical detox administrator can ensure the safety of a patient and reduce the likelihood of a relapse.

How a Medical Detox Works

During a medical detox, a physician will oversee the entire withdrawal process. Using a patient’s medical history, the current state of health, use history, and long-term goals, the physician can create a custom detox process to minimize the side effects of withdrawal and encourage a permanent state of recovery.

A typical detox protocol involves drug regimens that enable a user to taper off a substance comfortably. Whether someone is addicted to alcohol or methamphetamine, the recovery industry uses specific medical treatments to control the amount of medication a patient receives to minimize the risk of complications and maximize comfort levels. Over time, the user can safely wean off the drug while the medical team addresses common withdrawal side effects, such as dehydration and nutrition imbalances. Nutrition support, rest, medical monitoring, psychological therapy, and drug tapering give patients a more comfortable experience as they stop using a substance.

Experiencing Medical Detox

Medical detox will minimize the effects of withdrawal and ensure a patient’s health and safety, but a supervised detox is still a detox. Inpatient programs often require a patient’s isolation for the duration of the process. After check-in, all detox patients undergo an interview. Program administrators and physicians need to understand all circumstances, logistics, and medical information that may affect the course of treatment. Patients need to disclose all details about substance usage, frequencies, amounts, and past medical history.

Even with the best bedside manner and treatment team, the experience can feel lonely and uncomfortable. However, the medical community widely regards a supervised medical detox as the most effective form of substance use cessation. With a qualified medical team overseeing the process, it is far easier than a personal attempt to quit. Anyone curious about undergoing medical detox may ask to speak to a previous patient at the facility and learn more about it.

The Path to Recovery

After the initial detox process, a user can start over. Without the fear of physical symptoms of withdrawal eroding an addict’s resolve, he or she can focus on mental health, a long-term plan for recovery, and rebuilding a life. With medical detox, therapy, a support group, and time, anyone can overcome addiction, find hope, and live a full life.

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Delray Beach Makes Top 10 List for Sober Living

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

In 2012, media outlets around the country reported on Delray Beach sober living communities. The community made The Fix’s top 10 list for the best sober living cities across the United States. Cities on the list also included Boston and Houston, but we couldn’t be more proud of our own community’s reputation as a top location for drug and alcohol recovery and sober living. Delray Beach continues to host hundreds of 12-step meetings and dozens of recovery facilities that give so many people a second chance in life. Here’s an update on our community in the years since we published the original article.

A History of Sober Living in Delray Beach

Florida is often ground zero for new drug problems. From bath salts to the designer drug, Flakka, stories about drug trafficking and abuse often feature the sunshine state. Florida is also known as the Recovery State among health care professionals. Our physicians, therapists, spiritual leaders, and other sober living professionals practice on the cutting edge of addiction, and they developed successful treatment programs before many other recovery facilities in the country.

As the nation continues to fight against an opioid epidemic, Delray Beach offers sanctuary and support to thousands of addicts in need of treatment. Although the community’s permanent population includes a little more than 66,000 residents, the area boasts hundreds of in-patient recovery facilities, outpatient recovery programs, halfway houses, and sober living meetings.

Not All Living Facilities Are Equal

Over the last few years, the “rehab capital” has also come under scrutiny. Some treatment centers use illegal patient marketing arrangements to encourage a steady influx of addicted patients. Many travel from out of state or internationally to attend programs in Delray Beach. The good programs put their patients’ best interests first, but the poorly run programs use illegal practices to access health insurance funding.

Delray sober living still offers some of the best recovery care in the United States and perhaps in the world, but families need to do research before checking into any facility. A well-established facility will offer several different kinds of therapies, support alumni who complete a program and cater to the individual needs of the patients. Beware programs that sound too good to be true or which cannot demonstrate a program success rate.

Why Recovering People Choose Florida

Compared to other cities on the top 10 list of recovery communities, Delray Beach offers patients a few benefits they might not find in other listed cities. Florida’s rich and celebrated history in the recovery industry comes from the state’s unique position to help addicted people get back on their feet. Many choose the state because they need a new environment in which to recover; the warm and sunny climate symbolizes hope, and the community offers many independent living opportunities.

  • Warm Climate – People choose to vacation, live, and work here because the sunny climate tends to ameliorate seasonal mood changes. In a mild a climate with mostly sunny days, recovering addicts enjoy taking walks, visiting the ocean, and gaining a new perspective on life. Sometimes people in recovery have difficulty following treatment recommendations and protocols when the weather is cold, continually dreary, and the leaves fall from the trees. In South Florida, program patients receive support from the outside environment as well as a treatment program.
  • Expert Care – As a thoroughfare for drug trafficking and new drug trends, Florida attracts some of the most talented recovery professionals working in the industry today. From psychologists to detox medical professionals, those in recovery can count on the top treatment facilities in Delray Beach to offer the most effective programs and individual attention available. Regardless of socioeconomic background or addiction struggle, expert care places Florida institutions high on the list for recovery.
  • New Environment – For some people, a new environment can make a world of difference in treatment success. They need to get away from old relationships, old routines, and old habits. Florida rehabilitation facilities offer a fresh start for sober living. Delray Beach welcomes hundreds of people in recovery on a regular basis. Here, not only will addicts find a new environment, but they also find others who intimately understand struggles against opioids, benzos, heroin, cocaine, alcohol, and more
  • Opportunities for Independent Living – The top rehabilitation programs in the area usually include life-skills training, employment assistance, and alumni programs. After months or sometimes years of struggling with a debilitating addiction, many in recovery need help far beyond detox and the initial stages of sobriety. Without goals, support, and motivation, some fall back into the same addictive patterns that sent them to treatment in the first place. As an often-reviewed mecca for rehab, the Delray Beach community helps graduates of local programs find their way after inpatient or outpatient program completion.

Choosing a Sober Living Facility

If you struggle with an addiction, consider Delray Beach for its abundance of rehabilitation programs, warm climate, and supportive outside community. As you research the numerous programs in this top 10 community, look for a program that maintains positive reviews online, enjoys a top Better Business Bureau rating, and will help you find clear answers to your questions about payment, insurance, and treatment.

High-quality programs in the area may offer faith-based support, alumni services, qualified mental health counseling, and a holistic approach to patient care. While many people misconstrue rehab as a vacation away from the real world, successful programs balance strict treatment regimens with engaging and pleasurable activities.

The list for top 10 sober living communities is somewhat dated today, but Delray Beach facilities continue to earn high marks in review lists on The Fix and other recovery websites. In other words, the area has maintained its reputation for the best of sober living. Ask the people in treatment, read their reviews online, and visit for yourself to see why the community continues to make strides in drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

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