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Is group therapy helpful for treating drug addiction?

Group therapies of all sorts are available for helping people who are struggling with drug addiction. The most popular group therapy for drug addiction is known as Narcotics Anonymous, and many people have reported that the group was instrumental in helping them stay clean and sober.

 

In this article, we’ll discuss what group therapy is and how it can be useful for helping encourage people to stay sober.

 

What is group therapy?

Group therapy is a form of therapy that allows a number of people to engage in some form of therapy.

 

In its most common form, group therapy for recovering drug users provides a format in which a number of different recovering users can share their experiences with each other.

Depending on the particular group and its facilitator, there may or may not be a ‘theme’ to the therapy session. In many cases, there is no theme, and instead, just an open discussion. However, some forms of group therapy – particularly those that are provided during a rehab program – are facilitated by a counselor or psychiatrist, who will guide the group through some therapeutic practice.

 

In most group therapy sessions, individuals will meet in a room where a number of chairs are arranged in a circle. This allows all the members of the group to engage with each other. In open-ended discussions, there is no ‘head’ of the group, and discussion will be organic.

 

Benefits of Group Therapy

Group therapy provides a number of benefits that one might not be able to experience if they were participating in one-on-one therapy.

 

  • During group therapy, a recovering drug user will be able to communicate with other drug users who have had similar experiences. Any drug user who has gone to therapy can attest to the difficulty of trying to explain addiction to someone who has never been addicted to drugs themselves.
  • Members of the group can share their own experiences, advice, tips, and tricks that they’ve used for managing their own addiction.
  • Group therapy provides recovering users an open, non-judgmental space where they can be open and honest about their addictions. Many users have a hard time finding a safe space where they can openly express themselves without being stigmatized.
  • Struggling group members will be able to model their behavior by figures in the group who have tackled their problems. Group sessions can provide recovering users with positive influences.
  • Group members can work together to overcome feelings of shame, guilt, pain, or stress, which they may otherwise have a difficult time confronting on their own or with friends and family who have never used.
  • Recovering drug users will be able to practice new social skills to help themselves reintegrate into society after sobering up.

 

These are just a few of the benefits that group therapy can provide.

 

Conclusion

Group therapy has been instrumental in helping many recovering drug users to stay sober. The group dynamic allows for a greater exchange of information and learning. If you or a loved one are struggling with recovery, perhaps group therapy could help propel you further down the road to recovery.

The Importance of a Healthy Diet in Addiction Recovery

When a recovering drug user seeks treatment for their problem, they are generally prepared to participate in the standard methods of treatment: detox, therapy, group sessions, and the like. One thing that is not often addressed is the importance of having a healthy diet.

 

A healthy diet can bring a user’s energy levels back to normal, help to stabilize their emotions, and can help ensure longevity by reducing any damage that might have been done by using drugs. In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of a healthy diet in addiction recovery.

 

What Is a Healthy Diet?

A healthy diet differs for different people. While the standard dietary guidelines in America seem cut in stone, diet goes much deeper. However, there are some basics that every individual need to attend to.

 

  • Vitamins and minerals. The body needs a varied amount of vitamins and minerals for it to run properly. These vitamins and minerals are best obtained from a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Processed foods are often low in vitamins and minerals and provide little benefit aside from calories.
  • Protein is necessary for the development of healthy muscle tissue and skin. If you’re recovering from a drug addiction, protein can help you build back any muscles that you may have lost.
  • Carbs provide the body with energy. However, refined carbs, like breads and sugars, are actually bad for your health. Look for complex carbs like those found in sweet potatoes and whole grains.

Different people require different amounts of the nutrients listed above. The best way to figure out your own particular nutritional needs is to talk to a nutritionist.

 

Why a Healthy Diet Is Important for Recovering Addicts

There are many reasons that a recovering addict would want to take care of their diet. Some of the more serious reasons include:

 

  • A good diet provides energy, which recovering addicts are often in need of.
  • A healthy diet can help to reduce levels of anxiety, which can be a triggering factor for people struggling with addiction. In fact, some nutritional deficiencies can even cause anxiety, which may make someone more likely to use drugs.
  • A diet rich in antioxidants and phytonutrients can help reduce damage to tissues and organs and can enhance longevity.
  • A healthy diet encourages a stable, positive mind state and can reduce emotional problems.

 

Following a healthy diet plan can also provide recovering drug users with a new fixation. Granted, it is possible to become too fixated on developing an ideal diet plan – however, if this is only a temporary fixation that helps to draw focus away from cravings and addiction, then it can be considered beneficial in the long run.

 

Conclusion

Psychotherapy, detoxification, and group meetings are staples for addicts in recovery. However, one oft-overlooked facet of a complete recovery is a healthy diet.

 

A healthy diet can bring recovering drug users back to baseline by providing them with energy and overall good health. If you or a loved one are going through addiction treatment, don’t forget to address the important issue of diet!

 

Written by Nigel Ford

Is group therapy helpful for managing alcoholism?

Many alcoholics have reported that group therapy is one of the most important things for helping them to stay sober. However, someone who has attended a group meeting might be curious as to how exactly something like this could help manage alcoholism.

 

In this article, we’re going to explain a bit about group therapy, group meetings, and alcoholism. You’ll learn how these unique forms of therapy can be beneficial for anyone hoping to recover from alcoholism.

 

Group Therapy & Group Meetings

Group therapy and group meetings are similar, but technically different forms of therapy. Both can be incredibly useful for helping a recovering alcoholic; however, they can be employed differently.

 

Both forms of therapy involve small groups of people who sit in a circle and communicate with each other. However, the function of each session can differ depending on the needs of the participants and the availability, or need, of a facilitator.

Group Therapy

Group therapy is a form of therapy that involves a psychologist or counselor heading a group of people who struggle with similar conditions. Group therapy is highly effective for helping to counsel a large group of recovering alcoholics and is often used in rehab.

 

Group Meetings

Group meetings, such as Alcoholics Anonymous, are similar to group therapy. However, there may or may not be a facilitator. If there is a facilitator, they don’t necessarily need to be a counselor or psychologist – instead, they’re just someone directing the conversation for the group.

 

Group meetings are generally much more free-flowing than group therapy and focus on the exchange between the members of the group.

 

Why Would Group Therapy or Meetings Help?

Group therapy and group meetings can provide people with a number of benefits that they might not be able to reach just with conventional therapy.

 

The very act of sharing a therapy session with other people allows for a greater range of possibilities. These can include:

 

  • The opportunity to learn and share knowledge and advice about addiction and recovery with other users
  • The chance to work through difficult emotional problems with others who have gone through the same
  • The freedom to openly discuss difficult personal problems in a non-judgmental space with people who genuinely care about you

Group meetings can be immensely useful on their own, especially for people in recovery. One of the toughest things about recovery is feeling like you’re going through it on your own. Group therapy can make you feel accepted as part of a community, which can help provide the strength needed to move forward with recovery.

 

Group meetings with therapy can be particularly beneficial, as the counselor or psychiatrist can provide group members with skills and coping techniques that can help them with their recovery. Members can then share and discuss their own take on these techniques.

 

Conclusion

Many recovering alcoholics claim that group meetings are one of the only things that helped to keep them sober. This is because these meetings can provide a safe space where recovering alcoholics can share knowledge and experience to help further each other’s recovery.

How can I help a recovering drug addict stay sober?

If you or a loved one have struggled with drug addiction, then you’ve likely seen the struggle that takes place both during and after the main phase of addiction.

 

The drug users who are fortunate enough to stop using have only won part of the battle – the real battle begins after cleaning up and learning to try to reintegrate into normal life while battling cravings, nostalgic memories, and changes in physical or mental health.

 

One of the best supports for recovering drug addicts are their friends and family, and one of the best things that you can do for them is to learn how you can help them stay sober. In this article, we’re going to describe some of the best ways to help a recovering drug addict stay sober.

Helping Someone On the Road to Recovery

These are some of the best tips and tricks that you can use to help a recovering drug user stay sober.

 

Get Some Education

It can be hard to work with someone struggling through their recovery if you don’t know what they’re going through. To compound that, you’ll never really know what they’re going through until you’ve been there yourself.

 

The least you can do, though, is to learn about their addiction. You can begin to understand how cravings work, what they struggled through, and the neurological issues that they’ll struggle with.

 

A note of caution: flaunting an educated perspective to someone who has actually struggled through addiction can lead to you coming off ‘high-and-mighty.’ Use the education to both of your benefits, but don’t try to act like you know more than them.

 

Be Prepared

Recovering drug users will be going through a lot. They’ll be prone to emotional outbursts and instability, fatigue, and other physical or mental problems. In short, they may be rather unpredictable.

 

The most important thing to keep in mind here is that you’ll need to stay on your feet, and you’ll need to treat them with love and compassion – even if they’re acting unreasonably at the moment.

 

Encourage Positive Changes

It can be difficult for a recovering drug user to know which direction to move in. You can help them in a number of ways.

 

  • Encourage them to hang out with sober, like-minded people. Perhaps introduce them to some friends.
  • Help them build an environment that supports their sobriety.
  • Give them positive feedback about the changes that they’ve made and the positive effect that they’re having.
  • Help them find new hobbies and activities that they (or perhaps both of you) can enjoy so that they have something to fill their time with.

Stay Healthy

Don’t get so invested that you begin to sacrifice your own mental health. This might seem difficult at times, but it’s important to make sure that you only help them within your own capabilities. If you get burned out, then you can’t really help anyone.

 

Written by Nigel Ford

4 Signs of a Relapse

For people in recovery, relapse is big concern. Relapse can be a step backward, compromising your hard-earned progress. Contrary to popular belief, relapse doesn’t happen abruptly. It creeps up on you in stages, and there are red flags before a person experiences a full-blown relapse.

Recklessness

Engaging in reckless behaviors or decision-making can impact your recovery even if those actions do not directly involve drugs or alcohol. Healthy risk-taking can aid recovery by helping you to move past your comfort zone but impulsive decisions can prove self-destructive, and lead you to pick up alcohol or drugs again.

Negative thoughts and emotions

Persistent feelings of self-pity, sadness, frustration, and isolation can impact your recovery. You may feel deprived during early recovery, but with treatment, you can learn how to cope with difficult emotions and establish healthy thinking patterns. If you notice yourself falling prey to negative thoughts and emotions, they may trigger a relapse.

Neglecting responsibilities

A lack of motivation to fulfill your responsibilities could be another red flag. If you find yourself, or your loved one in recovery, skipping support group meetings or falling out of your routine, seek help right away.

Lying and denial

Right before a relapse, people may tell themselves that a small amount of a substance won’t hurt. This is a dangerous thought for those in recovery. Alternately, the person may be making repeated excuses to cover up certain behaviors. Being honest and sound judgment are critical to a successful recovery.

Seek help if you spot any of the above-mentioned red flags.

 

Signs of Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine is second biggest killer among illegal drugs. However, recognizing the signs of cocaine addiction is not easy. You could look out for these red flags.

Signs of Cocaine Use

The effects of cocaine use start soon after consumption and may last about an hour. Some of these are immediate side effects while others are the result of prolonged use.

  • Physical Signs – Nosebleeds, jaw clenching, muscle twitches, tremors or shakiness, increased body temperature, weight loss
  • Mental / Emotional Signs – Excitability, overconfidence, mood swings, depression, restlessness, paranoia, talkativeness
  • Other signs – Social isolation, risky behaviors, changes in sleeping and eating patterns, poor personal hygiene, financial problems

Since the high from cocaine lasts a relatively short period, users may use several doses. Consuming large quantities can lead to unpredictable and even violent behavior. Such changes in your loved one’s behavior could be signs of a cocaine abuse problem.

Drug Paraphernalia

Apart from the signs mentioned above, there are other indications of cocaine use – drug paraphernalia, such as white powder buildup, syringes, or glass pipes. And some of these items may be hiding in plain sight. For instance, dollar bills in a wallet are normal but rolled up dollar bills in a drawer aren’t. Watch out for –

  • Dollar bills
  • Hollow pens
  • Snuff bullets
  • Small mirrors
  • Lockets and bulky rings
  • Small, re-sealable plastic bags
  • Razor blades
  • Plastic cards

Harmful Effects of Long-Term Cocaine Use

Symptoms of prolonged use include:

  • Loss of smell
  • Trouble swallowing
  • Tooth decay
  • Headaches
  • Loss of appetite
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Severe depression
  • Seizures
  • Delirium or psychosis
  • Liver and kidney damage
  • Lung damage
  • Heart disease
  • Rare autoimmune diseases
  • Permanent damage to blood vessels

If you suspect a loved one of cocaine use, seek help right away.

 

I Relapsed, Now What?

Relapsing can feel like the end of the world. After going through the struggle of addiction, working the programs, and finally getting clean, it can feel like you are falling into a deep hole after a relapse. Whether it happened during a momentary weakness or falling into old unhealthy relationships and habits, relapses do happen, and there is hope for overcoming them. The most important thing is to recognize what is happening, keep a positive attitude, and take measures to ensure it is not ongoing and does not happen again.

Relapse often leads to intense feelings of humiliation and guilt. It is important to brace yourself for these feelings as they may make you even more prone to use again. Contact your support group should be one of the first things you do after a relapse. Addiction is one of the most difficult things to overcome on your own. Therefore, notifying your support group, whether that be family, friends, or a sponsor, is key to ensuring you get the help you need. Even if it’s just reaching out via phone call or text, letting your support group know what happened is vital to moving forward.

 

Each person’s addiction is different, just like each relapse scenario will be different. In some cases, it may be best to return to treatment after a relapse. Yet, in other cases, it may have been a one time slip that is avoidable in the future by making lifestyle changes and leaning on your support group. While it is important to keep a positive attitude, it is also important to recognize that relapse is a big deal. It is important to avoid the negative spiral of relapse, treatment, relapse treatment.

During a relapse, it is important to keep everything in perspective. While it may feel like a setback, you should try to look it at more as a stepping stone, or a challenge to overcome. Regardless of your substance of choice, having a support network is one of the most important factors in overcoming addiction and relapse, and staying clean. Determining what caused the relapse is another important factor. Was it feelings of stress, anxiety, guilt, or depression brought on by something going on in your life? Did you run into an old friend that you used to use with, and it sparked old memories? It is important to determine the trigger that caused the relapse in the first place, in order to put measures in place to avoid that trigger in the future.

A relapse can feel like the end of the world. Feelings of guilt and shame are amplified during a relapse. However, it is important to mitigate these feelings by surrounding yourself with a strong support system who love and care about you, and who knows how to get you to the help you need. Relapses happen to many people going through rehabilitation and recovery. It is ok. The most important thing is to put measures in place, so relapse does not become a habit, and so that you are able to live a fulfilling life after treatment.

Alcoholism Triggers

Recovering from an alcohol abuse disorder is a big deal and not many alcoholics are able to do so. It’s important to understand the triggers that cause relapse to be truly successful in overcoming alcohol addiction.

Alcohol Triggers

Alcohol abuse is one of the biggest causes of preventable deaths. People begin drinking for a variety of reasons, such as coping with trauma, pain, stress and so on.

Alcoholism triggers are causes that make a person drink again after having quit. It’s essential to identify these triggers so you can be stay sober.

Spending time with the wrong crowd

Your friends can have great influence over your recovery. For example, if you are with your friends where they are serving alcohol, you may be triggered to drink. If you always drank with a particular friend on a certain occasion, going out that night to the same places is also likely to be a trigger.

Dealing with emotional issues or stress

Life will present you with emotional problems and stressful situations. Whether it’s a lost job, a relationship issue, or some other upsetting situation, some people resort to self-soothing with alcohol.

It is important to go through rehab for appropriate addiction treatment and then continue with support groups and ongoing therapy for a lasting recovery.

Good rehabs are equipped to treat a wide variety of needs including full detox programs, inpatient care and robust aftercare programs.

Common Co-Occurring Disorders

Addiction is a serious disease that affects the brain. For many people, addiction does not occur alone. It is common for co-occurring disorders to be present along with addiction. Fortunately, these are often treatable. If you or a loved one is battling addiction and other mental health issues, finding the best dual diagnosis treatment center is key to treatment.

Common Co-Occurring Disorders

Several common co-occurring disorders can be seen with addiction.

  • PTSD, or Post-traumatic stress disorder is one of those disorders. PTSD can itself be the result of traumatic experiences like physical abuse, war or domestic violence, sexual abuse, and childhood neglect.
  • Depression is a common co-occurring disorder and one of the most common mental disorders. In some cases, substance use can induce depression, which can lead to more substance abuse.
  • The desire to relieve anxiety may make people turn to substances. For example, taking alcohol and other substances to suppress anxiety in social situations.
  • Bipolar disorder may cause depression and mania, both of which can lead to substance abuse. Bipolar disorder is typically caused due to a chemical imbalance in the brain. Some people start using substances to relieve the symptoms but it usually leads to further substance abuse.
  • Other common disorders that coincide with addiction include borderline personality disorder, body dysmorphic disorder, eating disorders, ADHD, schizophrenia, and obsessive-compulsive disorder.

Treating Co-occurring Disorders

Co-occurring disorders are treated with dual diagnosis treatment in trusted rehabs by qualified professional. Treatment often involves –

  • Medical detox treatment program
  • Psychotherapy
  • Individual and group counseling
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy
  • Ongoing care to prevent relapse
  • Sober living home and aftercare programs
  • Holistic treatment options

 

How Can I Talk To My Kids About Drugs And Alcohol?

Talking to your kids about drugs and alcohol can be a difficult thing to do. Ideally, the subject could be avoided – but unfortunately, it’s unwise to allow your children to grow up without some knowledge of drugs and alcohol. The hardest thing to know is how to approach them properly.

In this article, we’ll discuss how you can properly talk to your kids about drugs and alcohol.

Approaching Youth About Drugs and Alcohol

The first thing that many parents tell their kids about drugs and alcohol is that they’re completely bad and should be avoided at all costs.

 

While this might sound like the simplest thing to do, it’s also one of the easiest things to backfire on you. There are several reasons for this.

 

  • As anyone who has raised kids will know, simply telling them not to do something without just cause will make them want to do the thing.
  • Telling them that ‘drugs and alcohol are just bad’ will lead to them questioning others who choose to drink recreationally – their perspective on these individuals will either be soured or, if they respect the individual, they will question whether or not drugs are actually ‘just bad.’

 

Both of these situations could actually make your children more interested in drugs and alcohol, which is obviously an undesirable situation. There are a few suggestions that can help you keep your kids away from alcohol.

 

  • Be honest. Young children are especially receptive to truth and authenticity. If you explain that drugs can be very dangerous and that they can easily spiral out of control down the road to addiction, your genuine concern may make them more likely to avoid drugs than simply forbidding them from doing so.
  • Start early. If you’re watching a movie with your kid and someone lights up a cigarette, explain to them about the dangers and health problems caused by tobacco addiction. If you see alcohol glorified in movies, assure them that alcohol can actually be quite problematic.
  • Make sure that they’re comfortable. Be calm, collected, and open when discussing drugs and alcohol with kids. This will encourage them to engage in the conversation and will make them more likely to listen to you.

Tips for Laying Groundwork

There are a few tips that you might want to consider to lay a firm foundation for your kids.

 

  • Be available! If your kid is going through emotional problems, let them know that you are available to talk to them.
  • Consider role-playing. Role-playing can help your child come up with ways to refuse drugs if they’re offered.
  • Create a warm and positive environment where your child feels comfortable expressing themselves openly and honestly.
  • Be aware of their social life. Kids who are isolated may be more prone to drug use – but so are kids who socialize with other drug users.

Conclusion

It’s important to know how to talk to your children about drugs and alcohol. Following these guidelines can help you ensure that your children will never need to go to rehab.