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A sober living house is a transitional home for individuals who are recovering from an addiction. These facilities are home to a community of residents who share living quarters and are assigned duties within the facility. It is believed that sober living houses allow for freedom throughout the recovery process and emphasize sobriety, responsibility, and accountability as an individual is reintegrating back into society.

Who Chooses Sober Living Houses?

People who choose sober living houses typically have completed residential treatment or are attending an outpatient program. Peers who are recovering live with and support each other as everyone becomes accustomed to living a sober life. Sober living is a good option when first recovering from an addiction because it provides a substance-free environment after leaving treatment. Sober living facilities extend the resources necessary to maintain abstinence.

If exposed to substances or family and friends who enable or encourage substance use, long-standing sobriety can be difficult. Research conducted on various types of sober living houses found that residents living in these facilities were less likely to be arrested, had higher employment rates, and were able to maintain stable living arrangements for longer than one year. These facilities incorporate the aspects of daily living while managing potential obstacles and challenges that will present itself on the road to recovery.

What are Sober Living Houses?

Sober living facilities are simply bridges that connect rehabilitation to independence. Since sober living is not an addiction treatment facility, it may not be beneficial for everyone. Sober living houses may be optimal for individuals who:

  • Need structure and a support network while maintaining sobriety
  • Have a lack of safe and reliable living circumstances
  • Prefer to escape prior environmental and social atmospheres that may disrupt sobriety
  • Desire enough independence to engage in societal obligations, such as obtaining employment
  • Need guidance moving forward
  • Anticipate challenges during transitioning back into society

An individual who is newly recovering may find structured living necessary. Life in a sober house requires all residents to engage in responsibilities assigned to him or her. If a resident fails to follow regulations, they may be required to leave the facility. Some expected responsibilities may include:

  • Completion of daily chores
  • Jobs outside of the facility
  • No engagement in illicit activities (e.g., use of substances, stealing, destroying property, violent behavior etc.)
  • Educational and program attendance
  • Payment of rent and contribution to household essentials
  • Adherence to a treatment plan
  • Submission of drug tests
  • Abiding by curfew and guest rules
What is the Goal of Sober Living Houses?

The goal of sober living houses is to provide a safe place that is absent of behaviors that can jeopardize recovery while focusing on self-sufficiency. Residents are expected to remain sober throughout their duration at the facility. This type of environment helps individuals recovering from an addiction to adjust to life without the use of substances. Relapse rates for drug addiction are within 40-60%. Sober living prevents and reduces relapse rates through:

  • Ongoing peer support
  • Counseling
  • Therapy
  • Encouragement to engage in offered meetings.
How Long can Someone Remain in a Sober Living Home?

As long as financial obligations are met and rules are adhered to, residents of sober living houses can stay long-term – with the expectation of becoming fully independent. Residents who are in sober living for longer than 90 days reap the best benefits. Statistics show that individuals who are able to remain sober for one year are less likely to relapse. The rigid structure of sober living allows post-treatment recoverees an extended period of time to learn how to live a sober life. The time spent in a sober living house should be factored by:

  • The safety of your home and environment once leaving the facility
  • How well you are able to support yourself and live on your own
  • How comfortable you are leaving the sober living home
  • Your ability to stay sober throughout the recovery process

Sharing a residence with others who are in the same recovery stage allows for peer support that sober living is based upon. The support and encouragement from others alike can assist a newly sober individual in overcoming potential challenges during the early stages of recovery. The peer-oriented approach offers:

  • Reciprocated support
  • Self-sufficiency
  • Resident involvement in the operation of the facility
  • Accountability
Benefits of Sober Living Houses

There are many benefits to living in a sober living home when first recovering from an addiction. Many residents make new friends, obtain stable employment, develop hobbies, and realize their own potential to be a productive part of society. Most facilities offer residents accommodations to aid in maintaining sobriety and establishing an efficient plan for continued recovery. At many sober living homes, you may find:

  • A distraction-free location
  • A comfortable, home-like setting
  • Continual support from staff and peers
  • Less expensive costs when compared to rehabilitation centers
  • Ample resources for continued success

Many people find success from living in sober homes after completion of treatment. It is a positive approach to establishing a foundation in a real-world setting. Sober living can be invaluable for someone who needs assistance and confidence to integrate into daily living.

The post Are Sober Living Houses Helpful When First Recovering from Addiction? appeared first on Serenity.

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A person’s genes influence almost anything he or she does, from the way they talk to how they respond to their environment. The impact of genes is significant, and with over 20,000 genes in a human body, it’s impossible to ignore their effects. It also turns out, according to current research, that our genes have a say in whether we become addicted to drugs and alcohol. While researchers find it difficult to pinpoint specific genes that affect any condition, including alcoholism and drug abuse, it’s clear that there is a definite connection between genetics and addiction.

The Connection Between Genetics and Addiction

Numerous studies show that the likelihood of addiction is split evenly between genetic predisposition and other factors, such as poor coping skills. Moreover, children of addicts have a higher chance of developing an addiction. One study reports that children of alcoholics are between four and ten times more likely to become alcoholics than are children who have no close relatives who are alcoholics.

While the numbers are telling, scientists have understood for some time that our hereditary behaviors and the environment interact to form the basis of our decisions.

Genes: A Closer Look

A person’s genes are units of DNA that make up a human genome which provides the roadmap that directs the body’s cellular activities. The DNA sequences of most people are the same, but there’s a 0.1 percent variation that’s vitally important. In diseases such as cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anemia, the mutation of a single gene is the cause.

Addiction and Evolutionary Processes

Our genetic predisposition to addiction relates to evolutionary advantages that become hard-wired into our brains. For example, when an animal eats a particular food that it likes and derives pleasure, it will look for that food in the future.

While everyone has the potential for addiction, some people are more predisposed to it than others regardless of their genetic makeup. In other words, even if you have less of a genetic predisposition to addiction as others, you can still end up with an addiction.

However, it’s also noteworthy that people who share the same genetic markers as addicted family members may not become addicted.

Genetics and Alcoholism

There isn’t a specific gene that is responsible for alcoholism, but rather hundreds of genes that may increase a person’s risk of developing an alcohol disorder. Studies show that certain combinations of genes have an active link to alcoholism, but also that behavioral genes passed down from previous generations could influence a person’s chances of becoming an alcoholic.

For example, people with mental illnesses such as depression and schizophrenia often come from families with a history of those disorders. Meanwhile, people with mental illness are at a higher risk for choosing substance abuse as one way to cope with their issues. But there’s no question that mental disorders may be hereditary.

Understanding Cross-Addiction

Studies also show that if one of your family members is addicted to alcohol, the greater your chances of developing an addiction to other drugs such as opioids or marijuana. The reason is that addictions work in the same part of the brain. According to the experts:

  • One drug can lead you back to any other drug. Therefore, if you want to stop using a particular drug or substance, you have to stop using all addictive drugs.
  • If you stop your drug of choice but continue to use other substances, it shows a lack of commitment to learning coping skills that could change your life.
Other Factors That Influence Addiction

While genetics account for about 50% of a person’s vulnerability to addiction, many other factors may lead to substance abuse, including:

  • The presence of mental health issues
  • Gender
  • Friends, social networks, and peer pressure.
  • The availability of drugs and alcohol
  • The age at which the person begins using drugs and alcohol
  • Where a person lives
  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Witnessing violence

It’s important to note that genes must interact with the environment or other factors in some way for addiction or other health issues to occur. The gene is triggered by another element or remains dormant. Furthermore, some people develop addictive behaviors through lifestyle alone and not with the involvement of genes.

While current research regarding the link between genetics and addiction is promising, there remain limitations in understanding how the two work together. For instance, it remains difficult for researchers to pinpoint specific genes that affect any single condition. But research continues to show that genes act like suggestions that a person’s cells may follow.

The post Is There a Connection Between Genetics and Addiction? appeared first on Serenity.

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Many people use the terms ‘spirituality’ or ‘religion’ interchangeably. Although the effects each has on a person’s life are similar, spirituality and religion are not the same.  People who are spiritual feel a connectedness to the universe or their own soul or spirit without attributing it to a specific group or deity.  In contrast, religious persons feel the need to worship together in groups and have a defined belief system or entity. When it comes to the benefits of spirituality vs religion in addiction recovery, either can have a  positive influence on a person’s successful abstinence.

While many faith-based treatment programs claim to be spiritual in nature, they are heavily based on the Bible and God, and use mostly Christian prayers and proverbs in their materials.  Other programs do not include any explicit spiritual or religious elements in their approach.

How are Spirituality and Religion Similar?

One of the main things a recovering addict must accomplish is to find a purpose or meaning for their life. They need a sense of something stronger than themselves to lean on.  It gives them a sense of belonging. These benefits can be gained through either religion or spirituality.

There are many other correlations between spirituality and religion that we can compare.  For instance, both of them help a person gain a sense of belonging in several ways:

  • Giving back has big rewards.  Helping others is a way to help yourself feel better.  It gets you outside of your own head. This is a great way to build self-confidence and improve your sense of self-worth.  Being a part of the sober community helps a person learn to enjoy activities without drugs or alcohol present.
  • Mindfulness, meditation, or prayer.  These components of religion vs spirituality in addiction recovery all have similar effects.  Each relieves tension, eases anxiety, lowers blood pressure, and helps a person focus or center their thoughts on the present.
  • Knowing you’re not alone.  Both religion and spirituality can give a recovering addict a sense of not being alone even when they are by themselves.  When a person feels that they are part of something bigger than themselves, they gain the strength to try harder.
  • Learning an attitude of gratitude relieves stress.  Religion and spirituality both guide a person to be grateful for the positive aspects of life and to appreciate others.  Grateful people are less likely to become depressed and they have more strength to resist drugs or alcohol.
  • Helps develop self-awareness and honesty.  Being accountable to a higher power whether through religion or spirituality helps a person stay on course and become a contributing member of society.  Learning to accept responsibility for their behavior and a big step for recovering addicts that only comes with complete honesty.
What Else Do Recovering Addicts Need Besides Religion or Spirituality?

Addiction is a complex disorder comprised of several contributing factors.  Successful recovery is the result of a combination of treatment approaches that target the biological, psychological, environmental, and spiritual aspects involved.  The most effective treatment programs are those that provide a comprehensive curriculum that addresses each of these factors concurrently.

Those who debate the importance of spirituality vs religion in addiction recovery should try to learn more about how a person responds to feeling alone in the world.  Many addicts feel that no one understands them, or they feel shame and guilt about their drug abuse.  Learning to open oneself up to believe in a higher power will make a significant improvement in a person’s self-image.

If you or a loved one needs help for addiction, please contact us today.  One of our addiction specialists will be available to help you choose a treatment program designed especially for you.

The post Spirituality vs Religion:  How Do They Influence Recovering Addicts? appeared first on Serenity.

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Teens who live in a home with addicted parents learn three skills: silence, fear, and apathy.  They’re afraid to speak up and tell someone what’s going on at home.  Plus, the fear of physical abuse or neglect keeps them on edge.  Eventually, apathy takes over and away goes their enthusiasm for life.  As a result, teens with addicted parents become depressed and the condition can persist throughout their lifetime.

About 8.7 million American children under age 17 live in a household with at least one addicted parent.  Far too many of these kids become alcoholics or drug abusers at an early age.  If they know where to turn for help without fear of repercussions, their lives might progress more satisfactorily.

The Trauma of Being a Child of an Addict

Parents who are addicts are not only having a damaging effect on their own lives;  the consequences of their behavior extend to affect their children in various ways.  Many of the children experience difficulties with concentrating and struggle with cognitive abilities.  They also have trouble controlling physical or emotional responses to stress.  Many of them have problems with trust in relationships.  Some of those effects can last a lifetime.

Other effects of being the child of an alcoholic or drug addict show up when these kids become adults and have families of their own.  If they follow in their parents’ footsteps and develop a substance abuse problem, they may abuse or neglect their own children, and the cycle keeps repeating down through the generations in some families.

Overall, the teens with addicted parents don’t always reach their full potential in life because of the after-effects of their dysfunctional childhood.

Here are a few more ways a child is affected by addicted parents:

  • Poor self-image, low self-esteem
  • Higher risk of physical, sexual, or verbal abuse
  • Poor academic achievements
  • Behavioral and emotional problems
  • Risk of developing depression or anxiety
  • Drug or alcohol experimentation at a young age
  • Potential to become an addict themselves

Of course, some children of addicts grow up to be the complete opposite of their parents by living completely sober lives.  Researchers are interested in learning more about how and why this happens.  They have conducted tests on twins to gain a better understanding of how living with alcoholics or drug addicts affects children.  For instance, in the study, one twin became an alcoholic or substance abusers, while the other twin did not.  They also studied twins who grew up in separate homes to gain insight into whether a person can be predisposed to addictions.  The studies are not conclusive, but preliminary results are showing a strong connection to genetics playing a role in addiction.

How Can We Help These Teens?

Children of addicts must learn to trust someone and talk to them about their feelings.  Sadly, many of the teens feel ashamed or guilty, blaming themselves for their parents’ behaviors.  They view themselves as “bad,” and feel that they deserve punishment.  Finding someone they can trust and talk to is a step forward toward healing.

In the U.S., a diverse group of organizations is dedicated to helping children of addicts.  Such programs as:

  • COASA (Children of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse)
  • NACoA (National Association for Children of Addiction)
  • Alateen (Al-Anon family groups)
  • The Betty Ford Foundation
  • Youth Crisis Line (1-800-448-4663)
  • National Drug Abuse Hotline (1-800-662-4357)

This is only a partial listing of the many services available to help teens of addicted parents.  There are hundreds of organizations nationwide that are dedicated to helping young people learn to cope with the consequences of their parents’ behaviors.

If you would like more information about teens with addicted parents, please give us a call today.  One of our representatives will be happy to answer your questions and provide more resources.  We can also be of assistance if you or someone you know needs treatment for substance abuse.  Learn more about our program here, or give us a call today.

The post Living With Addicted Parents: What Can be Done to Help? appeared first on Serenity.

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America’s heroin has changed in recent years. In most instances, these changes in heroin aren’t known by the street dealers, and they inadvertently sell something that results in a person’s overdose or death.

Since the 1990s there has been a dividing line in the U.S. when it comes to heroin availability.  Most of the time, black-tar heroin was the drug of choice for people west of the Mississippi. People east of the Mississippi preferred powder heroin.  The black-tar heroin was sourced from Mexico. Powder heroin came from Colombia. But things have changed. Recent reports show that powder heroin is now coming from Mexico into the East Coast. This heroin is often mixed with fentanyl or other synthetic drugs and chemicals.

What Do We Know About Fentanyl-Laced Heroin?

Heroin is a dangerous drug, but when it is laced with fentanyl, the chances of overdose or death are sharply increased.  In fact, heroin overdoses have spiked in recent years all across the nation. Of the 64,000 overdose deaths in 2016, as many as 15,000 of those were from a heroin overdose.  From 2010 to 2016, heroin-related deaths increased more than five times, according to the CDC.

Fentanyl-laced heroin played a significant role in the overdose death rates. Unsuspecting users purchase fentanyl-laced heroin not knowing that it is 100 times more powerful than morphine.  

What is Fentanyl and Why is It so Deadly?  

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that was discovered in 1959 and used as an alternative to morphine for treating pain. It is FDA approved and a Schedule II drug under the U.S. Controlled Substances Act.

In the 1980s, chemists altered the chemical makeup of the drug, making it a highly toxic and lethal substance known as “China White.”  Illegal fentanyl is manufactured overseas in clandestine labs and transported to the U.S. from China and Mexico. People also use fentanyl alone or mix it with other substances such as heroin.

When fentanyl and heroin are mixed, the potency of both drugs is amplified significantly and can create a powerful high.  This is due to fentanyl being 50 times more potent than heroin. Known as “killer heroin,” this combination of drugs can cause extreme drowsiness, confusion, nausea, respiratory depression, unconsciousness, and death.  

Most heroin users aren’t aware that fentanyl is present.  Some of them are lucky and make it to an emergency room where Naloxone can be administered.  Others aren’t so lucky. The ironic part of this is that you’d think no one would willingly take this dangers combination of drugs. But, the element of danger attracts hard-core heroin addicts who are having trouble getting high enough.  Sadly, many of them don’t live to regret that decision. These changes in heroin are not what they expected.

Shocking Facts About Fentanyl-Laced Heroin
  • “Killer heroin” can cause death within minutes after being injected.
  • People have overdosed multiple times in a 24-hour period.
  • A young woman was found curled in the fetal position with the needle still in her arm.

Long-term heroin users report that in recent years, the intensity and duration of the drug’s effects have changed dramatically.  These changes coincide with the appearance of synthetic drugs such as fentanyl in the heroin supply.

Getting Help for Victims of the Changes in Heroin

If you or someone you love is abusing or addicted to heroin, you must get help right away. You don’t want to become a victim of the changes in heroin that are deadly. Contact us today if you would like to learn about the treatment options available for heroin addiction.

The post Dangerous Changes in Heroin:  What You Need to Know appeared first on Serenity.

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For most addicts, the thought of enjoying sobriety is impossible. They think being sober means boredom. Many of them have never celebrated holidays, gone dancing, or been on a date while sober. So, doing these things while sober will seem like an entirely new experience, and this is something addicts fear the most. They are used to their little world of getting high with other people who are high. It’s a comfort zone that they aren’t eager to break away from. Fortunately, some techniques will help ease addicts into stepping away from the comfort zone and taking a chance on sober activities.

Expand Your World One Step at a Time

When you break away from your comfort zone and try something new, you expand your world just a little at a time. There’s no need to be in a hurry or try to do too much at one time. Each small step will make the next step easier. Remember your experience of learning to walk when you were a toddler. You stood up, took a step, fell, and got back up over and over. You kept trying until you got it right. That’s the approach you’ll need to take when trying to live as a sober person. Keep trying new things until you find some that you are comfortable with and want to repeat the experience.

Anxiety Must be Controlled

It’s easier said than done, but you will need to find ways to control anxiety. Stress and anxiety are often the cause of relapse for many recovering addicts. Some methods of controlling anxiety include learning to notice the warning signs. Everyone reacts differently to situations that trigger stress, so you’ll need to focus on what your mind and body are telling you. When you feel anxious, you can try acknowledging the feelings and tell yourself that you can remain calm and in control. Another method is to think about things that make you feel good such as a song or a funny incident that made you laugh. Let your imagination roam and find creative ways to chase away anxiety.

Stop Thinking Negative Thoughts

You’ll probably feel nervous when you try a new activity. Worrying about what others think of you is part of your fear of the unknown. This type of concern can keep you from reaching out when you need help or prevent you from attending a function as a sober person. Try to remember that you’ll never know how it will go unless you try. It’s not possible to predict precisely what will take place at any given time, so instead of thinking it will go badly, try to imagine that it could go well. Negative thoughts can destroy your self-confidence, so stop giving them the power.

Focus on the End Result:  Enjoying Sobriety

Living a sober life can be exciting and fulfilling if you have an open-mind and want it enough. When you have fears that you can’t succeed in remaining sober, think about some of the benefits and focus on them. Think about enjoying improved health and having more energy. Imagine yourself learning new hobbies or going back to school. Revive the dreams you had for your future and work towards those.

Enjoying sobriety is something you must work at, but with each new success, your confidence will strengthen. Find ways to stay busy and avoid boredom or stress. Before you know it, you will be looking forward to trying even more new things.

If you would like more information on enjoying sobriety, contact us today. We will be happy to answer any questions you have.  Also, if you know someone who needs treatment for addiction, we can help.

The post Sober Living Isn’t Boring: Learn to Enjoy New Experiences appeared first on Serenity.

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The turmoil and agony of an addiction can increase when families research drug rehab options. The first issue is the cost. Substance abuse and addiction treatment are expensive, but many costs can be offset by insurance, scholarship and grants, and payment plans. The success rates of drug rehab programs is another issue.  No one wants to commit to a program that has a dismal success rate. The truth is that most treatment centers have a high treatment program completion rate, but low success rate in the long-term sobriety. Different treatment programs have different methods and structure. Understanding the differences between them is paramount to choosing the right one and quantifying the rate of success of drug rehab.

  • Inpatient treatment programs provide a structured curriculum and controlled atmosphere that is beneficial to healing. These programs are 30 days in length, or more, in some cases.
  • Outpatient treatment programs provide similar services.  Patients continue living at home and attend school or work. This type of program is geared for those with less significant addictions and are not in life-threatening danger.
  • Detox programs focus on removing all harmful chemicals from the body. Exercise and nutritious meals are part of the plan.  Medications are offered if necessary in extreme cases of withdrawal symptoms.
Understanding the Success of Drug Rehab

Drug rehabilitation centers present their success rates from various factors and systems. Each process is different, but most only record the achievements of those who complete the program. For example, some treatment centers base their success rates on their patient’s completion of the program, while others follow up on previous patients weeks, months and even years after the completion of their program. The surveys that they conduct are also dependent on the recovering addict’s honesty.

Some treatment centers will follow up with family, friends or even doctors. Due to the unclear nature to which treatment centers gather and present their success rates, families and addicts alike should contact treatment centers to find out how they report the success of former patients. High success rates can be deceiving.  The success of drug rehab includes variables such as employment, sobriety, relationships, education, legal issues, and mental and physical health.

Is Treatment Worth the Cost?

Unequivocally, YES. Without proper treatment, substance abuse and addiction can continue to get worse.  Overdose fatalities are directly related to the growing drug abuse problem in this country. Addiction does not have a cure, but it can be overcome with continued abstinence. Treatment teaches addicts why they became addicted, why their addiction grew and how to combat it. They learn vital life skills that will not only help them remain sober but skills that can better their lives in general. Many recovering addicts learn skills and new abilities that make them more successful in life. The education that they receive helps them start meaningful careers, excel in relationships and become a happier and healthier person.

Learn more about the success of drug rehab by calling our toll-free number today.

The post The Success of Drug Rehab appeared first on Serenity.

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The purpose of drug and alcohol detox is to remove toxins that have accumulated in the body from drug and alcohol abuse. Detoxification is the process of eliminating the physiological effects of addictive substances.  Of course, before this can happen, the addict must overcome their fear of detox. The first step an addict must take is to discontinue the use of the addictive substance.  This action will cause withdrawal symptoms, both physical as well as behavioral. The severity of withdrawal symptoms a person undergoes will depend on the particular drug or drugs involved and the frequency of use.

Today, it is rare to see an addict who abuses only one substance. The most common abuse is of alcohol and cocaine or alcohol and prescription painkillers. Anyone who is addicted to drugs will need to detox before they become free from the addiction. Detoxification will also help reduce the craving for the drugs.

Know the Facts: Avoid the Fear of Detox

There are several different ways that detox is performed depending on the facility. Many drug detox centers provide treatment to avoid the physical withdrawal symptoms. Some centers offer counseling and therapy to help the addicts gain control of their lives and return to normal activities.

To be completely effective, the detox treatment should remove the drug residuals in the body. If the residuals remain in the body, they can cause cravings for the drugs for years even if the addict has completely stopped taking the drug. The residues need to be removed, so the individual is free from the adverse effects of the drugs.

Why is Intervention Necessary?

Before a person can enter treatment for drug or alcohol abuse, he or she should agree that they need help. Many people think they are using alcohol or recreational drugs in social settings and are not addicted. Friends and family members can help a person recognize their problem and seek help. If several people join to convince a loved one, it is called an intervention and can lead the addict to the life-changing decision to get help. The symptoms may vary, but according to the Mayo Clinic, some symptoms are typical for most addicts. These are:

  • Unable to limit the amount of alcohol they drink
  • Feeling an intense need to take drugs or drink
  • Drinking in secret
  • Sudden weight loss or gain
  • Tremors
  • Irritability
  • Paranoia or anxiety
  • Impaired coordination

People who have an active drug addiction are taking large amounts of toxins into their bodies that can put a strain on their liver, kidneys, and heart, and gradually cause these vital organs to break down. There are also other issues such as illnesses related to drug addiction that needs treatment, along with the fear of detox. Individuals who are addicted to prescription painkillers may experience respiratory ailments, and people addicted to stimulants may have cardiac issues.

The statistics related to people who go to detox according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) are:

  • 46.6 percent for alcohol
  • 34.8 percent for opiates, heroin opiate painkillers
  • 11.7 percent for cocaine
  • 2.6 percent for marijuana
  • 1.6 percent for other substances

It is highly likely that the person will relapse if they have not gone through a professional detox program.

Benefits of a Customized Program

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, every dollar spent on addiction treatment programs reduces drug-related crime by $4 – $7. Detox facilities not only help a person eliminate the toxins from their system, but they also help the person learn how to start a new life without drugs or alcohol. Furthermore, a detox program will be customized to meet the personal requirements of each addict.

This individualized treatment is a major factor because detoxing from an opiate addiction will need different treatment than detoxing from alcohol addiction. Each program will also take into consideration specific medical conditions or behavioral attitudes that may be the reason the person became an addict in the first place.

Detoxification programs include many different types of treatments. For example, a program may include a sauna where the body sweats out toxins combined with nutritional supplements and supervised exercise.  All in all, these amenities are intended to help a person overcome their fear of detox and allow the process to work the way it should.

How to Select a Detox Facility

There are two main types of treatments for drug and alcohol addicts. One is an inpatient program, and the other is an outpatient program. Inpatient programs have a higher rate of success in curing addicts that do not relapse than outpatient programs. There are several reasons for this. The main benefit is the constant care during detox. If any complications arise either physical or emotional, there is immediate help available 24/7.

The primary inpatient program benefits are:

  • No access to the abused substance
  • The constant support of caregivers
  • Proper nutrition to build physical strength and endurance
  • No outside distractions, the individual focuses on getting well
  • Continuing support after graduation

Outpatient therapy may work for some people; it can be much harder to stay away from the desired substance as well as avoid the circumstances that spark the craving. Even if it works, it will take much longer than an inpatient program.

Inpatient detox treatments can help the patient be free from their physical addiction and ready to begin their addiction treatment that addresses the carvings and causes of the dependency.

There are also programs that include family members because they often play a significant role in the life of the addict. Parents who are addicts often abuse their children, and these children grow up to become addicts. This cycle can be stopped with therapy where the whole family participates.

How Does Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Help?

Cognitive behavioral therapy may help an addict see the causes of his or her addiction and change their behavior to avoid the triggers. Negative and inaccurate thinking can cause unhealthy and anti-social behavior. Some of the emotional challenges that cognitive behavioral therapy can address are:

  • Identify ways to manage negative emotions such as anger and grief
  • Help resolve relationship conflicts
  • Learn to cope with stressful situations

With an inpatient detox program, an addict can be helped by professional therapists and counselors on a regular basis to identify the negative thoughts and learn ways to respond more effectively.  At Serenity, we understand your fear of detox, and we are devoted to making sure the process is as comfortable and safe as possible.  Call now to learn more.

The post Recognizing the Need for Detox appeared first on Serenity.

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When someone takes their first hit of heroin, that moment defines what the rest of their life will become.  In fact, research shows that one in four people who try heroin become addicted.  The drug is so addictive that it is classified as a Schedule 1 drug by the DEA, meaning it has no accepted medical use and is highly addictive.  It is reputed to be one of the most addictive and destructive illicit drugs available today. The euphoric effects of heroin vary in duration depending a variety of factors such as the method of ingestion and the person’s physical condition, so, how often do heroin addicts need a fix?  And, what exactly are the dangers of heroin addiction?

Studies suggest that heroin has a half-life of about 30 minutes, which is longer than the effects of cocaine or meth.  In other words, it takes this long for half of the drug to be flushed out of the person’s system. The “high” a person gets can last anywhere from 5 minutes to 4 hours, depending on the method of ingestion.

Some factors that determine how long heroin effects last:

Route of administration:

  • Intravenous:  effects can be felt in as little as 20 seconds and can last up to 4 hours.
  • Smoking:  effects peak within 10 minutes and last for only about 5 minutes, with an overall duration of about 5 hours.
  • Snorting:  effects begin within 10 to 15 minutes

Other factors:

  • Amount taken
  • Quality of the drug
  • Age
  • Genetics
  • Height and weight
  • Body fat
  • Liver and kidney health
  • Metabolism

When the euphoric effects begin to wear off, the person will feel drowsy, relaxed, and disconnected from reality.  

How Much Heroin Does an Addict Need Each Day?

Each person reacts to heroin differently; therefore, it is difficult to determine an exact amount that is needed or used each day.  Some studies show that recreational users take doses that range from 5 mg up to 1,500 mg with the average daily dose estimated at 300 to 500 mg.  For addicts, the average heroin use per day ranges from two to four injections a day. Of course, many factors can influence how much heroin an addict uses daily.  For instance:

  • The purity of the drug (some heroin is cut with sugar, starch, powdered milk, etc. which weaken the effects of the drug).
  • Presence of other drugs in the heroin such as methamphetamine, cocaine, ketamine, etc.).
  • Co-administration with other drugs such as alcohol, MDMA, cocaine, etc.
  • Length of time the person has been using heroin (long time users require more).
  • Cost (depending on purity, one gram sold on the streets averages $15 to $20.  Some hard-core addicts spend as much as $150 to $200 a day to support their habit).

To understand why opiate addicts switch to heroin, compare the price.  For instance, on the street, one OxyContin tablet goes for about $80. The average rate for painkillers in general ranges from $60 to $100 per tablet.

What Does Being a Heroin Addict Feel Like?

Most people have read about the physical effects of heroin on a person’s body.  Many of us have seen before and after pictures of heroin addicts and are appalled by what we see.  But, few people have any idea how it feels to be a heroin addict. Reading a list of side effects doesn’t really tell us what a person experiences on a personal level when heroin is working its spell.  Nor does having read that list give us a true sense of what the withdrawals feel like to a heroin addict. We can search online and read personal stories written by recovered heroin addicts and the things they describe are almost unbelievable.    

One anonymous recovering heroin addict describes his addiction as watching himself slowly killing himself and not being able to stop it.  He goes on to say that it doesn’t just kill your body, it destroys your personality, your soul, your emotions, your entire self. Then, he says that it doesn’t stop there.  It goes on to destroy your relationships, your career, your health, and any dreams you had for the future. Next, he admits that he would have gone through hell to get his next fix, and eventually found himself in and out of jail, homeless, lost, alone, sick, empty.  Going through each day finding new ways of satisfying the intense cravings. Feeling guilty for putting his friends and family in a position to have to watch him self-destruct. This story is only one man’s experience. Unfortunately, it is a story that is retold and experienced all day, every day, by thousands upon thousands of heroin-addicted individuals.  This only one example of the dangers of heroin addiction.

In the U.S. today over 20.5 million people aged 12 years or older have a substance abuse disorder.  Of those millions, more than 591,000 have heroin abuse or addiction problems.

Heroin is one of the most addictive substances available today.  Abuse of this drug can lead to sudden death, or it can impose a long, agonizing misery that eventually leads to death if the person continues without treatment.

Learn More About the Dangers of Heroin Addiction

To learn more about heroin addiction and treatment options, please call our toll-free number today.  We will also be happy to answer any questions you have about the dangers of heroin addiction.

The post Heroin Addiction: Is it a Death Sentence Without Treatment? appeared first on Serenity Rehab Center.

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The terms opiate and opioid are often used interchangeably when referring to a class of potent prescription painkillers.  Although there are some differences between the two substances, the term opioid is commonly used when referring to any of the opiate-based medications.  The long-term effects of opioid abuse are basically the same, regardless of the actual name of the drug.  So, what is methadone?  Is it an opiate or an opioid?

The differences between the two classifications can be clarified by looking at the way the drugs are manufactured.  For instance:

Opiates are alkaloids derived directly from the naturally occurring opium found in the poppy plant.  Some of the pain relievers made from this substance include:

  • Opium
  • Codeine
  • Heroin
  • Morphine

Opioids are synthetic or partly-synthetic pain medications that are chemical compounds which are manufactured to mimic the effects of the natural opiates above.  Some examples of opioids include:

  • Percocet
  • Percodan
  • Vicodin
  • OxyContin
  • OxyCodone
  • Dilaudid
  • Demerol
  • Duragesic
  • Methadone

 In either case, whether opiates or opioids, these drugs are all highly addictive when misused or deliberately abused.  Methadone is an opioid that is used to treat chronic pain but can also be used to assist with withdrawal from other opiates or opioids.  This practice is still a matter of controversy as many people contend that methadone treatment for addiction is equal to replacing one addiction with another.  However, research shows that many people have successfully overcome a life-threatening addiction to heroin by utilizing methadone as part of their treatment approach.

What are the Long-Term Effects of Opioids?

Opioids work by binding to opioid receptors in the brain, changing the way the brain reacts to pleasure and pain.  This reaction causes feelings of pleasure along with a rush of euphoria and pain reduction. This “high” is what causes the person to want more of the drug, and an addiction begins.  As the individual takes more and more of the drug, the effects are diminished, forcing them to take even larger doses.

Most opioids produce immediate, short-term effects such as euphoria, pain relief, drowsiness, nausea, respiratory depression, and paranoia.  After prolonged abuse of opioids, some long-term effects become noticeable such as:

  • Tolerance, dependence, addiction
  • Nausea, vomiting, constipation
  • Abdominal bloating and distention
  • Liver damage
  • Brain damage due to hypoxia

Of course, each person reacts differently to opioids and will experience many symptoms that are not listed above.  If there are chronic health problems present, these effects can become life-threatening. For this reason, methadone is used to increase the chance of saving the addict’s life.

What is Methadone? Understanding How it Works

Methadone is used in treating opioid addiction because it works to decrease the uncomfortable or painful withdrawal symptoms.  It blocks the euphoric effects of the opioid and helps control cravings. In this way, the addict can gradually taper off of the opioid they are abusing.  The effects usually last from four to eight hours. The downside is that methadone can produce temporary euphoric effects similar to that produced by other opioids which can lead to methadone abuse and dependence.

Someone who is being treated with a replacement drug like methadone will be required to visit a methadone clinic daily to get their dose.  They can also go to a rehab clinic to get their dose. Over time, as the dose is gradually decreased, the person may experience some withdrawal symptoms.  It is important to note, however, that these symptoms are minor in comparison to the side-effects of continued opioid addiction. The symptoms also pale in comparison to the severe withdrawals felt if a person attempts to quit opioids by going “cold turkey.”

Warning Signs of Methadone Abuse

If you are wondering what is methadone, or someone you know is on methadone treatment, there are some signs and symptoms of methadone abuse that you should know:

  • Rapid heart rate
  • Dilated pupils
  • Anxiety, tremors
  • Depression
  • Diarrhea, nausea, vomiting
  • Insomnia, restlessness
  • Profuse sweating

When a person develops a dependency or addiction to methadone, they will have a much harder time overcoming their long-term exposure to opioid drugs.

Let Serenity Help You Overcome Opioid Addiction

Opioid addictions are rampant in the United States today.  In the news recently we see that our government is ramping up its efforts to gain better control of the situation.  Likewise, the team of professionals at Serenity Rehab is reaching out to help as many opioid addicts as possible. If you are ready to live a drug-free life, call our toll-free number now.  Also, if you have more questions about what is methadone, we can help you find the answers.

The post Methadone: Opioid or Opiate? appeared first on Serenity Rehab Center.

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