The Recovery Village Drug Rehab and Eating Disorder Treatment Center Wed, 20 Jun 2018 16:16:52 +0000 en-US hourly 1 139383472 Does Canine Therapy Really Work as Addiction Treatment? Wed, 20 Jun 2018 16:00:44 +0000 Service animals are playing an increasing role in the daily lives of many people, but they are also being used as an effective addiction treatment. ... Read more

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Canine-assisted therapy, or using dogs in an alcohol or drug rehab, is particularly popular because most people adore these four-legged creatures and their presence seems to provide some unique benefits in an addiction treatment environment.

What is Canine Therapy?

Canine therapy is a form of animal-assisted therapy, specifically where dogs used to help those with mental disorders can assist in the treatment process. Also referred to as animal-assisted intervention, this type of therapy is a planned and goal-oriented intervention that is directed by a trained professional. Each program is different, but canines used in therapy are trained for obedience and agility. Sessions may vary in length and participants are able to engage with the dogs in a variety of ways, such as through play, petting, walking, and grooming. Rehab clients are not forced to participate in canine therapy, but it is an option that many choose due to its benefits.

How Canine Therapy is Beneficial in Addiction Treatment

By their nature, dogs are attentive, comforting, and accepting animals. This is something that can be a tremendous benefit to a client that has experienced trauma or is having difficulty with self-esteem thanks to substance abuse issues. Some of the top ways that canine-assisted therapy can be beneficial in addiction treatment include:
  • Boosts confidence
  • Improves mood and promotes positive emotions
  • Supports the expression or development of empathic skills
  • Eases feelings of anxiety
  • Enhances communication and social interaction skills
  • Reduces feelings associated with anger, sadness, loneliness, and insecurity
There are not many research studies that deal specifically with canine-assisted therapy and addiction treatment, but there are a few. One study conducted by researchers reviewed patient reactions and the benefits of canine-assisted therapy at a residential treatment center in New York. Three dogs were brought to the treatment center that had been certified as “therapy dogs” and that had also been classified as rescue dogs. Fifty-six clients were offered canine-assisted treatment weekly in sessions that lasted roughly an hour each. Sixty-four percent of clients participated in the treatment. The study concluded that the patients who did interact with the dogs received some specific benefits. Those participants were more likely to voluntarily reveal information about their feelings of low self-esteem, painful past losses, and the consequences of their drug and alcohol use. The clients also opened up about relationship and family dynamic specifics as well as details about their personal history, including past violence.
Woman petting a dog.

Ask your addiction treatment program if they offer canine-assisted therapy.

Combining Canine Therapy with an Addiction Treatment Program

If you would like to attend an addiction treatment program that offers canine-assisted therapy, you should speak with The Recovery Village. Our alcohol and drug therapy in Umatilla, FL offers clients the highest level of care. We provide comprehensive addiction treatment services that include traditional and holistic options, including canine-assisted treatment. Our addiction specialists will speak to you about your needs and current situation and will explore with you the best program designed to produce positive outcomes. Contact us now to discuss your admissions options.

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Addiction treatment 69867
Addiction: The Elephant in the Family Room Tue, 19 Jun 2018 13:00:25 +0000 The side effects of addiction are not isolated to a single family member. Whether it’s waiting to be picked up from school by a parent ... Read more

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The side effects of addiction are not isolated to a single family member. Whether it’s waiting to be picked up from school by a parent who never shows up, having to get a lawyer for a child charged with a DUI when they aren’t even old enough to drive, or having a card declined at the grocery store because a partner spent all the money at a bar — addiction is a family disease. In fact, 46 percent of adults in the United States claim that they have a family member or close friend who is currently struggling with a substance use disorder (SUD) or has in the past. Because addiction is a disease, is it passed on from generation to generation like heart disease or cancer?   In a recent study conducted by The Recovery Village, approximately 400 participants were surveyed in an effort to better understand the public’s perception of addiction and the family’s influence on addiction. Of those 400 participants, 69 percent reported that they had a history of drug or alcohol addiction in their family. Twenty-nine percent agreed that if addiction runs in the family, they are more likely to develop an addiction. Family therapy and communication is an integral part of recovery for people with substance use disorders. Having everyone in the family involved is important because each family member has a role in the affected person’s life.

How Different Family Members’ Addictions Affect a Family 

Adults Living as Partners 

The family role that the partner of someone with an SUD often plays is that of “the provider.” The type of consequences of being in a relationship with someone grappling with an SUD are most likely to be economical and psychological. Money becomes a huge issue for a couple because the partner with an SUD will use their own money to purchase their substance of choice, leaving their partner to take financial responsibility or use the couple’s joint finances which can result in more problems for the relationship. Psychological reactions to a substance use disorder may include:
  • Denial
  • Protection of the partner with an SUD
  • Chronic anger
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Hopelessness
  • Inappropriate sexual behavior
  • Neglected health
  • Shame
  • Stigma
  • Isolation
In this dynamic, it’s important to recognize that both partners need their own form of treatment. The recovery of each partner will ultimately affect both, and the couple should consider seeking a treatment facility that makes both of them feel welcome. Family therapy should still be an option for the couple, even if they aren’t actually married. Family therapy is a critical aspect of addiction treatment, even if the person with an SUD is estranged from their family or has limited family contact. Discussions or communication with family members can uncover issues that can be relevant to treatment. It’s not necessarily important how many family members are present, but more so how they interact with one another. In addition to a couple participating in treatment together, questions of codependency may arise. This topic has recently become popular in the field of addiction study. Groups like Codependents Anonymous (CoDA) have formed to help those with further assistance during treatment. CoDA defines codependency as being overly attentive to the issues of another person to the detriment of one’s own wants and needs. Some examples of a codependent person’s patterns of behavior include:
  • Being Controlling
  • Having low self-esteem
  • Denying feelings
  • Being excessively compliant
  • Compromising one’s own values
  • Oversensitive
  • Overly loyal
“Codependent” originated as a term used to describe the spouse or partner of a person with an SUD, however, it is now used more to refer to any relative of a person with a substance use or mental health disorder.

Married With Children 

Being the child of a parent with an SUD is difficult. The children may feel responsible for their parent’s addiction or think that it’s their fault. The children may be exposed to illicit activities — like being present during their parent misusing substances — and may even have to participate in an illegal action on their parent’s behalf, such as being present during a drug deal. Children who have a parent with an SUD endure long-term effects that include cognitive, behavioral, psychological and emotional consequences. One of the biggest developmental issues a child may encounter is learning to trust. When a parent has an SUD, it becomes difficult for a child to trust them. Effects of parental substance misuse on children may specifically include:
  • Impaired learning capacity
  • Increased risk of developing an SUD
  • Adjustment problems
  • Increased rates of divorce
  • Increased rates of violence
  • The need for control in relationships
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
Having a parent with an SUD affects unborn children as well. Mothers who have an addiction and continue to misuse substances throughout a pregnancy can cause numerous complications and detrimental long-term effects for their unborn child. Some of these complications may include fetal alcohol syndrome, Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, and Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. When children become adolescents, a parent’s SUD can cause problems like truancy, drug experimentation and create an increased risk of their own SUD forming. The spouse or partner of the parent with an SUD is most likely going to take on the role of being the protective and provider for the family. If both parents have an SUD, an extended family member, grandparent, neighbor, or even foster parent will have to assume responsibility for the child(ren)’s care.

Adolescent With a Substance Use Disorder 

For an adolescent, one of the effects of having a parent with an SUD is that they are at an increased risk of developing an SUD themselves. However, even children without a parent who is struggling with an addiction can develop an SUD. When a child develops an SUD, siblings may feel neglected or that their needs and concerns are being ignored and minimized because their parents are constantly reacting to the sibling with the SUD. In families that include children with an SUD, many also include a parent with an addiction. In some cases, the parent with an SUD may form something like an alliance or partnership with the child in which they hide their disorders from the other parent or siblings who are sober.  

What Family Members Can Do To Help a Person With an SUD 

Having a support system is critical to recovery from an SUD. According to Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), people in recovery who have a strong support group are able to maintain their sobriety and long-term recovery. While providing encouragement, love and support is a pertinent part of helping someone in recovery, there are additional ways in which a family member or loved one can help someone in recovery from an SUD. Some other ways family members and loved ones can actively get involved in a person’s healing process include:
  • Attending meetings or support groups
  • Educating themselves and other family members and friends about SUDs
  • Working with the whole family to create a stable, sober home environment
  • Going to therapy sessions to learn how to communicate and set boundaries
  • Addressing their own behaviors that could possibly be contributing to the person’s SUD
In addition to these methods for supporting a loved one’s recovery, there are also resources for the family and friends of a person with an SUD, including:
  • 12-step groups: Al-Anon, Alateen, Codependents Anonymous, and Families Anonymous are 12-step groups for the loved ones of people with SUDs. Most of these are national organizations, so while every group may not be available in every city, there should be at least one option available nationwide.
  • National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA): This organization is a non-profit that provides education and advocacy services to help the children of parents with an SUD. The NACoA’s goal is to be certain that children who have parents with an SUD get the help and support they need to grow up in a safe and healthy environment.
  • SAMSHA This organization collects substance misuse and mental illness statistics in the United States through annual, national surveys. There are several substance misuse resources available through their website.
There are also local-level support groups available for the loved ones of a person with an SUD. Community mental health centers, spiritual groups, and volunteer organizations are just a few examples of where loved ones can connect with others who have similar experiences, fears, and hopes.

Support Vs Enabling 

When a family member is trying to be a support system for a person with an SUD, it’s important to remember that there has to be a boundary between being supportive and enabling the person to continue with their addiction. Codependency can exist as an underlying factor for many families that deal with addiction. The codependent family member or enabler often isn’t even aware that they are contributing to their loved one’s SUD because it occurs so subtly. It’s essential to know the differences between supporting and enabling a person struggling with an SUD, some of the distinctions may include:
  • Underlying motives: A codependent family member or friend may take the role of enabler, giving the person with an SUD money to pay bills, or participate in substance misuse with them. They subconsciously do this because instead of wanting their loved one to get better, they want them to remain reliant on them. A supportive family member or friend would go to meetings with their loved one, go to counseling, encourage them to seek treatment, and refuse to accept or participate in the addictive behavior.
  • Level of attachment: While a supportive family member or friend would be concerned about an addicted person’s destructive behavior, they wouldn’t necessarily sacrifice their own self-interests. On the other hand, a codependent may be willing to give up their time, money, and endless emotional energy to “help” the person with an SUD.
  • Strength of Boundaries: A codependent family member typically has weak boundaries or no boundaries at all when it comes to their loved one suffering from addiction. A codependent may accept verbal and physical abuse, risk their health, or allow themselves to take the blame for criminal charges to cover for their affected loved one

The Importance of Family Therapy for Addiction Recovery 

Addiction is a family disease, it affects everyone in the family in one way or another. At some point, the family must confront their loved one’s disease, in one way or another, so in addition to individual therapy, it’s important that the person with the SUD and their family learn how to communicate and how to continue sober living once they are in recovery. Family therapy can take place before, during, or after treatment. Typically, a family member will seek an intervention specialist to help them approach their affected loved one. The family member can also choose a treatment center ahead of time, so they can begin the therapy sessions immediately following the intervention. During substance use disorder treatment, family therapy usually consists of:
  • Teaching the family about the disease of addiction
  • Helping family members and the person with the SUD re-establish lost connections
  • Explaining the addiction treatment process and the role of the family
  • Differentiating between support versus enabling
  • Explaining the role of codependency in addiction and its dangers
Family therapy session After treatment and at the beginning of the recovery, it is encouraged to continue seeking support in the community. Most communities have a counselor or family therapist that specializes in addiction-related issues. Family members and friends of a person with an SUD are also encouraged to seek support from other organizations like Al-Anon and Families Anonymous. At The Recovery Village, they believe family involvement is a crucial part of recovery. At most of their facilities, family communication is typically established within the first 48 hours of a patient being admitted. The facility may participate in family weekends and family therapy sessions. What often happens during these visits is that the family members and the person with an SUD come to the realization that addiction is a family disease. If you or someone you know struggles with an SUD, help is available. Don’t hesitate to seek treatment, call The Recovery Village and speak with one our representatives who can help you choose the treatment that’s right for you. There is no obligation to enroll and the call is free and confidential. Call today, recovery is possible.  

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Can You Outrun Addiction? Mon, 18 Jun 2018 16:00:50 +0000 It is common knowledge that exercise is good for you, but you may not realize that exercise is also beneficial in addiction recovery. This is ... Read more

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the role of exercise in recovery is to provide unquestionably positive results.

How Running and Exercise Can Benefit Your Recovery From Addiction

When you are trying to recover from a drug or alcohol addiction, your body and mind might still crave the substance that was producing the “feel good” endorphins that produced a high. There is also some stress associated with learning to live a sober life, which can lead to relapse without a strong recovery program. The many benefits of exercise in recovery make it something that you should incorporate into your new routine when possible. Exercise and running are natural ways to replace those endorphins that were lost by quitting harmful substances. Some of the main benefits of running in addiction recovery include:
  • Stronger physical health, including a healthier heart and lungs
  • Increased stamina and lower weight gain due to overeating
  • Positive feelings from dopamine and endorphins released, known as a “runner’s high”
  • Lower levels of depression and clearer thinking
  • Reduced cravings for drugs, alcohol, and unhealthy food
  • A higher level of confidence, self-esteem, and feelings of achievement
  • More sense of being in control of your body and mind
  • Lower rates of relapse
Woman leaning down and tying her running shoe.

Running can produce positive feelings and help reduce the chance of relapse.

How to Incorporate Running Into Your Addiction Recovery

Running may not be for everyone, and it is possible that you have done some physical damage while being addicted to drugs or alcohol. If you have not tried this form of exercise before or for some time, consult with your physician before you begin. This is particularly important if you are over the age of 40. Once you have medical approval, start slowly. Get plenty of rest, eat healthy meals, and stretch before you take off for your daily run. Commitment is a big part of recovery, so set a weekly running schedule and stick to it as much as possible. Recovery works best when you have support, so look for others in recovery who would like to join you in your fitness journey. When you set up your route, avoid old haunts and any roads that take you past bars or dangerous parts of town.

Get Started With Addiction Recovery Now

If you are still struggling with substance abuse, there is help available. The Recovery Village offers compassionate and comprehensive addiction treatment programs that can help you break free from drugs and alcohol and find a new way to live. Once you complete detox and enter the appropriate treatment program, you can learn more about enriching your recovery through exercise and other healthy choices. Contact us now to speak with one of our compassionate addiction specialists about your admissions options.

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Addiction recovery Running can produce positive feelings and help reduce the chance of relapse. 69861
3 Ways to Make Father’s Day Special for a Dad in Recovery Sun, 17 Jun 2018 13:00:30 +0000 Father’s Day can be a celebration of all the good deeds that a father has done for his family. For some fathers in recovery, this ... Read more

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Father’s Day can be a celebration of all the good deeds that a father has done for his family. For some fathers in recovery, this holiday can be another reminder of past regrets and of the times they let their family down. However, celebrating Father’s Day can offer the opportunity to acknowledge the hard work and dedication that a father has put into turning his life around in recovery. That recognition can go a long way with fathers who are in recovery, and can be one of the best gifts a child can give.

Celebrating Dad’s Recovery

For children who want to celebrate their father’s sobriety on this special day, there are a few ways that it can be commemorated. On Father’s Day, recovery is an achievement that deserves to be recognized. When children support their father’s sobriety, it can be a powerful motivator for the father to maintain his sobriety. When a father knows his family supports his sobriety, he can be emboldened to continue his recovery. Having a strong support system is a key component for long-term recovery. To make Father’s Day extra special for a dad in recovery, sons and daughters can use these unique ideas for their father to have a memorable holiday.

Give a Personalized Present

There are plenty of gifts that are usually given on Father’s Day. Between funny socks, business ties and the cliche “#1 Dad” coffee mug, these gifts can get repetitive. However, for a father in recovery , children have the option to be a little more creative. One gift that can be meaningful is an engraved recovery chip. Not only does this chip commemorate how far a father has come with his sobriety, but it also shows that his family fully supports him. A personalized sobriety chip is not only a unique gift, but it is also a constant reminder of how far a father has come in recovery. Daughter kisses her dad on Father's Day

Write a Heartfelt Letter

Writing a heartfelt letter is another personalized gift that can make a father smile. Within a letter, there are various topics that can be brought up. Some ideas include:
  • The progress a son or daughter has seen their father make during his recovery
  • Thanking the father for choosing to pursue sobriety
  • Forgiving the father for their past mistakes and supporting them in a brighter future
  • Acknowledging the father’s accomplishments and expressing pride in them
Just like an engraved recovery chip, a letter is a token that a father can carry with him at all times. A father can re-read the letter to remind him of the support he has from his family. Not only can the positive words in a letter help him persevere through challenges, but it can also give him the strength to continue with his journey. Father reading a letter that his child gave him

Head Out on a Family Adventure

Physical presents don’t have to be the only type of gift given this Father’s Day. Taking Dad out on a family adventure is also a special event that can be beneficial for a father who is in recovery. Not only does a family trip give the entire family a chance to get out of the house together, but it gives the dad a chance to get some fresh air and create new memories with his family. Some ideas for family activities include:
  • Barbecuing
  • Having a beach day
  • Going to the zoo
  • Camping
  • Fishing
  • Golfing
  • Attending a sports game
  • Bowling
  • Hiking
While out on a family adventure, fathers in recovery may discover new outlets for their emotions through hobbies. Discovering new places to explore can also lift a father’s spirits if he is having a hard time during his recovery. Having a healthy outlet for expressing emotions is important not just for fathers in recovery, but for anyone who struggles with a substance use disorder. Father helps teach son how to grill If your father has not yet taken his first steps in sobriety, The Recovery Village can help. The Recovery Village has facilities located across the nation that can assist you through individualized treatment programs. For more information on programs, locations and insurance coverage, call one of our representatives. Calls are toll-free and confidential. Begin your journey to a substance-free life today.

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What Are the Main Obstacles to Addiction Treatment in the US? Fri, 15 Jun 2018 16:00:16 +0000 Needing addiction treatment does not necessarily mean that you will receive it. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), approximately 20.4 ... Read more

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20.4 million adults in this country needed addiction treatment in 2015, but only 2.3 million received treatment at a specialty facility.  This means that just over 11 percent of those needing treatment are getting it. One recent study discusses the various barriers to substance abuse treatment.

What Are the Barriers to Substance Abuse Treatment?

This nation’s ongoing opioid crisis has placed a spotlight on the gap between the increased need for treatment and the barriers that exist to receiving these services. A recent study published in the Journal of Addiction Medicine discusses common challenges faced by people who try to access appropriate addiction treatment services after a doctor’s office or emergency room visit. The study interviewed a number of treatment referral stakeholders to identify common themes that are considered obstacles to treatment for addiction. The interviews accepted input from addiction specialists, physicians, emergency department personnel, and substance abuse treatment center staff.  The four common barriers to substance abuse treatment were:
  • Patient Eligibility. Healthcare providers often find it difficult to determine whether or not patients meet the criteria for admission to certain treatment centers.
  • Knowledge of Treatment Options. Providers that make referrals may not understand the different types of addiction treatment options available and how to make recommendations to patients for choosing the right type of addiction treatment.
  • Treatment Capacity. When patients are eligible for services, providers may not be able to get timely information on space availability at certain treatment centers.
  • Communication. There may exist some difficulty in communication between the providers that refer to addiction treatment services, patients, and the facilities that can deliver the care.
Woman reaching for someone's hand for help climbing.

If you need addiction treatment, there are several ways to overcome common obstacles.

Overcoming Common Addiction Treatment Barriers

Healthcare providers and regulators are working on solutions to address these particular obstacles to substance abuse treatment. Some of the recommendations include creating a database of eligibility criteria as well as providing real-time information on treatment center capacity. Additional education for healthcare providers about addiction and treatment options will also move this process forward. Additionally, patients and their families may have to be the strongest advocates for addiction treatment. Many health insurance plans cover these services but do not make the information readily available unless you ask. There may also be other ways to get coverage such as through Medicaid. In the alternative, you can discuss payment options with your addiction treatment center. Even if you are not receiving the referral services you need from a healthcare provider, contact a qualified substance abuse treatment center for the help you need. There may be a bed available for detox and treatment services when your physician is telling you otherwise. At The Recovery Village, we offer comprehensive addiction services that include detox, medication-assisted therapy, inpatient and outpatient care, and treatment for co-occurring disorders. If you or someone you care about is struggling with addiction, contact us now to discuss admissions options and find out more about how our services can help.

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Addiction treatment If you need addiction treatment, there are several ways to overcome common obstacles. 69857
How Does Alcohol Affect Sleep Quality? Wed, 13 Jun 2018 16:00:58 +0000 If you drink alcohol, you might notice that the substance can make you drowsy. Unfortunately, this can give a false impression that alcohol is an ... Read more

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alcohol abuse, but it also is not an effective sleep aid. A new study confirms that alcohol affects the quality of your sleep.

The Body’s Normal Sleep Cycles

When you get the right type of sleep, your body and brain will experience several sleep patterns. These are divided into Non-REM and REM sleep cycles. The Non-REM, or NREM, cycle begins just as you nod off to sleep and your eye movements and brain waves slow down. This is a period of light sleep where you might be easily awakened. The next stage of sleep is REM, which happens about 90 minutes after you fall asleep and could occur in multiple cycles throughout the night. During this stage, you are more likely to dream, your breathing and blood pressure rates rise, and your brain is more active. This is a vital stage of sleep that contributes to learning and long-term memory.

How Alcohol Affects Sleep Quality

When you are drinking to fall asleep or otherwise consuming alcohol before bedtime, you have a greater chance of disrupting your body’s normal sleep cycles. According to a study published in JMIR Mental Health, even moderate alcohol intake can impair sleep. A team of researchers studied over 4,000 subjects aged 18 to 65, some who consumed low, moderate, high, and no levels of alcohol over several nights. The study concluded that even one alcoholic drink affects sleep quality. Moderate intake impacted sleep quality by 24 percent and high intake of alcohol by 39.2 percent. How does alcohol affect sleep? According to the National Sleep Foundation, drinking alcohol can impact both quality and quantity of sleep in several ways. Alcohol blocks REM sleep, and it can interrupt your circadian rhythms. Drinking alcohol can also cause you to use the bathroom more frequently and could aggravate existing breathing problems. Man lying in bed covering half his face with a white sheet.

Getting Adequate Sleep Without Alcohol

Are you worried that you will not be able to sleep without alcohol? This is a common concern among people who have used alcohol as a means to fall or stay asleep. Unfortunately, this substance is not the cure-all that it seems and could lead to some dangerous and deadly health issues. If you have become addicted to alcohol, you will still be able to sleep without it, but it may take some time. When you attend an addiction treatment program, you will learn some tools that promote healthy living, which includes getting enough sleep. Alcohol abuse may have taken a toll on your body and mind, so there could be an adjustment period before regular sleep returns. Some of the things that you can do to promote a good night’s rest include adopting healthy habits such as a regular schedule and avoiding long naps or caffeine late in the day. You can also learn some relaxation techniques and ways to keep your time filled so that your mind and body will need the rest at the right time. Sleep aids of any type are not a good idea when you are in recovery from alcohol abuse unless given to you by your treating physician. If you want to stop using alcohol for sleep and find a new way to live, there is help available. Contact The Recovery Village now to speak with one of our compassionate staff about your alcohol treatment options.

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This Is America: Addiction Is Familiar, and Familial Wed, 13 Jun 2018 14:00:04 +0000 In America, 120 people die every day from a drug overdose, and it is now the country’s leading cause of death for people younger than ... Read more

The post This Is America: Addiction Is Familiar, and Familial appeared first on The Recovery Village.

In America, 120 people die every day from a drug overdose, and it is now the country’s leading cause of death for people younger than 50, eclipsing the combined fatalities from motor vehicle accidents and gun homicides. This pervasive death toll is felt by nearly every American. Addiction leaves almost no individual, or family, unaffected, and has quickly become part of American culture. In many families, drug and alcohol use disorders are unwanted inheritances passed down from parents to children. To better understand the intricacies of familial addiction, The Recovery Village surveyed approximately 400 people from across the United States. Their answers showed that addiction is a common thread in hundreds of individual family histories, and revealed ways in which the line of disease is continued, or broken, from one generation to the next.  

Addiction: Part of the Family in America

In October of 2017, The Pew Research Center reported that nearly half of Americans know someone (a family member or friend) who has faced addiction. Additionally, the National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that approximately 25 percent of American children are raised in households where substance misuse is present. Drug and alcohol addiction is something many Americans are exposed to early in life, often in their own homes, and it remains a constant issue in their social support circles long after childhood. This fact was echoed in The Recovery Village survey, in which almost 70 percent of respondents said that they had a history of drug or alcohol addiction in their families. The prevalence of drug and alcohol misuse in American families raises questions about how addiction originates in this setting, and why (or why not) people follow in their addicted family member’s footsteps. Genetics can explain why some people are predisposed to addiction.

Is Addiction Hereditary?

In The Recovery Village survey, participants were asked to draw parallels between their familial addiction history and their own personal substance misuse. The survey revealed thought-provoking similarities across generational lines. Alcoholism was the most commonly reported type of addiction in participants’ families, and alcohol was also the drug the respondents struggled with the most in their own lives. In addition, mental illness was singled out as the biggest contributing factor to each respondent’s family member’s addiction, and their own. In line with these responses, nearly 52 percent of survey participants agreed with the statement, “If addiction runs in someone’s family, they are more likely to develop an addiction.” But exactly how definitive is this assessment? Understanding the accuracy of this statement demands a closer look at how addiction is passed down.

The Role of Genetics

Research shows that children whose parents misuse drugs are more than twice as likely than their peers to face a substance use disorder, and children of alcoholics are four times more likely than their peers to misuse alcohol. But does a family history of addiction truly forecast someone’s future relationship with drugs and alcohol, and is someone more likely to misuse drugs or alcohol if someone in their family already does? The short answer is “yes”, and the explanation may lie in their genetic code.    Genetic factors can influence the likelihood of someone experiencing addiction in that genes that are passed down from parent to child, over generations, can make someone predisposed to this disease. Research from the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence shows that as much as half of a person’s risk of addiction stems from genetic factors inherited from their parents. To understand this genetic connection, it’s important to realize that addiction is, by definition, a chronic disease. Many diseases (sickle cell anemia, cystic fibrosis, etc.) are caused by mutations in individual genes, but this is not the case with addiction. Substance use disorders are complex diseases that don’t impact just a single genetic code, and variations in an array of different genes contribute to someone’s overall risk of addiction. Genetics are not the sole predictor of addiction, and are just one part of the picture when it comes to someone’s risk of experiencing the disease of addiction. Scientists affirm that the interaction of a person’s genes, experiences and environment influence their mental and physical health. For example, in the case of high blood pressure, both genetics and lifestyle factors (diet, physical activity, etc.) influence someone’s risk of experiencing this condition, and the same is true with addiction. This means that people whose parents faced addiction aren’t destined to develop substance use disorders just because they share a genetic code.  

Addiction Is a Matter of Nature, and Nurture

In addition to genetics, external factors, like someone’s environment, play a large role in the probability of addiction. In The Recovery Village survey, 14 percent of respondents thought addiction was a hereditary disease, while the majority described addiction as “a disease caused by environmental factors or experiences.” As alcoholism and drug use disorders are diseases that involve genetic and environmental influences, both answers are close to the truth. In many cases, substance use disorders are not a matter of solely nature or nurture, but of a combination of both factors. In the environmental aspect, a child’s risk of developing a substance use disorder increases if:
  • Both parents misuse drugs or alcohol
  • The parent(s) struggles with depression or another mental illness
  • Parental drug use is severe or life-threatening
  • Domestic violence or child abuse occurs
Children who face these circumstances may be genetically predisposed to addiction, but their own behavior and choices play an equal role in their risk of addiction. People who have a family history of addiction aren’t destined to become addicted themselves. The lifestyles they maintain, despite their family history, can largely determine their relationship with drugs and alcohol. And as The Recovery Village respondents affirmed, simply watching a loved one struggle with addiction is enough to make someone choose a healthier way of living.    Children of addicted parents rarely become addicted themselves.

Do Children of Addiction Follow in Their Family’s Footsteps?

Although the risk for developing a substance use disorder is higher for people whose parents misuse drugs or alcohol, it’s not a guarantee that they will become addicted. In fact, few individuals follow the example set by their addicted loved ones. Research shows that despite being more likely to misuse drugs, most individuals whose parents faced addiction do not develop substance use disorders themselves. This reality is echoed in the results of The Recovery Village survey. While nearly 70 percent of respondents reported a history of familial addiction, 66 percent said they have never struggled with a drug or alcohol addiction. When asked how their family member’s addiction has influenced them, the majority (39 percent) of respondents said they stay away from drugs or alcohol completely. Having a loved one who struggled with addiction, and seeing the effects of addiction first-hand, proved to be impetus enough for most survey respondents to avoid drugs and alcohol in their own lives. Forty-eight percent of survey participants asserted that drug or alcohol use has never appealed to them. Write-in explanations like, “I grew up around an addict,” and, “I’ve seen what [addiction] does to people, and I knew I needed to nip it in the bud before it ever became a problem of my own,” mark the point where familial addiction often ends. Witnessing a loved one struggle with this debilitating disease often keeps people from following suit.

Forge Your Own Path: Finding Treatment for Addiction

If addiction is a part of your family history and your own life, you’re not alone, and you’re not powerless to overcome this disease. Addiction may be in your family’s past, but it doesn’t have to be a part of your future. Whether you face alcoholism or another type of drug addiction, The Recovery Village can help you overcome substance use disorder in a safe and supportive environment. Offering a full continuum of care at centers across the country, The Recovery Village has a program to meet your needs, no matter the length or intensity of your addiction. To get started with treatment, call The Recovery Village today at 352.771.2700 to speak with a representative who can answer your questions and guide you toward the help you deserve.

The post This Is America: Addiction Is Familiar, and Familial appeared first on The Recovery Village.

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Talking About Depression: Going a Step Further Tue, 12 Jun 2018 19:16:02 +0000 Imagine walking up to the front door of someone’s house. You know that the person who lives there is waiting for you, so you knock. ... Read more

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Imagine walking up to the front door of someone’s house. You know that the person who lives there is waiting for you, so you knock. But no one answers. You also know that the door is unlocked, and that you won’t be committing an offense by opening it and entering the person’s house. However, you just don’t feel comfortable enough doing that. You might feel like it’s a little intrusive, and maybe you would feel a little uneasy entering the person’s home and life in that manner. So you wait for the person to open the door and properly invite you in, hoping that at some point that moment comes. That awkward waiting is what talking about depression can feel like, especially when it comes to opening up about this mental illness with friends or family members who might otherwise not know if or how someone is suffering. So often since the tragic deaths of fashion designer Kate Spade and celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain, people have made comments on social media and elsewhere inviting friends and family members who might be struggling with depression or anxiety to talk to them if needed. After a suicide or major news event involving depression, a common sentiment is often shared — that those struggling with mental illness should feel comfortable opening up. This is part of society’s attempt to remove the stigma surrounding depression, anxiety and other mental health disorders. However, it’s not that simple. Depression can be crippling for people, especially in regards to their social life.

man on docks near water People who suffer from depression can feel like a burden to others: How will they respond to me opening up about all of these heavy issues I’m dealing with? Will they feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable talking about this? Will it not be the right time for them? Are they dealing with their own personal struggles? I know they said to come talk to them, but did they really mean it? Will all of this push them away? These kind of questions can deter someone from reaching out to others to discuss their personal struggles. That hesitation puts the entire conversation back at square one, even if no one is at fault. Cassie St. Onge, an Emmy-nominated comedy writer who has produced content for “The Late Show with David Letterman,” “The Rosie O’Donnell Show” and VH1’s “Best Week Ever,” summarized that feeling on Twitter in the aftermath of Spade and Bourdain’s suicides. “So many messages telling those who are struggling to reach out,” she wrote on June 8, 2018, hours following Bourdain’s suicide and days after Spade died. “Fair enough, but part of what depression does is mutes your ability to reach. If you are NOT depressed and you see someone struggling, YOU reach out. If you don’t see someone who used to be around, YOU reach out.” In a follow-up tweet she added, “It can be kind of scary to a regular person who thinks they don’t know what to do. It is certainly awkward as hell. Who cares, though? Ask, ‘Are you OK?’ … Even here on Twitter. Don’t mind your business.” There is positive power in taking a more proactive stance and asking someone, “Are you OK?” A suicide prevention charity in Australia called RUOK? works to inspire people to begin meaningful conversations that could end the stigma associated with mental health disorders and decrease the number of suicides. “Encourage more people to ask ‘R U OK?’ in your school, workplace or community,” the charity’s website urges. While the sentiment of saying, “Come talk to me,” is well-intentioned, people who say this might be waiting a long time for someone who is struggling with depression to finally open up. The best course of action is to take the first step and approach someone. Simply asking, “Are you OK?” or something similar, could be what inspires that person to be upfront about their burdens. If nothing else, it lets people know for sure that they have friends and family members who love them, who are there for them, and who want to talk about complex issues such as depression, anxiety or any other mental health issue. The door to that house is a little easier to walk through when someone on the other side opens it and invites you in. If you or someone you know has self-harming or suicidal thoughts, do not hesitate to call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit their website.

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Why Are 5 Million Americans Misusing Prescription Stimulants? Mon, 11 Jun 2018 16:00:51 +0000 When there is a discussion about misusing prescription drugs, most people think about this nation’s opioid epidemic. This is a serious and growing issue, but the ... Read more

The post Why Are 5 Million Americans Misusing Prescription Stimulants? appeared first on The Recovery Village.


What Are Prescription Stimulants?

Prescription stimulants are controlled medications that are often used to treat conditions such as narcolepsy and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). The medicines increase energy, alertness, and attention. These medications can increase the activity in the brain chemicals of norepinephrine and dopamine. Norepinephrine affects blood pressure, heart rates, blood vessels, breathing, and blood sugar. Dopamine can produce feelings of pleasure. Some of the most commonly prescribed stimulants include:
  • Adderall
  • Dexedrine
  • Ritalin
  • Concerta

Study Reveals That 5 Million Americans Are Misusing Prescription Stimulants

The effects of these prescribed stimulant drugs will vary, depending on whether or not they are being used for a legitimate need. There is evidence, however, that the non-prescription use of Adderall has skyrocketed. A recent study published in The American Journal of Psychiatry reveals that 5 million adults in the U.S. are misusing stimulant prescriptions without a use disorder, and 4 million have a drug abuse issue. The most common reason for the misuse is cognitive enhancement. Prescription stimulants are commonly used among students and other adults to improve concentration and alertness. Unfortunately, research suggests that the benefits derived from these medications are inconsistent and minimal. In fact, there are some real dangers associated with this type of drug abuse.
Pharmacy shelves stacked with medication bottles.

Just because some stimulants are prescription drugs, that does not mean that they cannot cause damage.

What Are the Dangers of Stimulant Misuse and Abuse?

Since drugs like Adderall affect the brain, there has been speculation that misuse could lead to negative effects on the body and mind.  One study released by the National Institutes of Health revealed that chronic methamphetamine users (an illicit stimulant similar to Adderall) have multiple brain chemistry abnormalities. This includes changes in structure and function, particularly in the region of the brain that has higher concentrations of dopamine. Other studies have found that misusing Adderall can lead to damaged nerves. Even though these consequences are frightening, there is one other thing to consider when misusing drugs like Adderall. Prescription stimulants are addictive substances, so users run a high risk of developing a substance use disorder the longer and more of the substance they consume.

Where to Turn for Stimulant Addiction Treatment

If you are unable to stop using prescription stimulants such as Adderall, an addiction treatment program can help you break free from the compulsion to use these drugs. At The Recovery Village, we offer stimulant addiction treatment that includes medical detox, followed by a comprehensive treatment program that we tailor to suit your needs. You may need inpatient or outpatient care, or some combination of the two. We also offer family therapy and other holistic therapies that will enhance your experience and help you develop the tools you need to create a successful life in recovery.  Contact us now to learn more about admissions and find out how you can break free from addictive prescription stimulants with our professional and compassionate guidance.

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Do Men and Women See Addiction and Mental Illness Differently? Mon, 11 Jun 2018 10:00:36 +0000 Males and females have naturally different genetic makeups. As men and women typically experience the world differently, they sometimes see the world in stark contrast ... Read more

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Males and females have naturally different genetic makeups. As men and women typically experience the world differently, they sometimes see the world in stark contrast with one another. These experiences can lead to varying viewpoints on certain social situations and issues. The disparity in opinion also occurs when males and females discuss their views on the many topics associated to addiction. The Recovery Village, a network of comprehensive alcohol and drug rehab facilities that also specializes in treating co-occurring disorders and mental health issues, surveyed 400 people in the United States on a number of topics, including what they believed were the roots of addiction and whether substance use disorders are hereditary. When comparing the answers between males and females, there is a significant difference for a number of the questions asked, posing the question: Do men and women see addiction differently?

The Disparity in Gender Addiction

Of the 400 respondents, 134 said they had struggled or are struggling with addiction and 278 said that there is a history of drug or alcohol addiction in their family. However, the numbers are quite different for males and females. Females made up 225 of the respondents, to 175 males. Nearly 41 percent of males said they do struggle or have struggled with an addiction, compared to only 28.5 percent of female respondents. When respondents with a history of substance misuse in their family were asked which of their family members struggled with addiction, the following male-female comparisons stood out:
  • Father (37.05 percent) versus mother (17.99 percent)
  • Uncle (29.5 percent) versus aunt (17.27 percent)
  • Grandfather (17.63 percent) versus grandmother (9.35 percent)
  • Son (8.63 percent) versus daughter (6.12 percent)
These differences can be attributed to numerous factors, with one of the main factors being how soon each gender experiments with drug misuse. Research from the National Institute on Drug Abuse explains that males often try drugs at an earlier age than females in large part due to having more opportunities during adolescence. The study shows that teenage males are more likely to be exposed to drugs and alcohol through their peer groups than teenage girls. Tammy L. Anderson, Ph.D., from the University of Illinois Chicago, explained more of the differences in drug misuse between males and females while also explaining the history of addiction for each gender. She writes that some of the explanations in studies from the 1980s and 1990s include conforming to gender stereotypes and unequal economic, educational and social opportunities between young males and females. She cites one study that revealed “rigid expectations of conformity to masculine and feminine identities in early adolescence was associated with increased risk of developing drug-related identities, especially for women.” However, the disparities are not secluded just to which gender is more likely to become addicted to drugs or alcohol. Men and women also have varying views on what led to their or their family member’s substance use disorders.

Where Does Addiction Come From?

People can develop a substance use disorder in many ways. Some people can be born with an addiction due to their mother misusing drugs during pregnancy, which is called Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome. Other people develop a dependence for drugs through a prescription medication given to them because of an injury or chronic pain. Many people develop a drug or alcohol addiction from general misuse, which can be traced to a number of sub-factors that include:
  • Exposure by friends or family
  • Media and celebrity influences
  • Genetics
  • Pressures from school, employment or home life
However, that list does not include the two most common answers from survey respondents. There were 134 people who said they have suffered or currently suffer from an addiction. When asked what the biggest contributing factor was to their addiction, the leading answers were “mental illness” (35.82 percent) and “addictive personality” (32.09 percent). Medical experts have connected mental illness to substance use disorder — with both issues being able to cause the other to develop. When viewing just answers in the survey from either males or females, the results shift significantly to favor just one of the two leading choices. Nearly 55 percent of females who answered the questions said a mental illness, such as anxiety or depression, was the main contributing factor to their addiction. For males, 41.43 percent believed that their addictive personalities led to building a dependency on drugs or alcohol.

A Mental Illness Comparison: Males Versus Females

So why is there such a wide gap in the answers for males and females? The increased percentage of women who attribute their addictions to a mental illness could be due to the simple fact that more women than men report suffering from mental illnesses. According to Mental Health America, women are twice as likely to suffer from depression. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America states that women between puberty and the age of 50 are twice as likely to struggle with an anxiety disorder. These figures are attributed to a number of biological and social differences, including:
  • Women’s brains not processing serotonin as quickly as men
  • Women are more likely to have low levels of corticotropin-releasing factor, a chemical that reduces stress responses in mammals
  • Experiences with the menstrual cycle and menopause
  • Postpartum depression or infertility
  • Gender roles and general societal inequality
More results from the survey back up this information. When asked to describe drug or alcohol addiction, 36 percent of women answered that “substance use disorder is a disease caused by environmental factors and experiences.” By contrast, only 30 percent of the male respondents answered that while a larger percentage (up from 15.56 percent of women to 20 percent of men) believe that “substance use disorder stems from an addictive personality.”

The Connection Between Males and Addictive Personalities

The term “addictive personality” covers a lot of ground, including many of the other answers that were available to people when they were asked in the survey what the primary factor is in their addiction. The phrase “addictive personality” is a wide-ranging term with no definitive definition, as explained in the Scientific American. “Despite decades of attempts, no single addictive personality common to everyone with addictions has ever been found,” writes Maia Szalavitz, author of “The Addictive Personality Isn’t What You Think It Is” for The Scientific American website. “If you have come to believe that you yourself or an addicted loved one, by nature of having addiction, has a defective or selfish personality, you have been misled. As George Koob, the director of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, told me, ‘What we’re finding is that the addictive personality, if you will, is multifaceted. … It doesn’t really exist as an entity of its own.’” So, “addictive personality” can stand for someone suffering from a mental illness, stressed from work or home-life responsibilities, or with a history of family addiction. All of these factors, and all of the other known causes of addiction, can be part of the equation that forms what many people refer to as an addictive personality. Mark D. Griffiths, Ph.D., argues on Psychology Today that possessing an addictive personality “is a complete myth.” He adds, “Even though there is good scientific evidence that most people with addictions are highly neurotic, neuroticism in itself is not predictive of addiction. In short, there is no good evidence that there is a specific personality trait (or set of traits) that is predictive of addiction and addiction alone.” So why did a significantly higher percentage of males choose this option? Maybe it has nothing to do with believing in addictive personalities but rather not wanting to admit to having a mental illness.

The Disconnect Between Men and Mental Illness

Compared to females who took the survey, there were a significantly lower number of males who believed that mental illness was the primary cause of their addiction. Nearly 55 percent of females chose mental illness but only 18 percent of males did. Why is that? Could the explanation be that men are more likely to suppress their suffering from a mental illness? According to the National Institute of Mental Health, nearly 5 percent of men in the United States reported suffering from a mental illness in 2015. Alisa Hrustic, of Men’s Health, wrote in 2016 that “many therapists don’t think this number even puts a dent into how many men actually deal with depression.” Hrustic cited Fred Rabinowitz, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at California’s University of Redlands, when detailing why males are less likely to admit they have a mental illness. Rabinowitz explained that men are taught during childhood to suppress any internal feelings of sadness, including depression or anxiety. Hiding stress or upset feelings can often make a mental illness even worse. “Male depression sometimes manifests through the ‘male code’ that says you cannot show weakness, sadness, or vulnerability,” says Rabinowitz. Mental illness is a grave problem in the U.S. and all across the world. Removing the stigma associated with this disease is one of the first steps in raising people’s awareness of their own vulnerability and suffering. Too many men and women suppress their stress from work, home-life struggles, financial limitations or other burdens. Not facing this struggle properly can lead to a worsening mental illness, which could result in people relying on substance misuse for self-treatment. The Recovery Village provides rehabilitation facilities in five states and has a qualified team of doctors, nurses, counselors and more to help people safely move beyond addiction. Along with quality care and treatment through each step of the process, The Recovery Village also can help people face any co-occurring disorders they might possess. Whether it’s anxiety, depression, a personality disorder or another of the many common mental illnesses people struggle with each day, accepting that this disease is present and learning effective coping strategies can lead to a healthier future.

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