The world is surely going to end. That’s what you’re thinking. Something of grave importance has occurred and it is going to dictate the course of the rest of your life starting right now. Nobody else believes you when you say that “this is it”. Indeed, the end is nigh, and there is no convincing you otherwise. What has happened? Usually nothing.
You may be waiting on a review at work, or the results from a doctor’s office. Perhaps grades are due from school, or your new crush hasn’t texted you back yet. Your head is running a thousand miles a minute outlining impending doom. Some call it anxiety, but others have deemed it as catastrophic thinking, or, catastrophizing. For example, if your review at work doesn’t go well, you won’t get a raise, you will get fired, your girlfriend will be disappointed in you, she’ll leave you, you’ll have to move out of the apartment, you won’t have enough money to live on your own, and you’ll have to live on the streets. Everyone will find out you’re a failure and you’ll be banished to the loneliest corners of the world. Does that sound familiar? Worrying about major decisions is normal. Becoming paralyzed by catastrophic thoughts is unproductive and damaging.
Reversing the Process
Understand that catastrophic thinking is typically due to feeling out of control. Not having a hand to determine a positive outcome, it’s easier for the brain to assume the worst. Staying non-judgmental, aware, and mindful of this can take some of the power of these thoughts as they happen.
After addressing your thoughts as being catastrophic, examine them. They likely provide valuable information that can be used in action. There are two recommended courses of action for utilizing the long chain of thoughts in catastrophic thinking. First, list out each segment of the doomsday story. On a scale of 1-10, rate the realistic likelihood of each part. You may find yourself laughing at some of your predictions. Second, create another list of things you think you can do to prevent some of these prophecies from becoming self-fulfilling. Proactive efforts can go a long way. Self-esteem and confidence will boost while anxiety and fear will be diminished.
Lastly, remember to give yourself some credit. You are worth good things happening. Focus on the positive outcomes that are possible and strive towards making them happen. You’ll learn better behaviors to bounce back from the next perceived failure.
Tools are necessary for all types of projects. Whether you are using a drill to build a shed or a food processor to prep dinner, these tools are essential to speed up the results and allow you to complete the necessary tasks. In the same way, specific tools can be used to optimize addiction recovery and improve the results of the treatment program.
It can be a challenge to work through any type of addiction. But, a few resources can go a long way to help you reach your goals. Building a tool chest of strategies to avoid your addiction triggers can be a valuable way to stay on track.
What are the Tools in Your Toolbox?
As you are working with an addiction recovery counselor, pay attention to the tools that you are given to overcome the negative behaviors. Often, programs are focused on the daily habits and tasks that will add up to the bigger results that you desire. Here are a few common tools that you might utilize:
Regular Therapy Appointments: Even if you feel like you have control of the addictive behaviors, it can be helpful to maintain regular appointments with your counselor or therapist. Over time, the frequency of these appointments will likely decrease. But, it can be beneficial to have occasional meetings as needed.
Friends and Family Support: The support that comes from friends and family is a valuable tool to help you stay on track. Focus on building those relationships. If needed, invite your family members to participate in the addiction recovery program so that they understand more about your unique situation. In some circumstances, you might even have a sponsor that you can turn to in the difficult moments.
Coping Techniques: When you are faced with an addiction trigger, what do you do to deal with the situation? You need to have a few coping techniques that can be used if you are tempted to slip back into old patterns. Find something that works for you! Sometimes, it is as simple as taking a few deep breaths and then removing yourself from the situation.
Creativity Outlets: Connection and creativity can be powerful tools to work through emotions. Look for art, music, or any other hobby that can keep you busy in your free time.
Do you need help finding the right tools to support your recovery? Talk to the experts here at The Center for Life Change: (951) 775-4000
Reading changes our lives. Words were invented to make sense of the world around us and to communicate our thoughts, ideas, fantasies, and fears. When we read, we are transported and transformed. The words on the page become alive with meaning and become ingrained in our memory. Spiritual experiences happen when reading. Passages can inspire us to make life changing decisions or radically alter our course of life. Now, reading is being evaluated as a treatment method for various mental disorders like depression.
Bibliotherapy is the process of combining reading with cognitive therapy. As one psychotherapist and counselor explains, “Bibliotherapy simply means the usage of selected books to guide a person in the area that he or she seeks help in. It’s like having a dialogue with a book- using its concepts as food for thought, trying to slowly apply it in life and checking if it really helps.” What we read in books stays with us for four days. In that amount of time, neuroscience shows that our brains are rewired each day we visualize the book and think about the words and how they made us feel. Such memory recall can release chemicals like dopamine, the pleasure transmitter that plays a role in addiction.
“Shelf Help” vs. Self-Help
Reading for therapy is different than reading for self-help. Whole bookcases in bookstores around the world are dedicated to self-help. Fiction takes us out of ourselves and places us in a different world. Within this objective perspective, we are inclined to identify with characters and their experiences. Committing to the journey of a character in a book mirrors the commitment we make to ourselves on the journey of recovery.
Is this new?
Using reading for recovery purposes certainly isn’t new. Twelve step based recovery has been using The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous since its first publication. The Big Book is full of personal experiences, letters, and stories. Since it’s release, The Big Book has engaged millions of people worldwide in its pages, offering them an insight to alcoholism and a solution for recovery.
Faith based recovery uses biblical texts of varying religions and spiritualities. Indeed for almost any ailment, spiritual experiences through religious texts are healing. We know that God uses the vocal chords and written words of others to communicate. By reading, we see more of God’s wisdom in ourselves and others.
Center for Life Change encourages our patients to find inspiration through text. For more insight on how we approach addiction treatment and recovery, contact our offices at (951) 775-4000.
It is a common trend for people suffering from addiction to also have mental health challenges as well. If you or someone you love is working through mental health challenges and addiction at the same time, then it is important to find an addiction recovery solution that will address both concerns.
For example, someone suffering from depression has a higher risk of alcohol abuse. Drinking or using drugs provides a temporary escape from the worries and sadness in life. So, addiction recovery programs need to address the addictive behavior, as well as the underlying mental health concerns.
Addiction and Depression: Which Comes First?
Researchers are still trying to determine if addiction causes mental health issues, or if the problems start with mental health issues that lead to addiction. If someone is suffering from ongoing depression, then the troubled emotions and thoughts can often cause the person to turn to substance abuse. Eventually, the abuse can turn into a full-blown addiction.
At the same time, a person might feel fine when they start drinking or using drugs. The catalyst for the user might be social pressure or the desire to try something new. Then, depression, anxiety, or other mental health problems are the result of the addiction.
Instead of getting caught up in the “chicken or the egg” scenario, you need to know that mental health disorders often go hand-in-hand with addiction. Then, look for a treatment option to address both issues.
Full, Complete Diagnosis and Treatment
Instead of lumping everything together under the same umbrella, it is important that you choose a support team who will work to identify multiple diagnoses if needed. Working through addiction recovery can be a good step. But, the person won’t achieve long-term success if the underlying mental health concerns aren’t addressed.
At The Center for Life Change, we believe in a holistic approach to addiction recovery. Our goal is to assess all lifestyle factors that might impact a person. Then, each recovery plan is catered to match the needs of the individual. We have a variety of services available to ensure that your plan increases your likelihood of long-term success. Call us to schedule a consultation and learn more about the services that we offer: (951) 775-4000
From alcohol to simulants, psychoactives to depressants, the substances we abuse create pleasure in our minds. Located within the cortex, one of the larger parts of the brain, is the nucleus accumbens where neurotransmitters reside. Neurotransmitters are small messengers which are responsible for communicating with the rest of the brain. In the case of addiction, one neurotransmitter in particular is of special importance. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter of pleasure. Pleasure is communicated, meaning dopamine is released, when substances enter the bloodstream of the brain. Logically, the more substances we use and the more directly we use them (i.e. smoking or injecting) the more dopamine is released.
Nearby, the hippocampus makes note of how quickly substances create such a surging release of pleasure and store it to memory. Just beside the hippocampus is the amygdala which conditions how the brain responds to the stimulus of substances. Here, the foundation of craving is built. The amygdala starts creating stored responses in the brain to crave the pleasurable substance whenever it is stimulated. If we drank after a stressful day, our amygdala conditions the stimulus of stress to trigger a desire for drugs or alcohol.
Simultaneously, while addictive behaviors are training the memory for pleasure, they are also training the brain in learning. Glutamate, another neurotransmitter, creates learning based on survival. Communicating with the midbrain, the center for survival, glutamate puts great emphasis on the necessity of drugs or alcohol. The midbrain operates the basic functions of humans: eat, sleep, reproduce and kill. With repeated use, the brain learns to rely on substances, not just out of pleasure or dependency but as a means for survival. Substances soon surpass eating, sleeping, and other survival modes.
Repeated use also contributes to the compulsion associated with craving. Responsible for executive decision making, planning, and task execution, the prefrontal cortex is altered by drugs and alcohol. Over time, this area of the brain changes the way it responds to substances. Rather than just understanding that a substance is pleasurable, the prefrontal cortex finds itself unable to abstain from actively choosing to find the source of pleasure. All behaviors and actions start focusing on finding more of what creates pleasure.
The Center for Life Change is committed to helping addicts and alcoholics overcome their cravings and find relief from addiction by understanding its nature and taking treatment steps toward reprogramming the dopamine circuit in the brain. Recover is within reach. Give us a call.
Have you seen headlines in the news about the current opioid epidemic? Medical professionals are talking about the topic because they know that it’s a problem that’s getting worse every year. But, many families don’t know much about opioids and the staggering effect that these drugs are having on our community.
It is essential that everyone learns more because there is a likelihood that you might encounter a friend or family member suffering from opioid addiction. Learn about the dangers of drug addiction and recovery options, so that you know how to support the people that you love.
Here are a few interesting facts that you should know about opioid addiction:
In the past five years, the use of heroin doubled
Prescription painkillers are also becoming a bigger problem for addiction, with 122,000 teens addicted to prescription opioids in the United States
Most of the time, the heroin use starts because the person becomes addicted to prescription painkillers first
Opioid use kills 2x the number of people compared to cocaine use
Opioid addictions are common among both men and women, and people of all ages
Prescription Painkillers Can Lead to Bigger Problems
Often, an opioid addiction starts with a seemingly innocent prescription for painkillers. Whether the person is recovering from an injury or they have chronic pain, opioids can offer an effective solution to reduce the pain.
For example, teenagers might use opioids to recover from a sports injury. Or, older adults often use these prescriptions after surgery. Addiction to the medication can start in a short time, leading the person to seek for other options after they can no longer access the prescription pills. So, an addiction that starts with the abuse of prescription drugs might lead a person to try heroin.
Since opioid addiction starts unexpectedly, sometimes these addictions impact people who wouldn’t seem like the “type” of person who would use drugs. It is important to know the warning signs of addiction so that a recovery program can be used as necessary.
At The Center for Life Change, we have seen the alarming trends of opioid abuse in the area. Our team offers an effective program to help people of all ages overcome their addictions. Call us to learn about the services that are available: (951) 775-4000
People who achieve success despite their circumstances tend to run themselves within a very strict program of living. It is not to say that overcoming is bad for our health. However, those who run themselves ragged often literally run themselves ragged, right down the their cellular health. New research suggests that cells in such people are aging far before they are meant to and the effect is visible. Reports The Atlantic, “…chronic stress breaks down every bodily process and induces or at least catalyzes unknowably many diseases.” Conversely, for those who have no circumstances to overcome, meaning they have the resources they need to be successful, their health does not suffer. Even in those who make relentless achievements in their lives, the presence of support helps them along the way.
“John Henryism” is a term applied to the ability to quite literally work oneself to death. The famous 19th century fable tells the story of a man who outmatched a steam-powered drill in a competition for nailing in spikes along the railroad. He suffered an aneurysm and promptly perished. Without the love, support, and resource we need to excel in life, we run on steam like a machine. Except, we aren’t machines which can be sustained on vaporized air. We are human beings in need of a delicate balance between work, play, health, sleep, support, and love. We are spiritual beings who need deep, unending, relentless spiritual support to carry us through.
Overcoming the disadvantageous situation of addiction takes a lot of work. Many of us come from homes, pasts, and traumas that make our odds at “succeeding” in life even more challenging. Surely, the decision not to pick up and use or drink every day might seem so simple as to make any complication confounding. Addiction is an intricate disease of the mind, taking a toll on the most fundamental functions of the brain, body, and spirit. “Without help,” wrote the authors of The Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous, “[addiction/alcoholism] is too much for us, but there is one who has all power. That one is God. May you find Him now.”
Finding the sustenance we need to overcome our each and every challenge in life is as simple as turning to a God of our understanding. We learned multiple times in our active addictions that trying to do it all on our own was an exhausting and ultimately ineffective feat. In recovery, we receive the Great Relief, the Good News as the Bible calls it, of God’s love for us. We have the chance through recovery to change the way we run through life. We don’t have to run on empty anymore.
Living a life that is fulfilled through recovery from drugs and alcohol is possible. The Center for Life Change knows how tired you are from the relentless cycle of addiction. If you are ready to stop and receive help, we’re ready to help you transform your life. Healing starts here. For more information on our intensive outpatient treatment programs for men and women call (951) 775-4000 today.
If a family member is struggling with addiction, it can often feel like a hopeless pursuit to identify the right treatment options. Thousands of Americans are dealing with addiction and facing the vicious cycle of progress followed by a disheartening relapse.
Don’t let go of hope when a family member goes through a recovery program and then slips back into addictive behavior again. There is still a chance for recovery; you just need to find the right program to match their needs.
Quality of the Treatment Program Matters
It is important to understand that not all addiction recovery programs are the same. Just because a company promises great results, doesn’t mean that it is the right treatment plan for all types of addiction.
For full recovery, it is necessary to find a treatment program that can be catered to individual circumstances. People are impacted by addiction in different ways, so you need to talk to a recovery center that offers multiple options.
A good treatment center will be able to identify your individual needs, and address options to work through your concerns. Not only will the program consider your current situation, but they will also assess the history and other things that can impact the results.
Custom Addiction Recovery with Family Support
At The Center for Life Change, we know that a recovery program needs to support the patient as well as close family members. Our goal is to help you choose an effective treatment plan that will maximize results while working around your lifestyle preferences. We have out-patient treatment options that can work around your work or school schedule.
We take pride in the results that are available from these top-notch services. We strive to offer caring, compassionate support for the patient and family members. You are always treated with respect during every phase of recovery.
If you are interested in learning more about a great addiction recovery program, then we invite you to talk to our team. This initial conversation can help you determine if these services are a good fit for what you need.
Is it time for you to face the reality that you need to go through an addiction recovery program? Many treatment options can be considered, but it is important to understand that each situation is unique. Instead of assuming that a specific program will provide the support that you need to overcome the destructive habits, open your mind to the treatment options that are suggested for your personal situation.
Addiction is a debilitating problem, and most people need professional support to navigate the road to recovery. The best thing that you can do is talk to an addiction recovery professional to find the right treatment program.
Medical Options for Recovery
Depending on the type of drugs that you have been using, there might be options to work under the care of a doctor while using medications. Certain types of medications can be helpful to reduce the cravings, decrease the withdrawal symptoms, and manage the other physical responses that happen during this time.
The goal of using medication is to make it as easy as possible for you to detox. As a result, you can build a solid foundation during the first stages of recovery, helping to achieve the success that you desire in the future. But, there are situations when medications might not be the right answer. So, this treatment needs to be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Medications Don’t Provide a Long-Term Solution
Keep in mind that the use of medication for recovery can help to minimize the withdrawal symptoms in the beginning. The goal is to help a patient stabilize quickly, making detox a safe and achievable process. But, long-term recovery requires a patient to be dedicated to the process. Often, this path includes group meetings, one-on-one therapy sessions, and support from family and friends.
This recovery is a life-long practice, helping you avoid the triggers that could cause a relapse. So, you need to be sure that you have a supportive team to guide your recovery every step of the way.
At The Center for Life Change, we believe that every patient deserves a custom recovery plan. For more information about the range of addiction treatment options, we invite you to call to schedule a consultation: (951) 775-4000
Judgement can be clouded when it comes to the topic of addiction. Many people know that they should probably purse options for addiction recovery. But, delayed treatment is justified because people don’t understand the serious implications of the situation.
Addiction leads to numerous consequences for the patient, as well as their family and friends. The threats and risks vary depending on the type of addiction. In most situations, the person will face physical, social, and emotional issues. These problems can only be overcome by working with an experienced addiction recovery team.
How Addiction Damages Physical Health
When a person is addicted to drugs or alcohol, the ongoing substance abuse causes wear and tear on the body. Eventually, the substances can cause severe organ damage, and even failure of those organs. Often, the heart, brain, lungs, liver, and kidneys are damaged because of the alcohol or drugs.
Additionally, the use of these substances can impact hormone balances, which has a domino effect on almost every aspect of health. People with drug addiction also face a higher risk of AIDS, HIV, and other diseases that are contracted by using dirty needles.
Mental Health and Addiction
Many professionals have seen that poor mental health can lead to addictive behaviors. At the same time, drug and alcohol addiction can increase the risk of mental health issues. People who are addicted to alcohol or drugs often face challenges with mood swings, depression, anxiety, paranoia, and psychosis.
These symptoms are common while the person is using drugs or alcohol. In some cases, the mental health problems continue after recovery because of the neurological damage that occurred.
Damaged Relationships Because of Addictive Behavior
Not only is the patient harming their body with the drugs and alcohol, but the addictive behavior can also have long-lasting effects on relationships as well. When a person becomes preoccupied with their habit, the can addiction take priority over family responsibilities and relationships.
Addiction can cause a person to feel isolated and alone, making it difficult to turn to friends and family members for the support that is needed. It is hard to live with someone who is battling addiction, often causing families to break up and relationships to fall apart.
Addiction recovery is essential to overcome these problems. For support with your journey, talk to our team at The Center for Life Change: (951) 775-4000