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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Substance Abuse

Mental health disorders and substance abuse often go hand in hand. In many cases, it is not clear whether mental health causes substance abuse or vice versa. However, the two often occur together. This is particularly true in the case of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). About 50-60% of people who have PTSD also suffer from substance abuse. The comorbidity of PTSD and substance abuse can make it very difficult for the affected person to recover fully.

 

Post-traumatic stress disorder is a disorder that is caused by a person undergoing a traumatic or life-threatening event. This can include anything from soldiers at war to sexual assault victims, to car accidents, to domestic violence victims. The onset of PTSD can occur in as little as a few months after the traumatic experience and can be life long.

Post-traumatic stress disorder induces a high level of stress for the suffering individual

Symptoms of PTSD include:

 

  • Avoidance of people or things that are a reminder of the traumatic event
  • Re-experiencing the event through flashbacks or nightmares
  • Arousal and reactivity, such as being “on edge” or an inability to sleep
  • Cognition and mood symptoms such as feelings of guilt and a negative self-image.

 

Post-traumatic stress disorder induces a high level of stress for the suffering individual. People often use substances to help deal with high-stress levels. Substances can increase pleasure and help people temporarily forget about their problems. However, while these substances may temporarily help people forget about their problems, as the substance wears off, it often causes worsened PTSD symptoms. PTSD may lead a person to substance abuse, but that substance abuse often leads a person to experience worsened PTSD. It is a vicious cycle that typically requires the help of a medical professional.

 

When PTSD and substance abuse together, it is important to identify the two disorders and treat them in an integrated manner. If substance abuse has progressed to dependence, detox is often the first step towards recovery. Visiting a psychologist who specializes in cognitive behavioral therapy is an excellent step towards learning to manage stress better. Exposure therapy is another manner in which patients can learn to face their traumas head-on. In some cases, medications may be used to help manage anxiety, depression, or allow for better sleep.

 

Going through PTSD or substance abuse problems on their own can be a difficult process to navigate. However, dealing with the two together, can feel overwhelming and in some cases, impossible. It is important to understand that while PTSD symptoms may lead to substance abuse in an attempt to cope, substance abuse only makes PTSD symptoms worse. Having a strong support system is key to overcoming the vicious cycle of PTSD and substance abuse. In addition, having a strong network of medical professionals is key to helping the affected person live a fulfilling, healthy, and happy life. Dealing with PTSD and substance abuse can feel overwhelming. But, it is important to remember that there is hope, and there is a possibility to overcome the grueling diagnoses.

Is Medical Detox Necessary?

Medical detox is a necessary part of addiction treatment. It is the only way those suffering from addiction problems can return to a normal life without long term inpatient treatment. It is also the most important part of addiction recovery. Medical detox is the first step to recovery and is always supervised by medical professionals. Once medical detox is completed, the patient can begin the rest of the hard work on the road to recovery.

Medical detox is necessary because patients typically enter rehabilitation at a time when their drug use is at an all-time high. With drugs still active in their system, medical detox is necessary before taking any other steps. In many cases, addicts continue to use because the feeling of going through detox seems impossible to deal with. This is where medical professionals come into play. By getting help through medical detox, patients are allowed access to medications that can help lessen the symptoms of detox, and allow the patient to complete the process of detox, before continuing with his or her recovery.

Medical detox allows for a safe withdrawal from drugs and alcohol

Overcoming urge is one of the most challenging parts of addiction recovery. It is also one of the main reasons medical detox is necessary. Many people attempt to detox on their own. However, the unpleasant symptoms of withdrawal typically result in relapse. Having medical professionals who use medications to alleviate those symptoms is key to making it through the first week of detox. These medications act on the brain in the same way drugs and alcohol do. This tricks the brain into allowing the body to detox, without as many unpleasant feelings as withdrawal on its own would normally cause.

After substances are entirely out of a person’s body, he or she is finally ready to begin the journey to recovery. Starting detox in a medical facility allows the patient access to mental health professionals, along with those who are helping with the physical symptoms of addiction. Addiction requires just as much psychological work as it does physical work. In addition to medical detox, counseling and therapy are equally as important in ensuring a successful recovery.

Medical detox allows for a safe withdrawal from drugs and alcohol. Normal withdrawal side effects include nausea, vomiting, shaking, diarrhea, bone or muscle pain, and seizures. In some cases, withdrawal can lead to death. For this reason, it is important to have the help of a medical professional. Surprisingly, alcohol can be one of the worst substances to detox from. The painful and unpleasant side effects of withdrawal often lead the patient to relapse. Fortunately, with the help of a medical team, full detox is possible, which allows the patient to continue on his or her road to recovery. With the physical state playing such a significant role, the mental state of a person addicted to substances is often forgotten about. Ensuring a strong support system of medical professionals, friends, and family is key in the road to recovery. Detoxification can seem like a very daunting process to go through alone. Fortunately, medical aid is available to help patients through the process.

Benefits of Inpatient Addiction Recovery

Many people are familiar with the 12 step program addicts undergo when attempting to heal from their addiction problems. While this program is important, it is not always enough by itself. After patients complete medical detox, inpatient treatment is often recommended to help the patient down the right road to recovery. Inpatient recovery typically addresses holistic measures to help the person better cope with his or her addiction.

For addicts to fully recover, and live a healthy life, treatment must address both psychological and medical components of addiction. Addressing both parts typically leads to better outcomes. Inpatient rehabilitation provides access to physicians who prescribe medication to help change brain chemistry, curb alcohol or drug cravings, and reduce or eliminate the unpleasant symptoms associated with withdrawal. Inpatient programs typically last for 90 days or three months. Research shows that 90-day programs produce success rates that are more than double the success rates of 30-day programs. After completing the inpatient rehabilitation, 12 step programs are more likely to succeed.

. After inpatient care is completed, patients are eased into an outpatient program

Many people are hesitant to consider inpatient treatment because they cannot work. While this may discourage some, most companies offer medical leave for their employees. After inpatient care is completed, patients are eased into an outpatient program, at which point they can begin working again. In many cases, by the point a patient comes into inpatient rehabilitation, they have already lost their job due to their addiction. Fortunately, many inpatient clinics help patients to find new jobs as part of their recovery. The goal of inpatient rehabilitation is to help patients adjust to a healthier way of living. This means all parts of life, including work, are taken into account. Help with resumes, interviews, and determining their new path in life is all part of the rehabilitation process.

When initially beginning inpatient therapy, phones are taken away. While patients do have the ability to call their families, it may be an initial shock. As the patient continues to make progress, certain rewards and incentives, such as the phone, are given back to the patient. Drug testing is typically done daily to help monitor levels in patients. While it may seem like inpatient rehabilitation comes with a lot of “rules,” the rules are designed to help the patient break the unhealthy cycle, and regain control of his or her life. New habits are introduced in place of old habits. Some of these healthy habits include yoga, counseling, personal training, massage therapy, cognitive behavioral therapy, nutrition, and meditation.

Inpatient rehabilitation is an important step in living a healthy, alcohol, and drug-free life. Inpatient recovery bridges the gap between medical detoxification and outpatient therapy. While inpatient recovery does require more cost and more missed work, it is a three month period that doubles the patient’s chance for success when compared to the standard 30-day program. The longer a person stays in treatment, the more time that person has to develop the necessary skills to remain abstinent. Inpatient recovery is a major investment. However, it is an investment in your health and life that has been scientifically proven to pay off in the long run.

What kind of treatment is available for drug addiction?

Drug addiction is a challenging condition that a lot of people struggle through. One of the reasons that many people have trouble managing their addiction is because they are unaware of the types of treatment available, or because they think that certain types of treatment are unavailable to them.

 

In this article, we’re going to describe some of the common forms of treatment available for drug addicts.

 

Rehabilitation for Drug and Alcohol Users

 

The most common form of treatment for drug and alcohol users is total rehabilitation. Rehabilitation can comprise several different things, all of which are important for the treatment of drug and alcohol addictions.

The most common form of treatment for drug and alcohol users is total rehabilitation

It’s important to note that most of these things can be utilized on their own to help people work through their drug addictions. However, rehab is generally believed to be more effective than any of its individual parts because together, they provide a struggling drug user with a framework to help build a new life.

 

Therapy

 

One of the most important aspects of rehab is therapy. Therapy will help struggling addicts identify the issues that led to them using drugs in the first place, and will help provide them with the tools that they need to have a happy life when they complete their program.

Group Meetings

 

Group meetings are available during many rehab programs, and they are also a viable tool to help recovering addicts maintain their sobriety after they have completed treatment. Group meetings allow people to share experiences and knowledge about their addictions.

Detox

 

Depending on the severity of your addiction and the drugs that you’re addicted to, you may be required to go through a medically supervised detox before attending treatment. These will help to ensure that you can work through all the physical withdrawal symptoms before attending treatment.

 

Alternative and Holistic Treatments

 

Many studies and research papers have recognized the importance of holistic treatment for drug addiction. Holistic treatments help to treat both the mind and body of the patient. Instead of simply pushing through withdrawal and teaching an individual how to abstain from drugs, holistic treatments aim to restore health and balance throughout the whole person.

 

These include:

 

  • Biofeedback and neurofeedback programs, which identify neural imbalances that contribute to addiction.
  • Acupuncture, Somato-Emotional repatterning, or other techniques that repattern or redirect an individual’s energy and remove blockages
  • Ibogaine therapy, a form of psychedelic-assisted therapy that has a shockingly high success rate for treating serious addictions
  • Yoga, massage, and meditation, all of which contribute to mental and physical stability and can reduce the rates of relapse

 

Ideally, the best way to treat an addiction would be to tackle it from all possible angles. This would mean that including holistic treatments with traditional rehab would be most likely to lead a recovering addict to success.

 

In Conclusion

 

Drug addiction is a serious issue, and unfortunately, it can be difficult to treat. Fortunately, there are a vast number of different treatments available for helping people work through drug addictions.

What are the Most Effective Forms of Addiction Treatment?

There are a lot of different treatments that one can undergo if they’re struggling through addiction. There are various forms of rehabilitation, many holistic treatments and alternative approaches, and many different types of aftercare that can be employed.

 

The main concern that many people experience after they have completed a rehab program is whether or not they are going to relapse. Unfortunately, relapse rates with traditional rehab programs are relatively high. For this reason, it’s important to understand what forms of treatment will be the most effective for you.

 

Different Types of Addiction Treatment

 

These are some of the basic types of treatment programs available for struggling drug addicts.

One treatment that is effective for someone else may not work for you

  • Comprehensive rehab. Be it inpatient or outpatient rehab; a full rehab program often provides users with a number of the treatments described below – particularly therapy and group sessions. Rehab targets addiction from several angles, providing users with the tools and skills to avoid relapsing.
  • Many methods of therapy are employed in addiction treatment, ranging from cognitive behavioral therapy, group therapy, family therapy, and counseling. Therapy can help identify issues leading to addiction and uproot the problems at their core.
  • Group meetings. Group meetings, like Alcoholics Anonymous, can help drug addicts and alcoholics share stories, feelings, and knowledge about their recovery with other recovering users. Group meetings are often cited as being highly effective for preventing relapse.
  • Iboga is a very powerful hallucinogenic substance that thousands of people have used to treat their addictions. Iboga is a very intense experience that is not for everyone – however, those who are willing to work with iboga find a shockingly high rate of success when treating their drug addictions.
  • Alternative treatments. Many different alternative treatments can help drug addicts recover, including acupuncture, yoga, massage, biofeedback, and Somato-Emotional Release therapy.

What Types of Treatment Are Most Effective?

 

Ultimately, the type of treatment that would be effective for you depends a lot upon your personal psychology and physiology. One treatment that is effective for someone else may not work for you.

 

This is why it’s important to seek a treatment center that can help you develop a routine tailored to your own needs. Some factors to consider when ensuring effective treatment include:

 

  • Family therapy. Will you be given a chance to share with your family in a counseling setting?
  • Legal services. If necessary, will you have legal services available to help you?
  • Mental health services. Therapy and other services are necessary for recovering addicts.
  • Medical services. Things like detox, HIV/AIDS treatment, and other medical services are important.
    Educational services. It’s important to learn about addiction and psychology during recovery.
  • Continued care. Once you complete the program, will you be taken care of afterward with group meetings and checkups?

 

All of these things can make or break a recovering addict’s chances for success, so it’s important to look out for what you need to ensure that treatment will be effective.

Conclusion

 

The efficacy of addiction treatment is largely dependent on the individual and the type of treatment involved. If you are able to secure a treatment plan that meets your needs and is offered by qualified professionals using evidence-based techniques, then you will be most likely to succeed in your treatment.

 

Written by Nigel Ford

What are co-occurring disorders and addiction?

If you have lived or worked with someone struggling with drug addiction, you may have noticed that they often struggle with other mental health problems. Many drug users are frequently afflicted with problems like depression, anxiety, or unaddressed trauma.

 

When addiction occurs in conjunction with another mental health problem, the issues are collectively referred to as co-occurring disorders. Understanding the nature of co-occurring disorders can be immensely useful for helping people overcome their issues, and for assisting professionals to address these issues properly.

Why Does Addiction So Often Occur With Other Conditions?

 

It’s no secret that many drug addicts also struggle with other mental health problems. There are several reasons that this may be the case.

Co-occurring disorders are a fairly common issue among people who use drugs

One of the main reasons for this is because many people turn to drugs because they already have a mental health problem that they are unable, or unwilling, to manage.

 

People who live in disadvantaged areas, for example, often grow up with mental health problems simply because of the way that they are raised. A lack of services, proper parenting, or other factors could lead people to develop issues like anxiety and depression.

 

Unfortunately, in this particular instance, the problems would not stop there. Because of the lack of services and facilities available for people in disadvantaged areas, these people wouldn’t be able to seek treatment for these issues. They likely wouldn’t receive proper education about mental health problems, either.

 

For many people, it’s merely the easiest to turn to illegal drugs as a form of self-medication than it is to find treatment for mental health problems. Even people who live in suburban areas may find that they would rather use illegal drugs than deal with the medical or psychiatric system – for fear of judgment or something similar.

 

Another reason that co-occurring disorders are so common is that drugs tend to cause mental health problems (or at least bring about underlying mental health issues). People who abuse stimulant drugs, for example, are liable to develop issues with depression. People who abuse anxiolytics, such as benzodiazepines, may develop crippling anxiety problems.

 

How to Manage Co-Occurring Disorders

 

One of the most important things for a trained addiction counselor or psychiatrist to recognize is the importance of co-occurring disorders. Understanding how a patient’s disorders interact is key to helping them overcome their problem.

 

For example, an individual struggling with severe social anxiety and drug addiction would benefit from a different treatment plan than, say, someone struggling with PTSD.

 

The individual with social anxiety may need to seek treatment in a more isolated setting and develop the tools and skills to help them learn how to engage socially. The individual with PTSD would need to learn about their trauma, their triggers, and what mechanisms cause them to indulge in drugs.

 

In Conclusion

 

Co-occurring disorders are a fairly common issue among people who use drugs, and the best thing that you can do to help the issue is to learn to understand both issues. If you or a loved one struggles with a co-occurring disorder, you should seek treatment as soon as possible.

 

Written by Nigel Ford

How can I know if I need to seek treatment for drug addiction?

Not every drug user is sure of whether or not they need treatment. Some users claim that they are simply recreational drug users, and do not worry that their habit is causing problems.

Rarely, this can be the case. Unfortunately, in most situations, recreational drug users are on a path towards addiction. If you’re not sure of whether or not you need to seek treatment, then this article should give you the insight that you need.

When do I need treatment?

 

The simple way to look at this is to ask yourself if you are experiencing any of the following:

 

  • Signs and symptoms of drug abuse.

  • The development of tolerance.

  • Withdrawal symptoms.

If you do not reduce your drug usage early on, you will quickly experience drug tolerance

Signs and symptoms of drug abuse are the first indicators that you need to seek treatment. If you don’t seek treatment at this stage, you will begin to develop a drug tolerance. If you still refrain from seeking treatment after you’ve developed a tolerance, you are likely to develop withdrawal symptoms.

 

Here are some more details about these stages of addiction.

 

Signs and Symptoms of Drug Abuse

 

If you are displaying any of these signs or symptoms of drug abuse, it’s a good idea to seek treatment before the problem becomes any more serious.

 

  • Spending more money on drugs than you intend to
  • Missing out on social gatherings, work, or family time to do drugs
  • Feeling like you’re unable to socialize or find motivation without drugs
  • Hiding your drug use from friends or family
  • Thinking about drugs when you’re not using them
  • Having to lie or ‘bend the truth’ in regards to your drug use
  • Experiencing problems with authorities as a result of drug use
  • Developing mood instabilities or noticing cognitive issues, like ‘brain fog’ or slow thinking
  • Noticing changes in energy levels, lethargy

 

Drug Tolerance

 

If you do not reduce your drug usage early on, you will quickly experience drug tolerance.

 

A tolerant user requires larger and larger doses of a substance to experience the same effects that they did when they first started using. In most cases, drug tolerance will ‘plateau’ – that is, it will level out at a certain phase.

 

Most often, in this phase, users are unable to achieve the desirable effects that they once did. A person becomes physically or psychologically dependent on the drug and may experience withdrawal symptoms.

 

Withdrawal Symptoms

 

Withdrawal symptoms occur when your body is physically dependent on a drug. At this stage, you will require the drug to function normally. If you aren’t able to use the drug, you may experience symptoms like:

 

  • Sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain in the joints and bones
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Anxiety, depression, and mood instability
  • Inability to socialize
  • Insomnia or excessive sleep
  • Loss of appetite, weight loss
  • Itchy, crawling skin
  • Shaking
  • Diarrhea and digestive issues
  • Dehydration
  • Seizures

 

In Conclusion

 

If you experience any signs and symptoms of drug addiction or abuse, it’s best to seek treatment as soon as possible. If you don’t, then you run the risk of developing a more serious addiction down the road.

 

Written by Nigel Ford

What is Inpatient and Outpatient Rehab?

Every individual who needs rehab has a unique set of circumstances. This is why, top addiction treatment facilities like Pacific Bay Recovery Center provide a variety of treatment options. The first choice to make is whether you need inpatient or outpatient rehab. Read on to understand the difference between the two.

Inpatient rehab or residential care requires the patient to live in the rehab during treatment. The typical inpatient rehab programs last 30-60 days.

Outpatient rehab only requires the patient to follow the rules, like staying clean and showing up on time for all appointments. This option is better for patients with a moderate addiction and the ability to function responsibly.

Difference between Inpatient and Outpatient Rehab

The difference about inpatient vs outpatient rehab lies in various factors, including

  • Costs – Outpatient care costs less than inpatient care since you do. Not have to pay for food and living.
  • Lifestyle issues – Outpatient programs allow you to keep working or stay up on personal responsibilities, like childcare.
  • Counseling and addiction therapy services – While both options require intensive counseling and therapy, outpatient programs usually concentrate therapy into more extended sessions.
  • Access to amenities – Inpatient rehabs offer recreational and lifestyle programs to the in-house treatment.
  • Access to treatment options – With more time on their hands, residential patients may have more access to holistic and behavioral treatment options.

Can Alcohol Cause Depression?

Written by Nigel Ford

Alcohol is most commonly used in our society to help promote sociability, but many people also use it to numb undesirable feelings. Lots of people use anxiety to help them manage anxiety, depression, and stress.

What’s ironic about this is that alcohol abuse is actually known to cause depression. In the long-term, it certainly won’t help these problems – instead, it would make them worse. In this article, I’ll explain why.

How alcohol affects the body

The first thing that clues many people into alcohol’s ability to influence depressant is its drug classification: alcohol is considered a depressant drug.

Alcohol is a highly addictive substance, and it is known to cause both physical and mental addictions

For many people, however, the term depressant can be a bit of a misnomer. Depressants don’t just cause people to become depressed – if they did, nobody would use them. Rather, depressants are known to help slow (or depress) the effects of the central nervous system (CNS).

Because of alcohol’s ability to slow down the CNS, it has a remarkable ability to reduce anxiety – which is primarily caused by an over-excited nervous system. However, just because it can help people avoid their anxiety or depression in the short-term doesn’t mean that it can do so in the long-term.

How can alcohol cause depression?

There are several ways that alcohol can cause depression in both short- and long-term.

One of the most dangerous and life-threatening ways that alcohol can contribute to depression is by leading someone down the path of addiction. Alcohol is a highly addictive substance, and it is known to cause both physical and mental addictions.

● Physical addiction occurs when someone’s body becomes dependant on a substance – such as alcohol. If they aren’t able to get the drug in their system, they will experience withdrawal symptoms, like shaking, sweating, diarrhea, and anxiety.

● A mental addiction occurs when someone believes that they are unable to function without a drug or a substance.

Being addicted on its own can cause someone to be depressed. Recognizing that your life is controlled by a substance causes many people to feel powerless and unhappy. This, in turn, leads them to become more depressed.

This isn’t to mention the biological effects that alcohol can have on the brain. Alcohol affects the brain’s GABA system – a neurological system involved in helping to regulate feelings of anxiety, and to allow us to feel comfortable and at ease.

Constantly bombarding this system with alcohol eventually diminishes it, leading to imbalances in the system that may or may not be permanent. This can lead someone to develop serious problems with anxiety, stress, and yes – depression.

Furthermore, alcohol is known to cause people to blackout and behave in a manner that doesn’t suit them. This can lead to the loss of friends, jobs, or can cause irreparable damage in relationships that can cause someone to become depressed.

In Conclusion

As you can see, several reasons can lead someone to become depressed after consuming alcohol. If you are worried about developing depression or exacerbating an existing depressive condition, your best bet is to avoid it altogether. If you or a loved one is struggling with alcoholism, seek treatment as soon as possible.

Give Rehab Another Chance

People who suffer from substance use disorder or a process addiction have to suffer a great deal before they are identified with the problem and given proper treatment. However, rehabilitation does not work for everyone. There are a number of patients who fail it. But all is not lost. And while it may appear otherwise given their relapse, these individuals want to get better and reintegrate.

Rehab is their second chance at life – teaching them how to live again, how to cope in a healthy way, and how to exist without drugs and alcohol as part of their identity. And when it appears to fail, it may like the end of the world. But all hope is not lost. Rehab deserves another chance. You deserve another chance at living life fully.

Addiction can take us to the depths of despair and indeed becomes a matter of life and death.
Some people go to rehab and stay sober forever, other people need to go to rehab several times. Those who fail, need help in trying to identify why that was the case and figure out what might work better for them. They will likely need some motivation to be able to get back into rehab.They should be reminded that it is never too late to get sober and live a healthy life. For some people, it can feel otherwise, based on their age, or how many times they may have relapsed, but the reality is every moment you’re alive is another chance. Professional help is always available. All one needs to do is reach out.

This is something that can’t be overemphasized. Users tend to feel a void of self-worth when they’re in active addiction. They feel an overwhelming amount of guilt and shame about their addiction and all that it entails. But they need to be told that they’re worth it. And it is worth giving rehab another chance.

They need to believe that this is the time it works – this is the time they succeed at it. Clearly, it must be exhausting going in and out of rehab, trying to get sober, but failing. It is imaginable how one might want to give up after that. But one more try and it could be the successful one.
There is no alternative anyway. One can’t give up hope and live with an addiction for the rest of the days. Addiction can take us to the depths of despair and indeed becomes a matter of life and death.

One thing that really helps in this process is knowing about other people’s struggles and their paths to recovery. Addiction is lonely, and it might feel like nobody understands you. Drug rehab (which includes group therapy) provides that support and perspective needed to recover. As hard as it might be, the first step is to admit defeat and muster the strength to give it another chance, and if done the right way, success is within reach.