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Posts Tagged ‘substance abuse’

Links Between Social Media Usage and Substance Abuse

Friday, February 10th, 2017

Links Between Social Media Usage and Substance AbuseSome people are at a greater risk of substance abuse than others. Researchers believe there is a genetic link to addiction, as people with a family history of substance abuse disorders may struggle with addiction themselves. While there are inherent factors that contribute to illness, lifestyle also plays a role. A lack of support system and intense exposure to peer pressure, for example, are contributing factors to substance abuse and addiction. Even our social media networks can influence our decision to use drugs or develop unhealthy behaviors. Could Facebook be putting your loved ones at risk?

Social Networking and Teens

In 2011 when Columbia University added relevant inventory items to their annual National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XVI: Teens and Parent, researchers began examining the link between social media use and substance abuse. The survey asked 12 to 17-year-olds whether they spent time on social media sites, such as Facebook, every day. The overwhelming majority (70%) reported typical day social media use. This daily use put them at higher risk for several kinds of substance abuse. Compared to their peers who did not use social media, these teens were five times more likely to smoke, three times more likely to drink, and twice as likely to use marijuana.

Social Networking and Teens

Evidence also suggests that Facebook and other social media sites can normalize binge drinking and other dangerous substance abuse behaviors among teens. According to the survey, nearly half of all teens that use social media regularly have also seen pictures of their peers drinking, passed out, or using drugs. These children were three times more likely to drink and four times more likely to use marijuana themselves.

A 2013 study from the University of Michigan found a positive correlation between Facebook use and unhappiness and dissatisfaction with lives. In other words, the more some teens use social media, the more discontented they can become. Combined with co-morbid mental disorders such as depression, low self-esteem, and anxiety, or environmental factors such as lack of social support or situational induced stress, teens are more likely to turn to substance abuse. 

Cyber-Bullying and Substance Abuse

Teens are more vulnerable to peer pressure and bullying than they ever before. It’s easier for teens to achieve anonymity online. The disconnected nature of online discourse causes teens to be bolder in regard to teasing. About half of young people (aged 18 and younger) admit to being cyber-bullied at some point. Over half of young people who use social media admit observing cyber-bullying. Compared to their peers who have not been bullied online, teens that experience cyber-bullying are twice as likely to abuse alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana.

Can We Become Addicted to Social Media?

A 2015 study from the University of Albany revealed we could actually become addicted to social media. Published in the journal Addiction, the study found about ten percent of Facebook’s user’s display “disordered social media use”. The individuals who met this criterion were also more likely to have impulse control disorders and drinking problems. The study’s head researcher suggested these findings illuminate the idea that the same risk factors that increase susceptibility to substance addiction also increase the likelihood of disordered online social networking.

Addiction, Facebook, and Our Brains

These findings aren’t entirely surprising when we consider our biology. Drugs are addictive because of the way they interact with our brains neurotransmitters; creating a rush of endorphins we call a high. While chemical substances create a more intense cycle or high and withdrawal, other activities such as sex, gambling, and even social media use create similar cycles of cravings and rewards. The social media rewards we receive (for example, a notification saying someone “likes” our activity) can create cravings for more approval, generating an addictive pattern much like substances do.

In its most basic form, this is called variable schedule reinforcement, and it’s effective in creating patterns of compulsive behavior. Facebook makes it easy to fall into addictive behavior because of things like push notifications and apps. Users don’t even need to log in to get their social approval; it’s available on the go with their mobile app.

Correlation, Not Causation

While the literature regarding social media use, addiction, and substance abuse are illuminating, it’s important to consider them in context. These studies suggest a link between social media use and addictive behaviors in at-risk members of the population. This doesn’t mean that we are all addicted to social media. People that already struggle with impulse control are more likely to display disordered social media use, and these people are also more likely to struggle with substance abuse.

Correlation, Not Causation

Addiction is a complex medical condition that arises from a combination of risk factors. Biological predisposition, co-occurring mental disorders, and environmental reasons such as stress and lack of family involvement all contribute to addiction. There is never just one reason for addiction, and each struggle with substance abuse is unique.

Social media can be a wonderful way to connect with others and share experiences. On the other hand, overuse can become a problem for some. In teens exposed to illicit drug use online, social media use can lead to an increased likelihood of smoking, drinking, and marijuana use. Parents should take steps to be involved in their teen’s online activities by talking to them about online safety and the dangers of using illicit substances.

Teens Are Becoming More Active on Social Media Which Leads to More Cases of Cyber-Bullying and Substance Abuse! Speak to Our Counselors About How to Help Prevent Your Teen from Experimenting with Drugs and Alcohol Today!

Learn About Our Adolescent Treatment

The Dangers of Flakka: Everybody’s Worst Nightmare

Friday, August 14th, 2015

The Dangers of Flakka: Everyone's Worst Nightmare

Gravel. Five-dollar insanity. The drug that gives you “superhuman strength”. If you’ve been paying attention to the news in the last year, you know that the latest but not-so-new street drug, Flakka, has been on everyone’s radar. Local, state, and federal law enforcement have been on alert for the deadly drug that has caused an uproar nationwide.
As pharmaceutical drugs are banned by the Federal Drug Administration in the United States, nothing stops chemists in foreign pharmaceutical labs from developing new chemical compounds or derivatives of banned synthetic drugs.
Although bath salts were banned in 2011, new synthetic drugs are always being created faster than law enforcement can keep up with. Although the chemical component in Flakka, alpha-PVP was made illegal in March 2014, different versions of it keep emerging.

So what is Flakka?

Flakka is a synthetic stimulant or “upper” that boosts feelings of euphoria, attention, alertness, and movement. The designer drug has a chemical component known as alpha-PVP, which mirrors the banned amphetamine, bath salts.
Bath salts have a chemical compound known as MDPV, which is derived from the synthetic cathinone class of drugs. Alpha-PVP is more of a “second generation bath salt” that is similar to MDPV in its chemical structure and how it affects the brain. Often, it is mixed with other drugs like methamphetamine and/or a benzodiazepine such as Klonopin.

Flakka’s Effect on the Brain

The chemical, alpha-PVP basically blocks the reuptake or transportation of two neurotransmitters; dopamine and norepinephrine. This blockage creates a buildup of more dopamine and norepinephrine than normal.
Basically, the brain gets too much release of pleasure, exceeding its natural release. It also stimulates the locomotor activity in the body, which increases movement and restlessness.

Flakka’s Psychological Effects

Like many “uppers”, the drug alters the brain chemistry and increases the drug abuser’s tolerance, which makes them use at higher, sometimes fatal doses. Flakka abusers often experience the following psychological effects:
• Heightened sense of euphoria
• Anxiety/increased alertness
• Delirium/extreme paranoia
• Extreme aggression or “super strength”
• Severe hallucinations

Flakka’s Physical Effects

As reported by multiple news stories, many abusers often experience the following physical effects:
• Rapid heartrate
• Erratic irrational behavior
• Hyperactivity/restlessness
• Hyperthermia/overheating (running around naked as a result)
• Sensitivity to pain and fatigue
• Seizures
• Death by overdose
Although the compound of alpha-PVP isn’t exactly new, more scientific research is being done by institutions like The Scripps Research Institute to determine the potency and effects of alpha-PVP versus MDPV and other stimulants.

The Nationwide Impact

It’s easy for those who can’t get their hands on Adderall or other prescription stimulants to get a cheap bag of Flakka for five dollars. More and more drug users are turning to Flakka because it is inexpensive and potent. The danger, as with all synthetic drugs, is that no one ever knows exactly what they are getting.
A high profile case from an overdose death from Flakka sparked nationwide attention at 2014’s Ultra Music Festival in Miami. A string of reports followed of a man running through the streets naked claiming he was being chased, a man viciously beating an elderly woman, a man trying to break into a police department, and another who tried to escape from cops but impaled himself on a fence.
The use of Flakka has spiked in Texas, Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky; however, Broward County, Florida has seen an unusual spike in use with 477 reported cases in 2014 alone. That is over 55 percent of Florida’s 870 Flakka cases from 2014.

Current Protective Measures

There are numerous drug-testing kits and toxicology screening tests that can usually detect adulterants found in drugs like MDMA, however, alpha-PVP doesn’t show up in drug checking kits; therefore, Flakka cannot be detected.
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency temporarily banned alpha-PVP and made it a Schedule I drug in March 2014, so alpha-PVP is now illegal. It’s expected that the ban will be made permanent when it expires in 2016. However, that doesn’t stop Flakka from being made with different chemical compounds or being sold as another commonly abused “designer drug”.


If you know someone who has been experimenting with Flakka, synthetic drugs or other drugs, call us today at 855-545-6777 or chat now. Our admissions counselors are glad to answer any questions you may have 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

3 Myths about Baby Boomers and Substance Abuse

Monday, April 6th, 2015

3 Myths about Baby Boomers & Substance Abuse

Some would say there has never been a generation like the baby boomers, before or after. Born between 1946 and 1964, the boomer generation has always been about breaking the mold. They organized during the civil rights movement, protested the Vietnam War and attended a little three-day music festival known as Woodstock. However, baby boomers might be associated most for their drug use during the hippie movement.

With their freethinking attitudes and affinity for drugs, it’s not surprising that this generation consumed more illicit drugs in their youth than any other generation. Now that baby boomers are starting to retire and approach their later years, there are three myths surrounding this generation and their substance use.

Myth 1: Baby Boomers Left Their Drugs Behind in the 70s.

Which age group has increased their rate of illicit drug use? Teenagers? Young adults? The answer is baby boomers. According to a 2009 report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, drug use nearly doubled from 2002 to 2007 among adults ages 50 to 59. However, the rates of illicit drug use either remained unchanged or decreased among other age groups.

With the rise in the number of older adults who abuse drugs, treatment admissions are also following suit. In 2005, adults over 50 made up six percent of all admissions at rehab centers that received public funding. By 2020, it is expected that there will be 5.7 million adults over 50 struggling with a substance use disorder.

Myth 2: Baby Boomers Are Getting High for the Same Reasons as Teenagers.

While there is a portion of baby boomers who have never stopped abusing drugs in adulthood, many of them are turning to drugs, alcohol and prescription medications for different reasons than adolescents. Many teenagers often use drugs and alcohol for the sake of getting high or experimenting. On the other hand, some baby boomers are picking up their old habits or starting to use drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism.

Middle age has its share of challenges for baby boomers including dealing with retirement, divorce, an empty nest or the death of a spouse or a loved one. To deal with these life changes, baby boomers are turning to anti-anxiety meds like Ambien and Klonopin for relief. Others are abusing prescription medications like OxyContin to alleviate the aches and pains associated with a medical illness or an injury. The heavy reliance on prescription medications can quickly evolve from abuse to dependence.

Another thing to consider is that the body reacts differently to alcohol and drugs in a person’s 60s and 70s. Over time, the metabolism slows down making it more difficult for the body to process drugs and alcohol. This, in turn, causes the side effects to be harsher for older adults.

Myth 3: You Can Treat Baby Boomers for Addiction the Same Way You Do Young Adults.

Treating baby boomers for addiction comes with its own set of difficulties. Baby boomers are more likely to have other health issues such as heart disease, diabetes and other chronic diseases. When creating a comprehensive treatment plan, clinicians need to take in account these medical conditions and the medications that are used for treatment to prevent adverse effects.

As it was previously mentioned, baby boomers are facing different life issues, both physically and emotionally, than 20- and 30-somethings, such as deteriorating health and caring for aging parents. That’s why it is necessary for boomers to receive age-appropriate addiction treatment. These topics need to be addressed during therapy and aftercare planning.

A Crisis on the Horizon?

We need to dispel the myths about older adults and addiction. As a nation, we can’t turn a blind eye to this situation. Drug and alcohol addiction is impacting the boomer generation on all levels.

For starters, many baby boomers aren’t receiving addiction treatment until something dramatic happens, such as a DUI. From 1997 to 2012, drug-related arrests decreased for every age group except for adults 45-64.

Unfortunately, many boomers never receive the help they deserve. Over 12,000 baby boomers died from an accidental drug overdose in 2013, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Between 1990 and 2010, the number of fatalities from accidental overdoses has increased 11-fold among adults ages 45-64, the Wall Street Journal reports.

As boomers continue to age, many health officials are bracing themselves for a tidal wave of older adults needing addiction treatment. With this looming public health concern, it’s important to spread awareness about this demographic’s substance abuse problem and the need for tailored treatment.

It’s never too late for older adults to make major life changes, including the decision to quit drugs and alcohol.

Why People Fail to Seek Treatment

Wednesday, February 4th, 2015

Why People Fail to Seek Treatment

Do you think addiction is a weakness or a moral failure? While many people feel this way, stigmas about addiction contribute to this misconception about what addiction is and how it affects people in their daily lives.

Below are the top reasons why people fail to seek treatment and why receiving the right care is crucial:

  1. Embarrassment/shaming. It’s hard for people to admit they are addicted because of the cultural shame attached to it. However, common themes in recovery are acceptance and surrender. Admitting you need help and seeking treatment is a big step towards recovery and living a healthier lifestyle.
  2. Blaming. Due to stigmas against addiction in media, news and communities, one may believe that others will blame them for their choice to use drugs, which could happen.  However, addiction itself is not necessarily a choice, but occurs as a result of biological, psychological, and social patterns.
  3. Change is scary. Change takes work. Many people are adverse to change. However, by seeking treatment at an accredited facility, you’ll have access to licensed medical professionals and therapists who can help you detox from drugs and develop healthy habits.

No matter your reason for abusing illicit or legal drugs (i.e. prescription drugs), receiving long-term care is critical long after detox and inpatient treatment. Addiction recovery is lifelong.

If you or your loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, the best decision you could make is to get treatment as soon as possible. Just think, the decision to get treatment could be the choice between life and death.

Understanding Addiction

The context and reason for which people use drugs matters, but also their biological, psychological and social setting determines whether they become addicted to chemical substances or not.

Addiction is a chronic disease that affects the way neurotransmitters operate in the reward center of the brain. The systems in the brain affect our motivation and drive for survival. When drug use becomes one’s no. 1 priority, then there is a disruption in motivational patterns.

Usually, someone who uses drugs to escape from or solve underlying issues becomes increasingly dependent on drugs, and puts their drug use above all other things; whether it’s family members, jobs or relationships. This destructive pattern devastates every aspect of life.

Why Receive Treatment

Once motivation is lost, the disease of addiction easily takes control over the brain. It’s not so easy to just quit on your own. Some healthy patterns have to be learned or re-established in order to overcome addiction and transform your life while in recovery.

Receiving comprehensive treatment will help you focus and change limiting behaviors into healthy behaviors and coping mechanisms.  An effective treatment plan will usually include the following:

  • A 24 hr. medically safe detox
  • Inpatient and outpatient treatment
  • Holistic therapies (healthy nutrition/exercise)
  • Chronic pain management
  • Individual, group, and family therapy
  • Continuing care/aftercare services

Remember, addiction recovery is lifelong. Yet, the most effective way to overcome addiction and begin a new life in recovery is by receiving evidence-based treatment with board-certified medical staff and licensed therapists.


From the Desk of Our CEO: On Understanding Addiction Recovery

Thursday, March 20th, 2014

When a family does not have prior knowledge about addiction or recovery, it can be difficult to understand why their loved one is unable to stop their drug or alcohol abuse. Too often, addiction is incorrectly associated with a lack of willpower or character flaws. Although society is taking great strides in raising awareness, many people do not realize that addiction is a disease. At The Treatment Center, raising awareness and helping individuals and families understand addiction recovery is our priority.

Before we can begin to explain the recovery process to families, we must help them understand addiction. It is a chronic disease that takes over all aspects of the addict’s life. When a person abuses drugs or alcohol for an extended period of time, it causes neurological and psychiatric changes to the brain. These changes make quitting much harder than simply having good intentions or a strong will. In the YouTube videos, “What is Addiction?” and “The Cycle of Addiction” our medical director, Dr. Ignatov, addresses the nature of addiction and the combination of factors that play into it.

By educating families about the addiction recovery process, they are able to better support their loved ones. Addiction takes each person on a unique, destructive path. One of the most important things to understand about recovery is that it takes time. Recovery is a commitment to persevere through every day’s obstacles, triggers and doubts. When an individual enters recovery, their journey is just beginning.

The lack of awareness and understanding of addiction recovery holds many back from receiving the help they need. I am fortunate enough to witness the miracle of recovery on a daily basis. It is our hope that our continued effort to raise awareness will encourage those affected by addiction to reach out for the help they deserve.

Best Wishes,

Bill Russell, CEO

Tips on Relapse Prevention

Monday, March 10th, 2014

You may have found yourself wondering, “How do I avoid relapse?” This is a question that many recovering addicts ask. Old habits can easily take you off of your path of recovery if the proper steps are not taken. For an addict, relapse is one of the scariest things that can happen. While there is no exact set of instructions, we have created a set of relapse prevention tips that encourage a clean and sober lifestyle.

Be Active in Your Recovery

Recovery is a process that is achieved one day at a time. If you want to live a clean and sober life then you must be active in making that happen. Work the steps, attend meetings, pick up commitments and don’t be afraid to reach out for help.

Build Your Sober Support

The best thing about being in recovery is being surrounded by others who know what you are going through and support your abstinence to drugs and alcohol. By building sober support, you are creating a group of individuals that will help you when the bad days come. Find a sponsor, join a homegroup, attend recovery events and be active in your alumni fellowship. It only works if you work it!

Avoid Your Triggers

Take time to recognize people, places and things that trigger you so that you can avoid them. This does not mean that you should avoid your problems. Staying away from those who encouraged your using and the bars you used to attend are healthy changes you can make in your life. Think about your daily routine and come up with simple solutions for any triggers you may encounter.

Learn to Manage Stress and Anxiety

Do not bottle up these feelings. Learn how to manage your stress and anxiety by finding ways to release this negative energy. Talking to someone, exercising and meditating are all positive ways to deal with these emotions. It’s also important to make sure you are getting enough sleep and eating well in order to avoid added stress in your day. Take the time to figure out what works best for you and make it part of your daily or weekly routine.

Develop a Schedule

Developing a schedule is a great way to begin building a healthy lifestyle. If you have a routine set in place, it is much harder to diverge from it to partake in unhealthy activities. Plan what meetings you want to attend each week and a day and time to meet with your sponsor.

Take Care of Yourself

If you make an effort to include the previous tips into your life, than you have already begun taking care of yourself. Besides the suggestions above, make a point to take care of yourself every day. What activities do you enjoy? What makes you feel good? Whether it’s going to sleep a little earlier, spending time alone reading or listening to music, make time every day. Pursuing a healthy lifestyle is a sure way to start feeling centered again.

From the Desk of Our CEO: Teen Treatment Center Grand Opening Event

Friday, February 21st, 2014

During my years in the mental health and substance abuse treatment field, I have encountered thousands of individuals whose struggles began in their teenage years. Through recognizing the need for adolescent care, the Teen Treatment Center was created. We will be providing treatment for teens aged 14-17 who are struggling with mental health issues, behavioral disorders and substance abuse. Our team of professionals are dedicated to restoring families and helping teens live happy, healthy lifestyles.

One of the aspects of the Teen Treatment Center that sets us apart is our focus on healing the entire family. Through comprehensive family therapy, we are able to educate parents on their teen’s condition and address the difficulties of raising an adolescent who is struggling. Parents are also taught healthy communication skills and how to identify and resolve conflicts once their teen is back at home. By providing the entire family with the skills to work together, teens will have a more seamless transition back home and a better chance at a successful recovery.

With the Grand Opening of the Teen Treatment Center, we are looking forward to taking another step towards serving our community as best we can. Together, our experienced staff is prepared to heal families from the destruction these conditions cause. At the Teen Treatment Center, there is hope for teens and families who are struggling.

Best wishes,

Bill Russell, CEO

The Best of the Week 1/25

Friday, January 24th, 2014


Welcome to our weekly roundup of the best addiction recovery news sources, compiled from various places across the web.

From the Desk of Our CEO: Teen Treatment Center 

Hope Diaries 9

Faith Diaries 1

The War Within

From the Desk of Our CEO: On Teen Treatment Center

Friday, January 24th, 2014

After listening to patients and families at The Treatment Center, I have learned that many of their substance abuse issues began in adolescence. We recognize a need in our community for the proper care of teens who are struggling with mental health issues, behavioral disorders and substance abuse. When these issues go untreated, they can develop into more serious illnesses and addictions. This February, we plan to open the Teen Treatment Center to address these problems early on.

At Teen Treatment Center, we will be treating male and female adolescents aged 14-17. Our facility will offer gender-separate programs for teens struggling with mental health and behavioral disorders such as anxiety, depression, ADD/ADHD, ODD and substance abuse. We recognize that each patient comes to us with individual backgrounds and circumstances. Our customized treatment approach allows us to address the needs and goals of each teen and their family.

In order to help a teen that is struggling, it is important to address their physical, mental, educational and spiritual needs. Our clinical staff has experience with adolescents and includes licensed therapists and medical health professionals. Teens will have the opportunity to continue their education and participate in a variety of recreational activities. To ensure the safety of our patients, surveillance cameras and security personnel will be active in hallways and at entryways at all times. At our facility, we have a structured environment for teens to begin healing.

From my experience at The Treatment Center, I understand how important it is for families to be involved with the recovery process. We want families to know that it is possible for them to begin healing together with their struggling teen. The Teen Treatment Center will have a licensed family therapist who is dedicated to mending families back together. When teens attend our facility, families are encouraged to attend family therapy sessions. By healing together, a teen’s chances of recovery are increased.

At Teen Treatment Center, our entire staff is dedicated to restoring families and their teens to live happy and healthy lives. We are looking forward to making another step towards serving our community as best we can.

Best Wishes,
Bill Russell, CEO

Hope Diaries 9: Sober 31 Years

Tuesday, January 21st, 2014

This testimonial in the YouTube series, “Hope Diaries,” features Jimmy, an employee of The Treatment Center. In this video, he shares his story of how he entered a life in recovery and why it’s important for others to do so as well.

Jimmy explains, “I always thought you got me drunk. It, situations, they, and all of a sudden I had a realization that I got myself drunk.” Today, he is able to help those who are entering a life in recovery by sharing how it works in his life.

Jimmy and his wife have been sober for 30+ years. Find out how:

We encourage you to share this video with family and loved ones who may be struggling with addiction, or may simply appreciate this powerful story of hope.

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