How Can You Get Sober From Drugs?

How to Sober Up From Drugs

If you are addicted to illegal or prescription substances, you must know how to sober up from drugs.

That is the only way to get your life back on track and avoid severe or even fatal problems.

Even if you are not addicted, you may need help getter sober.

Why? Non-addicted drug abuse can also have a serious, negative effect on your life.

Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to sober up from drugs.

Professionals ranging from your personal doctor to addiction specialists have the knowledge needed to help.

With their guidance, you can regain your sobriety no matter how badly addiction affects you.

Staying Sober - A woman meets with her therapist over a video chat. Staying sober is more difficult with social distancing. Those in recovery need new ways to connect for support.
A woman meets with her therapist over a video chat.

 

Drug Use and Drug Problems

Tens of millions of Americans use potentially addictive prescription medications. Most of these people follow their prescriptions and avoid problems. However, more than 16 million Americans misuse their medications. You can misuse a medication by taking it too often or in excessive amounts. You also take part in prescription drug misuse if you do things such as:

  • Use someone else’s medication
  • Crush you medication or do other things to speed up its effects

You are at risk for serious problems if you take any amount of an addictive street drug. Marijuana is the most common of these substances, even though this drug is now often legal to use. Other widely used street drugs include cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin.

If you are addicted to a prescription drug or street drug, you have a substance use disorder, or SUD. There are subtypes of SUD for each major drug category. For example, people addicted to amphetamines, methamphetamine or cocaine have a stimulant use disorder.

You can also be diagnosed with an SUD if you are not addicted. How is this possible? Even non-addicted drug abuse can seriously interfere with your ability to function. For this reason, such life-altering abuse is included in the substance use disorder definition

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Can You Tell If You Need Help

Is it possible to tell when you need to start thinking about how to sober up from drugs? Very often, the answer to this question is yes. You should certainly think about your drug use if you misuse an addictive prescription medication. You should also be concerned if you are involved in the use of addictive street drugs.

When doctors diagnose an SUD, they look for signs of addiction such as:

  • Loss of control over how often you use drugs, or how much you take
  • Reduced sensitivity to the effects of any given amount of drugs
  • Withdrawal symptoms that start if you cut back on drugs or stop taking them
  • A lifestyle built around drug use or related activities
  • Not being able to quit taking drugs after multiple attempts to break free

Signs of serious drug abuse include:

  • Going through social or relationship problems as a result of your drug use
  • Using drugs multiple times while doing something dangerous like driving
  • Taking enough drugs to be unable to keep up with your major obligations

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How to Sober Up From Drugs: First Steps

If you are wondering how to sober up from drugs, a common first step is talking to your personal physician. Today, many of these primary doctors have been trained to give drug screenings. Screenings serve several main purposes, including:

  • Assessing your level and pattern of drug use
  • Helping to determine whether you have an SUD
  • Determining how bad your symptoms are if an SUD is present
  • Helping your doctor guide you to the right resources for treatment

If you do not already have an SUD, you doctor may give you a brief intervention. That is the term for a short educational session about the dangers of your drug misuse. This session is designed to help you change and avoid developing diagnosable problems.

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How to Sober Up From Drugs: Drug Detox

If you have an SUD, you may need to enroll in drug detox, or detoxification, in order to get sober. Why? Detox provides a secure environment for people affected by addiction to stop using drugs. It also provides the medical expertise needed to safely make it through drug withdrawal.

What happens during detox? That depends on the drug or medication you are addicted to. There are specific detoxification options for substances such as:

  • A stimulant such as methamphetamine or cocaine
  • An opioid medication or street drug
  • An addictive tranquilizer or sedative

Everyone enrolled in a detox program receives care designed to keep them as healthy as possible. Some people also receive medication while going through the detox process.

Staying Sober - A woman does a video conference with her support group during social distancing. She is fighting to stay sober without the in person meetings she usually goes to.
A woman joins an AA meeting over a video conference during social distancing.

 

How to Sober Up From Drugs: Active Treatment

Completion of detox will leave you drug-free. However, this initial sobriety is not enough. To have a realistic chance at lasting sobriety, you must continue on to active drug rehab. Rehab helps you stay sober while you are still enrolled in treatment. It also teaches you techniques to remain sober once treatment comes to an end. Medication may be used as part of your rehab plan. Even if you do not receive medication, you will get crucial help from therapy or counseling.

What kinds of therapy will help you learn how to get sober from drugs and stay sober? Many options are available, including:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Family Behavior Therapy
  • Community Reinforcement
  • Contingency Management
  • 12-Step Facilitation

Your treatment team will match your therapy to your particular form of SUD.

 

Joining a Mutual Self-Help Group

It is common to join a mutual self-help group while still enrolled in rehab. In fact, the purpose of 12-step facilitation is to prepare you to join this kind of group. Self-help groups are beneficial because they allow you to establish peer relationships with others in recovery. These relationships provide extensive support for your long-term commitment to sobriety.

 

How To Sober Up From Drugs: Continuing Care or Aftercare

In detox and active treatment, you learn how to sober up from drugs. But this is not the end of your battle. You must also take appropriate steps to remain sober. A mutual self-help group will be a big plus. However, experts also recommend some form of continuing care or aftercare. This is the name for a follow-up program that gives you continued access to professional treatment. Continuing care will help you cope with the ups and downs of everyday life without returning to drug use.

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Learn More About How To Sober Up From Drugs

Learning how to get sober from drugs can be a major turning point in your life. In contrast, if you do not learn how to do this, you may find yourself trapped in addiction’s powerful grip. If you suspect that your drug use has gotten out of hand, today is the day to get help. Together, your primary doctor and addiction specialists will help you recover from even severe drug-related problems.

Have questions about how to sober up from drugs? Just turn to the professionals at Pathfinders. Our experienced staff will help you sort out exactly what you need to do to get started. And if you need to enroll in a drug treatment program, Pathfinders is standing by. No matter what kind of substance you are addicted to, you will find what you need in our full range of treatment services.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: Key Substance Use and Mental Health Indicators in the United States – Results From the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health; Pages 15 and 20

https://www.campusdrugprevention.gov/sites/default/files/2019%20NSDUH.pdf

U.S. National Library of Medicine – MedlinePlus: Prescription Drug Misuse

https://medlineplus.gov/prescriptiondrugmisuse.html

American Psychiatric Association: What Is a Substance Use Disorder?

https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/addiction/what-is-addiction

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: A Guide to Substance Abuse Services for Primary Care Clinicians – Chapter 2: Screening for Substance Use Disorders

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64820/

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: A Guide to Substance Abuse Services for Primary Care Clinicians – Chapter 3: Brief Intervention

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64821/

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: Detoxification and Substance Abuse Treatment – Physical Detoxification Services for Withdrawal From Specific Substances

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64116/#A85631

National Institute on Drug Abuse: Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment – A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition); Pages 39 -65

https://www.drugabuse.gov/sites/default/files/podat_1.pdf

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64116/#A85631

Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment: Continuing Care – What We’ve Learned and Where We’re Going

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2670779/

What to Look for in a Drug Rehabilitation Center

There are over 14 000 rehabilitation facilities in America. When you or your loved one is ready for help, how are you supposed to choose one?

Naturally, some facilities are better than others.

There are lots of things to consider when choosing a center. The types of programs offered, the credibility of the center, and their options for detox, to name a few. Then there’s the price and if it’s covered by insurance.

Basically, there’s a lot to consider before you can go to treatment. We’ve made it easy for you by compiling all those factors in one place. Keep reading for help choosing a drug rehabilitation center.

9 Things to Consider When Choosing a Facility

Each rehab center is unique in its approaches, reputation, and effectiveness. And, each addict has a unique background, substance of choice, and psychology.

Finding a treatment center that suits the addict doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are nine things to consider before you make your decision.

1. Credentials and Licenses

First, you need to ensure the facility you’re interested in is certified and licensed. This means it can legally operate and advertise as a rehabilitation center.

Unfortunately, there are some facilities that say they’re credible when they aren’t.

There are a handful of accreditation organizations for rehabilitation facilities. If a facility is accredited, they can accept insurance and advertise their services.

They include:

– the Joint Commission Accreditation

– the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities

– the LegitScript Certification

You should also ensure the staff that work at the facility are licensed. They should have ample training and experience as well as official certifications. Some examples are Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor (LDAC) and Certified Addictions Counselor (CAC).

Lastly, see what the facility specializes in. It’s unlikely that any facility can treat every addiction disorder effectively. That’s why specializing in a few is more promising.

Some centers specialize in alcohol addiction and heroin addiction. Others in prescription pill addiction or methamphetamine addiction.

2. On-Site Detox

The first phase of getting sober is going through a detoxification process. This is when the body runs out of substances and doesn’t get replenished.

Also called withdrawal, the detox process can sometimes be painful, distressing, and stressful.

You need a facility that is experienced in administering detoxes. Users in this state need constant monitoring and on-call emergency services.

Ensure the facility you choose offers 24-hour care for detox patients. You should also inquire if they offer medication for certain addictions, like opioids. In these cases, going cold turkey off the substance isn’t the safest option.

3. In-Patient vs. Out-Patient

In-patient programs are when patients live in the facility full-time. They eat, sleep, and complete the program on-site.

Out-patient programs allow the patient to sleep and spend time out of the center. They will often come to the center for treatment and therapy.

You must decide if an in-patient or out-patient program is best for you. Often, the counselors at the rehabilitation facility can help you decide. As can your doctor.

In-patient programs are often for users who can’t fulfill regular tasks, like going to work. Or, if the user has tried many different out-patient programs without success.

4. Individualized Care and Programs

There’s no one-size-fits-all treatment program. So, if the facility offers a generic program for all patients, stay away.

A reputable center will offer a customized program based on the patient. They will combine different therapies and treatments that will benefit each unique patient.

The facility should also only use evidence-based programs. These are programs that have ample research proving their effectiveness. Some examples would be Cognitive Behavioral Therapy or 12-Step Facilitation.

You may also want to inquire about gender-based treatment. Some facilities offer treatment for men, women, teens, or specific religions.

5. Mental Health Services

Did you know that 25 percent of addicts also have mental health illnesses? Mental illnesses go hand in hand with addiction.

So, it’s beneficial for the patient if the facility can treat both problems.

They might offer addictions counselling as well as counselling for depression or anxiety. This is sometimes called dual diagnosis treatment.

No two dual diagnosis are the same, so these patients need customized treatment plans.

Inquire how the facility creates their treatment plans for these patients especially. What kinds of assessments do they do first? How many licensed professionals contribute to creating their program?

It’s important to have mental health professionals handling these conditions. Not just a general counselor.

6. Diverse Treatment Team

Find out the patient to staff member ratio. When the patients outnumber the staff, it’s likely that your loved one won’t get the attention they need.

And, there shouldn’t be a few staff members wearing all the hats.

Effective treatment requires expertise in many different fields. That’s why reputable facilities will have medical doctors, nurses, counselors, and psychiatrists. They also often have wellness experts, like nutritionists and spiritual counselors.

Additionally, there will be property managers, groundskeepers, and cleaners. A well-staffed and diverse facility runs like a well-oiled machine. Patients get all the attention and help they need.

7. Services & Amenities

The top rehabilitation centers don’t spend 24-hours a day focused on the addiction. They give patients time to explore new hobbies and activities.

It might seem strange for a treatment center to offer fun activities. But these services and amenities give addicts the opportunities to develop new interests.

Some centers will have fitness rooms, a pool, or an art room. There might be musical instruments, lessons, and even pet therapy.

Meditation and mindfulness are often helpful during addiction recovery. So, there might be yoga classes and meditation sessions.

Remember that luxury amenities don’t always equate to quality. Some centers boast having the top amenities. But, their ability to treat addiction is less than par.

Focus on quality treatment first, amenities second.

8. Family Participation

As you likely know, addiction doesn’t just affect the user. It affects everyone in their life that loves them.

Often, the family of a user needs treatment as much as the addict does.

For that reason, many facilities will incorporate families into the recovery process. That could mean sitting in on meetings or doing therapy with the recovering addict.

Perhaps there are wounds your family needs to heal. Or, perhaps your family needs to learn how to adjust to your loved one’s sober lifestyle.

Look for facilities that acknowledge the role of the family in addiction. And, are willing to incorporate it into the addict’s program.

9. Post-Treatment Support

What happens when the patient completes their program? Are they kicked out? How can you ensure they don’t relapse?

Many rehabilitation centers will offer post-treatment support services. These are programs that continue treating the addiction, but not necessarily on-site.

They might include phone coaching, accountability apps, or even support groups. Attending support groups can be very helpful for the recovering addict to find peers who understand their past.

There are also sober living homes where patients can go after in-patient programs. These homes offer a transition period before heading back to the real world. It’s where they can learn how to adjust and continue to heal in a safe environment.

It’s a good idea to arrange support services before the patient leaves the program. This could mean planning for ongoing counseling and career counseling. Or, continuation of the hobbies they enjoyed during treatment.

How to Find a Drug Rehabilitation Center

Now that you know some of the things to consider when choosing a facility, here are the steps to pick one.

First, do lots of research.

Pay attention to how long each facility has been in business. You should look for one with many years of experience. And, one that specializes in the type of addiction you or your loved one has.

Look at the online reviews. Read their success stories.

Keep in mind that if it seems to good to be true, it probably is. Beware of centers that promise or guarantee success.

Next, ask lots of questions. Book phone interviews with facility managers who will answer all your questions. Take notes and pay attention to the manager’s friendliness and professionalism.

Last, tour the facility in person. Look for cleanliness, safety hazards, and the staff to patient ratio. Talk to different staff members if possible and observe different activities in progress.

Looking for the Right Addiction Treatment Center for You?

As mentioned above, treatment centers vary in quality, price, and effectiveness. It’s important to weed out the ones that won’t serve you well. And, investigate the ones that seem promising.

Pathfinders Recovery Center is a highly reputable drug rehabilitation center in Colorado and Arizona. Our team of licensed experts help patients recover from certain addictions.Contact us to learn more about our addiction recovery services.

How to Recognize the Signs of a High Functioning Alcoholic

Despite the common rhetoric of rock bottom, not all alcoholics crash. Many of them are experts at hiding how their drinking affects their lives.

Because of this, they’re experts at denying help. They don’t need to go to rehab–after all, they can hold down a job, support their families, maintain relationships, and have every outward appearance of success.

However, this actually puts high functioning alcoholics at great risk of harm. They may have major warning signs for years without anyone noticing. All the while, their alcoholism is subtly affecting their physical, emotional, and psychological health.

If you or a loved one is a high functioning alcoholic, you’re still harming yourself and those around you, and you deserve help. Here’s what you need to know about high functioning alcoholism and signs that it’s time to look into treatment options.

The Five Types of Alcoholic

Alcoholism takes many forms, but most alcoholics fall into one of five types:

  1. Young adult
  2. Young antisocial
  3. Intermediate familial
  4. Functional
  5. Chronic severe

These descriptors fit both the patient’s stage of life and the relative progression of their alcoholism. The typical young adult alcoholic, for example, is around age 25 and started drinking at 19 or 20.

What is a High Functioning Alcoholic?

When you think of an addict or an alcoholic, you probably think of someone who can’t hold down a job, can’t stay on top of their responsibilities, and prioritizes their addiction over everything else despite clear signs of strain in other areas of their life.

A high functioning alcoholic doesn’t look like that. In fact, they’re almost the opposite of every addiction stereotype.

High functioning alcoholics tend to be highly educated, high earners with stable home life. They can do more than just hold down a job and pay rent–in many respects, their life appears to be untouched by their addiction.

Risks of High Functioning Alcoholism

Like all addictions, high functioning alcoholism is deceitful. It insists that there isn’t a problem and that the behavior is perfectly normal. Because of this, the conditions required to break through that mantra of normalcy are pretty extreme.

With high functioning alcoholics, the conditions required to break through denial are even more extreme. Unlike non-functional alcoholics, high functioning alcoholics are good at maintaining the outward appearance of a successful life, even to themselves.

The problem is that people can develop severe alcoholism and put themselves at extreme risk of harm while seeming like perfectly functional, healthy people with normal lives.

Because of this, the alcoholic has even more ammunition to avoid seeking treatment. Worse, those around them may not even realize that they have a drinking problem.

The trick, of course, is that more people are high functioning alcoholics than stereotypes would have you believe. In fact, only 10% of alcoholics are homeless or otherwise deeply low-functioning, which leaves 90% of alcoholics existing well outside the stereotypical penalties for extreme alcohol addiction.

Signs of High Functioning Alcoholism

Because of this, it’s vital that you know how to recognize the warning signs of high functioning alcoholism when they present themselves. The signs may not be obvious–if, indeed, most people recognize any signs of alcoholism in the first place.

In fact, many high functioning alcoholics are witty, clever, and responsible. To all but those who are closest to them (provided that those people are paying attention), high functioning alcoholics seem to be perfectly healthy. They may not show any apparent signs of addiction, even if the signs are right in front of you.

If you’re worried that you or a loved one is suffering from high functioning alcoholism, here are a few red flags to watch for.

Drinking is a Big Part of Your Life

The first sounds abundantly obvious: drinking is a big part of your life. However, if drinking has featured significantly in your life for some time, others may not even notice it.

Let’s say you were a drinker in college. You were the first to the party and the last one to leave, and you could drink everyone under the table in the meantime. Your friends at the time didn’t blink–after all, they were doing it too.

Most people, including your college friends, graduate, grow up, stop partying, and scale back their drinking. But you’re still drinking like a freshman in college. The difference is that you’re good at hiding it in other areas of your life, and you may not drink to party anymore.

You Drink to Cope…

One of the big red flags of alcoholism, high functioning or otherwise, is drinking to cope.

There’s a reason why so many of us go out for a drink to unwind after a stressful day at work, or get home and break out a drink after a bad day. Alcohol is a depressant, slowing chemical activity in the brain. This is why you feel loose and relaxed after drinking–your brain chemically cannot function as fast.

Chemically speaking, it’s easy to understand why more than half of adults drink alcohol to cope with stress.

This is the area where most people get into trouble, which is why drinking to cope is one of the universal warning signs of alcoholism. If you reach for a drink every time you have school stress, a bad day at work, or even an unpleasant phone call with a relative, that’s a bad sign.

…And You Drink for Every Situation

Of course, alcoholics don’t drink just because they’re sad or depressed or anxious. Alcoholics also drink when they’re overjoyed, bored, excited, tired, or anything in between.

Remember, alcoholism isn’t just a coping mechanism. It might start that way, but it’s a chemical addiction in the brain. Eventually, you reach for alcohol in any situation, not because of the situation but because your brain has learned to chemically rely on alcohol to process any situation thrown at it.

You drink to calm down. You drink to get excited. You drink to wake up. You drink to go to sleep. You drink with friends. You drink alone. You drink for an occasion or you drink on an ordinary day.

Either way, the story is the same: if there’s a situation, any situation, your first instinct is to reach for a drink.

You Drink Too Much, Too Often

High functioning alcoholics don’t show the strain of drinking on their lives, at least not at first. They can maintain their work projects, execute their responsibilities, show up for their families, and don’t show any obvious negative behaviors like depression or anger issues.

That said, you can still maintain your responsibilities (for a while, anyway) while drinking too much.

A red flag for alcoholism is drinking too much, too often. “Too much” varies between people, but for women, it’s generally three drinks in a day or seven drinks in a week. For men, it’s generally four drinks in a day or fourteen drinks in a week.

However, it’s important to remember that alcoholism isn’t limited to drinking too much in one sitting. In fact, many alcoholics have a problem not because they drink too much at once (though they do that too). Their problem is drinking a “moderate” number of drinks on a daily basis.

You Don’t Get a Hangover After Several Drinks

Humans are remarkably adaptable, and that extends to our alcohol consumption.

Like most other drugs, our bodies learn to adapt to alcohol. Over time and repeated excessive drinking, we need more alcohol to get the same effect. This is known as alcohol tolerance, and for functional alcoholics, their tolerance is unusually high compared to other people.

However, this shows through in unexpected ways. For example, a high functioning alcoholic can drink the same amount as a friend and not experience a hangover, even after several drinks too many.

This might seem like a benefit, but it’s actually a screaming red flag. It means that your body is dependent on alcohol, and you’ll need to drink more to get the same effect. And while you may not think it’s hurting you, you’re harming your brain and your body the whole time.

Denial is Your Superpower

Regardless of severity or progression, all alcoholics have one thing in common: denial.

Addiction is fundamentally dishonest. You’re not just lying to others about your habits–you’re lying to yourself. You know, in your heart of hearts, that something is wrong, but you find ways to justify the behavior because you need your fix.

You can hide it for a while to avoid the pain and embarrassment of showing others (and yourself) how bad it is, but the negative consequences will catch up to you eventually. Even if you haven’t seen obvious negative consequences like a car accident or an arrest, you may still have a problem.

High Functioning Alcoholism Can Hurt You

A high functioning alcoholic can hurt those around them just as readily as any other addict. And while you may not think that your drinking is harming you, the truth is that you can live a fuller, happier life free of alcohol. 

If you or a loved one need to look into treatment options, click here to check out our recovery program, or get in touch to talk about how our team can help you get on the right path.

I’m an Alcoholic? Signs You’re Drinking More Than You Should Be

Did you know that around 6.2 percent of the population has an alcohol disorder?

And, of those people who have a drinking problem, only 6.7 percent have sought treatment or help for their disorder in the past year?

While there are a variety of reasons why so few people seek treatment, one of the most common reasons is that some people don’t fully realize that they have a problem.

The statement “I’m an alcoholic” can be difficult to muster. But once you do, you’ll have taken your first important step on your road to recovery.

But, how exactly do you know if you’re an alcoholic or if you’ve just been partying a little too hard lately?

Check out this guide to learn the top signs that you’re drinking more than you should be.

What is Alcoholism?

There’s a lot of misinformation out there about alcoholism, so let’s start by discussing what exactly the disorder is.

If you suffer from alcoholism, then you suffer from the most serious form of a drinking problem. Those who are alcoholics put drinking above all other obligations, including family, work, and relationships.

In some cases, alcoholics build up a strong physical tolerance, which makes it very hard for them to withdraw from the substance without some adverse effects.

It’s also important to note that alcoholism is different from harmful drinking. While harmful drinking can be detrimental to your health, it’s usually an occasional pattern that doesn’t overtake your entire life.

However, harmful drinking can develop into alcoholism, so it’s still important to be aware.

Warning Signs of Alcoholism

Now that you have an idea of what alcoholism is, let’s take a look at some of the top warning signs that you’re drinking too much.

1. You Drink More Than Planned

Have you noticed lately that when you go out for a drink with friends, it always turns into 5 or more? Or, maybe when you pour yourself a glass of wine at home, you always end up drinking the whole bottle and then some?

While overdrinking happens to all of us from time to time, you need to watch yourself if it’s become a regular pattern for you. Typically, this is an early sign of alcoholism.

2. You Spend A Lot of Time Drinking

When we say a lot of time, we’re not talking about how long you spend nursing a glass of wine.

Instead, we’re talking about how much time drinking takes up your schedule. If you add up the amount of time you spend getting the alcohol, drinking, and recovering from your hangover, you may find that alcohol is eating up a good chunk of your schedule.

For the next few weeks, keep track of how much time drinking eats up in your daily schedule.

3. Your Tolerance Has Increased

If you notice that it takes more and more alcohol to get a buzz going, then there may be a problem.

Unless you see significant changes to your health or weight, your tolerance should remain at about the same level.

If you notice your tolerance has gone up, that’s a sign that your brain has adapted to the alcohol over time and become less sensitive to its effects.

4. You Crave Alcohol

We’ve all dealt with cravings before, but craving alcohol is a whole nother issue.

You may find that there are times you want a drink so badly that you can’t think about anything else.

This urge may be triggered by your environment, certain people, or your emotional state.

If you have a drinking problem, your brain will react differently to these triggers than someone who drinks socially. Basically, your brain will make you believe that you can’t practically go on without a drink in your hand.

5. You’ve Given Up Other Activities

Have you slowly been giving up all of your other hobbies so that you have more time for drinking?

Take some time to think about how you use your free time now as opposed to who you used to use it. Has your drinking edged these activities out of your schedule? Or has your hangover prevented you from doing them?

If so, you may have a problem.

6. You Keep Dropping the Ball

We’ve all had times where we’ve missed a deadline, forgotten about a social commitment, or didn’t give our all at work.

However, if screwing up like this has become a pattern and your drinking has caused you to flake on other responsibilities, then there may be a problem.

7. Relationship Issues

Do you find yourself at a constant tug of war between your loved ones and alcohol?

Has your drinking led to trouble with family and friends? Do you keep drinking despite these troubles?

If you’ve answered yes to any of these, then that’s a definite sign that you’ve been drinking too much.

While having relationship issues doesn’t make you a bad person, it does make getting help all the more urgent. The last thing you want is to do irreparable damage to your relationships because of alcohol.

8. You’ve Experienced Withdrawal

Alcohol alters your brain chemistry. This means that when you drink heavily for a long period of time, your brain starts to adapt to this state of being.

When you suddenly stop drinking, your brain has to readjust, which in turn causes symptoms of withdrawal.

Here are some of the top withdrawal symptoms to watch out for:

  • Nausea
  • Anxiety
  • Sweating
  • Restlessness
  • Shakiness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • High blood pressure
  • Seizures
  • Disorientation
  • Visual hallucinations
  • High fevers
  • Vomiting

While the symptoms of withdrawal typically improve within 5 days, some people experience prolonged symptoms.

It’s also important to note that if you’ve been drinking heavily for a while, withdrawing from alcohol on your own can be quite dangerous. This is why it’s a good idea to withdraw under the supervision of medical professionals.

9. You’ve Endangered Your Life

When you’re impaired, your brain doesn’t grasp short-term or long-term consequences as well as it does when you’re sober.

This can often lead to poor decisions and putting yourself in risky situations. If you’ve ever driven, fought, swam, or had unsafe sex while under the influence of alcohol, then you may be heading towards dangerous territory.

10. You’re Experiencing Health Problems

When we say health problems, we’re not just talking about a nasty hangover following the day of drinking.

Alcohol can cause major damage to your body. In fact, it can harm your liver, pancreas, heart, brain, and immune systems. It can also cause you to gain weight and increase your risk of getting certain types of cancers.

11. You’ve Found Yourself in Legal Trouble

Have you had run-ins with the law or been arrested while you were intoxicated?

If so, then your alcohol problem may be getting quite serious.

Legal trouble is usually a sign that drinking has become your number one priority, and that you’re fine sacrificing your career and other important responsibilities for alcohol.

12. You Want to Stop But Feel Like You Can’t

If you want to stop drinking but you feel like you can’t, then that’s a red flag.

Oftentimes, people with alcohol disorders actually try to cut down, but find themselves falling right back into their old habits as soon as they have a bad day or are triggered in some sort of way.

If you find that you keep coming back to alcohol no matter how hard you try to avoid it, it’s time to seek help.

What to Do Next

If any of these situations seem familiar to you, then it’s time to seek help.

While seeking help and admitting you have a problem can be very difficult, doing so can save your life.

Talk to a trusted family member or friend, counselor, or medical professional. There are tons of resources out there for those with drinking problems, and getting your life back on track is just one conversation away.

Plus, there are all sorts of ways to make quitting alcohol work with your lifestyle. You could go to counseling, attend meetings, or attend an outpatient or inpatient program.

If you believe that your drinking problem has become quite serious, then attending a treatment program is usually your best bet at getting sober.

With a treatment program, you’ll be surrounded by medical professionals whose goal it is to help you get sober. Medical professionals can also help ensure a safe detox and that you have a supportive environment once you finish up with your treatment.

I’m an Alcoholic: Are You Ready to Take the Next Step?

If you find yourself saying “I’m an alcoholic” after reading this article, then today is the day to seek help. 

If you think entering a treatment program is the right choice for you, then get in contact with us today. We can help get you start your journey on the road to sobriety. 

Inpatient vs Outpatient Rehab: What’s the Difference?

Getting help to beat your drug addiction can be one of the most significant decisions you make in your life. If you have a loved one who has finally agreed to go to rehab, it can feel like the glimmer of hope you have been longing for.

Choosing the right rehab facility for them, however, can be a daunting task. You have to decide which one will benefit them most between inpatient vs outpatient rehab.

Drug addiction is a complex condition. It gets tough for most people who develop a substance use disorder to stop without professional help. In essence, the needs and addiction severity determine the right rehab program for an addict.

Once you decide to go to rehab, you must understand the difference between inpatient and outpatient rehab to make an informed decision.

Inpatient Vs. Outpatient Rehab

Inpatient programs require patients to live in the facility. Outpatient programs entail daily treatments that allow patients to go back to their homes once treatment is over. Inpatient programs tend to be quite expensive compared to inpatient programs.

However, on the upside, they offer round-the-clock care. This may offer a more immersive treatment experience for patients. Any distractions and triggers that patients may experience at home are totally eliminated. Patients are given an opportunity to focus solely on recovery. It’s usually wise to consult an addiction counselor about the best option since it will highly depend on the addition level.

An In-depth Look at Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment is suitable for most people looking to escape addiction since they can be far away from temptations and get right into sobriety. Several benefits come with inpatient or residential treatment, which we’ll cover in this in-depth post.

Features of an Inpatient Treatment Program

Inpatient programs may vary from facility to facility, but some of the features you’ll find include:

  • Both individual and group therapy
  • Supervised detoxification
  • Medication administration whenever necessary

Beyond these, some facilities may offer other beneficial activities. These may include meditation, yoga, life skills training, and family therapy.

Advantages of Inpatient Treatment

Given that a patient has to live in the facility full time for a certain amount of time, they are likely to benefit more. Most patients will view staying in the facility and away from loved ones as a drawback. However, it can be highly beneficial in terms of recovery. Here are more inpatient treatment benefits.

  • It allows patients to be away from their usual environment that’s possibly rife with temptations.
  • Places the patients in a safe and healthy environment where they are taken care of by professionals and other people who are focused on their recovery
  • Allows patients to get into skills training as well as education
  • Possible chance of a higher success rate
  • Full-time supervision
  • Allows patients to interact with others in a community

Drawbacks of Inpatient Treatment

  • Patients are not free to leave whenever they please
  • They live in a structured environment and have to follow rules about when to wake up, when to eat, and when to undergo counseling sessions
  • Patients with children need to arrange for childcare while they undergo treatment
  • Patients need to leave their jobs or businesses
  • Most insurance companies only cover outpatient treatments

Most treatment programs run between 30 and 90 days. However, patients can undergo treatments for a longer duration in therapeutic communities, which lasts at least six months.

Such programs are suitable for patients who need long term care or comprehensive treatments. They make it easier to transition back into life with renewed hope and better life stills.

What Does Inpatient Treatment Entail?

Detoxification

The first phase of inpatient treatment encompasses detoxification. Patients start taking less and less drugs than their usual dosage, causing withdrawal symptoms. Depending on addition severity, the drugs may be reduced gradually or stopped entirely.

This process can also occur in outpatient facilities. However, inpatient facilities can provide comfort and safety. One of the best things about an inpatient facility during this detoxification phase is that the patient is monitored to ensure the withdrawal symptoms are not life-threatening.

Medication Administration

Certain medications can be used to manage acute substance withdrawals. There are several types of FDA approved medications, known as medication-assisted treatment, that treat certain types of substance addiction.

In some cases, it works exceptionally. However, it becomes quite challenging to severe addicts who are addicted to more than one type of drug. Henceforth, it is advisable for patients who need this kind of treatment to use an inpatient setting for success.

Therapy

One of the most significant benefits of inpatient treatments is the fact that patients can undergo individual or group therapies, which can be more helpful. Living in the facility means the patient will attend therapy without having to worry about other commitments.

The Best Candidates for Inpatient Programs

Inpatient programs are suitable for people who have a hard time staying sober alone. If you are not sure whether you or your loved one can be sober without supervision, then an inpatient rehab center will serve you best.

Patients trying to recover from drugs such as cocaine, opioids, among other hard drugs, are encouraged to use inpatient facilities for safety purposes during the detox phase.

An In-depth Look at Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatments involve a variety of different programs. Patients visit the facilities on a scheduled basis, depending on the treatment they need. Counseling may also be in a group or individual setting, depending on the most beneficial option for the patient.

Features of an Outpatient Treatment Program

Essentially, programs also vary for outpatient therapy, depending on the patient’s needs.

However, more focus is placed on therapy, including cognitive-behavioral therapy, contingency management, matrix model, motivational interviewing, and multidimensional family therapy. Patients may also undergo skills training, educational programs, mental health care, among others.

The most significant drawback of outpatient treatment is that patients do not entirely remove themselves from temptations and triggers that may cause a relapse. For this reason alone, outpatient treatment is not suitable for patients with severe addiction.

Advantages of Outpatient Treatment

  • Patients get to live at home close to their loved ones
  • They can continue with school or work and other daily activities
  • They can still take care of their children
  • Get constant support and attention from family
  • They can start applying what they learn in their lives and begin making changes immediately
  • Affordable and generally covered by insurance
  • Privacy and anonymity

Drawbacks of Outpatient Treatment

  • Patients risk being exposed to drugs and substances and risk triggering the addiction
  • Daily distractions may keep them from recovering
  • Limited professional care
  • Risk of life-threatening withdrawal symptoms
  • The missed opportunity of growing into a support community that inpatients have

The Best Candidates for Outpatient Treatments

People addicted to alcohol and not hard drugs tend to have an easier time in outpatient treatment programs. Alcohol withdrawals tend to be milder compared to other substances.

Hence the risk of a medical emergency during detox is significantly reduced. Still, it may be frightening for some people, and the condition of the patient needs to be assessed before making a decision.

If a home environment is completely sober, and neither friends nor family members have alcohol or drugs at home, then an outpatient program may work. It also helps if the patient does not know anyone close by who may procure the substances for them. Otherwise, they risk a relapse.

How Do You Determine the Best Option?

With all this information, it’s clear what both programs offer and what the patient is likely to get from each one. However, choosing the right one that will yield the best results may not be an easy task. It’s essential that you consider several factors that may affect the patient.

Understanding how they’ll affect them and the possible outcomes will be a big help. Here are several questions that will help you come up to the right choice.

  • How severe is the patient’s addiction?
  • Is the patient exposed to drugs at home?
  • How stable and supportive is their family?
  • Is it possible to leave their job, school, or children?
  • Are they suffering from any mental health issues?
  • Do they require specialized treatment, like a handicap-assisted facility?

What Should You Look for In A Facility?

The rehab facility should have the resources to treat both the physical and psychological effects of the addiction. Patients are likely to overcome their addiction if both their dependence and psychological needs contributing to that dependance are addressed. A facility should be able to offer you a complete package until the patient is fully recovered.

Beyond that, the professional in the facility should be educated, trained, licensed, and certified to practice. Such qualifications increase the chance of a successful recovery because the patient will receive optimum care. Do thorough research to ensure the facility is licensed as well, and their reputation is solid.

How Long is Treatment Likely To Last?

The time it takes for a patient to recover depends on many factors, including whether you choose an inpatient or outpatient treatment program. In general, treatment outcomes are much better with prolonged treatments that last 90 days or more.

You also need to understand that rehab is the beginning of a lifelong process. Given the fact that addiction can be a chronic illness, some patients may continue with aftercare programs after treatment.

Summary

So, inpatient vs outpatient rehab, which is better? With all these factors to consider, choosing between inpatient and outpatient rehab will be easier for you.

You or your loved deserve a brand new start and picking the right facility will give you just that. If you’d like to know more, kindly check out our website or contact us and we’ll be happy to help.

How to Stay Away from Common Relapse Triggers

Does every day of your life feel like a battle to remain sober?

If so, it’s important to remind yourself that you’re not alone in these struggles. In fact, substance abuse has become a serious epidemic in America today. Studies have found that 46 percent of

American adults have a friend or family member that is suffering from drug addiction.

There’s no denying that overcoming addiction and remaining sober is a long, complicated road.

Fortunately, there are steps that anyone battling addiction can take to enhance their chances of overcoming addiction.

Learning how to stay away from common relapse triggers is one of the best means of prevention possible. This is where your relapse prevention plan comes into play. Having a detailed prevention plan is what’s going to allow remaining sober to be easier and all the more likely.

If you want to learn more about how to deal with your triggers, you’re going to want to read this. We’re uncovering eight of the most common relapse triggers and how to best avoid them. Let’s get started.

1. People

For recovering addicts, there are certain people in your life that are going to be triggers. This could be anyone from a close friend or a former drug dealer to an ex-partner or a sibling.

The truth is, these people may set off cravings that could eventually lead to a relapse. They’re also likely to offset negative emotions that lead you to feel stressed or anxious. For those that can easily be avoided, it’s best to do so.

Of course, there are certain people in your life that are difficult to avoid. This would be a family member or someone that you need to see on a routine basis. When these situations cannot be avoided, it’s crucial to plan for these interactions in advance.

This is where talking to your therapist comes into play and is so important for your recovery. It’s best to plan ahead for how to deal with these emotions when they present themselves. If you cannot change the people that are present in your life, you need to change your reactions to these people.

2. Places

Just like people, there are also going to be certain places and locations throughout your life that act as triggers. These are often places such as:

  • Certain neighborhoods
  • Bars and nightclubs
  • Hotels
  • A certain friend’s house
  • Casinos
  • Downtown areas
  • Former pick-up places

Wherever these places are for you, it’s important to identify them in advance. Simply being present in these areas may spark past memories of your drug use. When you look back on these memories, it’s easy to glamorize the situation and ignore all of the negative results that followed.

All in all, it’s best to avoid these places as much as possible during your recovery journey. Because relapse is most common during the first year of recovery, these places should be avoided at all costs during that first year.

3. Social Isolation or Loneliness

When you return from treatment, it’s easy to get into a pattern of remaining at home and isolating yourself.

This is often the result of wanting to avoid former social circles and social situations altogether. But, this also may be the fear that you’re unsure how to perform socially without your substance. This is a natural fear at first, but also one that must be overcome.

The truth is, the more you isolate yourself, the easier it becomes to rationalize using again to yourself. Throughout your recovery, the support of others is essential to your journey.

If you find that you’re feeling lonely, don’t ignore these feelings. Be proactive and ensure that you’re doing something to combat this feeling of loneliness. This may include talking with your sponsor, joining a sober social group, or even deciding to get a pet.

4. Feelings of Stress, Anxiety or Sadness

Whilst you were attending treatment, you likely had access to a number of therapists.

These therapists were generally available when you were experiencing negative emotions. Upon leaving treatment, it may be difficult to transition to a life without such a therapist. When you experience natural emotions such as stress or sadness, these emotions often become triggers when they’re not confronted.

The best way to keep negative emotions from becoming problematic is to have a therapist arranged for life at home. In the early stages of your recovery, you’re going to want to speak with this therapist on a routine basis. This therapist will be a sounding board for your emotions and provide you with the tools for how to deal with difficult emotions and situations.

5. Feelings of Elation and Celebration

Just as feelings of sadness and stress can be triggers, so too can feelings of elation and of celebration.

In your past life, you may have celebrated happy life events with drug use. In fact, the happier the occasion the more excessive the substance abuse may have been. This is a common pattern for addicts.

The reality is, these happy life events urge you to celebrate. This is why happy life events can often feel like triggers for recovering addicts. The best way to avoid this trigger is to create a plan in advance for how you’re going to celebrate positive life events.

This could be anything from scheduling the day off of work and treating yourself to a day of relaxation or planning a formal dinner.

6. Overconfidence

The act of feeling over-confident is a dangerous game during the recovery process.

It’s important to remind yourself that recovery is a lifelong process. The truth is, being overconfident puts you at extreme risk during the recovery process. At some point, you may feel that you no longer need to follow your recovery plan and that you can transition into another stage.

This overconfidence may lead you to believe that you can tolerate one drink or occasional drug use. Your mind may lead you to believe that you’re capable of behaving in a way that is not troublesome or classified as addictive behavior.

While confidence is important, it’s also important to ensure that you don’t become over-confident in your sobriety journey. You can best avoid these feelings of over-confidence by remaining humble and reminding yourself that addiction is a chronic disease.

7. Reminiscing on Past Drug Use

There are going to be days when you find yourself reminiscing about your past drug use. In these moments, it’s easy and sometimes even natural to romanticize this past drug use.

After all, it’s tempting to focus on the highs that drug use brought you and to forget about the lows. You may remember the seemingly good times that you had with friends when you were using. Similarly, you’re going to ignore the incredibly negative and gloom-ridden moments that followed as you came off your high.

When this happens, you’re going to find yourself mourning the fact that you can no longer use drugs. When these thoughts present themselves, it’s crucial to force your mind to remember why you made the decision to fight your addiction.

8. Hollywood Drug Use Depiction

There are a number of Hollywood movies today that glorify substance abuse.

When you’re watching certain drug-induced scenes, it can be challenging to remember the negative aspects of drug use. Instead, you’re being exposed to the seemingly positive aspects that drugs and alcohol have in daily life.

In these instances, it’s important to challenge your mind. While the film may be casting substance abuse in a romanticized light, you know firsthand that this is not the true reality. In truth, you know that substance abuse can ruin lives, relationships and impact your physical as well as your mental health.

If you don’t feel that your mind is yet strong enough to challenge these notions, it’s best to avoid this type of entertainment. If you’re still early in your sobriety, this type of film may generate negative thoughts or persuade your mind to believe that drug use can be romanticized.

Identifying Relapse Triggers

Did you know that only ten percent of addicts will seek treatment in order to overcome their addiction?

Even taking a simple step towards a sober lifestyle is one that not many addicts can easily commit to. So, if you’ve taken this step, you deserve a moment to congratulate yourself. After all, there’s no denying that making the decision to fight your addiction is one of the most daunting decisions that you’ll ever make.

Once you begin your journey toward sobriety, you’re going to experience a number of relapse triggers. The good news is that it’s easy to identify your relapse triggers in advance. From here, you can determine how you can best avoid these triggers.

To help, we’ve compiled a list of the most common relapse triggers facing recovering addicts. These triggers are anything from certain people and places to over-confidence and typical human emotions. Once you learn how to avoid these triggers, you’re going to feel a lot more secure in your sobriety plan. 

Do you feel that you need further help in overcoming your addiction? If so, don’t hesitate to contact us. While recovery is a complicated road, we have professionals that are readily available to help you today.

Loving Them Enough to Say No: How to Stop Enabling an Addict

Every year in America, there are over 70 000 deaths due to overdoses. This means it’s highly likely that someone you know is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction. For some, it’s their child, spouse, parent, or close friend.

Your role in their life is invaluable.

Unfortunately, the loved ones of addicts often misunderstand the difference between being supporting and enabling. By enabling your addict, you allow them to continue their dangerous, and often lethal, lifestyle.

It’s never too late to give them the support they need. Keep reading for the exact steps on how to stop enabling behavior.

What is Enabling Behavior?

Before you can become better support for them, you need to understand the consequences of your behavior. Enabling behavior makes the life of an addict easier.

In a healthy relationship, enabling is a positive thing. You might cook dinner all week to enable your spouse to work later and make more money.

When one person is an addict, however, adding ease to their life means they can continue using. Often, without feeling the consequences of their behavior.

And, as we know by the high rate of overdose deaths in America, continuing their behavior is very dangerous. It’s important to stop enabling and, instead, help them choose to seek treatment.

Common Traits of an Enabler

You might not be sure if your behavior counts as enabling. Here are some of the common behaviors of enablers. See if any of them feel familiar.

  • You avoid telling people outside the family about your loved one’s addiction to protect the family image
  • You don’t fully believe your loved one has an addiction
  • You believe some drug or substance abuse is okay because they work hard or have a lot of stress
  • You haven’t addressed how their substance abuse makes you feel

If you’ve been avoiding your own emotions about the addiction, it’s time to face them. This can be scary; it takes bravery and courage to admit there’s a problem.

But, doing so can save your family and loved one’s life.

How Enabling Affects the Family

When you enable a family member’s addiction, the lines between helping and harming get blurred. Of course, everyone loves the user, but the healthy ways of showing it aren’t clear.

This is especially dangerous if it’s a parent suffering from addiction. They’re modeling that

behavior for their children. As the spouse, you’re modeling what enabling looks like.

And that is how the cycle of addiction continues. Living with a user causes stress, trauma, and hurt to the family for generations.

Understanding Your Boundaries

You may fear how the addict will react to you changing your ways. Will they leave you? Will they stop loving you?

First, it’s important to remember that addiction is a disease. Your loved one is sick and not in control of their impulses. If they choose to leave, it’s because the addiction is strong.

But, it does not mean their love for you is gone. It just means they need honesty, reality, and help.

If you can understand that giving up enabling will help them in the long run, you’ll see how it comes from a place of love and support. Setting boundaries is the first step to getting them the help they need.

How to Stop Enabling Behavior

Now, for the concrete ways you can change your enabling behavior. Many of these will be difficult, especially if you live with the addict.

1. Stop Lying for Them

When you stop enabling, you’re admitting that you don’t condone any of the activities associated with using. That includes covering for them while they do these behaviors.

You may have found yourself lying to their employer for them. Have you ever told someone that they’re sick, when really they’re on a binge? Or they’re not sober enough to go to work?

Whether it’s their employer, friends, or other family members, stop lying. Let them lie for themselves. If it’s up to you, tell whoever asks what is going on.

2. Stop Fulfilling Their Obligations

You may think that paying their bills is helping them stay afloat. If they didn’t pay rent, where would they go? If you didn’t drive them to work when their license was taken away, how would they get there?

It’s time to let go of the “what ifs” and let them figure that out.

The user needs to be accountable for their using. If driving drunk caused them to lose their license, then they can’t drive. And if they continue to abuse alcohol, you won’t provide transportation for them.

Then, they’ll take the bus. Or walk. Or not go to wherever they wanted to go.

The same goes for paying their cellphone bill, driving them to AA meetings, and letting them borrow your car. If they have obligations to fulfill, it’s their responsibility to do so.

3. Stop Funding Their Lifestyle

Money is a huge point of contention for loved ones and addicts. Often, they lose their job from their addiction. So, they’ll start asking loved ones for “loans” or to “borrow a few dollars.”

Before you know it, you’re funding their entire lifestyle.

You need to commit to not giving them another dollar. The only money you will spend on them is for their rehabilitation treatment.

If they need money for food, buy them a meal. If they need money for transportation, buy them a bus ticket.

4. Stop Supplying Their Substances

If you have drugs or alcohol in the house that they can access, they will. This is probably the clearest enabling behavior.

Stop keeping booze in the house and refuse to buy them any. Even for “special occasions.”

If they ask for “just one” of your prescription pills, you must say no.

Did you know that 53 percent of overdose deaths come from pharmaceuticals abuse? Stop storing your pharmaceuticals in the house and learn how to prevent them from accessing your medications.

5. Don’t Rescue Them

This can be a tough one. When your loved one gets arrested, it’s a natural reaction to want to rescue them.

But, the truth is that jail might be exactly what they need.

For many addicts, going to jail is their breaking point. They know that they’re either going to die from their addiction or end up in jail. You still have a future when you go to jail.

So, don’t pay their bail. Don’t pick them up from the station. The only place you will take them is straight from the cell to a treatment center.

6. Stop Reacting to Their Behavior

When you try to make changes, the user might get upset with you. They might threaten you by saying they’re going to be homeless or sick. They might accuse you of causing their addiction.

You will be tempted to defend yourself. But, it’s crucial you don’t elevate your emotions. You must stay even-tempered and calm.

When you react strongly to their reaction, they believe they’re convincing you to not set boundaries. They need to know that your consequences are real, and the decisions have already been made.

7. Don’t Join Their World

You would think this step goes without saying, but unfortunately, it’s far too common.

For some loved ones, appeasing the loved one takes priority. They become so co-dependent with the user that they’ll do anything to make them happy in the moment.

That might mean having a drink with them. Or, hanging out with them and their addicted friends.

Stay away from their world. You need to be a stable voice based in reality.

When you abuse a substance with them, it condones the behavior. And, it shows that you encourage it.

How to Explain Your Boundaries to an Addict

Once you know the boundaries you need to set, it’s time to tell the addict.

This gives them a chance to assess their behavior and make changes if they wish. Often, they won’t change right away but will try to test your boundaries.

So, have this conversation when they’re sober. Tell them how much you love them. Explain the new boundaries and consequences.

Emphasize that you will be sticking to these boundaries. And, that if they ever want to get help, you’re always ready to help them get it.

They likely won’t ask for the help they need right away. In fact, of the 1 million of the addicts who admitted to needing help, only 33 percent tried to get it.

Remember that your love and support for this person is ongoing. Whenever they’re ready to get help, you’ll be there. Until then, hold strong to your boundaries.

Is Your Addicted Loved One Ready for Help?

Stopping your enabling behavior is the first step to getting your loved one sober. When you stop enabling their behavior, they’re faced with the reality of their addiction.

And remember, it might get worse before it gets better. Just keep following these tips on how to stop enabling.

When your loved one is finally ready, you can help them by finding them a treatment center. Contact us at Pathfinders Recovery Center to get started.

What NOT to Do During an Addiction Intervention

Are you planning on holding an intervention for a loved one who is addicted to drugs or alcohol? Before you do, you should always consider hiring a professional to help.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are more than 300,000 substance abuse, behavioral disorder, and mental health counselors working throughout the country right now.

Many of them can lead an addiction intervention for you.

Outside of bringing a professional on board for your intervention, you should also make sure you go through all the proper preparations for it. More specifically, it’s important for you and those who will be taking part in an intervention to learn about what not to do during one.

If you don’t do this, those participating in an intervention might say or do the wrong things and cause it to fail. Here are nine things you shouldn’t do during the addiction intervention that you hold.

1. DON’T Stage an Intervention Without Planning It First

Most people decide to stage an addiction intervention for a loved one when they’ve finally had enough of their behavior. And they’re sometimes in such a rush to do it that they don’t take any time to plan out how they want the intervention to go.

Do not do this! While you might be tempted to rush into staging an intervention, you’re not going to be able to make the most of it if you take this approach.

Rather than rushing into an intervention, sit down and ask yourself these questions:

  • Who should attend the intervention?
  • Who should I hire to host it?
  • Where should I hold it?
  • Should everyone get a chance to speak during it?
  • What order should people speak in during the intervention?

You pretty much want to plan out your entire intervention before it begins. You and those who are going to attend it might even want to run through the intervention from start to finish to see how effective it is prior to holding your actual intervention.

2. DON’T Bring an Addict to an Intervention When They’re Under the Influence

When you welcome your loved one into their intervention, you want them to have an open mind and be able to process everything that people say to them. You do not want them to be under the influence of drugs and alcohol while their intervention is taking place.

If they use drugs or alcohol right before the intervention, they might not understand exactly what’s going on. They might also not take it seriously. They might even forget some of the things that are said and done during it later.

So if you sense that a person might be even slightly under the influence, cancel their intervention and schedule it for another time. It’ll be worth waiting until they’re in a better state of mind.

3. DON’T Lose Your Temper the Second an Intervention Starts

As we alluded to earlier, there’s a good chance that you’re going to be at your wit’s end when you make the decision to stage an intervention for your loved one. You’re going to be so upset and, in some cases, even angry with regards to their drug or alcohol use.

It’s okay to be angry. But it’s not okay to lose your cool as soon as an addiction intervention starts.

The last thing you want to do is blow up on your loved one by expressing your rage at the beginning of an intervention.

Many people will naturally go on the defensive the second you snap at them. They might start to yell back at you, and they might even get up and walk out as soon as you start screaming.

You’re much better off keeping your cool and reading something that you’ve prepared in writing ahead of time. It’ll have more of an impact on a person than you might think.

4. DON’T Pass Judgment on an Addict While Talking at an Intervention

In addition to trying to keep your composure while you’re talking to your loved one, you should also do your best to avoid passing judgment on them.

The point of an intervention isn’t to make a person feel awful about themselves. It’s to show them what effects their actions are having on other people. And you can talk about how their behavior is affecting you without judging them every step of the way.

Steer clear of saying things like: “The way that you’re choosing to live your life right now is so wrong. You are hurting your friends and setting a terrible example for the younger members of your family.”

Instead, speak on some of the specific ways in which your loved one’s behavior is taking a toll on you. If you need a hand wording things the right way, talk to the professional who is helping put the intervention together.

5. DON’T Speak Over Others Who Are Trying to Talk During an Intervention

More often than not, everyone who attends an intervention will get at least some time to talk to their loved one. Some people might get more time than others, but everyone will get the opportunity to say their piece.

When it’s not your turn to talk, you should keep quiet and let others say whatever it is that they want to say. You shouldn’t try to talk over them or talk to other people at the intervention about what’s being said.

This is very important since your loved one might not be able to focus if a bunch of people start talking at once. It’s going to lessen the impact of the things that are being said during an intervention.

6. DON’T Make Excuses for an Addict in the Middle of an Intervention

When an addict is sitting in front of their family members and friends at an addiction intervention, it’s not uncommon for them to try and come up with excuses for their behavior.

Unfortunately, it’s also not uncommon for some of an addict’s family members and friends to make excuses for them. In some instances, these family members and friends have spent years enabling an addict.

If you feel as though you might fall into this category, make every effort to avoid making excuses for your loved one. You might think that you’re helping them by rationalizing their behavior to others. But you’re really just enabling them to continue doing what they’re doing now.

7. DON’T Gripe With Others While Attending an Intervention

In a perfect world, all the people at an intervention would be on the same page and feel the same about a person’s addiction. But there are times when family members and friends will gripe among themselves during an intervention and ruin it.

“Maybe if you were around a little more often when Johnny was younger, he wouldn’t be in this position right now,” Mom will yell at Dad.

“I knew your parents should have been stricter with you when you were little,” Grandma will yell at her daughter and son-in-law.

And before you know it, the people who are supposed to be showing their love and support for an addict are allowing gripes to get in the way.

This is another reason why hiring a professional is so important. They’ll stop those at an intervention from bickering and help them maintain a united front.

8. DON’T Fail to Present Solutions to an Addict at the End of an Intervention

What is it that you want an addict to do at the end of an intervention? Do you want them to:

  • Check themselves into an inpatient rehab facility?
  • Consider going to an outpatient rehab facility?
  • Attend some kind of support group for those with their specific addiction?

Whatever the case may be, you should have solutions to present to a person once their addiction intervention is over. You don’t want them to agree to go to rehab immediately only to realize that you don’t know where to take them.

Write down a list of solutions to their problem and be prepared to help them in any way possible.

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9. DON’T Give Up If an Intervention Doesn’t Work

There is no guarantee that an addiction intervention is going to work. No matter how hard you plan for it, any number of things can stop it from being successful.

If you’ve ever watched the reality TV show, Intervention, you know that a lot of interventions are successful to some degree. But there are also plenty of people who have died of overdoses after appearing on the show and getting help.

You shouldn’t let this stop you from continuing to try and help your loved one. Even if an intervention isn’t successful—either in the moment or months down the line—you should keep doing whatever you can to get your loved one the help they need.

Begin Planning an Addiction Intervention for Your Loved One

As long as you take the time to plan it out and avoid doing everything we mentioned here, you can stage a successful addiction intervention.

You can give your loved one the nudge they need to seek professional help for their battle with addiction. The key is to use an intervention to shine a light on how your loved one’s behavior is affecting both them and those who are all around them.
Contact us today to find out how we can help your loved one. We specialize in treating those battling alcoholism, heroin addiction, prescription pill addiction, and more.

Drug Abuse in Adolescences: How to Help Your Teenager Through Addiction

Over the years, it has become very easy for teenagers to get their hands on drugs. According to one study conducted a few years ago, more than 80% of teens revealed that they could get access to drugs if they wanted to.

The good news is that not all of them are taking the opportunity to use drugs. That same study showed that only about 40% of teens say that they’ve tried drugs, with most admitting to experimenting with marijuana.

But the bad news is that drug abuse in adolescence is affecting some of the teens who have given drugs a try. According to a survey done by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, about 3% of those between the ages of 12 and 17 believe they could benefit from receiving treatment for drug abuse.

Do you suspect your teenage child might fit into this category? Here is how you can help them battle addiction.

Look for Signs That Suggest Your Teenager Might Be Using Drugs

The longer a person uses drugs, the harder it can be for them to quit. Drugs can change the wiring in a person’s brain and make it almost impossible for them to quit on their own if they’re not careful.

With this in mind, the parents of teenagers should always be on the lookout for any early warning signs of teen drug use. These warning signs will let you know if you should be concerned about your child using drugs.

In some cases, it’s pretty easy for parents to tell that their teenagers are using drugs. They

stumble upon drugs stashed in their bookbag or smell the scent of drugs on them when they return home after hanging out with friends.

But drug abuse in adolescence isn’t always this obvious. There are less subtle signs that can also let you know that your teen might have a drug problem.

Your child might be using drugs if you notice that they are:

  • Hanging out with a new group of friends that you’ve never met before
  • Showing little to no interest in school, work, and extracurricular activities
  • Exhibiting frequent mood changes and almost always acting out of character

Almost all teenagers go through some changes as they grow up and work their way through middle and high school. But if you notice sudden changes that come out of nowhere, it could be a cause for concern.

Talk to Your Teenager About Their Suspected Drug Use

Experts say that parents should start talking to their kids about drugs from a young age.

They don’t need to explain drug abuse in-depth to them when they’re 6 or 7 years old. But they can lay the groundwork for future conversations by discussing the dangers of smoking cigarettes, drinking, and using drugs when the opportunity presents itself (i.e. when someone is shown smoking in a movie).

This makes it easier for parents to speak with kids about drug abuse in adolescence later on. It’s not as difficult for parents to talk to teenagers about drugs when they’ve already established an open dialogue about them.

Whether you’ve spoken with your teenager about drugs in the past or not, you should bring drugs up the moment you suspect they might be using them. You shouldn’t ignore the problem or chalk your child’s drug use up to “experimentation.”

You should sit them down and talk to them about your concerns and let them know that you’re worried about some of the things you’ve noticed in recent weeks.

Avoid Being Judgmental While Discussing Drugs With Your Teenager

If you know for a fact that your child is using drugs, you might be tempted to explode on them as soon as you start discussing their drug use with them. Many parents lose their cool at the start of the drug conversation with their teens and pay the price for it.

If you go on the offensive right away and begin passing judgment on your teenager and their drug use, they’re not going to respond well to it. They might even get up and leave before you have a chance to say anything else.

You’re much better off easing your way into the conversation that you’re going to have with them and expressing your desire to support them. They’re more likely to be open to talking with you when you take this approach.

They’re also more likely to talk about the specifics of their drug use once they see that you’re not going to judge them or yell at them. This is important because it’ll allow you to gauge how often they’re using drugs and how bad their problem might be.

Ask Your Teenager If They Have a Desire to Stop Using Drugs

At some point during your conversation with your teenager, ask them if they’ve ever thought about quitting drugs. You might be surprised by what they have to say.

There are some teenagers who will respond by saying that they don’t have any intention of quitting. But there are also some who will say that they wish they could stop but don’t know how.

As we alluded to earlier, drugs can take over a person’s brain and make it very hard for them to stop using them. It can be especially difficult for teenagers—and those of all ages, for that matter—to kick prescription pill habits and heroin addiction.

Your teen could very well tell you that they’ve thought about trying to quit drugs in the past but struggled to do it. This will put you in a much better position to help them.

See If Your Teenager Would Be Willing to Get Professional Help for Drug Abuse

You might not realize this, but if your child is under the age of 18, certain states will allow you to force them to go to drug rehab. Some parents take advantage of this and tell their teens to pack their bags as soon as they discover they’ve been using drugs.

But the problem with taking this approach to getting your teenager help with addiction is that they obviously aren’t going to feel like they have a say in the matter. It could make their rehab stint unsuccessful, and it could also affect your relationship with them moving forward.

Instead, why not ask your teenager if they would be willing to get professional help for drug abuse?

By making them feel like they’re a part of the process, you may get a much better response from them. You may also help to put them on the right path once they enter rehab and start taking the necessary steps to fight back against addiction.

Find the Right Drug Treatment Facility for Your Teenager

It’s not going to be too tough for you to find a drug treatment facility if your teenager agrees to go and get the help that they need to battle addiction. There are more than 14,000 addiction treatment centers in the country today, and that number seems to rise every year.

You should do your homework, though, and try to track down the right drug treatment facility for your teenager. Look around at different places that are within an hour or two of your home and see which ones will cater to your teen’s specific needs.

Continue to Communicate With Your Teenager About Drugs

In a perfect world, your teenager will check into a rehab facility, get the help that they need, and get clean within a few months. But even if that’s the way that things work out, that’s not going to be the end of their drug problem.

Beating an addiction to drugs is unlike beating any other health issue. Your teenager is going to have to continue to fight the urge to turn back to drugs for the rest of their life. And it’s not uncommon at all for those who have quit using drugs to relapse at some point.

It’s why you and your teenager are going to have to continue to communicate about drugs.

You’re going to need to talk to them about how they’re doing and encourage them to get more professional help in the future if they need it.

The key is addressing the elephant in the room rather than ignoring it. As long as you and your teenager are able to do that, they’ll have a much better chance of living a drug-free life.

Help Your Teenager Deal With Drug Abuse in Adolescence

Has drug abuse in adolescence taken a toll on your teenager?

You might be depressed, angry, and even heartbroken over it. It’s not easy for parents to accept that their children are having a hard time with drugs.

But you shouldn’t turn your back on your child over it. You should make every effort to get them the help they need so that they can get back on the right track.

We can help you by providing your teenager with a drug recovery program. Our program is designed to help people detox from drugs and start putting the pieces of their life back together.
Contact us today to find out what our rehab facility can do for you, your teenager, and your family as a whole.

How Parents Can Keep Prescription Medicine Safe at Home

Did you know that 9.7 percent of 12th graders reported taking Vicodin recreationally in the past year? Or, that 4.7 percent of these same students abused OxyContin, too?

What’s more, amphetamine consumpton among teens has also been on the rise with 4.5 percent of eighth graders admitting they’ve used it. These stats increase to 4.5 percent among 10th graders and 6.8 percent among 12th graders.

Sobering figures like these point to a dangerous trend in prescription drug use among teens. They also beg the question: how can we keep medicine safe and away from our kids?

Especially if we have prescriptions lying around the house?

Taking action to prevent or stop medicine abuse remains key to protecting our loved ones. Let’s explore steps we can take to start doing this today.

Teen-Proof Your Home

When your children were toddlers, you took prescription medicine storage very seriously. And this certainly extended to other over-the-counter drugs as well as just about anything that could be construed as a choking hazard.

As our kids grow, though, we become more lax about home-based safety hazards. The gates come down, and the child-safety gadgets come off the cabinet doors. But truth be told, your guard needs to stay up when it comes to medicines.

Keeping your kids drug-free starts with responsibly storing and disposing of your medications, both prescription and over-the-counter. Here are some tips that will help you secure your home and protect your kids.

Take Medicine Storage Seriously

As the saying goes “An ounce of prevention is worth half a pound of cure.” This proves true not only when it comes to illness but also when it comes to preventing medicine and drug abuse among our kids.

Here’s a stat that should get your attention. Of the teens who’ve abused prescription medicines, two-thirds say they ascertained the substances that they used from family, friends, or acquaintances.

In other words, the best way to stop the abuse of home drugs is by locking medicine storage containers. Experts suggest securing your medicine the way you would your jewelry, other valuables, cash, and handguns.

Take them out of your medicine cabinet and stow them in a place where only you know to look for them. The same goes for over-the-counter meds, too. But don’t stop there.

Locked Medicine Organizer Ideas

A locked cabinet or safe represents your first line of defense against prescription drug abuse. There are also a variety of affordable devices that you can purchase specifically for safe drug storage.

These medicine safe-lock boxes will protect your prescriptions and over-the-counter meds from getting into the wrong hands. Look for one with a steel-reinforced composite body and a secure locking mechanism.

While many can be stored in your medicine cabinet due to their size, we still suggest placing them out of sight and out of mind.

Along with keeping tabs on your medicine cabinet, you need to have a serious talk with your friends and family members. Especially if your teen (or their friends) could gain access to medicine cabinets at their homes.

Make sure your children’s grandparents and older relatives are well-aware of the dangers of prescription drug abuse. For elderly relatives, we also suggest helping them ensure their medicines are secure and protected.

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Keep Track of Your Pills

Besides locking away your prescription and over-the-counter meds, it’s also important to pay attention to your pill counts. This can be as simple as keeping notes on a post-it where you store your medicines.

Take note of how many pills are in each prescription bottle. Remember to track your refills, too.

Which drugs should you remain most vigilant about? As you’ve probably heard, we’re in the midst of a pervasive, chronic opioid crisis. It’s taken the lives of countless celebrities, athletes, and everyday Americans.

Opioids are prescription pain relievers, and they can prove very dangerous for adults, let alone teens. Also pay close attention to stimulants such as ADHD medications and benzodiazepines, which are anti-anxiety medicines and sedatives.

Other drugs that pose a threat to your teens include sleep aids and even dietary supplements.

Properly Dispose of All Medications

How you throw away medications could also lead to opportunities for drug abuse not only for your teens but also for opportunistic kids in your neighborhood. How should you safely throw away unused medications?

Participate in a safe drug disposal program. Local pharmacies often hold these events, and they’re usually advertised as drug take-back days. You should also research ongoing community-wide initiatives near you.

These represent a long term, convenient solution when it comes to throwing away old meds. Find a program that can provide you with a drug deactivation bag or opt for a drug mail-back program.

Not sure where to start researching such an organization? Learn more about the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) “Take Back Day.” Or, visit the American Medicine Chest Challenge to get started.

What’s more, properly disposing of medicines safeguards our environment for future generations.

Recent studies suggest that many of our waterways are already contaminated by chemicals from medicines flushed down the sink or toilet. By responsibly getting rid of your old prescriptions and over-the-counter pills, you do everyone a favor.

Start a Conversation

It’s also important to keep the lines of communication open when it comes to our children. Make sure your kids know about the dangers of drug use by speaking to them early and often.

Many of us remember to talk to our kids about the dangers associated with alcohol, tobacco, and illicit drug use. But we fail to discuss prescription medicines.

Yet, these form a crucial core of substances that threaten our kids’ well-being and safety.

Consider this. Of the 4.6 million Americans who visited the ER in 2009 due to drugs, the majority — 27 percent of cases — were attributed to non-medical pharmaceutical use. These cases included over-the-counter medicines, too.

We understand that having these conversations can feel uncomfortable. They often verge on territory that we have no experience with. After all, many of us grew up in households where drugs were rarely, if ever, discussed.

Remember that in the long run, your kids will thank you for going the extra mile to keep dangerous, addictive substances out of their hands. They’ll also appreciate the dialogue you start with them. Even if you don’t know what to say at first.

Know the Signs of Addiction

Taking the precautions above will provide you with peace of mind when it comes to the safety of

your teens. Of course, it can be more difficult to keep track of your kids’ exposure to drugs at school or through friends and acquaintances.

Do you have a bad feeling that you can’t shake when it comes to how your teen has been behaving lately? Sometimes this represents the first red flag that something’s wrong.

After all, whether or not they’re willing to admit it, nobody knows your teen better than you do.

Signs of addiction include:

  • Failure to meet normal responsibilities (missing school, incomplete homework)
  • Impaired control
  • Erratic behavior
  • Unexplained mood swings
  • Health issues
  • Risky behaviors that put your teens or others in danger
  • Impairment
  • Secrecy

Understanding and recognizing the signs of addiction can help you know when it’s time to intervene. What’s more, if your teen is already descending into substance abuse, the likelihood of them asking for help will prove slim.

Get Help If Necessary

If you think your child is struggling with a more serious drug problem, ignoring it will only exacerbate the issue. What’s more, it could threaten their life. Drug use can quickly lead to full-blown addiction.

Time is of the essence. Don’t let feelings of inadequacy or guilt as a parent get in the way of providing your teen with the help they need. When confronted, addicts often lash out in cruel, manipulative ways to continue their substance abuse habit.

Don’t second guess yourself. Instead, act decisively to guarantee your teen has the help they need.

And after that? Your job isn’t finished. Check out these tips to help you effectively support them through rehab and longterm recovery.

Keeping Your Medicine Safe

As the opioid crisis has demonstrated over recent years, prescriptions drugs can prove just as dangerous as illegal ones. Even for the individuals that they’re prescribed to.

Unfortunately, we all tend to think of prescription drugs as less harmful than street drugs like crack and meth. This stems from the fact they’re doctor-prescribed and legal. We often inadvertently pass this faulty perception on to our kids.

After all, we’re often the first individuals to administer over-the-counter and prescription drugs to them. We do this to “make them feel better.” These messages get ingrained into our children from a young age and can prove confusing.

What’s more, if your kids have watched you pop pills now and again to “calm your nerves” or take away some “aches and pains,” they may have an ill-formed notion of the real dangers lurking behind those orange bottles.
Start by keeping your medicine safe and having a conversation with your kids. Not sure how that dialogue should go? Continue reading for five ways to prevent drug abuse.