“Boredom is the root of all evil.”
– Søren Kierkegaard
There’s more to boredom than just not feeling interested in what is going on around you. Learn more about why boredom occurs and how it can lead to a drug relapse.
For something that feels so slow and mundane, boredom is extremely effective at initiating action. For some of us, that action is something healthy and productive like exercise or getting a chore done. But for others, boredom can lead to drug use.
As your loved one transitions back to everyday life after addiction treatment, boredom is the number one risk to their recovery. Why? Because the solution to boredom for someone struggling with addiction isn’t as simple as just finding something more interesting to do.
In fact, there’s a lot more to boredom than meets the eye. In this article, we’ll take a look at what boredom is, dive into the psychology of boredom and examine why it can lead to a drug or alcohol relapse.
What is Boredom?
When we think of boredom, we immediately define it as having nothing to do. But scientists have started to dig even deeper to get a better understanding of what boredom actually is and how it affects us.
While there still isn’t a universally accepted definition of boredom, most researchers agree that it’s an unpleasant mental and emotional state that leaves you craving some sort of stimulation. This lack of stimulation can lead to behavioral problems, including drug use.
The study of boredom can be traced all the way back to the late 1880s, but it wasn’t until 100 years later that researchers really started to figure out how to identify and measure boredom.
While there is still a lot we don’t know about boredom, today’s research suggests that boredom is a trigger for issues like binge-eating and drug abuse and can manifest more often in those who have suffered from severe head trauma.
With greater study into boredom, we now know many of the reasons for why we feel bored. Just a few of them include:
Monotonous Activity: Doing too much of the same thing over and over again leaves a person craving for something more stimulating. For those recovering from addiction, monotonous activity can remind them of how exciting and fun it was to drink or do drugs.
Novelty Cravings: Someone who is more extroverted needs higher levels of excitement from things like extreme sports in order to avoid feeling bored. Without a proper outlet, these types of sensation-seeking people turn to more risk-taking behaviors like drug use to feel good.
Attention Deficits: Those who have trouble paying attention and concentrating experience higher levels of boredom. If your loved one had struggled with paying attention before treatment, it’s safe to guess that at least part of the reason they turned to drugs was because it held their attention and kept them engaged. Now in recovery, it’s important for your loved one to manage their attention deficit issues and participate in healthy activities that do hold their attention.
Lack of Emotional Awareness: When we’re bored, we can typically identify why we’re feeling what we’re feeling and determine what we want to do next to remedy our boredom. For someone prone to addiction, there may be a lack of emotional awareness that prevents them from working through their boredom in a constructive way. This can trigger the desire to return to drinking or drug use.
How to Help Your Loved One Avoid a Relapse from Boredom
Part of the addiction treatment process is identifying bad habits and developing new coping skills and techniques that improve attention and emotional awareness. But even if your loved one did experience all this during treatment, it takes a lot of energy and focus to put those learnings into practice to maintain a sober lifestyle.
Luckily, there are some easy ways for your loved one to cope with boredom that don’t require drugs and alcohol. You can also help your loved one keep their recovery on track by taking part in new hobbies or activities together, and by making yourself available to talk to when they’re feeling bored or are tempted to use drugs or drink again.
But if your loved one has already relapsed due to boredom and impulsive behaviors, help them get back on track by getting them help at a credible addiction treatment center like The Raleigh House.
Your Loved One Can Recover from Addiction at The Raleigh House
If your loved one has relapsed, there’s hope to get their recovery back on track. After all, relapse is just a part of the recovery process and simply means your loved one needs to refine their coping skills and resilience to addiction cravings.
At The Raleigh House, we can help your loved one get to the bottom of why they relapsed and develop the techniques and support they need to continue living a sober and happy life. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about our treatment programs.
“The world doesn’t revolve around you!” Sound familiar? Chances are your parents used this argument on you at least once when you were acting out as a child.
As an adolescent, you hadn’t matured enough yet to understand how your actions affect those around you. And as an adult, you’ve learned that the world doesn’t actually revolve around you like your 10-year-old self once thought.
But when abusing drugs or alcohol, you tend to revert back to this mindset and forget how your behaviors affect your family and loved ones.
While it may not always be obvious, your addiction is doing more harm to your loved ones than you think. If you’ve been hesitant to seek addiction treatment, knowing how your loved ones are feeling may be the motivation you need to finally get help. Let’s take a look at some of the ways addiction affects your family and friends.
4 Ways Your Addiction Harms Your Loved Ones
1. It Causes Emotional Pain and Distrust
Your addiction has changed you. It’s heightened your emotions, made you more secretive and evasive and taken you away from activities you once enjoyed. Whether you’ve noticed or not, your loved ones have been affected by these changes.
Your family and friends have started blaming themselves and each other for your addiction. They feel helpless and can no longer trust or count on you to be there for them. They’re in a constant state of fear and pain, worrying about you and wishing you’d stop using drugs.
While you may be struggling with your own feelings and trauma, your loved ones are also in their own emotional turmoil in response to your addiction.
Maintaining your addiction takes money. Money that you may have either borrowed or stolen from your family and friends. Your addiction may encourage you to excuse this behavior and tell yourself they’ll be fine, but that’s money your loved ones need to pay bills, take care of the mortgage, buy food and afford school tuitions.
Taking money from family or friends to keep your addiction going erodes your relationships and puts your loved ones between a rock and a hard place financially.
3. It’s a Negative Influence and Can Traumatize Your Kids
Everything a child sees, hears and experiences shapes their development as they age. Unfortunately, this includes negative and traumatic events. If your children have seen you drinking or getting high, that’s something that will stay with them forever and potentially affect them as they grow and mature
How? Because your kids may be more likely to try drugs or start drinking if they see one of their parents doing it. Witnessing your substance abuse may also be scary and traumatizing for them, and that trauma can stunt their mental and emotional development and eventually lead them to use drugs or drink as a way to cope with the PTSD.
4. It Can Physically Harm Your Loved Ones
Your addiction has lowered your inhibitions, caused major mood swings and even made you more violent and aggressive. Unfortunately, a grim reality of addiction is it can make you physically and/or verbally abusive towards your family and friends.
You may not have realized what you were doing at the time, or you may not have meant it, but this behavior hurts your loved ones in ways you never imagined you’d be capable of if you were sober.
Seek Addiction Treatment for Both Yourself and Your Loved Ones
Addiction is a disease and we know it isn’t your fault. We know you may be struggling with trauma of your own or some other mental health disorder like depression, and that you were just trying to find a way to cope with the pain.
When you’re struggling with your own pain, it’s hard to identify and care about anyone else’s. But at The Raleigh House, we can help. Your family and friends love you and want what is best for you, which is why they want you to get treatment for your addiction.
When you come to our wellness lodge in Denver, Colorado, we provide an evidence-based, caring and judgment-free approach to addiction treatment to help you heal your mind, body and spirit from substance abuse and co-occurring disorders.
We also provide family support like family therapy sessions and education to help you also heal the damage between you and our loved ones because of your addiction. As difficult as this has been for you and your loved ones, there is hope and we can help you recover.
Colorado Senate Bill 13 gives doctors the option to prescribe medical marijuana instead of opioid painkillers.
According to the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment, there were 1,635 prescription opioid-related overdose deaths in the state between 2013-2017. Colorado, like much of the country, is embroiled in an opioid epidemic that many believe is closely tied to the over-prescription of popular pain-relief medications like OxyContin. Some Colorado lawmakers aim to change that with Senate Bill 13, a new piece of bipartisan legislation scheduled to go into effect August 2nd, 2019.
What is Colorado Senate Bill 13?
Colorado Senate Bill 13 grants physicians in the state the right to prescribe medical marijuana for any condition previously treated by opioid medications. How does it work? As explained by the Colorado General Assembly, Colorado Senate Bill 13, “adds a condition for which a physician could prescribe an opiate to the list of disabling medical conditions that authorize a person to use medical marijuana for his or her condition.” The law applies to both minors and adults.
Pros and Cons of Colorado Senate Bill 13
While medical marijuana proponents largely support the new legislation, some physicians and addiction doctors are concerned. Here’s a rundown of what both sides have to say:
Pro: The new law is predicted to reduce opioid overdose deaths in Colorado
Pro: Marijuana is arguably a safer pain management option than opioids
Con: The law allows doctors to replace a highly regulated, FDA-approved treatment for pain with marijuana, a substance that is largely unregulated
Reading Between the Lines: Medical Marijuana and Opioids
Another likely beneficiary of Colorado Senate Bill 13 could be the state’s slumping medical marijuana industry, which has seen steep declines in the wake of recreational marijuana availability. Does that mean the new legislation is nothing more than a political cash-grab? Former manager of policy for the recently closed Colorado chapter of the Drug Policy Alliance, Amanda Bent, would say no.
“We know from research that folks who use opioids tend to use less when supplementing their therapy with medical marijuana, so this is a way for them to avoid it all together, or decide if some kind of complementary use is appropriate after talking with their treatment team,” Bent said.
Ultimately, the new law leaves it up to patients and physicians to work together to determine an appropriate, effective treatment plan for managing temporary pain. Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that marijuana, like many prescription medications, can reduce the body’s natural ability to regulate mood, leading frequent users to feel lifeless and agitated when they stop using.
Evidenced-Based Treatment for Addiction in Denver, Colorado
If you or someone you care about is struggling with addiction to opioids, marijuana or other substances, The Raleigh House offers a comprehensive continuum of care – from detox and residential treatment to intensive outpatient therapy. To learn more about our whole-person approach to addiction treatment, fill out our form, or call us today to speak with one of our experts.
If you or a loved one is struggling with opioid addiction, the state of Colorado has your back. In the latest 2019 legislative session in May, lawmakers passed six key bills to further the fight against the nation’s opioid epidemic.
These bills included getting the Department of Corrections to offer medication-assisted treatment to inmates, making Naloxone, a drug that reverses the effects of an opioid overdose, readily available in schools, increasing the number of treatment locations in rural Colorado and much more.
While all this will help the state make significant strides against opioid addiction, there’s one issue lawmakers haven’t talked about that they may start to discuss later this year: Safe injection sites.
Safe injection sites have existed for years in other countries, but they are just now entering the conversation in dozens of U.S. cities and states like California. So, what are safe injection sites and how do they work? Would they be able to help combat drug abuse in Colorado and across the country?
This article will explore these questions and examine what the research on safe injection sites has shown so far.
What is a Safe Injection Site?
Also commonly known as supervised consumption services (SCS), overdose prevention centers and supervised injection facilities (SIFs), safe injection sites give individuals a legally-sanctioned place to consume drugs under the supervision of trained staff.
In hundreds of safe injection sites in Europe, Canada and Australia, people struggling with addiction are provided a safe space and clean needles to consume drugs. Staff members supervise the entire time, have Naloxone on hand in case of overdose and share information about addiction treatment available to try to persuade those struggling to get help.
Let’s start with the criticisms of safe injection sites. For starters, it certainly seems counterintuitive to give someone struggling with addiction the green light to continue abusing drugs. Loved ones are constantly told not to enable the addiction, and critics would say that’s exactly what safe injection sites do.
Another criticism is that since these facilities encourage drug use, they also encourage and increase crime in local communities where these facilities exist.
On the other hand, research on safe injection sites suggests the exact opposite results. A review of 75 studies about safe injection sites in Canada and Australia found that these facilities increased access to primary health care and reduced overdose frequency. These studies also found that safe injection sites didn’t increase drug injection, had no effect on crime in the surrounding areas and didn’t cause any deaths due to drug overdose.
Proponents of safe injection sites also argue that once you get people in the door and give them a safe place to use, you have a greater chance of talking to them about addiction treatment and getting them the help they need to get sober.
So, Do Safe Injection Sites Work?
While current research suggests that safe injection sites can aid the fight against drug addiction, it isn’t clear how many people who have used safe injection sites actually go on to get addiction treatment.
However, it’s possible these types of facilities may have the potential to be another tool to help get people into addiction treatment centers. Addiction treatment centers like The Raleigh House of Hope in Denver, Colorado can take the next step and provide the evidence-based treatment people need to recover from addiction and develop the coping skills needed to prevent relapse and manage any mental health issues that influenced the drug abuse in the first place.
Find Relief and Healing from Addiction at The Raleigh House
At The Raleigh House, we know how devastating addiction is. We also know the shame, guilt and stigma that you feel because of your drug abuse. That’s why we offer judgment-free addiction and dual diagnosis treatment at our wellness lodge called The Ranch, just outside the city of Denver.
This is a place where you don’t have to worry about being judged or feel bad about your addiction. We offer a safe environment for you to detox and work through the causes and triggers of your addiction, so you can regain a healthy and happy life without drugs or alcohol.
Naloxone was administered 5,000 in Colorado in 2018 to prevent fatal opioid overdoses.
From tales of the gods of Ancient Greece to fictional stories like Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, humanity has always chased this idea of an “elixir of life”. As a species, we’re fascinated with the thought of there being a recipe for immortality.
Logically, we know such a thing doesn’t exist. But science has actually brought us closer (in a way) with Naloxone, an opioid antagonist drug that could be seen as an “elixir of life” for those struggling with opioid addiction.
What is Naloxone?
Picture coming home and seeing your loved one practically lifeless on the floor. Their skin has turned a bluish, gray color and they’re barely breathing. Fear and panic immediately take hold and the first thing you do is call 911.
But what if help arrives too late? Or what if the first responders make it to your home in time but aren’t able to help? Luckily, these questions no longer have to be answered with, “there’s nothing you can do.”
Naloxone, or known by its brand name Narcan, is a drug that can reverse the effects of opioid overdoses to save lives. It does this by binding to receptors in your brain that would have originally been occupied by opioids.
If you or the first responders have Naloxone on hand, the drug can be immediately injected into your loved one or used as a nasal spray. As Naloxone takes effect, it stops your loved one’s brain from being flooded with dopamine and it prevents the opioids from depressing the central nervous system and respiratory system, helping your loved one breath normally.
If administered in time, Naloxone can help save your loved one from a fatal overdose.
While such a drug may sound too good to be true, Colorado has been an excellent use case for how Naloxone is already saving lives. In 2018, the drug was administered 5,000 times to prevent fatal opioid overdoses. While 349 people still passed away from opioid overdoses in Colorado during that year, experts claim significantly more lives would have been lost without Naloxone.
These hopeful results are largely due to how accessible Naloxone has become to first responders, law enforcement and even citizens throughout the state. Police departments, government officials, state organizations and initiatives like Naloxone for Life have helped distribute Naloxone kits throughout Colorado and make it more easily available in pharmacies for people to have on hand in case of an overdose.
While it can’t be considered the only reason, Naloxone is thought to be a contributing factor to the 6.4 percent decrease in opioid overdose deaths recorded in Colorado between 2017 and 2018.
What Can I Do to Help Prevent My Loved One From a Fatal Opioid Overdose?
If you know your loved one is struggling with an opioid addiction, it’s important to ask for Naloxone at your local pharmacy and be on the lookout for signs of overdose.
If your loved one is high, they’ll exhibit smaller pupils, slurred speech and nod out a bit. However, they’ll typically respond to outside stimuli like loud noises or shaking. This type of response doesn’t happen if your loved one is experiencing an overdose.
During an overdose, your loved one’s body will go limp and their skin will look pale, bluish and clammy. They’ll typically be unconscious, but if they maintain consciousness, they’ll be unresponsive and unable to speak.
If your loved one appears to have suffered an overdose, use Naloxone as quickly as possible to help save their life. Even if you’re still not sure if your loved one has overdosed or not, Naloxone is the best opioid and heroin overdose treatment you can immediately provide that will help them if they did, in fact, overdose.
While Naloxone can help, it shouldn’t be seen as a way to help manage your loved one’s opioid addiction. Naloxone isn’t a cure, and your loved one needs actual opioid addiction treatment to help recover and cope with any mental health issues that may have led to their opioid addiction.
Get Your Loved One Effective Opioid Addiction Treatment at The Raleigh House
Naloxone can help you save your loved one’s life, but for how long? Truly recovering from opioid addiction takes more than a temporary “elixir of life” substitute like Naloxone. Instead, it takes an evidence-based addiction treatment approach and a caring, supportive rehab staff to help your loved one get their life back.
That’s what we offer at The Raleigh House in Denver, Colorado. When your loved one comes to our wellness lodge called The Ranch, they’ll be in a safe and comforting place to face their opioid addiction head on and develop ways to overcome it. There’s hope for your loved one to be the healthy and happy person they once were and we’re ready to help them.
PTSD can be so devastating that it leads to alcohol or drug use just to cope with the symptoms.
Think back to a time or event that was particularly hard for you. The thought of it now may bring back a twinge of sadness, but you’re probably able to move on with the rest of your day and forget about it.
Now imagine having to relive that moment and feel the full effects of it every single day. This is what your loved one feels because of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
It’s hard to even imagine the trauma your loved one has experienced – whether it’s from serving in the military, being in a car accident or witnessing some horrific event or crime. And now your loved one is using alcohol or drugs to try to drown out the pain.
Why? This article will explore what your loved one is going through with PTSD and why it’s led to substance abuse.
What PTSD Does to a Person
Normally, when we feel threatened or scared, our fight or flight response will take over to protect us from the danger. In other words, our stress response helps keep us alive. But when our body’s stress response keeps triggering after the dangerous event has come and gone, that’s when we experience PTSD.
For your loved one, this stress response disrupts their everyday life because of the way it triggers regularly. They relive the event in nightmares, eventually fearing or losing the ability to sleep. But even when awake, the trauma manifests itself through flashbacks and negative thoughts.
As PTSD worsens, your loved one begins to act out, with sudden, angry outbursts and impulsive behaviors that are out of character for them. They’re living in a constant state of fear and paranoia, avoiding places and people that remind them of the event. And if they can’t avoid the triggers, they experience incredible anxiety, panic and fear, just like when the trauma actually occurred.
Eventually, PTSD changes the way your loved one’s brain works. Because of the ongoing firing of stress hormones, the amygdala – the part of the brain responsible for fear and emotions – stays in a constant state of activity, keeping your loved one on high alert. And soon, the hippocampus, or the part of the brain that controls memory, grows smaller, effecting your loved one’s memories.
To cope with these symptoms, many turn to therapy, physical activity or avoidance. But if these attempts don’t work or if your loved one is too ashamed or scared to open up about what they’re going through, they rely on alcohol or drugs to escape.
It’s true that drugs and alcohol can help relieve the symptoms of PTSD – at least, for a short time. But why, and what exactly is the catch?
For starters, high levels of stress from PTSD trigger increased amounts of adrenaline. Drugs like alcohol, marijuana and opioids can help combat these unwanted rushes of adrenaline by increasing the amounts of calming and feel-good chemicals like dopamine in the brain.
Soon, these drugs become the go-to coping mechanism for those suffering from PTSD because of how quickly and effectively they help relieve unwanted fear, anxiety and depression. But the problem is the slippery slope this can lead to.
As your loved one relies on these drugs more and more, their brain loses its ability to produce stress and feel-good chemicals in a natural and healthy way. It builds up a tolerance to the drugs and needs more of them to continue making your loved one feel good.
While all this is going on behind the scenes, your loved one starts to experience even worse fear, panic and anxiety if they stop using drugs – feelings that are even worse than just the PTSD. In order to avoid both withdrawal symptoms and PTSD triggers, they must now maintain a substance addiction.
While a grim reality, there’s always hope for your loved one to recover from both PTSD and substance addiction. In fact, credible addiction treatment centers like The Raleigh House offer evidence-based, dual diagnosis treatments proven to help heal the brain from the damage caused by both PTSD and addiction.
Your Loved One Can Find Relief from PTSD and Addiction at The Raleigh House
It’s nearly impossible to truly understand what your loved one is going through. But at The Raleigh House in Denver, Colorado, we know. We understand what your loved one is thinking and feeling, and we have over 10 years of experience treating PTSD and addiction.
When your loved one comes to our wellness lodge called The Ranch, they’ll be in a safe and comforting place to face their addiction and trauma triggers and develop ways to overcome them. There’s hope for your loved one to be the healthy and happy person they once were and we’re ready to help them.
High functioning alcoholics can be difficult to spot. Find out how to cope with a high functioning alcoholic.
There’s always this façade with your loved one when in public. From the outside looking in, your spouse, child, parent or other loved one has it all. They have a great career, beautiful home, loving family and friends and they are comfortable financially.
Or at least, that’s what your loved one’s public persona suggests.
Behind closed doors, you know differently. When at home, your loved one isolates themselves so they can drink in peace. They’ve made more and more excuses about where they go after work and who they’re spending their time with. They’ve even asked you to cover for them while they recover from a hangover.
Your loved one is a high functioning alcoholic.
You know it. They know it (even though they deny it). So, what are you supposed to do?
Living with a functional alcoholic is challenging, painful and heartbreaking. Luckily, there are some things you can do to cope with a high functioning alcoholic and get them the help they need.
4 Ways to Cope with a High Functioning Alcoholic
1. Don’t Protect Your Loved One’s Behaviors
You love your spouse, parent, child or sibling and all you want to do is help them. That’s why you’ve made excuses for their drinking or even tried to accept their behaviors by drinking with them. All this does is enable your loved one’s drinking problem.
Instead, stop telling yourself they’re just drinking because of stress. Don’t help them financially or protect them from the consequences. And don’t sacrifice your own needs to keep them happy. To truly help your loved one, you need to face the reality of their drinking problem.
2. Don’t Let Your Loved One Manipulate You
As you try to talk to your loved one about their drinking, they’ll most certainly deny that they have a problem. They’ll say they only drink on weekends or that wine is actually good for them. They may try to claim that the stress of supporting you and the family is a lot to handle and they need a way to relax.
When your loved one makes these excuses and tries to make you feel guilty, remember that their drinking isn’t your fault. They’re struggling with a disease and need your help to get appropriate treatment.
If talking to your loved one about their alcoholism isn’t working and they refuse to get treatment, it may be time for an intervention. An intervention gives you and other family members and friends a chance to confront your loved one about their alcoholism.
Since interventions are moderated by a professional, this gives you a safe space to be honest and open with your loved one, convince them to get the treatment they need and warn them of the consequences if they don’t get treatment.
4. Seek Help for Yourself
Whether or not your loved one gets treatment for their alcoholism, it’s important for you to seek help for yourself. Alcoholism takes a toll on family members and friends, and you’ve sacrificed a lot for your loved one. Now it’s time to seek help from a therapist or support groups like Al-Anon.
This gives you a place to ask questions about your loved one’s alcoholism, connect with others who are going through the same thing you are and heal from your own pain your loved one’s addiction has caused.
Addiction Treatment for High Functioning Alcoholics at The Raleigh House
At The Raleigh House, we offer premiere alcohol addiction treatment in Denver, Colorado. At our wellness lodge called The Ranch, we provide evidence-based and holistic treatment that can help your loved one recover from alcoholism and co-occurring disorders.
“Walk a mile in someone else’s shoes.” There’s maybe no better example of something being easier said than done – especially when it comes to your loved one’s drug usage. It’s never easy to understand why your loved one is drinking or using drugs, and you certainly don’t want to start using drugs yourself in an attempt to understand.
If you’ve confronted your loved one before and heard them say that you just don’t get it, they aren’t saying that as a way to defend themselves. What they’re trying to communicate is you don’t feel what they feel, think what they think, or struggle with the disease they’re struggling with.
Luckily though, there is a way for you to wrap your head around what they’re going through. And it starts with learning about the causes of drug abuse and addiction.
Once you are more educated on why addiction happens, you’ll be able to more effectively communicate with your loved one and help them get the treatment they need!
Why My Loved One is Addicted to Drugs: The Causes of Addiction
1. Addiction Can Start with a Genuine Need for a Drug
A perfect example of this is a painkiller prescription. In many cases, an opioid addiction is triggered as a result of a legal prescription written by a doctor to help relieve pain. In fact, this overprescribing by doctors is what has led to the opioid epidemic the nation is struggling with today.
If your loved one was given a prescription, they were most likely unaware of the consequences of using it too much. Drugs like prescription opioids actually change your loved one’s brain over time to make them think they need more of the drug to feel good.
It wasn’t that your loved one wanted to become an addict; they just didn’t suspect it would happen to them.
2. Genetic Predispositions Play a Role in Addiction
Your loved one may be abusing drugs because they were more genetically vulnerable to addiction. It’s been well established across the scientific community that addiction is a disease. And that’s because scientists have found that there is an inherited component to addiction, where certain genes play a role in an individual’s addiction.
Genetic research is continuing to uncover more and more about addiction and our genes, but it’s important to keep in mind that your loved one’s addiction was influenced by their own genetics. You wouldn’t blame your loved one if they were suffering from cancer or heart disease, so addiction shouldn’t be any different.
3. Environmental Factors like Trauma Can Trigger Substance Abuse
Just because someone may be susceptible to addiction because of their genetics, doesn’t mean drug abuse is inevitable. In fact, it takes other environmental factors to trigger alcohol or drug abuse. For example, your loved one may have suffered from neglect or physical or sexual abuse, and turned to alcohol or drugs to cope with the feelings of shame or guilt. Or your loved one may have experienced or witnessed a traumatic event and now they’re trying to cope with PTSD symptoms.
While turning to drugs or alcohol is never the right answer, your loved one probably didn’t expect or want to develop an addiction.
4. Your Loved One’s Mental Health Can Influence an Addiction
Mental health issues like depression or anxiety can occur as a result of increased drug use, but they can also be what sparks your loved one’s addiction in the first place.
People suffering from mental health disorders like depression, anxiety or bipolar disorder are typically just looking for a way to relieve their symptoms. They may be ashamed to ask for help with their mental health or feel like they’ll be judged. So instead, they turn to substance use. While this may provide short term relief, it turns into a more serious long-term dual diagnosis disorder.
Try to think about your loved one’s behaviors before drugs or alcohol were involved. See if you can identify any signs that would indicate your loved one was struggling with their mental health. This could very well be the reason your loved one started using drugs or alcohol in the first place.
Get Your Loved One the Help They Deserve at The Raleigh House
At The Raleigh House, we work with your loved one in our residential treatment program to help them get to the bottom of their addiction. Beyond that, we can teach them new and healthy ways to cope with stress, anxiety and other issues that may have led to their substance abuse in the first place.
There is hope for your loved one to recover and become the person you once knew again. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about our approach and addiction treatment programs.
While some heroin addiction behaviors are set in reality, others are complete myth. Find out what the real behavior patterns of a heroin addict are.
What does an addict actually look like? We’ve all seen movies or television shows where an addict is portrayed as a shady character or a bum; a ghost of a person who won’t ever amount to anything. Or the addict is viewed as a violent criminal or bad person who doesn’t care about anyone else.
Despite what the media tells us, you know differently. Your loved one has always been a good person with goals and ambitions. But lately, they haven’t been acting like themselves. They’ve been acting more and more like the stereotypes seen in the media.
You suspect your loved one is abusing drugs, and you think it might be heroin. But you need to understand more of what a heroin addict looks like before you confront them about it. Let’s take a look at some of the key characteristics of heroin addicts and the behavior patterns to look out for.
Characteristics of a Heroin Addict
1. Physical Changes in Appearance
This is one of the most obvious signs that your loved one is struggling with heroin addiction. While any drug abuse takes a toll on a person’s body, there are some key signs that your loved one’s substance of choice is heroin.
For starters, look out for clothing changes. If your loved one is using heroin, they’ll most likely start wearing long sleeves on a daily basis to hide the physical evidence. They may also start to wear sunglasses more often to prevent you from seeing how sunken in their eyes look now.
Unlike some drugs, heroin takes almost an instant physical toll on the body, so the changes in appearance will be sudden rather than slow and drawn out. See if your loved one’s skin has turned more grey-colored, and try to notice if their overall hygiene has deteriorated (not brushing their teeth or showering, not wearing clean clothes, etc.).
This characteristic isn’t as easy to spot as the physical changes – unless you have access to their bank account information, of course. But since heroin is incredibly addictive, those who are abusing it need higher and higher doses to feel its effects. Their cravings ultimately become the driving force behind their purchase decisions and they may end up blowing all their money on heroin.
Think back to times your loved one has asked to borrow money from you or others in your household. Was your loved one aggressive in their request to borrow money? Were you concerned that they’d get angry or even violent if you said no? Those struggling with heroin addiction can exhibit aggressive behaviors as a way to get the money they need for heroin.
Strange Household Items Going Missing
Collecting weird items from around the house is another characteristic of heroin addicts. If your loved one is truly addicted to heroin, something to keep in mind is that every action they take is motivated by their cravings and addiction.
We’ve already mentioned your loved one needs more and more money to keep their addiction going, so keep a closer eye on your financials and valuable possessions in case any of it goes missing.
Your loved one may also be collecting items like spoons, shoelaces, syringes, wax paper, razor blades and aluminum foil. If you notice any of these items going missing or spot these things in your loved one’s room, your loved one may very well be dealing with a heroin addiction.
Heroin addiction has a way of causing extreme mood swings and unnatural behaviors in the most gentle of people. As mentioned earlier, your loved one may be unnaturally violent or aggressive towards you if they aren’t getting what they need to satisfy their heroin addiction. You may notice that your loved one is trying more and more often to lie to you and manipulate you, as well.
Heroin addiction tends to be extremely isolating, keeping your loved from enjoying the activities and people they used to be interested in. If you notice your loved one only showing interest in you when they want something and then getting hostile when they don’t get what they want, it’s important to realize that it’s more than likely the heroin addiction taking over.
Heroin Addiction Treatment at The Raleigh House
Heroin addiction can show itself almost immediately if you know what characteristics and behavior patterns to look for. If you suspect your loved one is addicted to heroin and you don’t know what to do, call us.
At The Raleigh House, we provide evidence-based heroin addiction treatment that can help get the drugs out of your loved one’s system. Beyond that, we will work with your loved one in our residential treatment program to help them get to the bottom of their addiction and develop new ways to cope with stress or other issues that may have led them to using heroin in the first place.
At The Raleigh House, we offer weekly family education sessions, therapy sessions and involvement in your loved one’s treatment process.
“Why can’t you stop?”
“Don’t you see what your drug use is doing to our family?”
“Was there something I could have done to stop this?”
Addiction doesn’t just ravage the life of the person abusing drugs or alcohol. It also cuts deep into the roots of the family system. Whether you’re the spouse, parent, sibling or friend of someone struggling with addiction, questions like the ones above have probably run through your head on a nonstop loop.
You’ve watched your loved one grow physically weaker and sicker. You’ve experienced their severe mood swings and behavioral changes. You’ve seen them struggle financially. It’s hard to understand why they can’t see the damage addiction has done to themselves and to you and your family.
Luckily, this is what a credible addiction treatment center is able to address. At The Raleigh House, our mission is to help your loved one overcome addiction and co-occurring disorders, so they can return to a sober and fulfilling life.
And since we know the family plays a key role in recovery, family support and healing are incorporated into our overall approach to your loved one’s addiction treatment.
How the Raleigh House Provides Family-Systems Addiction Treatment
At The Raleigh House, we know how much you love your loved one and we know how desperately you want them to return to being the person you once knew. We also want what is best for your loved one, and rest assured that you’ve come to the right place.
Over the 10 years we’ve been providing evidence-based addiction treatment in Denver, Colorado, we understand how addiction affects the family. However, we also know the family also impacts addiction. What we mean when we say this is there may be enabling and other behaviors you haven’t noticed that have affected your loved one’s substance abuse.
While your loved one is in their own treatment sessions, we get you and your family involved with the treatment process when deemed appropriate. You’ll also be able to participate in your own therapy and weekly education sessions.* During these support sessions, we help you to:
Learn about and understand your loved one’s addiction
Identify enabling behaviors that have affected your loved one’s addiction
Determine new behaviors and coping skills to help you avoid enabling and support your loved one’s sobriety
Address guilt, shame and other thoughts and emotions that may be preventing your own healing from addiction
As your loved one continues to progress through treatment, there may even be opportunities where you and your loved one can communicate together and collaborate through therapy sessions to begin rebuilding the trust and support that was lost during addiction.
We know addiction has torn your family apart. But at The Raleigh House, we’re here to help restore what your family has lost and get you and your loved one on the right path towards recovery and sobriety.
Get Family Support for Addiction at The Raleigh House
It’s time to take back what addiction and co-occurring disorders stole from your family. It’s time to get the holistic, evidence-based treatment you and your loved one deserve to overcome substance abuse. Learn more about our family support program and fill out our form or contact us today to learn more.