Rehab for First Responders

Rehab for First Responders

First responders, including law enforcement officers, search and rescue teams, firefighters, and emergency medical services teams (dispatchers and ambulance workers), are some of the first to step on the scene of disaster, accident, or emergency. These scenes present some of the most dangerous and emotionally demanding situations possible.

As a first responder, you often interact with victims needing immediate care, life support, or urgent medical help. As a first responder, your duty further involves giving emotional support to disaster survivors. In the face of these emotionally draining situations, first responders’ training requires them to maintain composure despite these demands.

A 2018 report on the mental health of responders claims that emergency medical personnel, firefighters, and police officers carry a 70%  higher mortality risk compared to workers who are non-first responders. Due to frequent exposure to work-related traumatic events, first responders are likely to develop mental health issues. Generally, the prevalence of sleep disorders, behavioral health issues, anxiety, and PTSD among first responders is greater than among the general populace.

As a first responder, or with a loved one serving in the role, you may already be familiar with these facts. Now keep reading to find out why Pathfinders should form the front line of your efforts to get lasting relief from alcohol and/or drugs!

Identifying Mental Health Issues in First Responders

Law enforcement officers, firefighters, and other first responders are often people with high-level self-esteem and are performance-driven. A first responder’s motivation is to do well and get the desirable results.

Some first responders may start to interpret issues with feelings of anxiety, isolation, or flashback as signs of weakness and may feel embarrassed to share these feelings with family or friends. In many cases, they may opt to internalize these feelings, eventually resulting in behavioral health issues. If this goes unchecked, it may lead to increased feelings of depression, leading to burnout on the job.

Here are common mental health issues among first responders:

Depression in Emergency Response Teams

Depression in Emergency Response Teams

Depression is a commonly reported mental illness issue in first responders’ professions. A case-controlled study on medical team workers who responded to the 2011 Japan earthquake indicated that 21.4% of the team suffered clinical depression.

First responders battling depression may experience feelings of sadness. They may find little or no pleasure in jobs they used to enjoy. These emotions can negatively affect their energy levels and overall well-being. Some common signs of depression may include:

1. Extreme fatigue

First responders work long shifts, but extreme fatigue may signify depression. If you’re having trouble remaining awake even after a night of good sleep, it could be depression. The key here is to identify if there’s a pattern linked to this behavior.

2. An overwhelming feeling of hopelessness or sadness

One of the most difficult things to accept as a first responder is a reality that you won’t be able to save everyone. While most first responders come to terms with this reality, those battling depression may have increased feelings of hopelessness or sadness.

3. Loss of Enthusiasm

First responders look forward to making a difference every day. However, depression can turn this enthusiasm into dread. When you find yourself starting to take unplanned off days, enthusiasm may be fading away.

Other symptoms may include:

  • Changes of appetite
  • Unexplained body aches or fatigue
  • Having difficulty making choices or focusing
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Behavioral concerns

 

People that are battling depression experience difficulty controlling negative, repetitive thoughts. The good news is that; depression can be treated. If you or your loved one is struggling with this mental health issue, it’s essential to seek help.

Substance Abuse in First Responder Professions

There’s sadly a close connection between drug and alcohol addiction and the life of first responders. Exposure to traumatic scenes while on duty can lead to the development of behavioral disorders. One such behavioral disorder is alcohol use disorder.

Its reported alcohol abuse among first responders is greater than that of the general population. First responders use alcohol and drugs as a coping mechanism.

First responders who develop substance abuse might show abrupt changes in their behavior, and these negative changes can impact their self-esteem and motivation.

What are the Warning Signs of Substance Abuse?

Warning Signs of Substance Abuse

Some of the warning signs include:

  • Unexplained absence from work
  • Inability to focus or forgetfulness
  • Hyperactivity or extreme lethargy
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Challenges with physical co-ordination

 

Many first responders suffering from alcohol use disorder experience social stigma. In most cases, they fear being judged if discovered. With the right care and support, sustained recovery is entirely possible.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in First Responders

Considering the severity and frequency of traumatic scenes, it’s not shocking that first responders face a significant risk of suffering PTSD.

Occupational-specific risk factors that contribute to PTSD among first responders include:

  • Hostile occupational environments including risk for physical injury and exposure to excessive smoke, heat, or fire.
  • Traumatic events encountered on the line of duty
  • Types of traumatic events
  • Routine occupational stress
  • Lack of adequate workplace social support
  • Irregular sleep patterns may compromise resilience in the face of a traumatic experience.

 

PTSD is a severe mental health condition that can impact every aspect of a first responder’s life. A Journal of Emergency Medical Services report claims that PTSD is heavily unreported among the first responders’ community because it’s regarded as a weakness.

Common signs of PTSD among first responders include:

  • Sleep disturbances
  • Lack of interest at work
  • Intrusive dreams, flashbacks, or memories of a specific incident
  • Distancing from family and friends
  • Overwhelming fear
  • A feeling of guilt or self-esteem
  • Inability to focus
  • Increased substance abuse
  • Self-destructive or dangerous behavior

Is Rehab Important for First Responders?

Getting specialized treatment for first responders is essential for recovery. A responder addiction treatment program helps those who have suffered work-related traumatic events quickly get the help they need. The program addresses underlying mental health issues and shapes the path to sustained recovery.

Pathfinders Recovery Centers use an integrated addiction treatment approach that combines licensed professionals from different backgrounds to treat a first responder. These specialists form a multidisciplinary team that meets to discuss patients’ treatment targets and progress and then meets separately with the patient to discuss specific issues during admission process.

The multidisciplinary team can include therapists, counselors, physicians, and other specialists who combine their expertise to offer best treatment for first responders. The drug and alcohol addiction treatment process starts with an overall assessment by trained professionals such as psychologists to evaluate you at all levels, effectively diagnose underlying issues, and develop a holistic addiction treatment for you.

Mental health condition treatment is a long-term commitment, and it’s overall in nature since it addresses your social, psychological, and physical needs. This means that addiction treatment for first responders will often include medications, therapy, family support, and other necessary interventions. For patients with co-occurring PTSD and behavioral health disorders, the first treatment steps would most likely involve using a medical detox program followed by an intensive outpatient or inpatient program.

Using medications for addiction treatment can help the patient get through chronic pain, reduce cravings and manage symptoms like anxiety. However, medications don’t address the underlying causes of first responders’ co-occurring disorders and can’t prepare them for behavior adjustments.

Specific Treatment Goals for First Responders

Treatment Goals for First Responders

  • Helping first responders express their needs in a way that doesn’t make them feel inadequate or exposed
  • The development of interests and hobbies outside of work to help first responders deal with work-related traumatic events
  • The development of a reliable social support system that can assist first responders
  • Continued support after the program enables first responders to identify signs of substance use disorders and traumatic stress.

 

Responders with co-occurring PTSD and alcohol use disorder need to remain in the responders addiction treatment program long enough to attain the necessary skills to avoid relapse. For sustained recovery, it’s essential to identify situations that can increase the possibility of relapse and recognize the signs of relapse.

How Can You Support a Loved One Struggling with a Mental Health Issue?

If your loved one is struggling with one of these first responder mental health issues, you can help them by being there for them.

Here are some tips:

#Tip 1- Listen to Them

Sometimes, your loved ones don’t know if they need help. It’s difficult for most first responders to accept that they have a mental health problem. If your loved one is having a hard time, sit down and listen to them.

#Tip 2 Seek Help

Don’t be ashamed to seek professional help. It’s okay to be uncomfortable when you shift position from a person giving help to one receiving it. If you join our first responders’ addiction treatment center program, you can view it as another professional network designed to help you exceed in your position even more than you currently do.

Start Your Healing Journey Today at Pathfinders

If you or your loved one needs help, Pathfinders Recovery Centers (AZ &CO) is here for you. Our top-notch mental health and addiction treatment center is the right place to start your healing journey. Enjoy a stress-free first responder addiction treatment program as you receive a personalized responders addiction treatment plan.

Contact us today if you’re ready to break free from a dangerous chain of substance abuse. We look forward to welcoming you.

Friends of Bill W

Friends of Bill W

In the early stages of your sobriety journey, you may decide to enroll in a 12-step fellowship, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. There is a whole new way of thinking and making decisions that come with recovery, and there is also what may seem like a whole new language to learn: “AA jargon,” like the term ‘friends of Bill W.’

William Griffith Wilson, also known as Bill Wilson, or “Bill W.,” and co-founder Bob Smith, or “Bob,” are the originators of several AA terminologies, sayings, and expressions. Since the group’s inception, several idioms have emerged, including the association with Bill W that has become synonymous with membership, especially as shorthand on cruise lines and ships.

Keep reading for our guide to what 12-step programs offer as well as a helpful resource for the AA jargon often used by members.

What Is AA Language?

Many expressions and idioms associated with sobriety may be found in AA and NA literature. They might be used by other 12-step groups that follow the AA paradigm. The AA jargon originated for several causes.

Phrases like “it works when you work it” is meant to serve as reminders of basic ideas for the group. Following the AA Traditions, the organization chooses to use phrases like “Friends of Bill W.” to ensure that its members’ anonymity is maintained.

You may learn the language of the organization and its members by looking at some real-life instances of the most popular AA jargon, and you may even be familiar with some sayings like, “One Day at A Time.’

Taking the Next Right Action

Participating and working the 12 Steps and regularly attending AA groups is known as the “Right Action.” More specifically, attending an AA meeting and participating with the help of a sponsor is considered the right action. At any given meeting, you’ll find many participants attending with their sponsors, who are in recovery themselves.

“Alcoholics Anonymous: The Story of How Over a Hundred Men Have Recovered from Alcoholism” is the basic text of AA and is usually referred to as “The Big Book.” There are many inspiring accounts of AA members’ journeys to sobriety outlined within its pages.

Actions that are “correct” for AA members are those that are accomplished via working the steps. Following the Steps is meant to help one develop a more positive outlook on life, other people, and the recovery process as a whole. In an effort to alter a substance-abusing lifestyle, a shift in outlook and approach is essential.

Friends of Bill W. and Cruise Ships

Friends of Bill W. and Cruise Ships

The term “a friend of Bill W.” used in AA does not relate to anyone you may know in real life. Instead, it is a code term used to conceal the identities of the group’s participants. Why do individuals in recovery value anonymity so highly, and what does it entail exactly?

The anonymity of its members is one of AA’s core tenets. In a word, anonymity in AA meetings implies that everyone there will respect your privacy and keep whatever you say to themselves.

You may be asked if you know Bill W if you are seen loitering around the meeting place and peering through doors or windows.

The person asking you this code word is trying to determine whether you are truly seeking the AA meeting in a method that keeps your identity secret.

Originally, the term “friends of Bill W.” was used as a cruise compass to find meetings onboard cruise ships where members wanted to stay completely anonymous on vacation but still sneak in a meeting or two. Signage that indicates a meeting for ‘friends of Bill W’ can still be seen on cruise lines around the world, though the term is used somewhat less as many people proudly acknowledge their recovery and membership, even in otherwise Anonymous 12-step programs.

The Importance of Anniversaries and Birthdays in Sobriety

All recovery steps are celebrated as successes in AA and other 12-step programs. When a member of AA or NA reaches certain sobriety milestones, such as 30 days, 90 days, six months, etc., they get a “chip” as a physical reminder of their accomplishment.

The passage of another year signifies the occurrence of a “birthday.” The moderator of a meeting may inquire if someone is honoring one of these dates. At an alcoholics anonymous meeting, a “10th yearly birthday” is the anniversary of a person’s sobriety rather than their actual birth date. Thus, it’s understood that the individual has been sober for 10 years.

Importance of Anniversaries and Birthdays in Sobriety

In the Eastern part of the United States, anniversaries are more common than birthdays, so you might not hear much about a person’s “anniversary” instead of their “birthday.” Biological anniversaries are sometimes referred to as “belly button birthdays” to avoid confusion.

Old-Timers and The Traditions of the 12 Steps

The phrase “old-timer” is commonly used among AA group members, but you might be startled to learn that the person being referred to as such is actually rather young. That’s because the only factor that matters for determining whether or not someone is an old-timer in AA is how long they’ve been attending meetings and maintaining continuous sobriety.

A long-term AA member is a veteran of the program. These people may take up roles as meeting facilitators, sponsors, or event volunteers within the organization. Some long-time members can even recite large chunks of The Big Book verbatim.

Of course, there will always be some “old-timers” who have “been around the block,” so to speak, when it comes to AA recovery, so you might encounter an “old-timer” who is actually older. In such an instance, “a seasoned AA member” could be the most accurate description.

A Dry Drunk and the Importance of Active Participation

Addiction recovery communities outside of AA may find the phrase “dry drunk” unpleasant because it is not a clinical word. This word describes a person who has abstained from substance use but has taken no further measures toward recovery.

In an AA context, this might signify that the individual has ceased working the 12 Steps and attending meetings.

A “dry drunk” is someone who has stopped drinking or doing drugs but hasn’t changed their outlook on life or the way they think about things. When someone is in this mental state, they may have feelings of nostalgia, fixation, and a desire to reexperience the euphoric benefits of drug or alcohol usage.

Clinical research has confirmed that this is a real phenomenon that can occur during either the emotional or mental relapse stages. According to the research, when alcoholics relapse, it is a slow process that typically begins with thoughts and feelings of obsession with drugs or alcohol.

It Works If You Work It

Setting up chairs for AA Meeting

The “work” of AA revolves around the 12 Steps, a set of recovery principles. Using the AA fellowship, going through the 12 Steps, and living by the 12 Traditions of AA are all examples of “working it,” and the statement “it works if you work it” describes this process well. The “work” of AA includes not just meeting with other members but also performing acts of service to the community. Examples of this service include the following:

  • Community service (e.g., setting up chairs, making beverages, or other tasks required for a meeting)
  • Reaching out to fellow 12-steppers to aid a struggling newbie.
  • Meeting leadership
  • Accepting and supporting newcomers via sponsorship
  • Putting in a request to share your AA success story as a speaker

Step 13: A Step Better Left Alone

If you’re lucky enough to avoid having to go through Step 13 during your time in recovery, the expression simply refers to a sexual relationship between a seasoned AA member and a newcomer to the fellowship who has just discovered meetings.

Suffice to say, when you’re first becoming sober, it’s not a good idea to jump into a new romantic relationship.

Friends of Bill W. and Methods of Celebrating Fellowship

Whether it’s friends of Bill W. or another type of lingo used at get-togethers, if there’s one thing this “secret code” does besides maintain anonymity, it also promotes a higher level of support by creating a camaraderie. This gives people who join a new type of hope and a sense of accountability, as there’s a distinct feeling that they’re a part of something unique and special.

At Pathfinders Recovery, we use a similar mindset, organizing get-togethers in the form of a 12-Step Meeting, giving clients a chance to bond with peers, in addition to taking part in some type of spiritual or holistic experience.

Not only does this give clients a chance to bond with peers, but there’s additional expert advice available via group meetings you wouldn’t otherwise have access to with counselor meetings.

We would love to get you on board with our groundbreaking treatment program! To find out how we can help you on your path to recovery and lay a strong spiritual foundation, contact a member of our admissions team today.

 

Can You Force Someone into Rehab?

Force Someone into Rehab

Rehab is often thought of as a voluntary activity, but that doesn’t mean that it has to be voluntary. Sometimes the court or other legal representatives may consider forcing someone to go to rehab because it’s what’s best for them. The person sentenced to rehab this way might not have believed it otherwise.

In other states, it’s illegal for someone to send someone to recovery without their consent. Depending on the locale, you might not be able to legally put someone into rehab who doesn’t want to go. The real question shouldn’t be if you could force someone into rehab, but rather if you should.

In some cases, a person might become self-destructive because of their addiction. They may not even see that as a problem and won’t accept that they are addicted. Putting someone in rehab forcibly should be a last resort, but even so, you should be aware of whether it’s legal to do so.

What Are Requirements for Arizona Drug Court?

In Arizona, a person can enter Drug Court if the state deems that they’ve met the requisite requirements. With Drug Court, a person is mandated to attend status hearings so the state can be updated on their progress. The attendee will have to sign a contract that outlines what goals they agree to meet during their recovery at each court date. The program runs for one year, and a person must complete all the goals set forth by the court to “graduate” the program. To be eligible for Arizona Drug Court, a person must have the following:

  • Drug-related felonies that are eligible for probation within the previous two years
  • Has a score of medium-high or high risk on the OST/FROST and spiked more than 67% on the drug domain
  • Has a history of substance abuse that’s severe to moderate
  • Must reside within the supervision area for the Drug Court

This state-mandated treatment is involuntary, and a person committed needs to complete it before being discharged.

How Effective Is Court Mandated Treatment?

Force Someone into Rehab

One of the most common questions is whether court-mandated or involuntary treatment is effective. The research on this topic is limited, and there’s not much to go on. Statistics show us that almost one-third of all patients admitted to rehab programs in 2013-2014 was through involuntary methods such as court-mandated rehab.

Based on the number of people who recovered because of the court-mandated rehab, it seems that the process does work. Individuals who are coerced into rehab programs tend to do better and stay longer, completing their course of treatment. While the data is still uncertain, the results are promising based on what we know.

What Are Involuntary Commitment Laws in Arizona?

Forcing someone into rehab through involuntary commitment usually means relying on the law to do so. If the person you intend to commit to rehab is a minor, the court might not be willing to do so. They will commit a minor if there is enough evidence that the person has a substance use disorder and may have attempted to harm themselves in the past. The same goes for a non-minor, although the court is more willing to look at involuntary commitment in those cases.

One of the most compelling arguments for involuntary commitment is the inability to function. If a person is so addicted to a substance that they can’t take care of themselves, the court is likely to force them into rehab. The person will be appointed a lawyer to argue their case at a hearing. However, in many cases, they may also think that the person may need to go to rehab.

Dual Diagnosis Treatment for Mental Health Disorders

Dual diagnosis treatment

Dual diagnosis occurs when a person has both a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder. In the past, these disorders weren’t treated together, but it was found that a dual diagnosis treatment must be used for proper recovery from addiction to occur. When a person is admitted to a rehab center, they will have to go through an evaluation that helps the facility determine whether they are a candidate for dual diagnosis or not.

Dual diagnosis combines treatments to give the most effective outcome for individuals who have both a mental health disorder like anxiety or depression and substance use disorder. Sometimes, the mental health condition leads to addiction.

Who Pays For Court Ordered Rehab?

In most cases of court-ordered rehab, the weight of payment rests on the shoulders of the plaintiff. It’s a common misunderstanding that the state will pay for involuntary commitment to a rehab center. The state is never responsible for paying for a plaintiff’s rehab.

If it’s not the state that brought the request for commitment, the circumstances of payment change. In these cases, the person who put the person forward to be committed involuntarily is responsible for paying for their treatment. This rule only applies in states that have passed “Casey’s Law” (Ohio and Kentucky). Indiana has “Jennifer’s Act,” which performs the same function.

What Are Some Ways To Convince Someone To Go To Rehab?

Force Someone into Rehab

Convincing someone to go to rehab might be quite hard. However, doing so ensures that they are also on board with overcoming their condition. Compelling someone to go to rehab requires them to admit they have a problem and wanting to get help for it. In some cases, families might try intervention to get their loved ones aware of the hurt that their addiction may be causing others within the family. Professional interventions may not work, however.

When someone is dealing with addiction, their brain may not be in the proper frame to make the right decision. As a result, they might not agree to enter rehab, leaving you with few options aside from an involuntary commitment to a rehab facility.

Establishing Motivation for Sobriety in Court Ordered Rehab

The most crucial part of overcoming addiction is setting up a motivation for sobriety. Why should a person want to get sober when they enjoy using the drug? Usually, the reason for sobriety for voluntary patients is the need to recover their lives. Addiction can cause severe economic and social damage to a person who has to work through it.

Many of these people remember life before their addiction and want to get back to that point. Their urges challenge this motivation, but a rehab facility can give them the tools to deal with it.

Court Ordered Rehab

For involuntary addiction, the approach is somewhat different. A person who is checked into a rehab center against their will might not want anything to do with the process. However, these cases can be resolved by helping the person understand the point of view of others.

When a person starts to accept that they have a problem and decide to change their circumstances, rehab can help them overcome their addiction. While a person might enter rehab being against recovery, they’re more likely to want to finish the treatment once they realize the benefits it offers them in the real world.

Make Treatment Attractive: Presenting Pathfinders Recovery

To convince a reluctant person, it helps to make treatment attractive. At Pathfinders Recovery, that’s what our staff always aim to do. We provide amenities and therapy for all of our clients that cater to their specific needs.

Our team is personable and approachable, making it easier to discuss addiction and come to terms with it. If you have a loved one that needs that special attention and care, give us a call today. We’re more than glad to facilitate you and help your loved ones get the care they need.

I Drink Every Night. Am I An Alcoholic?

I Drink Every Night am I An Alcohol Abuser?

Is a Nightly Drink Alcoholism?

Alcohol use disorder comes in many shapes and sizes. When most people picture alcohol use disorders, the stereotypical profile probably manifests in their mind’s eye: An unkempt, 40 or 50-something that slurs their words, in a state of constant over-emotion. If it’s a male, he probably has a perpetual five o’clock shadow and wreaks of cheap liquor.

While this person certainly exists, and some of us may have met them, the assumption that every alcoholic comes packaged this way is far from the truth. Alcohol use disorder looks like your neighbors, friends, family, and doctor – the possibilities are endless.

The problem with stereotypes like the one mentioned above is that alcohol has no target demographic, and these types of assumptions can make it hard to identify individuals who really need help. In many cases, individuals dealing with alcohol use disorder have no idea that they fit the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) criteria for potentially being an alcoholic.

In fact, individuals suffering from alcohol use disorder don’t even have to frequently reach the point of intoxication or being drunk to earn this diagnosis. What does it take to meet the criteria for alcohol use disorder?

Does Daily Drinking Equal Alcoholism?

I drink every night am I an alcoholic

“I drink every night. Am I an alcoholic?” If you or someone you know has asked this question in regard to drinking habits, it might be time to assess where you stand.

How exactly does one reach the answer to this question? Is there a technical answer or a more specific classification for these types of drinkers?

One of the easiest ways to gauge where you stand when it comes to alcohol use disorder is by using the stages of alcoholism. Comparing your situation to the stages of alcoholism can give you a clear picture of where you stand and what your next course of action should be.

I Drink a Lot Every Weekend. Am I an Alcoholic?

Plenty of working-class Americans arrives home after the workweek to a waiting alcoholic beverage of their choice. It’s not uncommon for many of them to have a single drink and abstain from a second or third. However, the repeated usage of large amounts of alcohol each weekend may be a sign of an alcohol use disorder.

During the workweek though, does a daily pattern of just one drink per day equate to alcohol use disorder? Let’s take a look at the numbers according to the NIAAA.

Drinking In Moderation

Drinking in moderation is considered the consumption of two drinks or less in one single day for men or one drink or less for women. However, there is no clear specification regarding consecutive days under this classification. Let’s see what else the NIAAA has to say.

Binge Drinking

I drink every night am I can alcoholic: binge drinking

Binge drinking is a pattern of drinking that regularly brings the BAC to 0.08 – the legal limit in most state’s for DUI. In the average male, this is about five drinks in a period of two hours. Notice that this states a pattern of regularity but still doesn’t specify a certain number of days.

Heavy Alcohol Use

Heavy alcohol use in men is the consumption of four drinks in one day or the regular consumption of 14 drinks in one week. For women, the consumption of seven drinks in one week is considered heavy alcohol use. SAMHSA considers heavy alcohol use as binge drinking on five or more days during the month.

The NIAAA literature goes on to say that patterns associated with alcohol use disorder include regular patterns of binge drinking and heavy alcohol use. After reading the characteristics outlined by the NIAAA, it’s much easier to answer individuals who ask, “I drink every night. Am I an alcoholic?”

Based on the characteristics outlined above, if an adult male limits his intake to one single drink per day, he isn’t considered an alcoholic. However, two drinks per day, which would equal 14 per week, would land him in alcohol use disorder territory.

However, because alcohol use disorder is often progressive, it would be unwise to assume that someone regularly consuming one drink per day wasn’t dangerously bordering alcoholism.

One of the most commonly repeated themes among individuals who consume alcohol is the affirmation that their drinking is under control or moderated. Because individuals can technically drink every day and not be considered alcoholics, are there any specific steps to further assist in an act already considered “moderate drinking?”

Can You Moderate Regular Drinking?

It’s strongly recommended that anyone engaging in moderate drinking doesn’t participate in binge drinking or heavy drinking. When this happens, the line between moderate drinking and alcohol abuse disorder starts to blur.

If you know someone that is considered a moderate drinker, it may be critical to remain vigilant of the signs of alcohol use disorder. The following section outlines things to look out for.

What Are the Signs of Alcohol Use Disorder?

Many pouring a shot, asks himself about his alcoholism

Although everyone handles alcohol use disorder individually and displays different symptoms, certain behaviors may be more noticeable. The following list contains some of the more common characteristics displayed by individuals with alcohol use disorder.

  • Increasingly negative consequences resulting from drinking. Some of these may be family-related, while some may be more severe and include legal issues.
  • Drinking to the point of not remembering the events of the night or days before
  • Attempting to cover up or lie about the amount of alcohol they consume
  • Feeling the constant need for a drink before going out or engaging in a social activity
  • Hiding their drinking altogether
  • Drinking more than intended or more than other people present for an event or special occasion
  • Using drinking as a stress-reliever or response to negative events
  • Putting drinking before important family events
  • Verbalizing a want to stop drinking but never going through with these commitments

 

While these can all be significant red flags alerting you to the presence of alcohol use disorder, a formal examination can provide a more accurate diagnosis. There are currently five measures that officially determine alcohol dependency.

Methods to Determine Alcohol Dependency

The following five measures are all accepted methods for determining the presence of alcohol dependency.

Alcohol Timeline Followback

This method requires a detailed picture of an individual’s daily drinking habits over a specific time period. Individuals may be required to provide details regarding the prior year.

Form 90

Form 90 is a more specific type of measurement to determine specific changes before and after a 90-day abstinence period. This is typically used as a post-treatment form of measurement.

Drinking Self-Monitoring Log

This measurement requires more detailed information regarding the frequency of an individual’s drinking habits.

Lifetime Drinking Measures

This requires an individual to provide a rough estimate of their habits over the course of their life or any period longer than a year.

Quantity-Frequency Measures

This requires information regarding the individual’s amount of alcohol used and the frequency or regularity of this consumption.

The importance of determining the presence of alcohol dependency is critical to mitigate the risks associated with drinking daily. Keep in mind that these risks are both physical and mental in nature.

Effects and Risks of Daily Drinking

Daily drinking is a habit that can take place on a moderate or severe level. Obviously, someone who drinks daily in high amounts has greater odds of negative consequences than someone who drinks in moderation.

In the past, health professionals believed that moderate levels of drinking posed little to no health risks. In fact, many sources stated that smaller amounts of daily drinking could actually have a positive impact on your health.

However, more recent studies show that, in reality, there is no safe level of drinking. Even moderate amounts can have a negative impact on the way the brain functions.

There are short-term and long-term risks for individuals who actively engage in daily drinking. Even in small amounts, the short-term risks can produce potentially life-changing consequences.

I Drink Every Night. Am I An Alcoholic?

Short-term Risks

Short-term risks of daily drinking are less associated with acute health issues and more closely related to the negative consequences of challenging behavior. Immediate physical health risks normally don’t become a factor until users frequently engage in binge drinking.

Moderate daily drinking may put users at risk for the following:

  • Accidents related to intoxication, especially since users consume small amounts and don’t believe they are impaired in any way
  • Injuries that take place as a result of slower reaction times
  • Engaging in dangerous or impulsive behavior because of impaired judgment
  • The potential for legal issues associated with poor decision-making

When someone consumes alcohol in small amounts, they may feel like they’re not impaired, which promotes a false sense of security. This momentarily lapse of critical thinking is what leads to the increased risk of the situations mentioned above.

After significant amounts of time spent consistently engaging in daily alcohol consumption, more serious effects may begin to surface.

Long-term Risks

The long-term risks and effects of alcohol can take a toll on the mind and body of individuals with alcohol use disorder.

Mental effects include:

  • Changes in mood
  • Insomnia
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Problems with memory and concentration
  • Negative impact on relationships

 

The physical effects can be even more challenging and can even be deadly in the worst cases. Potential risks include:

  • Conditions associated with inflammation of the pancreas
  • Long-term liver damage
  • Decreased pancreatic functions lead to higher sugar levels that may cause diabetes
  • Numbness in hands and feet
  • Damage to the digestive system
  • High blood pressure and irregular heartbeat

 

The risk of developing any of the symptoms side effects mentioned above should be enough to trigger the motivation to stop drinking every day. However, individuals with substance abuse disorder may find it difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel.

How Can I Stop Drinking Every Day?

How to Stop Drinking | Pathfinders Recovery CentersIt’s possible to create a plan for recovery and successfully refrain from drinking every day. However, once the situation reaches the level of developing mental and physical symptoms that are directly caused by alcohol use disorder, the goal should be to stop drinking completely.

Consider the following steps as a pathway to recovery:

  • Look into the benefits of residential rehab. If you feel like you need professional help to overcome alcohol use disorder, you’re probably a good candidate for inpatient treatment.
  • Don’t stop when treatment is over. Continue to remain proactive in battling substance use disorder by attending 12-step recovery groups and maintaining a strong support system.
  • Alternatively, if you’ve been ordered to attend any type of court-ordered treatment, use this as a stepping stone to recovery. Sometimes your greatest challenges are actually blessings in disguise.

 

Alcohol use disorder doesn’t just disappear after treatment or a certain period of recovery. However, if you actively seek out ways to strengthen your support systems and maintain high levels of willpower, the daily struggle against alcohol use disorder gets easier with time.

At Pathfinders Recovery Center, we’ve helped clients navigate their recovery from alcohol use disorders of all kinds and severities. From detox services to inpatient treatment with multiple approaches to therapy, you’ll have access to different treatment levels that we believe can be very successful in promoting long-term recovery.

Contact an Admissions team member to find out more about how we can help provide you with the tools you need to take your life back.

Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms: A Deeper Look

Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms

Combating the Fentanyl Overdose Epidemic

Turn on the news and you’ll undoubtedly hear about fentanyl use in many communities today. It’s quite likely that you may know someone who will succumb to fentanyl overdose symptoms at some point. This is because around 60% of opioid-related deaths in the U.S. today are caused by fentanyl. Clearly, more education is needed in regards to this drug.

Fentanyl as an adulterant has become quite popular. Initially drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine were laced with fentanyl. Many people didn’t know that fentanyl made these drugs more powerful and deadly. Today, people know about fentanyl and some will even admit that it’s their substance of choice.

What You Should Know About Fentanyl

When someone is addicted to fentanyl, they’re addicted to a drug that’s 50 – 100 times more potent than heroin. This is why the drug poses such a high risk for an accidental overdose. Since fentanyl is still being added to many other drugs, there’s the added danger that a person may not even know that they’re taking it.

What is Fentanyl?

Although fentanyl originated as a prescription medication (a.k.a. Actiq, Duragesic, Sublimaze) that was used to treat severe pain, it’s now being made and used illegally as well. In this regard it’s similar to morphine. Tolerance to synthetic opioids occurs when someone needs a higher dose or needs to use it more frequently to obtain the desired effects.

Where is Fentanyl Found?

Besides being found in heroin and cocaine, counterfeit fentanyl pills are now hitting the street. They’re being sold as ecstasy, oxycodone, and alprazolam. These pills are widely available and easy to purchase. This is dangerous because many people aren’t even aware of what they’re taking.

How do you know if you’ve been exposed to fentanyl?

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) warns that someone may come into contact with fentanyl without even knowing it. Therefore, it’s important to understand what some of the signs of exposure in non users include. Some of the things you should watch for include:

  • Slow breathing
  • Drowsiness
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Lack of consciousness
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Blue lips or fingernail beds
  • Cold, clammy skin

 

How Should You Handle Fentanyl?

Recently there’s been a lot of talk regarding harm reduction and opioid safety. This is caused by the rise in usage and deaths from such drugs. For the safe handling of fentanyl the CDC suggests you take the following precautions:

  • Whenever you’re in an area where you suspect there’s fentanyl, make sure you don’t eat, drink, smoke, or use the bathroom.
  • Never touch your eyes, mouth, or nose if you’ve touched a surface that you believe may be contaminated with fentanyl.
  • Don’t do anything that may cause the fentanyl to become airborne. If you believe that the drug is already in the air, make sure you wear respiratory protection.
  • Always wash your hands with soap and water immediately after you think you’ve been exposed to fentanyl. This is something you should do even if you wore gloves while in the area. Make sure you don’t use a hand sanitizer or a bleach solution because doing so will enhance the drug’s absorption into your skin.

 

It’s important to understand that it doesn’t take much fentanyl to overdose. Police and first responders are in harm’s way each and every time they respond to a suspected fentanyl overdose. While there are policies in place to help protect them, these policies continually need updated as we learn more about this drug.

How and Why Do People Use Fentanyl?

Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms

Fentanyl is made in a lab. It’s then sold in the form of a powder. Many dealers mix it with other drugs since it only takes a very small amount of inexpensive fentanyl to get high. This is very dangerous because most people don’t even realize that they’re taking fentanyl. Since their body isn’t use to the effects of fentanyl they’re more likely to overdose.

Those who find out that they’re taking fentanyl may willingly replace their other drugs with it. They will typically use it in an eye dropper or as a nasal spray. Some people will make pills out of it so that it looks like other prescription opioids.

How does Fentanyl Affect the Brain?

Fentanyl is an opioid similar to heroin and morphine. Opioids bind to the body’s opioid receptors. These are located in the part of your brain that’s responsible for controlling pain and emotions. After you take opioids numerous times your brain adapts to the drug so you’re now dependent upon it. When this happens you may experience some of the following effects:

  • Extreme happiness
  • Constipation
  • Nausea
  • Sedation
  • Drowsiness
  • Unconsciousness
  • Confusion
  • Problems breating

Does Fentanyl Lead to Dependence?

Fentanyl will eventually lead to dependence. This is because of how potent the drug is. Even a person who’s taking the drug under a doctor’s supervision may become dependent upon it. They will experience withdrawal symptoms when the drug is stopped.

Sometimes dependence results in addiction. This is the most severe type of substance abuse disorder. When someone is addicted to drugs they’ll become compulsive in seeking it out. They’ll also continue to use the drug even though it may be causing them problems at work, home, or school.

When someone stops taking fentanyl they will have severe withdrawal symptoms within a few hours. These symptoms include:

  • Muscle and bone pain
  • Uncontrollable leg movements
  • Cold flashes (including goosebumps)
  • Issues with sleeping
  • Severe cravings
  • Diarrhea and vomiting

 

As you can imagine, the symptoms of fentanyl withdrawal are extremely uncomfortable. They’re what causes so many people to remain addicted to this drug. The FDA is currently working on medications and devices to help people withdraw more comfortably.

Can You Overdose on Fentanyl?

As with any other drug, it’s possible to overdose on fentanyl. This happens when a drug causes serious adverse effects and life-threatening symptoms within your body. For instance, when someone overdoses on fentanyl their breathing will slow – even to the point of stopping. When this happens less oxygen makes its way to their brain. This is a condition that’s known as hypoxia. It can result in a person becoming comatized. At that point permanent brain damage and even death may occur.

How Much Fentanyl Can Kill You?

Just a quick note regarding fentanyl overdose amounts before discussing what a fentanyl overdose looks like. Although you never want to experiment with drugs like fentanyl, you may still wonder how much of it can kill you. Based on the amount of fentanyl in your system, here’s what you may be able to expect, but be very aware these are not exact and depend on general opiate and opioid tolerance:

 

  • 25 mcg is not fatal
  • 50 mcg places you at a modest risk of an overdose
  • 100 mcg places you at a moderate risk of an overdose
  • 150 mcg places you at a significant risk of an overdose
  • 250 mcg places you at a high risk of an overdose
  • 400 mcg places you at a extreme risk of an overdose
  • 700 mcg means death is likely
  • 1,000 mcg means death is near certain
  • 2,000 mcg means death is imminent

What are Some Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms?

Typically, opioids are measured in milligrams. However, fentanyl is measured in micrograms. These are 1,000 times smaller than a milligram. Hence why people so easily overdose on fentanyl. It only takes a very small amount to do so. All it takes is 2 mg of fentanyl which is like a pinch of salt.

While fentanyl itself is very dangerous, even worse variants have started to become more popular in recent years. Carfentanil is an elephant tranquilizer that’s 10,000 times more potent than morphine. It only takes the amount of a small grain of sand to kill an adult. This is why professionals call fentanyl and its offshoots the deadliest opionids in existence today. It’s also why it’s important to know what the symptoms of a fentanyl overdose include.

The typical overdose occurs quite quickly. Usually it only takes a few seconds. During these fleeting moments you must determine whether someone is suffering from an opioid or fentanyl overdose. There are some atypical signs that you should look for, including:

  • A person’s lips may immediately turn blue or grey
  • Their body may stiffen and show activity that’s similar to a seizure
  • They may start foaming at their mouth
  • They will be confused before becoming unresponsive

 

Common Signs of Fentanyl Overdose

Some of the more typical signs that a person who’s suffering from a fentanyl overdose will show include:

  • Dizziness: They’ll struggle to remain steady on their feet. They’ll also find that it’s difficult for them to remain in an upright position. They can neither sit nor stand but their body will need to lie down.
  • Weakness: Besides theri body being unable to remain upright, it’ll also grow weak. Fatigue is quite common. Even the person’s extremities may become limp.
  • Sleepiness: Since their brain isn’t getting enough oxygen, the person will start to experience feelings of drowsiness.
  • Hypoventilation: You may assume that you’d need to watch for rapid, erratic breaths. However, you should be watching for slow breathing. This is because opioids negatively impact the area of your brain that’s responsible for breathing.

 

Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms

You can seek help prior to a person overdosing. It’s important to know what symptoms to look for here. When you see any of the following symptoms it’s a good idea to seek medical intervention for the person:

  • A slow heart rate
  • Clumsiness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Unconsciousness when left untreated may result in the person slipping into a coma

 

When someone becomes unconscious you should seek medical attention immediately. These other signs should also be a red flag for anyone who believes their in the presence of someone who’s used fentanyl

What to Do When Someone Overdoses?

Whenever someone you know overdoses on fentanyl, it’s important to treat them with Narcan immediately. Thanks to the ‘Good Samaritan laws’ on overdose you shouldn’t be afraid to do so.

These laws have been put in place so you have immunity from arrest and prosecution when trying to help a victim of an overdose.

What should you know about Narcan?

Narcan and fentanyl overdose go hand-in-hand. This is because naloxone acts as a temporary antidote for opioid overdoses. When it’s administered properly naloxone can restore a person’s normal breathing and consciousness. Further treatment will still be necessary due to the depression of breathing. The person who overdosed should be taken to the hospital immediately.

Unfortunately, Narcan revival isn’t without some risks. You need to be aware of the risks of Narcan revival which may include:

  • Increased blood pressure: This is the most common side effect.
  • Nasal dryness, swelling, inflammation or congestion
  • Musculoskeletal pain
  • Headache

 

Some people who are revived with Narcan may become assaultive upon regaining consciousness. For your safety, this is something you should be prepared to manage.

Treating Fentanyl Addiction

Treatment for fentanyl overdose is similar to treatment for other addictions. You should receive a combination of both medication and behavioral therapy. This combination is the most effective way to treat your addiction.

Medication Assisted Treatment Options

Fentanyl Overdose Symptoms

Two of the more popular medications that are used to help you withdraw from fentanyl include buprenorphine and methadone. They work by binding the opioid receptors in your brain that were influenced by fentanyl. In doing so they help to reduce cravings and withdrawal symptoms.

Naltrexone is another medication that’s frequently used. It blocks your body’s opioid receptors that that fentanyl doesn’t have any affect.

Counseling for Fentanyl Dependence

You should also seek counseling along with any medication your doctor may prescribe for your fentanyl addiction. Behavioral therapy will help you modify your attitude and behavior related to drug use. At the same time, they’ll also help you increase your healthy living skills (e.g., ensuring you take your medication properly).

There are a few different types of therapy that you may find beneficial. These include:

  • Cognitive behavioral therapy helps modify your behavior regarding fentanyl use. It will also help you effectively manage your behaviors, triggers, and stress.
  • Contingency management is a voucher-based system in which you earn “points” for negative drug tests. These points can be used for items that encourage healthy living.
  • Motivational interviewing is a patient-centered type of counseling style in which your mixed feelings regarding change are addressed.

Getting Help for a Fentanyl Addiction

Fortunately, you can overcome an addiction to fentanyl. When you start exploring fentanyl treatment options you’ll find that our evidence-based medication and therapy are the best treatment around. At Pathfinders Recovery Center we want you to regain control of your life. So, if you need help obtaining your sobriety, get in contact with us today.

The Benefits of Stopping Drinking

Why You Might Need Help to Stop Drinking

One of the hardest things for many people to admit is if they need help to stop drinking.

Alcohol plays a big part in most people’s lives, with many people drinking when socializing with friends or family.

Some people drink for other reasons, including as a way to deal with stress or to deal with mental health issues.

Alcohol does not help these issues and can, in fact, make them worse.

The best way to get help to stop drinking is to attend an alcohol abuse treatment program.

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Understanding Alcohol Abuse Treatment

When someone has a problem with drinking too much alcohol, it can affect many different parts of their lives.

These effects can range from negative physical and mental health effects to problems at work and with relationships.

Alcohol abuse treatment helps people with a drinking problem in a few different ways.

These programs typically combine both medical and behavioral treatments.

With these two things, alcohol rehabs help their clients learn what led to their alcohol abuse, as well as ways to avoid drinking in the future.

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How Alcohol Abuse Can Affect Your Health

One of the most important things we discuss at alcohol abuse treatment is how alcohol can negatively affect your health.

This is a major reason why people need to seek help to stop drinking.

Alcohol causes damage to your heart. This can lead to an irregular heartbeat, damage to your heart muscle, high blood pressure, heart attack, and stroke.

Many people who attend alcohol abuse treatment also have problems with their liver.

Alcohol abuse can cause problems including a fatty liver, cirrhosis, fibrosis, and something called alcoholic hepatitis.

This serious inflammation of the liver can cause damage to the cells in your liver, and even cell death.

Alcoholic hepatitis can cause death if it is very serious.

Another major health risk of alcohol abuse is cancer.

People who abuse alcohol are more likely to develop certain kinds of cancer, including throat, liver, breast, and colon cancers.

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Mental Illness and Alcohol Abuse Treatment

Another issue we often discuss at our alcohol abuse treatment center is the ways that alcohol abuse can affect your mental health.

Even if you did not have mental health issues before you needed help to stop drinking, you can still experience mental health symptoms.

This is because people who abuse alcohol are much more likely to have problems with anxiety, depression, and handling stress.

Alcoholism is a chronic disease because of the way that alcohol abuse changes how your brain transmits chemicals.

Because alcohol is a depressant, this means that it makes you feel relaxed by slowing down your nervous system.

In the short term, this can make mental health problems go away.

In the long term, your brain forgets how to regulate itself when you are not drinking.

When someone who needs help to stop drinking is sober, they often feel increased levels of depression and anxiety.

This leads to them continuing to abuse alcohol in order to try and feel better.

This is another reason why there are benefits in stopping drinking.

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How Stopping Drinking can Benefit You

Getting back to a place where you feel healthy again is one of the main reasons to go to alcohol abuse treatment.

There are many ways that getting help to stop drinking can benefit your overall health. The benefits of stopping drinking vary from person-to-person, but overall, there are various benefits that will help you live an addiction-free life.

These can include:

  • Healthier Skin – Many people who need help to stop drinking have problems with their skin. This is because alcohol can cause issues such as chronic dehydration, jaundice, broken capillaries, and reduced collagen levels. All of these can make your skin look red, dull, or aged. When you stop drinking, your skin will gradually improve as these issues clear up.
  • Better Sleep – Many people may think that alcohol makes them sleep better, but the opposite is true for people who abuse alcohol. Alcohol interferes with your sleep cycles, making it harder to get a restful night’s sleep. Getting sober will help you to relearn better sleeping habits.
  • A Healthier Weight – Alcohol has no nutritional value, and yet is full of calories. This makes weight gain very common for people who need help to stop drinking. When you stop drinking, you will be consuming fewer calories which can help you lose weight.
  • Better Mental Health – Stopping drinking will not on its own cure a mental health problem. But it can help make the symptoms much more manageable. This is because your brain will relearn how to regulate chemicals like it is supposed to, helping you have more even emotions and fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety.
  • A Stronger Immune System – Another side effect of alcoholism is a weakened immune system. This means that you are more likely to get sick with colds, the flu, and even pneumonia when you abuse alcohol. As soon as you stop drinking your immune system will improve, and you will likely experience fewer illnesses.
  • A Lower Risk of Cancer, Heart, and Liver Problems – It is best that you get help to stop drinking before it causes any major health problems. But even if you are having symptoms of some issues, there are still reasons to quit drinking. As soon as you stop drinking alcohol, your body can repair some types of alcohol-related damage. What is more important is that you will not inflict any further damage on your organs, and your risk of getting alcohol-related cancers will drop as well.

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How can you get Help to Stop Drinking?

No matter what led you to need alcohol abuse treatment, getting help is the answer to stop drinking.

There are many treatment options available at our alcohol treatment center that help you stop drinking.

We offer both medical and behavioral treatment programs.

Medical programs involve using medicines that are approved to help alcoholics to stop drinking.

There are three different options: disulfiram, naltrexone, and acamprosate.

Each of these drugs works by either making drinking uncomfortable, making you unable to get drunk, or helping to reduce cravings for alcohol.

Behavioral treatment programs are the most important part of alcohol abuse treatment.

They help you to see the thoughts and behaviors that were leading to your alcohol abuse.

At Pathfinders Recovery Center, we encourage clients to try both individual and group therapy sessions to fully understand the benefits of stopping drinking.

We also believe that clients with families should consider family therapy as well.

Having a strong family bond helps you to have a better support system when your alcohol abuse treatment program is completed.

Family therapy will help by working to repair any damage that your alcohol abuse caused within the family unit and lower your chances of experiencing a relapse.

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Get the Help You Need at Alcohol Rehab

There are many reasons that led our clients to need alcohol abuse treatment.

That is why we offer a range of treatment options to suit every client and every situation.

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

Our premier addiction treatment centers are located in upscale areas throughout the Scottsdale, Arizona area.

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 help ensure your success by using only scientifically researched, 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 help cover their treatment.

That is why we accept most major insurances through our free insurance verification.

Simply give us a call and one of our addiction specialists can check to see how much of your treatment program will be covered by your insurance before you begin treatment.

You can trust us to communicate with your insurance provider to ensure that you receive every benefit that you are entitled to.

Do not let alcohol continue controlling your life and negatively impacting your health.

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

Contact us today and see the difference getting our rehab programs can make to ensure that you are around to practice law for years to come.

Recovering Alcoholics in Relationships

What to Know About Recovering Alcoholics in Relationships

Recovering alcoholics in relationships faces unique challenges.

This is true because your relationships and home life have a major impact on your state of well-being.

Solid relationships may help make your recovery easier.

However, dysfunctional ones have the potential to send your recovery spinning far off-track.

In a worst-case scenario, you may find yourself undoing all your hard work and returning to your old drinking ways.

No one wants to go through this kind of painful setback.

The good news is that recovering alcoholics in relationships can get help.

For some people, that help might come in the form of couples therapy.

If you have children or other loved ones, family therapy may also play an essential role in your recovery.

These options can be used separately or together to help improve your home life and support your sobriety.

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The Impact of Alcoholism on Current Relationships

Alcoholism and serious alcohol abuse are both part of an illness called alcohol use disorder, or AUD. Both of these interconnected issues can do major damage to your intimate and family relationships. For example, alcoholism can lead you to:

  • Make drinking your top personal priority, not your relationships
  • Stop taking part in other activities that you or your partner once enjoyed

Serious, non-addicted alcohol abuse can lead you to:

  • Neglect key responsibilities that your family depends on you for
  • Keep drinking even when you know that your relationships are suffering as a result
  • Use alcohol in dangerous situations that put you or your family at-risk

You can experience any combination of these problems. Why? Alcoholism and alcohol abuse are often overlapping conditions. This means that you can suffer from both of them at the very same time.

What types of problems occur in the relationships and families of alcoholics? Specific issues vary from person to person. However, some of the most common problems include:

  • Loss of communication between partners or family members
  • A decline of caring or loving interactions in your relationship or family unit
  • A rise in negative interactions
  • An inconsistent or chaotic day-to-day environment
  • Outbursts of anger, aggression, or even outright violence

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The Impact of a Stressful Relationship on Your Alcoholism Risks

The link between relationship problems and alcoholism runs in both directions. What does this mean? Not only does alcoholism increase your risks for a disrupted personal life. Pre-existing disruptions in your personal life can increase your risks for developing alcoholism. Specific reasons for this include:

  • Turning to alcohol as a stress reliever for relationship conflict
  • Drinking to cope with depression, anxiety, or other negative feelings

 

Therapy Options for Recovering Alcoholics in Relationships

Couples Therapy or Counseling

While in treatment, recovering alcoholics in relationships may receive help in the form of Behavioral Couples Therapy, or BCT. You may also receive similar forms of couples counseling. Couples therapy and counseling are often given to you and your partner at the same time. However, you may also speak with your therapist or counselor on your own.

How does BCT or couples counseling work? Key goals include helping you:

  • Learn how to problem solve within your relationship
  • Improve your ability to communicate with your partner
  • Decrease negative behaviors and increase caring behaviors
  • Enhance the general quality of your relationship

As a rule, BCT and couples counseling are for people in committed relationships. Many participants are married. In contrast, others are not. Couples therapy and counseling work alongside other aspects of your alcohol treatment. Important benefits for your relationship and alcohol recovery include:

  • Reinforcing your dedication to achieving and maintaining sobriety
  • Helping you avoid alcohol-related harm
  • Improving the overall quality of your relationship
  • Decreasing your chances of divorcing or separating if you are married

Learn More About Treatment at Pathfinders for Recovering Alcoholics in Relationships 

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Family Therapy or Counseling

While in treatment, recovering alcoholics in relationships may also receive family therapy or counseling. One well-regarded option here is Family Behavior Therapy, or FBT. This therapy focuses on two main areas. The first of these areas is the impact of alcoholism on your and your family unit. The second is the impact of other related issues on you and your family. Examples of these issues include:

  • Various kinds of family conflict not related to your drinking
  • Other mental health issues
  • Unemployment and other economic issues

The aim of FBT is to get your and your family members to change harmful behaviors. Those behaviors may stem from your drinking. They may also be things that make you more likely to abuse alcohol. Each person involved in the therapy helps decide on specific behavior goals. The unit as a whole also has its own goals. Periodically, you and your therapist review the progress of FBT. Goals that are met are rewarded by you or other family members.

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Continuing Care for Recovering Alcoholics in Relationships

Relationship concerns do not disappear automatically when you finish alcohol treatment. The same holds true for your risks for relapse. For these reasons, it is crucial to maintain your access to professional help after rehab. How do you do this? By enrolling in a long-term rehab or aftercare program.

Continuing care often takes place in a treatment facility. As a rule, it takes less of a time commitment than your original treatment. However, it still provides you with the things you need in your quest for sobriety and stable relationships. Continuing care is so important that it is now a standard recommendation. That is not just true for recovering alcoholics in relationships. It is true for everyone recovering from a serious substance problem.

Dating for Recovering Alcoholics

If you are not already in a relationship, should you start one while in alcohol recovery? In early recovery, this is generally considered to be a risky idea. You are in a vulnerable place while in alcohol treatment, and that vulnerability may continue for quite some time.

Even in the best of circumstances, relationships can be trying. Attempting to start one while recovering from alcoholism may just be too much for you. This is especially true before you establish a lasting pattern of alcohol abstinence. Some treatment programs make you commit to staying out of relationships throughout your enrollment.

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Learn More About Recovering Alcoholics in Relationships

Questions about recovering alcoholics and relationships are common. That is because so many relationships in the U.S. are negatively impacted by problem drinking. If you have major relationship problems, addressing them may be essential for your lasting recovery. Why? When left unaddressed, these kinds of problems can destabilize your daily routine. In turn, an unstable routine and home life may leave you at higher risk for a relapse.

If this kind of unwanted scenario sounds familiar to you, you have something in common with others all across the country. But you are not fated to live with relationship problems for the rest of your days. Couples and family therapy will help you turn things around. These therapies are often used as part of alcohol treatment. You can also continue them once you complete your primary rehab program. With their help, you will develop the skills needed to resolve your issues and support your sobriety.

For more information on recovering alcoholics and relationships, contact Pathfinders today. Our specialists will help you understand exactly how relationships and family issues affect you. And if you need treatment for alcoholism, our in-house therapy and counseling will support you every step of the way.

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What Does an Alcoholism Treatment Program Entail?

Alcoholism

Alcoholism, also known as alcohol dependence or alcohol abuse can be referred to as a condition where an individual is addicted to alcohol and cannot do without consuming an excessive amount within an unreasonable period.

This condition then results in other mental or physical illnesses.

Some of the mental illnesses associated with alcoholism include schizophrenia, anxiety disorders, suicidal intentions — amongst others.

Physical disease conditions involved with alcoholism include cancer of the lung, disassociation from reality, or losing touch with reality, amongst others.

Although alcoholism could be said to result in the above listed mental illnesses, the report also shows that those above listed mental illnesses such as panic disorders, anxiety disorders, suicide intentions, depression, amongst others could also form the basis for this condition called alcoholism.

The medical diagnosis for individuals with alcoholism can be referred to as Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD).

An unreasonable intake of alcohol has been said to affect vital organs in the body such as the heart, the liver, the brain, and the pancreas.

It could also be responsible for shutting down the immune system of an individual in its entirety.

The environment we live in plays a huge role in those who are addicted to alcohol.

What this means is the increase in the stress level of an individual coupled with the fact that alcohol is a relatively cheap thrill contributes in a large way to the outrageous amount of individuals who are dependent on alcohol.

Genetics also plays a very important role in determining alcoholism in individuals.

This is because research has shown that individuals who have chronic alcoholics as members of their immediate families are three to four times more likely to become alcohol addicts or abuse alcohol as opposed to the average individual.

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Causes of Alcoholism

There is no definite medical cause for alcoholism or alcohol use disorder.

The best that can be explained is when it is grouped into two types namely the environmental factor as well as the genetic factor.

It is said that the use of alcohol leads to alcohol addiction or alcohol disorder when the individual drinks to the extent that chemical changes begin to materialize in that person’s brain.

Alcoholism can also be said to develop as a result of trying to give in to the discomfort that comes with a withdrawal syndrome. This simply means that the individual gets to a stage where they cannot do with alcohol because their body system would not be alright until they have taken such substance.

Consequently, the individual gives in to the whims and caprices of the alcohol or any other substance and becomes very uncomfortable and experiences withdrawal syndrome when not given alcohol.

Withdrawal symptom is also a very terrible thing to experience as it could lead to a life-threatening situation.

This is why during medical detox, the process should not be rushed and should be taken slow and steadily so everybody affected by it gets to slowly ease into the therapy process and find solutions.

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Symptoms of Alcoholism

Identifying an alcohol addict is as easy as learning the alphabet. This because they exhibit certain physical behaviors which are very obvious to see.

Although these symptoms are not water-tight, they provide insight or guidance as to the behaviors put up by alcoholics.

Some of these behaviors include the following:

  • Having little or no regard for personal hygiene
  • Drinking in solitude
  • Having a high tolerance level to excessive alcohol intake
  • Drinking at every single chance one gets
  • Resorting to drinking when faced with any sort of challenge
  • Craving alcohol unprovoked
  • Involuntary tremors and blacking out right after drinking
  • Eating less, drinking more
  • Throwing violent fits immediately after alcohol intake
  • Secluding one’s self from social events to be able to drink alcohol

These are but a few of the plethora of symptoms alcoholics put up.

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Alcoholism Treatment Centers

The United States of America contains a huge amount of alcohol-dependent individuals. This is because alcohol is easily accessible and legal at a certain age. It is also relatively inexpensive to purchase and could be gotten at convenience. Given how these factors contribute to the increase in alcohol use disorders, it is only natural that institutions be put in place to ensure that individuals get treatment for this disorder.

Most addiction treatment centers provide rehab for both alcohol and drug addiction patients alongside detox services. However, exclusive alcohol rehab centers also exist. These centers offer various treatment programs to suit the unique situation of each patient. Some of these alcohol addiction treatment programs include in-patient treatment services, detoxification, out-patient treatment services, partial hospitalization treatment services as well as care services in some cases.

What Does An Alcoholism Treatment Program Entail? - Pathfinders - A group of individuals in an alcoholism treatment program is engaging in a group therapy session as part of their treatment plans.

Inpatient Treatment Programs

Residential rehab programs are the most highly recommended for individuals with chronic or severe alcohol addiction. This treatment program entails the individual being a resident at the alcohol addiction treatment center for as long as the treatment would last. This treatment program is however expensive as opposed to the other treatment programs available.

It is also advised that before proceeding to the next phase of the healing process, the individuals become full residents of the alcohol addiction centers while carrying out detoxification. This would ensure that the individual stays away from temptations to go back to drinking alcohol. The same goes for residents for the second phase of the alcohol addiction treatment. It is important and highly beneficial to be a resident as you get to experience communal living while also staying clean all through the rehabilitation process. As regards cost, people with health insurance policies would be subsidized to a considerable rate and if you can still not afford to be a resident at a private addiction treatment institution, there is still the option of state-owned rehab centers. Although, you would have to be subjected to the waiting lists available in these institutions.

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Outpatient Treatment Programs

Outpatient treatment programs are ideal for individuals who still want to experience communal living while recovering from alcohol addiction but can either not afford it, does not have the time for it, or has just a mild case of alcohol addiction. Regardless, this treatment program is just as effective as the in-treatment program. It also has its upsides as it is less expensive and the patient gets to visit the treatment center at least three times during the weekday and does not have to come on weekends at all.

Detoxification

Some treatment centers do not offer treatment for alcohol detoxification alongside the other programs available, however, some centers do. The process of detoxification essentially entails flushing out the alcohol from the system of the addict to prepare them for the therapy process as well as detachment from alcohol. Several individuals withdrawal symptoms when this occurs and it could range from mild to severe.

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Conclusion

Conclusively, Pathfinders Recovery Center provides the services discussed in this article and as such, you do not need to bother about the best place to get treatment for alcohol addiction.

Our members of staff are highly committed and dedicated to the cause and are ever interested in the recovery procedure of every individual in their care.

Alcohol addiction is not a pleasant situation to be in. However, with help from the right people, it could be overcome.

How Can You Get Sober From Alcohol?

How to Become Sober

If you think that you have been drinking too much alcohol, you may wonder how to become sober.

This is a crucial question to ask since many heavy drinkers are either addicted or in danger of becoming addicted.

Even without being addicted to alcohol, your drinking may cause you serious harm.

In fact, over 14 million Americans have diagnosable alcohol abuse problems.

If you fit into this category, you are far from alone.

If your drinking is out of control, you may feel down about the chances of ever getting sober.

But, with expert advice and help, you can achieve this crucial goal.

Just keep reading to learn more about how to become sober if you have drinking problems.

How Can You Get Sober from Alcohol? - Pathfinders Recovery Center - A woman is questioning, "How can you get sober from alcohol?" as she sits at her counter with another glass of wine.

Alcohol Use and Alcohol Problems

In the typical month, slightly more than half of all Americans over the age of 12 drink alcohol. You have the highest chances of being a drinker if you are between the ages of 18 and 25. However, alcohol use is widespread across age groups.

Most people do not drink in ways that endanger their health. Still, millions of Americans either:

  • Binge on alcohol and end up drunk in a maximum of two hours’ time
  • Engage in a dangerous pattern of heavy drinking

Young adults are the most likely to binge drink. Adults over the age of 25 are the most likely to drink heavily. Both binging and heavy drinking boost your chances of developing alcohol use disorder, or AUD. This is the official name for an illness that includes both alcoholism and damaging, non-addicted alcohol abuse. Other things that can increase your risks for this disorder include:

  • Starting to drink when you are 14 or younger
  • The presence of mental illness
  • Having a history of any kind of serious trauma
  • Belonging to a family with a history of alcoholism or alcohol abuse

You can avoid developing AUD by reducing your alcohol use or quitting altogether. You can also recover from this illness if you are already affected.

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Determining If You Need Help

Can you tell on your own if the question of how to become sober applies to you? In many cases, yes. For example, it is relatively easy to tell if you are a binge drinker. If you have a pattern of getting drunk in no more than two hours, you fit this definition. It usually takes men five alcohol servings, or drinks, to reach this threshold. For the average woman, it takes just four drinks.

You can also tell if you have a pattern of drinking heavily. Men do this whenever they consume at least four alcohol servings, or drinks, in a single day. Women do this whenever they consume at least three alcohol servings in a single day.

If you are already affected by alcoholism, you may have symptoms that include:

  • An inability to control when and how much you drink
  • The need to drink in increasing amounts before you feel alcohol’s effects
  • Creating a routine that puts a priority on drinking or drinking-related activities
  • Having a history of unsuccessful attempts to quit using alcohol
  • Going through alcohol withdrawal if you stop drinking

If you are already affected by non-addicted abuse, you may be affected by things such as:

  • Work, home, or school problems related to your drinking
  • A level of drinking that damages your ability to maintain relationships
  • A habit of driving while drinking or doing similarly risky things

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How to Become Sober: First Steps

When thinking about how to become sober, one important question is where to begin. Experts recommend starting by speaking with your primary care physician. While not addiction specialists, these doctors are excellent initial resources. Specific things your primary doctor can do include:

  • Assessing your general health
  • Seeing if your current drinking behaviors place you at risk for alcohol problems
  • Giving you a brief intervention that helps you change your risky drinking
  • Checking to see if you already have diagnosable AUD symptoms
  • Helping you understand your options if you do have AUD
  • Directing you toward suitable treatment resources if you need help

How to Become Sober: Alcohol Detox

If you are addicted to alcohol, you will need to go through detox when your recovery begins. During this time, you stop drinking and withdraw from the alcohol still in your system. Alcohol withdrawal is potentially risky and has side effects ranging from minor to severe or life-threatening. For this reason, you should always go through detox under the guidance of medical professionals.

Many people in alcohol detox receive some kind of medication to make the process easier. All people in detox receive supportive care. That’s the name for comfort- and safety-enhancing actions such as:

  • Making sure your vital signs are stable
  • Helping you stay hydrated
  • Feeding you a nutritionally sound diet
  • Using supplements to offset any major nutritional deficiencies
  • Helping to ensure that you rest and sleep

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How to Become Sober: Active Treatment

The quest for stable sobriety goes far beyond detox. Once alcohol is out of your system, you must enter an active treatment program. People in high-quality alcohol rehab receive two main forms of help while in treatment. First, they receive medication designed to:

  • Make it easier to avoid a relapse back into drinking
  • Diminish the appeal of taking a drink
  • Undo some the damage that alcohol has done to your system

Modern alcohol rehab also includes some form of behavioral counseling or therapy. Several different therapy approaches are known to help during alcohol recovery, including:

  • CBT, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
  • Family counseling
  • Marriage counseling
  • Motivational Enhancement Therapy

How Can You Get Sober from Alcohol? - Pathfinders Recovery Center - A group of individuals in residential rehab for alcoholism is discussing topics, such as: "How can you get sober from alcohol?"

Mutual Self-Help Groups

During and after treatment, enrollment in a mutual self-help group will also help you stay sober. The most famous drinking-related group is Alcoholics Anonymous. However, other options also exist. All self-help groups use a peer system to provide support and reinforce your commitment to sobriety.

How to Become Sober: Aftercare

When you complete treatment, you may no longer be asking how to get sober from alcohol. Instead, the pressing question becomes: How you can remain sober? For most people, a major factor in avoiding drinking is aftercare or continuing care. Aftercare programs keep you in touch with knowledgeable addiction specialists. In fact, help is often provided in a lower level of formal alcohol treatment. You can also support your efforts remotely with the help of smartphones, or computer sobriety apps.

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Learn More About How To Get Sober From Alcohol

If you suspect you have a drinking problem, you very well may be right. Or maybe someone else notices that you may have a problem. In either case, the best thing you can possibly do is seek help as soon as you can. Unless you take this critical step, you may be setting yourself up for major, damaging changes in your everyday life. No one should go through this kind of turmoil when professional help available.

A visit to your primary doctor will help determine if you are using alcohol in dangerous ways. It will also help determine if you currently have a diagnosable case of alcohol use disorder. If you do not have AUD, your doctor will help you avoid future problems. If you do have AUD, your doctor will help you get your recovery underway. Your path to sobriety will likely include detox, active treatment, and aftercare.

Have questions about how to become sober? The experts at Pathfinders will help you find the answers. Every day, we direct concerned drinkers toward resources that promote healthy change.

Pathfinders is also a top provider of treatment services for people with alcohol use disorder. Regardless of the seriousness of your AUD symptoms, our in-house programs will support your recovery. From detox to aftercare, we feature evidence-backed options for any situation.

Signs and Symptoms That You Need Rehab

What is Rehab?

The term rehab is used to refer to the many types of addiction programs available to people with a drug or alcohol problem.

These programs are designed to help people to stop using drugs and give them tools to get back on track to a happy, healthy life.

However, the path to recovery is different for every person.

Not every drug rehab or alcohol rehab program is right for everyone.

That is why it is important to learn about the different rehab options that are available.

This will help you to choose the program that is going to best fit your individual needs.

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.

Understanding Rehab

For every person dealing with an addiction, the first step in overcoming it is admitting that you have a problem.

This first step can be one of the most difficult parts of the recovery process.

Some people need a push from a friend or relative who is concerned about their health.

Others come to us directly because they realized that they have a problem and need to go to alcohol rehab or drug rehab.

No matter what led you to rehab, you need to understand the importance of getting sober for your health, as well as for the people in your life who love you.

You are unlikely to succeed in a treatment program if you cannot admit that you have a problem or are not committed to completing treatment.

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What is an Addiction?

Addiction is a chronic brain disease that causes a person to use alcohol or drugs even if they want to quit.

This is because these substances change the way that your brain works. When alcohol or drugs enter your system, they interact with your reward circuit.

This is the part of your brain that makes you feel happy and relaxed.

These substances then make your brain release a flood of the chemical dopamine, which creates a feeling of euphoria.

Your brain usually releases dopamine in small amounts when you do things that make you happy.

When substances make your brain get a lot of dopamine all at once, it makes it harder for your brain to release dopamine naturally.

This makes your brain crave drugs in order to make you feel good.

The longer you abuse alcohol or drugs, the harder it becomes for you to stop.

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How to Tell if You Have an Addiction

There are as many different side effects of addictions as there are addictive substances.

Some people who have been using drugs for a long time may show obvious signs of drug addiction.

Sometimes people are good at hiding their addiction. If you are the one that is abusing drugs or alcohol, it may be hard to see that you have a problem.

There are some signs that you can look for that indication that you or someone you know might have a drug problem.

These include:

  • Changing your friend groups, or avoiding friends entirely
  • A loss of interest in doing things that you used to enjoy
  • Not caring about your physical health or appearance
  • Being overly tired and sad
  • Eating more or less than usual
  • Being very energetic, talking fast, or saying things that do not make sense
  • Being in a bad mood or having angry outbursts
  • Sudden or extreme mood swings
  • Not being able to sleep, or sleeping too much
  • Missing important appointments
  • Having problems at work or at school
  • Having problems in personal or family relationships

If more than one or two of these situations apply to you, there is a chance that you have an addiction. Now is the time to start considering entering a rehab program so that you can get the help that you need.

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.

The Different Types of Rehab Programs

When it comes to both drug rehab and alcohol rehab, there are some similarities. Both of these types of rehab offer different levels of care to suit every addiction situation. These levels include:

  • Intensive Outpatient Treatment – This type of treatment program is best suited to clients with moderate addictions. It allows you to attend your recovery program at our facility on set days of the week and then return home for the night. It is a good option for people with work or family obligations that must be accommodated in order for them to attend treatment.
  • Partial Hospitalization Programs – PHP programs are best suited to clients who are also dealing with both addiction and mental health problems. It provides in-depth care that allows us to treat both issues at the same time. This process is the key to ensuring a lasting recovery when mental health problems are present.
  • Residential Treatment – This is one of the main types of rehab programs in the country today. It is best for people with serious addictions, or that have a dual diagnosis. Residential treatment provides the highest level of care because you must live at our facility to receive treatment. This allows us to give you round-the-clock care.
  • Long-Term Rehab – This type of rehab program is reserved for clients with the most serious levels of addiction. Whereas other programs usually last 30 to 90 days, long-term programs can last 6 months or more. For long-term drug or alcohol abusers, this program can be very helpful in preventing relapse.

What is Detox?

For many of our patients, detox is the first step on their recovery journey.

This professionally supervised process allows us to help you get all of the drugs or alcohol out of your system.

By first getting all of the substances out of your system, you will be better able to focus on your rehab plan.

Detox can be an uncomfortable experience. Alcohol withdrawal can cause anxiety, depression, fatigue, insomnia, mood swings, and more.

Drug withdrawal can cause the same issues along with more physical symptoms like nausea, vomiting, constipation, and muscle aches. By detoxing at our rehab facility, you are able to take advantage of our medical detox program.

This allows us to give you medications that make withdrawal symptoms easier to deal with and your detox process smoother.

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Behavioral Treatment Options

One of the most important parts of a rehab program is behavioral treatment or therapy. These treatments help you to find a lasting recovery from your addiction. Three of the most common include:

  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) which helps patients become aware of situations that trigger drug use. This allows you to avoid these situations or cope with them when they are unavoidable. It also focuses on teaching you ways to better deal with stress.
  • Family therapy is a great therapy option for clients whose addiction has led to issues in their family unit. It allows us to treat your family as a whole, while also rebuilding trust and strengthening the family bond.
  • Motivational interviewing (MI) helps a patient recognize how their behavior negatively affects their goals and give them tools to help change these habits.

When you enter care at our facility, we will work with you to decide which behavioral treatment is going to be right for you. Your sessions with a licensed counselor can take place in a one-on-one setting or in groups.

Many clients benefit from taking part in both individual and group sessions.

Being able to talk about your experiences with people who understand your situation helps you to build a community of support for your recovery.

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Getting the Help You Need at a Quality Rehab Center

At Pathfinders Recovery Center, we know exactly what it takes to get your life back from the difficulty of addiction.

Our premier addiction treatment centers are located in upscale areas throughout the Scottsdale, Arizona area.

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 help ensure your success by using only scientifically researched, 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 they will be able to take advantage of their health insurance benefits to help cover their treatment.

That is why we accept most major insurances through our free insurance verification.

Simply give us a call and one of our addiction specialists can check to see how much of your treatment program will be covered by your insurance before you begin treatment.

You can trust us to communicate with your insurance provider to ensure that you receive every benefit that you are entitled to.

Whether you are looking for an alcohol rehab program or a drug rehab program, we are here to help.

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

Contact us today to see the difference with how becoming sober can make your life change for the better.