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Mental health conditions are becoming more prevalent, or more often diagnosed, across the United States. Studies suggest that approximately 48.3 Americans are affected by a mental health condition to some extent. These conditions can have numerous side effects that may impact a person’s ability to function in everyday life. While there are some things that can be done to improve mental health through proper exercise, nutrition, and other lifestyle changes, this may not always be enough. Although conversations about mental health are becoming more regular, it does not necessarily mean that everyone has the same access to resources or tools to manage their condition.

Relief at Your Fingertips

While traditional approaches to treating mental health conditions are preferable, and these apps are in no way an alternative to seeking professional help from a psychiatrist, therapist, or other mental health professions, they can be beneficial in the moment since they are accessible immediately at your fingertips. As the focus on mental health needs continues to grow, more resources are becoming available to people through smartphone apps. For some, these apps can be a component of their mental health treatment to help support them in everyday life, while for others, it can be a valuable resource when no others may be available at the moment.

Helpful Mental Health Apps

As of 2017, it is estimated that there are over 10,000 apps related to self-help and mental health needs. While not all of these are effective or successful, there are some available that produce positive results. There are countless apps available for download that can help improve mental health and well-being. Some notable apps that many have found beneficial include:

  1. Calm: Calm is an app that helps users destress. The app focuses on things such as meditation, sleep, relaxation, and breathing. It works by helping users unwind, promoting better sleep and improved mood. Users can also engage in meditation sessions using the app.
  2. SuperBetter: SuperBetter is a free app designed to help users in a variety of ways. The app helps users adopt new habits, strengthen relationships, complete projects, achieve goals, and improve their skills. Researchers found that those who used the app for 30 days improved their mood, decreased feelings of anxiety and depression, and believed in themselves more.
  3. 7 Cups: 7 Cups allows users to anonymously connect with trained listeners and licensed therapists to receive online support for anxiety and depression. Users can feel more comfortable confiding in someone about issues they may face. Listeners are trained to handle numerous discussion topics that may include eating disorders, panic attacks, bullying, and relationship break-ups.
  4. Happify: This app focuses on helping users overcome negative thoughts and regain control over their mental state. The app uses techniques and interventions found in various forms of therapy and mindfulness to help users form new, healthy habits.
  5. Moodpath: Moodpath works by asking users daily questions to assess mental health. Through answering these questions, users can become more aware of their thoughts and feelings. After two weeks, the app generates a report that can be used in a discussion with a mental health professional. In addition, there are over 150 videos and exercises available through the app to help users better understand their moods and mental health status.
  6. Lantern: This app uses assessments to determine a user’s performance and then assigns daily tasks based on the outcomes. Using professional expert advice for how to cope with stress and anxiety, the app helps many better manage symptoms of mental health conditions.
  7. BetterHelp: This app has the largest platform of licensed therapists online. With 1,500 counselors available through the app, users can connect with professionals to work on symptoms of depression. The app has revealed that many users were previously unaware of how to access resources, were not able to find help due to financial barriers, or struggled with stigmas in looking for treatment. BetterHelp has been incredibly successful in breaking down treatment barriers.
  8. TalkSpace: This app helps connect users with a therapist who is ideal for their needs. Starting with a free consultation, users can choose from more than 1,000 licensed therapists who specialize in numerous areas including anxiety, depression, PTSD, and more. Users may choose to upgrade and become a member to gain access to a private chat where they may discuss their needs further. Pricing for services rendered through this app are about 80 percent lower than traditional appointments.
Need Help with a Mental Health Condition & Not Sure Where to Turn?

Reaching out for help if the first step in getting relief and support for your mental health condition. If you are looking for help with a dual-diagnosis, mental health disorder and/or substance abuse and are not sure what the next step is for you, give Sober College’s admissions team a call at 800.465.0142 or fill out a contact form and one of our team members can help point you in the right direction.

If you are experiencing a psychiatric emergency, please call 911 immediately.

Sources
https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320557.php
http://gadgetsandwearables.com/2018/02/05/mental-health-apps/

The post Apps that Help with Mental Health & Well-Being appeared first on Sober College | Addiction Treatment & Counselor Training.

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Prescription drug abuse is at an all-time high, and with the current opioid epidemic which took the lives of 63,000 people in 2016, many are questioning what is being done to combat this issue. Long before opioid abuse made headlines, many states had developed and implemented tracking systems for doctors and pharmacists to check a patient’s use of prescription medication, but relatively few took advantage of the system. These systems are designed to help monitor how much medication a patient is receiving, the dosages, and assess whether or not these medications are being used with other dangerous prescription combinations. While the benefits of using these systems is clear, many did not opt to use them as they were not mandatory.

What is Changing in Monitoring Prescription Drugs?

In the past, prescription drug monitoring programs (PDMP) were largely used by law enforcement to track down doctors prescribing medications as a means of profit. While many pharmacists were also using the system, few doctors were using them to review client information before prescribing potentially addictive medications. As a result, many clients were able to obtain drugs such as opioids with relative ease.

State Response to the Opioid Epidemic

In response to the epidemic that is surfacing, many states have begun to make use of drug monitoring programs mandatory. Prior to this, fewer than 35 percent of medical professionals were using these tools to identify patients who may be struggling with addiction. Now that they have become required, over 90 percent of medical professionals are using the tools. While not all states currently enforce use of these programs, those that do that have seen rates of opioid prescriptions declining, as well as overdoses and hospitalizations related to prescription drug abuse.

Some states, such as Wisconsin and Utah, have begun to expand on the information made available in drug monitoring programs. Information related to overdose rescues, hospitalizations, and drug-related arrests or conditions have been added to help doctors determine if a substance abuse issue is present. Some states, such as Kentucky, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin, have taken it a step further and have added referral information for substance abuse services to their programs. In addition, 47 states have added information related to prescriptions given in neighboring states to determine if patients are obtaining medications elsewhere.

Making Monitoring Mandatory

In 2010, the first states to make prescription drug monitoring mandatory were:

  • Colorado
  • Delaware
  • Louisiana
  • Nevada
  • Oklahoma

By 2016, 37 states have made use of these systems mandatory. In 2017, eight states made it mandatory to use these systems to not only track the prescribing rate of prescription drugs, but also mandatory to track a patient’s history of drug use and prescription renewals for specific medications. These states are:

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • California
  • Florida
  • Michigan
  • South Carolina
  • Texas
  • Wisconsin
How Enforcement Helps

By enforcing use of these systems to monitor these various factors, medical professionals are able to assess a client’s individual circumstances, and in some cases, limit their ability to renew prescriptions for specific medications. To help spread the need to enforce these rules, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and the Bureau of Justice Assistance, is providing grants to help states upgrade their programs to identify at-risk patients.

While many argue that these programs are necessary to help combat the prescription drug abuse epidemic, some have argued that use of these systems can interfere with their medical practice. Arguments surrounding a patient’s right to privacy and legitimate pain management needs center on the point that these programs jeopardize confidentiality, but despite these points, many states are continuing to move forward with imposing these requirements.

Addressing the Epidemic

While the use of these systems can greatly contribute to curbing the prescription drug abuse epidemic, it is only a piece of a larger need. Family members and friends can serve a vital role in identifying substance abuse and dependencies in their loved ones. Not all states require use of prescription drug monitoring programs, making it imperative for families to pay attention to use of prescription medications in their everyday lives. Often times, they can be the first to notice when prescription use becomes abusive and can work with others to help address the issue before it becomes increasingly problematic.

Know Someone Struggling with Prescription Drug Abuse?

If you are concerned about someone you love abusing their prescription medication, give the Sober College team a call at 800.465.0142 or send us a message and see if our program is a good fit. If you don’t hear from us immediately, you will within 24 hours.

Sources
https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/states-require-doctors-to-use-prescription-drug-monitoring-systems-for-patients/2018/01/12/c76807b8-f009-11e7-97bf-bba379b809ab_story.html?utm_term=.621f78ea26bc

The post Prescription Drug Monitoring Systems | What Are They All About? appeared first on Sober College | Addiction Treatment & Counselor Training.

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Becoming a substance abuse counselor can be an incredibly rewarding experience.While the job is not without challenges, the opportunity to directly help a person successfully manage their sobriety is well worth it.

There are many reasons to get involved in the field and numerous ways to go about obtaining the certifications necessary to start your career. Certification requirements often vary from state-to-state. To learn more about what it takes to become a certified counselor and what the job entails, click here to view this infographic, or continue reading below.

What the Job Entails

The demand for substance abuse counselors is continuing to rise, and the type of work they do can vary greatly. Counselors may provide crisis care, prevention, and recovery services to patients. They may work with any variety of addiction as well, from drug and alcohol abuse to gambling addiction and eating disorders. Counselors may work in any number of environments, including:

  • Prisons
  • Probation or parole agencies
  • Juvenile delinquent facilities
  • Detox facilities
  • Halfway houses
  • Residential treatment programs
  • Outpatient treatment programs
  • Private practice
  • Mental health offices
  • Employee assistant programs

The responsibilities of a counselor can vary depending on the needs of the clients they serve. Responsibilities may include:

  • Conducting interviews with potential clients
  • Administering drug tests
  • Conducting counseling sessions
  • Assessing treatment program readiness
  • Record-keeping for treatment and progress
  • Developing individualized treatment plans
  • Developing aftercare treatment plans

Counselors work closely with all members of a person’s treatment team to ensure their needs are met. Counselors are an integral part of the recovery journey because of their level of involvement throughout the process. They often have an intimate understanding of the patient’s needs and history and can help ensure care is individualized and effective. They also tend to be heavily involved in aftercare to help clients stay on track and manage their sobriety.

Becoming a Counselor in California

Each state has its own set of requirements that must be met before becoming a practicing counselor. In California, there are four levels of certification and two levels for a trainee level (though the last two are not required for actual certification). The four main levels are:

  • Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor Associate (CADCA)
  • Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor I (CADC-I)
  • Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor II (CADC-II)
  • Licensed Advanced Alcohol Drug Counselor (LAADC)

The first three levels have educational requirements as well as practicum and supervised experience hours. The LAADC level requires a Master’s Degree in Behavioral Science (if from another state) or a combination of supervised experience and practicum.

To become a counselor, you will need to complete the following (note, some of these requirements increase with the certification level):

  • Earn an Associate’s, Bachelor’s, or Master’s degree in a Behavioral Science field
    • Although Counseling or Addiction Counseling is preferred, other degrees that may be accepted for lower level certifications include Sociology, Psychology, Social Work, or Human Services
  • Complete a practicum
    • A practicum is like an internship – it allows you to have supervised experience in the field
  • Earn supervised work experience hours
  • Pass a written exam
  • Apply for certification with California Commission for Behavioral Health Certification
Educational Requirements for California Counselors

The educational requirements for California are as follows:

  1. You must complete 315 hours of approved education from CAADAC-approved institution
  2. You must complete 255 hours of practicum that is also approved by the CAADAC
  3. Supervised experience varies based on the level of licensure you are looking to obtain
  4. CADCA: This is an intro level that does not require supervised hours
  5. CADC-I: This requires 4,000 hours of supervised experience providing alcohol or drug counseling services
  6. CADC-II: This requires 6,000 hours of supervised experience providing alcohol or drug counseling services
  7. LAADC: Hour requirements vary depending on your level of education
  • No degree: You must have 10,000 hours of supervised experience
  • Associate’s: You must have 6,000 hours of supervised experience
  • Bachelor’s: You must have 4,000 hours of supervised experience
  • Master’s or reciprocal status: You are not required to have supervised experience

Regardless of what level of certification you are looking to achieve, you must pass a written exam before practicing in California. Once that is completed, you may apply for your certification.

Become Certified with Sober College

Sober College School of Addiction Studies can help you achieve your goal of becoming a certified substance abuse counselor. You can start your journey at any time, from several states, and finish the program within six months.

Our program is flexible with training available in almost every state. Students can take courses online or join us in person at our California campus. Classes are affordable and financing options are also available.

Interested in starting a new journey in the field of addiction counseling?

Why wait?! Call 866.61.LEARN to speak with an admissions counselor and find out which option works best for you.

The post Become a Certified Counselor | Counseling Courses for Certification appeared first on Sober College | Addiction Treatment & Counselor Training.

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Please include attribution to SoberCollege.com with this graphic.

The post Considering Becoming a Certified Drug & Alcohol Counselor? Infographic appeared first on Sober College | Addiction Treatment & Counselor Training.

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As the opioid epidemic soars to new heights in the United States, researchers are exploring more effective options in treatment. Due to the nature of opioid addiction, most treatments include some form of medication-assisted treatment to help overcome withdrawal symptoms and cravings. While some people claim that using medication to treat addiction is counterproductive, research shows that the use of medication in opioid addiction treatment can actually help people stay in recovery longer and improves rates of sobriety.

Currently, opioid addiction and alcoholism are the only two forms of addiction with FDA-approved medications available for treatment. While there are numerous medications available that have proven successful in treatment programs, researchers are still exploring new ways to make treatment more accessible, affordable, and effective.

What is Vivitrol?

Vivitrol is a prescription medication with ingredients that are currently used in treatment for opioid addiction, but delivered in a new way. Vivitrol uses naltrexone to block opioid molecules from attaching to receptors in the brain, meaning users will not achieve highs and will simultaneously experience a reduction in cravings. Where it differs from traditional treatment is in how it is administered. Vivitrol is an injectable medication that is administered once per month. Rather than taking medication orally, Vivitrol acts as an extended-release treatment option that reduces cravings and the risk of relapse.

Vivitrol and medications like it should be used in conjunction with traditional therapeutic options, as they cannot work alone to treat addiction. Medications like Vivitrol tend to be preferred over other types of medication used to treat opioid addiction because there is no risk for addiction to the medication itself. Other forms of medication that may be used in treating opioid abuse run the risk of being misused because they can produce highs and cause withdrawal symptoms when use is stopped. Vivitrol does not cause euphoria, physical dependence, or withdrawal symptoms.

Vivitrol is more widely available than other medications used in treating opioid addiction. Any medical professional that can prescribe medications can provide Vivitrol to patients. Other medications—such as buprenorphine—require special qualifications to carry and prescribe, or may only be available through certain outlets, such as specialized treatment programs.

Vivitrol is a newer medication which makes it considerably more expensive than other options, but it’s unique administration and effectiveness have helped make it widely available to those in recovery. In addition, the makers of Vivitrol have offered ways to help clients reduce or eliminate the co-pay for the medication in order to make it more easily accessible.

Medication-Assisted Treatment for Opioid Dependence

Before starting medication-assisted treatment, clients must not be under the influence of opioids. Many medications can reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms and cravings, but may not fully eliminate them. For this reason, use of medication alone to treat opioid addiction is not recommended, and it is imperative that treatment be paired with a recovery program designed to address the unique needs of each client. Behavioral therapies, education, medication, and relapse prevention all work together to help a person achieve and maintain long-term sobriety.

Addressing the underlying issues that lead to the development of addiction is critical in recovery. Medication-assisted treatment can provide clients with relief from the withdrawal symptoms and cravings that may interfere with recovery, allowing them to focus on their needs and develop the tools to prevent relapse in the future. Treatment can address numerous areas of a person’s life that often influences the development of addiction.

Everyone’s journey in recovery is highly individualized, and medication-assisted treatment is simply another tool available to those in treatment to improve their experience. Therapy designed to address the unique needs of a person is critical to aid in recovery and the use of medication can improve the experience.

Are you or a loved one struggling with heroin addiction?

Call 800.465.0142 to speak with an admissions counselor about heroin addiction treatment.

Sources
https://drugabuse.com/library/medication-assisted-treatment/
https://www.solutions-recovery.com/drug-treatment/vivitrol/
https://drugabuse.com/library/vivitrol/

The post Vivitrol: Helping to Treat the Opioid Epidemic appeared first on Sober College | Addiction Treatment & Counselor Training.

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When your child is addicted to drugs, it is scary. There are many illicit substances that could be potentially misused, and each drug comes with its own set of concerns and risks. It can be difficult to cope with a child’s drug addiction, especially when you start to reflect back and consider where it could have “gone wrong.” When children are young, it feels like we have more control. You are able to assign chores, ground them, and help guide them through troubling situations. As they get older, it’s harder to maintain that control, but the same desire to guide them and help remains.

When it comes to how to deal with a drug addict daughter or son, that desire to help can become heavier, and you may feel a greater sense of responsibility to “fix” the situation. It is easy to feel helpless or responsible, but there are numerous ways you can assist them in getting the help they need without carrying the brunt of the weight on your own shoulders. It is important to keep the situation in perspective while doing everything you can to keep yourself, your child, and the rest of the family safe.

Help your Child and your Family Feel Safe

Addiction is complicated and it can affect more than just the person who struggles with it. Family members close to a person with addiction often deal with their own set of personal stressors or trauma related to it. While it is critical to help your child receive help for their addiction, it is also important to recognize its impact on other family members and ensure they feel safe as well.

Ultimately, you must remind yourself that your child is an adult, and while there are things you may want to take responsibility for, you must remember they have the power to make decisions and choices. Regardless of how you feel their childhood could have impacted their current situation, you cannot continue to accept blame for their current choices. You can continue to love and support them without hurting yourself in the process. As a parent, it can be difficult to let go of responsibility, but drawing boundaries to keep yourself and other family members healthy and safe is critical.

Love Your Child, But Set Boundaries

For parents dealing with an addicted child, it can be difficult to know how to set boundaries, especially when you feel a sense of obligation or responsibility regarding the situation. While everyone makes mistakes as parents, at some point you must be willing to relinquish this feeling of responsibility and acknowledge that your child is now responsible for their current and future actions. This can be one of the hardest boundaries to set when dealing with addiction.

It is important to continue to love and support your child without enabling them. You may be thinking, “Okay, but how do I stop enabling my drug addict child but still help them get the help they need?” There is often a fine line between the two that can be difficult to distinguish. Setting boundaries can help you prioritize yourself, but still support your child without supporting abusive behaviors.

  1. Limit financial assistance: Money can be a sensitive subject when it comes to addiction. Parents often feel obligated to continue supporting their child financially, but fear how the money is being spent. Rather than giving them money, you can supply what they need instead. For instance, instead of providing money for food, you can opt to provide groceries. This allows you to support your child without further enabling certain behaviors.
  2. Help them find support: You can aid your child in finding help, but you cannot force them to take it. Providing them with information about treatment options is a step in the right direction, but if they choose not to use it, do not blame yourself.
  3. The idea of “hitting rock bottom”: Often when addiction is discussed, the idea of “hitting rock bottom” is mentioned, implying that a person will not often seek help until they have reached that point. Not everyone needs to be at their lowest low to realize they need help, and your family certainly does not need to go down that path with them. Those with addiction do not need to hit rock bottom to seek help, and families do not need to either.
Start Your Search for the Right Drug Addiction Rehab

With so many treatment options available, the idea of even beginning to search for rehab can be daunting; however, there are ways you can make the process more manageable. Some questions to consider before moving forward with a program include:

  1. Do they need long-term or short-term care?
    Depending on the nature of their addiction, some may require longer treatment programs in order to successfully achieve sobriety. This is dependent on numerous factors including duration of use, type of substance abused, and the potency or strength of the drug (you can think of this in relation to their tolerance level – how much do they need to use in order to achieve a high?). However, in general, studies show that a minimum commitment of 90 days gives young adults struggling with addiction the best chance at achieving long-term sobriety and healthy living. Learning new habits and skills as well as how to have fun as a young person in recovery takes time.
  2. Does the program offer detox services?
    aNot all drug rehab programs have detox services available and this may need to be coordinated separately from the program. Detox is often a vital first step in drug addiction rehab as it helps clients overcome withdrawal symptoms and cravings more comfortably so they can focus on their recovery.
  3. Does the treatment program teach life skills?
    Addiction recovery is more than just abstaining from substance abuse. It requires a complete lifestyle change in order to support sobriety long-term. For many, the stressors of everyday life can be triggering and lead to relapse. Programs that help clients become more independent by teaching them life skills and developing healthy coping mechanisms tend to be more successful.
  4. What is the treatment philosophy of the program?
    It is important to find a program that aligns with individual needs. Programs can vary greatly depending on numerous factors. How they view addiction, how treatment programs are developed, and what methods they use to address it are all vital components to understand before choosing. Make sure the program you select matches your child’s needs and will be able to support them throughout the process.

Other questions to consider asking may include:

  1. Does the treatment facility accept insurance?
  2. What is the staff to client ratio?
  3. What amenities are offered?
  4. What is the living situation?
How Much Should Treatment Costs?

Cost tends to play a large role in choosing a recovery option. In fact, many people do not seek help for addiction because they believe the costs will be too great. Although there are some upscale recovery programs with lavish amenities and soaring costs, there are countless others that offer excellent resources without a large bill. Many treatment facilities work with a multitude of insurance providers and costs will vary depending on what they will accept. Additionally, some programs offer options such as low-cost services or sliding-scale fees based on income levels. There are even some no-cost options, such as Narcotics Anonymous, that provide free services to the community. Because there are so many variables in addiction treatment costs, it is important to reach out to programs you are interested in to discuss your specific situation.

How Do You Present Treatment to Your Child?

Once a treatment program has been selected, it can be difficult to take the next step of presenting it to your child. While you may not be able to force them to accept help, you can present it in a way that encourages them to enter treatment. An intervention is a great way to transition into the conversation. This entails bringing loved ones together to discuss concerns and a plea for change with the individual in a safe environment. If they choose to accept help, it is important to transition them to the program as quickly as possible to prevent last-minute binging or any other dangerous behavior. Selecting a program prior to an intervention can also help you plan any potential transportation needs ahead of time.

Talk to Another Parent Who’s Dealt with a Drug Addicted Child

Another reason it is good to reach out to treatment facilities during your search is because they can connect you with others who share similar experiences. Although there is greater awareness and education surrounding drug addiction, it can still feel like a sensitive topic that many are hesitant to discuss. It is not a topic that many willingly engage in because it can make them feel vulnerable or exposed.

In treatment environments, you are surrounded by others who have been in your shoes and can help you through the process. This makes it easier to build support networks of people who understand your experiences and can offer insight into addressing tough topics. Reaching out to a treatment facility can help you connect with others more readily, especially if you are able to visit the location in person. Many rehab programs offer services for family members affected by substance abuse in order to help them heal as well. These often provide critical insight into the recovery process and can help you prepare for some of the challenges you may face. A visit can also help you better determine if the program is the right fit for your child and your family.

If you are unable to visit the location, there are still ways to connect with parents who have similar experiences. Many treatment programs have video testimonies from clients and their family members available on their websites, and many have online components to help families stay connected to one another. You can also learn a lot more about the program and its staff members through these interactions, which can help you better assess if it is the right choice for you and your family.

Personal Coping Skills for Dealing with a Drug Addicted Child

Addiction affects more than just the person who struggles with it. Often, family members are greatly impacted by it as well. Many treatment programs offer various forms of counseling and support for family members to help them cope with addiction’s impact on their lives. While helping your child overcome addiction is a priority, it should not supersede all of your needs. Too often, it is easy to lose sight of yourself and your own needs when dealing with a loved one’s addiction.

  1. Find support: There are numerous therapy and counseling services available for family members. Support groups can help you connect to a community of people who share similar experiences and can help you through the recovery process.
  2. Make time for things you enjoy: Any activity or hobby that brings you happiness can help you through difficult times. Do not let your child’s addiction erase your identity. Making time for the things you enjoy can reduce your stress and put your mind at ease.
  3. Follow-through on activities even if your child does not: If you plan activities and your child decides not to participate, continue without them. It is important not to let addiction control every aspect of your life. By continuing on with your intentions, you are taking back control and prioritizing your needs.
Contact Sober College

If you or someone you know has a child struggling with drug addiction, Sober College has numerous treatment options available. Sober College is an age-specific treatment program designed to address the unique needs of young adults in recovery. We are equipped to address gender-specific needs with the ability to provide dual-diagnosis treatment for those struggling with a co-occurring mental health disorder.

While the idea of exploring treatment options can feel scary, the benefits of taking that first step far outweigh the potential consequences of prolonged use. With personalized treatment programs, clients at Sober College are equipped with the tools needed to manage long-term sobriety. In addition, they are able to begin mending the relationships damaged by drug addiction and build a strong foundation for healthy, sober relationships in the future.

The post Dealing With A Son Or Daughter Addicted To Drugs: How To Sleep Again appeared first on Sober College | Addiction Treatment & Counselor Training.

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The holidays are not exempt from the damage alcoholism can inflict. In fact, this time of year can be more problematic for those who struggle with alcohol abuse due to its very nature. The emphasis on family, friends, coming together, and sharing special moments can be particularly difficult for both those with addiction and their loved ones. While the holidays are a time for togetherness, it can also be a painful reminder of the toll alcoholism can take on families and friends. For those who are dealing with an alcoholic son or daughter, the holidays, like many other days, can be increasingly challenging as time goes on.

Addiction can make a person feel isolated, and this feeling often transcends to those around them. Depictions of happy and harmonious home lives can amplify feelings of stress and fear surrounding one’s own life. Addiction has a way of making people feel as though they are the only ones experiencing it, when in fact, countless people go through similar situations every day. Feelings of anxiety surrounding a son or daughters use of alcohol are normal, and it is okay to be afraid of what the future may hold. Parents may ask themselves, “How can I help my alcoholic son?” “How can I help my alcoholic daughter?” Or maybe, they are not 100% sure that their child is struggling with alcoholism but their drinking is a cause for concern. It places a strain on them and their other family members. Although this mix of emotions is completely natural, it is important to not let it supersede everything else and control your life. There are ways to address these problems in a productive, healthy way.

Protect your Family First, then Find a Way to Help Your Child

While a great deal of time and energy will be spent trying to help your child overcome alcoholism, it is important to not lose sight of other family members who are impacted by it. It is important to protect your family members from the potential consequences of your child’s addiction. Alcoholism can put loved ones at risk for physical or emotional trauma, making it critical to protect your family’s needs.

How to Help Your Alcoholic Son or Daughter & Your Family

To better help your child, there are numerous ways you can minimize exposure to triggers and keep them safe. This can also help protect other family members. Some of these may include:

  • Cutting out toxic people: People who make your child feel bad about themselves can lower their self-esteem and make them more likely to relapse. People who take advantage of them, who misuse substances with them, or enable bad behaviors should have all ties cut.
  • Stay away from enabling environments: In addition to cutting out enabling peers, it is important to avoid places where substance abuse took place. Being in bars, clubs, or other hangout areas where substance abuse took place can rouse cravings and serve as a trigger.
  • Engage in new activities: Finding new hobbies or interests can help minimize the likelihood of crossing paths with enabling people or situations. This will allow them to explore new places, meet new people, and find happiness in new things.
  • Consider having them change their number: This is an easy action to take that can help them stay sober. Old friends will have a harder time reaching them. Breaking contact is an important piece of recovery.
  • Minimize social media: This can be difficult for teens and young adults, but it is another way they may stay in touch with enabling friends. Encourage them to clean up their list of friends and remove (or even block) people who may pressure them into bad situations.
Choose Empathy Over Enabling

Sometimes, it can be difficult to discern between empathy and enabling. While some actions you may take seem like the right thing to do, it can often enable destructive behaviors and prolong the problem. Situations like your child needing money, potentially losing housing, or being in jail can make it seem like a cut and dry decision. It is often first instinct to help or to bail them out of a bad situation, but this often does not allow someone to realize the consequences of their actions.

Differences Between Helping and Hurting

Empathy and enabling can often go hand-in-hand. Both tend to come from a place of compassion and from a desire to help. The difference, however, is in the outcomes. Enabling allows self-destructive behaviors to continue, which further perpetuates rather than solving the problem. This can come in many forms:

  • Giving someone money so they do not steal
  • Making excuses for someone’s behavior
  • Ignoring unacceptable behavior
  • Not expressing how you feel in order to avoid someone becoming upset or leaving

Empathy and encouragement should come in the form of words. Communicate with your child to show them you want to help, but do not engage in behaviors that enable theirs. There is no incentive for change if there is nothing to lose. Protecting them from the potential outcomes of alcoholism can prevent them from seeing the bigger picture and recognizing they need help.

Some ways to stop enabling your alcohol son or daughter may include:

  • Buying them food when they are hungry rather than giving them money that can be spent on anything
  • Not cleaning up after them – if they make a mess while intoxicated, leave it for them to see
  • Continue following through on plans even if your child does not participate
  • Taking back autonomy by prioritizing your needs
Begin Looking for a Treatment Center, then Ask the Right Questions

There are so many treatment centers available that it can be overwhelming and difficult to find the right one. Consider your child’s circumstances and unique needs when looking for a treatment center. This may include factors such as:

  • Age-specific treatment: Age can play a significant role in the development of addiction and what may need to be addressed in treatment. Choosing an age-specific treatment program can help your child succeed long term.
  • Long-term treatment: Studies show that long-term treatment is more successful, especially for young adults, than short-term or outpatient treatment programs.
  • Gender-specific therapy: There are inherent, biological differences that cause alcohol abuse to have different effects on men and women. Discussing these topics and other related experiences may be difficult in mixed gender groups.
  • Dual-diagnosis: Many who struggle with alcoholism also struggle with a co-occurring mental health disorder. Alcohol is often used as a means of escape and a form of self-medication, which can exacerbate both conditions. A dual-diagnosis treatment center helps treat both the substance abuse and mental health issues like depression or anxiety, simultaneously, giving your child the best change at success.
Questions to Ask Alcohol Treatment Centers

Do not be afraid to reach out to the treatment facility for more information. You can discuss your child’s specific needs to determine if it is the right fit. Some questions that can help you determine if it will work for you and your child include:

  1. Does the facility accept insurance?
  2. How much will it cost?
  3. Where is it located?
  4. Are detox services available?
  5. How long does the program last?
  6. What amenities are offered?
  7. What is the living situation?
  8. What is the staff to client ratio?
  9. How is the treatment program created?
  10. What is the facility’s treatment philosophy?

With different forms of treatment available, costs will vary as well. While you can pay a high premium for luxury rehab facilities with lavish amenities, these are not required to achieve sobriety. Many treatment facilities work with insurance providers to reduce the cost of rehab, but the overall cost will vary depending on the severity of the addiction and the time needed to recover.

Factors such as the location of the facility, its size, the type of treatment provided, and the type of facility are all factored into costs. Finding the actual costs associated with a treatment program online may be difficult to locate, making it especially important for you to reach out to facilities directly and discuss your options. Many will work with Medicare, Medicaid, private insurance, state-funded insurance, or even military coverage to cover the costs of treatment. The amount insurance providers will cover varies depending on the insurer and what the provider accepts. Some even have financing options available to help make the cost of treatment more manageable.

Inpatient treatment can be expensive due to cost of housing, food, round-the-clock supervision, and other amenities. Other options, such as outpatient treatment, can be cheaper because the client participates in therapy sessions, but does not have housing, food, or other amenities covered. There are numerous low-cost and no-cost options available as well. Some facilities have sliding-scale fees based on income so clients can still receive the help they need, and there are numerous no-cost options with support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and SMART Recovery offering free support groups to the community.

When you are ready to make the move, consider using an intervention as a way to reach out to your child. An intervention can help you express your concerns, your desire for them to get help, and provide them with a roadmap to recovery. Interventions are often used as a tool to transition someone into recovery, so it is important to have chosen a treatment program and prepare to transport them as soon as possible following it.

Talk to Someone Who’s Found a Way to Help Their Alcoholic Child

Contacting rehabilitation facilities directly can also put you in touch with others who have been in your shoes. The decision to reach out to a treatment facility can be difficult and stressful, but having the ability to connect with the program and its staff directly can help you feel more confident in the process. Speaking face-to-face with the people who will have a hand in your child’s recovery can alleviate some of the anxiety you may inevitably experience.

In many cases, treatment facilities have resources for family members and loved ones as well, making it easy for you to connect with parents who have been in your shoes. It allows you to better understand the recovery process, some of the obstacles you may face, and develop a stronger support network of peers who can readily relate to your experiences.

If you have the opportunity to do so, visit the treatment facilities you are considering. When visiting treatment facilities, you often have the opportunity to meet the staff, current clients, and even family members. They can provide valuable insight into how the program works and help you determine whether it is the right fit. Even if you are unable to visit the site in person, some treatment facilities’ websites will provide links to video testimonials from former clients and family members, as well as let you become better acquainted with the staff. These resources can help you decide if a treatment program is the right fit for you and your child.

Find Time to Help Yourself While Helping Your Alcoholic Child

While helping your child achieve sobriety is a top priority, it is important not to lose yourself in the process. Addiction affects not only the person with it, but those closest to them. The devouring nature of substance abuse can make it difficult to prioritize yourself as well.

  • Find a support group: Treatment programs often have resources available to family members as well. Joining a support group can help you manage your own well-being. These forums allow you to connect with others who relate to your experiences and can provide support or advice in times of struggle.
  • Take care of yourself: This can be anything. Find something you love, something that excites you, or helps you relax, and make time for it. It is important not to lose your identity in the process of helping your child rediscover theirs. Make time for hobbies, exploration, and loved ones to help ease your mind.
Contact Sober College Today

With age- and gender-specific long-term treatment plans, Sober College has numerous therapeutic options for those in crisis.

Do you have a child struggling with alcohol abuse?

Call 877.634.7849 today for more infomration about the treatment options available through Sober College.

While taking the first step towards recovery may seem daunting, nothing compares to the relief of knowing your child is somewhere safe receiving the treatment they desperately need. With the right treatment program, your child can begin their journey on the road to recovery, rediscover themselves, and rebuild relationships that have been hurt by substance abuse. Sober College can equip them with the tools and life skills necessary to become a sober, independent adult.

Sources
https://www.addictioncenter.com/rehab-questions/cost-of-drug-and-alcohol-treatment/
https://www.rehabs.com/about/how-much-does-rehab-cost/
https://www.promises.com/articles/relapse-prevention/avoid-situations-likely-to-trigger-alcohol-or-drug-use/
https://www.foundationsrecoverynetwork.com/7-signs-youre-enabling-addict/

The post Dealing with an Alcoholic Son or Daughter: What to Do in Crisis Mode appeared first on Sober College | Addiction Treatment & Counselor Training.

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Everyone experiences positive and negative moments in life. For many with addiction, the negative moments can play a substantial role in the development of substance abuse. Navigating negative situations in recovery can be trying. A person may have previously turned to drugs and alcohol to try to escape a slump, but that is no longer an option. Developing new ways of coping with negative situations and emotions is critical to successful sobriety.

Stress is regularly encountered in everyday life. It can be a pitfall in recovery and interfere with a person’s success. It is important for those in recovery to develop the life skills to support a sober lifestyle, which may include developing new coping mechanisms to deal with stressors. While some of these coping mechanisms may be physical acts such as working out, playing music, making artwork, or writing, there are other exercises a person can engage in to encourage positive thinking and release negative feelings.

Increasing Positivity in Recovery

In recovery, it is important to not let negative thoughts weigh you down. It is often expressed in treatment that “this too shall pass” in order to help clients stay focused on the present. It is easy to dwell on negative experiences and focus on the wrong things, but positive thinking can help improve the outcome of treatment.

There are simple ways you can increase positive thinking and improve your outlook. Some skills are acquired through the recovery process naturally. Some ways to increase positivity are:

  1. Meditate: Mindful meditation is a commonly used practice both in and outside of treatment. It encourages individuals to make time in their day to focus on their breathing, relaxing, and energy. Regular practice can help a person stop thinking about the past and instead focus on the future.
  2. Take responsibility: In some cases, people may feel pinned down and paralyzed by addiction. Taking ownership of your life and recognizing that you alone can make the changes necessary to transform it is powerful. When you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything.
  3. Surround yourself with positive people: This can happen naturally through the recovery process. As you begin to reevaluate the relationships in your life, new ones will begin to form. Make sure you are surrounding yourself with like-minded individuals who support you. By keeping positive company, you can empower one another to succeed and support each other through difficult times.
  4. Give back: Another way to increase positivity in your life is through volunteer work. Volunteer work can help you connect with others and feel good about the work you do. Becoming involved in causes you care about can improve self-confidence and self-worth while simultaneously improving someone else’s life.
  5. Take care of your health: Proper nutrition, adequate sleep, and exercise is all critical to a positive mindset. Engaging with these activities can boost mood and improve self-worth. Drugs and alcohol can often wreak havoc on the body, and these activities are easy ways to combat the damage it can inflict. If conventional exercise is not appealing, there are tons of other activities you can try including yoga and hiking.
  6. Explore new hobbies: Hobbies are a great way to explore your interests and improve your mood. Find what interests you and do not be afraid to try something new. Creative outlets such as painting, sewing, making music, or writing can be therapeutic and fun. Physical activities such as sports, horseback riding, and hiking can boost your mood. Find things you can lose yourself in and enjoy thoroughly.
  7. Be optimistic: There are a couple of ways to you can help yourself view things more positively. Identify when you begin thinking negatively about situations and actively move your thoughts in a positive direction. You can accomplish this through positive affirmations. Affirmations are phrases you can repeat to yourself to keep focused and stay motivated. Things like “I’m trying my best” or “I’m working hard at recovery” are simple phrases that can carry a lot of weight.
  8. Set goals: You can set goals to both challenge and motivate yourself. Whatever goal you set for yourself, make sure it is something you are interested in and want to work towards. Something that brings you joy is important. Working towards goals that bring you happiness allow you to get lost in activities and learn more about yourself.
  9. Talk things out: When feeling defeated or overwhelmed, be sure not to shut yourself off from the rest of the world. Sometimes it is helpful to talk things through with a loved one. Talking about issues can help you problem solve and handle difficult situations more effectively.
  10. Remind yourself of the good: There are always things that may seem like they are not going well or could be better. Focus on the things that bring you joy and what you are thankful for. Recovery can be a long and difficult journey and it is important to keep things in perspective. Some opt to keep a journal to remind themselves of the things that are most important to them. Journaling can be an effective way to make yourself think positively and not dwell on the negative aspects of life.

Have questions about treatment for yourself or a loved one?

Call 877.634.7849 to speak with an admissions counselor today.

Sources
http://waucondacare.com/2017/07/28/positive-thinking-recovery-tips-helping-loved-ones-stay-positive-rehabilitation/
https://sobernation.com/the-power-of-positive-thinking-in-recovery/
https://www.promises.com/articles/addiction-recovery/7-tips-staying-positive-in-recovery/

The post 10 Tips for Staying Positive in Early Recovery appeared first on Sober College | Addiction Treatment & Counselor Training.

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People most frequently discuss gratitude and being thankful during the holiday season. They are often acknowledging the benefits they have or received or will receive. While it is possible to express insincere gratitude, most people give thanks because they are truly happy with something in their life. This positive mindset is beneficial for both mental and physical health. It can provide people with energy, confidence, and the mindset to achieve things to make their lives better.

Those who struggle with addiction may also struggle with the idea of gratitude. Many express feeling that they are different from others and the trauma they have endured is unlike any other. When someone has been wronged, it can be easier for them to justify negative behaviors and push gratitude away. Rather than finding happiness in little things, they may choose to focus on the negatives. This behavior can be dangerous because it can easily lead to relapse. There are ways, like practicing gratitude and meditation, that can help those struggling to overcome addiction.

The Benefits of Expressing Gratitude

Positive thinking can have a profound impact on mental and physical health. Some benefits of gratitude and positive thinking include:

  1. Grateful people tend to attract others: When people are grateful, they tend to have more friends. People with a positive mindset are nice to be around, tend to see the good in others, and their energy can be revitalizing. It is the idea of “attracting what you put out” – by shifting your energy and becoming more positive, positive people will gravitate to you.
  2. Positive people tend to experience less stress: People with a positive outlook are less likely to assume the worst when negative things happen. They do not seek trouble and try to look on the bright side of things. Stress is one of the highest contributors to many forms of physical or mental illness. Positive outlooks can reduce stress levels and help people live happier, healthier lives.
  3. Positive people tend to experience less conflict: People who are happier with their own lives tend not to experience as much conflict. They are less likely to have hidden agendas or feel the need to get their own way.
  4. They are less likely to experience depression: Those with a positive outlook are less likely to struggle with symptoms of depression. Positive outlook and gratitude are closely linked to overall mental health.
Gratitude in Addiction Recovery

In recovery, it can be easy to lose sight of positivity. Struggling with withdrawal symptoms and facing tough realities can make it difficult to see the good. For many, gratitude can start with the idea of being grateful for sobriety. Being grateful for the opportunity to recover and improve one’s station in life can be a critical first step in maintaining a more positive outlook. Rather than viewing problems as a challenge, a positive outlook will encourage people to focus on the opportunity it presents for growth.

How to Increase Feelings of Gratitude

Feeling grateful requires an attitude change. With a more positive outlook, people begin to experience physical and mental health benefits and typically see improved relationships with others. There are numerous ways to form a more positive outlook and learn to be grateful. Some ways to achieve feelings of gratitude may include:

  1. Readjusting focus: While it is important to have drive and set goals, the inability to satisfy that need can leave some feeling empty, unhappy, or disillusioned. Rather than focusing on material things, set goals around what is most important in life. For most, these goals are related to the people in their lives rather than possessions. Changing that focus from the material to the immaterial can improve mood and help the person feel a sense of accomplishment.
  2. Stop comparing yourself to others: One thing that can make it difficult to feel gratitude is the need to compare your success to that of others. These comparisons are often misleading and only lead to negative feelings. Even if a person appears to be successful in one area of life, it does not mean they are perfect. Focusing on yourself and your own successes will help you maintain a more positive outlook.
  3. Make notes about what you are grateful for: Journaling can be a great way to keep the little things in mind. By writing down what you are grateful for on a daily basis, it creates a positive habit of looking for the good things. If you are faced with a troubling day, having something to reflect back on can help keep things in perspective.
  4. Surround yourself with positive people: People tend to be influenced by the people they spend time with. Surrounding yourself with positive people can help you maintain a positive outlook and view things in a similar light. Being around positive role models can also help you grow.

Have questions about treatment for yourself or a loved one?

Call 877.634.7849 to speak with an admissions counselor today.

Sources
http://alcoholrehab.com/addiction-recovery/the-importance-of-gratitude-in-recovery/
https://www.promises.com/articles/5-steps-to-cultivating-an-attitude-of-gratitude-in-addiction-recovery/

The post Gratitude: A Daily Routine | The Benefits of Gratitude in Recovery appeared first on Sober College | Addiction Treatment & Counselor Training.

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Experiencing trauma does not mean a person will develop an addiction, but studies suggest those who have suffered trauma are more at risk. Trauma does not have to be a catastrophic life-altering event to have a substantial impact on someone. While trauma may involve experiencing physical harm, it is more often linked to the emotional response of a person following an event.

How Can PTSD and Trauma Contribute to Addiction & Mental Health?

Trauma can be experienced as a result of numerous events—accidents, natural disasters, rape, the loss of a loved one, and physical or mental abuse are all common catalysts for addiction. While the impact of these events may range in severity for different people, they all have the potential to cause psychological trauma. But this does not look the same for everyone, as individual differences can cause people to cope with these events differently. In many cases, unresolved trauma is the root cause of addiction. It is often the foundation of many mental health disorders including post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder. Mental health disorders often play a major role in the development and progression of addiction, making dual-diagnosis treatment critical to success in recovery. Dual-diagnosis treatment centers address PTSD, trauma, anxiety and other mental health disorders and addiction and substance abuse simultaneously giving those in recovery the best chance at success.

Learn more about Dual-Diagnosis Treatment

The Link Between Trauma and Addiction

There is not always a clear, defined traumatic event that can be identified as the catalyst. Everyone experiences varying degrees of trauma in life although it may not always be apparent. Any situation that causes a person to feel overwhelmed, isolated, or powerless can be a traumatic event. Those who experience trauma may seek an escape from the associated feelings. Drugs and alcohol often provide that respite for numerous reasons:

  1. Escaping your mind: After experiencing trauma, your mind can sometimes feel like a jail cell. Drugs or alcohol can provide an escape and allow a person to disassociate from the thoughts or feelings that may weigh them down.
  2. Silencing recurring thoughts or memories: Trauma can leave a person with unwanted thoughts or memories. Substance abuse can suppress the incessant noise and help to keep one’s mind from wandering.
  3. Reducing discomfort: Substance abuse can numb the mind as well as the body. Drugs and alcohol can release endorphins and change one’s mood, allowing a person to disconnect from what they are feeling. Drugs or alcohol can help the world feel more manageable.
  4. Redefining your identity: Trauma can make you feel like you do not know yourself. It can make a person feel disconnected from their core, and substance abuse is often substituted as a way to create connections. It can make a person feel differently about themselves and their situation, which can be incredibly appealing.
Healing from PTSD & Trauma in Addiction Treatment

During addiction treatment, it is important to address the addiction itself as well as the underlying causes that influenced its development. Many treatment programs incorporate various forms of therapy to address the unique needs of clients. It is important for clients to understand the role trauma plays in addiction, and how best to treat both conditions. Rather than seeking safety from trauma by using mind-altering substances, therapy can help clients overcome trauma in a positive way.

Clients are often unaware of the way in which trauma affects the development of addiction. As long as trauma remains unaddressed, many fall into the vicious cycle of abuse and relapse. One way this is identified in addiction recovery is through an initial assessment designed to identify the unique needs of the individual. Substance abuse and mental health disorders often exacerbate one another, making it difficult for someone to develop healthy coping mechanisms and relationships.

Dual-diagnosis treatment often incorporates trauma therapy to address this important factor in successful recovery. This focus provides clients with individual and group therapy sessions designed to address their unique needs. During these sessions they are able to explore the nature of their addiction and its impact on various aspects of life. Individualized therapy allows clients to explore their own unique needs, while group therapy encourages participants to examine common experiences and understand how they relate to others. These therapies provide clients with numerous opportunities to develop the life skills necessary to support successful sobriety.

Healing from trauma is a process, and while not everyone will fully recover from its effects, they can learn how to manage symptoms and reduce its impact on their daily lives. By helping clients identify the true intention behind substance use, they can begin to identify their needs and work towards developing alternative healthy coping mechanisms rather than relying on substances to escape it.

Sources
http://www.theclearingnw.com/blog/trauma-and-addiction-key-to-recovery-from-substance-abuse
https://www.recovery.org/pro/articles/trauma-and-addiction-7-reasons-your-habit-makes-perfect-sense/

The post PTSD, Trauma and Addiction Recovery appeared first on Sober College | Addiction Treatment & Counselor Training.

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