Tag Archives: substance abuse

Subtle (and not-so-subtle) Signs that You May Need Alcohol or Drug Rehab Treatment

“Admitting that you have a problem and may need alcohol or drug rehab treatment is very difficult for most people. It’s hard enough to admit it to yourself – and even harder to let others know you need help. But, unless you take that courageous first step, you’ll continue down a path of self-destruction that may have dire consequences for yourself – as well as for those you love.” –Elements Behavioral Health

Chances are if you are asking yourself the question you may have a problem. It is important to have an accurate assessment of your alcohol and drug use in order to determine if some sort of substance abuse treatment is indicated.  The first step in addiction recovery is the hardest to take. If you think you or a loved one is abusing alcohol or drugs please give as a call we can help you determine what kind of help would be best. -Debbie Bayer, BHH

Read the full article here.

Your Brain on Drugs

Substance Abuse affects our Brain's Neurotransmitters

http://www.drugrehab.us/news/how-substance-abuse-changes-the-brains-basic-thought-processes/
It is important to understand that addiction is a problem with brain functioning. Addict/Alcoholic’s do terrible things but the are almost never terrible people. Once the person gets off the drugs and in recovery you start to see the real person emerge. It takes several months for the brain to heal. The addicted individual needs to be actively involved in some sort of treatment, sober support, or 12-step program.

Is it “Just Pot”

I am on the mailing list for a treatment center in Canada called Edgewood. I have had the pleasure of visiting the facility and have referral several people who were happy to have been treated there. Here is some of the article: Our experience at Edgewood suggests the general public, those families who struggle with addiction, and most certainly those advocating for medicinal
use of marijuana could benefit from more information. What we are
concerned with is the lack of knowledge of the potential addictive qualities of the drug and other associated health
risks. As with alcohol consumption, many people use marijuana without suffering any apparent negative consequences. Like the occasional drinker, the occasional ‘toker’ may not recognize
or give credence to the potential for harm from the
substance. It is well documented that while consumption
of alcohol is benign for some, it can lead to addiction issues, physical and neurological damage, family crisis, or medical and
police emergencies for others. While statistics for the consequences of marijuana use are limited, it is
reasonable to suggest a percentage of those using marijuana run the risk of experiencing the same types of harms associated with alcohol. (Most people choose not to use illegal or controlled
substances, so it remains to be seen if legalizing marijuana would change its consumption and/or harm patterns.)For those genetically predisposed to addiction, marijuana is both highly
addictive and destructive. For others, prolonged use can negatively affect brain function, trigger psychotic
episodes and lead to lung disease from the constant exposure to toxins in the inhaled smoke. When despite all of this, the person using marijuana cannot stop, that’s addiction. Choice at that
point has nothing to do with it. For those who support medicinal
use of marijuana the implications of the method of delivery of the active ingredient is worth considering. Our experience with marijuana addicts in treatment is that they are admittedly
less interested in a controlled dosage in pill or tablet form. They are more interested in smoking as much as they themselves deem to be “okay”. And, while anecdotal evidence abounds, there
still is no clear scientific evidence that proves marijuana an equal, or superior, medicine to conventional medicines already available.
Society continues to debate the merits and perils of marijuana use and its legalization, but if we are going to engage in debate let us at least be as informed as we can be on this complex
subject and consider all aspects of its use. For some, marijuana remains a benign social stimulant; for others it can be the beginning of a path to ruin.

What Does Marijuana Do to Your Brain?

Medical marijuana and the legalization of marijuana has brought up controversy in the recovery community.  Most intensive outpatient facilities will not treat people on medical marijuana because it is too difficult to monitor how the person is using the substance, amongst various other reasons. Marijuana addiction can be as equally devastating to the life of its victims. It just doesn’t do it in such an obvious way as other drugs or alcohol. Please read the article posted by Promises Recovery Center in Malibu California here for more information.

Federal rules eased for opioid addiction treatment drug

Federal regulators have relaxed restrictions on physicians prescribing the opioid addiction treatment drug buprenorphine to patients. –American Medical News

This is really good for the drug companies but not so good for addicts and their families. The doctors that are “trained” many times do not understand addiction. Many times they do not require abstinence from other drugs and rarely push the issue of treatment. Opioid replacement is a good option for many people, but my experience has shown that the people that were addicted to other drugs prior to opioid addiction, or started heavily abusing drugs at an early age don’t do as well. They tend to have a poor quality of life,  and continuously relapse.  More doctors that are untrained regarding addiction and prescribing this drug is not the answer. Methadone clinics require urine drug screening and participation in some sort of treatment participation, shouldn’t we have the same expectation for this form of opioid replacement.

Read the full article here.

Learning to Sit Still

“On the plane from Albany, New York to Portland, Oregon, I deleted my heroin dealer’s phone number. It wasn’t the first time I’d done that—more like the 15th—and each time I’d felt a strange resistance. I knew that I would miss my heroin dealer that had been oh so accommodating in terms of helping me to ruin myself. I loved people that enabled my irresponsibility. In hindsight, he was my doctor. And I was a happy patient.” Read the full article from TheFix.com.

DBT is a core part of  Behavioral Health Hawaii’s  Intensive Outpatient Program.

Giving up on the addict?

Aloha,
Let’s face it addicts and alcoholic’s are hard to love. Rather, their behavior is hard to love. It’s easy to say ” I give up, nothing works, they will have to hit bottom, they don’t want help.” I can understand why loved ones feel that way. You spend thousands of dollars, countless sleepless nights, begging, bargaining, aruging to no avail. The addict steals, lies, and breaks your heart. Just when you think they are getting better, they are using/drinking again. What I can tell you is that it takes an understanding of the disease of addiction and a lot of outside help to find the strenght to hang in there and keep the hope alive. When loved ones tell me that “they have done everything, nothing works,” most of the time they have spent their time, money, and energy doing what doesn’t work. Many people send the addict to residential treatment thinking everything should be fine when they get back. The treatment industry fails families when they don’t inform them that the residential treatment stay is just the tip of the iceberg, it will take years to recover. We spend all the time during the crisis period when the most dangerous time is when it’s life as usual. It doesn’t matter how many times the addict has been to treatment. It may matter financially, many families have spent thousands on treatment. Here on Maui residents can get treatment at Aloha House for very little money. Aloha House accepts quest insurance and has state contracts that allow them to treat people at no cost. No excuses to not try again. Dealing with addiction is not something you should do without the help of a professional that understands how the disease of addiction behaves. It is something that requires specialization because addiction behaves in ways that does not make sense to a non specialist. At Behavioral Health Hawaii we understand substance dependence and the impact it has on everyone it touches. Please get all the help you can, and please don’t give up on the addict. You may have to pull back and get help for yourself, but never give up.

Treatment Does Work

I can’t tell you how many times I hear addicts and their family members say “he/she/I have been to treatment already it doesn’t work.” This is a common misconception, the idea that if someone has been through treatment once or twice that the option of residential treatment is off the table.

To first address the misconception that “treatment doesn’t work”:

There are treatment facilities that do a better job then others, but overall most people are able to maintain abstinence while they are in treatment, therefore treatment, if the goal is abstinence, works. What doesn’t work is not following through with the aftercare plan. The other thing that can cause a person to fail is if the treatment isn’t long enough. Most insurance will only pay for 30 days at the most. It has been proven time and time again that 90 days for many addicted individuals is the minimum stay for the desired outcome.

If you suffer a heart attack and don’t follow the recommendations of you MD, you will have a higher chance of having another heart attack. Addiction, like heart disease, is a serious illness and if you want to recover you must make lifestyle changes.

Most aftercare plans recommend 12-step meeting attendance, get a sponsor, meet with a therapist, don’t hang out with using friends. Intensive Outpatient Treatment that we offer at BHH is also an important part of the recovery process. Intensive Outpatient treatment gives the addict/alcohol dependent the structure and accountablity they need to maintain abstinence. Addiction like any other disease is prone to relapse. If a person is in treatment, getting regular urine drug screening, attending 12-step or some kind of clean and sober support group, family counseling, and medication management, their chances of recovery increase significantly.

The treatment professionals do families a disservice by not informing them of the importance of aftercare. The addict gets out of treatment and they feel great the, family has their loved one back, everyone is elated. The addict has a sincere desire to stay clean and sober but without help, the stress of staying clean and starting a new life gets to them, they don’t follow through with building a sober support network, or a treatment program to help them through the first few months of sobriety and boom, they relapse.

My point is this, the addict/alcoholic needs to be in treatment and involved in some sort of sober support network for at least a year to begin to have a good chance at long term recovery. Treatment Does Work, but you have to work it if your goal is long term recovery.

Is Addiction Really A Disease?

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Here is a clip from the DVD Pleasure Unwoven by Dr. Kevin McCauley. I use the DVD in my Intensive Outpatient program, my work with loved ones, and when I teach graduate students about the disease of addiction. Dr. McCauley’s argument proving that addiction is a disease was years in the making. It certainly was worth the effort. Everyone dealing with substance abuse, addiction, and alcoholism should see this DVD.