Here’s 10 Things You Should Expect During Dual Diagnosis Treatment

The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reports that 7.9 million Americans suffer from both a mental disorder and a substance use disorder at the same time.

Are you one of them?

Known as dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder, this condition is far from rare. And, despite how it may feel right now, it doesn’t have to be isolating or debilitating.

In fact, there are plenty of treatment centers equipped to treat patients with a dual diagnosis. If you fit this category, it’s wise to address both issues at once to ensure a successful outcome.

Today, we’re sharing 10 things to expect as you begin your dual diagnosis treatment. The journey is less intimidating if you know what lies ahead and what hurdles you’ll need to clear along the way.

Ready to learn more? Let’s get started.

Symptoms of a Dual Diagnosis

Before you can seek treatment for it, it’s important to recognize the symptoms of co-occurring mental disorder.

If you’re currently engaging in substance abuse, you might find that you also feel angry most of the time, or anxious for no reason.

Or, you might have sudden urges to become violent, withdrawn, or irritable. All of these could be a sign of an underlying mental condition also at work.

Here are some more warning signs to look out for:

  • Difficulty keeping up with professional or educational pursuits
  • Compulsive behaviors
  • Excessive guilt
  • Thoughts of suicide or death
  • Extreme fatigue
  • An excessive urge to cry
  • Feelings of hopelessness or desperation

If you or your loved one is experiencing these tendencies on top of a substance use disorder, there’s a chance it could be a co-occurring disorder. It’s important to seek a professional evaluation right away to verify.

1. You’re Not Alone

When you’re in the throes of an addiction or a mental disorder, it can feel as though you’re the only person in the world suffering from the condition. In turn, this sense of isolation and stigma can drive an increase in substance abuse.

Research shows that Americans with a diagnosed mental illness consume 69% of the country’s alcohol and 84% of its cocaine.

Rather than seeking solace in addiction, sufferers can seek treatment instead. Here, they’ll connect with experts trained in helping them manage their condition and can also learn alongside others who are walking the same road.

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2. Dual Diagnosis Treatment Isn’t One-Size-Fits-All

Dual diagnosis treatment programs take into account that each person’s case is unique.

After delving deep into your history and current condition, a trained expert will develop a custom plan for your recovery, centered on your specific triggers, special circumstances, home environment and more.

There is a wide range of combinations that could comprise your diagnosis. For instance, you might suffer from an anxiety disorder plus alcohol addiction. Or, you might have depression and be addicted to heroin.

In short, you’re not a number. You’ll be treated as the complex and capable person you are.

3. The Process Isn’t Simple

As there isn’t a universal patient type, nor is there a treatment approach that works the same way every time.

Rather, your treatment staff may need some time to dig into the root of your condition. It can be difficult to discern, for instance, if your depression is stemming from your drug use, or if it’s an underlying mental illness.

From there, you may enter into a range of therapy types, including:

  • Trauma Therapy
  • Individual Therapy
  • Group Therapy

There are also 12-step programs designed to help patients re-adjust to the outside world as they prepare to leave the confines of a treatment facility.

Your treatment plan may center on one of these therapy plans, or it might include components of all of them, depending on your case.

4. You May Be Considered High-Risk

Though there have not been any definitive studies confirming that those with mental illness display more aggressive tendencies, research does show that substance abuse on top of a mental disorder amplifies one’s propensity toward violence.

For instance, one study shows that women diagnosed with alcoholism and antisocial personality disorder are 40% to 50% more likely to commit homicide. A diagnosis of schizophrenia, on the other hand, only increased the risk by 4% to 5%.

Thus, expect to be treated as a high-risk patient, even if you have no plans to harm yourself or engage in violent behavior during your treatment.

5. You’re Susceptible to Addictive Behavior

Especially if you’re entering into an outpatient treatment program, it’s important to remember that if you’re diagnosed with a mental illness, you could be more likely to develop an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

This is because many people who suffer from a mental health condition will turn to substance abuse to help them cope with their symptoms. While this may offer a short-term distraction, they serve to alter our brain’s chemistry in a way that most often worsens the condition.

Over time, your brain may rewire its rewarding effects, meaning that you become predisposed to continual drug use.

While you’re not engaged in treatment activities, it’s important to remain aware of this inclination and surround yourself with positive influences that can keep you going in the right direction.

6. Not Every Treatment Facility Will Fit

A treatment facility has to be set up to assist patients with a dual diagnosis. That means one that focuses primarily on helping people overcome drug and alcohol addiction may not have trained and licensed medical doctors, psychologists and therapists on staff prepared to treat mental illnesses.

The reverse is also true. Some mental health facilities might not be capable of helping someone through a drug addiction.

This is where it pays to do your research. As you seek treatment options, look for facilities that

advertise an ability to work with dual diagnosis patients. Don’t expect to handle one of the conditions on your own as you tackle the other. A comprehensive approach is best to ensure long-term recovery.

7. Integrated Treatment is Best

At the same time, look for a facility that will take an integrated approach to your dual diagnosis.

Some may prefer to tackle each issue separately, but the intertwined nature of the two conditions makes this difficult at best, and usually impossible.

In an ideal situation, you’ll enter into an inpatient rehab program that allows you to work through your two diagnoses at the same time, under the same roof, with the same therapists.

This consistency is key to helping your treatment plan stick and ensuring you address your issues in their entirety.

8. A Reputable Facility Won’t Rush You

Yes, there is a timeframe in which most patients complete their dual diagnosis treatment. And there may be other factors, such as your insurance terms, work schedule and family life that dictate how long you can spend in a facility.

Still, a quality treatment center won’t speed up your process.

Rather, the staff will understand that it’s critical to work at a pace you are comfortable with. After all, you’re dealing with a condition that includes an extra layer on top of traditional substance abuse or mental health disorders.

As you interview facilities, ask about anticipated treatment timelines and make sure you’re comfortable with the answer before moving forward.

9. Expect a Longer Process

The reason you shouldn’t feel rushed? Due to the mental health component of your condition, it will likely take you longer to successfully complete treatment than someone with an isolated addiction problem.

There are specific terms and conditions to factor in when you’re dealing with mental health. Your therapist might devise a plan that spans months or even years longer than your peer’s.

10. A Licensed Expert Will Evaluate You

Before you enter into a treatment facility, a licensed physician or psychiatric professional will evaluate your individual condition.

This may involve a series of questions that probe deeper into your history of substance abuse and mental illness.

You may need to recall traumatic childhood events or other instances from your past that could attribute to your condition. Moreover, you should explain if there are any environmental triggers, such as chronic stress, that could contribute to your addiction or mental disorder.

After the evaluation is complete, the physician will use this data to create a treatment and recovery plan tailored to your individual case.

Seek Dual Diagnosis Treatment Today

When you’re suffering from an unshakable addiction on top of a crippling mental disorder, the road to recovery can seem an unending one.

The good news? It doesn’t have to be.

When you’re ready to seek dual diagnosis treatment, we’d love to help.

We’re a Scottsdale-based recovery center that specializes in treating dual diagnosis patients as well as alcoholism, heroin addiction, prescription pill addiction, and methamphetamine addiction.

Reach out to us today to discuss your needs. Let’s take this critical first step together.

Here’s How To Find The Right Addiction Treatment Services For You

There are 20 million Americans over the age of 12 suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction.

But not all addictions are the same.

And if not all addictions are created equal then it follows, naturally, that the same treatment plan or addiction treatment service won’t work for everyone the same way. You’ve got to find a rehab, treatment plan, or service that works for you.

Your addiction treatment services should be tailored to you and your needs and the addiction from which you suffer.

So how do you find the right treatment for you? Well, that’s what we’re here to discuss.

Read on to discover our tips on how to pick the right addiction treatment services for you.

What Is Addiction?

The first thing that’s important to know is the difference between addiction and substance abuse. People with a substance abuse problem use a substance (alcohol, painkillers, etc.) too much or in the wrong way – but they can quit or change their behavior. Addiction is a disease and it means you can’t stop using even when your condition causes you harm.

There are also many different kinds of addiction. There is shopping addiction, gambling addiction, sex addiction, gaming addiction. You should pretty much know that if it’s out there then there’s probably someone addicted to it.

Addiction has two basic qualities:

  1. You use more of the substance than you want to or would like to. Instead of having a drink or two, you drink until you’re drunk. Every time.
  2. You continue to use the substance even though it has harmed your relationships, job prospects, family, etc. You don’t stop even when there are negative consequences.

Addiction is defined by having three or more of the following symptoms:

Tolerance: The need, over time, to use more and more of the substance to achieve that “high”.

Withdrawal: Experiencing physical or emotional withdrawal when you are away from the substance for a period of time. This can show itself as anxiety, irritability, shakes, sweats, nausea, and more.

Limited Control: A loss of self-control or impulse control that keeps you from being able to stop using and/or abusing the substance.

Negative Consequences: Continuing to use the substance even though it’s negatively impacted your relationships, job prospects, family, mood, etc.

Neglect. If you avoid your social activities or don’t do your household activities because of your substance abuse then you might be an addict.

Spending Significant Time/Energy: If you’ve spent significant time and energy obtaining and using the substance – or concealing your use of it – then you may be suffering from an addiction.

The desire to Cut Down: If you’ve thought about cutting down on your use or lessening your use of a specific substance and have made failed attempts to do so then addiction may be the cause.

Finding the Right Addiction Treatment Services for You

Now that you know what addiction is let’s talk about finding the correct way for you to treat it. As stated above, not all addiction treatment services are created equal – and what works for one person may not work for you.

You’ve got to make sure when you’re looking for a rehab center or treatment program that you’re looking for the right things for you. You need to make sure that you ask the right questions. And that you know what you need.

Otherwise, you may end up in a program that doesn’t help you the way it could.

Check out this post to figure out how to prepare for addiction treatment and then read on below to discover five things to remember when searching out addiction treatment services to help you with your recovery:

1. Get an Assessment Before You Do Anything Else

You want to start out the process by being assessed by a doctor certified by the American Society of Addiction Medicine. An assessment by a licensed clinical social worker or a psychiatrist experienced in treating addiction and substance abuse will also work.

This is important because you may not need full-on inpatient rehab – or, alternatively, that may be the only option that will work for you. Sometimes intensive outpatient programs, partial hospitalization programs, or a good old 12-step program might be the right fit.

Assessors make this determination based on whether or not you’re still able to perform activities of daily living. If you’re able to provide yourself some stability already – can still interact with your family, can still go to work, etc. – then a less full-on program may work for you.

Additionally, if you’re addicted to something that leads your assessor to believe you’ll suffer from difficult withdrawal symptoms (such as opioids) then they will recommend inpatient rehab so that the program can help with that.

2. Do You Need Dual Diagnosis Treatment?

A dual diagnosis means that in addition to suffering from an addiction you’re also suffering from something like depression or anxiety. It means that your treatment will need to be tailored to account for both behavioral health problems to make sure that you have the greatest chance of success.

There are approximately 7.9 million people with dual diagnosis conditions – so it’s important to make sure you get that assessment (as mentioned above) to make sure you’re treating everything you need to treat.

And since mental illness and addiction often go hand in hand, you want to avoid treatment centers that don’t offer resources such as counselors specifically trained in dual diagnosis treatment.

It’s important to ask and to make sure if you’re suffering from mental illness, that the treatment program you’re considering will help you treat this because not many treatment programs specialize in both addiction and mental illness. Dual diagnosis treatment is a rare thing to find.

But it’s out there!

And if your assessor recommends something less intense – like partial hospitalization or a 12-step program, then make sure you’re seeking out mental health resources on your own, such as therapy specifically designed to help you deal with that.

3. Check Whether Medication is Offered

This applies specifically to opioid addiction. If you or your loved one is suffering from that and seeking treatment for it then you may want to use medication to help you treat withdrawal symptoms.

But again, not all rehab centers are equal.

Some rehab centers believe in the “cold turkey” method – where they follow the abstinence model to treat opioid addiction. Others, however, do offer medication to help ease withdrawal symptoms.

So if you want medication to help then you’re going to want to make sure that you pick a treatment center that offers that. If you’re unsure, call to ask. They’ll be more than happy to answer your questions.

4. Luxury Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Quality

This is an important thing to remember. Because if you’ve got swimming pools and plush couches and huge TVs, it doesn’t mean that the rehab center is any good.

There are three tiers of rehab facilities:

  • High-end programs that typically cost $50,000 to $75,000 a month
  • Middle market programs that typically cost $25,000 to $35,000 a month
  • Traditional inpatient programs, which range from a few thousand dollars to $20,000 monthly

But again, because there’s a higher price tag doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s got quality.

You want to make sure you’re picking your rehab facility based on the level of care they offer, the type of counseling they have, and how hard they’re going to work you to make sure you stick to your program.

A rehab center with 800-thread count sheets isn’t any good if you can get away with skipping group or not following the 12 steps.

5. Watch Out for Guarantees of Success

This is a huge red flag. Any rehab center that guarantees success is plain lying.

There’s no such thing as a guarantee of success with addicts because the addict is the one who decides if things are successful or not. It’s up to the individual to follow their discharge plan once they leave the treatment center.

In order to guarantee success, the individual addict needs to make the decision every single day to stay clean. The rehab center has nothing to do with that and has no control over that.

The only person who can guarantee success is the addict.

Final Thoughts

Addiction is a terrible disease to live with or to watch your loved one wrestle with. But you can get help. With these tips, you can find the right rehab and addiction treatment services.

For more information on what to look for in a drug and rehab facility check out this post.
And if you’re looking for a rehab facility and want to talk with us then feel free to contact us to discuss your options and what we can do to help you.

Rebuilding Bridges: How to Make Amends With Loved Ones After Rehab

How to Make Amends With Loved Ones After Rehab

Chances are, you hurt some of your loved ones during the throes of your addiction. Read on to learn how to make amends with loved ones after rehab.

In 2014, an estimated 24 million people over the age of 12 struggled with addiction.

Struggling with addiction it can be painful. That pain intensifies when you’ve realized you’ve hurt the ones you love severely.

In this article, we’ll outline how to make amends with those you love and hopefully help you take steps to repair the relationship

What is Addiction?

Addiction is, or substance disorder can be somewhat tricky to define. Mostly it’s a brain disorder, in which the individual is solely focused on a substance whether it’s drugs, alcohol, or other things. For a person wrestling with addiction, they are willing to go to any lengths necessary (even if it means putting themselves or others in harm’s way), gaining the substance.

Addiction can be diagnosed by a mental health professional such as a phycologist or counselor who specialized in addiction.

Who Struggles with Addiction

Unfortunately, addiction does not discriminate. Anyone can be plagued by it – men, women, teenagers, old, and young – all can fall victim to addiction.

It is not uncommon for people diagnosed with other mental disorders, such as anxiety, depression, or ADHD to experience addiction as well or have a genetic component.

Making Amends and Just Apologizing

While apologizing and making amends might seem similar on the surface, they’re very different.

Apologizing is recognizing what you’ve done wrong, saying you’re sorry, and moving on.

Making amends is about reconciliation and repair of the relationships that have been damaged. It’s reaching out to those you’ve hurt and display your desire to make things right.

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Types of Amends

It might seem strange that there are types of amends, but it’s true. Making amends is the 9th step in AA 12 Steps to Recovery. Let’s take a closer look at the three types.

Direct Amends

Direct amends involved going to the person you have wronged, apologizing, and helping make it right. It takes bravery and humility to fulfill direct amends.

For example, if you broke a friend’s plate in anger, you would apologize and then replace the plate. Learning from your mistakes is also an element of direct amends. From now on, you would respect your friend’s property and learn to control your angry outbursts.

Indirect Amends

Indirect amends usually follows a direct amend and deals with the motivations behind your behavior. Indirect amends happens when you cannot physically reach out to the person you’ve wronged.

An example of indirect amends would be if you (unfortunately) were driving drunk and killed someone. You could not approach them directly, but you would find a tangible way to justice. An example would be using your time to educate others on the dangers of drinking and driving.

Living Amends

Living amends is precisely what it sounds: deciding to change for the better and showing others by a shift in your behavior or lifestyle. This takes dedication and drive, but it’s worth it to stay clear from destructive behaviors.

Why You Should Make Amends

Overcoming addiction and then moving on as nothing happened can’t be done. Making amends may be challenging, but it’s necessary for the health of those involved in your life, and for yourself.

Here are some benefits to making amends:

Stress Relief

Imagine seeing someone you haven’t seen since your addiction and feeling uncomfortable because you’re not sure how to react. Making amends reduces this feeling of stress and shame you could experience, especially if the person didn’t know you were in recovery.

Rebuilds Trust

Addiction severs trust. To rebuild trust with people is not easy, but if they see that you’re willing to do the grunt work required to establish greater confidence, they might be willing to learn to trust you again.

Clears Your Mind

While in a drug rehab center you may come face to face with feelings of regret or remorse about everything that’s happened with your addiction, including how you’ve hurt others. Making amends with them gives you (and them, hopefully!) relief about what’s happened, though you still have a long way to go!

Boosts Your Self-Esteem

Continuing in a victim mentality is dangerous and toxic. When you take responsibility for your actions, you learn how to right a wrong, and in turn, build your self-esteem and credibility. Knowing that you’ve done the right thing increases your confidence.

6 Ways to Make Amends With Loved Ones

If you’ve battled addiction and are wondering how to apologize to someone you hurt deeply, keep reading to understand more about making amends. Here are ten ways to start today.

Write Out A List of People You Believe You’ve Hurt

If you can, try and think about all the people who might have been negatively affected by your choices or lifestyle. You’re not that person anymore, and you want to reconnect. Write down all the names, so you don’t forget anyone.

Just adding people to your list is not recommended. Do some digging and soul-searching and think through those who might have been deeply affected by your actions.

Apologize

While making amends is important by far, it begins with apologizing.

But how do you craft an apology? First, as painful as it can be, evaluate your actions and consider how they hurt the person. Step into the shoes of the person affected and see yourself from their angle.

The apology must be sincere and genuine, while genuinely understanding how the other person is feeling. If possible, try writing it out first (similar to the list), so you get a better understanding of exactly for what you’re apologizing.

The best way to begin your apology is by asking the person if they’d like to meet privately and go from there. Always have a plan about how you want to approach them and what you’re going to say.

Take Responsibility for Your Actions

No one enjoys owning up to their wrongs, but when you’re making amends, the hurt person needs to see this, so be as clear-cut as possible about your behaviors. Taking ownership of your actions shows that you are avoiding blaming others and yourself. It also shows that you’re working towards a more positive lifestyle.

Reach Out For Reconciliation

When you’re working towards amends, it’s important to ask the other person what specific things you could do to help them heal. Communicate with them how much the relationship means to you, and that you’re open to hearing what they would prefer to you to do.

Be Ready for Any Response

After making amends, be prepared for a variety of responses. While some people may be more forgiving and eager to jump back into a relationship with you, others may be more cautious, or even flat out refuse. Be understanding and empathetic to their answer, no matter if it’s positive or negative.

Do your best to answer all their questions honestly if they ask, avoid impatience at all costs. They have a right to try and understand what’s happened.

Be Proactive

Talking about making amends is terrific, but it’s more important that you follow through. Decide the steps you want to take towards making amends and be purposeful about it.

Have Patience

Trust is not easily gained back once it’s been destroyed. If someone has decided they will continue in a relationship with you, be patient with them, as they might need time to process their feelings or thoughts.

It’s true that sometimes people do not want to hear it. They don’t care about your recovery, what you’ve been through, or how you’re trying to overcome. That’s OK, as long as you’re trying your best.

The people who do not wish to make amends at the time may need time to think as well, and you’ll have to accept the fact that they may never come around to forgiveness. Allowing people their space and being patient with them is a significant indicator to them that you’ve changed. Keep moving towards those people who are welcoming and ready to accept your amends.

Making Amends: It’s Good For Everyone

Honesty and humility are vital factors when working to make amends. Yes, addiction has taken a toll on you, but it’s also affected those you love. When you choose the right step towards reconciliation with family members, you’re setting yourself up for a bright future surrounded by loved ones. Are you or someone you know struggling with addiction? We’re here to help in a non-judgemental and compassionate way. Contact our recovery center today to see how we can help you.

Here’s Why You Should Consider Opioid Addiction Treatment If You’re Struggling

In 2016, over 11 million people abused prescription opioids. It’s no secret that opioid use has become an epidemic in the U.S.

However, just because it’s a common drug, this doesn’t mean it should be taken lightly. Even if you think it’s only recreational, opioids are among the most addictive substances on the planet and can quickly take over your life if left untreated.

If opioids are already a part of your life, opioid addiction treatment may be the necessary next step for you to take. Read on to learn more about what addiction is and why you should consider getting help.

Should I Go To Rehab?

Maybe you’ve asked yourself this tough question during your lowest points. The truth is, it’s difficult to admit to yourself that you need help with addiction. However, it’s a necessary step in the recovery process.

If you’re struggling with opioid addiction, it’s likely that your friends and loved ones have noticed.

You may find yourself becoming increasingly isolated as you begin to reach for the drugs more and more. Maybe they’ve even staged an intervention or personally approached you about getting help.

Even if you haven’t completely hit rock bottom yet, if you are questioning your own need for opioid addiction treatment, chances are it’s time to take the next step. It’s extremely difficult to face addiction alone, especially when it involves opioids.

What if My Friends Say I’m Fine?

If you’re considering opioid addiction treatment, it’s natural to ask your friends for a second opinion. However, if you’re asking your friends, Should I go to rehab?” and they’re reassuring you that you’re fine, this doesn’t necessarily mean you’re out of the woods. This is especially true if they are using the same opioids that you’re using.

Even if your friends are telling you that you don’t have an addiction problem, there are a number of signs to look for that indicate otherwise. For example, are you being completely truthful with your loved ones about your opioid use? If they don’t have all the facts, it’s impossible for them to give you an informed answer.

It’s also possible that your friends are going through struggles of their own and may not be in the best frame of mind to help you. If they are people you regularly party with, then it’s likely that they’re facing similar addiction struggles, or that they simply don’t want to lose a friend to party with.

Whatever the case, the answer to whether or not you’ve developed an addiction problem strictly lies with you. It’s vital to look at yourself honestly, without any excuses, and really ask yourself if you’ve got a problem. As previously stated, if you’re asking yourself this question, you likely are in need of opioid addiction treatment.

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Defining Your Addiction

Addiction affects every aspect of your life. It can damage your relationships, cause major financial troubles, and take a serious toll on your health. There is no “one-size-fits-all” addiction diagnosis either; instead, it comes in varying levels of severity.

Because addiction ranges in severity, it’s important to learn where you fall on the spectrum. This can be done by looking at the following criteria and checking off how many apply to you. The more you check off, the more severe your addiction is.

  • Issues with personal relationships
  • Growing tolerance to your chosen substance
  • Lack of consideration for your own wellbeing
  • Loss of control
  • Lack of interest in normal activities
  • Wanting to quit but not being able to
  • Symptoms of withdrawal
  • Trying harder to obtain your chosen substance

Even if just one or a few of these apply to you, it’s vital to seek opioid addiction treatment. Addiction tends to get worse if you make excuses or ignore it. It is rarely something you can face on your own.

Addiction is a Disease

It’s important to recognize that your addiction is a disease. It’s not simply a bad habit that you can overcome with time. In fact, if left untreated, addiction is a progressive disease that will only continue to get worse.

The nature of addiction as a disease is similar to other chronic conditions, such as asthma, cancer, or diabetes. Like these chronic diseases, it’s necessary to seek medical help to overcome it. Opioid addiction treatment is an important next step to take.

Don’t wait until you’re at your lowest point to get addiction help. On the other hand, even if you think you’ve reached rock bottom, it’s still possible to get the opioid addiction treatment you need.

Why People Avoid Opioid Addiction Treatment

If you’re still hesitant about getting opioid addiction treatment, this is a perfectly natural reaction.

Millions of people suffer from the disease of addiction, but many avoid getting addiction help. There are a few main reasons why this occurs.

#1 Reason: They’re in Denial

You may already be familiar with denial as the first step in a 12-step program to face addiction. Just like on a staircase, getting stuck on this step prevents you from making any progress on your recovery.

Being in denial is a dangerous loop that leads to nowhere. It’s a typical reaction by many people who have already developed the disease of addiction. Because the brain tends to justify these behaviors with other excuses, it is especially difficult to recognize and overcome.

For example, if someone is dealing with a job loss or turmoil in their personal relationships, they may turn to opioids as a means of coping with this stress. As their addiction grows worse, they may fail to recognize it as a primary contributor to these problems. Instead, they insist that they are only using these opioids to escape the stress of the situation.

Because most people feel a strong attachment to opioids as a means of escaping the turmoil of their life, this can make it incredibly difficult to admit that the opioids themselves are becoming the most major problem of all. This causes many people to remain in a state of denial rather than seeking the opioid addiction treatment they need.

#2 Reason: They Have Fear

Especially when addiction becomes severe, the thought of removing the substance of choice can be terrifying to an addict. It can leave them with racing thoughts about how they will face their problems sober, or how they will be able to cope with life without opioids.

As with any regular habits or behaviors, the sudden shock of removing opioids from your life can be a very scary thought. It may be your comfort zone, your coping mechanism, or even the biggest part of your life in some cases. It’s never easy to let go of these things and face the unknown.

Another thing that scares people who need opioid addiction treatment is the thought of rehab itself. After all, it’s a completely different environment than what an addict is used to. They go from an independent, self-destructive lifestyle pattern to a completely new place where they must face their own vices in order to be successful.

Rehab can be an intimidating thought. Some people are very afraid of taking on their personal demons and working through detoxes and therapy sessions in order to get clean. Others may be afraid of facing life after rehab.

However, there is plenty to look forward to after rehab. Even if you fear that your life is forever altered, there are ways to get your career back on track after rehab and start rebuilding.

#3 Reason: They’re Embarrassed or Ashamed

Another perfectly normal reason that people don’t seek opioid addiction treatment is that they’re ashamed that they have an addiction to begin with. People often equate addiction with a lack of self-control. Oftentimes, the image of being an addict is not an image they wish to associate themselves with.

After all, society tends to react very unfavorably to addicts. They are often believed to be liars, thieves, cheaters, and the list goes on. However, these labels come from a lack of empathy and do not define addicts that are seeking opioid addiction treatment.

Because of these negative connations, many people do not want to admit that they, too, are addicts and are in need of addiction help. They may be worried about what their friends or family might think if they go to rehab. Or they may even be afraid of relapsing and letting everyone down in the future.

Reasons to Seek Addiction Help

While there are a number of reasons and excuses to avoid seeking opioid treatment, there are many more reasons to overcome the denial, fear, and embarrassment associated with it.

Although it may not seem like it now, there’s a better outcome in your future that you haven’t discovered yet:

  1. Face your inner demons. Opioid addiction treatment comes with therapy to help you overcome your traumas, fears, and regrets. Once you’ve come to terms with why you may have become addicted, it becomes much easier to overcome the disease.
  2. Detox and become stronger. Opioid addiction treatment will support you as you detox from your addiction. You will learn how to boost your endorphins without drugs, as well as receive help and support when you need it the most.
  3. Regain control of your life. You are not defined by your addiction. There are plenty of ways to get your life back on track without ever turning to a substance again.

Closing Thoughts

Addiction is an incredibly difficult disease to face on your own. Even if you don’t think it’s the right choice, seeking opioid addiction treatment can enable you to overcome the disease and get your life back on track.
Contact us today to get your treatment started.

Addiction Is A Disease, And The Cure Takes Work. Here’s What To Expect While In Recovery

If you’re not one of the 1 in 7 Americans that struggle with substance addiction, you probably know someone who does. It’s easy to blame yourself or the addict for succumbing to addiction or do not understand why they don’t stop but slow down before you do this. Take a step back and understand that addiction is a disease, and there’s a right way to get effective help.

If you or a loved one struggle with addiction, it’s important to look into facilities that offer rehab.

But you’re likely scared to take this step. After all, who knows what to expect in drug rehab if they haven’t been in it before?

Here, we’re going to answer this pressing question and let you know what you or a loved one can expect as an inpatient treating substance abuse.

What Happens At Check-In

The first thing that you’re going to want to know as a new inpatient for drug rehab is how to check in. After all, this will be your first experience with the facility you’ll be staying in as well as the staff, and it can be a scary part of the process.

After you pick a center for rehab and prepare yourself for your journey, you’re going to feel nervous. These nerves will only be spiked more when you arrive at the facility. This is a completely natural reaction, so don’t worry!

Make sure not to bring any restricted items with you. You wouldn’t want anything confiscated at check-in. But do bring the essentials, and it’s a good idea to bring any comfort objects you may want in, too. These can help you feel more at home and there is no shame in having a favorite book or blanket to help you adjust.

Feel free to ask the intake worker any questions that you have about what’s about to happen.

They’ll answer you as honestly and as fully as possible. In return, they likely will as you some questions. Make sure you’re open and honest too- they are there to help, not judge!

Then the doctors will perform a medical exam on you before you go in. Don’t worry- this is a lot like a physical you get when you take routine trips to the doctor. Know it’s going to happen, and you’ll be great.

Understanding Addiction Is A Disease

One of the first things that you can do for yourself in rehab is to understand that addiction is a disease. Especially because of society’s ideas regarding those addicted to drugs or alcohol, it can be easy to blame yourself for your addiction. Asking questions like why you tried the drug in the first place or why you succumbed to your cravings is natural and expected.

Even though this is natural, that doesn’t make these questions any easier. But there’s no point in asking self-deprecating questions like these.

First, answering these questions isn’t going to change the fact that you need help now, so the answers don’t matter. But even more than that, these questions aren’t the ones you need to be asking.

Would you blame yourself if you got cancer? Pneumonia? Of course not.

You shouldn’t be blaming yourself for developing an addiction, either. Because the fact of the matter is that addiction is a disease, like cancer or pneumonia. Accept this and the doctors will be able to help you as fully and effectively as possible.

A Supportive Community

One of the broadest misconceptions about inpatient rehab facilities is that the people there are scary. This can be a difficult thought to have, and not only because you worry that others might view you that way. You might also worry that the people in there with you will be violent or harmful.

This isn’t the case at all. What you can expect from the people in rehab is a supportive community of kind people who are going through the same things as you are.

Reaching out to other patients in your program has a lot of benefits both to yourself and others.

In doing this, you’ll meet people who can support you and help you through your journey. This can motivate you to keep battling addiction even when it feels so hard you want to quit.

You can also motivate others in turn. In the end, you’ll be becoming a part of a huge network of people that will be there to help and support you. Plus, these people know exactly what you’re going through and can help you feel a sense of companionship through understanding.

When you go into rehab, expect to make unconditional and lifelong friendships. This is exactly what you’ll find.

Treatment From Professionals

Of course, other patients aren’t the only people you’ll be interacting with in rehab. You’re going to be spending as much time with the professionals that are helping you through your addiction battle.

It’s easy to be scared of the way that these doctors are going to perform your treatment. After all, we’ve all read One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. But this isn’t something you should be worried about. Nurse Ratchet isn’t reflective of any real doctors.

The role of the treatment professionals who will help you fight drug addiction is that they’re, at the most basic level, there to help with whatever you might need.

These experts provide supervised detox so you can fight your addiction safely. They also will assess your individual needs and give you both individual and group therapy so you can understand your own addiction as well as find support.

An Increase In Mental Health

If you suffer from addiction, you likely know that drugs and alcohol have a huge negative impact on your mental health. After all, alcohol is a depressant, and withdrawal from any drug you rely on is a horrible experience that addicts face constantly.

This is why attending rehab is super important to your mental- as well as physical- well being.

By breaking your addiction, you will have a lot fewer struggles with mental illness after you’re discharged.

This will happen over the course of rehab, too. Once you’re out of the early stages of detox, which will happen pretty early on in your inpatient program, you’ll begin to notice positive changes to your mental and physical state.

This will lead to the other aspects of your rehab becoming more effective. After all, a mentally healthy person will almost certainly perform better in therapy. Plus, you’ll have more energy which you can channel into making connections with other patients.

A Plan For The Future

In inpatient programs, the doctors will work with you individually to create a plan for an addiction-free future. These plans are intended to make the transition to an outpatient program easier and ensure it goes smoothly.

After you’re discharged, your road to recovery is still far from over. Sure, you’ll have accomplished a lot and taken tons of important steps towards overcoming this disease, but you’re going to need to continue working with professionals in outpatient therapy.

Plans that you’ll make with your inpatient doctor might include the way that this therapy is going to work. You’ll discuss how often you need to come in and what you can do before each session to make rehab easier.

Many facilities also will ensure that you have regular attendance at the 12-step meetings provided by the center. These meetings will make sure that you are continuing to live an addiction-free life and are intended to prevent backsliding.

Another big part of the future plan that doctors will work on with you is finding new hobbies and passions to replace your addiction. Maybe you’ll discover that you love art or writing in one of your therapy sessions- work on that! Or maybe you want to read a good book or go on traveling adventures.

To learn more tips about sober living, check out this article. Then you’ll better understand what you’re working towards and how you’ll be able to get to those goals.

Lasting Benefits

Making the decision to go to rehab yourself isn’t easy, and doing so is commendable in and of itself. So is making the choice to convince a loved one to enter rehab. But once it’s made, you can expect help, support, and a plan to make your future brighter.

Now that you know that addiction is a disease and, as such, can be treated, contact us to get started on a treatment plan to fight your addictions.

We believe in you.

A Tough Conversation: How to Tell Your Kids You’re Going to Drug Rehab

How to Tell Your Kids You’re Going to a Drug Rehab Center

Are you headed to a drug rehab center? Not sure what to tell your kids? Read on to learn how to tell your kids you’re going to rehab.

You’re a superhero and you know everything, right?

Kids, tend to see their parents as perfect, all-knowing people. They expect Mom or Dad to have all the answers to some of life’s biggest questions.

It’s your job, and privilege, to stand by your child’s side as they learn about the world. Your guidance is what helps them mature and grow into happy, healthy adults one day.

So, how do you talk to your kids about going to a drug rehab center? If you’re supposed to be a superhero, won’t you be letting them down?

Fear, guilt, shame, and worry, are all feelings that can surround an addiction. It’s easy to feel like you’re all alone, yet this couldn’t be further from the truth.

Did you know 23.5 Million Americans are currently addicted to alcohol and drugs? Addiction is a ruthless disease and it doesn’t have anything to do with being a good or bad person.

If you or a loved one is going to a rehabilitation center, your kids will have a ton of questions. Read on to find out what to say, and when, to have the best conversation.

Age Appropriate Conversations

How old are the children you’ll be talking with? Before you start planning the details of your conversation, first take into account the child’s age.

Serious conversations with children under 10 years of age can be particularly challenging. Instead of seeing the bigger picture of why you’re leaving, they tend to focus on the present.

If your child does protest you leaving, it helps to see things from their point of view. Here are some details you should exclude younger children from hearing.

  • Drug Names
  • Length of your addiction
  • Expressing fear or doubt

A lot of parents find it comforting to express their addiction as a type of sickness. Telling your small child, “Daddy/Mommy is sick right now”, can help them empathize.

They’ve surely had a time in their life they can recall being sick. You can remind them how the doctors and medicines helped them get all better.

Then you can explain to them how you are leaving to go see some doctors who can help you with your grownup problem. You can choose to use the words, “I have an addiction problem”, but stay away from expressing any fears you have.

You’ll want to avoid telling your kids things like, “I need help, otherwise I’m afraid of what will happen.” Telling kids about the dangerous side effects of using alcohol, or drugs, isn’t wise for this conversation. Keep it simple, let them know you’re sick, you need help, and you’re going to get it.

If you do decide to use the word “sick” to express why you need help, make sure the kids know it’s not contagious. You don’t want them to be worrying they’ll be getting sick, or that another family member may fall ill at any moment.

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Why Age Matters

You may feel your child is more mature than others around their age. This may be true when it comes to school work, chores, or other aspects of their life.

Many parents even joke that their child is 8 going on 18, because of how mature they act. Yet, when children have to deal with complex family circumstances, it’s best to keep their actual age in mind.

It isn’t until around 4-5 years of age children begin to realize there’s a world outside of themselves. Up until this point, they think of everything through a self-centered filter, where everything revolves around them.

By the time a child reaches 6-7 years of age they can empathize with other peoples feelings. As they grow into 8 and 9-year-olds, these abilities continue to increase.

Yet, they still see things in a black and white kind of way. In their world, things are either good or bad, right or wrong.

They have a limited number of emotional tools and need you to do the heavy lifting. Rather than telling young children, they are wrong, allow them to express all of their feelings.

Finding the Right Time

When’s the right time to talk about the drug rehab center? You know your children’s schedule and lifestyle better than anyone. When considering a time to have your talk, take into account the following factors.

  • What time of day is your kids most alert?
  • When will you have 2-3 hours available?
  • What atmosphere would be the safest for your talk?

After taking your children’s schedule into account, think about your own. Avoid having the conversation on days you know you’ll be particularly tired from work or family outings.

Even though you’ll only be sitting down and talking, you’ll still need to have a full tank of energy. Being mentally alert, and present is the best way you can serve your kids.

Once you decide on a time, you can begin planning the details of your conversation. Next, we’ll explain the importance of giving your kids details about the center.

Give Details About the Drug Rehab Center

Ever wonder the reason children ask, “why, all the time. Children are by nature, curious creatures and want to explore the world around them.

What do you do when you’ve answered the “why” but they still want to know more? The best solution is to give your children the appropriate details.

Some appropriate details about this circumstance you can share, are details about the rehab center. Let your kids know a lot of facts about the center, you can even show them a few photos of the location.

Here’s a list of some of the details you should give curious children.

  • Activities available at the center
  • Visiting rules
  • How you’ll be communicating with them
  • Where the center’s located
  • How many people you’ll be with
  • What type of room you’ll be in
  • How many doctors work there

The more your kids know about the center, the more involved they’ll feel. When they’re picturing you getting help, they’ll have an idea of what to picture.

No matter what you want to avoid making the center seem like a mysterious place. Your kids will be more at peace having a realistic idea of where you are, rather than a fantasy.

Know Yourself What to Expect

Make sure you also have a clear understanding of what to expect during your stay. You’ll want to know all of the program’s features and benefits before you arrive. The more you know, the calmer you’ll be. When you’re calm, your kids will instantly be more calm and open to discussion as well.

Finally, after deciding what details you’ll share, create a script. The script can be a list of bullet points, listing items you want to cover with your kids. Having a list of what you want to say will help keep you on track.

Not only is it important to speak to your kids at the right time, and include details, but you’ll also want to watch the length of the conversations. To avoid lecturing your kids, or rambling on, try to stick to the bullet point list as closely as possible.

Control Your Emotions

You finally feel ready to sit down and have a talk about rehab with your kids. You’ve created a script, found the perfect time, and you know why you’re doing this.

The next step is to now learn how to control your emotions. As you begin speaking with your kids, you may encounter surprise feelings. These feelings can be strong emotions you weren’t even aware you were experiencing beneath the surface.

Yet, once you start talking about a difficult subject, the surprise feelings can start to surface. Instead of finding yourself caught off guard by overwhelming emotions, have a plan for how you’ll deal with them. Here are a few tips for dealing with strong emotions:

  • Take a deep calming breath
  • Pause before speaking
  • Tune into your feelings
  • Remember what’s real

Tuning into your feelings means identifying the emotion you’re having. When shame or guilt rears its ugly head you might think to yourself, “I’ve always been a failure.”

Yet, you know in your heart of hearts this isn’t true. What’s true and real is your an imperfect human, and everybody needs help in life.

Before you blurt out to your kids that your sorry, or sad, breathe and gather yourself. Remind yourself what you’re the ultimate goal is here. Your goal is to inform your kids about what’s happening and provide reassurance.

With the reality of what’s happening in front of you, it’ll be easier for you to control surprise feelings.

What to Do During Break Downs

Ideally, your kids won’t even notice your struggling with tough emotions. Yet, the ideal version isn’t the most likely scenario to occur.

It’s highly likely you’ll feel waves of emotions throughout your talk, and you’ll need a plan if you start to feel like you can’t contain yourself.

Here’s what you can do if you start talking with your kids, and can’t control your feelings.

  • Tell the kids you need a short time out
  • Find a quiet or private space
  • Write down your feelings
  • Go for a short vigorous walk
  • Call a friend

The moment you start to feel better, start preparing to go finish the conversation. You have to take care of how you’re feeling while still being selfless during the conversation itself. Once you’re ready to resume the conversation, stand guard, watching your emotions.

If you start to feel a wave of fear or guilt bubbling up, immediately start reminding yourself what’s real. The faster you act on negative emotions, the easier it is to prevent them from building up.

However, if you’re a naturally emotional person, you might not be able to restrain yourself. If you need extra help, ask a friend to assist you during the conversation. Prep your friend on the points you want to cover.

Rebuilding Relationships After Addiction

Now you know more about how to discuss a trip to the drug rehab center with your children. Remember, you’re making a brave decision, and your entire family will be stronger because of it.

Can you imagine your life post addiction? You may be wondering how you’re going to be able to rebuild relationships or feel happy, joyous, and free again? Pathfinders Recovery Center is here to help you through every step of your journey.

We help clients who are battling addictions with alcohol, heroin, prescription pills and more. Are you seeking a way to break free from your past and build a bright new future?

At PathFinders Recovery Center you’ll have a team of experts who care about your success. We’ve been helping clients struggling with addiction for decades and we know how torturous it can be.

Our positive, supportive environment, is a vital part of early recovery. Let us show you how we can help. Reach out to one of our team members using our contact us page today.

Here Are 10 Simple Addiction Signs That You Should Watch Out For

It is estimated that one out of seven Americans is going to face substance addictions, but only 10 percent will receive treatment. The key to ensuring someone in your life receives help if they are suffering from an addiction is to know the warning signs of a problem.

There are many people who try to hide their addiction from loved ones, due to embarrassment or because they are ashamed. It’s up to you to get to know the simple addiction signs and take action to ensure your loved one gets the help they need.

Keep reading to learn about some of the most common signs of addiction, as well as how you can help your loved one, here.

1. Mood Swings

Have you noticed a serious change in a friends or family member’s demeanor? If so, then it’s a clear sign that there’s something going on.

However, if these changes suddenly turn into sudden or severe mood swings, personality changes agitation, or outbursts, then it’s a reason to be alarmed. Significant and dramatic changes in behavior, like this, aren’t considered normal.

If the issues aren’t the result of a medication or medical condition, then the cause may be addiction. The fact is, drug addiction can affect a person’s mental stability, regardless of how much or how little they are using.

addiction-signs

2. Tolerance to a Drug or Substance

If someone has used a drug for a prolonged amount of time, they are eventually going to build up a tolerance. As a result, the individual is going to need more and more of the substance each time to achieve the same intensity as they did when they first started taking it.

This is because their tolerance has increased. As a result, the frequency and amount taken are also going to increase.

In most cases, alcohol and drug abuse begin socially, but then escalate as time passes. In many cases, it goes unnoticed due to the gradual rate of dependency. However, if you notice this problem, it is important to speak up.

3. Withdrawal Symptoms

Have you noticed that a friend or loved one has tried to stop using the substance they are addicted to? If they have, then it is likely they will experience withdrawal symptoms.

Many people try to stop “cold turkey,” while others attempt to wean themselves off over time.

However, both of these methods can result in withdrawal symptoms. This also means the person’s dependence is partly physiological.

These are withdrawals that are pretty clear to see, as they are going to affect a person’s physical habits. It can take the form of hot flashes, sweating, sleep deprivation, paranoia, itching, general aches and pains, mood swings, and angst.

People who are going through withdrawal need to have support; however, this is a delicate time to be a person’s support person, too. In many cases, seeking outside help is going to be necessary.

4. A Change in Appearance

Addicts are affected both physically and mentally by drugs. As a result, the drugs being taken can affect a person’s physical appearance significantly.

If the individual has been on some type of dangerous drug, they may lose quite a bit of weight, skin, teeth, vision, or hair problems, heart issues, or become malnourished. There are some substances, such as alcohol that may take more time to imprint on the person.

Alcohol may cause issues similar to those caused by hard drugs, such as heart, liver, and skin problems. While there are many health issues that may occur on the inside, you are likely going to notice a difference on the outside, as well.

5. Irresponsible

If a person begins to neglect their responsibilities, then it is another sign they may have some type of drug issue. This is especially the case if this isn’t a common occurrence for that person.

The fact is, alcohol and drugs can interfere with a person’s ability to use good judgment or to think clearly. Some examples of this include if the person begins to show up late to appointments or work, or if they don’t show up at all.

The individual may also be dishonest with a person’s trust or money, they could begin to neglect their family and children, and become generally irresponsible. Since drug addictions can be expensive, these issues often have quite a bit to do with money.

6. Financial Issues

The financial issues that a drug addict may find themselves in can become extremely serious. They often have to spend large amounts of money to maintain their addiction. This often results in them having to continually find large amounts of money to sustain this addiction.

In many cases, addicts are going to go outside of general limits to get the money they need to ensure they don’t have to go without when it comes to their substance of choice. These limits may include both personal and financial budgets.

There have even been cases of people draining their own bank account and others, maxing out credit cards, stealing money, selling belonging and more.

7. Substance Seeking

It isn’t just significant amounts of money that people may waste as they try to maintain alcohol or drug addiction. Energy and time are often burnt up when trying to find and secure their specific drug.

This energy and time may be excessive and wind up being all that the person thinks about. A classic sign of addiction is to be focused on where the person’s next hit is coming from – even if they haven’t even finished their current one.

If you find that a friend or family member is showing signs of this particular behavior, then it may mean they are facing a serious problem.

8. The Development of Friendships with Other Addicts

Addiction often impacts the good relationships that an addict has previously established. They may begin to deteriorate due to the presence of alcohol and drugs in a person’s life.

After these relationships have begun to break down, the addict may start to seek friendships with others who may understand their situation more. This usually means other addicts or drug dealers.

If you notice that your friend or loved one is beginning to develop new friendships with potentially unsavory individuals, then it may be a clear sign they need help.

9. Isolation

If the addict doesn’t try to seek out friendships with people who share their way of life, they may begin to be more isolated. Isolation is a huge issue for many addicts.

This is a method that many people use to hide their way of life. It’s easier to hide an addiction if no one else is around to see what is going on.

The individual may also become more paranoid due to the addiction, which can lead to more isolation, too. This is going to increase cases of depression and conjure up much more unhealthy life habits.

10. The Inability to Stop

If a person tries to stop the drug cravings they have, they may exhibit behaviors that are similar to losing control. The fact is, the brain can make it much harder to quit by sheer will.

The brain may also convince the person to take “just one more drink,” or “just one more hit.” Unfortunately, one more is usually never-ending.

Treatment Options for Drug Addiction

When you have a friend or family member who is struggling with addiction, it is highly likely they are going to deny the issue. Others may be reluctant to start treatment because of a lack of support, the cost, or just fear of the unknown.

However, once these reservations are overcome, it’s time to find the right type of drug treatment. There are several options to choose from including an inpatient treatment facility, or outpatient care.

There are also more specialized types of drug rehabilitation treatment centers. These may offer art therapy or spa treatments, swimming, and more.

Simple Addiction Signs: Now You Know

Getting to know simple addiction signs can help you help a friend or loved one who is struggling with this. Be sure to take action if you notice the signs above. In some cases, you may have to schedule an intervention to convince them there is a problem.

The fact is an addiction is serious and can take a toll on a person, and their family. Seeking treatment is the best way to overcome this issue.

If you are ready to take action, then it may be a good idea to contact us. Our team has the know-how and ability to help you or your loved one who is struggling with addiction.

Here’s What To Expect While Dating A Recovering Addict (Hint: They Still Love You.)

Let’s face it- dating can be incredibly tough. First dates are awkward at best and downright disasters at worst.

Perhaps the difficulty of dating is why there are currently more single people than ever before.

However, sometimes the difficulties of dating can be a good thing. When you’ve dated one dud after the other, it can feel all the more special when you finally meet someone you like and can envision having a future with.

But, what if one day this really special person suddenly drops a bomb on you. After months of what feels like pure bliss, they reveal a secret: they are actually a former/recovering addict.

What should you do with this information? Can you handle dating an addict?

We’re not going to lie, recovering addicts do tend to carry more baggage with them than the average person. However, this doesn’t mean you should rule them out as potential partners. After all, no one is perfect.

But, if you are going to date an addict, there are some things you need to know first.

So, what do you need to know?

Check out this guide to learn the top tips for dating a recovering addict.

1. Find Out Where They’re At On Their Road to Recovery

Before you dive in headfirst, you’ll first want to find out where the addict is at on their road to recovery.

While this may seem like a trivial detail, knowing what stage of recovery they are at can actually make a huge difference.

Generally speaking, recovering addicts are advised to take a break from dating during their first year of recovery. (The starting point is the day they first became sober).

If the person you’ve been seeing says they’ve been in recovery for under a year, you may want to think twice before getting too serious. If they’ve started dating before hitting the year mark, there’s a good chance they are going against the recommendation of their counselor and potentially aren’t taking their recovery very seriously.

This lack of commitment could easily lead to a failed relationship.

The first year of recovery is extremely crucial for addicts. It’s when they really learn what it’s like to live without drugs and alcohol, how to take care of themselves, and how to communicate effectively, and how to find satisfaction and enjoyment in other areas of their life. They also learn what triggers they need to avoid to stay on the road to sobriety.

Basically, it’s supposed to be a year of tremendous growth and self-discovery. Adding dating to all of this can be super complicated, and not to mention, overwhelming.

Therefore, we recommend either just being friends with the person until they’ve hit the one-year mark.

2. Look Within Yourself

Oftentimes, a relationship between a recovering addict and a non-recovering addict fails because the non-recovering has issues in their own life they’re not facing.

So, before you choose to date a recovering addict, make sure to do a self-check.

Ask yourself why you feel motivated to date a recovering addict. If your answer is that you are looking to “fix” or “rescue” the person, then the relationship is almost bound to fail.

The thing is, recovering addicts do not need to be rescued or fixed by anyone else. What they need to do, is take responsibility into their own hands and figure out what they need to do to live a healthy, stable life. This is something they need to do completely on their own as well.

If you attempt to be their “savior”, the relationship won’t have balance and will be based on an unhealthy dynamic.

Also, it’s not healthy for you to feel like it’s ever your role to save or fix somebody. If this is something you find yourself frequently seeking in relationships, you may want to consider talking to a professional or someone who can help you break this unhealthy dating pattern.

dating-an-addict

3. Be Ready to Support Them

Even though it’s never a good idea to attempt to fix an addict, you do need to support them.

Of course, all relationships require support. However, supporting an addict really requires you to go the extra mile.

Most recovering addicts (especially early on) need to see a therapist, attend several group meetings a week, and do a tremendous amount of self-care.

While this may not seem like a big deal at first, you may soon find that all of these meetings aren’t super convenient. If you and your partner both work 9 to 5 jobs, they’ll likely have to attend meetings after work. This could interfere with date nights, social events, and other things.

Plus, if an addict feels triggered, they may find themselves needing to get to a meeting ASAP.

This could mean dealing with canceled or postponed plans.

If you don’t think this is something you can handle, then dating an addict is not a good idea for you.

4. Educate Yourself

You may think you know a lot about addiction and recovery. But the truth is, unless you are an addiction counselor or work with addicts on a regular basis, you probably only know the basics.

Therefore, before dating a recovering addict, it’s very important that you educate yourself on addiction and recovery.

Learning about how addiction occurs, who’s susceptible to addiction, and the latest research on addiction can all be extremely useful.

It can also be beneficial to join a support group for friends, family members, and partners of addicts.

By hearing about other peoples’ experiences with addicts, you can learn a lot.

5. Be Aware of Your Partner’s Triggers

When dating a recovering addict, it is very important to be aware of their triggers.

While many people think that dating an addict just means avoiding bars and parties with alcohol, it’s actually a lot more complicated than that.

Addicts can be triggered by something as minutiae as a smell, sound, or sight.

Even the clink of a glass can be enough to trigger an addict.

As the partner of an addict, it’s very important that you are aware of these triggers.

This way, you’ll automatically understand when your partner feels the need to leave a certain place. You’ll also know what places the two of you should avoid altogether.

Also, be aware that even though triggers can fade over time, they are a lifelong problem. This means you will need to be mindful of them during the entire duration of your relationship.

6. Don’t Let Yourself Be Manipulated

When someone is in the throes of addiction, they often spend a lot of time manipulating and convincing others that their drinking/drug use isn’t a problem and that they don’t need help.

While some addicts are able to cut this behavior off once they’ve gone through a treatment program, some carry this manipulative behavior into their post-addiction relationships.

Therefore, when dating a recovering addict, make sure you don’t allow them to use their recovery as a scapegoat.

For example, someone being in recovery does not allow them to cut off communication for days or weeks at a time, bail on you, or be unfaithful to you.

A recovering addict should give you the same amount of respect that you’d expect from anyone else you’d date.

7. There Has to Be Trust

Every relationship needs trust, but a little extra dose of trust is needed when dating a recovering addict.

If you’re dating an addict and you don’t trust them, it will be very hard for them to rebuild their self-esteem.

If you constantly question your partner about their whereabouts or keep tabs on them, then your relationship will be doomed. Your partner will eventually come to resent you for your lack of trust.

Unless you see major warning signs that your partner is slipping up, you need to maintain an open mind and withhold judgment.

8. Don’t Forget About Your Self-Care

When dating a recovering addict, it can sometimes feel like the relationship is all about making sure that they’re doing okay.

But remember, for a relationship to work, things need to be equal. And just because you aren’t a recovering addict, doesn’t mean that you don’t have issues of your own.

When dating a recovering addict, it’s very important that you don’t get so wrapped up in their needs that you forget your own.

Regardless of if your partner is struggling or doing great, you always need to make time to take care of yourself. Make sure you are eating right, sleeping well, exercising, and finding time to enjoy your favorite hobbies.

Dating a Recovering Addict: Are You Ready for the Next Step?

As you can see, there is a lot that you need to keep in mind when dating a recovering addict.

However, while it can be difficult to date a recovering addict, keep in mind that all relationships have their challenges. Every couple has obstacles to navigate, so don’t let a small misstep in your relationship make you feel like dating a recovering addict is impossible.

As long as you’re committed and there’s love, you can get through any rough patches.

If you have any questions or comments about these tips, please let us know in the comments below.

And, be sure to check out this guide to learn what to do if your partner relapses.

Ending the Stigma: How to Help End the Stigma of Addiction

Ending the Stigma: How to Help End the Stigma of Addiction

Even though progress has been made, there is still a lot of stigma around addiction. Read on to learn how to help end the stigma of addiction.

More than 20 million Americans are battling a substance addiction of some kind. That’s more than the number of people in the country suffering from all types of cancer, combined.

Yet, despite the prevalence of this affliction, the general conversation has yet to turn from judgment to empathy. In fact, a recent survey reveals that the public perceives drug addicts more negatively than those with mental illness.

As we make strides toward a more understanding tomorrow, there is a need to reverse this stigma of addiction. Every day, those suffering take their first steps toward recovery. How can we support their efforts?

The answer lies in breaking down the preconceived notion of who an addict really is. Today, we’re sharing a few ways everyone can work together to destigmatize this disease.

Ready to learn more? Let’s dig in.

The Social Impact of Stigmatization

Unfairly and hastily categorizing addicts not only affects their ability to get sober. It also causes long-term stress and anxiety that can lead to depression. When addicts feel discriminated against, they often experience a profound sense of loneliness.

This is a dangerous road to tread, as mental illness and addiction are often linked as a dual diagnosis. In fact, research shows that those clinically diagnosed as having a mental illness consume 69% of the alcohol in the country and 84% of the cocaine.

When an addict feels socially outcasted without any outlet through which they can share their emotions, those feelings of isolation only exacerbate. From there, a cycle occurs wherein the addict fails to seek help or reach out for fear of being rejected. At the same time, they delve deeper into the addiction to help combat that sense of unworthiness.

Thus, it’s important to take away the stigma around addiction. When we learn what actions and speech define this approach, we can help those suffering make a smart recovery that sticks.

addiction-stigma

The Effect on Medical Treatment

There is a myriad of reputable addiction recovery centers across the country. These are staffed with experts trained on every stage of addiction, who are experienced working with addicts and, as such, as are less likely to apply negative stereotypes when working with them.

Yet, there are still some healthcare professionals working in traditional medical settings who have not worked with as many addicts. Because of this, they often approach the situation differently and might not be as willing to open their doors and their waiting rooms to those sufferers.

When this happens and this pushback is perceived, it turns the addict away from seeking the medical attention they need. In fact, studies show that only 18.5% of addicts receive the addiction help they need.

Understanding the Psychology of Addiction

One of the most common stereotypes of addiction is that an addict can control their behavior.

As advocates for this community, it’s important to understand that this is not a condition fueled by choice.

Rather, once a person has crossed the threshold into addiction, reaching for a drink or another hit of a drug becomes less of a voluntary measure and more of one performed out of physical necessity.

Harvard scientists go so far as to say that addiction hijacks the brain.

The boost of dopamine that addicts feel when they engage in substance abuse eventually wears off as the addict becomes more tolerant of it. In turn, a larger amount of the substance is required to maintain that sense of euphoria.

Yet, even though the high is more difficult to achieve, it is no less desired. This is because addicts remember the effect the substance once had (a memory stored in the brain’s hippocampus) and seek to recreate it on a daily basis.

Breaking down the stigmas of addiction begins with understanding the psychological order of the disease. Now let’s take a look at a few proactive steps that can tear those walls down even more.

Breaking Down Addiction-Related Stigmas

Understanding addiction is key to becoming more tolerant of those in your family, at your workplace, or in your social group that might be struggling and in need of support.

Regardless of the specific situation, the reality is that no one wants to feel stigmatized, judged, or thought poorly of. This is especially the case with addicts, who may already feel cut off from society due to the road they’re walking.

Below are a few key ways everyone, including those without an addict in their lives, can work together to bring compassion and humanity to this disease. The more often we take an honest look at our actions and strive to change them, the more that progress can occur.

Eliminate Labels and Name-Calling

There are scores of negative names and labels associated with addiction. In fact, you may have used them in your general conversation without realizing their true effect.

Even seemingly benign terms such as “getting clean” can carry a negative connotation, so it’s important to rethink the use of such phrases. Along the same lines, words such as “junkie” “alcoholic” and “drug habit” can also be viewed as hurtful.

A simple step that you can do today to change the conversation is to avoid the use of these monikers. At the same time, encourage others around you to do the same.

Just as there have been movements to discourage the use of certain terms surrounding handicapped persons, the same effort should be made to treat addicts as the people they are, rather than defining them by their disease.

Turn a Listening Ear

We live in a fast-paced society telling us that, in order to keep pace with our neighbor, we have to take life by the horns and speak up for ourselves. We rush about in our daily lives, bury our noses in our smart devices, and text more than we call.

Yet, when was the last time you sat down with someone and listened more than you spoke? If there is someone suffering from addiction in your life, one of the most beneficial things you can do for them is to hear what they have to say.

As you do, resist the urge to interject with your own opinions or offer personal anecdotes. Instead, serve as a sounding board and a safe place for that person to release frustration and find support.

Educate Yourself

We tend to stigmatize and look unfavorably on issues we know very little about. Instead of automatically resorting to name-calling or passing judgment, seek to educate yourself on addiction and its associated behaviors.

Especially if you are close to someone who is in recovery, battling drug withdrawal, or in another phase of the journey, you should be well-versed in what to expect in the coming months and years. Even if you don’t know someone personally affected by the disease, it’s still smart to learn as much as possible about it. That way, you can help teach others ways to destigmatize it as well.

Speak Up for Change

The next time you’re in a conversation that steers toward addition, speak up if someone around you begins to cast a negative light on those suffering. If no one is willing to challenge the status quo, real progress cannot occur.

The same applies to any situation in which you witness someone being treated unfairly because of their addiction. Use your voice to promote unity and encourage fairness. You may even consider working with a local charity to bring recognition to the cause and encourage others to join you in changing the addiction perception.

Ending the Stigma of Addiction Once and for All

Those suffering from addiction can use all of the support, love, and encouragement we can offer them. The only things they don’t need from us are name-calling, judgment, and irreverent labels.

To help end the stigma of addiction, begin with a single step. Commit to avoiding negative behaviors that add to their loneliness and isolation. Invite a hurting friend to coffee. Volunteer at a local recovery center and see firsthand what a little compassion can do.

If you’re in the Scottsdale area and know someone currently in the throes of addiction, our recovery program can help.

Our team has more than 25 years of experience in the addiction treatment industry. We offer programs structured around individual treatment plans with long-term stability in mind. In addition to medical support, we also work to help those suffering from addiction integrate successfully back into their lives with a renewed sense of purpose.

To learn more, contact us today. Let’s take that first step together and break down barriers as we do.

Here’s How To Reconnect With A Recovering Addict After Rehab

“What can I say?”
“What can I do?”
“How can I help?”

There’s a lot of paralyzing questions you tend to ask yourself when trying to reconnect with a recovering addict in your life. It’s not easy to make sense of a lot of the emotions you’re feeling.

If you have a loved one in or going into rehab, we’ve got a guide on how to offer support.

But, if you love a drug addict that’s out of rehab, we have some tips on how to approach all those burning questions running through your mind.

alcohol-recovery

DO: Listen

Many people ask about how to talk to an addict. But, actually, the most important thing you can do is listen.

No interruptions. No criticisms. No judgement.

Even if they’re talking about something you personally don’t think is best for them.

It’s very important to stay a sounding board. It’s easy for a recovering addict to close up. Often, it feels like this whole ordeal is something they’re living through alone.

So, the more heard they feel, the more likely they’ll feel supported. And the more they feel supported, the better their chances of staying on the right road.

It’s best to try to see through their eyes as they speak. This isn’t a one-way road. Educate yourself on all the things they need to be doing to reconnect with you, just as you’re trying to reconnect with them.

DON’T: Question a Recovering Addict’s Recovery

Always refer back to rule 1: listen. But when it comes time for you to talk, you always want to avoid questioning their road to recovery.

The worst thing you can do is dismiss their uphill battle. Try not to downplay the seriousness of their addiction and how much it’s going to affect their new post-rehab life.

This is a lifestyle change. A permanent one, hopefully. And that’s not something to be deemphasized.

Don’t tell them you never thought they had a problem, to begin with. Don’t give them permission to see this long road to recovery as anything other than 100% necessary. Because it is.

DO: Show Kindness

No matter what brought them to rehab, no matter the history that may still be fresh in your memory, always let your loved one know that you still love and care about them.

It’s hard to know exactly what to say to an addict you love, but it should always be said with patience and affection.

They need constant and consistent support. The first step towards giving them that consistency is making sure your tone and your intentions always come from a place of kindness.

When you love a drug addict, always approach any conversation with an open heart, always trying to see things from their point of view. Even if you’re discouraged or upset with them, try to convey your emotions with warmth and kindness.

Stress is a common trigger for relapse, so what you’re telling them is just as important as how you deliver it. Everything you say should be wrapped in a verbal hug, especially if it’s bad news.

DON’T: Overstep Your Boundaries

Boundaries are very important when it comes to recovery, especially when you’re living with an addict.

Both your boundaries and theirs.

Try not to ask too many questions or try to micromanage their life. Some of us want to make sure relapse isn’t even a possibility, so we tend to overdo it.

This can do more harm than good, causing your loved one to close themselves off. And isolation is a very bad place to be for a recovering addict.

Let them know that they’re free to tell you if you’re being overbearing. All they have to do is say a word and you’ll take a step back. Keep those lines of communication open and try not to take offense if they do say you’re not giving them enough space.

On the flip side, when you love a drug addict, you must stand your own ground yourself.

Let your friend or loved one know what is outside of your comfort zone, what you’re not willing to put up with, and set limits. The road to recovery needs to be full of rules and boundaries, especially when it comes to reforming friendships and relationships.

They need you and your support to know when they’re stepping out of bounds.

If they keep skirting your boundaries, don’t be afraid to carefully let them know. Just like dealing with anyone else, if the person doesn’t know that their behavior is bothering you, they’ll never know to change it.

Once you’ve set your limitations, it’s extremely important that you follow through with enforcing those boundaries. A recovering addict needs to know when they’ve been crossed and the consequences of those actions.

If they don’t make the effort to change their behavior, it’s okay to suggest counseling for the issue. That will ensure that you can work it out in a mediated environment.

DO: Show Your Support for Their Progress

Showing support isn’t just an empty set of encouraging words. It’s also about putting your presence where your mouth is. It’s all about showing up.

Tell your loved one that you will support anything they need in their time of recovery.

Do they need you at a family counseling session or couples’ therapy?

Do they need you to come to a meeting with them? Or take a call at an inconvenient time?

When you show up, they’ll show up, too. Knowing that there’s real-world support for them is invaluable during recovery.

And knowing that you’re willing to work through issues with them, will only make them easier to face head-on.

Always let a recovering addict know you will support them in seeking whatever they need to keep living a sober life.

DON’T: Share Your Own Drinking/Drug Use Stories

It’s very important that you don’t bring up drinking or drug use around them.

This point is very simple:

Don’t ask them to be a designated driver.

Don’t ask when they can start drinking again.

Don’t tell them about how hungover you are or how drunk you got last weekend.

Any of these topics can be triggering for a recovering addict.

What you CAN do is encourage them to find a drug-free way to get those endorphins going.

DO: Show Consistency

This point goes hand in hand with everything we’ve already covered about how to talk to an addict. Listen. Don’t question their road to recovery. Show kindness. Don’t overstep your boundaries. Show your support for their progress. DO ALL OF THIS CONSISTENTLY.

The life of a recovering addict can be a rollercoaster. They need something they can depend on.

They need things in their life that are predictable.

Unpredictability can trigger stress. And stress can fuel addiction.

Be the example in their life that they want to live up to. Always be where you say you’ll be. Always hold your ground when you’ve told them they’ve crossed the line.

Accountability is extremely important in a recovering addict’s life.

DON’T: Bring Up Their Past

The last thing a person that’s gone through addiction and rehab needs is a reminder of those times they’ve been working to get past.

Just like you shouldn’t be talking about your own vices with them, you also shouldn’t be reminiscing about their old life.

It can certainly trigger a relapse and somewhere between 40 and 60% of addicts in recovery

WILL relapse.

They’ve made a commitment to get past that place. They admitted they had a problem. They went to rehab. And now they need you to help them see the future – what all that hard work was for.

If there is a past instance you really feel like you need to work through with them, make sure you broach the topic lightly. Try to phrase it in a way that puts them ahead of those problems.

Acknowledge that you know they’re in recovery first, then bring it up with some verbal distance, being sure to make it sound like it’s far in the past.

DO: Let Them Lead

It might be hard to trust a recovering addict, but it’s what they need now more than ever.

Offer help, but back off if they ask.

Don’t tell them what they need, ask first.

As long as they’re working through it, and it’s going to result in something positive, trust that their way is going to be just as good as your way.

At rehab, they were equipped with tools to help them. Let them use those tools.

Always be there as a backup, but try not to push.

Good Luck on Your Journey

It’s okay to feel a bit overwhelmed while you try to be supportive of a recovering addict. We all learn as we go. Thankfully, there are so many resources and outstanding facilities available to help you help your loved one. They’re not alone and you’re not alone, either.