What are Some Common Signs of a Drug Addict?

The Signs of a Drug Addict

Information regarding the signs of a drug addict is critical due to its prevalence in America.

Addiction to drugs is an epidemic that kills thousands of people every year.

Drug addiction transforms and hurts people’s lives.

If you think someone you know is susceptible to drug use or addiction, you should learn more about the signs, symptoms, and treatments for drug addiction.

Though addiction to drugs is hurtful and demanding to maintain, recovery is not an easy path either.

Drug addiction changes the brain’s pathways, causing a dependency in the body and compulsive use of the substance.

Even when addiction is hurting them and those they love, someone struggling with an addiction to drugs feels like they have no choice but to continue to use.

Learning and memorizing the signs of an addict or the signs of an addictive personality is essential for prevention and recovery.

Having this knowledge allows you to keep an eye out for those you love who may be vulnerable to drug addiction.

MedlinePlus lists the following as signs of a drug addict:

  • Changes in appetite
  • Loss of interest in favorite things
  • Spending a lot of time alone
  • Not practicing self-care
  • Quick changes in mood
  • Being very tired and sad
  • Changing friends more than usual
  • Having a lot of energy, chattering
  • Having issues in work or school
  • Having issues with family or friends

What are Some Common Signs of a Drug Addict? Pathfinders Recovery Center - A group of individuals in inpatient rehab that showed signs of a drug addict and decided to enter treatment is discussing experiences in their lives, healthy coping mechanisms, and supportive advice for one another as they work toward recovery and long-term sobriety.

Understanding the Signs of a Drug Addict

Knowledge of the signs of an addict is constructive, but it is crucial to know the next steps and how addiction occurs if you believe someone you love may suffer from addiction.

Drug addiction can develop quickly over a short period or slowly and invisibly. When a person begins using drugs, the effects on the body are intense and euphoric. Over time, if a person continues usage, the body needs more and more of the substance to produce a high.

Addiction forms when the body is dependent on the substance and usage is no longer voluntary. Drug use turns compulsive, and addicts feel as if they need the substance to survive. If that person discontinues the use of the drug, the body experiences intense withdrawal symptoms.

Certain people are more susceptible to drug addictions.

This information helps prevent drug use and addiction because concerned family members can implement positive drug-avoidance strategies.

MedlinePlus lists the following as risks for drug addiction:

  • Individual biology: some people are only less likely to enjoy drug use. If someone tries drugs once and hates them, they are much less likely to form an addiction. Addiction is more common in people who enjoy drug use.
  • Mental health issues.
  • Trouble at home: children, adults, and teens who have a difficult home life are more likely to develop a drug addiction.
  • Trouble with school, work or making friends.
  • Spending time with people who use drugs.
  • Starting drug use at a young age.

If you noticed these symptoms in a friend or a family member, speak to someone responsible and knowledgeable about these concerns.

Preventative measures or early interventions help stop addiction from forming.

After addiction forms, it is incredibly challenging to recover from.

If you believe you may help someone prevent addiction, acting sooner rather than later could save a life.

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Effects and Abuse of Drugs

Though it is best to prevent addiction early on, this is not always a possibility. Sometimes, the forming of habit is not an easy thing to see. By the time family members or friends spot the signs of an addict, addiction is already present.

Addiction causes both short and long-term effects on the body and mind. Familiarizing yourself with these effects allows you to help secure treatment for the person you think may struggle with addiction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) lists the long and short-term risks of drug addiction as follows:

Short-term risks:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Overdose
  • Changes in sleep patterns, mood, heart rate, and appetite

Long-term increased risks:

  • Heart or lung disease
  • Cancer
  • HIV/AIDS
  • Hepatitis
  • Mental illness

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Mental Illness and Drug Abuse

Drug abuse and mental illness commonly occur together in the same patient. Drug addiction often leads to mental illness and vice-versa. They are sometimes direct causes of one another, or they can develop together. They may occur together because they affect the same parts of the brain, according to the NIDA. It is also possible for people to turn to drugs because their mental disorder has made them feel upset, anxious, or distracted. Because of these factors, mental illnesses are sometimes signs of an addictive personality.

If mental illness and drug addiction occur together, patients must receive treatment for both issues. The presence of mental illness makes a recovery from drug addiction more difficult if not adequately addressed and treated. It is possible to overcome both mental health issues and drug addiction through treatment.

Common mental health issues to watch out for include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • ADHD
  • Bipolar disorder

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Treatment for the Signs of a Drug Addict

People who display the signs of an addict receive treatment from the expert staff at hospitals or rehabilitation centers. Treating drug addictions is in no way simple; relapse is common, and the body’s compulsive need for the drug makes maintenance of recovery extremely challenging. Though relapse often occurs and makes recovery much more challenging, it does not mean that treatment has not helped and recovery is impossible.

In fact, recovery is still possible even after multiple relapses.

According to the NIDA, there are three main goals of addiction treatment:

  1. Stopping drug use
  2. Maintaining a drug-free life
  3. Becoming or continuing to be a productive member of society.

Treatment is adjusted to fit what works best for each patient, so it involves trial and error.

Common treatments for the signs of a drug addict include medication, participation in support groups, counseling to diagnose mental health issues, and therapy.

In therapy, patients focus on understanding the reasons they became addicted to drugs in the first place. Therapy also teaches patients how to remain drug-free and avoid relapse. Support groups provide patients with an essential sense of camaraderie. Being surrounded by understanding people who have experienced similar things has excellent healing potential.

Recovery can last a lifetime, so long-term care is sometimes needed to prevent relapse.

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Payment for Treatment

We know that it is not easy to afford treatment.

Because drug addiction rehabilitation can be expensive, we provide free insurance verification for every client. Our insurance verification allows you to find out immediately whether your insurance company covers rehab so that you can figure out financing.

Though it is demanding, recovery is possible with the right resources and support networks. Our dedication is to our patients and their recovery.

Though we cannot guarantee that every patient will recover, our focus always rests on providing the patients with knowledge, care, and compassion to ensure the best recovery chance.

Please do not hesitate to reach out to us if you think you or someone you love displays signs of a drug addict or signs of an addictive personality.

We are here to help.

The Amazing Benefits of Yoga for Depression and Anxiety

Depression and anxiety are on the rise in America.

According to the ADAA (Anxiety and Depression Association of America), 40 million people struggle with an anxiety disorder, and 16.1 million experience major depressive disorder every year.

They’re also common in dual diagnosis.

These are scary numbers.

Anyone with the misfortune of having one of these conditions knows how debilitating they can be.

The negative physical, social and emotional impacts of substance abuse and mental health disorders can be severe and long-lasting.

Thankfully, both can be treated effectively.

However, traditional approaches, like medication and psychotherapy, are far from foolproof.

For instance, medication (if it works in the first place) can lead to all manner of side effects. And therapy can last a long time, costing a lot of money in the process.

As a result, alternative approaches are in high demand.

One such alternative treatment that’s becoming increasingly popular is yoga.

13 million people practice yoga in the U.S. every year, and 58% of them practice it to support their health and well-being.

Keep reading to discover the many amazing benefits of yoga for depression and anxiety.

What Actually Is Yoga?

Some describe yoga as a literal union between yourself and your unconscious. But in practice, it’s a form of physical exercise that combines stretching, breathing, and different body poses.

There are different types of yoga, too.

There’s Hatha, Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Iyengar, and Bikram – among others.

While there are similarities between them all, each offers slight variations in intensity, approach, focus, and speed.

For thousands of years, yoga has been used to enhance spiritual, mental, and physical well-being.

However, only recently has research looked into its specific effects on depression and anxiety.

Of all the different forms, Hatha yoga has been studied the most in relation to its impact on these mental illnesses.

Hatha yoga helps you enter deep states of relaxation by focusing on slow, gentle movements and breathing exercises.

It’s ideal for beginners and could be an excellent place to start if you’re new to the practice.

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The Benefits of Yoga for Depression and Anxiety

Scientific studies have begun to prove the benefits of yoga for depression and anxiety.

Below are some of the ways it’s been shown to help:

Yoga Equals Exercise

Yoga can be a tough physical exercise, especially when you first start.

You’ll be twisting, contorting, using small muscle groups, and generally building strength in many different areas of your body.

Potential pain and discomfort aside, research has shown how this can help the way you feel. For instance, a study by Duke University in 2000 showed an inverse relationship between exercise and depression.

The more we exercise, the less depressed we feel.

Exercise was shown to be as effective as medication at reducing symptoms of depression. Participants who exercised throughout the study experienced a greater reduction in symptoms compared to people who took medication.

Building exercise (such as yoga) into your routine is beneficial to naturally improve periods of depression and anxiety.

Yoga Equals Meditation

Mindful meditation is a practice of non-judgmental awareness in the present moment.

It’s also a recognized clinical treatment for anxiety and depression.

Yoga involves deep, controlled breathing and a focus on the present moment.

Together, these act to produce a mindful state.

How does it help? Well, things often feel overwhelming when you’re anxious and depressed. Your thoughts and emotions may feel out of control, or you may feel nothing at all. Yoga helps by giving you something to focus on.

Whether it’s a mantra, your breathing, or body posture, it grounds you in the present moment and pulls your thoughts back under control. It also makes you more self-aware in the process.

Yoga enables you to see and experience the way you feel.

Over time, you become more self-aware in general, even outside of your yoga practice. Being self-aware like this helps you spot potential problems and find ways to prevent relapse from occurring.

Yoga Impacts Your Brain

Yoga impacts brain chemistry too.

We’ve seen how exercise is great for depression and anxiety.

It works because it’s a natural way of producing chemicals called serotonin and endorphins in our brain. Low serotonin levels play a big role in depression and anxiety.

Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs) are common medication types that help raise the amounts of serotonin in our system. This decreases the symptoms of anxiety and depression as a result.

Yoga helps to modulate the levels of these chemicals in precisely the same way.

Yoga Lowers Stress Levels

Stress is a big component of depression and anxiety.

It’s hard to feel positive emotions when you’re stressed.

Thankfully, yoga helps to reduce stress levels, as well.

One way it does so is by increasing the production of Galanin, which is a neurochemical that reduces the brain/body response to stress.

Interestingly, studies also suggest a link between yoga, stress, and pain. Essentially, the more susceptible you are to stress, the less tolerant you are of pain.

This Harvard article discusses research where yoga teachers had the highest tolerance to pain and the lowest activity in areas of the brain that respond to stress.

If yoga develops our tolerance to stress and pain, then it may also build resilience against depression and anxiety.

Yoga and Physiology

The emotional aspect of depression and anxiety is often linked with a physiological reaction, too.

For instance, anxiety tends to involve an increased heart rate and sweaty palms. Yoga helps decrease this physiological arousal. Your heart rate goes down, your blood pressure lowers, and your breathing slows.

It is also said to increase our heart rate variability (HRV).

HRV is the time difference between our heartbeats. It’s thought that a higher HRV makes it easier to self-monitor and adapt to stressful situations. The higher your HRV, the more emotionally resilient you’re meant to be.

Yoga and Sleep

Some types of yoga positions, such as the ‘corpse pose’, are also known to help with sleep issues.

Sleep problems are often linked with various mental health disorders, including depression and anxiety.

It’s a vicious circle.

The more tired you are, the more susceptible you are to depression and anxiety. And the more depressed and/or anxious you are, the harder it is to sleep.

Yoga and Community

A final benefit of yoga for depression and anxiety is the community aspect that can come with it.

This is an indirect bonus of yoga, but important nonetheless. After all, these mental health disorders can make you feel exceptionally lonely.

Though yoga can be done alone, group yoga is also popular and provides social interaction that’s beneficial in improving one’s mental well-being.

Yoga helps foster a sense of belonging by coming together as a group, doing the same thing, struggling over the same poses, and bonding via a shared attempt to become physically and mentally healthier.

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The Best Yoga Poses for Anxiety and Depression

The below yoga poses are some of the poses that are meant to alleviate anxiety and depression:

The Corpse

We already know that this one helps with sleep. It also lowers your blood pressure, gets rid of headaches, and reduces fatigue.

Simply lay on your back, play dead, and breathe deeply.

Child’s Pose

Here’s another nice and easy one that has many of the same effects.

Get into the same position on your hands and knees, like a child about to start crawling. Next, sit on your heels and drop your stomach between your knees, with your hands extending far out in front of you.

Legs Up the Wall

Lay on your back, place your bum against the wall, and extend your legs upwards.

Lie there with your palms up and on the floor, to your side, for 30 seconds or so.

It’s surprisingly relaxing and helps calm your breathing and lower your blood pressure.

Important Considerations for Yoga, Depression, and Anxiety

As we’ve seen, yoga can have fantastic benefits for depression and anxiety.

However, there are certain things to consider.

For instance, it might be less suited for people with lower levels of flexibility.

It is likely to be more challenging as a beginner, and the poses can sometimes be uncomfortable initially. There’s also a risk of injury, too.

Equally, taking classes can get expensive. It might be harder for people with less expendable income to engage with.

Check with your local group or health center to see how much classes would cost.

Finally, people receiving support for depression and/or anxiety shouldn’t just drop their medication or therapeutic support.

Yoga is only recommended as a complementary approach to current treatments.

Always consult with a medical professional before changing your treatment program.

Time to Wrap Up

Anxiety and depression are debilitating mental illnesses.

Thankfully, they can be effectively treated.

Yoga treatment is one particular alternative treatment that can have significant positive effects on the way you feel.

As we’ve seen, there are many benefits of yoga for depression and anxiety.

The exercises help stimulate chemicals that improve our moods.

Its meditative nature focuses us in the present moment, enhances our self-awareness, reduces physical arousal, and helps us sleep.

It supports our response to stress and provides a sense of community that allows us to interact with others.

We hope you experience the immense benefits that yoga can bring if you decide to give it a go.

For more information on alternative treatment options, contact one of our addiction specialists today.

 

The Behavior and Common Patterns of an Addict

The Behavior and Common Patterns of an Addict Pathfinders Recovery Center - A young addict is laying in a street corner as he begins to experience withdrawal symptoms from his substance abuse.

What is an Addict?

While you may have heard about rising addiction rates, you might not fully understand what an addict actually is.

An addict is someone who has an addiction to a drug or to alcohol.

These addictions can form in various ways — from prescription drug misuse or recreational substance use.

No matter what led to a person becoming an addict, there are many different ways addiction can affect their lives and the people around them.

These effects have serious long-term negative physical and mental effects.

This is what makes having access to quality addiction treatment centers so important.

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Understanding Addiction

Addiction is a serious, chronic disease because of the way substance abuse changes the brain. An addict’s brain makes them constantly crave, seek, and use substances, even when it is negatively affecting their health.

This is because alcohol and most drugs change the way that your brain releases the chemicals that make you feel happy and relaxed. Your brain learns to rely on a substance to release these chemicals, which makes it difficult for you to feel good from things you used to enjoy doing. Over time, you will need more of the substance to feel the effects.

This is what makes overdose such a major concern for addicts.

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Common Patterns within Addicts

No matter what substance an addict uses, they tend to have similar patterns in their behaviors. These behaviors can act as red flags to addicts and their friends and family members.

There are various signs you can look for to try and figure out if you or someone you know is an addict.

These signs include:

  • Having new friends frequently
  • Spending a lot of time alone
  • Stopping activities or hobbies you used to enjoy
  • Not taking care of your physical appearance
  • Having problems being tired or sad all of the time
  • Losing or gaining a significant amount of weight
  • Having too much energy
  • Talking fast or saying things that do not make sense
  • Often being angry, or having violent outbursts
  • Frequently changing between feeling bad and feeling good
  • Having a strange or unreliable sleep schedule
  • Having problems fulfilling your obligations at work or at school
  • Frequent strife within your personal relationships

Just one of these signs may not mean that someone is an addict. If you or someone you know is showing two or more of them, there is a chance an addiction is to blame.

Once you realize that you or someone you know is an addict, it is essential to start seeking out a drug rehab or alcohol rehab program.

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The Physical Effects of an Addiction

Drug and alcohol addiction can have many negative effects on an addict’s body. This is because our systems are not meant to process large amounts of drugs and alcohol on a regular basis.

This can lead to issues with many of an addict’s body processes and organs. The effects an addict experiences can vary depending on what they are abusing, how often they are using it, and how much they are taking.

Some common negative effects include:

  • Problems with the nose and lungs for people who snort drugs
  • Damage to the liver, kidneys, or heart
  • Damage to the lungs, which leads to breathing problems
  • A higher chance of cancer, including liver, throat, esophageal, breast, and kidney cancers
  • Short- or long-term problems with your brain
  • A higher chance of being infected with HIV or hepatitis from sharing needles or having unsafe sex
  • Needle marks, collapsed veins, and an increased chance of getting a serious skin, muscle, or blood infection from frequent injection or from using a dirty needle for those who inject drugs

While some effects of addiction are short-term and can be successfully treated by a doctor, others cannot. That is why it is critical for an addict to find help from a reputable rehab like Pathfinders Recovery Center.

 

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Mental Illness and Alcohol Rehab

An addict’s substance abuse does not just pose a risk to their physical health. It can also have many different negative effects on their brain and mental health. These effects can include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Mood swings
  • Problems dealing with stress
  • Angry or violent outbursts
  • A harder time learning new things
  • Short and long term memory loss
  • Poor judgment
  • Poor decision-making skills

These negative effects happen because of how drug abuse changes the way that your brain works. These effects can last for weeks or even months after an addict stops abusing drugs or alcohol.

For addicts who had an existing mental health issue before they became an addict, substance abuse can make their symptoms worse. Addicts often deal with serious depression and anxiety due to substance-related chemicals that imbalance their brains.

The only way these people feel better is by using drugs or alcohol. Once the effects wear off, they only feel worse. This leads addicts with mental health problems to use more and more drugs in order to try and treat their symptoms.

Going to rehab is the only way for addicts to finally get help for both their addiction and their mental health problems, known as a dual diagnosis treatment.

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Drug and Alcohol Rehab Treatment Options

There are many individuals struggling with addiction that tend to worry their addiction is too severe to be treated by a drug rehab or alcohol rehab program.

However, no matter how severe your addiction is, it is possible to get help and successfully overcome addiction.

Drug rehab treatment helps addicts get clean by avoiding the use of drugs and learning healthy ways to cope with stress and other triggers to avoid relapsing, and even potential overdoses.

There are many different drug rehab and alcohol rehab treatments available.

Some common rehab center treatments include:

  • Medical detox to assist in easing withdrawal symptoms
  • Behavioral therapies
  • Medications to lessen cravings or long-term withdrawal symptoms
  • Treatment for mental health issues
  • Tools and resources for long-term care to prevent relapse

For an addiction rehab program to be successful, it must be customized to suit the individual needs of every client. This is something that Pathfinders Recovery Center takes very seriously.

Each and every client that comes to us for help to overcome addiction gets the individualized attention they need by receiving a customized treatment plan based on a multitude of factors.

 

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Getting the Help You Need for Your Addiction

When someone is dealing with an addiction, it can be challenging for them to see how their addiction is affecting their health. It may also be hard for them to see that they can get help to lead a normal, sober life.

At Pathfinders Recovery Center, we know what it takes to get your life back to normal after addiction.

Our luxury locations provide you with a comfortable and home-like atmosphere so that our clients feel safe and secure throughout their treatment program.

We ensure your success by using only scientifically-proven, cutting-edge, and effective drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs.

We have over 25 years of experience in helping people with addictions and co-occurring disorders to overcome their addictions.

Many of our clients wonder whether or not they will be able to take advantage of their health insurance benefits to assist in covering their treatment. Simply give us a call, and one of our addiction specialists can perform a free insurance verification check to see how much of your treatment program will be covered by your insurance before you actually enter treatment.

No matter what addiction you may be struggling with, you do not have to keep dealing with the negative effects of this alone.

Let us use our years of experience to help you get on the path to a meaningful and lasting recovery.

Contact us today, and see the difference our rehab programs can make in getting your life back on track.

What Are Psychological Addictions?

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About Psychological Addictions

When people think of addictions, what usually comes to mind are addictive substances that predominantly affect the human body.

While most habits primarily affect the body, psychological addictions occur in the brain.

Psychological dependence involves becoming mentally fixated upon a substance or activity.

Such addictions can overrule your life and cause you to behave in a way that is not recognized by your loved ones.

It causes strong feelings or compulsions in the mind, making the addict feel as if they cannot go without the substance when, in reality, their body does not need it.

Dependency affects thought processes, making it difficult for people who are addicted to thinking about anything else.

Psychological addictions are sometimes more challenging to diagnose and address than physical addictions because they are not obvious.

While physical addictions cause outwardly visible symptoms of withdrawal, psychological addictions happen almost entirely within the mind.

There is less research and knowledge of psychological addictions because they are not as obvious.

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Understanding Psychological Addictions

While the term “psychological addiction” is common, psychological dependencies are not strictly addictions. The traditional definition of the word “addiction” involves substance abuse that affects the body. However, the term has widened to include other compulsive behaviors such as gambling and non-physically addictive substances.

There is debate over some forms of psychological addictions, such as those caused by drugs not traditionally seen as addictive. Some scientists perceive marijuana addiction as psychological, while others argue it is a physical addiction.

Most users reporting addiction to marijuana, according to Indiana University, report a psychological dependency. Another drug that can cause psychological dependence is LSD, commonly referred to as “acid.” Though different from physical addictions caused by other substances like opioids and alcohol, psychological habits are still harmful.

Behavioral addictions are another type of psychological dependency. Addictions are often known as only involving substances, but they can and do affect various behaviors.

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), many behavioral scientists believe that anything capable of stimulating someone also has addictive capabilities.

Addiction develops when a former habit becomes a compulsion. Activities susceptible to forming behavioral addictions include surfing the internet, gambling, playing video games, and watching videos or television. Psychological addictions occur behaviorally as well as with substance abuse.

It is crucial to remember that while psychological and physical addictions are two different things, changed mental processes occur both. The psychology of addictions is complex and still being studied.

Both physical and psychological dependence affect some brain processes, making addicts feel they cannot go without the drug. In physical addictions, the body experiences symptoms as well as the mind.

Physical and psychological addiction can occur together. When physical addiction occurs, it is very likely for the patient to have formed some mental dependency. Even if you no longer enjoy the substance, both your brain and body compulsively desire it.

While mental addiction sometimes occurs without physical addiction, it is less common for someone to be physically but not mentally addicted. When physical and psychological addiction occurs together, recovery becomes even more challenging to achieve.

Patients should receive treatment from both doctors and therapists in this case. Combining therapy, support groups, and medication is a common and effective treatment method for combined psychological and physical addictions.

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Effects and Abuse of Psychologically Addictive Substances

Continual use of psychologically addictive substances is harmful to the life of the addict. The body does not experience changes physically, but changes in behavior make life difficult. Physical symptoms in the body do not occur during a psychological dependency, but behavioral symptoms do. They include:

  • Compulsively feeling as though the person needs the drug or activity
  • Lack of interest in activities the person formerly enjoyed
  • Changed behavior toward work, school, family, or friends
  • Changes in mood

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Mental Illness and Psychological Addictions

If a mental illness is present in a person, addictions are much more likely to form. The term ‘dual diagnosis’ by MedlinePlus plays a role in the causation of substance abuse and mental health issues.

Psychological addiction is sometimes categorized as a form of mental health issue as it deals with compulsions and a perceived need for the substance or activity. If mental illness and psychological addiction are present, treatment is necessary for both conditions.

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Treatment of Psychological Addictions

Treatment for psychological addiction is sometimes similar to the treatment of physical addiction. Counseling offered focuses on overcoming compulsions caused by mental dependency. Patients learn behavioral therapy and coping mechanisms such as CBT and how to deal with compulsions.

Psychologists often treat mental dependence by focusing on what caused the addiction in the first place. Sometimes, childhood trauma or repeated patterns can be a conversational aspect of the process. When patients can understand why they turned to the substance or behavior in the first place, recovery becomes much more attainable. This process allows patients to work on the deep-rooted issues causing their dependency.

Therapists and doctors at our recommended rehabilitation centers are knowledgeable, compassionate, and present with their patients. The psychology of addictions is a complicated and changing field still studied, but our staff is up-to-date and dedicated to helping you recover.

Though we wish we could guarantee recovery completely, this is never possible. Relapse is undoubtedly a common and prevalent issue, but it is imperative to know that it is sometimes part of the process. Relapse in a mental dependency does not mean you have failed. It merely means you need continued work on the mental issue.

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Payment for Treatment

Treatment for psychological dependencies sometimes falls under insurance coverage, but this is not a guarantee.

We offer free insurance verification to help you find out quickly about payment for treatment.

We understand that figuring out how to pay for therapy or counseling is burdensome and difficult.

Both behavioral and substance addictions cost significant amounts of money to maintain.

Gambling and drugs are examples of incredibly addictive behaviors that create a financial burden.

Addictions often cause difficulty in paying for the rehabilitation or therapy that you desperately need.

Our greatest goal always remains to supply you with the assets you need for recovery.

Please do not fear to reach out to us to discuss insurance verification or payment for rehabilitation services.

Psychological addictions differ from physical addictions in that no physical symptoms occur.

Though the body is not affected by mental dependencies, they are still capable of causing emotional and behavioral difficulties.

Thousands of Americans suffer from psychological dependence on a substance or behavior.

It is important to remember that you are not alone, and that recovery from your addiction is possible.

Emotional distress caused by a mental dependency is real and has the capability of disrupting your life.

Recovery is a long and challenging journey.

We know that obstacles like relapse and financial difficulty cause recovery to feel distant and sometimes even impossible.

These are real risks associated with rehabilitation, but the only way of knowing whether recovery is possible is to try.

Your addiction does not have to continue.

You are capable of the work needed to achieve a peaceful and addiction-free life.

Contact us to learn more about psychological addiction and to begin your recovery today. We are here for you.

What Causes Addiction?

What Is Addiction?

Across the U.S., millions of people struggle with some form of substance addiction.

If you or your loved one are affected by drug or alcohol problems, having accurate information is vitally important. This includes information on the underlying causes of serious substance problems.

Experts define addiction as a type of brain disease.

Unlike some kinds of illnesses, this disease is chronic. That means that addicted people do not have short-term problems that disappear after a brief period of time.

Instead, they have long-term problems that must be dealt with over extended periods.

Here is a closer look at the underlying reasons for addiction’s chronic nature.

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Reasons for Drinking or Taking Drugs

Understanding how addiction happens helps to understand why the average person starts drinking or taking drugs.

The truth is, there is no one answer to this question.

On the contrary, adults and younger individuals may have multiple reasons for becoming substance users.

Things that may motivate you or someone you know to start abusing drugs or alcohol include:

  • Pressure from a friend, someone else you know, or society in general
  • An urge to feel better
  • A desire to avoid feeling bad
  • An interest in what it feels like to be drunk or high
  • A belief that substance use will improve your performance at work
  • A belief that your substance use will help you do better in class
  • The wish to enhance athletic performance

Some people start abusing drugs or alcohol because someone else makes them. However, this is usually not the case.

Instead, most people act of their own free will. Why would they do such a thing? It is most likely because they underestimate the possibility of getting addicted or experiencing other kinds of substance abuse problems.

Peer pressure is an especially significant influence on teenagers. This makes sense for several reasons.

First, adolescence is a time of newfound freedom for most teens. That includes the freedom to start making their own decisions.

At the same time, teenagers have not fully developed their ability to think in logical terms. They also have not developed full control over their impulses.

Together, these factors help make peer influence a potent source of social pressure for teens.

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How Does Addiction Develop?

When you drink or take drugs, you change the amounts of chemicals produced inside your brain.

One of the most important changes involves a chemical called dopamine. Dopamine plays a significant role in your health. One of its biggest jobs is making it possible for you to feel pleasure. The greater the amount of this chemical in your brain, the more pleasure you feel.

Your brain can cope with changes in its dopamine levels up to a certain point.

For example, that is what happens when you eat your favorite foods. Your brain produces a bit more dopamine, then returns to normal when levels of the chemical drop back down.

However, compared to everyday activities, drugs and alcohol trigger massive increases in your dopamine levels.

If you do not use a substance repeatedly, your brain has time to process these increases.

The situation changes if you keep drinking or taking drugs. If you do this, your brain will start to treat high dopamine levels as a normal situation.

This shift in your brain’s expectations is the gateway between voluntary and involuntary substance use.

When this shift happens, you can no longer drink or get high just because you want to. Instead, you will feel a pressing need to do so.

Part of this need is physical. However, if you are affected by alcohol or drug addiction, you also have a psychological need for substance use.

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Do Specific Ingredients Make Drugs and Alcohol Addictive?

How do drugs and alcohol boost your dopamine levels and trigger addiction?

Do specific ingredients or chemicals in these substances cause the problem?

No, there is no single chemical responsible for addiction-related issues.

On a chemical level, alcohol and drugs are very different and do not share all of their ingredients.

The most important thing is what drugs and alcohol do, not how they do it.

No matter how these substances reach your brain, they all have the same basic effect on dopamine output.

Every year, researchers learn more and more about the details of how addictive substances work.

The main point is that involvement in drug or alcohol abuse can lead to major, lasting problems.

Are You At-Risk for Substance Use Problems?

Research shows that not everyone has the same chance of becoming addicted.

A range of known factors can increase your risks. These factors include:

  • The presence of depression or other mental illnesses
  • An unstable environment at home
  • Starting to use drugs or alcohol when you are a child or adolescent
  • Having a family history of serious substance problems
  • Difficulties at work or in the classroom
  • Growing up in places heavily affected by poverty
  • Living in places where drug or alcohol use is widely accepted
  • A lack of parental oversight while growing up
  • Poor socialization skills
  • Being friends with people who accept substance use as the norm
  • The method you use to take a drug (i.e., injecting a drug rather than snorting it)

The single most significant factor is your family background. In fact, more than half of your risk can come from genetic influences.

It is important to note that having risks for substance problems does not mean you will get addicted. However, it does mean that your odds of experiencing problems are generally higher.

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Substance Use Problems and Mental Illness

Addiction and mental illness are closely linked to health issues.

Research clearly shows that large numbers of people with substance problems have a mental illness.

It also shows that the same connection works in reverse. In other words, if you have a mental illness, you have higher chances of developing a substance use disorder.

When they affect you at the same time, addiction and mental illness are known as dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder.

Dual diagnosis is a serious concern for a couple of reasons. The condition can intensify your drug or alcohol problems. Its presence can also heighten your mental health problems.

What Causes Addiction Pathfinders Recovery Center - A woman is engaging in an individual therapy session to determine any underlying mental health disorders that have contributed in one way or another to her addiction problems.

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Treating the Causes of Addiction

As we have seen, substance problems are a major issue in America.

Fortunately, you can get treatment for these problems.

Modern substance rehab is not based on guessing or wishful thinking. Instead, all quality addiction treatment relies on proven techniques backed by solid evidence.

For one reason or another, a large percentage of people with serious substance problems never seek professional help. This means they never take full advantage of the resources available to them.

Just by actively searching for a treatment program, you put yourself on the road to abstinence and a substance-free lifestyle.

Today, there are treatments for every form of addiction.

Whether you are struggling with alcohol or drugs, you have options that will help you recover.

You also have workable options for recovering from dual diagnosis.

Common treatments for these problems include a variety of medications. They also have numerous types of behavioral psychotherapy.

When you seek out treatment, your doctor will devise a plan suited to your specific needs.

Depending on your situation, your plan may include medication, psychotherapy, or both of these options.

Your circumstances will also determine whether you enroll in an outpatient or inpatient program. Both types of programs produce positive results for many people who enter them.

Need more information on the causes and treatment of alcohol and drug addiction? Just contact the professionals at Pathfinders.

Our in-house specialists will answer any questions you may have.

We will also direct you to substance treatment programs that fit your short- and long-term recovery requirements.

Addiction Aftercare

What is Addiction Aftercare?

Addiction aftercare is an important part of ensuring long-term sobriety.

Sobriety does not always begin and end in an addiction treatment program.

Long-term sobriety requires a long-term commitment.

This is where addiction aftercare comes in. When you complete an addiction treatment program, you may be anxious about what happens next.

When you choose Pathfinders’ luxury treatment center, we will help you find guidance and support long after your program is complete.

Choosing Pathfinders means choosing long-term sobriety and incredible peace of mind.

Addiction Aftercare Pathfinders - A group of individuals that has completed treatment is taking part in a group therapy session at a reputable rehab center for addiction aftercare to ensure they stay on the path of sobriety

Addiction Treatment and Addiction Aftercare

There are many options available to you when it comes to addiction treatment programs and addiction aftercare programs, .

Whether you have completed a residential inpatient program, outpatient program, or a supplemental treatment that landed somewhere in between, you may not feel ready yet to face your sobriety alone.

During your addiction treatment, you learned how to build healthy support systems, habits, and coping mechanisms. You learned how to manage your addiction and avoid relapse.

But, what happens when you feel unprepared to face these tasks alone? You choose not to.

Professionals in addiction health care have long sworn that remaining in treatment for an adequate period of time is critical.

Research in this area shows us that most people will need at least three months in treatment to reduce or stop their drug use significantly.

They take it a step further to ensure that the best outcomes occur with longer durations of treatment.

Whether your addiction treatment program lasted 30 days or one year, the support and guidance you receive only stop there if you let them.

Addiction aftercare is ideal for those who need help enforcing their sobriety, building effective support systems, and participating in recovery groups that will help keep you on track.

 

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Why is Addiction Aftercare is Often Necessary?

As you likely know by now, addiction is a chronic illness. This is not something to hide or be ashamed of.

Addiction is chronic the same way diabetes is.

Removing the stigma from your addiction will help you reevaluate your need for continued care.

Addiction, whether it is drugs or alcohol, is lifelong.

There is no quick fix or cure.

The good thing is that addiction can be effectively managed and treated with comprehensive care and long-term support.

There is no shame in admitting that you are not ready to face your sobriety alone.

This is the reason why addiction aftercare was created.

We want you to have access to medical, physical, and emotional support, guidance, and ongoing maintenance for as long as you need it.

We will help you manage your disorder so you can maintain your sobriety and good health.

Maintaining your sobriety and health can also improve all other aspects of your life.

As you progress through addiction aftercare, you may notice that you have naturally developed better communication skills, relationships, and financial habits.

 

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Addiction Aftercare vs. Other Addiction Treatment Programs

During your initial addiction treatment program, you have gone through the detox, withdrawals, and the early learning stage.

You have developed a deeper understanding of your addiction and the underlying factors that contribute to it.

You have used therapeutic and holistic techniques to improve your mental and physical health.

Achieving sobriety in your addiction treatment program is a major accomplishment to be celebrated.

But, it is not one that should later bring you fear.

Once your program ends, you should not feel like you have to move forward alone from here.

Addiction Aftercare Settings

Addiction aftercare is simply the next logical step after you achieve initial sobriety.

It can be done in an inpatient setting, intensive outpatient, or traditional outpatient setting.

12-step programs are some of the most common addiction aftercare services.

In any setting, addiction aftercare can help you find support in a safe and comfortable environment, and make it easier to avoid relapse.

It comes as no surprise that patients who participate in addiction aftercare programs often experience lower relapse rates than patients who do not.

You owe it to yourself and your loved ones to get the care you need.

We will tailor your addiction aftercare program to best meet your unique needs and circumstances.

Addiction Aftercare Pathfinders - A man who has completed his initial addiction treatment is now participating in addiction aftercare by virtually holding a one-on-one counseling session with an experienced rehab facilitator to help him stay free from addiction

 

Recovery Groups

When you are working toward long-term sobriety and a healthy, fulfilled life, seeking addiction aftercare in recovery groups can help in various ways.

Participating in addiction management in group settings helps you hold yourself accountable. You will also be able to swap stories with others on the same journey and learn from their experiences.

This may feel strange or uncomfortable for addicts starting their original addiction treatment program.

But, you are likely used to group settings by now. In recovery groups, you can benefit from a supportive environment, receive encouragement and advice, and maintain anonymity if you choose.

Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are two of the most common examples of these groups. They provide social and complementary support to other addiction treatments.

In these types of settings, you can continue to develop effective strategies for dealing with stress and managing your condition.

Common Problems After Addiction Treatment

The same way that your original addiction treatment program did not rely on a singular technique; your addiction aftercare program will not, either.

Addictions often come with ongoing, systemic issues.

Maintaining your sobriety will include overcoming barriers and hurdles after your program ends.

You may have trouble finding a job or home. You may face distressing legal troubles, as well.

The stress and worry that stem from complications like these can be significant triggers for substance abuse.

Avoiding relapse will require a dedicated, long-term approach.

Addiction aftercare can help.

 

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Treatment Methods Used in Addiction Aftercare

Depending on your needs, you may have access to many of the following:

  • Career guidance and support
  • Legal guidance and support
  • Support through life transitions like relocations, job changes, and family problems
  • Ongoing case and addiction management
  • Substance monitoring
  • Life coaching and effective goal setting
  • Relationship and support group building
  • Academic support for those furthering their education
  • Support and guidance with budgeting and general financial planning

Addiction aftercare focuses on providing help, encouragement, guidance, and advice on maintaining sobriety and building the life you want.

Many people who have struggled with addiction do not have these same types of support systems at home.

We are here to fill in the gaps.

You have everything you need within you to build the life you choose.

Let us help you work through all of the other details and set you firmly on the path to finding it.

Paying for Addiction Aftercare

Most major insurance providers help in covering the cost of addiction treatments.

At Pathfinders, we accept most major insurance providers to make it easier for our patients to get the care they need and deserve.

If you are unsure of your coverage, call our addiction counselor to get an insurance verification.

They are always available to help.

If you do not have insurance, they will be happy to discuss each of your treatment and payment options to work out what is best for you.

 

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Pathfinders’ Addiction Aftercare

Pathfinders Recovery Center offers luxury addiction treatments that meet a variety of needs.

We have received the Gold Seal of Approval from The Joint Commission and are a member of the National Association of Addiction Treatment Providers.

We are proud to have committed ourselves to provide comprehensive care throughout each stage of the recovery process.

Whether you completed your initial program here or elsewhere, our addiction aftercare is open to you.

We are here to help you achieve a sober life so you can reach each of your long-term goals.

8 of the Most Addictive Drugs to Stay Away From and Ignore

Learn the Most Addictive Drugs

A government report showed that about 64,000 people died due to drug overdoses in 2016.

Drug abuse has led to several adverse implications among young and older adults.

Other than death, addiction to drugs can alter your brain chemistry and cause financial, legal, and health issues.

The side effects of drug abuse are not new to users. In fact, many have tried to ditch drug abuse to no avail.

Most of the abused drugs lead to addiction, making it harder for users to survive without them.

The extent of addiction to drugs varies. Here’s a comprehensive list of seven of the most addictive drugs that you need to know.

Most Addictive Drugs - Photo looking down on a table with an assortment of the most addictive drugs including Pills, Heroin, Cocaine and Alcohol.
alcohol, drugs, pills on a wooden background

1. Heroin

If you didn’t know what the most addictive drug in the world is, there you have it.

Heroin ranks as the most addictive substance, scoring 3 out of the maximum, three. Heroin is derived from opium poppy extracts.

Heroin is an opiate, mostly sold as a brownish or whitish powder. Users commonly smoke, swallow, or inject heroin into the veins.

The drug increases dopamine levels when taken. The activated opioids receptors produce a good-feeling sensation, relaxation, and blocks pain.

Users get into a dreamy state when heroin’s euphoric effects subside.

Heroin has extreme withdrawal symptoms, which make users continue using the drug.

Some of the withdrawal symptoms include diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes, severe bone and muscle pain, uncontrollable movements, and restlessness.

Despite ranking as the most addictive, heroin is reported to be the second most dangerous drug due to the damage it has on society and the individual.

If you’re recovering from heroin addiction, you need to know how to stay away from common relapse triggers. Once you identify these relapse triggers, remaining sober won’t be such a struggle.

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2. Cocaine

When listing the most addictive drugs, cocaine is almost in the same category as heroin. Up to 14,000 Americans succumbed to cocaine overdose in 2017.

This was a 34% increase from the previous year. Clearly, cocaine’s popularity has been increasing in recent years.

Cocaine is a white crystal powder. Users inject, smoke, or rub the powder on their gums.

Crack cocaine has slight differences from the regular cocaine; it has a high potent nature, making one feel the effect more quickly than the typical variant.

Using cocaine gives users an intense euphoric feeling. The drug triggers the brain to produce dopamine, which makes one feel high.

With constant use, the body becomes tolerant of cocaine, and one has to increase the dose to achieve the desired excitement, happiness, and high energy.

As the drug continues to wear off, users experience anxiety, anger, and depression.

As a resultant, users become dependent on the drug. Continued snorting of cocaine can lead to a constant runny nose, swallowing difficulties, nosebleeds, and loss of smell.

3. Nicotine

The use of tobacco involves chewing, sniffing, and smoking products that have nicotine. Tobacco products that contain nicotine include cigars, cigarettes, bidis, and hookah products.

A significant number of teenagers and adults smoke these products.

Administering nicotine in the body leads to the release of endorphins.

While the surge is incomparable to other drugs, increased use raises dopamine levels in the user’s body. Long-term exposure to nicotine prompts the brain to seek more of this drug.

Nicotine is amongst the addictive drugs that kill. It narrows the arteries and hardens the arterial walls, which can lead to a heart attack.

Besides the cardiovascular effects, nicotine increases the risk of gastrointestinal and respiratory conditions.

When one tries to quit smoking, withdrawal symptoms such as headaches, mood swings, and anxiety can be a hindrance.

The symptoms are severe, and users often relapse. Besides, nicotine products are easily accessible, which makes their addiction common.

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4. Alcohol

Global alcohol consumption per capita is projected to increase by 17% within the next decade.

Despite the rising cases of alcohol-related disorders, more adults are taking alcohol without flinching. Alcohol is in the category of the most addictive drugs, not only in the US but also globally.

The use of alcohol in a social setting makes it seem less harmful as compared to other hard drugs.

Yet, it increases the risk of liver diseases, cancers, and cardiovascular disorders. Alcohol alters one’s judgment, which prompts users to engage in risky behaviors such as explicit sex and drunk driving.

Consumption of alcohol increases dopamine levels, which gets users excited. However, continued use ultimately leads to dependence.

The extreme withdrawal systems such as severe headaches make alcoholics to fall back.

If you’ve been experiencing withdrawal symptoms or can’t go a day without alcohol, it’s probably time to go to rehab.

The willpower to check into rehab isn’t always present. But if you have several troubling signs, going to rehab will give you better control of your life.

Most Addictive Drugs - Photo of several alcoholic drinks in glasses of all sizes and types. Alcohol is one of the most addictive drugs.
Photo of several alcoholic drinks in glasses of all sizes and types.

5. Methamphetamine

Methamphetamine is one of the highly addictive psycho-stimulant drugs. Despite being illegal, thousands of people use it for the euphoric effects. Meth raises the levels of norepinephrine and dopamine in the brain.

Meth users inject, ingest, snort, or smoke this illegal drug. The intense rush and euphoric high can last up to 24 hours. The effects of meth last more than cocaine.

Methamphetamine can be made using available ingredients, which means it’s cheaper. Some of the street names for this drug include crystal, chalk, ice, speed, and rank.

Meth has high neuro-toxicity, which can have damaging effects on the serotonin and dopamine neurons in a user’s brain.

This toxicity further increases when a person combines the drug with opiates, cocaine, and alcohol. Regular use of methamphetamine might lead to irreversible functional and structural changes in the body.

When you follow the steps to overcome addiction, you can be free from this highly addictive drug. However, it is essential to acknowledge that meth addiction is one of the most difficult drug addictions to treat.

Support from family and friends can go a long way in the process of recovery.

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6. Barbiturates

Barbiturates are in a category of drugs referred to as sedative-hypnotics. While the drug is typically in the form of a pill, users inject it in its liquid form.

These drugs were initially used to decrease anxiety and induce sleep in the 1960s.

However, an incorrect dosage can be dangerous. In extreme cases, overdosing on barbiturates can cause death or coma.

When used minimally, the drug can cause euphoria. Barbiturates are highly addictive.

Fortunately, these drugs are rare, unlike in the past. Doctors have replaced the prescriptions with benzodiazepines, which play the same sedative-hypnotic role. The latter is safer than barbiturates.

Continued use of barbiturates can cause tolerance development. Abuse of this drug might lead to an overdose. A coma, dilated pupils, shallow breathing, and clammy skin are some of the overdose signs you need to observe.

Discontinuing barbiturates exposes a person to a myriad of side effects.

Some of the notable withdrawal symptoms include insomnia, anxiety, dizziness, psychosis, and seizures. If untreated, barbiturates lead to circulatory failure, hypothermia, and death.

7. Methadone

Methadone is under the category of opioids. When analyzing some of the most addictive drugs, opiates rank first in this category.

This drug has been highly effective in treating extreme pain.

Besides, some doctors use it to treat heroin addiction. You can take methadone as a liquid, powder, or tablet.

While doctors prescribe this methadone in some cases, people still take it illegally by injection.

Constant use of this drug can cause addiction. Some of the side effects of methadone include hallucinations, light headedness, breathing difficulties, and chest pains.

Your body might adapt to the calming effects of methadone. When you get to the drug tolerance stage, addiction might be imminent.

It is advisable to seek medical help if you find yourself taking more methadone than what’s recommended.

8. Cannabis

Cannabis, also known as weed or marijuana, is another common addictive drug.

This drug is a mixture of dried stems, leaves, and flowers of the Cannabis Sativa plant. People using cannabis smoke it via a pipe or as a cigarette.

Weed induces the central nervous system, leading to the production of sensations such as mild euphoria, wrong perception of time and space, relaxation, and increased appetite. Cannabis is addictive. Yet, eleven states have legalized its recreational use.

One of the behavioral symptoms of cannabis includes losing interest in activities that you previously enjoyed. Withdrawal from friends and secrecy are other signs of cannabis addiction.

Declining performance at work and school can also result from consistent use of weed.

Cannabis addiction leads to physical symptoms such as dry mouth, bloodshot eyes, poor coordination, fatigue, and lack of attention.

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Most Addictive Drugs Have Several Withdrawal Symptoms

Drug users trying to reform often face extreme withdrawal symptoms.

With such relapses, doing away with most addictive drugs isn’t usually easy.

If you have a friend or family member who’s deep in addiction, supporting them can help a great deal.

It would be best to walk with such people through rehab so that they can transform.

Some of the long term implications of these drugs are fatal. Rehabilitation can save a soul.

Do you need an addiction counselor?

Contact us today.

Our team of qualified medical staff will walk with you or your loved one until you recover.

What’s a Sponsor in Recovery and What are the Benefits of Having One?

What’s a Sponsor do for Addiction Recovery?

If you’ve done any reading about addiction recovery, you’ve probably run across the idea of sponsors.

These are especially popular in Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous, where the system is built to work with the help of a sponsor.

But what’s a sponsor, and what do they do?

A sponsor can be many things and can be crucial to your recovery.

From helping you find the resources you need to giving you home and motivation when you most need it, they can make your recovery easier and more successful.

Read on to learn more about what a sponsor is and how they can help you in recovery.

What's a Sponsor - Hand Writing Journey To Recovery with a marker over transparent board. Using a sponsor after treatment increases your odds to stay sober.
Hand Writing Journey To Recovery with a marker over transparent board

What’s a Sponsor?

Before we dive into all the benefits a sponsor can bring, let’s talk about what a rehab sponsor is. A sponsor can be many things: guide, cheerleader, confidant, accountability partner, and more.

They’re your mentor on the journey to sobriety, someone who has gone down that road before you and can help you along the way.

When you have questions about the recovery process, you can ask your sponsor. If an issue that you don’t feel comfortable discussing in a group comes up, you can talk to your sponsor about it.

When you’re tempted to relapse, you can call them and help find a different, healthier way to deal with what you’re feeling.

What Is a Sponsor Not?

There are a few things, however, that a sponsor is not. For that relationship to work well, there have to be a few boundaries drawn.

For one thing, a sponsor is not a spouse, romantic partner, or longtime friend; to successfully work with you, your sponsor needs to have a degree of separation from your life.

Your sponsor is also not your therapist, although you should work with a therapist during your recovery.

A therapist is there to help you get to the root of your problems and learn healthier coping mechanisms.

Your sponsor is there to help you stick to those new coping mechanisms and implement the tools you’ve learned in therapy in your life.

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How to Be a Sponsored

There are a few things you can do as someone who is sponsored to make sure you get the most out of the relationship with your sponsor.

For one thing, always show up to meetings with your sponsor.

If you’re going to beat addiction, you need to make it a priority in your life, and committing to showing up to meetings with your sponsor is a good way to do that.

Make sure to talk to your sponsor about their boundaries. Yes, they are there to help you when you need it, but they have to live their own life, too.

Ask them what times are okay to call, what to do during the times they can’t take calls, and what subjects they prefer to keep off-limits.

Get Shared Experience

Talking about addiction with someone who hasn’t experienced it can be difficult.

You may worry that they’re judging you, and even if they aren’t, there are things about that experience that they just can’t understand.

Having a sponsor who has been down the same road you have can help to fill that gap.

Talking about traumatic experiences with someone who understands can be very helpful, and your sponsor can provide you with that opportunity.

They know first-hand what it’s like to be an addict and just how challenging recovery can be. When they tell you you’re doing great, you can trust them, because they know the challenges you’re overcoming.

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Share Hope

In addition to sharing experiences, your sponsor can also share hope with you.

Yes, they’ve been down the same road as you, but they’re also further along the path.

They’re living proof that there is a way through and that things will get better with time.

It’s easy to say that things will improve, but when you’re fighting your way through withdrawal or recovery, you can’t always see that.

Your sponsor is living, tangible evidence that yes, things are hard right now, but they do get better. They can tell you when things will start looking uphill and keep you motivated to keep fighting.

Get Sympathy

Sometimes, however, what you need to hear isn’t, “Things will get better soon.”

Sometimes, where you are is so miserable that you just need someone to acknowledge that misery. Your sponsor can do that, too, and with more authority than anyone else in your life.

Your sponsor has fought the same fights and been through the same things you have. They know how hard recovery can be, and they can sympathize with you.

Just having someone acknowledge and validate the things you’re struggling with can make them easier to deal with, somehow.

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Find Accountability

During those tough times, you may be tempted to give up on the fight. Relapse is common among addicts precisely because of this reason.

Previously, drugs have been how you coped with bad times, and now you’re not only coping with the struggles of life, but also the challenges of recovery, and all without your usual coping mechanism.

Your sponsor can help keep you on the straight and narrow and give you a reason not to relapse.

Just knowing that someone will be checking in on you, will be disappointed if you fall off the wagon, and will be proud of you if you persevere can be enough to keep you going.

It’s also a lot harder to ignore the negative consequences of giving in to your addiction if you have to tell someone about it later.

Get Resources

No one goes through recovery alone; it’s too much of a struggle, and you need too much support.

A lot of that support may come from your loved ones, your recovery group, and your sponsor. But you may need additional resources and support outside of those people.

Your sponsor can help you find the resources you need to stay sober. They’re familiar with the rehab system and they know what options you have available to you.

They may be able to get you everything from books to read to inspire you to stay sober to contact information for doctors who have experience working with addicts.

What's a Sponsor - A group is taking karate lessons. In recovery it is recommended you find hobbies to keep yourself busy.
A group is taking karate lessons.

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

When you’re in recovery, stepping outside your comfort zone is very important. For too long, your comfort zone has been taking refuge in drugs, hiding from something in your life.

Now that you’re getting sober, you need to push your boundaries and find new ways to handle the bad things that come up in your life.

Your sponsor can help you to push outside of that comfortable cocoon.

They may be able to suggest new hobbies that can fill the hole in your life that drugs used to fill, or they may encourage you to go to therapy and start confronting challenging ideas about your life.

They can push you to be the best possible version of yourself so your recovery becomes a quest for self-improvement.

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Get Motivation

There are going to be times on your journey to sobriety when you feel like quitting.

You’re going to feel like you don’t have anything left to fight with, like you’re fighting a losing battle that’s never going to stop.

You’re going to want to give up, give in, and let your addiction wrest back control of your life.

During these times, your sponsor is there to stand beside you and give you the motivation to keep fighting. They’ll remind you why you quit in the first place and help you see how far you’ve come.

They’ll help you see the amazing things sobriety has brought to your life and get you back on your feet, ready to keep going into another day.

Avoid Pitfalls

Because your sponsor has been down this road already, they know what the recovery pitfalls are.

These are the things that tempt you and make relapse more likely. Knowing what these dangers are before you pass them can help you stay in recovery.

Your sponsor may recommend that you get involved in an activity that fills up your evenings so you don’t find yourself at loose ends. They may recommend avoiding certain things or sending out certain messages to your family before gatherings so you minimize temptations.

They may also know when things are likely to get hard and give you resources to deal with those bad times.

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Find a Sponsor

Knowing the answer to the question, “What’s a sponsor?” can help you have a more successful recovery.

Your sponsor is there to cheer you on and give you a preview of what’s coming down the road. They can get you the resources you need, provide motivation when it’s lacking, and keep you accountable through your recovery journey.

If you’d like to start on your road to sobriety, come see us at Pathfinders Recovery Centers.

We have programs for everyone from alcoholics to heroin addicts, and we can help you find the support you need.

Contact us today to start on your road to recovery!

Understanding the Opioid Epidemic in Arizona

The United States as a whole is facing a health crisis of epic proportions. More and more Americans are becoming addicted to – and dying from – opioids. Not one American state goes unscathed. Arizona, in particular, has slowly taken a big hit over the last decade. The opioid epidemic in Arizona now claims the lives of two people each day. The state has begun to collect data regarding opioid abuse. And recently, Blue Cross Blue Shield invested $10 million to reduce opiate misuse. But despite the efforts, many Arizonans are still misinformed about the state-wide epidemic. To help, we’ll explore everything about Arizona’s opioid crisis in this article.

Let’s begin!

When Did the Opioid Epidemic Begin?

The opiate epidemic is a recent phenomenon that has slowly been in the works since the 1990’s. But the presence of opiates in the United States dates as far back as the country’s foundation.

Early History of Opiates in the United States

It’s believed that opium first came over along with the pilgrims aboard the Mayflower. Back then, people used the opium poppy for the same reasons that doctors prescribe them today. Opiates have long treated pain, diarrhea, coughing, and also works as a sedative.

addiction treatment, heroin addiction treatment, dual diagnosis treatment center in arizona, cooccurring disorders treatment, meth detox scottsdale arizona, meth rehab arizonaBy the 19th century, Americans used opium to treat a wide range of medical issues. Doctors prescribed morphine to dying patients suffering from cancer.

Medics also used morphine as an anesthetic. It’s probable that medics administered morphine during the Mexican-American War. It’s also likely that physicians who settled in Arizona brought over opiates. Patented medications for teething and menstrual cramps began to contain opium. After the Civil War, the pharmaceutical company, Bayer, introduced heroin on the national market. Following this, heroin became widely used as a medicine into the early 20th century.

20th Century Stigmatization

In the early 1900’s, the federal government outlawed opiates in all its forms. Doctors could only prescribe them in medically necessary situations.

But even so, physicians during this time were vastly limited when it came to prescribing them. They were also limited when it came to treating opiate addiction. Despite all this, drug abuse continued to increase across the United States. During Prohibition, opiate users were further stigmatized. The concept of “junkie” came into being during this time.

The Rise of Prescription Painkillers

recovery center in scottsdale, recovery center in arizona, recovery center in phoenix, addiction treatment center, dual diagnosis recovery center, dual diagnosis treatment, heroin addiction help, get sober todayAmerican physicians continued to fight for the right to prescribe opiates. Soon after, the federal government began to recognize the medical value of opiates. By the 1960’s, Hydrocodone, Oxycodone, and other synthetic opiates came into being. Recreational opiate and heroin use skyrocketed during this time. Fears of prescribing opiates arose once again.

But despite all this, the prescription painkiller market surged – and continues to. Even though opiate addiction is now at an all-time high, it’s a problem that our nation has faced for over a century.

Why & How Did the Opioid Epidemic Happen?

Medicine and science have never been as advanced as it is today. We understand how to treat many diseases and conditions a lot better than we used to. However, our understanding of how to treat pain is still extremely weak. And to a large extent, the opioid crisis that our nation and the state of Arizona faces results from this.

Doctors Don’t Understand Pain Treatment & Management

It’s estimated that 100 million Americans live with chronic pain.

With such a big number as this, physicians would seem to have a better understanding of treatment. But that is, unfortunately, not the case.

Doctors only receive about 9 hours of education about pain over the course of medical school. To make matters worse, the federal government doesn’t adequately fund pain research. In fact, the National Institutes of Health only spend 1% of its budget ($358 million) per year on pain research.

Many doctors don’t understand how addictive opiates can be. They don’t understand how to wean their patients off them. Many patients wind up misusing their prescriptions, becoming addicted as a result.

Do Physicians Over-Prescribe Opiates?

It was once believed that American physicians under-prescribed opiates for pain treatment. Because of widespread stigmas against opiates, many doctors continue to fear to prescribe them. But that’s not to say that physicians aren’t over-prescribing them, either.

Many Americans in need of relief don’t have enough access to painkillers. Only about 5% of chronic pain patients have prescriptions for painkillers. But to a larger extent, Americans may have too much access to prescription opiates.

It’s known that some pharmaceutical companies have vigorous lobbying and marketing campaigns. Physicians are often the target of these marketing ploys.

In 2016, doctors prescribed 431 million painkillers. This was enough for every Arizonan to have a 2.5 week supply.

And again, many doctors don’t understand how to adequately treat patients with opiates. As of 2016, more than 70% of overdose fatalities occurred among patients who became addicted while treating their chronic pain. In Arizona, 4 out of 5 new heroin users start because of prescription painkiller misuse.

Health Insurance Doesn’t Cover Alternative Medicine

The opioid overdose epidemic has caused many pain patients to turn to other forms of therapy.

We’ve all heard of physical therapy and alternative therapy, like acupuncture and chiropractic. These forms of therapy yield great results in the treatment and management of pain. But many people suffering in pain are unable to afford them.

Certain health insurance policies may cover acupuncture, biofeedback, massage therapy, and chiropractic care. But as of 2007, Americans spent $33.9 billion out-of-pocket for alternative medicine.

This figure is likely much higher today. With high health insurance premiums, many Americans are unable to afford alternative medicine. In Arizona, 17% of residents are still uninsured as rates continue to increase for the insured.

Heroin as a Cheap and Dangerous Substitute

Millions of Americans not only suffer from chronic pain. Many of them are unable to obtain and afford adequate treatment. And many who take prescription painkillers find themselves prone to addiction.

As a result of these factors, many people have turned to heroin for relief.

Heroin and prescription painkillers are all derived from opium. Heroin is specifically derived from morphine while painkillers come from codeine. Despite the slight variations, heroin has the same – if not, a more powerful – effect as painkillers.

Heroin is not only a substitute for painkillers. It’s cheaper and easier to obtain.

In fact, a bag of heroin costs less than a pack of cigarettes. This means that in Arizona, a bag of heroin can cost anywhere from $5-$8.

Most heroin in the United States comes from Mexico. With Arizona right on the Mexican border, heroin is readily available on the streets.

Opioid and prescription overdoses in Arizona have increased in the last few years. But since 2016, heroin overdoses have tripled in Arizona.

Where Are Overdoses Occurring in Arizona?

Opiate overdoses have occurred in both urban and rural Arizona. But some areas are more ravaged by overdoses than others.

A concentration of overdoses has occurred all over the Phoenix metropolitan area. The northeast parts of the Tucson metropolitan area has also experienced many.

The cities of Buckeye, Flagstaff, and Kingman – and all surrounding areas – have also had high overdoses.

Fighting the Opioid Epidemic in Arizona

The opioid crisis has been in the making to become an epidemic since the 19th century. American physicians continue to prescribe painkillers without a firm understanding of them. Nor does the medical community understand how to provide adequate pain treatment.

With rising healthcare costs, many people addicted to painkillers are turning to heroin.

Many Arizonans wonder what is being done to address the opioid epidemic in Arizona. Here’s how the state is fighting the epidemic as of now.

Naloxone

In 2017, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey declared opioid overdoses a public health emergency. Since then, the state has integrated Naloxone as part of its efforts to combat the opioid crisis.

Slow breathing occurs with opiate use. But when someone overdoses, their breathing can stop altogether. It can also be near impossible to wake someone up while they’re overdosing.

Naloxone, otherwise known by its brand name, Narcan, is a narcotic blocker. When administered, it reverses the effects of opioids. It comes in the form of injections and nasal sprays.

The state of Arizona has trained emergency personnel on how to administer Narcan. Recently, Narcan became available at CVS stores across Arizona.

Narcan is by no means a cure for the opiate epidemic. However, it is an antidote that is saving more lives every day across the United States.

Arizona Opioid Emergency Action Plan

Since the declaration of Arizona’s opioid crisis, opioid overdose cases have decreased.

Statewide overdoses began to decrease after the implementation of new prescription guidelines. This decreasing trend also coincided with the state’s surveillance reporting system.

The Opioid Action Plan came into enactment in September 2017. The action plan aims to increase patient and public awareness as prevention methods. The plan also improves prescription practices and access to treatment facilities.

The Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act took effect in April 2018. This law enforces limitations on prescription opioids.

Under this law, physicians can no longer dispense prescriptions themselves. Physicians who prescribe opiates must take routine education courses on opioids. Pharmacies are also required to check into the Controlled Substances Prescription Monitoring Program.

Seeking Help for Opioid Addiction

Huge strides in the fight against opioid addiction have occurred in Arizona. But the opioid epidemic in Arizona is still alive and well, much like it is in the rest of the United States.

Still, there is hope for the future of Arizonans affected by opiate addiction.

Do you or someone you know suffer from heroin or painkiller addiction? A healthier and sober future is possible, and the Pathfinders Recovery Center is here to help.

To learn more about how we can help you at our Scottsdale, AZ facility, contact us today!

 

10 Defeating Attitudes in Early Sobriety and How To Combat Them

Getting sober is one of, if not the hardest thing that us addicts will ever have to do. The journey to long term recovery is a hard one, often bumpy and filled with difficult personal and emotional challenges. Here are some thoughts and belief systems that commonly come up for us amongst early sobriety to be aware of, watch out for, and discard when they creep in!

1. The Non Sober People Are More Fun

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Addicts in general, myself included spend our time trying to do WHATEVER we can to “feel good” in the moment.  Sometimes life is not going to feel good and that is when we do not know how to handle it. That being said, the guys and gals that are goofing off, not working on themselves and acting out in negative self-defeating behaviors may appear to be having more fun…but talk to them when they relapse, get arrested, or end up back in treatment or at a 12-step meeting getting another new comer chip and ask yourself if that looks like fun? No judgement here, the thing is nothing changes until something changes and you must do things you have never done to get where you have never been period – simple as that.

2. I Am Not Ready To Be Sober Yet

You have hit your bottom once you have quit digging. Some people lose everything, die, get locked up ect…some other people end up realizing it much quicker and don’t lose much but can see where their life is heading and make the effort to change it quicker. So please don’t let your mind give you this excuse, it’s not true!

3. This Won’t Work For Me

Here is the thing…how can we know something that we don’t know…we can’t. Just because my mind is telling me that I know something does not mean it’s true. Find a mentor that has been where you’ve been and be open minded to having a new experience. Do what they say and great things will follow.

4. I’m Unique and Worse Than Everyone

This one always gives me a laugh because I can relate so strongly. Almost every addict I’ve had the pleasure of working with at one point or another experiences this thought. I have found out that I am not special or different and when I look for similarities instead of differences I can relate to some people I would never have expected to be able to.

5. I can do this on my own

In my experience this was not true. However, I will say if you truly believe that you can give it a try. If it doesn’t work, then try a treatment center and entering into a 12-step program.

6. Thinking The Answer is on the Outside, Not on the Inside

I need to quit smoking, get a job, enroll in college…TODAY !”. Relax, Rome wasn’t built in a day and we have to crawl before we can walk. You do not have to conquer all of your problems today. Keep it simple and make small realistic goals for yourself and overtime the upheaval and redemption of your life will be astonishing! Give yourself some time to really work on you in the beginning the rest will follow.

7. I Don’t Deserve A Better Life

This is not true for anyone – ever. Period. There is a little bit of good in the worst of us and a little bit of bad in the best of us. Take it easy on yourself, learn to forgive and love yourself. This is a process that is difficult and takes time but I promise you can do it and we will love you until you love yourself!

8. Nobody Cares About Me Anyway

I felt this way coming into recovery and what I found was the exact opposite. It was amazing how many people put their hand out to help me when all I did was simply become willing and ask for the help.

9. I’ve Tried Everything And Nothing Has Worked

No one has tried everything. There are variables to consider here. For instance, something I may have “tried” could work if I changed my perspective, applied myself and engaged in it with an open mind if I was closed off the first time. Sometimes all it takes is a fresh perspective.

10. I will control my use… it will be different this time!

If you are really an addict or alcoholic your own experience is the best test here.  Did you ever “just do one”?  Were you able to easily stop all substances at once at any time without any difficulty?  If you’re truly an addict or alcoholic all you have to do is be honest with yourself and reflect on your experience to see that this not true.  You’re not alone here we have all fallen victim to this way of thinking and it keeps us in addiction much longer than necessary.