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Substance abuse is one of the most prominent problems in our society today. The disease of addiction can be terrifying, but you shouldn’t have to live in constant fear for your loved one’s health and safety. Substance addiction is treatable, and your loved one can achieve sobriety with professional help. Before you settle on a substance abuse treatment program, though, you have to do your research. Be sure to ask the right questions to ensure the best possible treatment for your loved one.

Is My Loved One Showing Signs of Substance Abuse?

When your loved one’s substance use habits turn into a problem, helping him or her get help is the best way to overcome the addiction. However, be sure to look for signs of substance abuse before jumping into action on behalf of your loved one. There are many warning signs for those who are struggling with addiction, but the signs vary from person to person. Some red flags of substance abuse in a loved one can include:

  • black-out drinking
  • drinking alcohol alone
  • frequent prescription drug refills
  • hiding drinking habits or drug use
  • legal issues as a result of drinking or drug use
  • missing work or school due to drinking or drug use
  • inability to stop drinking alcohol or using/misusing drugs
  • feelings of shame or guilt surrounding drinking or drug use habits

Substance abuse can have many adverse effects on the body and can cause a wide variety of health issues. There are both short-term and long-term effects of drinking and using drugs. Short-term effects might include impaired memory, poor concentration, aggressive behavior, or reduced coordination, which are also signs of substance abuse.

It Turns Out My Loved One has a Problem. What Can I Do?

The most effective way to overcome addiction is through a substance abuse treatment program. Your loved one is one of the millions of Americans who struggle with addiction to drugs or alcohol. However, many people who battle addiction are afraid to ask for help. This is mostly because they don’t want to be judged for their decisions or their struggles. Your loved one is no exception. Seeking help is needed to overcome addiction, so do what you can to show your loved one that you’re there to offer support, not to make judgments. Make it clear that seeking treatment isn’t a sign of weakness. After all, it takes courage to admit to a substance use problem, and even more to ask for help to overcome it.

What Kind of Addiction Treatment Center Can Help My Loved One Get Sober?

In most cases, inpatient addiction treatment is the best option for those looking to achieve sobriety. If your loved one has the time to take a step back from everyday life and go to a rehab facility, he or she will be able to focus on overcoming addiction without any temptations or distractions. Plus, there are a few more substance abuse treatment programs available in inpatient rehab than in outpatient rehab.

After receiving treatment through an inpatient program, the next step for many patients in addiction recovery is to go through an extensive outpatient program. While outpatient rehab is not the most effective form of treatment on its own, it is highly effective in helping patients maintain long-term sobriety when used in conjunction with inpatient treatment. Unlike residential rehab, outpatient programs will allow your loved one to live at home while continuing to get counseling to help with the addiction recovery process. This will let your loved one go back to work or school, and slowly get back into the swing of daily life without addition.

So, while doing a substance abuse treatment program on either an inpatient and outpatient basis are beneficial in different ways, using them together has been proven to be very beneficial. By doing residential care first, and then continued care on an outpatient basis, your loved one will learn positive ways to cope with triggers or a bad day. Plus, in either case, counselors will always be available whenever your loved one needs extra support.

Which Programs Can Help My Loved One?

When you and your loved one are looking for a rehab facility, it’s important to know what kinds of substance abuse treatment programs they offer— and how they can help your loved one. Patients’ needs will vary based on their drugs of choice and how long they’ve been using. When your loved one goes to an addiction treatment facility, he or she will probably go through a comprehensive assessment to identify what aspects of the addiction need attention during treatment and recovery. Your loved one’s addiction and needs will identify the best course of action to achieve long-lasting sobriety.

There isn’t any one recovery program that works for everyone. Generally speaking, a personalized treatment plan is the best way to end addiction and get sober. Some of the programs that are implemented into individualized treatment plans might include:

  • family therapy
  • 12-step program
  • group counseling
  • one-on-one counseling
  • holistic healing therapy

All of these programs and many others are designed to address all aspects of a patient’s addiction, from physical withdrawals and dependency to the psychological and emotional damage left behind. Some people in recovery make more progress working one-on-one with a counselor while others may benefit more from group therapy. Each person and every addiction is unique, so it’s important to find a program or set of programs that will address all of your loved one’s individual needs.

What If My Loved One Has Other Mental Health Issues, Too?

Struggling with mental health issues and substance abuse at the same time is actually more common than you might think. In fact, many people who struggle with drugs or alcohol also suffer from at least one mental health issue. When someone faces these two different struggles at once, it’s known as dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorders.

Co-occurring disorders tend to exacerbate each other. In fact, one disorder may cause the other to worsen and cause more problems. This might make it more challenging to determine the causes of your loved one’s substance abuse problem— and what the best course of treatment should be. However, when done correctly and under medical supervision, dual diagnosis treatment will allow your loved one to focus on sobriety while also getting help for any mental health disorders that he or she may be facing. This includes:

For treatment to be effective, both disorders must be addressed and taken care of while in treatment. Dual diagnosis treatment allows for help with substance abuse while also treating mental health problems. If your loved one achieves sobriety without also receiving support for any co-occurring mental health illness, the chances of a relapse are much higher. Again, no single treatment will help each patient, and each disorder and addiction varies. So, if your loved one is struggling with both mental health issues and substance abuse, then it’s best to consider a facility that has treatment options for dual diagnosis.

What’s the First Step?

Millions of men and women struggle with drugs and alcohol in this country. Learning more about your loved one’s addiction and the kinds of treatment that can counter it will help your loved one overcome the struggles he or she is facing. If your loved one is struggling with drug and alcohol abuse, now is the time to get the help he or she needs. The first step is calling the addiction recovery team at The Treatment Center of the Palm Beaches.

What Does The Treatment Center Have to Offer My Loved One?

If your loved one is ready to get started and begin the journey towards sobriety, then call The Treatment Center of the Palm Beaches. At The Treatment Center, we provide quality care to those struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. We offer a wide variety of substance abuse treatment programs, and our counselors and specialists will provide exceptional care to help your loved one get and stay sober. Our programs include:

At The Treatment Center, we recognize that addiction is something that many people struggle with today. And, with the right treatment, care, and support, we know your loved one can achieve sobriety. So, don’t wait to get the help your loved one needs.

Find a Substance Abuse Treatment Program at The Treatment Center

Most people who struggle with addiction can’t quit on their own. And, depending on the addiction, it can be dangerous to try and quit without the help of a medical professional. If you know someone who is struggling with drugs or alcohol, then it’s time to get help. Finding a substance abuse treatment program begins with a call to The Treatment Center of the Palm Beaches. Our drug and alcohol treatment facility can provide your addicted loved one with the care and support necessary to overcome addiction.

The post My Loved One Might Need a Substance Abuse Treatment Program: How Can I Help? appeared first on The Treatment Center.

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Approximately 23.5 million Americans struggle with addiction to drugs or alcohol. Sadly, only about 10% of them receive any evidence-based treatment or rehabilitation. There are a variety of reasons why someone struggling with addiction might not seek help, but most of the time, it’s because they can’t— not because they won’t. In fact, one of the biggest obstacles that people face when trying to get help is the increasingly high cost of addiction treatment. Most treatment programs today— especially inpatient ones— are just too expensive to afford. As a result, finding affordable rehab options is so challenging that people who may actually want help are discouraged from getting it at all.

The Cost of Addiction Treatment

The cost of treatment can range anywhere from a few hundred dollars to thousands, depending on the facility and the types of services they offer. There are a wide variety of factors that influence someone’s ability to find an affordable rehab program. These typically include:

  • the comfort or luxury of the clinical/residential setting
  • the level of treatment accommodation (i.e., inpatient, outpatient, PHP, etc.)
  • whether or not the clinic, hospital program, or private facility has government funding
  • the availability of specialized treatment (e.g., dual diagnosis rehab, faith-based programs, etc.)
  • whether or not the rehab offers post-treatment recovery services or continuing care (i.e., individual counseling, group sessions, etc.)
What If I Don’t Have the Money for Rehab?

Having, saving, and spending money has been a constant problem in America since the downturn of the economy. Unfortunately, even the most cost-effective addiction treatment might be too expensive for some. Fortunately, more and more public assistance options are becoming available to make addiction treatment both more accessible and more affordable. Also, people are starting to get more opportunities to lessen the impact of treatment cost by having some of it— or sometimes even all of it— covered by loans, scholarships, or specialized insurance policies.

Loans

Today, most credible addiction treatment centers will find ways to support patients looking for affordable rehab. One of the most increasingly popular methods of financial support is through loans. In fact, there are specialty loan companies that focus solely on funding addiction treatment for individual patients. This is one of the best options for finding affordable rehab, especially if you can reimburse after treatment is complete.

Specialized Loans for Affordable Rehab

Many financial institutions today specialize in addiction treatment financing. The two most well-known examples are My Treatment Lender and Prosper Healthcare Lending, both of which cater specifically to those looking for affordable rehab. Financial institutions like these usually offer specialized, affordable loan packages that can cover the bulk of treatment costs. Enlisting financial help from places like this will allow you or your loved one to reimburse the rehab coverage over time once treatment is complete. In addition, most specialized loan companies have lower interest rates, so there is less pressure when paying back in increments over time. To see if you are eligible for an addiction treatment loan package, talk to a loan company representative. If you qualify, getting help can be as simple as filling out a form.

Personal Loans for Affordable Rehab

If you do not qualify for a specialized loan, you still have other options. For example, you could take out a personal loan with a bank or other lender. This is an especially viable option if you have a healthy credit history and credit score. Of course, as with any loan, you’ll have to list your assets, income, expenses, and other similar information by providing pay stubs or bank statements.

If you’re considering a personal loan to afford rehab, be sure to do your research and read the fine print. Interest rates and reimbursement terms for personal loans vary depending on the lender, so take the time to find the best plan for yourself. Generally speaking, fixed payment loans are better than variable loans for affording rehab—you’ll be better equipped to handle monthly paybacks.

Scholarships or Grants

If taking out a loan isn’t an option for you, one of the best ways to find affordable rehab is by applying for a scholarship or grant. In most cases, scholarships or grants will at least provide partial coverage for addiction care. Several organizations offer these to help low-income individuals afford medical treatments like rehab. Typically, these kinds of scholarships are available through private treatment facilities, but other organizations may provide them as well. SAMHSA is an excellent resource for rehab scholarships and grants.

Applying for a Scholarship or Grant to Cover Rehab Expenses

If you’re considering applying for a scholarship or grant, the most highly-recommended first step is to contact the treatment facilities that interest you the most. Find out what types of scholarships or grants they accept, or if they provide any form of financial aid themselves. Some facilities will offer partial coverage, and others may offer it in full.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Most rehab facilities will point in the right direction if you aren’t sure where to start. They may even inform you of the kinds of scholarships or grants they’ve accepted in the past. Also, be prepared to answer any questions about your current work status, income, and insurance coverage, even if you don’t have any.

Insurance

One of the simplest ways to afford rehab is through health insurance policies. These policies carry benefits that are designed to make all forms of health care both affordable and accessible, including rehab. Thankfully, since addiction is classified as a mental health disorder, most health insurance policies offer some degree of coverage for rehab. In fact, a lot of people turn to their insurance policies to cover addiction treatment to the fullest extent possible.

If you have health insurance, talk to one of the plan administrators to see how much coverage you can get for rehab. Also, be sure to research treatment facilities that accept the insurance you have. If you don’t have insurance, you can apply for it in preparation for finding an affordable rehab program.

About the Affordable Healthcare Act

As previously mentioned, there are many types of insurance policies that offer coverage for addiction treatment and rehab. This is primarily because of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The ACA requires that state-issued insurance policies provide the same level of care for mental health as that they do for physical health. This applies to all types of insurance programs, including the ones available through Medicare and Medicaid.

About Medicare

Medicare can provide coverage for addiction treatment at both inpatient and outpatient rehab facilities. Services like medical detox, counseling, and post-treatment continued care are covered in Parts A, B, and D of Medicare. These sections outline hospital, medical, and prescription drug insurance programs respectively. These options for affordable rehab are available to anyone with Medicare insurance.

About Medicaid

If you do not have insurance, Medicaid is one of the best options for addiction treatment coverage. Even though Medicaid coverage varies from state to state, it can, at the very least, reduce overall treatment costs. This is especially true for low-income individuals or even families who struggle with addiction. Of course, the kind of coverage you get also depends mainly on your eligibility. For most Medicaid insurance packages, coverage can extend to:

  • the elderly
  • the disabled
  • families with young children
  • pregnant women or couples
  • individuals or families within a certain level of income

It’s also important to note that the extent of Medicaid coverage depends entirely on the state you live in. Luckily, several states have expanded what Medicaid can cover through the ACA. By ACA expansion, Medicaid insurance covers addiction treatment and recovery services. Even the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), a branch of Medicaid, covers rehab. With this in mind, if you are eligible for and covered by Medicaid or CHIP, you’ll have access to affordable rehab as part of your coverage. However, if you don’t live in one of the states that abide by the ACA expansion, you can still seek treatment in a state that does.

Online Resources for Health Insurance: Links to Popular Insurance Providers (Alphabetically): Private Payment Plans

Every treatment center out there understands that financial hardships may prevent people from getting the help they so desperately need. Unfortunately, while the options mentioned above are invaluably helpful beyond a doubt, they may not be available to every single person in need of addiction treatment. With this in mind, many addiction treatment facilities and rehabs have begun to offer private payment plans for patients who are under-insured, uninsured, or even impoverished.

What Is a Private Payment Plan?

A private payment plan is a form of financial aid available at most rehab facilities today. In most private payment plans, patients can pay for their treatment in steady increments over the course of time rather than a bulk sum all at once. The facilities that offer such help usually have an array of payment options for patients to choose from, including automatic monthly payments, graduated payment plans, and even sliding fee scales.

Automatic Payment Plans

As the name suggests, automatic payment plans link to your account for electronic payments every month. It’s the same basic principle as automatic billing, which most banks implement in their client accounts for easy and convenient financing.

In addition, these types of payment plans are almost always tailored to your financial situation. If you want to set up an automatic payment plan, the rehab facility staff will work with you to determine how much you can afford to pay each month. A lot of it is based on factors like your income, work hours, insurance, etc. So, for example, if you work part-time and attend outpatient rehab, your automatic payment plan will be set to a reasonable monthly amount that doesn’t compromise other necessary expenses like rent and groceries. Then, naturally, the automatic payments will stop when the amount for treatment has been paid back in full.

Graduated Payment Plans

These types of plans involve incremental payments where the amount you owe gets increased little by little with each payment you send in, making for a shorter reimbursement period. This type of payment plan usually describes reimbursement for things like student loans, but they can also apply to rehab, depending on the facility.

Sliding Fee Payment Plans

Sliding fee scales describe prices for products or services that vary depending on what consumers can afford. As it pertains to affordable rehab programs, a sliding fee payment plan would allow you to pay what you can afford without any additional financial stress. This is the best option for those who are uninsured, underinsured, unemployed, or otherwise underprivileged.

If you are considering using a private payment plan of any kind, you can be sure that the treatment staff will work closely with you to personalize both the treatment plan and your payment method. Like any of the other financial options, private payment plans allow you to focus more on your recovery instead of how you’d pay for it.

Affordable Rehab at The Treatment Center

There are many reasons why someone might not seek professional help for addiction. Unfortunately, money is one of those reasons. This is why more lenders, insurance companies, and rehab facilities are stepping up to ease the financial burden for those in need. This is also why The Treatment Center of the Palm Beaches accepts most insurances and offers private payment options. If you or a loved one needs professional help to get sober, don’t let your finances limit your recovery. Call us today at (866) 295-6003 for more information about our programs and services.

The post Finding Affordable Rehab through Insurance, Loans, and More appeared first on The Treatment Center.

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Addiction has a devastating impact on more than the addict. Friends and family suffer a lot of mental and emotional pain during a loved one’s addiction as well. Among them, however, no one seems to suffer more than the addict’s children. More than 23.5 million American adults struggle with addiction every year, but more than 28 million children grow up in addicted homes. Of them, 17 million are now adults themselves with a new dilemma to face: forgiveness. Making amends with an addicted loved one can be challenging, but forgiving a drug-addicted parent might feel impossible.

Facing Your Drug-Addicted Parents as an Adult

Growing up in a household tainted by addiction can have a significant influence on children. After all, children with drug-addicted parents face situations that no one should have to at such an early age. Even worse, children of addicts may suffer physical or emotional abuse. Forgiving drug-addicted parents is not always straightforward, especially for children who suffered much during their upbringing. If you grew up with one or more drug-addicted parents, you might have struggled with your own problems. You may even still be struggling. So, as you work through your issues and traumas as an adult, you may be wondering if you should forgive your parents— or if it’s even possible. Before you make any decisions, you should understand what forgiveness actually is.

What Does It Mean to Show Forgiveness?

There are a lot of misconceptions surrounding what it means to show forgiveness. Although it may seem like the person receiving forgiveness is the one who benefits, this isn’t the case. In fact, the person offering forgiveness is the one who profits the most. This is part of the reason why showing forgiveness is more of a personal choice than anything else.

Forgiveness is a Conscious Effort to Let Go

When someone hurts you, as a drug-addicted parent might have, you might hang on to the pain. Then, over time, those feelings fester and build until they become anger and resentment. This happens a lot for loved ones of addicts. Letting go of all those negative feelings through forgiveness might be difficult, but doing it will help you more than the person you’re forgiving. By letting go, you won’t be held down by draining feelings anymore. Your adult life doesn’t have to be dictated by feelings that only hurt you.

Forgiveness DOES NOT Mean Waiting For or Responding to An Apology

Most people seem to think that forgiveness is only warranted (or deserved) if the person “in the wrong” offers an apology first. This idea, however, isn’t a rule— and it shouldn’t be. When it comes to addiction, many people who struggle don’t accept that they have a problem, let alone that they’re hurting anyone else. So, how can you expect an apology from someone so blinded by denial? If someone has wronged you, you can’t wait for an apology. The sad truth is that you may never get one. Instead, you should make a conscious effort to forgive the person who hurt you, even if it’s a drug-addicted parent.

Forgiveness is an Effort to Understand

If you suffered any trauma during your childhood because of your drug-addicted parents, you might have trouble forgiving them, and you’re not alone. Many adult children of addicts have difficulty forgiving their parents for a variety of reasons. While some of them suffered neglect, others endured emotional or even physical abuse at the hands of their drug-addicted parents. These traumas may have also led to other problems later in life. Still, letting go of negative feelings is a large part of finding forgiveness. So, you may have to address all the painful experiences you had as a child to face your drug-addicted parents. Doing this won’t be easy, but it starts with making an effort to understand the whole story of what was happening during your parents’ addiction. By gathering a better sense of understanding, you’ll be able to forgive your parents and move on with your life.

Forgiveness DOES NOT Mean Accepting Poor Behavior or Treatment

Making an effort to understand the whole story behind your traumas doesn’t invalidate your feelings. You don’t have to accept or excuse something to understand it. However, viewing things from an addict’s perspective will help you better understand what was going through your parents’ minds whenever their addiction drove their actions. It’s highly likely that they were not intentionally trying to hurt you. In fact, poor behavior is a side effect of addiction brought on by chemical changes in the brain, much like any other mental disorder. So, the more you learn about the addiction and understand what it did to your parents, the easier it becomes to reach a place where you can forgive them.

Forgiveness is a Process of Dealing with Unresolved Feelings

As a child, you probably had little to no power in situations that involved your parents’ drug abuse. As an adult, you’re now at risk of developing an addiction of your own due to a variety of factors, including your parents’ drug abuse. So, it’s understandable that you might have developed a sense of anger, shame, or even guilt. However, these and other negative feelings are some of the biggest roadblocks when it comes to moving forward. Forgiveness aside, holding onto unresolved feelings of anger, resentment, fear, or anything else that holds you back will only hurt you in the long run. So, even if you feel that you can’t forgive your parents just yet, you should at least try to process all the unresolved anger. Once you work past it and other painful emotions, you’ll be better equipped to move forward and, eventually, forgive your drug-addicted parents.

Forgiveness DOES NOT Mean Making Peace with the Person Who Wronged You

The philosophy of “forgive and forget” is one of the most misleading and potentially harmful ones that exist today. Showing forgiveness does not you have to turn the other cheek. It certainly doesn’t mean that you have to “make up” with the people who wronged you, either. Forgiving others for hurting you should not be an opportunity for them to do it again if they haven’t changed. After all, forgiveness isn’t a justification or an excuse for the wrongdoing— it’s a response to it. Remember, forgiveness is more about you than the people you forgive, even if those people are your parents.

How to Forgive Your Drug Addicted Parents

Not everyone deserves forgiveness, and you might decide that your drug-addicted parents don’t. Still, that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve to move forward. There are a lot of reasons to show forgiveness, and none of them have anything to do with absolving your parents. After all, your responsibility is to yourself and your well-being. So, forgiving them for the harm they’ve done to you is something you can and should do for yourself. It takes the weight off your shoulders and offers a long-needed sense of relief. Your parents may not deserve your forgiveness, but you owe it to yourself to at least try, for your own sake.

Look Back on What Your Experiences Have Taught You

Whatever poor treatment you received from your drug-addicted parents growing up is inexcusable. This won’t change, even if you decide to forgive them. Still, every dark cloud has a silver lining. All of your experiences in life have taught you something, so ask yourself: “What did I learn from my situation?”

Take a step back and reflect on how even your unfortunate circumstances helped shape you into the adult you are today. Looking at yourself and your life this way can help you better appreciate the personal growth and wisdom you’ve gained from the hardships you’ve faced. Once you do that, you’ll have a better idea of whether or not to forgive your drug-addicted parents.

Give Yourself the Time You Need

Not every wound is physical. Emotional pain needs time to heal, too. If you’re conflicted about whether or not to forgive your parents for the pain they caused you, then it’s possible that your wounds are still too fresh. So, give yourself time to heal. You’re allowed to feel hurt, confused, or angry. Anger isn’t necessarily a negative emotion, but be careful not to let it boil over into resentment or depression. Those are the kinds of feelings that can have a lasting negative impact on your well-being.

Ask for Professional Help

Navigating forgiveness isn’t something you have to handle by yourself. In fact, when it comes to healing from drug addiction, it’s better to talk to a professional about what you’re thinking and feeling. Many support groups exist for loved ones of addicts, and most rehab facilities offer family services as well. If one or both of your parents are in recovery, you may even benefit from talking to a counselor or therapist with them. In any case, you can always turn to friends and other loved one for help.

Wipe the Slate Clean

As you might already know firsthand, addiction comes with a long list of problems that add up to more than just poor health. During active addiction, your parents might have struggled with employment, finances, legal issues, debt, or worse. If one or both of them are in recovery, this is the chance to offer a clean slate. You don’t have to forget the pain they’ve caused you. You don’t even have to tell them outright that you forgive them or not. Still, moving forward will benefit everyone. Reminding yourself or your parents of their past mistakes will only hold you back and potentially hinder their recovery.

Forgiveness Isn’t About Your Drug Addicted Parents— It’s About You

An important thing to remember about forgiveness is that it’s not a singular action or event. Instead, it’s a state of mind. And, since it’s an internalized feeling, it’s connected to your health in a number of ways. In fact, practicing forgiveness is beneficial for both your emotional and physical health.

Multiple studies have shown that finding and showing forgiveness can:

  • Reduce stress
  • Ease depression
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Decrease your risk of heart disease
  • Diminish your susceptibility to addiction

Showing forgiveness to your drug addicted parents also has emotional benefits. It can improve your ability to form healthy relationships. You might even be able to develop a better relationship with your parents once they receive the help they need. It’s entirely up to you.

Addiction Treatment and Recovery Counseling at TTC Outpatient Services

Forgiveness isn’t an instinctive action. It’s a choice, and it’s a healthy one that benefits you more than anyone else. If you can find forgiveness for your drug-addicted parents, then you can find a much-deserved peace of mind for yourself. If you have one or more drug-addicted parents who need help to get sober, call The Treatment Center at (844) 811-4533. Our staff of medical professionals and counselors are here to help.

The post How to Forgive Your Drug-Addicted Parents appeared first on The Treatment Center.

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The opioid epidemic is an ongoing and grave public health issue in the United States. In fact, it’s one that has been unwaveringly prominent since before the 1990’s. According to NIDA, more than 2 million Americans struggle with addiction as a result of opioid over-prescription. This number makes up roughly 8.5% of the total 23.5 million who struggle with drugs and alcohol collectively. Additionally, the CDC has determined that opioid abuse accounts for approximately two-thirds of fatal drug overdoses. With this overdose epidemic progressing throughout the country at alarmingly high rates, many pharmaceutical companies are stepping up to challenge the crisis. Walmart Inc. is now one of the many to have joined that list. On Monday, May 7th, 2018, the company announced their new 7-day opioid prescription limit policy.

Walmart’s Latest Opioid Prescriptions Policy

“We are taking action in the fight against the nation’s opioid epidemic… We are proud to implement these policies and initiatives as we work to create solutions that address this critical issue facing the patients and communities we serve.”

—Marybeth Hays, Exec. Vice Pres. of Health & Wellness and Consumables, Walmart USA

Walmart has always shown initiative in its policies aimed at reversing the effects of the national opioid crisis. Still, this particular move may change the course of the crisis entirely. Effective immediately, the retail giant will begin enforcing week-long limits to their customers’ opioid prescriptions.

The new policy states that pharmacists can only provide a 7-day supply (or less) of opioid pain medication to those with a prescription. This includes a 50 morphine milligram equivalent maximum per day. The policy will come into full effect for all U.S. Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacy locations within the next 60 days— totaling about 5,300 across the nation.

The Walmart Opioid Stewardship Initiative

The health and safety of our patients is a critical priority; that’s why we’re taking an active role in the fight against our nation’s opioid issue – one that has affected so many families and communities across America… We have a comprehensive program with policies, programs and tools aimed at helping to curb opioid abuse and misuse. We are committed to being part of the solution both in our pharmacies and in our communities.

—Walmart’s Corporate Website

While this prescription limit is undoubtedly a massive advancement in the fight against the opioid crisis, it is not the only noteworthy contribution that Walmart Inc. has made so far. In fact, this new policy is just one of several extensions to the company’s pre-existing Opioid Stewardship Initiative.

Walmart’s Opioid Stewardship Initiative utilizes several methods for battling the opioid crisis through both Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies. Some of the other programs and policies include:

Prescription Drug Education

The Walmart pharmacy believes that the most effective way to slow and eventually end the opioid crisis is through education. After all, many people who develop opioid addictions do so after unwittingly misusing their prescriptions to treat chronic pain. With this in mind, it’s clear that those who use prescription opioids for pain relief may be severely misinformed about the risks. Or, they could be uninformed entirely. This is why much of the public blames Big Pharma for the perpetuation of the opioid overdose epidemic. So, naturally, education and open communication between doctors, pharmacists, and consumers should be (and is) a vital part of the solution.

As part of their Opioid Stewardship Initiative, Walmart sponsors several youth-based curriculums to educate the public about the risks associated with prescription opioid use. One such example is EverFi’s Prescription for Life program. So far, the programs that Walmart sponsors have helped inform and empower the community at large— but especially kids.

DisposeRx

According to both the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), personal prescriptions are one of the primary sources of opioid abuse. In fact, more than 65% of the people who abuse prescription opioids are getting them from friends and family, not through a doctor or pharmacist. To combat this issue, Walmart introduced a new, safe method of destroying leftover opioids at home: DisposeRx.

DisposeRx is a powder that breaks down pill contents for safe disposal. When combined with water and the unused prescription, it creates a thick, adhesive gel. When it settles, the gel binds to the pill bottle and becomes difficult— if not impossible— to remove. Then, the pill bottle and its contents become safe to throw away at home. Furthermore, people who use DisposeRx also have the option to bring their destroyed prescription to a designated drop-off location. Since January, DisposeRx has provided a practically effortless way for patients to ensure that no one can abuse their unused medicines.

During the announcement regarding the 7-day prescription limit on Monday, Walmart representatives also confirmed that customers who fill any new Class II opioid prescription at one of their pharmacies will also receive free DisposeRx packets and opioid safety brochures. Patients with Class II opioid prescriptions set to automatic refill will also be offered free DisposeRx packets every six months. Additionally, free DisposeRx packs and counseling are now available on request at any Walmart or Sam’s Club pharmacy nationwide.

Naloxone Accessibility

DisposeRx is not Walmart’s only line of defense against the opioid epidemic. The vast majority of Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacists do and will continue to recommend naloxone to customers who, according to CDC guidelines, may be at risk of an overdose.

Naloxone is a sort of overdose antidote; it counters the effects of opioid overdose. Many first responders and law enforcement officers carry it on hand in the event of an emergency, and it is also available over the counter in some states. The Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies located in pro-naloxone states can dispense it to those in need upon request. However, the pharmacies that don’t have state law on their side are fighting to have naloxone behind their counters as well.

NarxCare

So far, Walmart’s new programs and policies regarding opioid prescription are set to become effective immediately. Still, some of their new plans won’t become effective for months. For example, by the end of August 2018, Walmart pharmacists will have access to and use of NarxCare, the controlled substance tracking tool that assists pharmacists with dispensing decisions.

E-prescriptions

In addition to these other pending measures, Walmart and Sam’s Club will require electronic prescriptions for controlled substances (like opioids) effective January 1, 2020. Electronic prescriptions, or e-prescriptions, have been proven to be a better and safer method of filling opioid medications. Unlike written notes, they cannot be forged or altered, and pharmacists can track them more efficiently to catch falsifications. In their announcement, Walmart asserted that the implementation of e-prescriptions would help them reduce over-prescription errors and stop prescription fraud.

CDC Guidelines Regarding Opioid Prescription Limits

Regarding Walmart’s newest policy, their 7-day prescription limit follows the CDC’s guidelines for opioid prescription use. The CDC advises clinicians to prescribe the “lowest effective dose” of opioids for pain management since opioid abuse largely stems from prescription use. The guidelines state:

“Long-term opioid use often begins with treatment of acute pain. When opioids are used for acute pain, clinicians should prescribe the lowest effective dose of immediate-release opioids and should prescribe no greater quantity than needed for the expected duration of pain severe enough to require opioids. Three days or less will often be sufficient; more than seven days will rarely be needed…”

Now, some states already enforce legal prescription limits. In states where this limit is legally less than seven days, both Walmart and Sam’s Club will adjust their policy per their state’s law. For example, Florida has a statutory opioid prescription limit of 3-4 days. So, Walmart and Sam’s Club pharmacies located in Florida would prescribe 3- or 4-day supplies to patients instead of 7-day supplies.

Public and Professional Responses So Far

For years, the opioid epidemic has taken a massive toll on the nation’s health, sense of security, and even finances. State governments, Congress, and the Trump administration have been (and still are) looking for effective ways to combat the opioid epidemic. Walmart’s new 7-day prescription limit has the potential to be a groundbreaking achievement, and so far it and similar policies have garnered a lot of support from the public and healthcare professionals alike. Still, not everyone is on board with the idea of limiting medication for conditions like chronic pain.

Some medical professionals are concerned that such strict regulations on medicine will negatively impact patient treatment. Many people in the public health community also believe that restricting doses or even access to pain medication would only cause more harm than good for people who suffer from chronic illnesses.

“We clearly need supply-side clampdowns to rein in an out-of-control pharmaceutical industry and to repair medical and pharmacy institutions warped by their influence. However, blunt, broad, one-size-fits-all versions of these policies could be incredibly damaging in a variety of ways…”

—Stefan Kertesz, a clinical addiction researcher at the University of Alabama

The AMA

The American Medical Association (AMA), an influential group of physicians, has argued that prescription limits are unreasonable. Much of the AMA insists that such restrictions could hurt a physician’s ability to provide individualized care for patients. In an interview with The Hill, chairwoman of the AMA’s opioid taskforce Dr. Patrice Harris stated that:

“Pain is a complex, biopsychosocial phenomenon, and individuals experience pain in different ways. The AMA believes that decisions around dosages need to be left between the patient and the physician.”

In contrast, those in favor of the prescription limits argue that such measures are essential to:

  • Lowering any given patient’s potential for addiction
  • Reducing the rate of opioid over-prescription
  • Suspending illicit use of opioid prescriptions

More than half of the country seems to agree. According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 28 states have already begun enforcing some form of opioid prescription regulation, including limits, as of April 2018.

Now We Wait

Over-prescription and patient fraud are both leading factors in the perpetuation of the opioid crisis. With this in mind, it’s highly likely that limiting access to opioid prescriptions will, in fact, slow the epidemic. If their policy is successful, it could set a precedent for other pharmacies. At this point, only time will tell.

Opioid Addiction Help and Information at TTC

Companies like Walmart have made their dedication to addiction prevention and patient safety clear. Many of them are taking on preventative roles in battling the opioid crisis. In the meantime, those who have already developed an addiction to opioid prescriptions need help, too. At The Treatment Center of the Palm Beaches, our staff of seasoned medical professionals and counselors is here to help patients reclaim happy, healthy, and sober lives. If you or someone you care about is struggling with an addiction to prescription medication, please call us at (855) 889-5065. All calls are confidential.

The post Walmart Enforces New Opioid Prescription Limit appeared first on The Treatment Center.

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“Dating in recovery has been compared to playing football without gear, running barefoot over sharp rocks, and having dental work without the benefit of painkillers. It can be the great escape, bounce you back into relapse, or trigger a new addiction.” – Mary Faulkner

Finding “the one,” whether for the first time or the hundredth time, can be a long and even somewhat scary journey. After all, the very concept of dating is difficult for most people. However, it’s an exceptionally long and tedious challenge for those in recovery. Finding love after addiction takes a lot of patience and careful navigation— so much so that one move can make or break lifelong sobriety. Fortunately, there are ways to make dating in sobriety less stressful and more fulfilling.

Loneliness in Recovery

Anyone in recovery will tell you that staying sober is just as challenging as getting sober. In fact, it may be even more difficult. Since a large part of post-treatment sobriety involves staying away from potential triggers, you probably don’t do things that you might have done a lot in the past, like go to parties. As a result, you might feel like you’re missing out on opportunities to meet new people and forge new relationships. Unfortunately, this new sense of loneliness is a typical adjustment for most people in recovery. Still, sober life doesn’t have to be lonely.

Getting to Know Yourself Again

Building (or rebuilding) relationships in recovery may be tricky, but it’s also a critical part of overcoming feelings of isolation. However, before you can even think about dating in recovery, you should get to know yourself again first. Remember, your addiction distorted your sense of self as much as it warped your view of others around you. So, now that you’re sober, you may not feel like you know who you are anymore. Thankfully, this lost sense of self is both normal and temporary. Continuing therapy through programs like aftercare and getting the support you need from loved ones will help you gain the confidence you need to feel ready for dating after addiction.

Finding Love After Addiction and During Recovery

There are several clashing opinions about dating during recovery, especially during the early stages of post-treatment sobriety. The official Alcoholics Anonymous policy doesn’t outright discourage dating during the early stages of sobriety. However, the Big Book does recommend abstaining from making any significant or serious changes in your life during your first year of sobriety. This includes forming new (and potentially relapse-inducing) romantic relationships. Most treatment professionals agree with this, which is why dating during early recovery is so ill-advised.

While it is generally a good idea to avoid forming serious romantic commitments during the first year of sobriety, it isn’t necessarily the “golden rule” of post-addiction dating. After all, finding love isn’t really any different than building any other kind of relationship. In either case, you can’t form a genuine connection with others unless you open up— and to do that, you must feel ready. So, whether you pursue any romantic relationships at any stage during your recovery is entirely up to you. Still, there are some important things to remember about dating and finding love in addiction recovery:

Make Your Sobriety a Priority

The thrill of entering a new relationship and being that much closer to finding love can shift anyone’s priorities. This is a problem for people in recovery for one primary reason. If you place more importance on romance than on your recovery, then you may start neglecting the parts of your routine that keep you sober.

In other words, trading in group meetings for nights out with a new partner can hinder your progress. Even worse, neglecting your recovery-related responsibilities in favor of dating can lead to more triggers and a higher risk of relapse. To avoid this, it’s best to make (and keep) your recovery as your top-most priority. The best way to do this is by following your aftercare/post-treatment plan and relapse prevention plan without making any changes to “accommodate” a date.

Take Things Slow

It’s not always easy, but it’s especially important to take romantic relationships slow during the recovery process. It doesn’t matter whether it’s an old flame or a brand-new spark. In any case, taking things slow is necessary for several reasons.

First, it ensures that both partners are on the same page about what they want and expect out of the relationship. You’ll also be better equipped to set clear boundaries regarding your recovery if you and your partner take your time. Second, taking things slowly allows for better communication about how the relationship affects the recovery process and vice versa. This is especially important if both you and your partner are in recovery. Finally, rushing into a relationship that you’re not ready for breeds a higher risk of relapse.

Don’t Trade One Addiction for Another

It’s natural to want to share a special bond with someone during the recovery process. Still, when it comes to finding love in recovery, the most important thing to be wary of is the potential to trade an old addiction for a new one.

All too often, people who rush into relationships during recovery end up forming ones that become their new sole focus in sober life. This is problematic because becoming obsessed with the idea of finding love and rushing into romantic relationships when you aren’t ready can lead to the development of codependence, which is one of the most significant contributing factors to addiction relapse. This is why codependence is also known as “relationship addiction.” In other words, post-treatment romance can become a new addiction if you place more importance on finding love than on your recovery.

Try to Avoid Building Romances with People You Know from Work, School, Etc.

This particular piece of advice may seem unreasonable, but finding love outside of things like school or work is actually much better for your emotional health and, subsequently, your sobriety. The reason for this has a lot to do with post-treatment routine.

In recovery, one of the most critical factors that influence your sobriety and abstinence is structure. You’ve built a daily routine to keep yourself busy, productive, and healthy. Disrupting that routine by bringing romance into the classroom or the office may not only be a distraction but one that could prove detrimental to your sobriety.

For example, if you date someone from work, your office environment might feel like a toxic place for you in the event of an ugly breakup. So, during recovery, it’s best to search for love in places that aren’t part of your everyday schedule. This can include coffee shops, yoga classes, or even meetings (if you so choose). In any case, be sure to proceed with caution.

Be Prepared for Some Awkwardness

Dating is awkward for just about anybody. However, for people in recovery, finding love comes with a unique set of challenges that you may not have recognized before getting sober. For example, you’ll have to navigate what dating will be like without alcohol. Meeting at bars or having wine with dinner is out of the question for anyone in recovery, no matter what their substance of choice was. The potential for triggers and relapse is just too high.

Additionally, the people you date during recovery might feel awkward themselves if they still want to drink knowing that you can’t. This, of course, is not your fault. After all, not everyone you date after getting sober will also be in recovery.

Still, that doesn’t mean that things can’t work out with someone who enjoys alcohol responsibly. Dating during recovery will probably be awkward on both sides at first, but it won’t stay that way once you find a partner that understands what you’re going through, where your priorities are, and what your goals you’ve set for yourself.

Be Honest with Your Partner About Your Past

Honesty is an essential part of any relationship, even freshly-formed ones. Still, since recovery is such a personal topic, it’s also important to know when (and how) to open up to someone new. If you are pursuing a relationship with someone you’ve met or started dating after getting sober, then you may have some reservations about discussing your past. Rest assured, everyone in recovery faces this dilemma. And the good news is that there’s no right or wrong way to go about addressing the proverbial elephant in the room.

When dating in recovery, you should be honest with your partner as much as possible. Although, how much you share and when you share it is entirely up to you. As a general rule, it’s wise to disclose to your partner up front that you are in recovery. This will help prevent any unintentional triggers on the part of your partner. However, you shouldn’t feel compelled to provide any further details unless you are comfortable, even if your partner asks. If you’re not ready to talk openly about your past addiction, then don’t. When you are, make sure that your partner is prepared, too. After all, communication is a two-way street. If all goes well, you may be one step closer to finding love after addiction.

Determine Early if Your New Relationship has the Potential to Become Love

Once you’ve made it past all these hurdles, you’ll have an easier time bonding with your new partner. At that point, you should start to consider where the relationship is going and if it has the potential to become the kind of long-term commitment you want. As you get to know and spend more time with your partner, step back to consider if the relationship is worth pursuing. There are several ways to do this, but the best is probably Dr. Tatkin’s method.

In his book Wired for Dating, Dr. Tatkin outlines five relationship goals that you can use to assess your relationship and its potential to become love. These are collaboration, fairness, sensitivity, security, and true mutuality.

Collaboration

One of the most significant benefits of any healthy relationship with the potential for love is collaboration. The best kinds of relationships are the ones that help you grow. So, if you and your partner do things to better yourselves and each other, you’re on the right track.

Fairness

When it comes to dating and finding love, especially after addiction, fairness is about stepping up when your partner needs you to. After all, healthy relationships require reciprocity. If you and your partner are fair to each other, even in little ways, this is a very good sign.

Sensitivity

Being sensitive in a relationship means recognizing and responding to your partner’s needs. Even if you are the only one in recovery, your partner will still have wants and needs that are just as valid as yours. So, keeping the line of communication open and maintaining a mutual sense of sensitivity is a clear indication that the relationship has great potential for a long-term commitment— and love.

Security

Having a sense of security with your partner isn’t always defined by how long you’ve been together. Still, just like with any other part of a relationship, security has to exist on both sides. This means that you and your partner respect, care for, and protect one another. It doesn’t matter how new the relationship itself is. If you find comfort in each other, it’s a very good indication that you’re that much closer to finding love.

True Mutuality

The best partners give as much as they take. This is especially important for relationships in recovery, especially if your focus is on finding love. If you and your partner can recognize and act on what’s right for each other, then your relationship has very high chances of success.

Addiction Treatment and Recovery Services at The Treatment Center

Dating and finding love can be a challenge during addiction recovery, but it isn’t impossible. The best ways to go about doing both are to spend time getting reacquainted with your sober self, follow these and similar strategies, and abide by your relapse prevention plan to secure your sobriety throughout the whole process. At The Treatment Center of the Palm Beaches, our sole focus is to heal the entire person, not just the addiction. With help and guidance from our seasoned staff of counselors and therapists, you can prepare yourself for life’s greatest reward: finding love after addiction. If you or someone you know is struggling to get or stay sober, please call us at (855) 889-5065. All calls are confidential.

The post Dating and Finding Love After Addiction appeared first on The Treatment Center.

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One of the most critical aspects of addiction recovery is getting rid of all the toxins that once controlled you. However, this isn’t limited to the substances you once put in your body. Letting go of toxic people in your life is just as important. It’s not always easy; leaving any relationship, even toxic ones, can be difficult. Still, letting go of toxic people is essential to the recovery process. Otherwise, you risk putting your mental, emotional and even physical health in jeopardy.

What Is a Toxic Relationship?

A toxic relationship is a harmful one characterized by negative thoughts or behavioral patterns. Most of the time, toxic relationships can have a severe and sometimes irreparable impact on the people trapped in them. This is because most toxic people will use criticism, judgment, oppression, and other forms of manipulation to stay dominant over others.

How Do I Know If I’m in a Toxic Relationship?

Anyone can find themselves trapped in a relationship with toxic people. This is especially true for people undergoing a massive change or personal adjustment— like starting a new, sober life. If you’re regularly subjected to poor or even cruel treatment, your relationship with your oppressor is toxic.

Toxic People to Avoid in Recovery

Toxic relationships aren’t limited to romantic ones. In fact, toxicity can exist between friends, peers, or even family members. In any case, you should avoid the people who openly do not support your recovery at all costs. This includes toxic people that you may have bonded with during your active addiction. You should also avoid anyone who enabled you to continue using.

Toxic people usually take on one or more of the following roles:

  • The bullies
  • The abusers
  • The blamers
  • The false victim
  • The manipulators
  • The serial pessimists

Toxic people are typically very methodical in their words and actions. Moreover, toxic people take advantage of any opportunity to gain control over a situation or other people. The toxic people in your life can easily manipulate you because they know you intimately. The effects that they might have on you include poor self-image, uncertainty, and emotional dependency on them.

Unfortunately, you won’t be exempt from poor treatment just because you’re in recovery. If anything, your recovery and all the vulnerability that comes with it may attract the toxic people in your life. This is why it’s important to learn to recognize them and take action if necessary.

Reasons to Cut Ties for Your Recovery If You Feel That Things Have Changed, But Not in a Good Way

Change is a natural and constant part of life. As time passes, situations change, relationships change, and people themselves change. So, the special connection you may have shared with someone for years may not be the same today as it once was. This is especially true for toxic people and toxic relationships.

Toxic people don’t always start off as such. Many of them adopt specific toxic behaviors after being exposed to it themselves. For example, a close friend might start acting like a bully as a way to cope with being bullied by someone else. If someone close to you has become a person that you no longer want to be around, it’s time to reevaluate the relationship and decide if holding on is worth it.

If You Feel Like You’re the Only One Trying to Make It Work

Any healthy relationship requires mutual trust, respect, and support. Love and friendship should exist in a constant loop. Both people in the relationship have to put in the effort to make it work. You should be getting what you give. If you’re spending time with someone who doesn’t seem to be putting in the same effort, if any, it could be a sign that your relationship has become toxic.

If You Feel Like You Give More Than You Get in Return

Toxic people are more likely to take more than they give, make every situation about them, and put themselves first. They will also take advantage of others who offer more time and attention in an attempt to stop these behaviors. In other words, toxic people take advantage of the people who put in the effort to maintain a bond with them. This is what gives toxic people control over people who have relationships with them.

Even worse, if what you get in return for your love is selfish intent disguised as love, it will most likely drain your confidence and motivation. This kind of impact on your emotional health could hinder your recovery, especially if the toxic people in your life make it clear that your progress so far doesn’t matter to them.

These and other ego-centric tendencies make it extremely difficult to maintain healthy relationships with toxic people, especially in recovery. There’s no point in including someone in your life if they only make it difficult. If someone close to you isn’t giving what they get, it might be time to move on.

If You Feel Unsure About What You Mean to Them

The people you turn to during your time in recovery should care about you, your health, and your future. They should appreciate you and the progress you’ve made to turn your life around. After all, friends and loved ones should give you encouragement and motivation. You’ll be more likely to succeed in your recovery if they do.

The toxic people in your life are much less likely to offer you any genuine support. This might leave you wondering if your relationship with them matters.  Take the time to step back and observe the big picture objectively. If you’re spending your time with someone who doesn’t seem to care about you, then it’s best to move on and share that time with others who do.

If You Feel the Relationship is Hurting You

Any good relationship, whether it’s a friendship or otherwise, should bring you joy and comfort. Loyal loved ones should be making your life better and happier, especially during a process as delicate as recovery. When your relationship with someone becomes a source of stress, torment, or pain, then it’s clear that you are dealing with a toxic person.

If a toxic person in your life is continually lying to you, manipulating you, or hurting you, you should cut ties immediately before the situation gets worse.

Can Toxic Relationships Become Healthy (Again)?

Even the most reasonable people are easily swayed by the glimmer of a chance that their toxic relationships can be salvaged. While it is possible for toxic people to change their behaviors to form healthier relationships with others, it is also incredibly unlikely. It’s far more likely that the toxic people in your life will do nothing to change, no matter what you do. So, the best thing you can do is shift your focus. As someone in recovery, your primary responsibility is to take care of yourself, not to save a broken relationship with a toxic person who doesn’t value you.

Confronting the Toxic People in Your Life

Staying in a relationship because you are used to it, are too afraid to leave, or are worried about feeling alone are all reasons that someone might excuse toxic behaviors. However, even if you share a relationship with someone who wasn’t always toxic, trying to preserve that bond will only justify the other person’s poor treatment of you. In the end, you’ll regret the decision to stay more than the decision to leave.

When you decide to confront the toxic people in your life, then be ready to expect the worst. Toxic people do not take confrontation well since it challenges their power. They will lie, make excuses, and try to manipulate you into thinking that cutting ties with them is a mistake— anything to make themselves look like the victim. Preparing for this will help you gain the upper hand during the confrontation. You mustn’t let toxic people trick you into doubting yourself.

Letting Go of Toxic People in Your Life

Identifying the things that make a relationship toxic and trying to change someone else’s behavior is not enough to help your recovery. You have to protect yourself and your hard-earned sobriety by removing toxic people from your life. There are a few ways you can do this, all of which are incredibly effective.

The first thing you can do is turn to trustworthy people in your life for help. Building your plan of action with your therapist is especially beneficial. Gaining insight from a mental health professional can help you prepare for the potential backlash of your confrontation.

Group counseling is also an effective way to prepare for letting go of toxic people. Your peers in recovery have more than likely faced similar situations and can share advice with you. If nothing else, you can recruit other loved ones to back you up when it’s time to confront the toxic people in your life.

Another method of preparing yourself for confrontation is finding more ways to get access to the resources you need for your recovery. By doing this, you can strengthen your independence and establish that you don’t have to rely on the toxic relationship for anything anymore. For example, if the toxic person you want to cut ties with usually takes care of your pet while you’re at treatment, one solution could be securing pet-sitting services with someone else. This same idea also applies to things like transportation, financial independence, or even living arrangements.

Saving Yourself by Saying Goodbye

Not every relationship can be repaired, and at such a transitional stage in your life, it’s not your responsibility to save anyone but yourself. Practicing self-love and self-care every day is essential to your recovery, but you won’t be able to do that successfully as long as there are toxic people in your life.

Ending any relationship is difficult, even toxic ones. At first, you might feel guilt, grief, or even anger. However, it’s important to remember that these feelings are temporary. For the sake of your health and your recovery, keep moving forward.

You can always leave the door open for the people who did once genuinely care about you. Once they’re ready to give you the same love, respect, and kindness that you offered them, you could potentially start over. Whether or not you want to take that chance is entirely up to you. However, the toxic people who did you harm should never be welcome back. Lock the door against them, no matter how hard it is. It may not feel like it at first, but letting go of toxic people in your life is the best possible choice you could make for yourself in recovery.

Let Go of Toxic Relationships with Help from TTC

Recovery goes beyond getting sober. It also means starting over and rebuilding your life, your relationships, and yourself. Choosing the kind of people you surround yourself with is a significant part of it. So, if someone only brings negativity to your life, it may be time to walk away. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

If you’re struggling with a toxic relationship that may be hindering your recovery process, contact the counselors at The Treatment Center. We can help you build your plan of action so you can get yourself back on track. Call us at (855) 889-5065. All calls are confidential.

The post Letting Go of Toxic People During Recovery appeared first on The Treatment Center.

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Addiction has been a prominent health issue in the United States over the last several decades. In fact, more than 23.5 million Americans aged 12 and over are addicted to drugs or alcohol today. These numbers have only continued to rise with the progression of the nationwide opioid epidemic. To combat this, addiction treatment professionals and advocates have established almost 15,000 addiction treatment facilities across the country. However, not all these facilities offer all five levels of addiction treatment.

The Levels of Care in Addiction Treatment

Even with 15,000 facilities to choose from, only a fraction of addicted individuals ever receives the care that they so desperately need. In fact, only about 11.2%, or 2.6 million people, ever even try to seek treatment. This discrepancy demonstrates an apparent confusion surrounding the different levels of care for addiction treatment.

In total, there are five distinct levels of addiction care that can help patients through the treatment and recovery process. These levels consist of medical detox, inpatient or residential treatment, partial hospitalization programs (PHPs), intensive outpatient programs (IOPs), and aftercare. These five levels of addiction care follow a linear progression for an extensive treatment experience to meet all your individual needs. However, you do not have to complete all five levels of treatment to get sober.

Which Level of Addiction Treatment is Right for Me?

The best level or levels of care for you depend entirely on your situation and specific needs. Typically, the type and severity of your addiction will determine which standard of care is the most appropriate for you. For example, if you have relapsed more than once, you may benefit from medical detox and inpatient treatment.

When it comes to choosing your treatment facility, it’s best to find one that offers all five levels of care. Fortunately, more and more of them are expanding their addiction treatment options to include all five levels. So, once you find a suitable rehab facility, you can sit down with the intake and treatment staff to discuss which levels of care would be best-suited to your customized treatment plan.

Medical Detox

Detoxification, or detox, is always the first step of the recovery process. Medical detox usually takes place on an inpatient basis. This is because the detox process requires around-the-clock care from a team of medical personnel and counselors. Still, undergoing medical detox on an outpatient basis is also possible. Either way, your recovery will be heavily supervised by treatment personnel.

When you quit an addictive substance, you’ll begin to experience physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms. These symptoms are your body’s natural response to purging the toxins that were left behind by your past substance use. Most withdrawal symptoms last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. Depending on your addiction, your withdrawal symptoms can range from mild to potentially life-threatening.

These and many other symptoms can be easily managed in medical detox. This is why addiction treatment professionals and physicians agree that this level of care is always necessary for addiction treatment. While it is true that the intensity of withdrawal symptoms varies depending on the person and the addiction, many people who enter addiction treatment opt to undergo medical detox because it has benefits that self-detoxing at home does not. These benefits include:

  • a safe, sober environment away from triggers
  • availability of prescription medications for tapering
  • constant medical supervision and withdrawal symptoms management
Inpatient or Residential Treatment

Inpatient treatment, which is also called residential treatment, is a level of addiction care that is very closely tied to medically-assisted detox. In fact, most inpatient rehab facilities implement medical detox as the first stage of the treatment process. In an inpatient treatment program that includes medical detox as part of its plan, you would first complete medical detox before making the transition to the next level of care. However, if you undergo medical detox at a stand-alone facility, you should continue treatment on an inpatient basis going forward.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), inpatient or residential addiction treatment programs are one of the most highly effective means of helping patients in recovery get and stay sober. This due in large part to the wide variety of benefits that inpatient addiction treatment usually has.

So, after addressing the physical side of your addiction through medical detox, you’ll be able to focus on the psychological and emotional side of it through these and many other options. Even better, you’ll have immediate access to the professionals and counselors helping you since you’ll be living at the facility during your treatment.

Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP)

If you decided to follow the linear progression of addiction treatment, the next level of care on the list would be partial hospitalization. Partial hospitalization programs, or PHPs, have a similar structure to inpatient treatment. In fact, partial hospitalization programs are one of the best addiction treatment options if you also struggle with conditions like depression and anxiety. Cases like this are called dual diagnosis, and it’s incredibly common in substance addiction. Just like in inpatient treatment, dual diagnosis can be treated effectively with partial hospitalization.

When transitioning from inpatient treatment to partial hospitalization, you’d still live at the rehab facility and receive many of the same services. However, what makes this level of care different from others is that it allows more freedom between treatment sessions. In a partial hospitalization program, you’ll be able to leave the facility to keep up with any obligations you may have outside of treatment. This level of addiction care is the best option for those who want the intensiveness of inpatient rehab without giving up things like work or school.

Additionally, partial hospitalization continues the track that inpatient treatment started— addressing the non-physical factors of addiction. The therapeutic modalities offered through partial hospitalization typically include:

  • Meditation
  • Acupuncture
  • Laser therapy
  • Massage therapy
  • Chiropractic therapy

These and other partial hospitalization modalities are especially beneficial for patients who turned to substance abuse to self-medicate a pre-existing health condition like chronic pain. If you are one of them, then partial hospitalization can give you the peace of mind you need as you work with the staff towards stabilization and eventual sobriety. Including partial hospitalization in your recovery plan is the best way to constructively bridge the gap between inpatient treatment and outpatient addiction care.

Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP)

When most people hear the word “rehab,” they tend to picture the inpatient treatment options that have already been covered so far. However, not all forms of addiction treatment take place on an inpatient basis. In fact, outpatient programs have a rather significant role in the overall recovery process. One study published in Psychiatric Services, a peer-reviewed medical journal with new issues released monthly, asserts that intensive outpatient addiction treatment programs are just as effective as their inpatient counterparts— sometimes even more so.

Intensive outpatient programs (IOP) are very similar to partial hospitalization, but they are less strict. It’s not unusual for these two levels of care to get confused since they are both outpatient programs. However, IOPs tend to have more schedule flexibility for patients than other levels of care.

Most addiction treatment facilities that offer intensive outpatient programs will allow you to continue your addiction treatment about three hours per day for three to five days every week. Usually, IOPs take place during the evenings, so they are a great option if you go to school or work full-time during the day. Some of the more popular addiction treatment therapies that are offered through intensive outpatient programs include:

  • Holistic therapy
  • 12-Step program
  • Relapse prevention
  • Anger management
  • Life skills counseling
  • Nutrition counseling
  • Faith-based programs
  • Mindfulness coaching
  • Individual or group therapy

Many patients who transition through the levels of care during addiction treatment enter an intensive outpatient program after undergoing inpatient treatment. In fact, the rehab facilities that offer all five levels of care will allow you to continue any medically-assisted treatment or therapy from previous programs, including the ones listed above.

Aftercare or Continued Counseling

The first four levels of care for addiction treatment are all equally essential parts of the recovery process. Whether you choose to enroll in all of them or just some of them is up to you and your recovery team. However, the fifth and final level of care in addiction treatment is one that comes highly recommended no matter which programs proceed it: aftercare.

Aftercare, or continued counseling, is the final supplemental treatment program that everyone in addiction recovery should consider enrolling in. Aftercare is precisely what it sounds like; care that comes last. It begins after you’ve completed your inpatient and outpatient programs. The reason that aftercare is such a necessary part of the addiction recovery process is that it keeps you on the straight and narrow path that you’ve worked so hard for until this point.

Why Enroll in Aftercare?

The previous levels of addiction care help you rebuild your physical, mental, and emotional health. Still, these positive changes won’t last without extra reinforcement from your treatment team and peers in recovery. Aftercare will help you stay committed to staving off the destructive thoughts and behaviors that drove you to abuse drugs or alcohol in the first place. This will help you stay sober once you’ve completed the first four levels of care. Most people who return to their daily routine after the first four levels of care without committing to aftercare tend to relapse after a few weeks or so.

Overall, addiction treatment and recovery should be an ongoing, seamless process. Aftercare is a significant part of maintaining the constancy of recovery and sobriety. In a sense, this level of care is what bridges the gap between treatment and reintegration into everyday life. Most aftercare programs include:

  • Support groups
  • 12-step meetings
  • Recreational activities
  • Specialized workshops
  • Faith-based counseling
  • One-on-one counseling
  • Holistic healing treatment

One of the best benefits of aftercare is that you have the option to continue it for as long as you need. Many people in recovery continue to participate in alumni or volunteer activities for years, even after they get sober. Any of the programs listed above is a great way to keep yourself sober and advocate sobriety for others.

The Five Levels of Addiction Recovery Care at TTC

There are millions of people who struggle with addiction in America today, and all of them have different needs. So, the best rehab facilities are the ones that offer all five levels of care for addiction treatment and recovery. At The Treatment Center, we provide all of these programs and levels of care for addiction treatment. All five levels of care are part of our customizable recovery plans for our patients. For more information, please call us at (866) 295-6003. All calls with one of our admissions counselors are kept confidential.

The post Addiction Treatment Options: The Five Levels of Care appeared first on The Treatment Center.

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Cardiovascular disease, or heart disease, has been the leading cause of death in the United States for more than 80 years. It has also been a significant cause of disability for just as long. Several forms of heart disease target different areas of the cardiovascular system— and substance abuse can cause any of them.

About the Cardiovascular System

The cardiovascular system, which is also called the circulatory system, pumps blood throughout the body. It includes:

  • the heart
  • capillaries
  • arteries
  • veins

Oxygen-rich blood reaches organs and muscle tissue from the arteries while deoxygenated blood pumps through the veins to the heart for reoxygenation. The cycle continues as blood moves in a loop from the heart to the arteries, then to the veins and back to the heart again.

The cardiovascular system also aids in the body’s removal of harmful materials. Blood vessels carry waste products to the liver. Once the liver filters them, the body expels them. Overall, the cardiovascular system is what keeps every organ and muscle functioning at their best.

The Consequences of Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease is the dysfunction or damage to any part of the cardiovascular system, which reaches every part and organ in the body. Any disruption in blood circulation can cause oxygen deprivation for the body’s organs and tissues. This could cause necrosis, or tissue death. As a result, the muscular actions that require blood flow become weak and the functions of other organs, like the liver and the brain, become compromised.

Certain kinds of heart disease can be hereditary or even environmental. However, abusing harmful substances like drugs and alcohol is a well-known factor in the sort of cardiovascular deterioration that triggers heart disease.

About Substance Abuse and Addiction

Although the Fifth Edition Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) has replaced the phrase “substance abuse” with “substance use disorder” to describe addiction, the definition remains the same. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), addiction is “a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.”

Addiction’s effects on the brain qualify it as a brain disease. It alters the brain’s regular function. These changes in the brain can cause not only harmful habits and behaviors to develop but also lasting damage to the rest of the body. The cardiovascular system is particularly susceptible to the consequences of substance abuse.

Types of Cardiovascular Disease Brought On by Drug Addiction Aneurysmal Dilatation

This condition, also called an aneurysm, is a balloon-like swelling in an artery that compromises healthy cardiovascular function. The localized enlargement is the result of a weak artery wall and can be as large as 1.5 times the normal arterial diameter.

Arrhythmia

An irregular heartbeat defines this condition. For the most part, arrhythmias are non-threatening, but it does compromise the normal rate of blood flow throughout the body. Severe cases of arrhythmia have the potential to trigger cardiac arrest.

Atherosclerosis

Plaque buildup in blood vessels characterizes this cardiovascular disease. The plaque is normally a collection of fats, cholesterol, and other similar bodily substances. Since atherosclerosis makes blood vessels narrower than normal, it makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood efficiently.

Cardiac Arrest

This cardiovascular disturbance defined as a sudden loss of heart functioning, which stops breathing and triggers unconsciousness. It’s commonly confused with a heart attack, but it is not the same thing. Unless heart attacks, cardiac arrest does not involve a disruption in blood flow.

Cardiomyopathy

This condition describes heart muscle damage. There are two variations of cardiomyopathy: hypertrophic and dilated. During hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, the heart muscle is larger and thicker than normal. This can block blood flow out of the ventricle (heart chamber). Dilated cardiomyopathy describes an enlargement of the ventricle, not the heart muscle. This enlargement can compromise the heart’s ability to pump blood. Both forms of this cardiovascular disease are typically genetic, but substance abuse can also cause cardiomyopathy.

Cerebral Infarction

This condition is a consequence of cardiovascular disease. Cerebral infarction is an area of necrotic (dead) tissue in the brain that resulted from oxygen deprivation due to poor circulation.

Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA)

CVA is a disruption of blood flow that causes damage to the brain. It’s also called a stroke.

Coronary Heart Disease

This disease is the consequence of major blood vessel damage in the heart. It develops when the coronary arteries— the vessels that supply blood to the heart— become damaged or diseased in some way. Just like with atherosclerosis, plaque buildup is usually the cause of coronary heart disease.

Hemorrhaging

This cardiovascular condition is the result of damaged blood vessels. When blood vessels rupture or tear, blood escapes its regular circulation to and from the heart (bleeding). Hemorrhaging can be either external or internal. When it is internal, the localized bleeding can damage tissues or disrupt regular organ functions. In cases like this, hemorrhaging becomes “internal bleeding.”

Hypertension

This common cardiovascular condition is also called high blood pressure. It occurs when the amount of blood flow resistance against the artery walls is too high. Hypertension is usually the result of narrow arteries.

Hypotension

Simply put, this cardiovascular condition is the opposite of hypertension—low blood pressure. Severe cases of this condition may be life-threatening.

Myocardial Infarction

This is the cardiovascular disturbance that most people confuse with cardiac arrest. However, a myocardial infarction is the result of oxygen deprivation in the heart muscle. Two of the three coronary arteries deliver oxygenated blood to the heart muscle. When one of them is suddenly blocked, this cuts off oxygen to a significant portion of the heart and causes a heart attack.

Thrombosis

When blood is pumped too slowly through the vessels, blood cells can lump together to form a blood clot. Thrombosis can occur in both veins (deep vein thrombosis) and arteries (arterial thrombosis). The latter can cause a heart attack or stroke.

Drugs Linked to Cardiovascular Disease

Researchers have found that a wide variety of drugs, illicit or otherwise, can cause adverse cardiovascular effects and heart disease. One study found that 223 of 4800 people with substance use disorders were hospitalized due to onset cardiovascular disease. This may seem like a small percentage, but heart disease was actually the fourth most common reason for hospital admission among this sample population. Further research indicates that certain drugs have a larger impact on the cardiovascular system than others.

Alcohol

Alcohol is a depressant that is widely available to anyone 21 and older. Since it is a legal substance, it has a high potential for abuse. In fact, the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH) confirmed that more than 15 million American adults struggle with alcoholism.

Alcoholism has been a well-known culprit of onset cardiovascular disease for many years. One study examined 73 patients with heart problems and found that 17.8% of them had a history of alcoholism. Abusing alcohol can lead to a wide variety of cardiovascular complications, including:

  • peripheral artery disease
  • cardiomyopathy
  • hemorrhaging
  • hypertension
  • arrhythmia
Amphetamines

This is a class of drugs that can either be used medically or illicitly. As a medicine, amphetamines are most often prescribed to individuals struggling with attention-deficit/hyperactive disorder (ADHD). However, amphetamines are also the active ingredient in the illicit drug methamphetamine, more commonly known as meth. Habitual abuse of this stimulant can cause any number of cardiovascular diseases or adverse reactions. These may include:

  • myocardial infarction
  • cerebral infarction
  • cardiomyopathy
  • arrhythmia

Misusing both amphetamines (a stimulant) and alcohol (a depressant) is particularly dangerous since each substance affects the central nervous system in conflicting ways. Abusing both at the same time could result in severe cardiovascular complication and even death.

Cocaine

Drugs that are classified as psychostimulants tend to have notable and sometimes adverse effects on the cardiovascular system. This is especially true for cocaine, an illegal and very potent psychostimulant. In addition to its effects on the brain’s neurotransmitters, cocaine can damage the cardiovascular system in a number of ways. In fact, medical research credits cocaine as the most harmful to cardiovascular health. Cocaine use can cause several heart diseases and other medical complications, including:

  • coronary heart disease
  • aneurysmal dilatation
  • myocardial infarction
  • cardiomyopathy
  • atherosclerosis
  • cardiac arrest
  • hypertension
  • thrombosis
  • seizures

According to a National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) by the CDC, regular cocaine use accounts for roughly 25% of heart attacks in adults aged 18 to 45. However, even one-time use of cocaine can lead to cardiovascular complications. Using cocaine just once can cause variant angina or Prinzmetal’s angina, a very painful heart condition characterized by coronary spasms and severe chest pain.

Opioids

Opioids are a class of pharmaceutical drugs that come from the poppy plant. For centuries, it’s been used as a natural painkiller. Today, synthetic opioids are used in prescription pain relief medications. Some of the most popular among people with chronic pain include hydrocodone, oxycodone, and codeine. They each work similarly to the body’s natural endorphins, which inhibit pain signals from reaching sensory receptors in the brain. Essentially, opioids cut off the pain signal before your brain can recognize that the body is hurt.

While they are mostly used as prescription painkillers, opioids come in illicit forms, too. Heroin is one example. When people use opioids recreationally, it brings about a sense of euphoria instead of relief, since there is no pain to treat. Unfortunately, opioids carry a very high potential for abuse either way.

Besides, the misuse of either prescription or illicit opioids tends to yield the same adverse effects on the cardiovascular system. Opioids slow the sympathetic nervous system (‘fight or flight’) and stimulate the parasympathetic nervous system (‘rest and digest’). This causes organs and bodily systems to become slower and more depressed. Most opiate effects on the cardiovascular system are the opposite of those brought on by cocaine and other stimulants. Such effects might include:

  • cerebrovascular accident (CVA)
  • coronary heart disease
  • hypotension
  • arrhythmia
Steroids

This class of drugs has a variety of uses in medicine. Most of the time, steroids are used to mimic hormones that the body naturally produces to assist in normal physical and biochemical bodily functions. As such, they have a high potential for abuse as performance-enhancing drugs.

Misusing steroids can cause a number of medical consequences, including biochemical abnormalities, hormonal imbalances, and cardiovascular disease. Anabolic steroids in particular, which consist of testosterone and its derivatives, can cause conditions like:

  • cerebrovascular accident (CVA)
  • cardiomyopathy
  • hypertension
  • hypotension
  • thrombosis
Simple Ways to Lower the Risks of Cardiovascular Disease

The chances of developing a cardiovascular disease will greatly diminish with a few lifestyle changes. According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH)’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the most effective changes include:

  • a healthy diet with low amounts of salt and fat
  • building an age-appropriate exercise regimen
  • maintaining a healthy weight and BMI
  • finding ways to manage stress
Addiction Help at The Treatment Center

Substance use disorders, if left untreated, can bring about a wide variety of other health problems— including cardiovascular disease. If you or someone you know is struggling to quit a substance addiction, please call The Treatment Center at 855-899-5065. Our programs and services are personalized to meet every patient’s individual needs.   

The post Substance Abuse and Cardiovascular Disease appeared first on The Treatment Center.

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Over the last several years, parental substance abuse in the United States has had an overwhelmingly negative impact on the child welfare system— especially foster care. With more and more adults falling victim to addiction, their children grow up in unhealthy environments as a result. In an attempt to rectify this, several states have begun to make adjustments to their child welfare laws. Now, it’s possible in some places for Child Protective Services (CPS) to remove children from addicted households if the parents don’t receive treatment.

Parental Substance Abuse and Child Custody

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), addiction is ‘a chronic, relapsing brain disease that is characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences.’

Unfortunately, these consequences can hurt anyone in the home. Parental substance abuse is the leading reason why state governments take custody of children. In fact, CPS removes roughly one in every three children from their homes because at least one parent has an addiction that results in child abuse or neglect.

Revealing Statistics from the Department of Health and Human Services

The number of children that have entered the foster care system has continued to increase over the last four years. The Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) annual report from 2016 accounted for the admission of 437,500 children. This is about 40,500 more children in foster care than what was recorded in 2012— when the admission rates began to rise.

A significant factor behind this increase is the effects of the opioid crisis on parents. HHS has determined that parental substance abuse made up about 34% of the foster care cases in 2016. Just one year earlier, more than 62,000 children in foster care did not return home to their biological families because CPS had terminated their parents’ rights.

Unfortunately, the state can’t always accommodate the sharp increase in foster care admissions. Some areas just don’t have enough foster families for children in the state’s care. So, in recent years, the foster care system has been relying on relatives to take in displaced children. In fact, according to a Generations United report, non-parental family members took in more than one-third of child relatives that came from substance-addicted households in 2014.

Increasing Efforts to Create New Child Welfare Laws

Most child protection laws today address the issue of parental substance abuse. In fact, 47 states have implemented child protection laws to combat the increasingly negative impact of parental substance abuse on children. Additionally, 33 of these states have criminalized the exposure of substance abuse activity to children.

Several states have expanded their respective definitions of child abuse and child neglect to include parental substance abuse. This is because, at the very least, substance abuse impairs the parents’ ability to care for their children properly. At the worst, exposure of illegal drug activity to a child can threaten the child’s health and safety. This includes prenatal exposure to addictive substances during pregnancy.

There are also a few state and federal laws that address the issue of substance abuse during or after pregnancy. In some states, both scenarios qualify as child abuse and could lead to complete termination of parental rights. Healthcare providers in states that implement the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) are required to notify CPS of high-risk parental substance abuse cases. In other words, if parents expose their baby to substance abuse, the CPS must step in.

Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Methods

Although parental substance abuse is still a problem in America today, several programs are beginning to implement both addiction prevention and treatment options for parents who are actively trying to get sober. Some examples include:

  • early identification and accommodation of high-risk families in addiction treatment programs
  • priority access to addiction treatment for parents already involved in the child welfare system
  • addiction treatment services to treat the whole family, including the children affected by parental substance addiction (i.e., therapy, counseling, etc.)
  • abstinence practice, recovery coaching, and relapse prevention services
Keep Your Family Together with Help from The Treatment Center

Addiction may be a disease, but it is one that can put children of substance users at risk. Unfortunately, the negative repercussions of parental substance abuse result in hundreds of thousands of children entering foster care every year. Parents who abuse substances may not be able to care for their children properly. Worse still, they are putting their children’s health and safety at risk, even if it’s unintentional.

Still, there is hope for families struggling with addiction to stay together and receive help. At The Treatment Center, our team of experienced medical professionals and addiction experts offer a wide variety of programs and services to help struggling parents get sober. If you or a loved one is trying to get sober, call The Treatment Center at 855-899-5065 for more information about our personalized treatment plans. All calls are confidential.

The post The Impact of Parental Substance Abuse on the Foster Care System appeared first on The Treatment Center.

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What Are Nootropics?

Nootropics are a class of drug that is used to improve cognitive function and mental energy.

Sometimes called cognitive enhancers or “smart drugs,” they target executive functions like concentration, creativity, and motivation. Other effects of nootropics use include improvements in:

•    mood
•    energy
•    memory
•    alertness
•    focus (i.e., the ability to absorb new information)

Although these effects are characteristic of psychostimulants, most nootropics don’t have very many psychostimulant side effects and are virtually non-toxic. Nootropics come in many forms, but the most popular and widely used one is something that almost everyone uses every day: caffeine.

The Most Popular Nootropic: Caffeine

Caffeine is a nootropic that exists in coffee, tea, soda, and even pills. The pill form has grown in popularity in recent years since it can provide the same mental boost as coffee without the added sugar or calories. In fact, one pill (100-300mg of caffeine) is roughly equivalent to between two and four cups of coffee, which can provide energy for up to four hours. Plus, many people use caffeine pills to suppress their appetite as well as boost their energy. Today, anyone can get these pills at service stations, drug stores, and other general retailers.

Despite its popularity, however, there are a few misconceptions surrounding the consumption of this supplement that many people believe to be true. For example, many people argue that frequent caffeine use can become an addictive habit.

Is Caffeine Addictive?

While it is true that caffeine affects the central nervous system and can incite mild physical dependence, it is technically not an addictive substance. Like most other nootropics, caffeine is relatively harmless in low doses or when used in moderation. The reason for this is because it does not have the same drastic effects on physical, mental, emotional and social health as other drugs do. The same can be said for most other nootropics. Additionally, unlike with drugs or alcohol, abstaining from things like coffee does not cause severe withdrawal or induce any harmful behaviors. The pills are no different— they have more or less the same effects as other forms of caffeine and do not carry any more of a risk of addiction development.

Common Side Effects

Although most medical professionals agree that caffeine is not an addictive substance and is considered safe to use, it does still have some side effects that affect everyone differently. The side effects of caffeine vary from mild to severe, depending on how much the person has consumed. The most common side effects usually include:

•    Bursts of energy followed by fatigue
•    Increased heart and breathing rates
•    Disruption in sleep patterns
•    Irritability
•    Headache

Withdrawal Symptoms

Although caffeine is not addictive by medical standards, people who abruptly stop using it may still experience cravings and withdrawal symptoms. After all, this naturally-occurring stimulant affects the central nervous system; so, regular use can result in very mild physical dependence. The only difference is that, in this case, withdrawal isn’t very severe. Symptoms of caffeine withdrawal typically include:

•    fatigue
•    headache
•    irritability
•    low mood
•    drowsiness
•    muscle aches
•    difficulty concentrating

Unlike with drug or alcohol withdrawal, caffeine withdrawal symptoms aren’t a threat to physical or mental health. Additionally, it doesn’t last more than a day or two. For these reasons, most medical professionals and addiction treatment experts agree that caffeine dependence does not qualify as an addiction.

Things to Remember About Caffeine More People Consume It Than You Might Think

According to an article published by the Huffington Post, the United States is the leading consumer of coffee in the world. In fact, Americans consume a grand total of about 400 million cups of coffee per day— and coffee represents roughly 75% of all the caffeine consumed in the United States. However, even those who don’t drink coffee may have more caffeine in their diet than they realize. After all, it comes from the leaves and seeds of various plant life, and coffee beans are only one of several sources. Other natural sources of caffeine include:

•    cocoa beans
•    yerba mate
•    tea leaves
•    kola nuts
•    guarana

This means that most sodas, teas, and weight loss supplements contain caffeine. Even dark chocolate contains it. With this in mind, almost 90% of Americans consume caffeine in some form or another practically every day.

It Isn’t Healthy, But It’s Not Unhealthy Either

Caffeine may be used to help with energy and concentration, but that doesn’t mean that consuming it frequently or in large amounts is healthy. As previously mentioned, one consequence of too much caffeine is its interference with sleeping patterns. This may impact other areas of health over time if caffeine consumption isn’t kept in check. So, the best way to avoid any adverse effects is to use caffeine in moderation.

The Recommended Limit Per Day is Pretty High

Studies have shown that a consumption limit of 400mg of caffeine per day is safe for healthy adults. This equals four cups of coffee, two energy shot drinks, or ten cans of soda a day. However, the recommended limit for children is significantly lower. In fact, it’s generally recommended that children avoid consuming caffeine altogether until their mid to late teens. Otherwise, caffeine may interfere with sleep, appetite, and other important factors of physical development.

The Pills May Contain More Than Just Caffeine

Like any other source of caffeine, the pills are typically not dangerous. However, some brands may include additional ingredients. This can be dangerous for consumers with preexisting health conditions since combining caffeine with other substances is generally ill-advised. For example, the caffeine pills that also contain ephedrine and aspirin can be hazardous to people with heart conditions. To navigate these risks, check the label for the list of ingredients and any disclaimers or health warnings.

Caffeine Dependence Help at The Treatment Center

While caffeine may not be classified as addictive, using it too frequently can be just as habit-forming as any other central nervous system stimulant. If you find yourself unable to moderate or stop your caffeine consumption, The Treatment Center can help. Call us at 855-899-5065 to speak with one of our councilors if you have any questions or concerns about your caffeine use.

The post Caffeine Addiction: Fact or Fiction? appeared first on The Treatment Center.

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