Finding a Healthy Balance – Cassie Jackson at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival

Sundance - Cassie Jackson overcoming addiction

More Than Just Quitting Drugs and Alcohol, Overcoming Addiction is About Finding Harmony in Life.

When addiction takes control over someone’s life, the effects are widespread. Drug and alcohol abuse affects the individual physically, causing toxic damage to the body and brain and affecting eating habits and sleeping routines. It also warps a person’s perception of the world around us and alters thought processes, reducing their ability to think logically and rationally about things. Addiction also has devastating effects on an individual spiritually, causing isolation from others and a sort of selfish and self-serving lifestyle.

To be perfectly clear, when we speak of spirituality, we are not talking about religion or and particular religious dogma. We understand that all of our patients come from unique backgrounds, and there are many different belief systems in our world. When we look at spirituality, we view it more as an understanding of the role we fill in the lives of others and our connection to the world around us. We don’t ask our patients to adhere to any form of spirituality that they are not completely comfortable with, and we do not base our treatment strategy in any particular religion.

One of the biggest parts of overcoming addiction is realizing how those personal connections have been damaged, straining friendships and damaging family bonds as the person places themselves and their addiction more and more at the center of the universe. When we realize that, we can begin to work on repairing those bonds wherever possible, and how to form new healthy and functional relationships that are not centered around drug or alcohol abuse. As we progress on the path to recovery from addiction, we begin to realize how important it is to share this message with others who may be struggling with substance abuse, to provide hope and inspiration and maybe even to save a few lives in the process.

That mission took us halfway across the country to Park City, Utah where the 2017 Sundance Film Festival was underway. We teamed up with our good friend Debbie Durkin of Durkin Entertainment, the leading producer of sustainable product placement in television and film, as a sponsor of the EcoLuxe Lounge, a special red-carpet event that she organizes at various awards ceremonies and festivals throughout the year. Showcasing some of the world’s top providers of holistic and eco-friendly goods and services, the 2017 Sundance EcoLuxe Lounge was held inside The Blue Iguana in Downtown Park City.

We were joined in the Choices Recovery Media Center by another good friend of ours, Gretchen Rossi of reality TV show “The Real Housewives of Orange County.” She filled the role of special guest host, spending her time speaking with dozens of the entertainment industry professionals and Hollywood insiders that stopped by The EcoLuxe Lounge that day. Among those guests was Cassie Jackson, a rising young actress, and daughter of Shar Jackson, another acting professional who had spoken with Gretchen earlier in the day.

Cassie talked about her experiences with substance abuse and how she was able to maintain friendships without getting caught up in that hectic and dangerous lifestyle. “I see what drugs have done,” she said. “I wouldn’t want to bring that into my life for the sake of the people around me. Everything that you do affects those around you, so I just try to keep that in mind whenever I make my decisions.” Far too many young people have this idea that they are not affecting anyone else when they make the decision to use drugs or alcohol, but they’re only fooling themselves. The consequences of their actions and decisions affect everyone else around them, too.

Cassie also spoke about the importance of setting personal boundaries. “If someone’s influencing someone negatively to do something that they’re uncomfortable with, definitely get away,” she advised. “My friends don’t try to pressure me into anything, but if someone’s trying to make you do something that you don’t want to do, eliminate them from your life.” Cassie’s message and advice is extremely valuable, especially in the modern age of constant influence through television and other media.

In overcoming addiction, finding harmony and balance in life is vital, and this will often require getting rid of our old “friends” that we used to use drugs or get drunk with. Even though we may miss them and the times we used to have with them, we must realize that our sobriety takes priority, because our decisions affect so many more people than just us.

Looking for Signs – Janell Flack in the 2017 Sundance EcoLuxe Lounge

Sundance - Janell Flack substance abuse

Addiction is not Always Easy to See, Especially when it’s Someone We Love.

Addiction is very sneaky. People who are struggling with substance abuse often become very good at hiding their drug or alcohol use. They can become very good at manipulation, and lying can become very natural. There is no end to the excuses that they can come up with for using, for ignoring their responsibilities, or for their broken promises. Denial is a very powerful thing.

Denial isn’t just limited to the person who is using, either. Many times, close friends and family members will also struggle with denial about the substance abuse of a person they care about. This is just as dangerous. It can enable their addictive behaviors, and in many cases will lead to avoiding reaching out for help. This is the most dangerous of all because sometimes we don’t realize just how badly someone needs help until it is too late.

Raising awareness about these issues and helping people identify when drugs or alcohol have become a problem in their life or in the life of someone that they care about is a big part of the fight against addiction that faces our society today. While the main role that Choices Recovery fills in that fight is offering effective treatment programs for those struggling with addiction, we understand that this is just one part of a mush bigger picture. We understand that there is much more that we can and should do to be a strong force in this battle.

Our commitment to being a source of hope and inspiration for those struggling with the effects of addiction is their lives took us to Park City, Utah during the 2017 Sundance Film Festival as a sponsor of The EcoLuxe Lounge, a red-carpet event that makes appearances at various awards ceremonies and festivals throughout the year. Organized by Debbie Durkin of Durkin Entertainment, the top producer of sustainable product placement in film and television, the EcoLuxe Lounge gathers some of the world’s leading producer of holistic and eco-friendly goods and services.

Inside the Blue Iguana in Downtown Park City, where the EcoLuxe Lounge was held, “The Real Housewives of Orange County” co-stars Gretchen Rossi and Slade Smiley spent the day hosting the Choices Recovery Media Center, chatting with dozens of the entertainment industry professionals who stopped by to visit. But producers, actors, and directors aren’t the only people who had stories to share with us. We also spoke with Janell Flack, a young lady who was working with the EcoLuxe as a Guest Ambassador.

Janell had heard why we were there as a sponsor of the EcoLuxe, and she wanted to tell us about her own personal experience with a loved one who was struggling with addiction. Having been adopted, she was very close in age with her brother, and they were basically raised as twins. The story she told us was about him.

“I knew that there was an issue going on,” Janell shared. “Me and my brother were best friends. We grew up as twins. After high school, he got a really good job and had all this money. As a 19-year-old, you don’t make the wisest of choices. It was very evident in his life that’s what was happening. It was very hard to see. It grabbed him so fast, I don’t think he saw what was happening.” Her story shows quite clearly the importance of knowing how to identify when someone that we care about is falling down the slippery slope of addiction – even when they are trying to hide it from us.

A few of the things we can look out for include:

  • Bloodshot or glazed eyes
  • Dilated or constricted pupils
  • Abrupt weight changes
  • Irritability
  • Changes in attitude/personality
  • Lethargy
  • Depression
  • Sudden changes in friends
  • Dramatic changes in habits or priorities
  • Financial or Legal problems

Choices Recovery is committed to helping in the fight against addiction in any way that we can. Knowing the signs and symptoms of substance abuse can help us to know when someone we care about is struggling with addiction and may need help. If we have suspicions, it’s always better to engage them than to sit in denial until it’s too late. Every day that passes in addiction is a gamble, but if we can identify the problem, we can work towards a solution. We can find a path out of darkness to a brighter, healthier, and more positive future.

Enjoying Sobriety – Nancy Yoon at Sundance 2017

Sundance - Nancy Yoon

Addressing a Common Fear of the Inability to have Fun Without Drugs or Alcohol.

One of the biggest fears we hear from people that come to Choices Recovery seeking help in overcoming an addiction is that they think they won’t be able to have fun without using drugs or alcohol. A lot of people start on that dangerous path by using socially – getting high at parties with friends, or maybe a few drinks after work to relax and let loose. It has become such an ingrained part of their routine that they begin to believe that life is boring without it. But this is simply not true.

Anybody who has gone through the recovery process can tell you that addiction is not fun. Though they might think that they are living life to the fullest and that things are so much more exciting when they are using, that is just the addiction lying to them. Only when they have broken free from the bonds of dependency on drugs and alcohol do they begin to realize just how trapped they were, and how hectic and terrible life really was when addiction was in control. They begin to understand that a clean and sober lifestyle is so much more enjoyable, especially when they can actually remember the fun times from the night before.

It is important to let people know that they will not only be able to have fun after they stop poisoning their bodies but that their lives will be so much more fulfilling once they have left that lifestyle behind and started living to their full potential. There are so many messages from all sides – through music or television or social media – that tell them how fun substance abuse is. If we hope to make a difference in the fight against addiction that our society faces, we must battle those messages with our own message of leading a more positive and enjoyable lifestyle through healthy decision-making.

This mission led us to Park City, Utah during the 2017 Sundance Film Festival as a sponsor of a special red-carpet event known as The EcoLuxe Lounge. Organized by Debbie Durkin of Durkin Entertainment, the top producer of on-screen sustainable product placement, the EcoLuxe makes appearances at several awards ceremonies and festivals throughout the year, gathering together some of the world’s leading innovators in eco-friendly and holistic goods and services.

Our good friend Gretchen Rossi, star of reality TV’s “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” was the special guest host of the Choices Recovery Media Center, and she spent the day chatting with dozens of the Hollywood insiders, industry professionals, and entertainers who visited The Blue Iguana in Downtown Park City, where the EcoLuxe Lounge was held. One of those visitors was Nancy Yoon, who has been seen in several TV shows and feature films over the years, including “Days Of Our Lives” and “CSI.”

Nancy and Gretchen talked about the substance abuse that is so prevalent, not just in the entertainment industry but also throughout our entire society. Many great performers have been taken from us far too early as a result of addiction. Yet, the problem still persists, and many people, especially our youth, seem to emulate celebrities, which can be very dangerous when it comes to using drugs and alcohol.

Nancy had a message for young rising stars in the entertainment industry, but it is a message that can be applied to anybody, young or old, rich or poor, inside Hollywood or in the rural communities across our nation. “I literally don’t drink, smoke, drugs, anything – I do nothing,” she says. “But I still have so much fun at every party, every event. You don’t need that. You just gotta bring your own spirit out, and be joyful.” True happiness and fulfillment in life come from within, not from something that you put into your body. And, with sobriety and healthy living, even the little things in life can bring joy and happiness. It’s all about perspective.

At Choices Recovery, we help our patients to find the things in life that bring them happiness and serenity. We help them to understand that life is so much better when they can see things clearly and think without drugs or alcohol clouding their minds. They learn that there are so many things in life to be grateful for and that there is so much beauty just waiting to be found. They understand the role they fill in the lives of others and the connection that they have with the universe around us. They graduate from our treatment center with a renewed feeling of self-confidence, strength, and hope.

Moving Forward – Julia Verdin at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival

Sundance - Julia Verdin

Combating the stigma attached to addiction is key in fighting this social epidemic.

Anybody who has watched a person that they care about struggle with substance abuse, or who has personally gone through that struggle, understands how difficult it is to ask for help. Often times this is a result of feelings of shame or guilt, sometimes because of the decisions they have made, or other times because of the damage they have caused. Sometimes, however, these feelings come from not wanting to be seen as one of “those people.”

There is a certain stigma attached to addiction – often people think of drug addiction or alcoholism as being limited to the guy living under the bridge drinking from a brown paper bag or hiding in a dark alleyway waiting for someone to rob. And these false preconceived notions can sometimes make people refuse to reach out for help and seek treatment when their lives have spun out of control.

It’s important to break through this stigma if we are going to effectively combat the epidemic of addiction that our society faces. Sharing information and educating people on the truth regarding addiction and recovery is the most powerful tool that we have at our disposal in these efforts. By reaching out to others to open discussions regarding these issues, we can show others who might be struggling with addiction that there is no shame in admitting that there is a problem and that they need help.

One of the best ways we have found to do this is through sponsorship of various events that allow us to speak frankly with people about addiction and recovery. Recently, we travelled to Park City, Utah during the 2017 Sundance Film Festival as the sponsor of The EcoLuxe Lounge, a showcase of some of the world’s leading innovators of holistic and eco-friendly services, technologies, and products, organized by Debbie Durkin of Durkin Entertainment, the industry-leading producer of on-screen sustainable product placement. The EcoLuxe Lounge, which makes appearances at various awards ceremonies and red-carpet events throughout the year, was held in The Blue Iguana in Downtown Park City and was visited by hundreds of entertainment industry professionals and Sundance Festivalgoers.

Hosting the Choices Recovery Media Center inside the EcoLuxe Lounge was our good friends Gretchen Rossi and Slade Smiley, stars of reality TV show “The Real Housewives of Orange County,” who spent her day speaking with dozens of actors, producers, and Hollywood insiders. Among them was Julia Verdin, who’s career has spanned over 30 years and has included acting, producing, casting director, and writer. Her most recent work, “Lost Girls,” is about the tragedy of human trafficking, and she understands how important the influence of her industry in the world.

The trio talked about how the two causes of addiction and human trafficking intersect. “There’s a big recovery element because when teenagers are trafficked, they’re often drugged,” she explains. “So, they have to go through extensive rehab, and organizations struggle with having enough resources to support.” This is very true in many aspects of addiction – and one of the ways we can combat this is by raising awareness. The more people know about the issues surrounding substance abuse, and about the various options in treatment that are available today, the better prepared our society will be to handle these problems in effective ways.

Julia also touched on the problem with stigmas. “People’s perception is that trafficking is something that goes on in third world countries, and it’s right here in our backyard,” she says of the cause behind her film. “People just want to kind of turn a blind eye and pretend it doesn’t exist.” The same is true with addiction. People may want to ignore it or pretend it isn’t that bad, which will only make things worse. “Families often struggle with enabling,” Julia points out. “They give them money, or more leeway, or keep bailing them out. People have to make that choice to recover. Whatever happens in life, we all have to make a choice.” Fighting the stigma that makes people want to ignore substance abuse until it is too late in perhaps the most important part of our mission in the battle against addiction.

At Choices Recovery, we are dedicated to making a difference in the world through working towards a safer, healthier, and more positive environment for everyone. With the help of people like Julia Verdin, we can continue to share our message of leading a clean and sober lifestyle, reaching more ears and touching more lives than we could on our own.

Understanding What it is Like for a Person to Relapse

The Path to Recovery

Making it through recovery treatment is one of the most rewarding feelings for a person. Gaining the confidence and courage to begin a path to recovery takes a lot for a person to do. Nothing beats the feeling of counting the days, months, and years clean, knowing that the hard work a person has put in for the recovery is paying off. It is something that is never easy for a person and can make the rest of their life more than they ever imagined.

Avoiding a relapse during recovery can be very tricky for people. Some people have abused substances for so long that they don’t know anything else in life. The life they once had has gone so far behind them they have lost hope to ever get it back, and begin to accept the life in their addiction. Addiction takes over someone’s life, every aspect of it.  While in recovery there are many things that will always temp a person to go back to their addiction. It takes strength for a person to get past these temptations. There are many things people go through to get the strength to deal with these temptations and get past them.

Learning Self-Control

During recovery addicts must learn self-control when tempted to use again. There are going to be many things that will tempt that addict. Self-control can be distractions, reminding yourself of what the consequences are and reminding yourself of how far you have come. It doesn’t matter if it has been 10 days in recovery or 10 years, a person will always come across temptations.

Loosing Self-Control and Relapsing

There might be a time where something happens in a recovering addict’s life that they were not prepared to deal with, or times may become too hard for a person and they give up. They relapse. Just because a person relapses does not mean that they weren’t trying or that they are not able to recover again. People may relapse many times before they finally get it and can recover from it. Relapsing can be shameful, embarrassing and disappointing. A person who tried to stay clean and relapsed is not proud of themselves.

What matters is what they choose to do after a relapse has occurred. It is ok to seek help again, it is ok to try again. No one is perfect and no one can fight addiction that easily! Relapsing isn’t something that someone simply chooses to do, it is simply a reality. The problem is, once it’s happened to you, it’s not so easy to face what’s happened. The tendency is to heap blame on yourself, to feel that somehow you should have been able to avoid a relapse. That’s counter-productive. There are more constructive way to face yourself after relapse.

Respond to Relapse Immediately

First, you need to act immediately. After your relapse, you can’t delay for several days or weeks. That will just compound the problem and prolong your relapse – maybe even make it worse. It’s also a mistake to think to yourself, “Oh, this is it. I’m going downhill and there’s nothing I can do about it.” That’s just not true. In fact, only you can take the steps to resume your recovery. Recognize that you slipped and double your efforts to overcome your cravings or urges. You don’t have to have all the answers right now. What’s most important is your desire to move past your slip-up and forward with your recovery.

Prepare to Make Major Changes

During treatment for addiction, you most likely worked out a game plan, a list of goals, and worked on effective coping skills. Once you entered the recovery stage, you may have become a bit overconfident in your ability to resist urges and cravings. You may have thought that you could have just one drink, or do a little bit of drugs, or gamble a set amount, or indulge your addiction in some small way. Even if you didn’t delude yourself that you could handle your urges by going slower, reducing your consumption or addictive behavior, you may have let your guard down. Perhaps this was an instance of you falling back in with friends you used to drink or do drugs with, or go gambling with, or whatever. It may be that you didn’t purge your surroundings of any temptations, which now serve as triggers.

Whatever you were doing, however, it’s obvious to you now that it didn’t work out quite like you planned. If it had, you wouldn’t have relapsed. You’ll need to make some major changes in your life now.

Some of the changes you should plan to make include making a list of the people, places and things that are dangerous to you. These are the situations that remind you or prompt the need to drink, do drugs, gamble, or engage in compulsive sexual activity, overeating, overwork or other addictive behavior. Next to each, start writing down ways that you can deal with these situations as they arise. This is your plan of attack, how you will navigate your way through the minefield of obstacles that are a threat to your sobriety.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction and/or relapsing do not hesitate to call for help, there is help for everyone and it is ok to need help at any point in recovery!

 

 

Dangers of Heroin Abuse During Pregnancy

heroin

Substance Abuse During Pregnancy

Being pregnant is one of life’s many blessings. The 9 months a baby spends in the womb are very important for staying healthy. These 9 months are very vital for the baby’s life. Anything that is taken in the mother’s body can have an effect on the baby. Using any substance during pregnancy is very bad for the baby and can cause the baby to have problems it will forever have to live with.

Problems Caused by Heroin Abuse During Pregnancy

  • Birth defects. These are health conditions that are present at birth. Birth defects change the shape or function of one or more parts of the body. They can cause problems in overall health, how the body develops, or in how the body works.
  • Placental abruption. This is a serious condition in which the placenta separates from the wall of the uterus before birth. The placenta supplies the baby with food and oxygen through the umbilical cord. Placental abruption can cause very heavy bleeding and can be deadly for both mother and baby.
  • Premature birth. This is birth that happens too early, before 37 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Low birthweight. This is when a baby is born weighing less than 5 pounds, 8 ounces.
  • Neonatal abstinence syndrome (also called NAS). NAS happens when a baby is exposed to a drug in the womb before birth and then goes through drug withdrawal after birth.
  • This is when a baby dies in the womb after 20 weeks of pregnancy.
  • Sudden infant death syndrome (also SIDS). This is the unexplained death of a baby younger than 1 year old.

  Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Heroin abuse during pregnancy can cause neonatal abstinence syndrome (NAS) NAS occurs when heroin passes through the placenta to the fetus during pregnancy, causing the baby to become dependent along with the mother. Symptoms include excessive crying, fever, irritability, seizures, slow weight gain, tremors, diarrhea, vomiting, and possibly death. NAS requires hospitalization and treatment with medication (often morphine) to relieve symptoms; the medication is gradually tapered off until the baby adjusts to being opioid-free. Methadone maintenance combined with prenatal care and a comprehensive drug treatment program can improve many of the outcomes associated with untreated heroin use for both the infant and mother, although infants exposed to methadone during pregnancy typically require treatment for NAS as well. The abuse of heroin during pregnancy can also cause premature birth, birth defects and still birth.

Although heroin abuse is dangerous period, especially during pregnancy, it is even more dangerous to just stop the heroin abuse alone. If someone is wanting to stop the abuse it is important to get help from a doctor. Not only does the mother become addicted the baby she is carrying becomes addicted as well, and immediately stopping could cause harm to the mother and the baby and possible death.

Many women attempt to stop using heroin on their own, but when they do, they develop unpleasant symptoms such as:

  • Nausea
  • Headaches
  • Involuntary jerking muscles
  • Queasiness

In addition to these symptoms, you might also feel a relentless desire to use heroin again. These cravings could lead you back to drug use, even if you never intended to use the drug again in order to protect your baby.

If you are pregnant and using heroin, you need to get help now. This is not something that you can take care of on your own. If you try to go “cold turkey” and quit drugs too quickly, you can cause the death of your baby. Scientists believe this occurs because the baby suddenly becomes hyperactive, then oxygen-deprived. For this reason, doctors usually withdraw mothers from heroin after the baby is born, or very gradually during pregnancy, sometimes by using a replacement drug like methadone. Your heroin use puts you at risk for some serious health conditions. For example, you have a 50 percent chance of developing heart disease, anemia, diabetes, pneumonia, and hepatitis during your pregnancy. These are much higher odds than the average mother faces. Heroin slows the growth of your child both during and after pregnancy. If you do not get medical care, it is four times more likely that your baby will die during your pregnancy or shortly after being born. The baby will simply be too small to survive.

If you or someone you know is abusing heroin pregnant or not, it is very important to get medical help right away! Do not hesitate to call for help today!

Staying Safe If Detoxing from Alcohol at Home

Detoxing at Home

It may come to the circumstances where detoxing from alcohol at home is the only option. If that is the case it is very important understand the precautions to take and make it a safe and comfortable experience. Detoxing from alcohol whether at home or in a facility can be very dangerous. Also, detoxing from home is not the full recovery treatment that is needed for one’s addiction. After care, therapy and medical attention play very big roles in the recovery process and are the best ways to reach the full potential of recovery.

How is alcohol detox dangerous?

Symptoms of alcohol withdrawal can vary widely in severity. In severe cases, the condition can be life-threatening. Symptoms may occur from two hours to four days after stopping alcohol. They may include headaches, nausea, tremors, anxiety, hallucinations, and seizures. Alcohol withdrawal syndrome is a set of symptoms that can occur following a reduction in alcohol use after a period of excessive use.

Alcohol withdrawal syndrome can result in the following physical and psychological symptoms:

  • Insomnia
  • Tremors
  • Anxiety
  • Digestive discomfort
  • Loss of appetite
  • Headache
  • Excessive perspiration
  • Heart palpitations
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures
  • Delirium tremens (DTs)

The extent of withdrawal symptoms depends on various things, Length of time abusing alcohol, the amount of alcohol that was being abused and the overall health of the person. Sometimes the detox of alcohol can be easier for some and for others it can be the worst experience they ever experience.

Steps to Take for at home Alcohol Detox

If at home alcohol detox is the only choice a person has, it is important that they are not alone. Before beginning the process, it is important to consult with a doctor first. It is important to have a plan for if an emergency occurs during the process. Outpatient treatment is also an option.

Come up with a Plan

to stop drinking from the start date, advises Alcoholism Solutions. The person should talk to a physician, who might prescribe medication on a reduced dosage to be taken for several days. Get rid of all alcohol products in the home. Have someone by your side to help guide you when you seem you have become off track.

Keep Healthy Foods in the Home

Have some herbs or nutritional supplements available to help you with withdrawals. Vitamins A, B3, B6, C, D and E are especially helpful along with milk thistle, beta-carotene, magnesium, glutamine, and primrose oil.

Keep an eye on Emotional or Physical Issues to Occur

During this process, it may become difficult to deal with emotional and physical issues. This is another reason it is important to have another person around during this process. It may become difficult when the process gets rough to complete needed tasks. If you are the other person dedicated to help and individual through this process it is important to watch for physical symptoms that may include loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, headaches, sweating, sleeping difficulties, tremors, enlarged or dilated pupils, or involuntary movements of the eyelids. Seek medical help if you have any questions or doubts about the person getting through the detox process.

At home alcohol detox is never recommended. If it is something that must happen and there are no other options, it is extremely important to take the precautions and step to do it safely. If you or someone you love is going to choose to go through the alcohol detox process whether it be at home or in  facility do not hesitate to call for help and answers today!

How to Help Someone who is in Denial About Their Addiction

Addiction

Dealing with an addiction of any kind is never easy, especially when addicted to drugs and alcohol for years and even decades. When you have a friend, or loved one who has become addicted to using any substance but they are in denial of their addiction, helping them may seem overwhelming and nearly impossible. However, with enough patience and understanding it is possible to help those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol to admit their addiction and to overcome it altogether, allowing them to regain control of their lives.

Get Educated

Any time you are attempting to help a friend or a loved one to overcome an addiction, it is essential to get educated on addiction and coping with them yourself. Understanding how addiction begins, treatments available and various rehab centers that are near you and that may be right for your loved one or friend. The more you know about addiction, the easier it is for you to understand any hesitation or resistance you are likely to be met with when talking to someone who is in denial about their addiction.

Be sure to research the specific types of substances your friend or loved one is addicted to as this helps to identify withdrawal signs and symptoms that can be easily identified in an individual who is suffering with an addiction.

Create a Dialogue

Creating a dialogue is the first step to communicating openly with an individual who has become addicted to using drugs or alcohol. Understanding why your loved one is using any substance is possible by talking openly about any potential issues or problems they may be facing in their everyday life. Becoming an active listener is necessary if you are working with someone who vehemently denies they are addicted to using drugs and alcohol, regardless of how resistant they are to discuss the issue. When you are actively listening, and engaging in conversation while allowing yourself to be a shoulder to lean on, you are more likely to have the ability to discuss the abuse of drugs and alcohol openly.

Keep an Open Mind

It is essential to keep an open mind when working with difficult individuals who are adamant about not having an addiction. Remaining attentive and understanding is imperative to keep your friend or loved one from isolating themselves and going further into their addiction. Always keeping an open mind and answering questions while offering support is one way to let the person know you are there for them, regardless of whether they are faced with an addiction of their own.

Offer Resources and Assistance

Offering resources and assistance is possible once you have created a dialogue with your loved one or friend and you are both comfortable discussing the use of drugs and alcohol with one another.

Begin researching both inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation treatment centers and facilities near you along with the type of activities and amenities each location has to offer. Researching the type of care that is available at each rehab center is a way for you to get your loved one to open their mind about regaining complete control of their life without the use of any substance, whether it is alcohol, prescription medications or even illicit street drugs. Conducting a bit of research on rehab centers is a way for you to begin a dialogue about seeking help for any trouble your loved one is in.

Overcoming an addiction and helping a friend or loved one to do so is not always easy, but it can ultimately allow them to get their life back on track for good. With enough time, effort, and commitment it is possible to help those who are in true denial of their addictions to let them go in order to begin living again without the need for any use of substances.

Understanding the Detox Process

detox

The First Step of the Detox Process

Making the decision to get help for an addiction can be a very tough one but very rewarding. Struggling with addiction and realizing help is needed is a big step. Deciding that treatment is the best option for addiction is the first step in the recovery process. Realizing there is a problem that needs help. The next step for successful recovery is detox.

What is Detox?

Detox is a process that safely gets an addict through the withdrawal stage and on the path for recovery. Detox is very important to get the substances out of the system and allow you to have a clear mind going into recovery. Detox can prevent unpleasant or fatal consequences resulting from sudden cessation of use and can aid you in becoming abstinent from drugs or alcohol. The goal of any detox program is physiological healing after long-term drug or alcohol addiction. First through stabilization, then through a period of detoxification.

First Stage of Drug Detox

The initial period of detoxification can be intense for many patients, and medical and psychiatric staff members will be on hand constantly to provide effective support. For example, within several hours after the last dose of heroin, those suffering from an addiction to the opioid will often experience some of the following withdrawal symptoms:

  • Sweating
  • Excessive yawning
  • Anxiety
  • Agitation
  • Muscle aches
  • Increasing watering of the eyes
  • Runny nose
  • Insomnia

Although these symptoms aren’t life-threatening, they can be quite uncomfortable, which is why it’s beneficial for these patients to receive psychiatric and medical care while detoxing from drugs. A number of issues can come up for patients in their first few hours of detox. The most urgent need will be addressed first, followed by the next and the next until full stabilization has been established. Some examples of possible issues include:

Violence

Some drugs can increase violent behaviors in users. For example, people who abuse synthetic cathinones, or “bath salts,” might be more at risk of hurting themselves or others. Patients who are a danger to others might require sedation or restraint to protect them and medical providers. These measures are only necessary if the patient becomes physically aggressive and attempts to harm staff members.

Symptoms of psychosis

Psychosis is a dangerous complication brought on by the effects of some drugs, such as cocaine. If someone uses excessive amounts of cocaine, they can become paranoid and even experience full-blown psychosis. Symptoms include visual and auditory hallucinations and delusional thinking. Other reasons for psychosis include the presence of a co-occurring mental health disorder, such as schizophrenia, or a lack of sleep due to stimulant use. Someone who is suffering from psychosis can behave erratically and become unpredictable. It’s important to address this issue and treat the patient appropriately before proceeding with further interventions.

Injury

In some cases, patients may have hurt themselves while under the influence of drugs or been physically or sexually assaulted before entering detox. For example, phencyclidine, or PCP, is a powerful dissociative drug that can cause feelings of increased strength and invulnerability. Due to this misconception, PCP users are likely to put themselves in harm’s way because they’re under the impression that they won’t get hurt. They’re also at an increased risk for suicidal behaviors, which can result in injury if suicide is not completed. Any physical injury must be treated immediately before addiction treatment is provided.

Medical illness

Many people who suffer from chronic, debilitating pain are prescribed opioid painkillers. Unfortunately, it’s possible to develop a dependence and subsequent addiction to these medications. As the patient begins to detox from the prescription opioid, their severe pain will return in addition to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms. It’s important to be aware of the individual’s medical history and treat the symptoms of pain appropriately before proceeding.

Threat to self

Withdrawal from opioids and other substances can be associated with severe depressive symptoms that might be connected to suicide attempts and completed suicides. Patients who exhibit suicidal behaviors or thoughts must be protected at all times. Once these acute issues have been assessed and identified during evaluation, they’ll immediately be treated until they have passed or the patient has been stabilized. At that time, attention and focus can turn to dealing with withdrawal symptoms associated with detox.

Detox Withdrawal Symptoms

The symptoms that are experienced during the detox can vary between multiple things depending on the user. Factors that influence individual experiences with withdrawal include:

  • The length of addiction. Daily use for an extended period of time can cause lead to high levels of tolerance and more severe withdrawal symptoms.
  • The combination of drugs abused, including alcohol. A comorbid dependence on drugs and alcohol can create a unique constellation of withdrawal symptoms, which might exacerbate one another.
  • The dose of the drug when the patient enters detox. Tolerance develops from persistent substance abuse. Thus, doses must be increased in order to feel the desired results. The higher the doses used, the more likely it is that withdrawal symptoms will be severe.
  • The existence of co-occurring physical or mental disorders. If a patient suffers from a mental health disorder such as depression or anxiety or a physical condition such as chronic pain, these symptoms could be amplified due to withdrawal and cause significant distress.
  • Half-life of the drug. In general, if the drug is short-acting, withdrawal symptoms will occur more immediately after the last dose. If it’s long-acting, withdrawal syndrome may be delayed a few days.

Common withdrawal symptoms that develop in association with a number of drug types include:

  • Mood disturbances. This can mean mood swings, irritability, and/or agitation.
  • Sleep disturbances. Insomnia despite intense fatigue is common.
  • Physical issues. These may include chills, sweating, tremors or shaking, as well as flu-like symptoms, including runny nose and headache, nausea, and vomiting.
  • The desire to use the drug of choice in order to stop the withdrawal symptoms is strong.

Types of Drug Detox

There are different types of detox. The specific types of substances having been abused as well as the spectrum of withdrawal symptoms experienced by the patient will influence which type of detox is appropriate. Some choices include:

  • Outpatient detox. It’s rare that this is recommended, but an outpatient program might be a good choice in relatively less severe cases of addiction, where regular check-ins with the treatment team and medication available by prescription or a methadone clinic can provide acceptable detox care. In instances where money is an issue or the patient must stay engaged at work or home, coming into an outpatient detox program regularly could provide adequate treatment.
  • Inpatient detox. In most cases, inpatient or residential detox is recommended in order to help patients avoid relapse and make sure that they have medical care in the event of an emergency. Most detox options are inpatient. Some are stand-alone programs will arrange for a seamless transfer to ongoing substance abuse treatment at detox completion, while others will be packaged with an inpatient addiction treatment program that addresses the psychological issues related to addiction as well.

If you or a loved one are unsure of the type of detox that is best, do not hesitate to call for help today. Detox from home can become very uncomfortable and dangerous and it is important to go about detox the right way to get a healthy start on the path of recovery.

What are Different Types of Hallucinogen Drugs

What are Hallucinogens?

Hallucinogens are drugs that when used, cause hallucinations. Users see images, hear sounds, and feel sensations that seem very real but do not exist. Some hallucinogens also produce sudden and unpredictable changes in the mood of those who use them. Hallucinogens can be addictive just like any substance that is abused, such as cocaine or heroin. With repeated use of hallucinogens, the user can begin to get used to the feeling they receive and the body can begin to crave it and develop an addiction where the users then believe the hallucinogens are needed to function.

Different types of Hallucinogens

As a group, hallucinogen drugs distort a person’s perception of reality in one way or another. Different types of hallucinogens distort a person’s perception in different ways. Distortions in perception result from alterations in the brain’s chemical processes and functions. each type of hallucinogen targets certain specific chemical processes, which accounts for the different “trips” or “highs” users experience.

Overall, three types of hallucinogens exist:

  • Psychedelics
  • Dissociatives
  • Deliriants

Psychedelics

Under normal conditions, the brain uses a selection process that determines how a person perceives his or her surroundings. In effect, this process filters out certain aspects so a person can attend to a task or activity. Psychedelic hallucinogens strip away this selection process so users experience everything in their surroundings. Drugs belonging to this type of hallucinogen include:

  • LSD
  • Peyote
  • Mescaline

When “high,” users experience an overwhelming sense of expansion where colors, sounds, smells and textures become worlds of their own. Seeing visions and hearing voices are also common.

Dissociatives

The brain’s ability to translate sensory perceptions enables a person to experience his or her immediate environment. Dissociative hallucinogens create a state of sensory deprivation where the mind is free to create its own internal environment and perceptions.

Drugs belonging to this type of hallucinogen include:

  • Magic mushrooms
  • PCP
  • Ketamine
  • DXM

While drug effects can vary from dose to dose and drug to drug, dissociative effects generally produce an “out-of-body-type” experience that leaves users in a trance state.

Deliriants

Unlike the other two types of hallucinogens, deliriant drug effects create false perceptions that have no basis in a person’s internal or external reality. Users enter a stupor-like state of confusion.

Deliriant type drugs include:

  • Datura
  • Deadly Nightshade
  • Jimson Weed

A person may start to hold conversations with imaginary people or go through the motions of completing a complex task, like getting dressed, without ever having picked out the clothes. In effect, deliriants create a psychotic state of mind where users can’t distinguish between reality and fantasy.

Hallucinogen Effects on The Brain

Hallucinogen effects target serotonin chemical processes in the brain. Serotonin acts as a vital neurotransmitter chemical that regulates a number of functions, some of which include:

  • Ability to control one’s behavior
  • Muscle movement controls
  • Emotional state
  • Feelings of hunger
  • Sensory perceptions
  • Sexual drive

Serotonin also interacts with two other key neurotransmitter chemicals known as dopamine and norepinephrine. Different types of hallucinogens may produce varying effects in terms of how serotonin influences dopamine and norepinephrine secretions.

Hallucinogens, in general come from plants, mushrooms and synthetically made formulas all of which contain varying consistencies of the drug. As a result, any one type of hallucinogen can produce one or more of the following effects:

  • Rapid changes in mood
  • Auditory hallucinations
  • Visual hallucinations
  • Tactile hallucinations

Abusing Hallucinogens can become very dangerous and a lot of people who abuse them do not realize what they could be getting themselves into. If you or someone you love may be abusing hallucinogens do not hesitate to call for help today!