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Is Cyclobenzaprine Addictive?

Cyclobenzaprine is a skeletal muscle relaxant commonly prescribed for musculoskeletal problems among other uses. The drug is widely known by the brand name Flexeril, which contains the active ingredient. Cyclobenzaprine is not a controlled substance, however, it is only available by prescription. Despite being relatively easy to obtain, Flexeril does carry a risk for abuse, tolerance, physical dependence, and addiction. This risk increases if the drug is combined with other drugs such as alcohol or opioids.

Here we look at the factors contributing to the addictive nature of cyclobenzaprine, common withdrawal symptoms, and how to access addiction treatment.

What is Cyclobenzaprine?

Cyclobenzaprine is an FDA-approved prescription muscle relaxer used to relieve muscle spasms and chronic pain associated with musculoskeletal problems such as strains, tears, and aches. It is also commonly used in the treatment of the condition fibromyalgia. The substance belongs to a group of drugs called ‘tricyclic antidepressants’. Used in a variety of settings, tricyclic antidepressants can be used to treat depression, migraines, insomnia, tinnitus, ADHD, and as described, musculoskeletal conditions.

Cyclobenzaprine belongs to a group of central nervous system (CNS) depressants that decrease muscle activity, resulting in the desired muscle relaxant outcome. The substance can only be legally acquired via prescription, and any use should be supervised by a medical clinician. Cyclobenzaprine is available as quick-acting and longer-acting oral tablets.

Common brand names for cyclobenzaprine include the following:

  • Flexeril
  • Amrix
  • Fexmid
  • FusePaq Tramadol

Street names for cyclobenzaprine include the following:

  • Flexies
  • Cyclone
  • Mellow yellow

In the treatment of muscular conditions, Flexeril – a commonly prescribed brand of Cyclobenzaprine – is usually used in combination with physical therapy, massage, or exercise. If used for other forms of treatment, it is likely to be used in conjunction with other therapies.

Using Flexeril Safely

Due to the nature of Flexeril, there are some important instructions on how to use it safely. As the substance can result in drowsiness, it is recommended to avoid driving or using heavy machinery until you are familiar with the effects. It is also possible to become dehydrated when using Flexeril, and for this reason, it is recommended to use it with caution in hot weather and to ensure adequate hydration. It is also strongly recommended to avoid using any other form of prescription medication with it unless a doctor has approved it.

The Addictive Nature of Cyclobenzaprine

Cyclobenzaprine is only available by prescription in the USA, meaning that it has some potential to be misused.

Prescription drug abuse, such as cyclobenzaprine, is common to see in young adults as these substances are relatively easy to obtain. Some individuals may steal or be given them by friends or family members, while others may buy them illicitly on the internet.

Some individuals who abuse cyclobenzaprine may have started using the substance with an authorized prescription; however, this can quickly turn into tolerance and abuse if higher quantities of the drug are used or it is used for an extended period of time. An increased tolerance increases the chances of experiencing a Flexeril overdose. Much like most prescription drugs, abusing Flexeril can quickly turn into a fully-fledged addiction.

What is the Flexeril High?

Flexeril abuse is commonly associated with the ‘high’ it can produce in high dosages. Although not as intense as many other commonly abused substances, cyclobenzaprine can produce a feeling of calm, drowsiness, and even a ‘floating sensation’.

This gentle feeling of euphoria is what leads individuals to continue using the substance despite the associated risks.

These effects are not usually associated with prescribed doses of the drug, and if they are it would only be possible in first-time users.

Signs of Flexeril Abuse

Although it does not carry the same reputation for addiction as other drugs such as methamphetamines or heroin, it is possible to develop a debilitating and dangerous problem with cyclobenzaprine. If you are concerned about your personal drug use, or that a loved one may be addicted to Flexeril, it is important to familiarize yourself with the common signs of abuse.

Signs and Symptoms of Flexeril Addiction

Some typical indicators of problematic substance use include:

  • Drug cravings for cyclobenzaprine
  • Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when not using the drug
  • Failing to fulfill responsibilities due to abusing Flexeril, could be in your relationship, job or school work.
  • A loss of interest in things previously enjoyed
  • Isolation or breakdown of relationships due to Flexeril dependency
  • Attempting to quit drug use but being unable
  • Continuing to use the substance despite negative consequences
  • Using the drug in risky scenarios
  • Increasing your Flexeril dose
  • Being preoccupied with using and obtaining the drug
  • Stealing money or prescriptions, or doing dangerous things in order to buy the drug
  • Mixing cyclobenzaprine with illicit drugs or alcohol
  • Feeling numb or empty
  • Asking for cyclobenzaprine prescriptions from multiple doctors
  • Flexeril overdose

If any of these indicators are familiar to you, it may mean you need to seek addiction treatment for your substance use. Get in touch with a medical provider today to find out your treatment options.

Common Withdrawal Symptoms of Cyclobenzaprine

If you experience withdrawal symptoms when not using cyclobenzaprine, or as the drug wears off, this could be a clear indication that you are addicted to Flexeril.

Withdrawal from cyclobenzaprine is often assimilated with flu-like symptoms. This set of symptoms is often referred to as ‘Flexeril discontinuation syndrome’. It is not usually life-threatening, however, if Flexeril is being used in combination with other substances the danger increases and it could have fatal consequences.

Common symptoms of withdrawal

  • Aches and pains
  • Exhaustion
  • Headache or migraine
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Chills
  • Fever

Dangers of Abusing Cyclobenzaprine

In some cases, Flexeril abuse can result in overdose. This is especially true if the substance is combined with other drugs such as alcohol. A Flexeril overdose can result in cardiac arrest, dangerously low blood pressure, central nervous system depression, or seizures. Flexeril overdose is a real and life-threatening possibility. Don’t delay seeking support if you suspect somebody has taken a large quantity of the drug.

A report by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in 2010, found that there were over 10,000 references of cyclobenzaprine in calls made to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. Furthermore, The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) reported in 2011 that more than 11,000 individuals received care from emergency departments for misusing cyclobenzaprine.

According to data going back to the early 2000’s, the trajectory of emergency department visits at the hands of cyclobenzaprine is on the rise. In 2010, it was estimated that there were around 12,411 emergency room visits linked to cyclobenzaprine. This is an increase of around 101% from 6,183 visits in 2004.

Who Is At Risk of Cyclobenzaprine Abuse?

Anybody can develop a Flexeril addiction, but there are some factors that make certain individuals more susceptible to developing a problem.

Risk Factors for a Flexeril Addiction

  • Individuals with a personal history of substance or alcohol abuse
  • Individuals with a family history of substance or alcohol abuse
  • Those who spend time in drug-taking environments
  • Individuals with a history of mental illness
  • Somebody who has not been informed of the addictive nature of prescription drugs

The Role of Mental Health in Addiction Treatment

Going through substance addiction is an extremely difficult experience. In order to have a chance to fully recover, it’s imperative to understand the disease and how it manifests in you personally.

Substance abuse is frequently a symptom of untreated mental health problems; it is necessary to treat these simultaneously with the addiction. Substance abuse can occur at any time, for anyone, but recovery is possible with the right support.

Although not exclusively, cyclobenzaprine addiction commonly begins in the teenage years. This is often a difficult time, with many changes and developments occurring. Depression, anxiety, and stress are common and often substance abuse seems like the best escape to mental health issues.

Starting Your Recovery Journey

Substance abuse is a serious illness. Flexeril addiction treatment should always be sought from a qualified and reputable medical provider. Flexeril withdrawal symptoms are not usually dangerous, so it may not be necessary to take part in medical detox. However, the support and safety of an inpatient treatment center can increase your chances of sustained recovery and decrease the likelihood of relapse or medical emergency.

Tapering off cyclobenzaprine can be uncomfortable, so detoxing in a comfortable environment such as a residential setting is often preferable. If you use any other drugs it may be necessary to have a medically-assisted detox.

Being an unscheduled substance with a perceived ‘low potential for abuse’, cyclobenzaprine does not carry a high reputation for abuse, but this can give a false sense of security. It’s possible to develop a damaging cycle of using this prescription muscle relaxer, leading to severe consequences.

Receiving quality health care and compassionate support is the most important element to getting you on your journey to sobriety.

Treatment Options for Cyclobenzaprine Drug Abuse

At Empowered Recovery, we recognize the need for individualized drug addiction treatment. We tailor your treatment program to suit your specific needs and desires for recovery.

Therapy Modalities at Empowered Recovery:

  • Behavioral therapies
    • Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT)
    • Dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT)
  • Complementary therapy
  • Experiential therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Trauma-focused therapy
  • Group therapy

We focus on short and long-term goals to keep your motivation in the right place and ensure you remain on track. During your time with us, you will be able to take advantage of our treatment facilities while engaging in a range of skills-based sessions to complement your therapeutic work.

Empowered Recovery

If you are ready to seek addiction treatment, we are here to guide you through. At Empowered Recovery, we recognize the unique nature of your substance use disorder, and we reflect this in our treatment process.

Flexeril abuse has the capability to profoundly affect your physical and mental health. Whether you started using with a legitimate prescription, you fell into a cycle of recreational use, or you have been self-medicating, we can provide the help you need.

We believe in offering treatment programs that are sustainable and achievable for all our clients. We work together with you to find the right path to recovery. We have a variety of treatment plans which are tailored to your needs, getting you to a place of health and sobriety.

Our highly-committed and qualified team is here to support you through the early days of the treatment process and give you a foundation from which you can grow and develop. We use a range of therapeutic modalities and offer fully customized packages suited to all of your needs. Flexeril abuse may be part of your past, but it doesn’t have to be part of your future.

Get in touch with us today at +1 770-220-7466 to talk to one of our team members about our addiction treatment services and to get the ball rolling.

Meth Addiction Symptoms

Meth is a strong and highly addictive drug that deeply affects both a user’s brain and body. It produces intense and euphoric feelings that many people chase after their first initial dose. This is what leads to addiction.

Knowing the signs and symptoms of meth addiction is important, as you can recognize whether you or a loved one are in need of meth addiction treatment. It is never too late to get help in order to regain control of your life and live a happy and healthy future understanding meth addiction.

Understanding Meth and Drug Abuse

Methamphetamine, also known as meth, is a powerful drug that works by affecting the central nervous system. The drug can be smoked, snorted, or injected, and is typically taken in the form of crystal meth, a manmade stimulant that causes an intense and euphoric high.

Methamphetamine abuse is increasing worldwide and is now considered to be one of the world’s most abused drugs. While the first feelings of euphoria are pleasurable, if a person continues to abuse meth, they are likely to develop a dependence where they are unable to stop taking the drug.

Crystal meth is the most potent and pure form of methamphetamine and is known as a ‘club drug’. It is often taken in a crash or binge manner that causes a person to abuse the drug over long periods to chase the initial high first experienced. Once the meth binge is over, the crashing feeling from the euphoric high, alongside withdrawal symptoms, will be experienced, therefore encouraging further meth use in an attempt to get rid of these feelings.

The euphoric rush experienced by those who abuse meth is caused by the release of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with feelings of pleasure. Meth use is regarded as being more dangerous than other known stimulants. Much of the drug remains in the body and brain after use. The meth that remains then destroys the brain cell synapses related to dopamine and in turn causes mood disturbances and dependence.

In addition, prolonged and chronic meth use comes with a range of risk factors. Methamphetamine can eventually alter the brain’s chemistry which affects the ability of a user to feel pleasure without meth use. When it comes to drug use, there are a variety of behavioral and physical symptoms. Signs of meth use can deeply affect a user’s body and brain. However, with the right help and support from a treatment center, you can work through this to begin your recovery journey.

Side Effects of Meth

After taking meth, the effects can be felt from 8 to 24 hours, a lot longer than many other substances. This is why if a person is partaking in a meth binge, they will usually stay awake for several days in a row. Alongside the euphoric high, during this period of time a person may also experience:

  • Anxiety
  • Increased heart rate
  • Suppressed appetite
  • Aggression
  • Insomnia
  • Hallucinations
  • Chest pain
  • Flushed skin
  • Muscle twitching

Signs and Symptoms of Meth Abuse

One of the first symptoms of meth addiction is key changes in a person’s life regarding their priorities. Meth deeply affects how a person thinks and addiction is categorized as a mental disorder and is recognized as the inability to control drug use despite negative consequences to a person’s life.

Meth soon becomes a major life priority and a person experiences a sudden loss of interest in things they once considered important. The longer someone partakes in drug abuse, the more important it becomes to their life, resulting in the neglect of other aspects of their life, whether this is relationships, work, or hobbies.

Unfortunately, substance abuse is often only recognized once it reaches the stage of addiction. This is why it is important to familiarize yourself with the symptoms and warning signs of methamphetamine use in order to seek treatment as soon as possible. If you suspect someone you know is abusing meth, then look out for the range of physical, psychological, and behavioral symptoms that they may be presenting.

Physical Symptoms

The most obvious way to tell if someone is partaking in methamphetamine abuse is the drug’s ability to cause drastic changes in their physical appearance. These changes can happen even after a short period of time of the abuse. The physical signs include:

  • Rotting teeth
  • Inflamed gums (meth mouth)
  • Skin abrasions
  • Drastic weight loss
  • Hair thinning
  • Red eyes
  • Twitching
  • Convulsions
  • Intense scratching
  • Seizures
  • Heart attack
  • Organ failure

Other physical signs of meth use include increased libido, which exposes a person to a risk of contracting sexually transmitted diseases. Meth has been recognized as stimulating sexual arousal within users and increasing the level of adrenaline. This combined with lower inhibitions could possibly result in people engaging in sexual encounters without using protection, therefore increasing the risk of developing sexually transmitted diseases.

Psychological Symptoms

One of the most obvious signs of methamphetamine use is ‘tweaking’. This is an extreme change of mood where a person will experience extreme anxiety and/ or insomnia for around 3 – 15 days. Tweaking occurs when a person cannot reach a euphoric high after meth abuse, typically at the end of a binge. Tweaking can cause a person to experience intense mood swings, paranoia, and hallucinations which can, in turn, cause a person to partake in sometimes violent or criminal behavior.

Heightening and quick changes in mood are also signs of meth use. This includes:

  • Irritability
  • Confusion
  • Memory loss
  • Paranoia
  • Violent outbursts
  • Anxiety

As we have discussed, meth increases levels of dopamine found within the brain. Therefore, prolonged meth abuse can create imbalances in natural dopamine levels; long term this can affect a person’s memory and ability to learn new motor skills.

Behavioral Symptoms

If someone is partaking in meth abuse, then they will be sure to have meth paraphernalia. There is a range of ways that meth can be taken: snorted, smoked, or injected. Paraphernalia that may be found includes:

  • Needles
  • Glass pipes
  • Aluminum foil
  • Small plastic baggies
  • Empty ink pens, cut straws

Someone who is abusing meth will try and hide these items; however, if you do find any of the items listed above, then it is an indicator that it is time for the person using meth to receive treatment.

Addiction to any substance can cause many problems in an individual’s life. The level of self-involvement can cause relationship problems, issues with obligations, and overall negative consequences to a person’s life. These are the key behavioral signs of addiction.

It is important to always remember that there is a range of treatment options that can help someone no matter at what stage of addiction they are. The sooner treatment is received the better, as this can help someone get back on track with their lives, physically, psychologically, and socially.

Substance Abuse Treatment

There is a range of treatment centers that offer substance abuse treatment no matter what stage of addiction you are at. Recovery is possible even in the most severe cases of methamphetamine addiction.

The effects of meth on the body and brain can be life-changing, but treatment addresses the addiction at hand as well as co-occurring mental illnesses.

The treatment options for methamphetamine use vary depending on the severity of the addiction; however, it is recognized that a drug rehab that offers behavioral therapies such as cognitive behavioral therapy alongside contingency management intervention has been the most effective.

The first step in substance abuse treatment is detox. This is where the body gets rid of any toxins left from the drugs and where withdrawal symptoms will typically be felt. The safest way to detox is a medical detox as it allows for an individual to receive support to aid in managing undesirable withdrawal symptoms.

Once detox is complete, it is likely you will undergo some form of therapy to help deal with the addiction.

Addiction Treatment at Empowered Recovery

Meth addiction can really take its toll on your life. We understand that the treatment process can seem daunting, but our experienced and compassionate team is ready to help you move forward and start your recovery journey.

We offer customized treatment plans to ensure that clients and their family members are empowered to regain control of their lives. This ensures that we are working with each client’s unique needs to begin mental, physical, and emotional healing.

Addiction treatment at Empowered Recovery offers top-tier medical support to help you overcome addiction and maintain long-term abstinence. We offer a range of treatment options that deal with the addiction and any co-occurring disorders that may be present. Some forms of therapy that may be a part of your treatment include:

  • Behavioral therapy
  • Complementary therapy
  • Experimental therapy
  • Family therapy
  • Group therapy
  • Individual therapy

Contact us today to find out more.

Can an alcoholic ever drink again?

If you are recovering from an alcohol use disorder (AUD), congratulations! Alcohol addictions can be challenging to overcome, so well done for achieving everything you have so far in your journey.

If you are considering quitting alcohol and opting for alcohol treatment, you may be questioning whether you can ever drink again. You may also wonder if having one drink will be possible now and again or whether problem drinking will inevitably follow from social drinking.

Historically, abstinence has been the only option to follow for many addiction treatment programs and support groups. For many people, this is the safest option. However, due to more information and options, some people with mild AUDs are able to partake in controlled drinking.

Programs such as Moderation Management help people learn how to drink in moderation. However, it is important to speak to a therapist or doctor to determine the safest and best option for you. What works for one person may not always be suitable for another, so it is always advised that you seek expert guidance.

What Is Alcohol Abuse and Alcohol Addiction?

In the United States, alcohol is a legal drug, and its use is incredibly widespread. This can often make it difficult to discern whether someone is involved in social drinking or has an alcohol addiction. Although this is true, it is estimated that 15.7 million people over the age of 12 in the United States align with the criteria for alcohol use disorder.

Alcohol abuse and alcohol addiction come under the umbrella term alcohol use disorder. AUD is an illness split into mild, moderate, and severe divisions. At one end of the scale is a mild AUD. Mild AUDs generally arise when someone has an unhealthy relationship with alcohol but can stop drinking when they desire.

The difference between a mild and severe AUD is that those with a severe AUD cannot stop drinking due to physical and psychological dependence. Heavy drinkers will experience withdrawal symptoms without the presence of alcohol in their system, which can pose significant health risks.

It is incredibly dangerous for someone who is addicted to alcohol to quit on their own as alcohol is one of the riskiest substances to suddenly stop using. For this reason, if you are looking to recover from alcohol addiction, you should always undergo detox with the guidance of a medical professional who can design a personalized treatment plan to ensure you have the support you need for a successful recovery.

Can a recovering alcoholic ever drink again? Abstinence vs. Harm Reduction

Abstinence from alcohol means stopping drinking entirely. It is the traditional recovery approach advocated by 12-step recovery groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA). Many treatment facilities and programs also promote an abstinence-based philosophy.

Abstinence used to be seen as the only way to recover from alcohol abuse, and for many people, it is a successful approach. However, each individual is unique, so it makes sense that total abstinence in early recovery will not work for everyone. This is where harm reduction comes in.

Harm reduction treatment aims to reduce the harm caused to the individual and other people but does not require total abstinence. Harm reduction focuses on education and recognizes people’s situations are complex and that it is very difficult for some people to abstain from alcohol entirely.

Harm reduction widens access to care because some people are discouraged from seeking treatment due to the abstinence approach. In contrast, many people are prepared to adhere to a harm reduction approach for treatment. This ultimately enables more people to seek treatment and provides support structures for a wider community.

Can Someone With an AUD Ever Drink Again? Why can’t alcoholics have one drink?

For some, it is recommended to never drink again. Brain chemistry alters when alcohol is abused, meaning the part of the brain responsible for controlled drinking can be affected. This damage means that controlled drinking is physically not possible for some. Furthermore, the intensity of someone’s addiction can correlate to whether or not they will be able to drink in moderation if abstinence is recommended.

However, for some people with a mild AUD, drinking in moderation is a possibility. Before you decide whether you should quit drinking entirely or take a controlled or moderate drinking approach, you must talk to a registered medical professional if you are recovering from AUD, as the risk of relapse is always present.

Moderate drinking is defined as one drink a day for healthy women and one or two drinks a day for healthy men. For some people, Moderation Management can help them uncover how to engage with alcohol consumption safely.

During a Moderation Management program, a participant is not allowed to drink for 30 days. During this time, they learn tips to identify triggers and find healthy behaviors to replace them, and come to understand past drinking patterns, so they know how to avoid these moving forward. The program also asks those in attendance to consider the reasons behind their drinking problem and why they want to start drinking in moderation.

For people who either have an alcohol addiction or are in recovery, drinking in moderation is not recommended, as even one drink can lead to relapse.

What Are Some Positives of Stopping Drinking?

Giving up drinking alcohol, seeking substance abuse treatment, and recovering from an alcohol use disorder have many health benefits. Reminding yourself of the positives of quitting alcohol can help you maintain your sobriety.

Some of the benefits can include:

  • Better sleep
  • Improved immune system
  • Enhanced mental health
  • Healthier weight
  • Better skin
  • Improved nutritional intake
  • Lower risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease
  • Better memory
  • Healthier personal relationships

In addition to the above, internal organs, such as the liver and heart, start recovering or regenerating when you quit drinking and maintain sobriety. This essentially improves your physical health and enables your body to recover from the physical side effects of alcohol use disorder.

What Are Some Ways for Me To Control My Urges?

In addition to seeking addiction treatment, there are a number of ways that you can control your urges. We have shared a few below.

  • Try to keep a list of the reasons for stopping drinking in the first place. If you have been sober for a while, it is easy to look back at drinking with rose-tinted glasses and forget all of the negative consequences that come with alcohol abuse.
  • Seek support from AA, a therapist, or a close friend. By talking to someone who can help you sustain your sobriety if you feel at risk of relapse, you can work through any issues and secure the support you need.
  • Fill your time with healthy alternatives. If you feel as though you want to drink again, try to take part in healthy alternatives. For example, starting a new hobby or completing an activity that you enjoy can help you feel part of a new community. Participating in activities will also offer you a sense of fulfillment. Doing yoga or getting out into nature can help focus your mind and feel calmer and in control.

Similarly, if you are concerned that you may be at risk of developing an AUD, there are measures you can implement. It can be helpful to track your alcohol intake to see how much alcohol you are drinking. You can also discuss treatment options with your doctor or contact a rehab center, such as our own.

Conclusion

To conclude, it is generally best for those recovering from an AUD to avoid ever drinking alcohol again. If you start to feel bored or experience cravings for alcohol, try to bear in mind the exhaustive list of adverse side effects and ensure that your reasons for wanting to drink outweigh the risks. Peer pressure might also tip you into drinking, so make sure you know how to refuse a drink and take care of yourself and your needs.

Although for a small number of people, Moderation Management programs are an option, abstinence presents the safest and best choice for most people. This may be disappointing news, but just remember that relapse is a real risk, and undoing all of your hard work is not worth it.

Always ask for support or help at any stage of your recovery journey if you are feeling conflicted and confused. A life of sobriety is entirely possible, and there are plenty of activities and hobbies you can do to feel fulfilled instead of drinking.

Substance Abuse Group Topics

Substance abuse groups offer a wealth of support and help many people maintain long-term addiction recovery. As a form of group therapy, those who attend substance abuse groups have a shared goal of living a life free from the shackles of drug or alcohol addiction.

Substance abuse groups provide a judgment-free environment for those in recovery to seek advice and guidance from other members. Group sessions are generally led by licensed therapists who prompt and guide discussion and encourage individuals to participate. The therapist might also identify individual issues each member may be facing that reoccur in group therapy and daily life.

The conversation topics in group therapy sessions can vary, but there are many great discussion points to choose from.

Group Therapy Benefits

Group therapy plays an integral part in addiction recovery. Being in a group setting allows individuals to gain a greater understanding of their own problems while building self-awareness by listening to the stories of others. Addiction recovery can be an isolating journey for some, but group therapy presents an opportunity to connect with other people.

Substance use disorder groups also provide a chance for those in attendance to improve their communication skills, build connections with other group members through sharing their experiences, and receive honest feedback and perspectives from peers.

Group Therapy Activities

All substance abuse group therapy activities will be slightly different. However, we share some common group therapy activities below.

List Things To Do Instead of Using Drugs

This may include activities or creative tasks. Members may be asked to reflect on what they can do when they experience cravings and how to prevent cravings in the first place.

Anger Management

Activities related to anger management skills are encountered in substance use disorder groups. These activities often surface several times depending on the group and the group members.

During anger management groups, therapists provide guidance and instructions on anger management techniques, and other group members may share their experiences.

Conflict Resolution

All relationships experience conflict – the key to maintaining a healthy relationship is learning how to resolve them. Substance use disorders can put a tremendous strain on relationships. For this reason, learning to resolve conflict in healthy ways is essential to the recovery journey.

Identify ‘Bad’ Habits

During group therapy, members may be asked to make a list of habits that they perceive to be bad. Following this, the group leader may encourage members to identify why they are harmful and what can be done to replace them. Healthier alternatives may be suggested to help members avoid these habits.

Brainstorm Affirmations

In addition to the above activities, the group may be invited to brainstorm affirmations to share with the group. These could be general affirmations for any of the group members, individual affirmations, or more personal affirmations that recognize individual growth and importance.

Affirmations provide an opportunity to recognize how certain words can significantly impact people’s feelings, behaviors, and self-confidence.

Goal Setting

Setting goals gives those in recovery things to work towards. Goals could be general; however, specific themes such as fitness goals may be encouraged. During this activity, the group is encouraged to discuss aspects of goals that may have already been achieved on each person’s journey, allowing members to seek inspiration from others.

Mindfulness

Everyone tends to focus on the future or past now and again. However, taking a moment to stop and focus on the present can be extremely beneficial. As a result, practicing mindfulness is common in substance abuse group therapy.

Group Therapy Topics

As with group activities, topics also vary and tend to follow the lead of members and the therapist facilitating the session. Below, we have outlined a few standard topics.

Gratitude

Discussing the topic of gratitude is an everyday activity in group therapy sessions. Conversations may cover aspects that group members are grateful for, what gratitude is, and how to show gratitude.

Triggers for Substance Use

One of the most common substance use disorder group topics is triggers. All group members may have different triggers, so listening to these could help other attendees identify secondary triggers or coping methods they have not yet identified.

The group leader may ask each member how they have responded to triggers in the past. They may also discuss what coping strategies each member uses to overcome triggers. Reflecting on personal experiences and listening to those of others can be an enlightening experience.

The Importance of Sleep

Sleep is essential for general health, yet it is something that people recovering from a substance use disorder or addiction can have trouble with. It can be helpful to brainstorm ways to reach sleep goals alongside other people who may experience the same thing.

The Significance of Self-Care

Self-care is essential for long-term sobriety. However, it can be challenging to keep up with self-care goals. For this reason, group therapy can be a great way of keeping each other accountable. Group therapy also ensures that support systems can be developed.

When discussing the importance of self-care, it is not uncommon for members to share their self-care goals and how they are trying to achieve these. Hearing outside perspectives of self-care can help other people create a healthy daily routine, which can enhance mental health.

Letting Go

Talking about forgiveness and overcoming resentment is an essential part of addiction recovery. During group therapy, members may be invited to share who they would like to forgive and if holding on to grudges and resentment has affected their life in any way.

Letting go of hurtful moments and hearing about other people’s experiences can help many gain greater self-awareness.

Childhood

Although many people may overlook this particular topic, it is important to consider what those in recovery would say to their younger selves if they could. For this reason, group topics often encourage members to consider what they would say, what advice they would give, and what direction they would point their younger self in. Childhood experiences may also be discussed.

Stress Management

Stress affects everyone, so creating healthy coping mechanisms is a vital part of any recovery plan. Group topics frequently surround stress management, helping those in attendance identify stressors in their life.

Members may be invited to talk about how they cope with stress or instances when they feel unable to. From here, consequences can be evaluated. Hearing other people’s responses can be incredibly useful.

Isolation

In support groups, members may also brainstorm ways to reduce isolation and discuss the risks or benefits of being alone. Discussing isolation risks can lead to conversations surrounding healthy and harmful habits in social situations.

To Conclude

Therapy groups increase self-esteem, reduce anxiety, and provide a safe place for people who have struggled with substance abuse to talk about their recovery. Groups also enable those in recovery to discuss mental illness, core issues in their lives, the consequences of abusing substances, unhealthy habits, and building healthier ones.

Having a group to discuss these topics with can be incredibly powerful either on its own or in addition to individual therapy. Joining a substance abuse group can additionally improve an individual’s chance of long-term sobriety.

Contact Empowered Recovery today for more information about our recovery support services.

How To Get Off Cocaine

Cocaine addiction and drug abuse can be devastating; they can cause you to feel lost, helpless, and out of control. Acknowledging the problem takes a lot of strength, so well done for getting this far. Once you have admitted that you need help, you can begin the recovery journey and tackle your substance addiction.

While cocaine is not the most physically challenging drug to get off, it can be challenging psychologically. Some psychological symptoms can be severe, making it essential to undergo detox and cocaine withdrawal under medical guidance. Detox can be completed at an inpatient treatment facility or at an outpatient treatment center, where medical professionals can guide you through overcoming drug use.

In addition to seeking treatment, healthy lifestyle choices, behavioral therapy, and community-based recovery groups are all recommended for those recovering from substance abuse.

Addiction treatment can help you to combat substance abuse and pave the way for a healthy, fulfilled life free from the ties of cocaine dependence.

What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine is an illicit stimulant drug that works by increasing activity in the central nervous system, which causes users to feel alert, highly energized, and experience euphoric sensations. The feelings of happiness and pleasure that arise upon using cocaine are due to the release of dopamine, which is triggered into production when cocaine is taken. These feelings contribute to cocaine’s addictive qualities.

Although many cocaine users use cocaine in its white, powdery form by snorting it or rubbing it on their gums, some people who participate in cocaine drug abuse use crack cocaine or crack, as it is otherwise known. Crack cocaine is rock-like in appearance and is generally administered by intravenous injection or via smoking it.

What Are the Effects of Cocaine Addiction and Abuse?

Cocaine is a fast-acting drug, meaning it gets to work quickly after entering your system. Usually, a cocaine high peaks after 15 to 30 minutes, while a crack cocaine high typically peaks after two to five minutes.

The duration and intensity of the high depend on several factors, such as the way it is administered, the purity of the substance, whether it is taken alongside other drugs, and the amount consumed.

Cocaine addiction can severely affect both the body and the brain. For example, cocaine elevates blood pressure and damages the cardiovascular system, putting a significant strain on the heart. As a result, cocaine addiction can put users at an increased risk of cardiac arrest, seizures, and stroke.

In addition to the physical effects of cocaine use, some mental health issues linked to cocaine abuse include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Psychosis

What Are the Withdrawal Symptoms?

When it comes to getting off cocaine, medical detox is needed. However, cocaine impacts the reward system in the brain, making it harder for some people to quit the drug altogether.

When detoxing from cocaine, withdrawal symptoms will arise as the body tries to readjust to functioning without the drug. Some cocaine withdrawal symptoms can be uncomfortable. Sadly, this is why many people will binge cocaine or continue using to avoid withdrawal. However, this is dangerous and can lead to a cocaine overdose.

Upon commencing a medical detox, withdrawal symptoms tend to be physical and psychological. Some of the psychological withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Unpleasant dreams or nightmares
  • Paranoia
  • Agitation
  • Suicidal thoughts

Although these withdrawal symptoms are commonly experienced, the severity and duration of withdrawal symptoms depend on various factors, including:

  • The amount of cocaine taken
  • The duration of cocaine abuse
  • Polysubstance dependence
  • Your mental health
  • Your physical health

What Is the Cocaine Withdrawal Process?

To cease your physical cocaine dependency and start treatment, you will, as touched on above, need to go through cocaine detox. Detox involves ridding the body of toxic substances that accompany drug abuse.

Cocaine detox can be completed as part of an outpatient program at an outpatient treatment center or via an inpatient treatment center where round-the-clock care and medical supervision are available.

Although it is possible for some people to detox via an outpatient center or at home under medical guidance, inpatient rehab centers are usually recommended. This is because treatment is available at all times at an inpatient treatment facility.

Inpatient detox is recommended if you:

  • suffer from co-occurring mental illnesses.
  • have attempted withdrawal previously but failed.
  • are suffering from severe cocaine addiction.
  • are experiencing severe depression or intense cocaine withdrawal symptoms.

If you are worried about the detox process, plenty of support is available. Contacting a treatment center, such as our own, will ensure that you have the information and treatment you need to get off of cocaine.

The Withdrawal Timeline

Cocaine withdrawal symptoms generally ease after around seven to 10 days, but cocaine cravings can continue for a while after this.

The half-life of cocaine is relatively short, meaning that cocaine withdrawal symptoms can develop in as little as 90 minutes after the final dose. The withdrawal process can generally be broken down as follows:

  • One to three hours after last using cocaine will see symptoms such as irritability, exhaustion, anxiety, and an increased appetite arise.
  • Intense cocaine cravings often surface during the first week of cocaine withdrawal, as does insomnia, fatigue, vivid nightmares, anxiety, and depression.
  • Cocaine withdrawal symptoms often persist into the fourth week of cocaine withdrawal. During this time, you may feel emotionally unstable, agitated, and lack concentration.
  • Although anxiety and cravings may persist, cocaine withdrawal symptoms start to decrease five to 10 weeks after withdrawal starts.

What Addiction Treatment Options Are Available?

At present, there aren’t any Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved medications to treat cocaine withdrawal specifically. However, promising medications point toward the possibility of pharmacological treatment. In addition, certain anxiety medications exist, as do medications that block the pleasure response, which can help ease the withdrawal process.

With regards to treatment options for cocaine addiction, upon completing detox, you may be offered a range of treatments such as therapy and support groups. However, these treatments depend on whether you attend an inpatient or outpatient rehab. Should you attend our rehab for treatment, we will offer you a personalized treatment program that is individually tailored to your needs, ensuring that your physical and mental health requirements are taken into account.

Intense cravings make cocaine a hard drug to quit, especially as they can reappear a month after quitting. However, we can help you learn how to handle these as best possible and beat your cocaine use for good.

Treatment facilities, such as our own, generally offer therapy sessions, support groups (such as Narcotics Anonymous or Cocaine Anonymous), and behavioral therapy. Rehab also includes education surrounding relapse prevention and planning for aftercare.

Meanwhile, long-term cocaine addiction treatment focuses on emotional support to continue tackling the psychological addiction. Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) is recommended for cocaine addiction recovery.

Conclusion

If you have developed an addiction to cocaine, getting off the drug may feel like an impossible task. But with our help, overcoming an addiction is entirely achievable. The process can be intense, but luckily the withdrawal timeline is relatively short for most people.

However, to make a long-term recovery, a medically supervised detox is in your best interest. Likewise, treatment options such as inpatient or outpatient detox followed by rehab treatment programs will help you tackle your cocaine use and treat cocaine addiction safely and with guidance.

To find out more about our addiction treatment, please get in touch with us today. In doing so, our medical professionals can explain our addiction treatment, what a medical detox involves, and discuss our rehab facilities with you. We can also offer any mental health support that you may need.

What Helps With Alcohol Withdrawal?

Quitting alcohol is one of the most challenging things you can do. After all, facing up to what you did when you were drinking, reconnecting with family and friends, and finding a job or going back to college can be jarring after you get sober. But before all that, you have to go through alcohol detox.

Alcohol detox occurs when you stop drinking after a period of heavy alcohol consumption. During this time, your body adjusts to functioning without alcohol, leaving you experiencing alcohol withdrawal. Although excruciating, many things can help with alcohol withdrawal symptoms.

Reducing Alcohol Withdrawal Syndrome

As you begin to detox from alcohol, there are plenty of things that you can do to reduce alcohol withdrawal syndrome. Below, we have outlined just a few.

  • Eat when your body tells you to. You may have become malnourished after years of alcohol addiction, especially if you have gone long periods without drinking or eating nutritious foods and drinks. When you begin to withdraw from alcohol, make sure to eat healthy meals if you can.
  • Take vitamins and minerals. People living with an alcohol use disorder can quickly become deficient in vitamins and minerals. As a lack of good food and increased alcohol consumption actively reduces the levels of some vitamins, your body may weaken, leaving you experiencing more severe symptoms. Before you start detoxing, make sure you are stocked up. If you are unsure of which vitamins to take, discuss treatment with a medical professional.
  • Drink plenty of water. This may seem like a no-brainer, but if you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms, you may forget to drink water, and you may also lose water through vomiting. Although you may think you need to go overboard when hydrating, two or three liters a day should be sufficient.
  • Take a cold shower. Having a cold shower may be one of the last things you want to do while in withdrawal, but doing so can help when you are suffering. A short blast can fire up your endorphins and leave you feeling a little better.
  • Go for a walk. If you have severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms, going for a walk may not be possible. However, if you can, consider going outside and getting some fresh air. A walk around the block or park can help reduce any aching you may experience and might also help you get a better night’s sleep.
  • Utilize breathing techniques. Breathing can help your prefrontal cortex re-engage. When this happens, your critical thinking and reasoning skills will reactivate. These can be particularly effective if you begin to experience cravings.
  • Exercise. If you are in the stage of withdrawal where you are still vomiting, exercising may not be a good idea. However, if you feel up to it, try doing a small amount of exercise. Lifting weights, swimming, and yoga can all help boost levels of endorphins and get you out of a slump.
  • Listen to music. Distracting yourself can be a great tool when going through withdrawal. You might find that your connection with music decreased at the height of your alcohol abuse. Still, now you have no alcohol in your system, you may find that listening to music becomes enjoyable again, even if you are still experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
  • Read a book. Reading a book may not be on the top of your to-do list in the deepest throes of withdrawal, but it may be possible once the worst is over. Get your recovery off to a great start by reading something uplifting.
  • Fast-forward. This effective coping technique can help when you go through the worst of withdrawal and begin thinking that drinking would be a good idea. Play the tape forward and imagine what will happen after you drink again. Think about the pain that will ensue, and remind yourself that you have already come a long way – drinking will mean you have to go through withdrawal again.
  • Avoid those who drink. When you are going through alcohol withdrawal, it is advised that you stay clear of old drinking friends who might encourage you to drink again. These people might suggest that you have “just one more” and may even offer you free alcohol. Stay well away until you feel strong enough to say no.

In some instances, reducing alcohol withdrawal syndrome will only be possible with the help of medical professionals. Although the thought of reaching out for help can be daunting, medication is available to reduce symptoms. Attending rehab if you have tried to stop drinking before or feel like you may experience potentially life-threatening delirium tremens (DTs) may be in your best interest. Here, you will have twenty-four-hour care and support.

It is common to feel alone, especially at the height of alcohol addiction, but remember you are not. Telling friends and family what you are going through may mean that you have support while in alcohol withdrawal. If you do not have friends or family members who support you, consider going to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or another recovery fellowship for support.

Alcohol Withdrawal Medications

There are many medications that you can take for alcohol withdrawal symptoms. These include:

  • Melatonin
  • Chlordiazepoxide
  • Xanax (alprazolam)

Melatonin often reduces insomnia and helps many people sleep, and it can also help you get through the sleeplessness that often comes when you experience withdrawal symptoms from alcohol. In contrast, chlordiazepoxide is used to treat anxiety which is often experienced during alcohol withdrawal.

Like chlordiazepoxide, Xanax is mainly used to help reduce anxiety, and it can also help decrease severe symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. However, Xanax is a member of the benzodiazepine family and is addictive, so it must be used under medical care and supervision.

Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms vary from person to person. The symptoms you may experience might differ from the symptoms someone else in recovery experiences.

Although mild symptoms generally reduce after a few days, severe withdrawal symptoms exist and can last for weeks. However, common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hallucinations
  • Sweating

Severe Withdrawal Symptoms – Delirium Tremens

If you have been drinking heavily for an extended period, you may experience symptoms called delirium tremens (DTs), which is the most severe form of alcohol withdrawal.

DTs can cause withdrawal seizures and are extremely dangerous, even life-threatening. This is why it is recommended that you complete alcohol detox under medical supervision if you think this may happen when you detox.

Causes of Alcohol Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawal occurs as part of changes in the brain that surface in response to excessive drinking. The neurochemical details of alcohol withdrawal are complex, but they typically involve the central nervous system being depressed for an extended time and overcompensating as a result. The most important thing to know is that alcohol withdrawal is treatable, and it will not last forever.

Can I Stop Drinking Immediately?

If you have been drinking relatively small amounts of alcohol for a short amount of time, then it may be safe for you to stop drinking right away. However, if you have been drinking for a long period and your alcohol level suddenly drops, you may experience DTs.

If you feel you may have more severe symptoms, you should enlist a health professional’s help.

What Should I Do After I Stop Drinking?

If you have been able to stop drinking, congratulations! Alcohol dependency can be incredibly tricky to navigate out of, so you should be pleased with yourself. But what do you do when you have stopped drinking? You might feel like your life is suddenly empty, but here are a few things you can do to replace alcohol use in your life.

  • Join Alcoholics Anonymous. AA is a fellowship of people who meet regularly to share their recovery experiences. You may find you can connect with people at AA through shared ways of thinking. AA is also beneficial as it has been proven effective when quitting alcohol long-term. If AA is not for you, there are other mutual support groups that you can check out.
  • Take up a sport. This can be a great way of exercising and meeting new people. Irrespective of whether you have previously played a sport or have never tried playing team games before, try taking up a sport and see how you feel.
  • Help out people less fortunate than you. Another great way of staying sober and helping yourself feel better is to donate your time to other people – you may find that you get more out of it than you put in.
  • Meditate. Studies show that people who meditate regularly experience reduced levels of anxiety and depression and feel more content with their lives. During your recovery from an alcohol use disorder, meditation can be a great tool to use.

Avoiding Cross Addiction – Don’t Self Medicate

Once you have completed your alcohol withdrawal, you will likely understand that picking up a bottle again would be very unwise. How about taking drugs, though? After all, you have a drinking problem, not a drug problem, right? Wrong!

Be very careful around drugs if you have had a drinking problem, as drugs can act in the same way as alcohol. Picking up a drug after putting down a bottle can take you back to square one, and it might even leave you needing substance abuse treatment.

The reason for this is that people in recovery frequently have addictive personalities. While one person might be able to indulge in drugs without developing a substance use disorder, this is usually not the case for people with alcohol addiction.

Alcohol Withdrawal – Unavoidable and Worthwhile

If you are reading this, it is likely that you or someone you love is either in alcohol withdrawal or will go through it soon. You may be feeling nervous about this, and you may find yourself wondering whether detoxing from alcohol is the right thing to do.

The reality is that alcohol withdrawal is unpleasant, but it is a stage that a person with alcohol addiction has to go through before becoming well again. Not completing alcohol withdrawal means remaining addicted to alcohol.

If you feel like you cannot go through withdrawal by yourself or worry that you may be in danger if you attempt it without medical supervision, contact Empowered Recovery.

Our team of dedicated professionals are trained to deal with all aspects of alcohol withdrawal, so you can be sure you will be as safe and as comfortable as possible in this important part of your journey. Feel free to contact us to discuss how we can best meet your needs.

What Are the Stages of Alcoholism?

Alcoholism isn’t something that develops in a day; it is a progressive and complex disease that stems from excessive drinking. Causing people to drink more frequently, many find it challenging to quit despite harmful consequences to their day-to-day life, physical or mental health, and social relationships.

Alcohol use disorder is an alteration of the brain that control’s one’s motivation and ability to make healthy choices. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) describes alcohol use disorder as a drinking problem that becomes severe. Moderate drinking is not a cause for concern in most cases.

Causes of Alcohol Addiction

It is important to remember that no two individuals who experience alcohol abuse are the same. As alcohol use disorders have no single cause, many different psychological, genetic, and behavioral factors contribute to alcohol addiction.

The development of an alcohol use disorder is dependent on how much, how often, and how quickly a person consumes alcohol. However, some factors repeatedly come up when determining who might have an issue with alcohol addiction. These include:

  • Drinking at an early age – Research has found that people who begin drinking before the age of 15 are five times more likely to develop an alcohol use disorder than those who start drinking at age 21 or older.
  • Genetics and family history – A person’s genes and environment often influence alcohol use disorder. A parent’s drinking behavior may also influence a child’s likelihood of developing an alcohol addiction later in life.
  • Mental illnessMany psychiatric disorders, including depression, anxiety disorders, bipolar, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), are associated with alcohol use disorder. However, it is unclear if these mental disorders are a result of alcohol abuse or contribute to the development of alcohol addiction.

The Four Stages of Alcohol Abuse

E. Morton Jellinek was among the first researchers to take a scientific approach to understanding alcohol use disorders. Jellinek viewed alcohol use disorders as a chronic relapsing condition requiring professional treatment. Following his research, he suggested that alcohol abuse follows a common trajectory through various stages of decline.

After many studies and publications, Jellinek created the Jellinek Curve, a model of addiction that attempts to identify the progressive stages of alcoholism. His contributions to this field of research helped the medical world understand alcohol addiction today. The four main stages are:

  • Pre-alcoholism
  • Early-stage alcoholism
  • Middle alcoholism
  • End-stage alcoholism

The four stages of alcoholism can be a helpful guide to determine whether someone has a problem with alcohol. Not every person will go through these stages, but they are useful in identifying warning signs associated with alcohol misuse. Any signs of alcohol abuse should be taken seriously.

Pre-Alcoholism Stage

In the early stages of alcoholism, alcohol abuse is extremely difficult to notice. This is because alcohol is yet to create any problems, and there is no compulsive pattern. It generally starts with experimentation with different forms of alcohol. For example, a person will begin drinking in social settings for many reasons.

Drinking alcohol and binge drinking are typically seen as ways of socializing among younger people. While they may not drink regularly, they consume a large amount of alcohol in a short period. Binge drinking for men includes consuming five or more beverages within two hours. For women, binge drinking is classed as drinking four or more drinks within two hours.

Binge drinking and negative drinking habits are widespread, especially among young adults. Binge drinking does not necessarily mean an alcohol use disorder will develop, but it does increase the risk.

Early symptoms in the pre-alcoholism stage are hard to spot, and not all early symptoms will result in an addiction. During this stage, alcohol tolerance is developing, and problem drinking can lead to mental health issues.

Early-Stage Alcoholism

Early-stage alcoholism is often considered the transitional stage, where people begin binge drinking regularly and slowly start to abuse alcohol. Alcohol consumption becomes more frequent, and people may find themselves drinking every weekend.

Individuals start to use social settings and gatherings as an excuse to drink, often stating they cannot have a good time without alcohol. A person in this early stage often drinks to feel confident in themselves and their social settings.

In addition to binge drinking socially, people use alcohol as a form of stress relief. A person may frequently drink to cope with sadness, loneliness, or other negative emotions, rather than dealing with the issue itself.

People in this stage often drink to the point of blacking out, and they do not see it as a problem and will continue this repeatedly. It becomes an unhealthy cycle of passing out and swearing never to drink alcohol again.

Early-stage alcoholism is easier to notice than the pre-alcoholism stage, and it is also easier for a person to stop drinking at this stage. A critical difference between the first two early stages is that those in the early stage often have issues limiting alcohol consumption compared to those in the pre-alcoholism stage.

Middle Alcoholism Phase

In the middle stages of alcoholism, alcohol use becomes a part of everyday life. A person’s drinking problems are likely to become more apparent, and they begin to drink more frequently, often in the morning and throughout the day.

Alcohol use in this stage is high, and the effects of obsessive drinking and addiction are evident in daily life. People around those with a drinking problem are also more likely to become aware of what is going on, especially as alcohol use starts to affect the person in different ways.

Frequent drinking can lead to alcohol dependence, which causes people to regularly think of alcohol. When somebody becomes dependent, they will also experience alcohol withdrawal symptoms, which can have severe consequences on their physical and mental health.

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can range from:

  • Alcohol cravings
  • Agitation
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea
  • Mental illness

One may even experience physical dependence symptoms such as:

  • Weight gain
  • Weight loss
  • Stomach bloating
  • Facial redness
  • Sweats

Alcohol abuse treatment and alcohol rehab are most effective for those in this middle stage, as they can prevent more severe withdrawal symptoms from arising. This is because those at this stage can still change their lives to avoid any alcohol-related medical problems.

End-Stage Alcoholism

In this final stage, the effects of long-term alcohol abuse are evident. At this stage, a person no longer drinks for pleasure and feels a loss of control over their alcohol use. Typically, people with severe alcohol addictions are consumed with acquiring alcohol and, as their priorities change to facilitate drinking, relationships are often lost with loved ones.

Without treatment, severe alcoholism can cause life-threatening health problems and extreme medical conditions such as:

  • Liver disease
  • Brain damage
  • Heart failure
  • Cirrhosis

People in end-stage alcoholism are known to feel as though there is no way out. They may think that they are beyond help and recovery is too much of a painful process to pursue. However, addiction treatment has been proven to be effective.

People in this end-stage will experience life-threatening and severe alcohol withdrawal symptoms if they continue to consume alcohol. For this reason, it is recommended that they seek treatment in a safe and structured environment where there is either a doctor or treatment specialist to support their recovery.

Treatment Options

There are various treatment providers and treatment options available for addiction treatment. However, it is essential to remember that someone with an addiction cannot be forced to stop drinking; they must be willing to seek alcohol disorder treatment.

The severity of alcohol use deters which treatment is most effective. However, a combination of behavioral therapy, medication, and attending support groups has proven effective for alcohol or substance abuse problems.

Inpatient treatment provides constant care in a safe environment where those in recovery have access to a medical and mental health professional. They also have the opportunity to complete behavioral therapy, focusing on the psychological aspects of addiction.

In contrast, outpatient treatment is a little more relaxed. Those who choose to attend outpatient rehab will continue to live at home, and treatment is fitted around their schedule. Attending support groups can be the first step towards recovery or part of an aftercare plan for some. They are open to anyone with a substance use disorder and are peer-led.

When an addiction arises, it is best for anyone suffering to speak to a doctor. In doing so, support and guidance can be provided surrounding local programs and treatment options. Help is available for those at all stages of alcoholism, so those suffering should not be afraid to seek help.

4 Pitfalls in Recovery Self-care

Recovery is a journey. It is often a lengthy process, and there will be a number of hidden difficulties along the way, many of which you may not be expecting or think that you can handle.

In order to take care of yourself during this time, there may be certain things you think you should do or people to see that will help. However, not everything is safe, and some people or places can be triggering and may put you at risk of relapse.

Spending Time with Certain People

It can be tempting to hang around with the same people you did when you had an active addiction, due to wanting a social life, fun, and connection. As difficult as it may be to avoid these people, it is important to try to spend time away from them when you are in recovery. They could act as a social trigger, an interaction with a person or group of people which prompts cravings for drugs or alcohol.

Making new friends who still drink or use drugs regularly as a way to socialize is dangerous too as this could lead to relapse.

You may be worried that you will feel isolated without these people in your life for now. However, there are other, safer, and healthier ways to form a friendship group and gain support. 12-step meetings and sober support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) can help you to feel protected and empowered as well as provide a sense of connection. You could also consider joining a sports team or a hobby you enjoy, such as a pottery class or photography club, as a healthy way to meet new people and not feel isolated.

Overthinking Your Recovery

It is natural to want to have the best recovery possible. However, if you overthink and worry about your journey and something doesn’t go to plan (which may happen), it will lead to self-doubt, negative self-talk, and lower self-esteem. All of these things can make you feel like you may as well give up or that you have failed in some way.

It is important to understand how tough recovery can be and be kind to yourself and proud of yourself for being on this journey, no matter the difficulties you may face or if something trips you up. The key thing is to keep trying and not give up, and letting go of perfection will help to make this process easier.

Starting a Romantic Relationship

Beginning a romantic relationship in early recovery might seem like a great idea: a chance to have a support system, emotional connection, and comfort. However, unfortunately, this is generally advised against.

This is because:

  • It can distract from your recovery journey. Romance in the first year of being sober often replaces your recovery goals and stops you from being disciplined and motivated, which can put you in a vulnerable position. You may miss 12-step meetings, therapy appointments, and spend less time repairing important friendships and relationships with family members to spend more time with your partner.
  • It can lead to identity problems. A life without drugs or alcohol may make you feel as if you have lost a sense of who you are, and feel confused about your identity. It is vital to spend this new year working on yourself, creating healthy habits, and rediscovering things that make you feel happy. Entering into a romantic relationship too soon can fill this gap of identity with another person, which will make you extra vulnerable if you break up or encounter problems.
  • Love is a drug. As a recovering addict, you may become obsessed with the intoxicating feelings of love, and forget to work on yourself and heal from within. Love can have the same effect on your brain as drugs and swapping drugs and alcohol with love is dangerous as it can make it tough to figure out who you are on your own.

Over-Indulging in Exercise

The benefits of exercise in recovery, and in general, are huge: it boosts your happiness, health, and makes you feel good about yourself. However, you should bear in mind that becoming obsessed with exercise has similarities to drug addiction.

Compulsive exercising can lead to someone feeling like they need to work out but not gaining any pleasure from it and can lead to injuries and exhaustion. It can also lead to neglect in other areas of recovery, such as rebuilding relationships and attending appointments.

Conclusion

Being aware of some of the common pitfalls during recovery self-care will help you to feel prepared for, and perhaps even avoid, some of the challenges which may arise. The important thing is to be kind to yourself and not to worry if you make mistakes or feel like you are struggling. Recovery is a difficult process, but with the right support and guidance, you will get through it. Continuing this journey will be one of the best decisions you will ever make.

How Creativity Helps With Recovery

Have you ever heard the myth that substances stimulate creativity? Well, scientists have finally debunked that one once and for all. Addiction dulls your emotional, physical, and spiritual spark. It messes with our ability to experience joy and makes it harder for us to produce artistically. 

That doesn’t mean that once you’ve struggled with addiction your creativity is done for. In fact, the opposite is true: recovery is a brilliant time to explore or reconnect with your inner creative spark. Through recovery you’re learning and unlearning a plethora of different skills and abilities; you’re crafting a whole new life and mindset for yourself. It can be an enormously creative time, and creative practices can help with recovery in turn.

How Can Creativity Help With My Recovery?

Being creative has many benefits throughout recovery. This can be a challenging time, and having an outlet for your emotions and frustrations is an excellent way to cope and process your feelings in a healthy way.

Helping You to Process Trauma and Loss

Many people who struggle with addiction have gone through a traumatic experience or experienced some kind of loss in their lives. Substance abuse can then begin as a way to cope with those difficult feelings. Working through that trauma and loss is often an important part of early recovery for many of us.

Creative practices are an excellent way to support this process. While talking therapies are useful, sometimes it’s not possible to express such difficult matters in words. Making art can help you to express long-suppressed emotions and get them out into the world. 

Emotion Regulation

Engaging in substance abuse or gambling is also a maladaptive method of emotion control. Recovery is also about learning healthier ways of regulating your emotions. This is something you can work on through therapy such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), but it’s also something that creative endeavors can support.

Creating art, such as painting, drawing, dancing, or writing doesn’t just help you get your emotions out there – it also helps you to regulate them. By being creative you are sitting with and engaging with your emotions, rather than trying to shut them down or run away from them. This can in turn help you to make peace with them and gain some control over your feelings. It doesn’t have to be advanced or complicated – even the act of listening to music can reduce stress and help you to process your emotions.

Finding Joy

Addiction blunts our ability to experience intense joy outside of substances or problematic behaviors. During recovery, you build on your ability to experience that joy again. 

Creative practices are a joyful act as old as the human species. Creating simply to create is a deeply human trait and can release all kinds of happy chemicals in the brain. Finding an artistic practice that brings you joy, however slight, can be a helpful step on the road towards finding joy again after addiction.

How Can I Explore My Creativity in Recovery?

There are many ways to explore your creativity in recovery. For example, you can:

  • Try journaling. Journaling is a great way to explore creativity if you like to write but you aren’t sure what form to put it into. You can slip between genres, such as prose, poetry, or simply lists of what you’ve done. Try adding a few cartoon drawings or sketches of the world around you to stretch yourself. 
  • Take a class. If you’re ready to get creative with other people, look around for art classes in your local community. There are usually plenty that are targeted towards non-professionals, and looking might get you excited. You never know, pottery might be your next great passion!
  • Get into cooking. We all need to eat to survive, so why don’t you try turning feeding yourself into a creative practice? Pick out a recipe book at your local library and get started!

Conclusion

You don’t have to be the next Mozart to reap the benefits of creative practice – and in recovery, a little creativity can go a long way. Whether you write, draw, sing, dance, or anything in between, engaging with your creativity can bring some joy back into your life and help you to process your emotions.

3 Tips To Make Your Detox As Easy as Possible

When embarking on the recovery journey, one of the first and most important steps is detox. If you’re ready to banish your substance use disorder (SUD) for good, you might think that quitting cold turkey is the fastest solution. 

While it might seem like a good idea, detoxing alone comes with several risks. As well as facing withdrawal systems alone, you’ll also have to deal with emotions and cravings head-on. Without appropriate support, doing so leads to relapse, which can be fatal.

The best course of action is checking yourself into a detox center. This way, you’ll be able to undergo medical detox in a safe and supportive environment.

What Is Medical Detox?

Simply put, medical detox is a process that aims to remove all traces of drugs or alcohol from your system under clinical supervision. While withdrawal is inevitable, medical professionals will do everything they can to minimize your discomfort. They will also prescribe medication to alleviate side effects. 

What Happens to Your Body During a Detox?

Due to the withdrawal symptoms commonly encountered, detoxing is often somewhat uncomfortable. Once you’ve developed a dependency on drugs or alcohol, your body will start to crave the highs that they provide. 

In the absence of substances, your body will go into fight-or-flight mode, producing a range of withdrawal symptoms. This is made worse if you quit cold turkey, which is why medical detox is a gradual process that slowly weans you off substances.

Common withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Increased anxiety
  • Muscle aches and pains
  • Insomnia
  • High blood pressure
  • Abdominal pain
  • Nausea and vomiting

In serious cases, some individuals experience delirium tremens (DTS). Here, hallucinations, shivering, and anxiety are all common. 

As you can see, detoxing isn’t a straightforward process. There’ll be a few challenges you’ll have to face, including mental roadblocks and cravings, but with the right help, detoxing and recovering from a SUD is achievable. 

Below are three tips you can use to make detox as easy as possible.

1. Healthy Diet and Exercise

A healthy and nutritious diet can go a long way in improving your mood, mental health, and physical shape. During the height of your SUD, you’ll likely have lost a lot of essential nutrients and minerals, so now is the best time to replenish them. 

Load up on healthy fats, vegetables, and fruits and steer clear of processed foods that contain sugar. You may also want to consider taking supplements to aid in your recovery. Withdrawal will put your body slightly off balance, so eating well will not only keep you sane, but it will help fight off cravings.

Complement your healthy diet with regular exercise to supercharge your recovery. It’s a natural endorphin booster that will help keep your mind off any cravings or urges. Exercise is also proven to reduce stress, so dedicate at least twenty minutes a day to it. 

It doesn’t have to be particularly strenuous – a long walk is just as good as a cardio workout. In fact, there’s a lot of evidence to suggest that regular exercise can help you in your recovery journey. A 2020 study indicated that physical exercise has a positive effect on improving mental health, cravings, and overall quality of life.

2. Join Support Groups

Withdrawal can be a pretty grueling time. You might feel like you’re in it alone, but you’re not. Hear from others on a similar journey to your own by joining a substance abuse support group. Use it as a safe space to open up, learn from others, and build a strong support network to which you can go back when you need it. 

Joining support groups can also help you take charge of your life and become more accepting of yourself. You might be introduced to concepts like the twelve-step program – a method that will push you to own up to mistakes and effect life-long positive change.

3. Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness is a great way to slow down your racing mind and alleviate stress. It’s essentially a relaxation technique but can also be used to keep you focused on the present. You might be battling many different emotions and different feelings during detox – focusing on your breathing is a good way of keeping yourself in check.

To Conclude 

Checking yourself into drug and alcohol rehab is the first step to recovery. It’s not always easy to do, so give yourself credit for taking this crucial step. Detoxing might seem scary, but armed with the right strategy, you’ll be able to take it on with confidence. And remember – 75% of people who suffer from a SUD go on to recover, so sobriety is definitely within your reach.

 

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