If you have found your way to our site you’re looking for help. You’re worried about someone you know (or maybe even yourself.) Here at the River Source, we know the struggles addiction bring, not just to the addict but to those around them. We have been working for years to help treat those in need, through a philosophy of holistic healing. But before we can get there, the first, most critical step is the recognition of the problem. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol dependency, look for these signs of alcoholism to identify the problem.
Signs of Alcoholism
Unable to control consumption
Binge-drinking is a huge contributor to alcoholism and developing alcoholism in people. If you find that anytime you go out with a plan to drink one or two glasses of wine and son you’re hitting your fifth or sixth and ordering another bottle, you may have a problem. If you consistently drink more than your peers or the people you are going out with, you likely suffer from a problem controlling your alcohol consumption.
Spending significant amount of money on alcohol
Drinking out can always be expensive, but if your budget sees the amount you are spending each month going up and up, there’s something wrong. It could also mean…
Prioritizing drinking over other responsibilities
All of our lives are full of responsibilities of varying importance. Work, school, family, bills. The list is endless. What should never be a priority over anything else is drinking. If you find that yourself or your loved one is putting getting drunk ahead of paying for their bills, seeing their family, going to work, well that is a sure sign that they are having problems with alcohol abuse.
Craving alcohol, thinking about the next drink
Alcoholism is craving whenever you aren’t drinking, planning and thinking when that drink will come, what it will be etc. That drive treats alcohol in the same way we treat our other real needs. Food, shelter, warmth. Those are necessaries of survival and alcoholism highjacks our brains to treat alcohol as a need. That consuming desire for more alcohol is a sure sign of alcoholism.
Needing alcohol to treat an upset stomach or stop tremors
While thinking and planning about the next drink is a mental rewiring of the brain by alcoholism, needing a drink to fight ill feelings or tremors is a physical sign of addiction. This is a very real, physical symptom of alcoholism. Your body is addicted to the alcohol.
Attempting to stop drinking with relapsing, multiple times
Recognizing that there may be a problem and attempting to curb it only to fall back into the habit of drinking is one of the clearest signs of alcoholism there is. An inability to curb substance use and abuse is a clear indicator of addiction.
There are physical symptoms and signs of alcoholism as well as mentioned. Blackouts, sweating, dizziness, cravings, shakes, nausea or vomiting and others. Behavior changes, blurred vision, weakness. The list goes on.
All of these signs are a part of one single encompassing fact: an inability to control their relationship with alcohol. It can manifest in myriad different ways, but if there is anything in your or your loved one’s life that points to them having troubles with controlling their drinking, it is worth it to open up a frank discussion. What’s going on? How are they feeling? Why are they drinking so much? Identify the problems, study them. And seek help!
Fortunately, the damage caused by alcohol abuse can, in part, be reverted – but only if it is caught and treated early enough. Later stages of alcohol abuse can irreparably damage the body, mind, and spirit. Be honest, be caring, and with help, be better.
If you or someone you love needs help, contact us and/or fill out an admissions application and our team here at The River Source will be in touch. You don’t have to suffer, you can heal, you can get better.
There is a strong link between post-traumatic stress disorder and addiction. Roughly 50-66 percent of individuals who suffer from PTSD also battle with substance abuse. The relationship is complex and has to do with high levels of stress. People who are experiencing stressful memories due to an accident, crime or loss of a loved one may try to cope with the pain by using drugs and alcohol.
To prevent PTSD and substance abuse, otherwise known as a dual diagnosis, it’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of PTSD. This way, you can get yourself or a loved one the help that is needed before the problem spirals out of control.
Flashbacks. People with PTSD generally have flashbacks to the traumatic event. These memories can be so vivid, the person will feel they are living through them again. Flashbacks are often triggered by a certain person, object, event or place, but they can come at any time.
Avoidance. To prevent flashbacks, people with PTSD will often avoid the places, events, and people that remind them of what happened. It can take time for individuals to revisit places, but progress should be made. It’s a concern when a person refuses to go to a certain place or a see a certain individual.
Numbness. It’s common for people with PTSD to show numbness and apathy to their surroundings. This usually happens because the traumatic event took a piece away from them and they no longer find life as rewarding as it once was.
Guilt. Guilt can occur for any number of reasons. The person may feel guilty that they survived when someone else did not. Or they may feel responsible for the experience. If a person continues to harbor guilt, PTSD may be to blame.
Uncontrolled thoughts. PTSD can cause uncontrollable thoughts to sneak into the mind. They may be suicidal or homicidal thoughts that cannot be explained. People are sometimes embarrassed to have these thoughts, but they are generally the brain’s way of coping with the trauma.
Substance abuse. Self-medication is not uncommon in individuals with PTSD. To escape the negative feelings they are experiencing, they self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. Unfortunately, it’s a downward spiral, as the effects of illicit substances can lead to numbness and suicidal thoughts.
Selective amnesia. Some people remember the details of the trauma so well while others do not. Pushing certain details away is called selective amnesia, and it is not a healthy coping mechanism. Eventually, the details will try to force themselves back, bringing on a world of pain.
Isolation. It’s hard to have an active social life when you’re dealing with flashbacks, anxiety and other negative emotions. As a result, people with PTSD tend to pull themselves away from others. Being alone is not the answer as it can lead to darker thoughts over time.
If you are concerned about PTSD in yourself or someone you care about, do not delay in getting help. You can call 911, head to the nearest emergency room or call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. For information about treating PTSD and substance abuse, call The River Source. We are here for you!
Some individuals are at a higher risk for substance abuse than others. This risk may be based on a combination of factors such as past trauma, personality traits, family history of addiction and psychological makeup. Co-occurring disorders also put people at a greater risk of developing substance abuse.
High-risk individuals have to work harder to prevent addiction, and there are ways to do this. Below we explore some of the best addiction prevention strategies to follow. These strategies are helpful for higher risk individuals but apply to everyone.
Address Past Trauma
Having dealt with past hurts and trauma affects your mental health. It can lead to post-traumatic stress disorder, depression and anxiety. As a result, people are more likely to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. Pushing away pain is never the answer. Some of the best ways to deal with past hurt is to attend support groups, read self-help books and see a therapist.
Working with a therapist in individual therapy helps in many ways such as addressing negative self-talk and working through negative behavior traits like impulsivity and poor self-control. Usually, therapy begins with exploration where you look deeper into the issues that are bothering you. Over multiple sessions, you should gain a deeper understanding of yourself and the changes you wish to make.
Build a Strong Support Network
Choose your friends wisely. If you hang around with people who use drugs and alcohol, you’ll be more likely to use them, too. Spending time with sober friends is important, but also look for individuals who are happy and upbeat. If you hang around with people who are angry or resentful, they may turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to escape.
Learn about the Consequences
Experimenting with drugs and alcohol is most common in the teenage years when the consequences for doing so aren’t as strong. But, if you are at risk for addiction, the problem can linger well into your adult years. This means that you could lose your job, your home, your family and your health. To avoid a long, painful life of consequences, stay educated on addiction and the true risks of the disease.
Develop Strong Bonds
Get active in your community or find an activity that you love. It can be a church, a non-profit organization, a volunteer opportunity or any other related activity. The purpose is to fill your time with meaningful, constructive activities and develop bonds with others in the community. This protects you from developing a substance abuse problem.
Being at risk for addiction is not the same as being an addict. There are many ways to protect yourself, and it all starts by recognizing your vulnerabilities. Following the steps above will help you form a safe, supportive lifestyle that leaves no room for drugs or alcohol.
The first step in pursuing sobriety is to go through the detox process. Because this is the beginning of a complex process, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions that can scare people away.
The River Source is here to provide you with relevant, accurate information about medical detox and what to expect. While withdrawal is not the most pleasant experience, advancements in medication and alternative therapies help patients to be more comfortable. By continuing treatment with counseling and aftercare, you can meet your long-term recovery goals.
Below we share three common medical detox myths and their truths.
Myth #1. Medical detox is a long and lengthy process that takes time away from your normal life.
Believe it or not, detox is the shortest part of the recovery process. It typically lasts less than seven days depending on the type of drug you are addicted to, how severe the addiction is and the presence of co-occurring disorders.
You can receive detox in an inpatient treatment center and immediately continue with counseling, or you can receive it in an outpatient setting. If you choose the latter, you’ll still have access to friends, family, and your job. That said, outpatient detox is not for everyone. Some addicts require 24-hour monitoring and zero distractions.
Myth #2. It’s better to detox in the comfort and privacy of your home.
DIY detox is not something we condone. It’s dangerous and can result in drug interactions, debilitating withdrawal symptoms or death. Though it sounds easier to detox on your own, DIY methods are not the answer. A professional detox program offers critical medical monitoring and access to pharmaceuticals and counseling.
Myth #3. After detox, you must have the willpower to stay clean and sober.
Drug addiction is a chronic, relapsing disease that cannot be treated with willpower. Years ago, it was believed that removing drugs and alcohol from the body was enough to treat addiction. Today, we know that addiction is a brain disease and not a lack of power.
We also know that the recovery process is long and complex. After detox, you’ll need a recovery plan that includes counseling, support, and medication to control cravings. It’s best to get this treatment directly after detox so that you do not relapse and have to endure another detox program.
The River Source offers comprehensive treatment that includes medical detox, counseling and continuing care. To learn more about our services and our approach to treating chemical addictions, call us today. We are here to help.
Once you admit that you have a problem with drugs or alcohol, the next step is to seek treatment from a licensed addiction treatment center. Some people think that there is some benefit in waiting, but this is not true. Waiting to get help gives you more time to use drugs and alcohol and puts your health at risk. This is why when interventions are staged, the family is encouraged to have a treatment facility picked out for immediate rehabilitation.
It’s normal to have reservations about going to rehab, but it’s the best chance you have at fighting the addiction and reclaiming your life. Here are five great reasons to seek drug and alcohol treatment.
Discover the “Why”
Do you ever wonder why it was YOU that became addicted? You’ve probably seen other people drink or use drugs on occasion, but they didn’t get hooked. Why did you? During individual counseling, you can discover the answer to this question. It might not be black and white, but you can gain insight and address issues that may be going on.
Addiction affects those around you. It’s an isolating disease, so your mind might be tricking you into thinking that you are happiest alone. The truth is, we are social creatures and benefit from personal interaction. Going to rehab allows you to practice social skills like honesty, forgiveness, listening and trust. Choose a rehab center that offers family and group counseling services.
Become Financially Stable
Some addicts worry about the cost of treatment, but continuing to use drugs and alcohol ends up costing more. A lot more. You’re spending money on these substances plus putting your job at risk. If you end up losing your job, you could end up on the streets. And, if you get caught using drugs, you’ll end up with hefty fines, lawyer fees and possibly jail time.
Create Distance from Your Situation
Chances are, your friends are a lot like you and use drugs and alcohol to have fun, cope with problems and more. If you don’t break away from these friends, it’s almost impossible to stop using yourself. Seeking out-of-state treatment removes you from toxic situations. You can distance yourself, achieve sobriety and stop the cycle. When you return home, you must be diligent about staying away and making new friends.
Get a Fresh Start
Drugs and alcohol do not have to consume your life any longer. By getting clean and sober, you save your life and give yourself a brand new start. Many recovering addicts who have gone through the 12 steps find themselves living happier, healthier lives than before their addictions. In other words, you won’t just be living. You will be flourishing.
Are you ready to start your journey to sobriety? Call The River Source to learn more about our integrative treatment programs that address drug and alcohol addictions.
Colorado and Washington were the first states to legalize marijuana. Even though it wasn’t that long ago, a lot has changed since then. More than two dozen states have followed suit, legalizing marijuana for medical purposes and/or recreational purposes.
If you live in an area where marijuana is not legal, the leniency from other states still has an impact. Social acceptance for the drug has increased, and in some cases, has turned positive. Some even claim that marijuana can help with chronic and acute health problems such as pain, headaches and nausea. But is marijuana really as harmless as some people think?
Regular Marijuana Use Can Lead to Painful Bouts of Vomiting
A recent study tells us that marijuana isn’t so safe after all. It can lead to a rare but debilitating condition called Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome (CHS). CHS is painful and results in stomach cramps, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. Over time, these symptoms can lead to kidney problems. The severity of symptoms vary among individuals.
CHS may be rare, but it is debilitating. It often results in multiple trips to the emergency room, missed work and a decreased quality of life. Because CHS mimics other conditions (i.e., gallbladder disease, anxiety disorders), it’s easy to misdiagnose, further exacerbating the pain. The good news is that CHS is curable. Quitting marijuana eliminates the symptoms.
What Causes Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome?
Researchers are still trying to figure out why CHS occurs in some people and not others. Here is the theory.
In the brain, marijuana helps prevent nausea and vomiting, which is why it’s sometimes used for cancer patients. In the digestive tract, marijuana has the opposite effect. It makes the body more likely to feel nauseated. Fortunately, the brain signals are more profound early on and decrease nausea symptoms. However, with repeated use of marijuana, the brain receptors may stop responding and cause the symptoms of CHS.
There are three stages to CHS: the prodromal phase, the hyperemetic phase and the recovery phase. Symptoms start with nausea and stomach pain that can linger for months or years. During the hyperemetic phase, symptoms worsen and include ongoing nausea, abdominal pain, repeated episodes of vomiting, weight loss and dehydration. Recovery cannot begin until marijuana use is stopped. Recovery can last for days or months.
Though CHS is rare, it can take years to diagnose and rob you of your quality of life in the meantime. If you are ready to take control of your life and start your journey to sobriety, call The River Source today. ]]>
Mental health is something everyone should care about. Mental health problems are very common in the United States. One in five adults has experienced a mental health issue, and one in 10 has suffered a period of major depression. Suicide continues to be a leading cause of death in American adults, with over 40,000 people claiming their lives each year.
Since 1949, Mental Health America has observed the month of May as Mental Health Month. The goal of this month is to raise awareness of mental health problems and why everyone should care about them. Through education and awareness, Mental Health America and its affiliates hope to reduce the stigma of mental illness.
Link Between Addiction and Mental Health
Mental illness is strongly linked to other health problems such as substance abuse. Compared to the general population, people addicted to drugs and alcohol are roughly twice as likely to suffer from mood or anxiety conditions. Addiction also causes short- and long-term changes to the brain that can lead to paranoia, depression and anxiety.
In order to recover from a drug addiction, the mental disorder must be treated. This is why treatment centers like The River Source are familiar with dual diagnosis (when a person is living with a substance abuse disorder and a mental disorder). We see the whole person and offer a variety of tools, therapies and resources to help them recover.
What Does Mental Illness Feel Like?
The repeated use of drugs and alcohol can change the structure of the brain, leading to paranoia, anxiety and depression. However, this does not mean that addiction causes mental illness. Many people who suffer from mental illness use drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism. That said, it’s important to recognize the signs of a mental health condition as soon as possible. Intervening with the proper medications and alternative therapies can prevent future drug and alcohol abuse.
Mental illness should never be kept to yourself. Here are some warning signs to pay attention to.
Withdrawal in social activities; isolation from others
An unusual drop in functioning at work, school or social activities
Problems with thinking, concentration or memory
Increased sensitivity to sounds, smells or touch
Loss of desire to participate in activities
Feeling disconnected from within
Illogical thinking; unusual behavior
Sleep or appetite changes; mood changes
If you are concerned about yourself or a loved one, find help immediately. Mental illness can exacerbate many other conditions, including substance abuse. ]]>
For some recovering addicts, a sense of purpose can seem out of reach. This usually happens because addicts are isolated from other people. They cannot imagine themselves helping others or making a difference in the world because drugs or alcohol consume them. Even something simple like arriving to a family event on time can be a challenge.
When you begin treatment, one of the things you will cover is your purpose in life. What special gifts or talents do you have? What types of goals do you want to accomplish?
One of the best ways to find what motivates you is by following your hobbies. What types of activities do you enjoy? Some people love to be outdoors – hiking, biking or walking through the trails. Others prefer indoor activities that use the mind and hands such as knitting or painting. Your hobbies tell a lot about who you are as a person and where you find meaning in life.
2. Ask others about your special qualities.
Another way to find your passions is to ask those closest to you what they appreciate most. Are you honest and truthful? Do you have a “way” with children or animals? Is your spirit comforting and genuine? The same “you” is still in there, so find out what loved ones value most about you. These reminders help you reconnect with your true self and find happiness.
3. Read nonfiction books and write narratives.
Reading and writing encourage you to think differently about yourself. Dig into books and put yourself in the shoes of the main characters. As you see meaning in their lives, you may be able to see it in your own. Or, try writing a narrative about your life. What types of things have you done that have helped others? What strengths do you have? How can you apply these strengths to the real world?
4. Volunteer your time in the community.
There is nothing better than rolling up your sleeves and helping others. You can then see what gives you the feeling of, “This is where I’m supposed to be.” Communities have endless ways to give back such as by helping out at animal shelters, food pantries and homeless centers. If you’re more of an introvert, consider planting trees or cleaning up trash at the local parks. The more activities you try, the more you can find what speaks to your heart.
5. Ask what qualities you enjoy giving most.
The way others see you is important, but what’s more important is the way you see yourself. What qualities do you enjoy giving to the world most? Is it love and joy? Patience and understanding? Peace and acceptance? When you identify your qualities, think about how you express them. For example, to be patient and understanding, you must be a good listener and non-judgemental.
Are you ready to find your purpose in life? It all starts with getting clean and sober. Call The River Source to learn about our substance abuse recovery programs that include detox, counseling and continuing care.
Exercise is physically and emotionally beneficial for recovering addicts. It increases blood flow to the brain, boosts oxygen to the cells and prompts the body to heal itself. Physical activity also reduces stress, anxiety, depression and drug cravings. Incorporating exercise into your daily activities is something you can do right away. Start with simple exercises such as a walk through your neighborhood, a 20-minute jog around the track or a bike ride to your favorite park.
Let’s learn more about why exercise is good for the brain and how it helps with recovery.
Exercise and the Addicted Brain
When a person repeatedly uses drugs and alcohol, the brain undergoes structural changes. A biochemical imbalance takes place, which can result in insomnia, stress, fatigue, depression, anxiety, mood swings and more. Also, some parts of the brain shrink with substance abuse, and endorphins take a dip. In order to get the brain back to normal, it needs to heal. One of the best ways for this healing to occur is through diet and exercise.
Here are specific ways that physical activity restores the brain.
Stimulation of new cells. The brain may shrink with drug and alcohol use, but exercise can help it grow new cells. For example, the prefrontal cortex (the part of the brain responsible for memory and cognition) can grow new white and gray matter.
Increase in neurotransmitters. Exercise increases certain neurotransmitters that are responsible for reducing physical and emotional pain. Also, exercise creates a rush of dopamine that gives people a sense of euphoria, also known as “runner’s high.”
Release of GABA. The release ofgamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) is good for recovering addicts. It has a calming effect on emotions and muscle tissue. This helps people manage symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Aside from all the great benefits for the brain, exercise is also beneficial for the body. Exercise reverses damage to the body by lowering blood pressure, increasing smooth muscles, sending more blood flow to the organs and flushing toxins out of the liver and kidneys. All in all, you have nothing to lose and everything to gain from exercise.
Advantages of Physical Activity in Recovery
The wonderful thing about working out is having no rules. Choose something you enjoy – a sport, running, swimming, dancing – and a time that is convenient for you. Ask a friend or use this time to be alone. Go outdoors, stay in the privacy of your home or join a class at the health club. Try something for 20 minutes one day and 30 minutes the next. This is something that YOU can take control of.
The benefits to exercise in recovery are:
Reduced drug cravings
Increased blood flow
Increased white and gray matter
Sleep cycle regulation
Stabilized neuron network
Decreased blood pressure
Increased muscle strength
At The River Source, treatment includes a variety of exercises such as swimming, tai chi and yoga. We feel that physical activity plays an important role in the healing process. To learn more about our holistic therapy programs, call us today.]]>
Taking responsibility is a hard thing to do. It’s even harder when you’re struggling with a drug or alcohol problem. Pointing fingers is easier and directs attention away from you. While this may make you feel better for the time being, it doesn’t offer any benefits in the long run. In fact, it can damage relationships with others and delay recovery.
As hard as it may be, taking responsibility is one of the best things you can do for yourself and others around you. Let’s discuss the importance of taking personal responsibility in addiction recovery and tips for doing so.
Why Responsibility Matters
Addiction has many symptoms, and denial is one of them. Addicts deny their actions through many behaviors, and one of them is placing blame on others. It’s common for addicts to blame their drug and alcohol use on factors such as stress, anxiety, friends, etc. Rather than accepting responsibility, they believe their actions are due to someone or something
The problem with pointing fingers is that addicts aren’t able to move forward in their recoveries. They basically get stuck. Recovery can only take place when an addict owns up to their mistakes and realizes what they need to do to make a difference.
Tips for Taking Responsibility
Once you accept responsibility for the things you have done wrong, you can progress through the recovery process. It might not feel good to know there are things you have done and said that have hurt others, but it is one of the most valuable steps in the healing process. In fact, it’s a great lesson for life in general!
To take responsibility, you must:
Admit that you have a problem. If you don’t acknowledge your problem, a treatment program likely won’t help. The recovery process starts with admitting the addiction.
Put in the effort. Recovery does not fall into one’s life. It requires a great deal of effort that you must be willing to put in. You won’t feel motivated to contribute this effort if you don’t think you have a problem.
Work on your self-esteem. It’s common for addicts to suffer from low self-esteem. Work on this in counseling by setting small goals and achieving them. This will help build up your self-esteem so you can take more control of your life.
Consider others. Avoid too much unstructured time, as this can lead to boredom. Instead, volunteer your time. Helping others helps develop accountability and responsibility, as other people are counting on you.
Are you ready to start your recovery? Call The River Source to speak with one of our admissions counselors. We have various programs to fit your needs and budget.