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Clayton407

Clayton407

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Posted by on in Co-dependency

Originally Posted @ http://www.newbridgerecovery.com/newbridge-understanding-addicts-mind/ 

The mind of the chronic addict, and alcoholic, has been baffling spouses, friends, bosses, scientists, and therapists for centuries. What the heck is going on in the addict’s brain? To the casual outsider, the behavior of the addict seems irrational, confusing, and even insane. They are like the person who puts his hand on a hot stove and gets burned, yet five minutes later they do it again! People unfamiliar with addiction may observe the addict’s actions and think him/her weak-willed or moronic. A recovered addict myself, often even I can’t understand the minds of the addicts I interact with. Surprisingly the addict is generally a sensitive, self-aware, and complex individual; unpredictable at times. My experience as a former addict gives me additional insight into the mysterious realm of the addict’s mind, and here are my observations:

People (Generally) Don’t Choose to be Addicted

The first step in understanding the addict is to realize that they are sick, actually suffering from a disease called addiction. Similar to bi-polar and depression, addiction is a mental condition that results in a defect in the functioning of the neuro transmitters of the brain, specifically the dopamine-reward system. Put simply, the brain of the addict is vulnerable to dependency upon drugs and alcohol because of the effect they have on the brain. Most addicts try to stop or cutback their substance abuse when consequences and problems arise, like when the person burns his hand on the stove. Yet they find themselves succumbing to abusing drugs, putting their hands on the hot stove again. Eventually they lose control over their ability to moderate or stop using drugs. Although the addict is suffering from a disease, it shouldn’t be an excuse for their behavior or actions. Many parents or spouses of the addict think that their love, affection, or threats should be enough incentive to damper addiction, yet these methods often fall short to stop the neurological entrapment of drug addiction.

no-choice

 

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Originally Posted @ http://www.newbridgerecovery.com/newbridge-top-ten-benefits-sobriety/

Do you think being sober is boring? Think Again! There are a lot of benefits to living without drugs and alcohol. It may not be easy at first and the benefits of sobriety may not appear right away, but sobriety can be the greatest life you’ve ever known. Based on my personal recovery and the experience of others, I believe sobriety can lead to gifts you may have never imagined or thought possible. Here is my list of the ten best benefits of living sober.

  1. Boosted Self-Esteem and Motivation

It only makes sense that we feel better about ourselves when we stop harming ourselves and those around us.

  1. Better Eating & Better Sleep

When high on drugs, eating and sleeping aren’t a top priority. Sobriety helps us learn healthy habits.

  1. Make Authentic Friends

You thought your drinking buddies were good friends? Sober friends are in another league.

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Posted by on in Alcoholism

Despite recent advancements in addiction medicine and treatment, there is still not a ‘cure’ for addiction and alcoholism. When most people think of a cure they think of a pill or vaccine that completely removes or prevents the illness. With alcoholism and addiction, the remedy is not so simple. While technology and science may one day develop a cure for addiction, it hasn’t yet been accomplished. However, there are some methods that keep the disease of alcoholism and addiction in remission, allowing the person affected to lead a happy and meaningful life.

Once addiction occurs, like Diabetes or Alzheimer’s, the person will always have the disease. A person with diabetes or addiction can never be completely cured of the illness, but there are ways to manage the symptoms and keep the disease in remission. Treatments for addiction and alcoholism usually consist of multiple regiments; medicine, therapy, support groups, lifestyle changes, etc. As long as the addict or alcoholic is physically sober, abstaining from drugs and alcohol, their addiction is inactive. If this person takes a drink or a drug their disease re-emerges and they experience the cravings and obsessions common with addiction.

 

firststeps

The most important component of treating addiction and alcoholism is detoxing the affected person. Detox is a process in which the drugs and alcohol leave the body. Different drugs have different side-effects and withdrawal symptoms, and it is important to consult a professional detox center before attempting to go through detox. Many people require medical assistance and monitoring to successfully complete the detox period. Once the body is entirely rid of drugs and alcohol the physical craving to use drugs or drink will slowly diminish. After detox there is still more treatment needed to fully be in remission from addiction. Like any habit, the mental obsession and desire to return to drugs and alcohol may persist for months after.

Entering Recovery

In the addiction profession we recognize someone who has overcome addiction as a “recovering addict/alcoholic”. They are called recovering because their remission from addiction and alcoholism is a continuing process. Sober addicts and alcoholics must design a plan for recovery and put effort in daily to follow through. This process of recovery may look different for everyone. Experience has taught us that the best plan for recovery is one that incorporates various actions to stay sober. One of these is a medical component. New addiction medicine has come about that claims to reduce cravings and block the effects of certain drugs. Other people with addiction may need medicine for depression, anxiety, or other mental issues. It is important to be vigilant with your medication and aware of your medical needs. Another possible component of a solid recovery is professional counseling or drug/alcohol treatment. These help educate and inform the person new in recovery to the disease of addiction and how to keep it in remission. Counseling is a great tool for anyone newly sober and can help stabilize emotions and relieve anxiety. Another important part of a comprehensive recovery plan is involvement in a support group. There are various different groups that provide peer-to-peer help and social support. Groups like SMART Recovery, Celebrate Recovery, and 12 Step Groups are the most common support groups for addiction. These groups help people connect with others in similar situations and interact with people who have experience and knowledge about living sober and keeping addiction in remission.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Originally Posted @ http://www.newbridgerecovery.com/newbridge-killer-fentanyl/ 

Have you ever heard of a drug so dangerous that a dose the size of a few grains of salt can be fatal? With drug-overdose deaths on the rise, many people point their finger at heroin as the cause. Recent discoveries show that there may be another deadly drug wreaking havoc across the country. The culprit is fentanyl, a prescription painkiller significantly more powerful than heroin and morphine. The real danger is that unsuspecting addicts are abusing fentanyl thinking it is heroin, with fatal results. Cheap, addictive, and dangerous, fentanyl is the deadliest drug you've probably never even heard of.

What is Fentanyl?

A lethal cousin to heroin, fentanyl is alleged to be 50 times more powerful than heroin and over 100 times more powerful morphine. It is a synthetic painkiller that has been around for forty years but has just recently become a popular choice for drug dealers and drug addicts. In 2015, doctors wrote over 6.6 million legal fentanyl prescriptions in the U.S, although these prescriptions are not the main concern for addiction professionals. The danger with fentanyl is that it looks exactly like heroin yet is substantially more dangerous.

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Fentanyl doses are extremely small (Pictured Above)

Previously an uncommon street drug, international drug manufacturers are producing fentanyl at an alarming rate for cheap prices. It is becoming cheaper for drug dealers to sell fentanyl than heroin and they are increasingly mixing the two drugs to cut costs. Just how popular has fentanyl become? “For the cartels, it’s their drug of choice,” Maura Healey, the Attorney General of Massachusetts said, “They have figured out a way to make fentanyl more cheaply and easily than heroin and are manufacturing it at a record pace.” This statement is backed up by the huge spread of fentanyl seizures and drug busts in recent years. Nationally, the total number of fentanyl drug seizures spiked from 618 in 2012 to 4,500 in 2014, an 800 percent increase.

Some of the states most affected include: Ohio, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Florida. In one seizure last year, law enforcement officers in Lawrence, Massachusetts confiscated 33 pounds of fentanyl and heroin with a street value of $2.2 million. In January, the police seized 66 pounds of fentanyl-laced heroin, worth millions, in another Massachusetts city.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Originally Posted @ http://www.newbridgerecovery.com/newbridge-obama-confronts-addiction/ 

Our current President, Barrack Obama, has a history of addressing our Nation’s drug epidemic. Recently his concerns about drug addiction have spawned new initiatives to deal with the issue. In February, Obama proposed a billion-dollar plan to fight opioid abuse and addiction. This act highlights the growing concern over addiction, specifically to opioids, that has sprung up across our Country. Previously a taboo topic, drug addiction has really entered center stage with the deaths of famous celebrities to drugs and alcohol, as well as a sudden spike in the overdose and death rate among young adults. Obama’s direct confrontation of the dark reality of addiction should be seen as “a step in the right direction” for drug-abuse awareness advocates and families ravaged by addiction. Find out how Obama plans to deal with the deadly epidemic spreading throughout America.

A New Movement

Historically, the White House has approached the topic of reducing addiction by going after the drug dealers and the drug users. The so-called “War on Drugs” has practiced punishing and incarcerating both the people selling drugs and the people using drugs. Nancy Regan’s “Just Say No” plan to end addiction and alcoholism failed to bring about a decrease in addiction rates. Both programs have failed to reduce drug addiction or to discourage young people from trying drugs. The main result has been a flooding of the prison systems with drug-related criminals, often repeat offenders. In prison, addicts have little access to recovery resources or treatment options.

warondrugsRather than addressing the underlying cause and conditions of the rise of addiction in America, the government has previously utilized punishment and fear to deter citizens from using drugs. Unfortunately, the 28,647 opioid related deaths in 2014, a 400 percent increase form 2000, signal the failure of their efforts. The substantial rise of drug-related deaths, crimes, and hospitalizations has called for a different method of dealing with the situation.


Obama’s speech on Tuesday expressed an alternative way to end addiction. Our President talked about the need for resources devoted to the prevention and treatment of addiction, rather than continuing the “War on Drugs” policies of the last few decades. “For too long we’ve viewed drug addiction through the lens of criminal justice,” said Obama on Tuesday. Rather than go after the suppliers of drugs, Obama proposed “the most important thing to do is reduce demand. And the only way to do that is to provide treatment – to see it as a public health problem and not a criminal problem.” Professional treatment for addiction has come a long way in the last decade, but access to qualified doctors and therapists is still lacking. Basically addicts are dying because they can’t afford or don’t have access to adequate treatment. Obama said addiction has historically not been viewed as a public health problem, in part because it was viewed as affecting “the poor and minorities”. Recent research has shown that the current opioid epidemic is affecting people of every race and from different backgrounds, including affluent and middle-class males and females. The billion dollars pledged to fight addiction signals a new phase in our government’s response to the addiction crisis.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Originally Posted @ http://www.newbridgerecovery.com/1267-2/ 

In active alcoholism and drug addiction, it is easy to feel like you’re losing your mind. Indeed, some of the things we do under the influence of drugs are insane and may appear to other people as a sign of a deeper problem. Drug abuse, including alcohol, have mental side-effects that can range from paranoia, hallucinations, insomnia, aggression, and more. It is clear that drugs have a large impact on our mental well-being, but can they really cause mental illnesses to develop?

The short answer is yes, but not in the way you are probably thinking about. Perhaps you have heard the claim that taking LSD over seven times classifies someone as legally insane. Heard about how bath salts can turn you into a flesh-eating zombie? What about the multiple reports of people smoking synthetic spice and jumping to their death? While these stories are extreme and by no means common, they highlight the truth that drugs often make people do crazy things. Even alcohol changes a person’s mood and behavior, for example imagine a shy person getting drunk and starts dancing on tables or singing karaoke in front of hundreds of people. There is no denying that under the influence of drugs we can lose our inner judgment and sanity, leading to negative consequences and situations.

But can drugs actually cause permanent mental illness to manifest?

In the addiction treatment profession researchers have seen a dramatic rise in the number of ‘dual-diagnosis’ patients. These types are described as having both substance abuse issues along with a severe mental illness. In fact, the number of people admitted into rehabs with a mental illness has risen 34 % in the last 6 years (CDC). However, this does not prove that drugs cause mental illness rather it proves a connection. A recent study found that adults who are addicted to illicit drugs are twice as likely to have a serious mental illness (SAMSHA).

1-Mental-IllnessWith addiction and mental illness, it is often a case of determining what came first, ‘the chicken or the egg’. Many people with mental illness claim to use drugs to combat their symptoms. War veterans who return home with PTSD are highly susceptible to developing alcoholism or drug addiction. This seems to be their way of dealing with the trauma and ‘flashbacks’ common in PTSD. Another example is when a person having panic attacks and anxiety begins abusing sedatives or depressants in order to quell their symptoms. In these cases, it appears that the drug addiction or alcoholism came about as a response to the mental illness.

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Around the addiction treatment profession there are statistics floating around like “only 2% of people who go to rehab stay sober” or “90% of people who leave rehab will end up in another rehab”. These statistics tend to make it seem like addiction treatment has a low success rate. In my opinion, there are only a few reasons for these statistics.

Reason A) Rehab and Treatment Don’t Work

Reason B) Addiction Can’t Be Fixed, It’s Impossible to Stay Sober

Reason C) The Patient Doesn’t Give Their Best Effort or Follow Suggestions

We know from experience and research that the first two reasons can occur, but they are not the contributing factor as to why rehab fails. Rehab has been proven to be successful for addiction, and people with addiction can heal and stay sober. It is true that staying sober is not a simple or easy feat, and rehab does not work for everyone or every time. Thus logic and evidence would point to Reason C as the main factor in why rehab programs fail to work. Read about my Top 8 reasons why rehabs fail….

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Posted by on in Other Addictions

The first part of this two-part series dealt with four behavioral disorders, termed ‘addictions’. We discovered that many of these activates, sex and gambling, activate the same receptors and regions in the brain as drugs and alcohol. This second part discusses four more common behavioral addictions and their impact on the lives of society.

Video Game Addiction

Much like internet addiction, this addiction is a relatively new trend brought about by the popularity of video games. Video game addiction seems to affect mostly males, usually between age 13-29. This addiction is characterized by a compulsive need to play video games and can consume up to 8-12 hours each day. These ‘out-of-control’ gamers tend to start ignoring their responsibilities and duties in order to continue playing the game. Certain games even have higher rates of addiction among them. Gamers most prone to video game addiction play games like League of Legends or World of Warcraft, both multiple-player RPG type games; ‘Role Playing Game’. These games have huge followings and are intensely competitive, requiring enormous amounts of time to be an expert. Gamers often begin to lose their sense of reality and the fantasy video game begins to become their reality. Video games offer a person a way to escape the realities of life and immerse themselves in a digital world where they can be whoever they want; a superhero, a wizard, or a king. Treatment for video game addiction requires separation from video games, along with counseling or behavioral modification.

Plastic Surgery Addiction

Although not as common as some of the other addictions, plastic surgery addiction is certainly a dangerous reality for some. So what exactly is plastic surgery addiction? It can be defined as an obsession with changing their appearance through surgery, resulting in dozens and even close to a hundred separate surgeries. They become obsessed with changing their appearance to match an ideal image in their head of what they should look like. Although friends and family tell them they are beautiful or flawless, the addict is not satisfied with their own body. This addiction often goes along with other mental disorders, such as body dysmorphic disorder and chronic low self-image. People who become addicted to plastic surgery will pursue surgeries even when they can’t afford it and it begins to negatively affect their health and appearance. A very interesting case study can be found here.

Food Addiction

It is widely debated whether food obsessions are true addictions or it is closer to a disorder. Recently it has been shown that binge eating disorder that affects around 3 percent of the adults in America. Often the eating process about which a person binge eats is similar to a drug addiction.foodaddiction First a craving occurs, in this case hunger. Then an emotional trigger happens, such as sadness, anxiety, or guilt. The ‘food addict’ then eats, often to ease emotions and find a sense of relief. Food, like sex and drugs, also releases dopamine. This occurs because eating is necessary for survival, so it creates pleasure in the brain in order to motivate us to eat and replenish ourselves. While the issue of whether overeating is a true addiction still remains, millions of Americans struggle with it. There is even a 12 step group, OA, or Overeaters Anonymous.

Risk/Adrenaline Addiction

Does thrills or risk really get you excited? Thrill seekers share many of the same symptoms as drug addicts; they get a rush from skydiving or rock climbing, but after a while, they seek out even more dangerous adventures to feel that same level of excitement. And studies show that these “thrills” release the same flood of brain chemicals released by addictive drugs.

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Posted by on in Other Addictions
In our society the word ‘addiction’ is strongly associated with drugs, such as cocaine and heroin. When people think of addiction they picture illegal substances and narcotics. In the last couple decades’ addiction has really gained national attention, with SAMHSA estimating over 25 million American have a significant problem with drugs or alcohol. However, are not the only things can people can become addicted to. Recent psychological research has created a new class of addiction termed ‘Behavioral Addictions’. These habits produce a psychological ‘high’ that can become so strong that the addict loses control and seeks the activity despite the dangers and consequences. People with drug or alcohol addiction or recovery from substance abuse problems are at a much higher risk to developing a behavioral addiction than an average American. That’s because these activities can produce dopamine, the so-called ‘feel good’ chemical, which is the same neurological transmitter involved in drug addiction.
 
Gambling Addiction

People addicted to gambling may most closely resemble people addicted to drugs and alcohol, because they impact the brain in similar ways. The risk and reward of gambling produces euphoria in the gambler. The thrill of winning, pulling a bluff, and getting lucky can create an intensely pleasurable experience. Gambling can become a behavioral addiction when the person starts to impulsively gamblegambling-addiction despite recent losses, lack of money, or disregard for responsibilities to family or work. Gambling addicts can become so obsessed with gambling that they will steal and even rob to get money to continue their habit. When they win a big sum of money it does not satisfy them and they continue gambling, often eventually losing all their winnings. This addiction is so common that there are even 12 step groups for it and the APA includes it in their classification system.

Sex Addiction

Like gambling addiction, sex addiction is one of the more acknowledged behavioral addiction, with its own 12 step groups. What causes people to become addicted to sex? Dopamine; the same brain messenger chemical involved in drug, alcohol, and gambling addiction. Many sex addicts also have some form of other mental issues, such as body dysmorphia, low self-esteem, and hyper-sexuality. When a person becomes addicted to sex they begin to seek intercourse with different people, often complete strangers. Severe cases of sex addiction involve having sex with 4 or more people in a single night, sometimes without even exchanging names. A sex addict will begin to put their health, career, and relationships in jeopardy to achieve the ‘high’ that they get from having sex. Risk, such as sexual infections or unwanted pregnancy, is not enough to stop their habit.

Internet Addiction

The advent of computers and the internet have resulted in increased communication, sharing of knowledge, and technological advancements. In 2016, it is obvious we live in a digitally wired world. Internet addiction occurs when a person becomes too attached to their computer and specifically the internet. This addiction is a little more controversial than the previous two cases. Many psychologists andcomputer-addiction-2doctors aren’t convinced that internet addiction is a true disorder. However, some research has shown that an addiction to the Internet involves loss of control, as well as negative consequences at work and at home comparable to more standard addictions. One study even found that compulsive use of the internet may occupy up to 11 hours out of an “Internet addict’s” day and it is estimated between 6 to 11 percent of internet users may be affected by compulsive internet use.

 

 

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Posted by on in Drug Addiction

Treatment or ‘Rehab’ can cost anywhere between $200 to upwards of $200,00. In my experience, finances and the cost of treatment is perhaps the biggest obstacle in getting the addict the help they need. Let’s face it, generally drug and alcohol treatment is expensive, and without insurance it can be difficult to finance. The treatment centers that you see on T.V, the beach-side resorts showing people getting massages and acupuncture, can run upwards of $50,000 per month. There is a whole range of treatment centers, all with different pricing options and insurance plans. So the question of ‘how much does drug and alcohol treatment cost?’ does not have a simple answer. To fully understand the cost of treatment, we must look at the different types and quality of treatment centers available.

High Cost: Inpatient, Residential, and Luxury Treatment

The more expensive types of treatment are the programs that require a person to eat, sleep, and live at their facility during treatment. These programs are more extensive and generally restrict the person from working, having a phone, and from leaving the treatment center property. Residential treatment centers, as they are called, generally require a length of stay between 60-90 days. Between residential treatment centers there is a wide range of quality and costs. The cheapest treatment centers usually run around $7,500 per month and the most expensive treatment centers can exceed $50,00 per month. Different treatment centers accept different types of insurance. Most treatment centers do not accept Medicare or Medicaid, although a few will. With insurance, residential treatment centers can end up costing a few thousand dollars, which is often still too expensive for many people with drug and alcohol problems. With these high costs for treatment, many people look for cheaper options to get help for their addiction or alcoholism. Many people find outpatient treatment a way to treat their issues at a lower cost, without compromising quality of treatment.

Lower Cost: Intensive Outpatient, Outpatient Treatment

Outpatient treatment centers do not require the individual to sleep or stay at their treatment facility. Instead, the person lives at home, can continue working, going to school, and interact with the family. Outpatient treatment generally includes 10 hours of group and individual therapy each week, but this number can vary. The types of services offered at outpatient treatment centers are similar to those offered at residential treatment centers. Success rates are shown to be similar between people attending inpatient treatment and those attending outpatient treatment. The biggest difference between the two treatment options is the cost. Outpatient treatment can cost anywhere between $1,000 and $5,000. With insurance, outpatient can end up costing the patient less than a thousand dollars. This is a huge difference from the cost of residential treatment! 

Bottom-Line

Each person seeking treatment for drug and alcohol addiction has a unique set of needs and circumstances. For someone with a severe addiction and debilitating substance abuse, residential or inpatient treatment may be necessary to achieve sobriety. If a person has the money and can take a few months off to go to a residential facility, I urge them to do it. However often the person has work, a family to support, and can't afford the cost of such a treatment center. Outpatient treatment is a great and cheaper alternative. When followed correctly and completed successfully, clients of outpatient programs has just as good of a chance of staying sober as do clients of inpatient programs/

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