Effectiveness of Drug Rehab in Treating Addiction

Treating addiction can be a very daunting task, most people who do not complete a drug rehab program, usually don’t stay sober for long.

About 29.5 million people worldwide suffer from substance use disorders, with opioid misuse being the most dangerous, according to a 2017 World Drug Report by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC). Addiction is more prevalent than most people think and can afflict anyone at any time. A recent census places the number of Americans with a substance use disorder to be at least 24 million.

Addiction cuts across every stratum of society, affecting men and women, young and old, educated and uneducated. No one seems to be immune from the recent drug scourge engulfing the U.S and the global society. Combined with the difficulty it brings, addiction also brings along stigmatization – both of the addicts and their family members. However, addiction is a complex disorder, often misunderstood.

It is important to have a firm understanding of this subject in order to get addicts and alcoholics the help they need to recover.

effectiveness of drug rehab

The science behind addiction                             

In previous decades, addiction was regarded as a moral weakness on the part of the addict or alcoholic. Hence, the emphasis was on punishing the addict rather than getting them the care needed to restore them to a healthy state of mind and body.

Substance Use Disorder is a complex disease, says NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse). Breaking free from drug addiction takes more than strong will power or good intentions. Drugs change the brain’s chemistry, making it very challenging for those intending to quit to do so. Numerous scientific evidence point to the fact that addiction is a brain disease.

For most people, starting out with drugs is a conscious voluntary action. With repeated use, however, certain chemical reactions are triggered in the brain – impairing the abuser’s self-control and willpower to cope with their urges to engage in drug abuse. This change in the brain’s functioning can be long-lasting, causing abusers to return to drug use even after many years of recovery.

As pointed out by NIDA, most drugs impact the brain’s reward system, eliciting a euphoric feeling along with releasing the neurochemical dopamine. Under normal functioning, the brain’s reward system motivates an individual to repeat actions needed for survival, such as eating and enjoying social activities.

Drug misuse, on the other hand, causes the addict to associate these pleasurable feelings with drug use, hence destructive behaviors are being reinforced unconsciously. Over a period of continuous use, the brain develops a tolerance to addictive substances and will require more of these substances to achieve the same level of high.

A combination of factors influences an individual’s risk of addiction. No two individuals respond to drugs and alcohol in the same way. An individual with more risk factors is more predisposed to addiction than one with fewer factors. Scientific evidence shows that the following factors play a role in determining whether an individual will become addicted or not:

  • Biology
  • Environment
  • Stage of the individual’s development

With more light being shed on how addiction affects the brain, researchers now have a better grip on the subject and have fortunately been able to come up with various treatment approaches designed to assist addicts to recover from substance abuse and become productive once again.

Is It Possible To Treat Addiction Successfully?

Yes. Researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) believe that substance use disorder is a treatable, chronic disorder of the brain that can be healed with a combination of medication and behavioral therapy. An intervention approach involving behavioral therapy and medication is known as medication-assisted treatment.

Drug rehab is not a cure for addiction. It is a treatment approach, aimed at helping the addict achieve the following:

  • Stop his compulsive, destructive behavior
  • Permanently abstain from drugs
  • Improve their relationships
  • Improve their mental wellbeing
  • Become a productive member of society once again

It is to be noted that addiction is different for everyone. No single approach works for two different individuals. Drug rehab programs must be tailored to meet the addict’s drug misuse pattern, medical, social and environmental circumstances.

The good news is that addiction is both treatable and preventable. A number of studies have indicated that addiction can be successfully managed and that addicts, who are committed to a treatment program, can achieve long-term recovery.

For any drug rehab program to be successful in treating drug addiction, it has to be based on the following principles:

  • Recognize addiction as a complex but treatable disorder affecting an individual’s brain function and behavior
  • No one treatment approach is effective for everyone
  • The key to recovery is quick and easy access to treatment
  • Effective treatment should pay attention to a patient’s other needs and not just their drug use
  • For rehab to be effective, it doesn’t necessarily have to stem from a voluntary action on the part of the patient
  • Medically-managed detoxification is not a treatment in itself, but only a first stage of treatment
  • Remaining in treating long enough is a crucial aspect of recovery
  • Treatment programs must be reviewed periodically and conformed to meet an addicts needs

Are Drug Rehabs Effective In Treating Addiction?

According to a NIDA study involving a community of addicts in recovery, the majority of individuals being monitored over a prolonged period of stay in addiction treatment were able to:

  • Reduce drug use (by 40 to 60%)
  • Reduce criminal activities (by up to 50%)
  • Return back to their employment (by up to 40%)
  • Resume normal social and psychological functioning

Individuals who received methadone treatment were shown to have improved participation in behavioral therapy and also exhibited a reduced tendency to engage in criminal behavior and drug use. Like all other chronic health disorders, addiction can be successfully managed through appropriate drug rehab care.

The success rate for any individual will depend to a large extent to the level of addiction, the duration of addiction and the appropriateness of the particular treatment program.

Similar to other chronic disorders, addicts can experience a relapse. Does experiencing relapse mean a treatment program failed? Not necessarily. A relapse on the part of a patient could be an indication that the program needs to be re-evaluated and adjusted to meet the current circumstance of the addict.

Would Rehab Work for Me?

There is a general consensus among researchers that drug rehab produces varying success rates with substance use disorder. As already stated, your successful recovery from drug addiction will depend on a number of factors such as the substance of abuse, the length of addiction and your individual commitment to your drug rehab program.

Each year, thousands of families make the conscious decision to seek rehab care for a loved one with an addiction. There is overwhelming evidence that these individuals gradually regain sobriety and return back to the life they previously enjoyed.

Each year, Recreate Life Counseling helps pull hundreds of hundreds of individuals and families out of the despair of drug addiction. Lasting recovery is within reach.

If you or someone you care about is currently struggling with addiction to alcohol, benzos or opiates, know that lasting help is available. We have a number of treatment programs customized to meet your needs and lifestyle. You can beat addiction permanently and recreate the future you desire. Contact us right now to find out which treatment option is available to you. Compassionate care is only a phone call away.

10 Most Powerful Addiction Recovery Quotes

Inspirational Addiction Quotes

Are you going through recovery? Do you feel like giving up? Read some inspirational quotes to help you get back on track and stop having doubts about your future.

Are you currently undergoing rehabilitation for alcohol or drug abuse? Are you considering quitting recovery due to uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms? Have you recently experienced a relapse and felt like a failure? If any of the above applies to you, know that you are not alone. Millions of others have gone into recovery, rebuilt their lives and found happiness thereafter.

Drug addiction is a complex mental health condition. For one thing, it tears relationships apart and brings untold hardships to addicts and their families. Knowing you need professional help is one thing. Remaining committed to your recovery is quite a different matter.

Without the right support system, an addict may begin to imagine that being in recovery is much more difficult than remaining in the clutch of addiction. The good news is that many addicts have been inspired to remain in recovery by reminding themselves of the reason they got started in the first place.

The following motivational quotes have helped millions to stay committed to their recovery. Hopefully, they will reinforce your commitment as well, helping you find comfort not in drugs but in living a sober drug-free life once again.

Inspirational Addiction Quotes


Get Inspired With Addiction Recovery Quotes

“Don’t let the past steal your present.” – Terri Guillemets

Do not drown yourself in your past mistakes. The past is gone. Once you’ve realized how badly your past actions affected your friends and family, seek forgiveness and make amends. You do not need to keep punishing yourself for past wrongs. Forgiving yourself in addiction is very crucial to your recovery process. Leave the past behind and move on with your life.

“The only person you are destined to become is the person you decide to be” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Drug addiction doesn’t make you a lost cause. Whatever deeds you’ve done in the past doesn’t define or determine who you are. You can change your life and your future through deliberate positive actions. You were not destined to be ruined by drugs or alcohol. It is up to you to rewrite your story.

“Experience is not what happens to you, it is what you do with what happens to you.” – Aldous Huxley

Regardless of how many times you may fail on your journey to recovery, the battle is not over yet. It is important to determine the reasons you experienced relapses and strategize on how to prevent them from reoccurring.

“If you can quit for a day, you can quit for a lifetime.” – Benjamin Alire Sáenz

A single victory with recovery can fortify you to persist. It starts with a resolute determination not to give in to temptation no matter how severe it may be. Every time you resist the urge to engage in drugs, you reinforce your determination to stay clean for a lifetime.

“Sometimes you’ve just got to give yourself what you wish someone else would give you.” – Dr. Phil

Self-will is key to remaining sober. If you desire a life of sobriety, then work towards it. No one can make you change. It has to come from within. You really desire to be happy and free again, work towards it.

“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Nothing is as important as self-confidence. Everything else pales into insignificance without self-confidence. Regardless of how far gone, you’ve been on the path of addiction, believing in your ability to quit gives you the motivation to seek help and remain in recovery.

“Our greatest glory is not in never failing, but in rising up every time we fail.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

No one who achieved anything great ever allowed fear of failure to hold them back. No doubt, you may experience relapses on your journey to recovery. Whenever that happens, give yourself a pat on the back and move on. Do not keep beating yourself up over past mistakes. That isn’t the end of the road. Your journey still lies ahead.

“The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you will make one.” – Elbert Hubbard

Mistakes are a great learning point. Being afraid you might experience a relapse or quit recovery altogether can cripple you. No one is perfect. We all make mistakes. The worse thing that can happen is holding back from trying again due to past failures. Remember, fear kills more dreams than failure ever will.

“Be stronger than your strongest excuse.” – Unknown

Don’t keep putting off seeking help. You have to seek professional help now, now tomorrow or the following day. Living in denial or making up excuses just to delay rehabilitation will only make you sink deeper into the pits of despair. You need to determine what direction you want your life to take and work towards it.

 “When your past calls, don’t answer. It has nothing new to say.” – Unknown

Don’t let your past haunt you. You were not born to be enslaved to drugs. When in recovery, remember how miserable your life as an addict was, and be resolute not to go back on that lost path ever again. True happiness doesn’t come from doing drugs. Now that you have found a new life, do all you can to avoid circumstances that could trigger past cravings, leading you to experience a relapse.

Your journey to sobriety is not going to be an easy ride in the park. You may face overwhelming challenges most of the time. With determination, every obstacle along your path to lifelong happiness can be overcome.

Start Healing From Substance Abuse

If you are already in recovery and receiving professional help, be determined to complete your program. If you are already transitioning back to society, be courageous enough to say no to drugs, regardless of how intense the temptation may be.

The above addiction recovery quotes have inspired countless individuals to go on, despite being in the face of seemingly insurmountable problems. It is our hope that they will also give you the courage to face your addiction headlong and seek professional help.

Nothing can be compared to the joy you will experience once you finally break free from addiction and return to the life you once enjoyed.

Most Effective Addiction Treatments, According to Science

Most Effective Addiction Treatments, According to Science

Addiction is one of the largest medical conundrums in modern history. It continues to claim countless lives, and many treatment methods fail addicts who are desperately trying to get clean. In fact, of the 23.5 million Americans addicted to alcohol or drugs, only about 1 in 10 receives treatment. And the statistics for those who attend treatment are not so sunny either.

In a lauded study by Columbia University, researchers found that even though addiction is incredibly prevalent across the country, the availability of effective solutions is completely scarce. For the ten percent of addicts that receive care, only few receive anything that could be described as evidence-based treatment. Furthermore, medical professionals who are “treating” addiction across the country are largely unqualified. To add to it, misunderstandings and outdated traditions often dictate addiction treatment, which completely undermine any progress or evolution. The research proposes that addiction medicine be fully integrated into current healthcare systems. There must be more training for healthcare providers, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, psychologists and social workers. Furthermore, they prescribe regulation of addiction treatment programs, and mandated accountability for treatment consistent with proven standards. The researchers went so far as to suggest that current addiction practices could be considered medical malpractice.

  1. Thomas McLellan, co-founder of the Treatment Research Institute in Philadelphia, echoes this sentiment by saying, “There are exceptions, but of the many thousands of treatment programs out there, most use exactly the same kind of treatment you would have received in 1950, not modern scientific approaches.”

However, there are some individuals who are working to make sure that addiction treatment moves into the future. One such is Dr. Mark Willenbring, a former director of treatment and recovery research at the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, who, among other things, is championing the use of medication-assisted treatment. This primarily entails the use of maintenance therapy with the drug suboxone for opioid addicts.

“We have some pretty good drugs to help people with addiction problems, but doctors don’t know how to use them,” he said. “The 12-step community doesn’t want to use relapse-prevention medication because they view it as a crutch.”

Among other medication-assisted treatment options, there lies the Sinclair Method. The Sinclair Method was discovered by Dr. David Sinclair. He hypothesized that alcohol produced reinforcement in the brain in a manner not dissimilar from opioids. Through years of research, he realized that alcohol did produce reinforcement via endorphins that bind with opioid receptors in one’s brain. He then concluded that an effective way to stop this dangerous reinforcement cycle would be to block the opioid receptors- after trying naltrexone, an opiate blocker, on rats, he decided it just may work for humans. The results in human trials have been very successful, and using extinction of the impulse to drink has had success with about 80 percent of those who have tried the method. Of course, the medication must be taken whenever one wants to drink.

If you are struggling with alcohol abuse disorder or substance abuse disorder, you will want to seek professionals who have a great knowledge of all current addiction treatment offerings. Truth Recovery Center has a large expertise on many evidence-based approaches and will create a treatment plan that is individualized and works for you.

The Trait That Can Identify Addiction

The Trait That Can Identify Addiction

10 AA Sayings That Will Inspire You in RecoveryAs America’s battle with addiction becomes more and more prevalent, people begin to wonder what exact traits predict addiction. Older stereotypes have suggested addicts have more in common than the we now know them to have. We can see now that addicts hail from every race, creed, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation and more. Yet, we can’t deny that there is a certain genetic element to the disease of addiction. After all, we can certainly see the evidence for it running in families.

So what is the commonality? Well, studies are beginning to suggest that the trait that most predicts addiction is impulsivity. This may not sound so surprising- but impulsivity shows up in more ways than you may think. Typically, impulsive people choose a smaller, faster reward over a larger, delayed reware. In layman’s terms, addicts are the ones that seek immediate gratification. Because of this, an important prevention tool is trying to overcome the delay when you don’t get what you want immediately. Learning to tolerate this delay is key, but still, it is genetically more difficult for some individuals, as their brains are wired to desire momentary gratification and rewards.

Though impulsivity is more common in those with addictive tendencies, it is a pretty common aspect of human life as well. It can be described as quick, momentary reactions to internal or external stimuli, often with unplanned consequences trailing behind. Though not everyone has this kind of thinking, and certainly not everyone applies this thinking to consuming drugs, this is a train of thought most can empathize with. Think about it- there are things we find ourselves doing even if we didn’t plan to. Eating that extra doughnut, buying a car we can’t afford, skipping the gym and going out. These impulsive behaviors represent the crux of addictive behavior.

So if we know the behavior that is generating addiction, does that mean we know the fix? Well, it isn’t that easy, but it is a start. A failure to resist impulse can now be described as the number one barrier addicts need to face in order to have a long-term strategy for success in recovery and life in general. However, this is a hard pattern to break, especially for individuals who much prefer immediate benefits to pleasures that occur far in the future.

It may give some comfort to know that the seasons of our life help to influence our impulsivity. Meaning, impulsive behavior is much more common at certain ages than others. It is estimated that impulsivity is at its highest levels during adolescence (around ages of 12) and levels off while moving toward adulthood (age of 20 years).

With this information in mind, it can be determined that impulsivity is often a prerequisite to addictive behavior and could be quite definitely used as a screening mechanism for future substance abuse.

How Does Narcan Work?

How Does Narcan Work

The opioid overdose crises is just another problem we created for ourselves when we decided our body’s little voice- the pain response is an unnecessary sensation that should be ignored. 16 years down the line we’ve kind of shut off these rational neurons that were easy to negotiate with using mild analgesics and ended up awakening a far worse nightmare – the opioid receptors.

Amidst the strive for health, fun and crazy dieting habits on the verge, opioid overdose crisis claims the lives of more than 115 Americans per day. Overdose deaths now surpass car accidents as the leading cause of accidental deaths. More than 66% of drug overdose deaths are attributed to opioids use in the U.S. According to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 2016 statistics,  the number of opioid overdose deaths including heroin and prescription opioids like oxycodone fentanyl, methadone and hydrocodone exhibited a 5 times rise compared to 1999 cases. Between 2000 to 2015 over 600, 000 people died from drug overdoses.

So let’s face the facts, we now know that opioid overdose apocalypse is here, what has Narcan got to do with it?

Narcan, another name for naloxone, is a non-selective competitive receptor antagonist that acts by reversing major life-threatening effects of opioid overdose like the Central nervous system and respiratory system depression within only a few minutes. Even though effects don’t last long, it gives one time to seek medical assistance. Most hospitals provide naloxone prescription to patients on opiate drugs for the treatment of chronic pain or following detox.

You’re probably asking yourself is Narcan safe? How much is it?

Narcan is approved by the Food and Drug Association (FDA) and is among the WHO list of essential medicines. Narcan is considered one of the most effective and safe drugs for opioid overdose reversal. The drug is fairly affordable going at $0.50 to $5.39 per dose at wholesale price; a vial is sold at $25 in the United States while auto-injectors go for approximately $4,500, not a high price to pay to buy over 30 minutes to seek emergency medical care.

How does Narcan work?

An understanding of what opiates do to the body can help us better understand how Narcan works. Opiates are naturally formed by the body during exercising or strenuous activities in the form of endorphins. Endorphins or endogenous opiates bind to opiate receptors in the brain cells leading to an alteration in how neurons communicate resulting in pain relief, stress reduction, happiness and feelings of pleasure; sounds familiar?

Endorphins also control the rate of breathing through action on the respiratory center.

Since the body is always working to maintain homeostasis, endorphins production is only in regulated amounts to meet desired functions. Exogenous opiates like prescription or recreational opiates work in the same mechanisms as endorphins produced by the body. However, in overdose, the opioids flood the central nervous system activating many opioid receptors at once, this leads to amplified effects “Rush.”

Narcan is a pure antagonist with no partial agonistic effect or morphine-like properties like most opioid antagonists. Because of this property, Narcan only works if one has opioids in their system and elicits no pharmacological effects in people who have no opioids in their system. Chemically, Narcan is a congener of oxymorphone differing slightly in structure with a methyl group to alkyl group substitution on the nitrogen atom.

Though the mode of action of this drug is not fully understood, in vitro studies suggests that Narcan antagonizes Opioid actions by competing for the same binding sites on mu, kappa and delta opioid receptors in the brain. Narcan has the greatest affinity to mu receptor. The drug binds to this receptors displacing opioids from the binding sites and also occupies the binding sites locking them hence opioids binding is blocked. While it has an almost similar chemical structure as opiates, Nacarn bind the receptors but instead of activating the receptors to produce morphine-like effects it just sits at the binding site doing nothing.

Narcan is, therefore, an inhibitor of opioids since without binding the receptors opioids will not cause their usual effects. The overdose symptoms will immediately go away since the opioids are no longer sitting at the receptors. Free opioids that are not bound to receptors circulate in the blood and are eventually broken down in the liver and flushed out of the body through urine by the kidney.

While Narcan can reverse the symptoms of opioid overdose, this is a temporary relief. Narcan can be given as an injection or a nasal spray. The onset of action is approximately 5 minutes but Narcan has a half-life of only 30-80 minutes after which it is cleared from the body and opioids take over the receptors control again. Some people can relapse back to their initial state within minutes to hours hence seeking emergency medical care is essential in order to avoid adverse outcomes.

So next time you get an opioid prescription or even a malicious idea of “prescribing” it for yourself get naloxone/ Narcan. If you’re halfway through choosing your poison, you might as well get the antidote. Who knows it might just buy you 3 minutes to start the car or make a phone call for help.


Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC. (2011). Vital signs: overdoses of prescription opioid pain relievers—United States, 1999–2008. MMWR. Morbidity and mortality weekly report60(43), 1487.


Curtin, S. C., Tejada-Vera, B., & Warner, M. (2017). Drug Overdose Deaths among Adolescents Aged 15-19 in the United States: 1999-2015. NCHS Data Brief. Number 282. National Center for Health Statistics.


Drolet, G., Dumont, É. C., Gosselin, I., Kinkead, R., Laforest, S., & Trottier, J. F. (2001). Role of endogenous opioid system in the regulation of the stress response. Progress in Neuro-Psychopharmacology and Biological Psychiatry25(4), 729-741.



Opiate Addiction | What Are Opiates and Why Are People Getting So Addicted?

What Are Opiates and Why Are People Getting So Addicted

What Are Opiates and Why Are People Getting So AddictedIf you’ve been paying much attention to the news recently, you’ll have heard the words “opioid crisis.” everyone’s paying attention to it- the media, activists, healthcare professionals, the government, President Trump himself. And that’s because the statistics are jarring. More than 90 Americans die as a result of overdosing on opioids. And don’t think that the crisis only affects addicts and their families. It has huge social and political implications and especially huge financial repercussions. It has been estimated that the opioid crisis has cost the country 78.5 billion dollars in terms of lost productivity, drug treatment, criminal justice and healthcare costs.

So what’s behind all this chaos? Millions of pills and pounds of powder. Opiates, or opioids, as they’re commonly referred to, don’t give the full picture to these drugs. All opioids are derived from opium poppy, but there are many different manifestations. At first, legal opiates took off due to loose regulations and opportunistic doctors. The country saw a spike in the popularity of drugs such as oxycodone, hydrocodone, vicodin, dilaudid, percocet and more during the early 2000’s when the prescription drug crisis was taking off. However, oxycodone and hydrocodone were the most popular forms, due to their potency. However, crackdowns on pain pill prescribing and the influx of foreign drugs led heroin and fentanyl to enter the market, and they are among the most popular drugs for abuse in the country now. However, pain pills are still being abused and ripping families apart due to their violently addictive nature. In 2015, there were 20,101 deaths due to prescription painkillers and 12,990 deaths due to heroin use. The numbers only continue to grow.

So what are the origins of these dangerous drugs? Well, opiates have actually been around forever. They were first used by Sumerians in the year 3400 B.C. They cultivated the opium poppy plant, which has the more scientific name of papaver somniferum. They referred to this plant as the “joy plant.” They cultivated it primarily to mitigate pain, but also to be able to sleep and for stomach/bowel relief. It was these uses that gave it its medical connotation and ever since, doctors have been extracting it and harnessing its medicinal properties. This is where the difference between opiates and opioids come in. Opiates are naturally derived from the poppy plant, whereas opioids are man-made, manipulated derivations. There is not much difference in these words, or the effectiveness of the types of drugs.

There is hype surrounding the opioid crisis now, but people have been addicted to opioids/opiates for years. As long as it’s been in existence, people have used it to get high, in medicinal and abusive manners. However, since the mass production of opioid pharmaceuticals, demand has been higher than ever, which is in layman’s terms, what has brought us to the opioid crisis of today.

So what is it about opiates that has had people chasing after them for thousands of years? Well, there are a lot of factors that makes opiates so addictive. When they are taken, they enter the brain through the user’s bloodstream. It is during this process that a rush of fake endorphins and dopamine (neurotransmitters that induce sensations of pleasure and contentment) enters the body. This results in the user feeling very euphoric and high- a high that could never be reached naturally. The level of dopamine and endorphins that your body gets used to as an opiate addict is egregiously higher than any kind of naturally occurring neurotransmitter experience. This leads the user to begin to be unable to create dopamine and endorphins themselves and creates a reliance upon the drug for those feelings. This is what is called a craving and is the base level and experience of addiction. Opiate abuse stems from repeated cravings and acting upon them by getting high on fentanyl, heroin, prescription painkillers, or some other opiate. This highly addictive nature of the drug  is one of the reasons that makes the opiate crisis so concerning.

It is easy to develop an opiate addiction, even after taking opiates for a short period of time. The first step is tolerance, meaning that the user has to take increasing amounts of opiates to feel the same high. Next, physical dependence manifests, as the user starts to withdraw from the drug soon after coming down from a high. The last stage is psychological dependence, which manifests as cravings. This is the nadir of opiate addiction.

Hopefully this article has given you a deeper understanding of not only the opioid crisis, but of what those on the frontlines of the battle- the opiate addicts- are experiencing. Opiates are undeniably addictive and dangerous, which you know firsthand if you or a loved one is experiencing addiction to them. Many people let the stigma or other barriers deter them from seeking the treatment they need. Don’t let that happen. Recreate Life provides a variety of services including: individual therapy, group therapy, family therapy, medical and psychiatric services, case management services, alumni support and more. Opiate addiction is deplorable- but recovery is possible, so contact the trusted care professionals at Recreate Life today.

The Disease Model of Addiction

The Disease Model of Addiction

The Disease Model of AddictionA lot of detox and treatment centers claim that their philosophy regards the “disease model of addiction,” but do you know what that really means? Most people don’t. The “disease model of addiction” simply describes addiction as a disease, meaning it has environmental, biological, genetic and neurological derivations. The disease model of addiction relies on the traditional medical model of a disease, that says a disease only requires an abnormal condition be present and that said abnormal condition causes a lack of function or lack of comfort. Well, addiction certainly falls under that category! Treating addiction as a disease may not seem like a novel concept, but taking history into account, it surely is. For years, addiction was seen as a moral affliction and subsequently, addicts were thought of as deviants with no hope. Thanks to modern medicine, Alcoholics Anonymous and improved addiction treatment, we now know that addiction is in fact, a disease- one that can be treated, and one whose patients deserve the utmost compassion. If you or a loved one is in need of treatment, choose a treatment center that can provide knowledgeable, compassionate care and takes the disease model of addiction into account.

Addiction was first declared a disease back in 1956. This was revolutionary at the time. For years, people had been backed by institutions to believe addiction was a behavior problem, or deficit of character/morality. Unfortunately, this stigma still persists. Many, especially those that have had negative interactions with an addict, believe that addiction is primarily a behavior problem. This perception can be hard to overcome, but it is important to recognize disease as an addiction in order to properly treat it with all the scientific advances available in today’s society.

With addiction labeled as a disease, doors open up in terms of healthcare treatment. This sentiment, viewing addiction as a disease, led to litigation and insurance policy that allows a myriad of addiction treatments to be covered under popular insurance providers. President Obama furthered this by placing addiction treatment into what was covered under the Affordable Healthcare Act. As you can see, there is a burgeoning social movement for the recognition of addiction as a disease and for the proper treatment of it. Finally, society is catching up with science.

Scientists have understood, for some time, that addiction fits the disease model, displaying biological, genetic, environmental and neurological origins. Obviously people have understood the role genetics play in addiction for a while. Those with addiction or alcoholism in their family are predisposed to be addicts or alcoholics themselves. But, not as many people understand that there are also biological, environmental and neurological reasonings for addiction, so we will explain these origins a bit more, as they are the bedrock of the disease model of addiction.

There is a vast neurological explanation for addiction. As you may know, addiction is comprised of three primary stages- preoccupation, binge and withdrawal. These stages feed into each and grow worse over time. Once these stages are happening frequently, the experience can be classified as chemical dependence. What is profound about these stages are the neurological effects they have on the brain. The chemical response experienced by a user’s brain during preoccupation, binge and withdrawal changes rapidly, and this alteration in regular brain circuitry and functioning describes the neurological part of addiction.

The biological model for addiction draws from both the genetic and neurological counterparts. How much someone engages in or likes a specific drug is due to their particular brain makeup. One’s brain makeup is comprised of genes they inherited as well as chemical patterns and brain circuitry that rely on neurological functions. The biological factor of addiction is a mix of all these themes, as the ability to quell impulsives thoughts via rational thinking is a brain function that differs, depending on the brain and who it belongs to. Some have a deficiency regarding their ability to resist impulse and that is often the trademark of an addict.

The environmental origins of addiction regard the fact that addiction can manifest as a poor coping mechanism or as a response to an unfortunate environment. Regarding coping skills, the existence of poor social skills and poor emotional regulation often lends a hand in forming substance abuse in an individual, and if you think about it, it makes practical sense. Those that are easily distraught, easily swayed by both accolades and censure, and those that have a hard time engaging in work, social situations and romantic relationships are particularly prone to addiction. Seemingly, substances take the edge off of these predicaments, social anxiety, especially. Additionally, the environment in which one was raised plays a part in determining addictive traits. If one was raised in a household/environment that included trauma, substance abuse by someone else, or any kind of chaos, they are at an increased risk for addiction.

The fact that so many elements contribute to the disease model of addiction might seem bleak, but in reality, it gives us a toolbox with which to fight addiction. The more we know, the more we can specifically target treatment to the terms of the disease model. Scientific advances help us combat the neurological, biological and genetic portions of addiction, while group therapy helps us get to the bottom of the environmental factors of the disease. If you are interested in a treatment center that engages a holistic approach to appropriately counter addiction, as it is portrayed in the disease model, look no further than the services and therapy we offer.


Recreate Life Counseling

“Science vs Spirituality?  No, Science AND Spirituality”

Recreate Life Counseling — So while I was doing my research last week, looking for something topical that fit the spirit of what the fine folks at Recreate Life Counseling do for addicts and alcoholics every day, I found an article about a drug that apparently DESTROYS the euphoric memories associated with cocaine use.  It’s only been used on mice so far, at least in this capacity, but it’s actually a cancer treatment drug that humans have used safely for years.  It’s neuroscience stuff, and therefore really complicated, but the upshot is this:  it’s a drug that shows great promise in eliminating the terrible cravings that make early recovery from the use of cocaine and other drugs.  More importantly though, at least for our purposes, is how this experiment points to an unnecessary tension between the findings of science and the spiritual approach to recovery so often emphasized in support and treatment centers.  It’s a minefield that counselors at Recreate Life Counseling negotiate constantly, so I wanted to expound on this a bit.

It’s something you encounter all the time, even at Recreate Life Counseling, scientifically minded folks and people who emphasize spirituality and connectedness eyeballing one another suspiciously across the table, as though they were different teams trying to win a game that doesn’t exist.  The Science vs Spirituality game doesn’t exist because there’s nothing to contest, nothing to fight about.  Science vs Spirituality is a made up distinction, what fancy philosopher types call a false binary.  There’s just one team, folks.  And the only way to win is to reduce the terrible suffering and social costs of active addiction.  Recreate Life Counseling understands this implicitly, and offers the best of both worlds in their therapeutic models, but for some reason the wider world doesn’t get this yet and the phony debate rages on.  

Look, I don’t know much.  But I can read and I can be open minded when staying all sewn up starts to hurt too much.  And everything I’ve read and seen tells me this:  that science and spirituality end up doing remarkably similar things and need each other more than they realize.  If I go to Recreate Life Counseling for my cocaine addiction, they’re not just going to give me a pill that eliminates my craving for drugs and send me on my way.  If they did, I’d be back in a month with brand new cravings from all the coke I snorted while I was away.  That’s because I don’t know to live!  I don’t know how to connect or treat people.  That’s where the emphasis on spirituality at Recreate Life Counseling comes in – it teaches me what I don’t know.  And the reverse holds true as well.  If there’s a chemical solution to my chemical part of my disease, I want you to give to me!  

So what we need is humility, true humility and an honest desire to solve the problem.  And both these traits tell me that I don’t have all the answers.  They tell me that Science vs Spirituality is a false debate.  And they tell me that what the world needs is to  heal, not ague.  

Dealing with Anxiety in Addiction Recovery

It’s natural to experience strong and difficult emotions in early recovery, and it’s normal to be unsure of how to deal with these emotions. Because many of us have used drugs and alcohol for so long to suppress our emotions, we aren’t naturally equipped to deal with feelings– both positive and negative ones. One of the strongest emotions that may surface in early recovery is anxiety. Facing anxiety without the use of drugs and alcohol can be challenging at first, but luckily, there are effective ways to deal with anxiety clean and sober.

Because self-medication is no longer an option, you’ll need to discover which tools work best for for you in terms of dealing with anxiety.  Different coping skills work for different people, so don’t be discouraged if, say, journalling or yoga doesn’t work for you. In some cases, it may be necessary to see a psychiatrist to discuss non-narcotic medications that may be beneficial. Although the very addictive benzodiazepines are frequently prescribed nationwide, there are non-narcotic medications that can help with anxiety when combined with other coping skills.

When I first sobered up, I had absolutely no tools to deal with my anxiety. I was accustomed to turning to drugs and alcohol to temporarily calm my nerves. The beautiful thing about learning to healthily cope with difficult emotions is that the reprieve is longer lasting and it gets easier each time. Benzos would help temporarily, but then my anxiety would become worse and worse each day. Once the effects wore off, my emotions became too much to bear and I was compelled to keep using with more frequency to achieve the same effect.

There are countless tools that can be used to deal with anxiety in recovery and the disease model of addiction. Some of the options include meditation, prayer, seeking support, physical exercise, journaling, and distraction. I find that distraction, setting up structure in my life, talking it out, and challenging my cognitive distortions work best for me when I’m feeling particularly anxious. Although prayer is incredibly important in my daily routine, I have a difficult time remembering to pray when anxious. Most of the time my anxiety appears during idle time, i.e. before I go to sleep, or when I’m sitting at home binge watching Netflix in bed. When this happens, it’s best for me to distract myself with writing lists or making plans with my sober supports. While focusing on my future goals helps me, it may make you more uncomfortable and spike your anxiety. Thus, it’s important to figure out what does and doesn’t work for you.

It will probably take you a few tries to figure out what works best for you in dealing with anxiety. Just remember that we have all been there and that it is very possible to cope with your emotions without turning to drugs and alcohol. The more you do it, the easier it will get, and you’ll learn a little bit more about yourself along the way.

Recreate Life Counseling

Are you looking for an outpatient LGBTQ treatment center to help you get and stay sober? If so, Recreate Life Counseling can help. We offer a variety of addiction programs and services to help you achieve long-term sobriety and recreate your life. All of our treatment methods are proven and effective. We offer individualized treatment plans tailored to your unique needs and recovery goals. At Recreate, we are dedicated to helping addicts and alcoholics maintain their sobriety and live a happy, healthy, fulfilling life in recovery. Call us today at (844) 463-3968.

International Overdose Awareness Day 2016

International Overdose Awareness Day (IOAD) is a global event held on August 31st each year that aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death. IOAD also recognizes the grief felt by friends and families remembering those who have lost their lives by drug overdose. IOAD wishes to spread the message that the terrible tragedy of a drug overdose death can be prevented. IOAD originated in 2001 and has been spreading awareness of drug overdoses ever since.

The United States is in the midst of a drug overdose epidemic. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, it is estimated that in 2014, there were 207,400 drug-related deaths across the world, with overdose accounting for up to a half of all deaths and with opioids involved in most cases. According to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, more people died from drug overdoses in 2014 than in any other year on record. Drug overdose deaths are up among both sexes, all races, and adults of nearly all ages. More than three out of five overdose deaths involve an opioid, such as prescription painkillers, heroin, morphine, and fentanyl. In 2014, overdose deaths involving an opioid killed more than 28,000 people in the United States, and more than half of those deaths resulted from prescription opioids.

What is a drug overdose?

An overdose means having too much of a drug or combination of drugs for your body to be able to cope with. All drugs can cause an overdose, including prescription medication prescribed by a doctor. There are a number of signs and symptoms that signal a drug overdose, and these differ depending on the type of drug used.

Signs of a Depressant Overdose

(e.g. heroin, morphine, oxycodone, fentanyl, methadone)

  • Shallow breathing; not breathing at all
  • Snoring; gurgling sounds
  • Blue lips or fingertips
  • No response to stimulus
  • Floppy arms and legs
  • Disorientation
  • Won’t wake up; unconsciousness

Signs of Alcohol Poisoning/Overdose

  • Disorientation
  • Loss of coordination
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting
  • Irregular or slow breathing
  • Blue-tinged or pale face
  • Hypothermia
  • Stupor
  • Unconsciousness

Stimulant Overdose

It is possible to overdose on amphetamines, such as speed and ice. Amphetamine overdose increases the risk of stroke, heart attack, or drug-induced psychotic episodes. Amphetamine overdoses differ from an opioid overdose.

  • Chest pain
  • Disorientation/confusion
  • Severe headache
  • Seizures
  • High temperature
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Agitation; paranoia
  • Hallucinations
  • Unconsciousness

It’s important to be aware of the signs and symptoms of an overdose, so that lives can be saved.

Recovery Is Possible

Recovery from drug and alcohol addiction is possible, and professional help is available to get you started on the right track. If you are struggling with an addiction, or have a loved one who is addicted, please seek support as soon as possible. You do not need to become part of the statistics — help is available.