How To Be Grateful Even When Times Are Tough

Gratitude is an essential tool for those in the recovery process. It is known to significantly reduce relapse rates, especially during the holidays.

If you feel grateful to be on the road to recovery, the chances are that you won’t relapse. A thankful attitude allows you to face any challenges that come your way and focus on your recovery goal.

Grateful people generally have a positive outlook on life. This outlook influences their behavior and promotes a sustainable recovery-oriented life.

Most people who abuse drugs or alcohol tend to be self-centered, caring only about themselves. If you are in recovery, expressing gratitude makes you less selfish and more aware of the needs of others. Additionally, you will be more in control of your life, more optimistic, and less stressed.

Practicing gratitude influences the behaviors and thoughts of those recovering from addiction and co-occurring disorders. It also helps them appreciate the present and improve interactions with other people.

This article will discuss how to be grateful, even when things are tough. Additionally, we will talk about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), its symptoms, and how to fight it.

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Gratitude

Here are a few tips on being grateful during the holidays to avert experiencing a relapse.

1.     Have a gratitude journal.

Have a journal where you list at least three things you are grateful for every day. Journaling daily will change your mindset and make you a grateful person overall.

2.    Focus on the essential things.

It would be best to focus on important things, including your relationships with your friends and family, instead of worrying about the unknown. You will realize just how lucky you are to have the people you have in your life at the moment. Interact with your friends and family often. Remember, isolation can lead to addiction.

3.    Change your perspective.

If you’re having a hard time coming up with things you are grateful for, take a moment to think about other people whose misfortunes are more than yours. Changing your perspective will make you realize just how much you should be grateful for.

4.    Savor the good experiences/moments.

During your day-to-day, pay attention to the moments you genuinely feel happy and savor them. Pay attention to how your body feels, and try to relive the moments when you don’t feel grateful.

5.    Appreciate yourself for the small milestones you make.

Most people tend to overlook what they do for themselves, mainly when they cultivate healthy habits during their recovery journey. Remember to always appreciate yourself for the small milestones you make.

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Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that arises due to change in seasons. It is a co-occurring disorder that starts during fall, worsens during winter, and ends during spring. On rare occasions, people get a rare SAD type called summer depression.

SAD is a severe condition that harms your day-to-day life, including how you think and feel. It may cause major depression.

The mild version of Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is commonly referred to as the winter blues. Unlike SAD, winter blues simply make you feel down since you are mostly stuck indoors.

Who is likely to get SAD?

SAD tends to affect women  and young people more. Additionally, people with mood disorders, e.g., bipolar disorder and mental health conditions, are more likely to get SAD. People who live further north of the equator in high latitudes or cloudy regions are also more likely to get SAD.

People suffering from SAD may suffer from other mental health conditions, including but not limited to eating disorders, anxiety disorders, and panic disorders.

Symptoms of SAD

Here are a few symptoms of SAD patients are likely to experience:

Those who suffer from summer SAD are likely to experience:

How to fight SAD

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Here are a few tips on fighting seasonal depression.

  1. Work out.

Most times, people’s physical activity decreases during the colder months. Working out is a great way to combat seasonal depression since you fight your body’s urge to be sluggish.

2.    Consider light therapy.

Research has shown that light therapy is a first-line treatment for SAD since it keeps the patient’s circadian rhythm on track.

3.    Participate in social activities.

Most people tend to avoid participating in social activities during the colder months. As discussed above, isolating yourself is a risk factor for SAD. Try as much as possible to participate in social activities and interact with your family and friends.

4.    Have a schedule and stick to it. 

People with SAD often either sleep a lot or have trouble sleeping. Try maintaining a regular schedule to improve your sleeping patterns. This will help reduce the symptoms of seasonal depression.

5.    Ensure you get enough vitamin D.

The  National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) states that insufficient vitamin D may cause depressive symptoms, including SAD.

It is unclear whether taking vitamin D supplements may relieve SAD symptoms, but experts say getting enough vitamin D from sunlight and your diet could go a long way in preventing SAD.

6.   Go on vacation.

If you get SAD during the colder months, you can take a winter vacation to countries with warm climates at the time. Being in a warm place can relieve SAD symptoms.

7.    Be grateful.

As discussed above, gratitude is an essential part of recovery. Purpose to stay grateful and appreciate what and who is in your life.

Conclusion

Being grateful goes a long way in promoting sobriety. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, most addicts relapse when they can no longer deal with the pressure of their day-to-day lives.

Most addicts can avert a relapse on drugs by cultivating gratitude during recovery, especially during the fall and winter months, when SAD tends to kick in.

Check out our blog for more information on relapse prevention and drug rehabilitation. At More Than Rehab, we offer quality service to everyone struggling with addiction. Contact us today to start your recovery journey.

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Cartels Are Shipping Thousands of Pounds of Meth Into Texas

The National Drug Intelligence Center reported that Mexican drug cartels have come up with extensive drug distribution and transportation networks along the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas. 

According to the intelligence center, the drug trafficking networks extend from Texas to all other states in the US. The cartels have drug suppliers in most, if not all, the states.

Law enforcement officers in Texas have, on several occasions, seized drugs from traffickers in the area. Some of the most common drugs seized in Texas are: methamphetamine, heroin, cocaine, and marijuana.

 Methamphetamine, commonly known as meth, or crystal meth is an addictive stimulant that harms the general health and well-being of those who use it. It is a controlled substance, and its potential for abuse is relatively high.

This article discusses meth abuse in Texas and how cartels are shipping thousands of pounds of meth into Texas.

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Meth abuse in Texas

A 2017 survey revealed that approximately 120,000 Texas residents aged over 12 years abuse meth every year. In 2018, there were over 950 deaths involving meth abuse. Additionally, 570 calls to the poison center were related to meth.

The Addiction Research Institute (ARI) also researched meth abuse in Texas. The research revealed that there were 12,385 treatment admissions of Texas residents. Treatment facilities admitted most of them due to meth abuse.

Why is meth abuse prevalent in Texas?

Meth abuse is prevalent in Texas for several reasons. For starters, Texas shares a 1254-mile border with Mexico. The border has proved difficult to fence since it is on an extensive stretch of land. Therefore, there are no physical barriers between Texas and Mexico, making it easy for cartels to transport their merchandise to the United States across the border.

Another reason is that there are thousands of acres of unoccupied land in Texas, specifically in southeast Texas. This gives traffickers ample time and space to ensure their meth supply reaches the intended destinations with no interruptions.

The Gulf of Mexico is also a contributing factor since it allows drug traffickers to use narco submarines, boats, and other crafts for their illegal business.

Cartels

Recently, according to the Tarrant County Sheriff Office, Texas, seized over 1400 pounds of liquid methamphetamine in five weeks. According to them, the street value of the seized liquid meth is $ 16 million dollars. Although officers made arrests during the drug bust, they declined to reveal further details citing ongoing investigations by undercover officers and surveillance. 

Bill Waybourn, the Tarrant County Sheriff, confirmed that authorities seized the drugs on two different occasions. On the first occasion, police officers pulled over a vehicle whose license plate matched a car someone had reported stolen. The seizure led to further investigations which resulted in a second seizure. 

Special agent Eduardo Chavez, DEA Dallas division, said that the liquid methamphetamine they seized was 99% pure. He also noted they were sure a drug cartel was behind the illegal trade.

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Investigator Calvin Bond, who works in Tarrant County, said they suspect the drug cartels targets locations like Dallas-Fort Worth because they are closer to Mexico. Additionally, he said they suspect the meth was produced in meth labs in Mexico, converted to liquid meth, then smuggled to the States through the Texas border. When the liquid meth reaches its intended destination, distributers crystallize it and sell it in the streets.

Police departments, the DEA, and the Sheriff’s office helped in the investigations.

Texas meth penalties

In Texas, meth attracts severe penalties. This is because meth use has become more prevalent in the past few years. To deter Texas residents from using meth, law enforcement officers, judges, and courts put stringent measures in place. If you are found in possession of meth, you will face harsh penalties, including hefty fines and jail time.

The penalties vary depending on the amount of meth the accused person had. The judges also consider the facts of the case and one’s criminal history.

Here is a breakdown of penalties you are likely to face;

Why treatment for meth addiction is difficult

Compared to alcohol and drug abuse, treatment for meth addiction is relatively difficult for several reasons. For starters, there are no medications to help with the rehabilitation and treatment efforts.

Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) has proved to be very efficient in easing withdrawal effects and preventing relapses. It is an essential tool in most addiction treatment center programs. Unfortunately, there are no FDA-approved medications for meth addiction treatment. This makes detox for meth addiction overwhelming to most patients.

Another major cause for concern is the ease of access. Between the 1990s and 2000s, there was an extensive crackdown on meth labs in the United States, most of which were located in Texas, specifically in the San Antonio and Houston areas. Some were small operations while others were quite big, inside large warehouses. When the government became strict after the crackdown, most labs closed down.

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Today, most meth in the United States is supplied by Mexican drug cartels. It is very potent and quite affordable. A report by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) revealed that the current price of meth is the lowest they have ever seen. Therefore, addicts undergoing treatment can easily relapse since meth is easily accessible and affordable.

Rehab options for people addicted to meth

Different treatment centers have a variety of rehab options for meth addicts. Most treatment facilities use behavioral therapies in the treatment of meth addiction.

At More Than Rehab, we have a comprehensive meth rehabilitation program. Our staff is excellently equipped to deal with meth addiction treatment and other underlying mental issues. We focus on ensuring that the patient is healthy both physically and mentally.

Considering that currently, there is no FDA-approved medication to help those in treatment deal with treatment effects, we incorporate a combination of group therapy, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), relapse prevention, and contingency management to make the recovery process more manageable.

If you or your loved one is struggling with addiction, contact us for professional help. We offer meth addiction treatment to all persons regardless of addiction severity. Let us help you turn your life around.

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Pupil Dilation & Drug Use - What Drugs Cause It?

There are many different signs of drug abuse, some more common than others. Pupil dilation is one of the most common signs of drug abuse

This article will discuss the various drugs that cause pupil dilation and what to look out for if you’re worried that your loved one is abusing or addicted to drugs.

What are pupils?

Pupils are black circles found at the center of each eye. Usually, they constrict (become smaller) or dilate (become more prominent) when the light levels in your surroundings vary. The pupils’ primary function is to direct light to the optic nerve at the back of your eyes (retina), thus allowing you to see.

Eye muscles located in the iris are responsible for pupil dilation. They manipulate pupils and make them adjust depending on the amount of light.

Pupils measure 2-4 millimeters when constricted and about 4-8 millimeters when dilated. Therefore, your pupil size can vary depending on the circumstances.

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What is pupil dilation, and why does it occur?

Pupil dilation after drug abuse occurs when the drugs activate your body’s flight or fight adrenaline response by engaging adrenergic receptors in the brain and serotonin. This results in a chemical reaction that leads to muscle relaxation (mydriasis), making the pupils expand to allow more light in.

Drugs that can cause pupil dilation

Several drugs can alter pupil size since most drug interactions in the body affect neurotransmitters which are your body’s chemical messengers.

Most drugs contain chemicals. Therefore, they cause chemical reactions in your body, affecting neurotransmitters. Since neurotransmitters determine your pupil size, they may dilate after drug use.

There are specific drugs that can cause eye dilation. Most of them are psychotropic substances and stimulants.  

Some common drugs that cause pupils to dilate are:

·       LSD

·       Cocaine

·       Ecstasy

·       Mescaline

·       Amphetamines

·       MDMA

·       Psilocybin

·       SSRI antidepressants

Xanax, a benzodiazepine drug, can also make pupils dilate since it affects the activity of neurotransmitter GABA that relaxes the muscles. Additionally, the stimulant medication used in ADHD treatment, i.e., Adderall and Ritalin, can also cause pupil dilation.

Other drugs, specifically opioids, can cause pinpoint pupils. Pinpoint pupils refer to pupils constricting and failing to respond to light. Sometimes, pinpoint pupils are an overdose symptom. If you notice a heroin user has pinpoint pupils, it would be best to call 911 immediately.

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Marijuana, alcohol, and cocaine cause bloodshot eyes when they expand the blood vessels around the pupils.

The National Institute on Drug Abuse has more information on the drugs mentioned above, including the effects of LSD. 

How is pupil dilation determined?

When there is suspicion of drug abuse, there is a unique tool that officers or medical practitioners can use to determine pupil dilation and the most likely cause.

First responders use the Drug Recognition Card to determine whether or not an individual is sober. The International Association of Chiefs of Police invented the chart to quickly determine the pupil size difference between sober people and those high on drugs

The Drug Recognition Card can also help first responders determine which drug is responsible for the dilation. It has a list of various drugs and a pupil dilation scale which helps officers gauge the extent of pupil dilation.

Other possible causes of pupil dilation

Besides light and drug use, pupils can dilate for the following reasons:

·       Pupils can dilate if you focus on objects far away from you.

·       If you get a concussion, one of your pupils may dilate. One of them will appear more prominent.

·       Emotions. How you feel can make your pupils dilate. Most times, pupil dilation is a sign of endorphin release. If you’re happy, your pupils will appear more prominent.

·       Anisocoria. Anisocoria refers to a medical condition where one pupil is bigger than the other.

·       Iritis. Iritis is an eye condition caused by inflammation of the iris.

·       Prescription medication. Some prescription medicines can cause pupil dilation. They include antihistamines, anticonvulsants, antidepressants, anticholinergics, decongestants, mydriatics, benzodiazepines, dopamine precursors, and stimulants.

Are there long-term effects of pupil dilation?

If your pupils dilate due to drug abuse, you may wonder whether they would remain that way for good.

The pupils often go back to their original size when the drug side effects fade. However, there are a few instances when the pupils become dilated during the withdrawal period. This is common in individuals who abuse opioids.

Currently, there aren’t enough studies to conclude whether or not drug use can result in permanent pupil dilation.

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How to deal with pupil dilation

When your pupils dilate due to drug use or for any other reason, it can be uncomfortable since the pupils let in more light. Everything may appear overwhelmingly bright, and you may be sensitive to most if not all sources of light.

You may need to wear protective eye gear to shield yourself from light. This way, you will be more comfortable walking around and doing day-to-day tasks. Photochromic lenses and sunglasses will come in handy. Sunglasses protect your eyes from the sun’s rays, while photochromic lenses automatically adjust your light  levels.

If you’re worried about pupil dilation, you can contact an eye specialist who will examine you and advise you on eye health.

Other signs of drug use

Although pupil dilation can be a sign of drug abuse, you cannot conclude that individuals have abused drugs by simply looking at their pupil size.

You may need to look out for other symptoms of drug abuse. The most common ones include; restlessness, unexplained mood changes, loss of appetite, increased heart rate, tremors, high blood pressure, heavy sweating, and change in sleep patterns. The individual’s performance at work or school may also be affected.

If you notice your loved one has any symptoms of drug abuse, it may be time to seek professional help.

Seek professional help

At More Than Rehab, we acknowledge that abusing alcohol or drugs can have many side effects. Drug abuse affects your life and that of your loved ones. You are also likely to develop a substance use disorder.

To start your healing journey, contact us today. Other than addiction, we deal with co-occurring disorders like depression, self-harm, bipolar disorder, and ADHD. We will walk with you every step of the way and help you turn your life