“Liquid courage” is an old phrase based on the idea that alcohol has the power to increase someone’s confidence, or at least help them forget their nerves. This idea is still popular today. The difference is that now we know just how destructive alcohol can be, especially when people use alcohol to make themselves feel better.
Abusing alcohol in this way becomes even more dangerous if a person is also dealing with a mental health issue like anxiety. Researchers have actually identified a strong link between those who experience anxiety disorders and those who abuse alcohol.
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America, close to 15 million Americans are currently dealing with an anxiety problem. Even worse, among those suffering from anxiety disorders, about 1 in 5 also struggle with alcohol abuse.
With mental health and substance abuse becoming a larger part of the national health conversation, it is important that we start talking about the relationship between alcohol and anxiety. This post aims to explain how these common health problems are linked and provide support for people who are looking to make a change for the better.
Understanding Alcoholism and Anxiety
Anxiety disorders, especially those revolving around social settings, can be extremely debilitating. That’s why it’s no surprise that those who feel uncomfortable around other people turn to alcohol as a form of self-medication.
It is important to note, however, that drinking during social gatherings is not itself a sign of alcoholism or an anxiety disorder. Still, the line between a quick drink while socializing after work and a toxic relationship between anxiety and alcohol consumption is quite blurry.
The interaction between these two behaviors is what will ultimately determine if a person is dealing with one or more debilitating disorders. In some cases, individuals have reported developing anxiety symptoms after developing a problem with alcohol.
It is clear that the two problems often share a chicken-or-the-egg relationship, so interactions between alcohol and anxiety must be treated with caution.
A Vicious Cycle of Alcohol Anxiety Symptoms
Dangerous interactions between anxiety and alcohol abuse typically begin when a person chooses to drink alcohol in order to help manage their nerves, fears or expectations. This may take the form of “pre-gaming” before a big party or having a shot or two before a blind date. If the individual person feels positive results from such actions, he or she may turn drinking before social settings into a routine.
Before long, the person may no longer even enjoy the time they spend with friends unless alcohol is involved. The individual soon starts drinking just to “feel normal” and make it through the day.
When this individual does not have access to alcohol, their anxiety symptoms feel more extreme than ever. The added stress caused by not performing their routine (or, in advanced stages, the painful symptoms of withdrawal) provide even more encouragement to the individual to keep drinking.
This vicious cycle leads those with anxiety problems to drink heavily until their tolerance increases, forcing them to drink more and more alcohol to manage their anxiety, in addition to a long list of other potentially harmful symptoms.
The Acute Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline
While the earliest stages of the withdrawal process may simply involve heightened anxiety or mental fatigue, it’s only a matter of time before the absence of alcohol causes severe physical symptoms. That is because regular consumption of alcohol leads the human body to become dependent on the substance.
Eventually, this growing dependence leads to a set of symptoms called acute alcohol withdrawal. At this stage, problem drinkers begin to experience painful symptoms and increased anxiety just hours after they put the bottle down.
The timeline of symptoms characterized by acute alcohol withdrawal looks like this:
8 hours since last drink: Individuals experience vomiting, muscle weakness, physical exhaustion, lack of appetite, stomach pain and alcohol withdrawal headaches.
24 hours since last drink: Individuals experience spikes in blood pressure, elevated body temperature, changes in mood, aggression and difficulty breathing.
72 hours and beyond: Individuals may experience more extreme, life-threatening symptoms such as seizures, hallucinations and delirium.
The life-threatening symptoms associated with acute withdrawal emphasizes not only how deadly a mixture of alcohol and anxiety can be, but also how necessary professional help is when dealing with a loved one who has abused alcohol over an extended period of time.
Even if they are able to survive the dangerous withdrawal process, alcohol addicts must still deal with post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS) as they work toward a life of sobriety.
PAWS and Anxiety
The longer and more severe an individual’s abusive relationship with alcohol, the more likely he or she will experience post-acute withdrawal syndrome, also known as a prolonged or protracted alcohol withdrawal period.
In these cases, an individual experiences the many painful and inconvenient symptoms of acute withdrawal syndrome long after he or she has gone through the process of alcohol detoxification and abstinence. Unfortunately, PAWS can last for months or years.
Anxiety disorders have been recognized as a common contributing factor in cases where recovering alcoholics experience PAWS. This trend points toward the need for personalized, ongoing recovery care for patients who are dealing with a mixture of anxiety and long-term alcohol withdrawal symptoms.
Exploring Long-Term Alcoholism Recovery
Considering the long-term effects of alcoholism, it’s not surprising that many individuals struggle to find success in recovery programs that are only designed to last a month or two. A handful of weeks is simply not enough to support a person whose recovery battle will likely take more than a year.
This goes double for those struggling with anxiety, as their mental health symptoms could easily become triggers for alcohol abuse during their sobriety.
The solution? Personalized, alcohol-specific treatment that is available as long as the individual continues to struggle with sobriety. This approach, which prioritizes the patient’s health needs over achieving short-term success, has helped many to find peace in sobriety, even those dealing with anxiety as well.
Treatment for Alcoholism and Anxiety
Where does a person go for alcoholism and anxiety treatment? Those struggling with these two problems will likely need ongoing help to get through recovery, so it makes sense to seek out a treatment facility that can meet those needs.
Maryland Recovery offers this type of support through its partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs. Partial hospitalization is ideal for patients who have recently completed detox treatment and possibly are still dealing with harsh symptoms of acute withdrawal.
Furthermore, intensive outpatient treatment puts ongoing support in the hands of recovering alcoholics while also allowing them the freedom to attend work or school.
Transitioning back into everyday life without relapsing is very difficult, especially if the individual is expected to handle it all at once. The first year is often the most difficult part of the recovery process, as the threat of PAWS is still active, so it’s critical that those struggling get support during these trying times.
Want to know more about personalized, long-term recovery and care? Need to know how Maryland Recovery can help you or a loved one overcome anxiety problems and alcohol addiction? Keep exploring our website or contact us directly for answers to your recovery questions.
Addiction affects every individual differently, and these differences may be medical or social in nature. Personalized, intentional treatment is needed to help patients break their addictions and live normal lives. This type of major recovery from addiction isn’t possible overnight. Comprehensive addiction treatment is needed to ensure a loved one stays sober for good.
The combination of intensive outpatient treatment and recovery community living offers unique advantages for those struggling with addiction. In many cases, this approach to therapy offers a more reliable, cost-effective and insurance-friendly option compared to traditional inpatient models. Learn more about this treatment format so you can make the right recovery decision for yourself or a loved one.
What Does an Intensive Outpatient Treatment Program Look Like?
For many individuals, starting treatment can be incredibly difficult. Going from an environment filled with drugs and temptation to living in a safe and sobriety-focused community can be a major change.
Unfortunately, insurance companies usually only cover inpatient treatment plans for a few weeks, if at all. This is hardly enough time for effective treatment. Thankfully, help is available through addiction recovery homes that are connected to partial hospitalization (PHP) and intensive outpatient programs (IOP). These programs usually last longer than the typical 30 days, and they happen to be more insurance friendly.
Recovery housing accommodations provide those who want to get help with regular therapy, training, education and encouragement through daily visits to a treatment facility. The recovery community also provides these individuals with a peaceful, distraction-free environment to return to each night.
Living in Addiction Recovery Homes
What can individuals expect during their stay in a recovery community? Unlike in an inpatient program, a medical staff does not need to routinely monitor those in a recovery community. These clients are allowed to (and expected) to attend school, work a job or both.
Residents also have opportunities to engage with people going through similar challenges and attend recovery workshops or support meetings with their neighbors. This community aspect is an important part of what makes partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient treatment in a recovery community so helpful for individuals trying to overcome addiction.
It is also important to note that in order to remain a resident in a recovery home community, patients must agree to refrain from using drugs or alcohol. They may also be expected to keep to a curfew, perform chores and submit to other occasional accountability checks to ensure that they are staying sober.
Treatment Options Available Through PHP and IOP
Patients in outpatient therapy typically have a number of personalized treatment options to choose from. The following are just a few of the treatment services available in most reputable PHPs and IOPs:
Group and individual therapy
Family education and therapy
Relapse prevention skill-building
Education on managing cravings and addiction triggers
12-step meeting attendance
Benefits of Outpatient Care and Relapse Prevention Education
Now you have a better idea of what goes on in recovery communities that partner with outpatient care programs. The advantages of this approach to recovery are uniquely beneficial for those who are serious about quitting their addictive lifestyles.
What can this combination of recovery services do together that makes them so effective? The following are just a few of the special benefits that come from bringing a community focused approach to outpatient therapy:
Reduced Rate of Relapse
Those who attempt to quit substance use and acclimate to regular life without help quickly find themselves at a high risk for relapse. That could be part of the reason that the rate of multiple relapses in some individuals is so high.
Receiving outpatient recovery treatment (through a PHP or IOP) while living in a recovery home provides more structure and additional education as individuals learn to adapt back to their normal lives, especially if the program is longer. This extra guidance goes a long way toward limiting a person’s chances for falling prey to a relapse.
Greater Mastery of Recovery Skills
Practice makes perfect, especially when it comes to unlearning habits during addiction that now put a person’s sobriety at risk. The support provided by outpatient therapy connected to a recovery community gives individuals ample opportunity to learn and practice relapse prevention skills.
Lifelong Support System
Those who have been through the pain and loss felt in addiction can offer a unique type of help and support those who are still struggling to get sober. Individuals living in a recovery home will have abundant time to make connections with other people who are dealing with similar issues.
The bonds made during this time can be life-saving down the road. Friends made during outpatient therapy and in recovery homes make the perfect sponsors and accountability partners to those who have completed treatment and returned home to daily life.
Addiction Recovery Is Possible
There’s no point in trying the same approach to addiction recovery if you keep seeing the same negative outcomes. This includes those who have gone to an inpatient program and not found the results they were looking for. Everyone needs to walk their own path to sobriety by figuring out which treatment styles are most effective in addressing their personal addiction problem.
Maryland Recovery’s model of treatment places patients in recovery housing in Bel Air, MD and allows them to progress through our partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient programs. We deliver all treatment at our outpatient facility in downtown Bel Air.
We offer our treatment and recovery housing accommodations for up to 90 days, which gives patients a higher chance of achieving long-term sobriety. Learn more about the first phase our program by clicking below.
Recovery from Opiate Addiction: Detox Is the First Step
There are almost 2 million Americans struggling with opioid addictions. You are not just one in a sea of faces, however; you are an individual with unique needs and addiction treatment requirements.
It is possible to break the cycle of opioid addiction. It starts with medically assisted opioid detox, and then moves on to custom-tailored rehabilitation. Here’s your guide on what to expect during these processes.
First Step: Medically Assisted Detox
Medically assisted treatment, or MAT, is absolutely critical for successful opioid detox. Opioids/opiates include illicit drugs like heroin and opium, as well as opiate-based prescription drugs such as:
Oxycodone (Oxycontin, Percocet)
Other Rx painkillers
Opioid dependency changes the fundamental functions of the brain and body. Quitting opioids cold turkey can be extremely harmful and even deadly.
It is very important that anyone wanting to recover from opioid addiction should start with medically assisted opioid detox. MAT helps control withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings in those detoxing from opioid addiction. MAT combines special detox-assisting medications with behavioral therapy to treat opioid use disorders.
Certain detox medications have become central components of opiate detox, as well as for other types of drug addictions and even alcohol dependency. MAT is important for reducing unpleasant withdrawal symptoms that could otherwise lead to relapse, such as nausea and anxiety.
MAT is not an addiction “cure” and does not ensure success. It does, however, greatly improve the odds of a successful and risk-free recovery. MAT is the best way to monitor a person’s health and safety during opiate withdrawal.
What to Expect During MAT for Opiate Addiction
To receive medically assisted detox, talk to a physician or treatment center that offers this service. A physician will supervise the MAT process at all times, and prescribe medications. After the initial physician consultation and evaluation, you will receive the appropriate medication or another therapy prescription.
At this point, you may have the option to either stay in a recovery home during detox or join an intensive outpatient drug program. The physician will recommend which would be best for you depending on your addiction and unique needs. MAT requires maintenance of medication administration, from the induction phase to the withdrawal phase. Going through these phases with physician supervision is vital to the overall health and safety of the patient.
No two addictions are the same. Your rehab experience can be altered according to:
Your medical history
Opiate abuse history
The specific opiate used
The physician supervising the treatment
More serious drugs such as heroin and Oxycontin may require more medical attention than those with less severe physical withdrawals. Relapse is very common in opioid addiction recovery, but going through the drug addiction detoxification process under supervision can help prevent relapse.
Second Step: Rehabilitation
Upon completion of the detox phase, the rehabilitation and recovery phases can begin. Completing each step in order is the best way to facilitate long-term addiction recovery. Detoxing first makes entering rehabilitation much easier, as the patient will be medically stable, with the opioids safely out of his or her system. Going through detox first can allow the patient to enter rehab with a clear mind and the foundation to make recovery last.
Rehabilitation is the phase in which a recovering person learns how to live a new life – a life without drugs. With a professional rehabilitation staff helping patients every step of the way, it’s easy to learn relapse prevention techniques and tools for coping with cravings. During rehab, an individual will learn how to deal with stressful or depressing situations in healthy ways during sobriety, instead of turning to opioids.
Rehabilitation, like detox, is not a magic solution. It is, however, an experience that can equip an individual with the skills to conquer lifelong addiction recovery.
During rehabilitation, you can learn healthy habits to fill your time and cope with pressures – habits such as yoga or meditation. These can become your go-to stress relievers instead of drugs. Rehabilitation is about healing the mind, body and spirit, as well as preparing for a fulfilling life of sobriety.
Third Step: Recovery
Recovery is a journey, not a destination. Relapse will always be a possibility to an addicted person in recovery. It is how the person resists relapse that defines long-term recovery.
Even after the detox phase and acute withdrawals end, many in recovery experience a wide range of mild symptoms in the first months and even years of recovery – called protracted withdrawal or post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). Without professional help, these symptoms can deter people during the first year of recovery.
PAWS can include:
The presence of protracted withdrawal can lead to relapse if the patient isn’t aware of the syndrome and what to do about it. Recognizing and managing symptoms of PAWS is key. Symptoms connected specifically to opioids include fatigue, dysphoria (state of unease and dissatisfaction) and irritability.
People recovering from heroin dependency may also experience issues with executive control functions that can persist for months or years after the initial period of acute withdrawal. While not everyone experiences it, PAWS is a normal and expected part of recovery. It does not have to be your downfall.
Recovery centers can help clients get through protracted withdrawal through education, celebrating each accomplishment, and giving helpful advice. The recovery care program at Maryland Recovery includes unique methods to help patients cope with PAWS.
Opioid Addiction Rehab Options at Maryland Recovery
At Maryland Recovery, we offer a partial hospitalization program (PHP) and intensive outpatient program (IOP) for opiate rehabilitation and recovery. Our PHP focuses specifically on dual diagnoses of mental health conditions as well as addiction. In this program, patients receive individualized opioid treatment daily, for several hours at a time. PHP treatment plans focus on the long term, addressing underlying mental health issues that contributed to the development of the opiate addiction.
The IOP is our premier program for opioid recovery care. It is a sought-after program for people all over the United States, especially those looking for recovery homes on the East Coast, because of our unique approach to outpatient care. In our IOP, patients in recovery reap the benefits of intensive outpatient treatment while living in a secure and comfortable recovery home. This combination has led to excellent results, helping patients understand what to expect regarding PAWS, cravings, relapse and issues in recovery.
With professionals guiding you through every step of recovery, you can tackle any complications that come your way. The Maryland Recovery IOP gives you the tools and ability to live a full life of sobriety.
If you’re worried about the risks of relapse or PAWS, we recommend enrolling in the IOP after detox. It’s the best way to receive as much professional treatment as you can get before returning to the outside world and practicing recovery strategies on your own. With this program, you have the best chance at making it through your first year sober – and the following years to come.
Substance abuse is at critical levels across the country, and many people of all age groups, income brackets, backgrounds and demographics have felt the effects of substance abuse at some point.
The millennial generation has grown up acutely aware of the potential harm drug abuse can cause, but they also face some of the highest risks of developing substance abuse issues thanks to the fast pace and high demands of everyday life.
Finding the best substance abuse treatment programs can seem like an insurmountable challenge for many young people struggling with addiction, but new forms of treatment could offer millennials the best chances to overcome substance abuse.
What Is Intensive Outpatient Treatment (IOP)?
Intensive outpatient substance abuse treatment is typically one of the best ways to overcome addiction, but a traditional recovery program may not work for everyone. IOPs provide a more intensive level of care than traditional outpatient programs.
Intensive outpatient recovery programs are highly specialized and work with different schedules. Some clients may choose to enter an IOP after a successful detox, or select it as the primary form of care. Others may choose an IOP as an aftercare program after successfully completing an inpatient addiction recovery program.
How Does IOP Treatment Work?
An intensive outpatient addiction program works differently than traditional residential programs. First of all, the patient is not required to live at the treatment facility for the duration of treatment. An IOP typically allows patients to return home after every session. Sessions usually last two to four hours per day, three days per week.
The main goal of any IOP treatment program is to teach people struggling with addiction how sobriety can fit into their lives. These programs teach the coping skills and strategies needed to manage cravings and prevent relapse, and they use scientifically proven methods for treating addiction in today’s younger generations.
The freedom to go about one’s regular life eases the stress of recovery and provides a sense of normalcy during a very difficult time. Patients in IOP treatment are free to carry on with school, work and other obligations of daily life with an ongoing support structure and easy access to resources and lifelines when needed.
Why Are IOPs Good for Millennials?
Millennials and younger generations are accustomed to flexibility and fast-paced lifestyles. For many millennials struggling with addiction, the thought of entering an inpatient or residential treatment program can feel like going to prison. While most inpatient recovery centers focus on patient comfort and recovery, they can still produce feelings of entrapment and isolation in young people accustomed to personal freedom.
An IOP fits into a person’s schedule when he or she needs it, and most IOP treatment services mirror those of typical inpatient recovery programs. For example, individual, group and family therapy sessions play crucial roles in both traditional inpatient programs and IOP treatment programs.
Millennials typically have very socially driven mindsets, and the isolation that may accompany a residential treatment program can make recovery more difficult. IOP opioid rehab and other IOP addiction treatment programs help young people stay engaged with their normal, everyday lives as they learn new strategies for managing cravings and preventing relapse.
A residential program may prove to be highly effective, but the isolation may make it very difficult to readjust to normal life after completing treatment. Meanwhile, an IOP aims to provide comprehensive addiction therapy with minimal disruption to everyday life.
Other Benefits of Intensive Outpatient Substance Abuse Treatment
Health insurance coverage is another major area of concern for young Americans today. Not every plan offers coverage for substance abuse treatment, and many plans only offer partial or minimal coverage. IOPs are generally more flexible with insurance than standard inpatient programs.
Some IOPs will also offer detox services to individuals at low risk of serious withdrawal symptoms. Other IOPs will refer prospective patients to detox facilities before admitting them into their program.
For example, IOP heroin treatment typically helps patients manage their cravings and develop coping strategies for living in sobriety. Heroin addiction often entails severe withdrawal symptoms, so an IOP may recommend that a prospective patient visit a reliable detox facility before being admitted into the IOP treatment program.
Specialized Treatment for Other Issues
Many people struggling with addiction also suffer from mental health issues, as well. These “dual diagnosis” cases require specialized treatment that addresses both issues at the same time.
In virtually every dual diagnosis case, substance abuse and mental health problems feed into one another, creating a powerful cycle of addiction. A dual diagnosis intensive outpatient program may involve standard IOP treatment services and referrals to mental health professionals.
Additionally, IOPs are fantastic as supplemental treatment and aftercare programs for “low-risk” patients, or patients who have already completed residential programs.
Why Choose the IOP at Maryland Recovery?
Maryland Recovery requires IOP applicants to complete a detox program before admission, and some applicants may need to complete a residential treatment program as well. There are many affordable alcohol rehab centers and other substance abuse treatment facilities in the area. We happen to work closely with a large network of professionals to refer patients to best possible care centers.
Once we determine an applicant has clinical preparation and feels internally motivated to complete our IOP program, we will develop a personalized treatment plan that offers a sense of normalcy and support in recovery.
Ultimately, IOP treatment aims to remove the shock of entering rehab and make the transition into recovery and sober living less jarring. Although IOPs are generally less restrictive than standard residential treatment programs, the standard of care remains constant. Patients can also expect the same quality of treatment as they would in typical inpatient programs.
Reach out to the Maryland Recovery team if you would like to learn more about our IOP treatment options.
Most people who suffer through traumatic events do not recognize the real effects that those experiences will have later in life. In many substance abuse cases, patients uncover those effects through counseling and begin to understand the role that their past trauma plays in their current situations.
Effective treatment for substance abuse often hinges on caregivers’ ability to address mental health issues and past trauma in order to open the door to a full, positive recovery.
How Trauma and Substance Abuse Interact
Many people who suffer traumatic experiences, especially very early in life, subconsciously suppress the memories of those events. Quashing a memory does not eliminate the effects a traumatic experience can have on the human psyche. The symptoms of the trauma will often show up in many different aspects of the individual’s life.
Past trauma can affect an individual in the following ways:
How he or she deals with stressful situations
Manic periods of depression or elation
Most often, people tend to deal with the feelings of past trauma by self-medicating with drugs and alcohol. Once trauma and drugs and alcohol become entwined, a trauma-informed approach to addiction treatment is needed.
Trauma and Alcohol Abuse
Trauma and alcoholism often go hand-in-hand, as trauma survivors will turn to this substance for relief. Alcoholism is one of the fastest-progressing forms of substance abuse that can quickly become life-threatening. Why are trauma and alcohol use so closely linked? Honestly, alcohol does numb the symptoms of trauma – for a short time.
Alcohol can help you to lower your defenses, make you feel a sense of euphoria and forget the trauma of your past. While you are drinking, you can almost feel what it is like to be free from the chains of past traumatic experiences. Alcohol might even feel like the cure to many of the problems you have in your daily life, so of course you would want to self-medicate with alcohol and continue to feel good, right?
Unfortunately, alcohol is not a miracle cure for the emotional distress you feel, and only masks your true feelings temporarily. Believing that alcohol is the best way to address these feelings of depression, shame and anger can start you on a dangerous path where you need alcohol to continue to put real problems to the side.
Alcohol abuse always leads to the same place: alcohol use disorder and physical dependence, which sooner or later stop numbing the true problems and leave you only with the same problems plus the very big problem of alcoholism.
Common Sources of Trauma
While some people can pinpoint their traumatic experiences, others may not realize the effects of past traumas or simply do not remember them. It is not necessary to remember a traumatic event in order to feel its effects later in life, however.
Trauma usually comes from one of three sources:
One-time events such as a natural disaster, suffering a violent assault, or a car accident.
Ongoing stress from sickness, persistent abuse of any kind, or living in a dangerous place.
Overlooked causes such as suppressed memories from early childhood, sudden loss of a loved one, or public humiliation.
It is important to remember that each individual is unique, and an event or issue can be non-traumatic to one person while being completely debilitating for another.
Even the individual suffering the trauma may be struggling to accept that the trauma had any effect on them whatsoever. This often leads to shame or resentment, which furthers the negative effect and worsens the problem.
Trauma-Informed Approach to Treatment
Treatment of substance abuse involving trauma requires several goals. First, a safe and compassionate environment must be established in order for the individual to be open to sharing the root causes of trauma with the counselor or therapist.
Therapy is a two-way street, and the individual must not only be willing to open up to let out the past experiences, but must be willing to allow help back in and be open to the treatment that will give resolution to the traumatic feelings and events.
The treatment must empower the individual, not alienate them or make them feel any sort of shame for their feelings. A trauma-informed approach to therapy should not only empower the person, but also should not label or pathologize them.
Labeling the person or generalizing their symptoms, needs or feelings can actually worsen the trauma. In turn, many of the therapies used in general addiction treatment may not help a individual suffering from trauma, and they could cause even more harm – and deepen substance abuse problems. Many relapse cases can be tied to this inadequate type of treatment for trauma.
Treatment for Trauma
Psychotherapy is the most effective treatment option for trauma survivors. Through counseling and therapy, trauma victims will learn to process their traumatic memories in healthy ways and develop new coping strategies. Effective trauma counseling also helps patients learn to identify their triggers or the external stimuli that can cause negative symptoms like anxiety, depression and the urge to self-medicate.
Most treatment plans for trauma-based dual diagnosis cases will involve a healthy mix of therapies and counseling structures. Some patients will benefit more from close one-on-one counseling while others thrive in group counseling environments (as long as the group therapies also utilize a trauma-specific approach).
Whatever form treatment takes, caregivers must be able to connect to each patient on an individual level. There is no one answer to trauma cases, and substance abuse professionals must be flexible and committed to each individual patient’s recovery process.
The Maryland Recovery Trauma IOP
The Maryland Recovery team understands the need for close individual counseling and a trauma-informed approach to substance abuse treatment. Many dual diagnosis patients do not receive effective substance abuse treatment and are more prone to relapsing than other rehab graduates. The risk of relapse is especially high for trauma survivors with substance abuse issues.
Our team takes a unique approach to outpatient treatment and offers flexible treatment schedules. Many people who have completed detox or even residential substance abuse programs find that our trauma intensive outpatient program (IOP) provides a more robust standard of care that few other facilities can provide.
Some of the therapies involved in our outpatient treatment program for trauma include:
Custom treatment plans for each patient
Group therapy options.
Dual diagnosis treatment for addressing co-occurring mental health disorders
Family-based counseling and education
Coping skills counseling and relapse prevention
Learning how to manage cravings and triggers
Holistic therapies including yoga, acupuncture, meditation and more
Several avenues for ongoing support in recovery
Overcoming trauma and substance abuse is possible with the right treatment plan. At Maryland Recovery, we know there is no one answer to dual diagnosis cases involving trauma, which is why we develop robust, individualized treatment plans for each and every patient.
Instead of risking rehab with an ineffective or incomplete treatment plan, come to Maryland Recovery for the individualized care you need to recover properly.
Substance abuse is a widespread issue affecting all demographics in the United States, and some of the most serious cases aren’t receiving appropriate treatment. “Dual diagnosis” refers to a substance abuse problem existing in tandem with a mental health disorder. More than half of all substance abuse cases are dual diagnosis cases. Effective dual diagnosis treatment programs are unfortunately inaccessible for many people struggling with addiction.
There are many factors influencing the ongoing opioid crisis in the United States, and a lack of effective dual diagnosis care is a major one. Many people in the U.S. do not have ready access to general addiction treatment services, let alone treatment options that address the underlying mental health issues contributing to substance abuse. Dual diagnosis addiction treatment is more extensive and complex than standard addiction treatment, and address the mental health disorders that can reach extremes when substance abuse develops alongside them. Many people across the U.S. now understand the severity of the opioid crisis in the country, and recognize the need for addiction treatment. However, the opioid crisis remains a major issue despite increased awareness, and won’t slow down until mental health treatment and dual diagnoses cases receive the appropriate attention.
Dual Diagnosis Addiction Treatment
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) reports that nearly 60 percent of dual diagnosis cases do not receive effective treatment. Only about 8 percent of dual diagnosis patients receive treatment for both their mental health issues and substance abuse. This lack of effective treatment options means many people will either continue down destructive paths of addiction, or quickly relapse into substance abuse after receiving inadequate treatment. It’s incredibly difficult for a dual diagnosis case to progress toward complete recovery without mental health treatment. The opioid crisis in America will continue until more people recognize the need for effective dual diagnosis treatment programs.
A Cycle Of Addiction
Dual diagnosis is particularly dangerous because a patient’s mental health issues and substance abuse feed one another. A person with a dual diagnosis will self-medicate to alleviate the symptoms of the mental health disorder. Over time, the person will only feel relief by using his or her drugs of choice, and the drug abuse, in turn, exacerbates the mental health problem.
How Do You Treat Dual Diagnosis Cases?
The only way to effectively treat a dual diagnosis case is by addressing the mental health problem and the substance abuse simultaneously. A person suffering from dual diagnosis needs to recognize how each issue feeds into the other so they can learn to break their cycle of addiction. Substance abuse treatment can help these individuals learn new coping strategies for handling cravings.
Problems With Dual Diagnosis Treatment
Researchers at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center and the University of Michigan report that individuals who suffer from mental health disorders, like depression and anxiety, tend to consume a disproportionate amount of prescription painkillers. Essentially, the people facing the highest risk of developing substance abuse are consuming more addictive substances than those without mental health issues. This only further affirms the need to treat both mental health and substance abuse issues together.
Not all rehabilitation centers offer comprehensive dual diagnosis treatment. Many substance abuse clinics are perfectly capable of providing robust substance abuse treatment options, but few are properly equipped to handle more complex dual diagnosis cases. It is essential for dual diagnosis patients to find a substance abuse recovery program and facility that focuses on both sides to the addiction, otherwise they will never achieve 100% recovery.
Dual Diagnosis Care At Maryland Recovery
At Maryland Recovery, our team understands the importance of treating dual diagnosis cases, and we provide comprehensive treatment programs that address all needs of patients with co-occurring disorders.
Studies show that about 30 percent of people struggling with a mental health problem also have substance abuse problems, and we want to provide thorough treatment for patients suffering from both issues. Dual diagnosis cases may be fueling the ongoing opioid crisis, but driving more awareness over the issue and increasing the accessibility of dual diagnosis treatment is a step in the right direction.
Many families in Massachusetts have felt the disastrous effects of the ongoing opioid crisis facing the nation. While every state has unique drug abuse issues, the problems facing Massachusetts seem to be getting worse, not better.
Widespread drug dealing, easy access to heroin and a rash of fentanyl-laced heroin seizures have perpetuated the drug overdose problem in the state, leaving lawmakers struggling to find solutions.
Massive Drug-Dealing Problem in Massachusetts
The drug problem in Massachusetts is multifaceted. The demand for opioids and heroin is extremely high across the state, so much so that drug dealers have extensive networks that funnel drugs into the state from neighboring states and other countries.
Recently, a 10-month-long police effort led to the arrests of 30 individuals participating in an extensive heroin trafficking operation based in nearby Providence, Rhode Island, which affected Massachusetts. This bust is indicative of widespread drug trafficking across the country.
The demand for heroin and fentanyl is so high that some drug dealers are going so far as trying and produce fentanyl themselves.
Increasing Demand for Heroin
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is up to 100 times more potent than heroin. A fatal dose of fentanyl is only a small fraction of the size of a fatal dose of heroin.
Drug dealers have started using fentanyl as an additive in their heroin because a small amount dramatically increases the potency.
On May 25, 2017, federal agents seized more than 50 kilograms of a compound known as NPP, which is used to synthesize fentanyl, from a Northborough storage facility. The amount seized would have been enough to produce $570 million worth of fentanyl based on current street value.
Most fentanyl seized in the U.S. can be traced back to other countries, particularly China, but law enforcement officials say that the appearance of stateside fentanyl production operations is both disturbing and a sign of an extremely high demand.
Drug dealers, seeing the potential for even higher-than-usual profits, appear to be willing to risk production on their own to effectively cut out the middleman and cash in on Massachusetts’ opioid dependency.
Unconventional Efforts to Stop Fentanyl Deaths
The threat fentanyl poses to Massachusetts communities has grown to such proportions that state drug abuse advocates have developed a simple testing system that has proven relatively effective in preventing fentanyl-related overdose deaths:
Using simple testing strips, drug users can test a dose before consuming it to ensure it does not contain fentanyl.
If the dose test positive for fentanyl, the user will know to take a much smaller dose and to avoid taking it alone.
A group of former and current drug users formed an organization called the New England Drug Users Union to encourage those struggling with substance abuse to form better habits and use their drugs of choice safely.
While these test strips do little to stop new addiction cases, they have prevented several deaths in Massachusetts. Advocates including the New England Drug Users Union understand how severe opioid addiction is for those who struggle with it, and rather than further stigmatize these individuals, they want to encourage safety and responsibility.
Unfortunately, this measure is not going to do much to curb the growing number of addiction cases in Massachusetts.
Examining Overdose Deaths in Massachusetts
The drug business in Massachusetts may be extremely lucrative for illegal drug dealers, but the rest of the state is suffering tremendously from this crisis. Between 2000 and 2016, nearly 14,000 people died from opioid-related overdoses.
Although this problem affects the entirety of Massachusetts, several counties have seen far more deaths than others. During the aforementioned time period, more than 2,500 of the deaths reported took place in Middlesex County.
Other Massachusetts counties that reported more than 1,500 opioid-related deaths from 2000 to 2016 are:
‘Raining Needles’ in Massachusetts and New England
One of the most salient effects of the opioid crisis in Massachusetts is the growing number of used needles appearing in parks, rivers, beaches and streets. Heroin addicts tend to congregate with each other to take their doses, usually because they must pool their money to secure their drugs, and it’s well-known that dosing alone is dangerous. Experiencing an overdose with no one around to offer aid is a common cause of opioid-related deaths.
Discarded syringes pose public health issues. Sharing needles is one of the most common vectors for disease transmission, and many opioid addicts contract infectious diseases, including hepatitis and HIV.
Syringes left in parks and other public areas are especially dangerous for children who may happen upon them and not only injure themselves, but contract these dangerous diseases as well.
Where Does Massachusetts Go from Here?
The outlook for the drug epidemic in Massachusetts and throughout New England appears bleak. State lawmakers are struggling to keep pace with the growing number of drug-related crimes, new addiction cases and strained substance abuse treatment programs. Finding effective substance abuse treatment is difficult for Massachusetts citizens struggling with drug addiction.
Seeking Treatment Is the Top Solution
Anyone in Massachusetts who is struggling with opioid addiction needs to recognize the widespread opioid problem in the area and the low availability of acceptable treatment programs nearby. The only real answer to addiction is seeking treatment as soon as possible.
Furthermore, seeking treatment out of state will help many addicted individuals break free of the dangerous influences back home.
At Maryland Recovery, we understand the difficulties facing Massachusetts citizens who are in the grips of the opioid crisis. Consider your options for treatment and realize that being open to the idea of moving out of state for your recovery may be your best chance at overcoming addiction. Contact us today to see how we can craft a customized path to recovery for you or a loved one.
Over the last two decades, the United States has experienced a widespread drug epidemic spanning all regions and all walks of life. Every state has unique considerations when it comes to drug abuse, and Pennsylvania displays several worrisome trends.
Maryland Recovery provides substance abuse recovery services and counseling to patients from all over the United States, and we believe it’s important for Pennsylvania residents to understand the substance abuse issues facing their state.
Pennsylvania Drug Abuse Trends
Between 1990 and 2015, deaths from drug overdoses have increased threefold across the country on average. In 2015 alone, there were 16.3 deaths per 100,000 residents due to drug overdoses.
That same year, Pennsylvania reported more than 3,500 deaths, for a rate of 26.3 overdose deaths per 100,000 residents, which was sixth-highest in the nation. Pennsylvania’s drug overdose death rate jumped 30 percent in just one year.
One of the most troublesome aspects of the drug problem that it affects all age groups and demographics. Although many people hold misconceptions about the areas in which one is most likely to find drug abuse problems, some of the most severe issues in the state have arisen in seemingly unlikely places:
Rural Pennsylvanians have witnessed widespread addiction and drug crime.
Drugs find their way to rural areas from the nearby metropolitan areas of Philadelphia, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Reading.
Opioid and Heroin Use Becoming More Common
Local emergency responders have relied heavily on the anti-overdose drug naloxone. Naloxone can reverse the effects of opioid overdose by attaching to the victim’s opioid receptors in the brain and flushing away the opioids. Some paramedics have reported using naloxone to revive an unresponsive overdose victim more than 10 times in just the past year.
Part of the reason the opioid crisis has reached such critical proportions is the fact that so many Americans rely on prescription painkillers, namely opioids. Opioids are very effective painkillers, but also extremely addictive. Many patients begin their substance abuse with normal use of prescribed painkillers, but they quickly develop dependencies.
Heroin is a fraction of the price of illegal opioid pills on the street, and once addiction has set in, heroin appears as an attractive option to maintaining an addiction. As heroin floods rural Pennsylvania from the larger cities, people at high risk of developing addictions have easy access to this powerful drug.
How the State Is Addressing the Issue
Pennsylvania lawmakers have committed several resources and started many initiatives to help curb the high overdose death rate in the state.
With a rate soon eclipsing 10 deaths per day from drug overdoses, Pennsylvania lawmakers recently unveiled a plan to establish 45 “Centers of Excellence” in the state. The substance abuse treatment centers will be coordinating recovery services within existing medical communities such as hospitals, behavioral health offices and addiction clinics.
Instead of relying on traditional methods that have so far proven ineffective against the growing number of overdose deaths, these Pennsylvania Centers of Excellence will help drug users on an individual level. Each addiction case requires individualized attention, as no two substance abuse cases are alike.
Providing effective treatment that leads a patient to lasting sobriety requires knowing the person on a personal level, what his or her triggers are, and the role his or her mental health plays in the cycle of addiction.
Pennsylvania’s Trouble with Other Drugs
Although the opioid crisis continues to be the most pressing substance abuse issue in Pennsylvania, law enforcement and state policymakers have also witnessed a sharp increase in the use of other drugs.
Although prescription opioid painkillers continue to be the most statistically dangerous drugs, alcohol use among teens, higher rates of marijuana use, and drug-related crime are on the rise in PA.
Marijuana Use Up Among Most Age Groups
Statistics from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health show that between 2010 and 2015, marijuana use within the year prior to taking the survey increased from 10 percent to 12.4 percent among all respondents.
However, teen marijuana use slightly dropped during that time frame. Teens also reported a lower rate of marijuana use within the past month of taking the survey than other age groups did. While marijuana use is relatively safer than other, more harmful drugs, marijuana-related crime is still a major issue in Pennsylvania.
Alcoholism Still Prevalent in PA
Alcohol abuse continues to plague Pennsylvania, with alcohol use and alcoholism rates placing among the highest in the nation. Northeastern Pennsylvania reports some of the highest rates of alcohol abuse and alcohol-related crime in the state.
Since it is legal for adults older than 21 to purchase and consume alcohol, it appears that too few people respect the addictive and destructive potential of the substance. Many addiction treatment experts consider alcohol the most dangerous substance, and trends in Pennsylvania seem to support this claim: Underage drinking continues to be a problem, and a recent bust in York, PA led to underage drinking citations for 218 partygoers.
Seek Treatment Before It’s Too Late
The country is clearly dealing with an opioid epidemic, and while these statistics are important and show the widespread effects of substance abuse, they do not shed light on the individual struggles thousands of people are facing. Prevention and awareness are two of the most important weapons in the fight against growing substance abuse.
Maryland Recovery wants to remind our neighbors in Pennsylvania to seek counseling and treatment for substance abuse before it’s too late. Legal prescriptions and typical experimentation can have disastrous consequences, so reaching out for help sooner rather than later can save lives.
Learn How Holistic Treatment Can Be Part of the Solution to Drug Addiction
Natural methods for escaping drug addiction exist, and essentially act as an alternative to traditional rehabilitation. For those with an ample desire to beat addiction and the right tools, self-guided recovery is possible. However, attempting to stop using drugs without any form of professional help can be extremely difficult.
Do not attempt addiction recovery on your own without ample research. It is not impossible, but it is more difficult than enrolling in a rehab program. Here are some tips for anyone considering taking their rehabilitation into their own hands.
Recognize the Dangers of Self-Guided Drug and Alcohol Detox
Before you can embark on the road to recovery, you first overcome the roadblock that is drug detoxification. A cold turkey detox is not recommended, as this approach can be deadly. Even if your ultimate goal is to recover on your own, there’s nothing to gain from putting your health at serious risk.
Undergo the detox portion of your recovery in a medical setting, with support from trained professionals. This precaution will ensure that your withdrawal is not deadly and allow you to begin a natural rehabilitation process.
The first 48 hours to seven days after quitting drugs will be the hardest. Withdrawal side effects can be bothersome, painful and dangerous to your health. During this time, attempting self-guided recovery is ill-advised.
In a hospital setting, doctors can identify stages of withdrawal and administer medication accordingly. This approach will protect you from the painful and discouraging symptoms of withdrawal.
Begin Your Rehabilitation Journey
Once you’ve conquered the dangers of drug withdrawal, you’re ready to begin the rehabilitation process. Understand that although you don’t necessarily have to enroll in a program, you must still do all of the work that you would have done had you undergone treatment.
It is critical that you begin by identifying the root cause of your addiction. You may be using substances to escape reality, get away from depression or anxiety, or to cope with something in your past.
It will be very difficult to stop using if you don’t understand why you started in the first place.
If you believe the problem is related so a separate, underlying mental health issue, then it is imperative that you seek out professional help to guide you through rehab. Co-occurring disorders are extremely difficult for fully trained professionals to treat, let alone an individual performing self-guided rehab at home.
Addressing your mental health via therapy or the right prescription medication, however, may enable you to eventually tackle the rehabilitation process on your own.
Keep Your Rehabilitation on Track
It is incredibly important to keep up your daily disciplines during self-guided rehabilitation, as you will have to act as your own addiction counselor. It will be up to you to set a schedule, keep your rehabilitation on track, mark your milestones and maintain sobriety.
This is another instance where the choice to do recovery at home makes the process considerably more difficult. Your success hinges solely on your own willpower.
Make a Significant Lifestyle Change
You will need to get proper exercise and nutrition during natural rehabilitation. Taking care of your body will help your body heal from the effects of your addiction, as well as your mind and spirit. For example, yoga, Reiki, meditation and similar activities can offer inner calm to practitioners.
Likewise, keeping your mind occupied via group activities like a book group is a smart strategy for managing your sobriety. The more you break away from old, drug-oriented activities and people, the more likely that you will be successful in your self-guided rehabilitation.
Unfortunately, upending your entire lifestyle can be difficult. The task of shutting out long-time friends and avoiding areas known for drug use can be extremely difficult during the early days of sobriety. Taking these steps is critical to successful recovery of any kind.
Don’t overlook the advantages of participating in professionally guided treatment. The process of creating distance from unhealthy lifestyle habits and developing new responses to drug cravings is far easier to manage when done with the help of addiction recovery professionals.
Focus on Your Sobriety
The ability to quit drugs naturally and experience long-term recovery depends entirely on your own personal willpower and dedication to getting sober.
If you have any doubts about your willpower or ability to stop using on your own, don’t take the risk. Ask for help from family and close friends to keep you honest.
Living with someone you trust, preferably a sober individual, can go a long way toward helping you if you do not think you can live alone during this time.
If you do not have a support system available to guide you through every step of the recovery process, you may be better off fighting your addiction in a traditional rehab setting. After all, you will not be able to rely on friends and family in the same way you can rely on doctors and nurse practitioners working at a treatment facility.
Don’t Forget that Help Is Available
Quitting drugs and alcohol outside of rehab is possible, but there it is little to suggest that those who attempt self-guided recovery are actually improving their chances. Why go it alone when you can enlist the support of experienced and empathetic recovery professionals?
Don’t feel like you need to figure out all the answers on your own. At Maryland Recovery Center, our first priority is helping those struggling with addiction to get on the road to sobriety. We encourage those battling substance abuse problems to reach out to us to learn how we help those in need of professional treatment and care.
As the friend or family member of a person struggling with addiction, you are constantly put in tough positions. You want to see your loved one get help, but it’s easy to hesitate or put off the process of entering rehabilitation.
Unfortunately, the risk of committing drug crimes is a constant threat when someone is battling a chemical dependency. The longer treatment is delayed, the more likely it is that legal issues will arise.
Addiction and Crime
One of the most significant risks of drug and alcohol use is the connection between drug use and criminal activity. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, about 80 percent of offenses leading to jail time involve drugs and alcohol in some way. Another 60 percent of incarcerated individuals tested positive for illegal drugs at the time of their arrest.
The most common drug-related offenses include:
Property Crimes, such as Trespassing
Driving While Intoxicated
Violence in College
Drug addiction can often lead to financial ruin. A person with an addiction might resort to crimes such as robbery or mugging to get the funds for their next fix. If you or a loved one is convicted for committing a drug-related crime, the process of getting into recovery will be much more difficult.
Consequences of Drug-Related Criminal Activity
The relationship between drug addiction and criminal activity is complex. Many people with addictions to illegal drugs only commit drug-related crimes, suggesting that their criminal activity is directly related to the drug problem. However, at more advanced levels of drug abuse, some substances appear to amplify the user’s tendencies toward illegal activity.
Overall, there appear to be three main reasons most drug abusers commit crimes:
The Effects of the Drug: In some cases, the psychological effects of a drug can influence the user to commit a crime. One example of this phenomenon is murder cases involving persons high on bath salts. In these types of cases, it’s safe to assume that the individual likely would not have committed the crime were it not for their drug addiction.
The Need to Purchase More Drugs: Many drug-related crimes stem from the need to fuel the drug habit after financial ruin. Theft and prostitution are common crimes related to chronic drug use.
Drug-Related Activities: Many arrests result from the use, possession or distribution of the drugs. Individuals are at much higher risk of incarceration when their crimes are related to the manufacture, trafficking and sale of drugs.
Drug-related crimes can lead to life-changing repercussions. You or a loved one could face court hearings, probation periods and possible jail time for drug-related criminal charges. Unfortunately, many state penitentiaries and prisons lack the resources needed properly care for those struggling with addiction.
You or your loved one may never feel like today is the right day to quit. But you also know that the sooner a person starts treatment, the less likely they will run into trouble with the law.
Choose Rehab Sooner Rather than Later
You do not want your loved one to go through withdrawal in jail. Avoiding this scenario must be a top priority for your family. Since 2015, several Americans have died from opioid withdrawal symptoms while in jail.
One poignant case is that of 18-year-old Victoria Herr. She passed away in a Pennsylvania jail after incarceration for drug charges.
According to reports, the jail denied Victoria medical care for heroin withdrawal. She collapsed, stopped breathing and lost brain function four days after her arrest.
Victoria’s case is just one example of what can happen to someone struggling with addiction when their legal issues catch up with them. It can be easy to think that jail time might be good for your loved one. You expect the experience to inspire your loved one and get them to seek help.
The reality is, however, that people still die from withdrawal while serving time for minor crimes.
Don’t let your loved one suffer the same fate. It is much easier to go through rehab and enjoy long-term recovery without legal interference and a criminal record. Now is the time to push for treatment, not later.
Act Before It’s Too Late
Once your loved one is placed into the legal system, he or she will have far less control over the quality of treatment delivered. The court may require enrollment in a subpar state program or mandate a treatment schedule that fails to address the individual’s unique needs.
Not all treatment centers are equal. The wrong type of treatment can hurt, not help, your loved one.
The answer to the looming threat of drug crimes is simple. Act now to get your loved one into a dependable rehabilitation and treatment center. Maryland Recovery Center is a renowned treatment center near Baltimore that is highly equipped to handle the unique needs of each patient we see.
Our mission is to help your loved one before legal consequences make matters worse. It may never seem like “the right time” for someone to enter rehab, but in reality, there is no time like the present. Learn about our programs to get one step closer to helping your friend or family member find the care they desperately need.