Should I Be Afraid of Rehab?

Addiction affects almost every part of your life. Admitting that you have an addiction problem is the first step toward recovery. Denial is a large part of addiction, and breaking through self-deception is very difficult. So, if you’ve reached a point where you accept that drugs and alcohol are a serious problem in your life, then you’ve probably dealt with the hardest part. Rehabilitation is only a small part of it, yet many can be afraid of rehab. It's a huge life-changer and it can be difficult, but that shouldn't discourage you.

Addiction is a chronic disease that changes the way the brain functions. You may no longer have control of how you feel or act. But you should know that this isn’t about willpower or morals – it’s about acknowledging that you need help and accepting it.

It’s normal to have fears about rehab. Millions of others also fear joining rehabs for various reasons. So much so that only 10% of 20.4 million people with substance use disorders sought out addiction treatment in 2019. But fears only get in the way of sober living. Joining an addiction treatment center is going to be your best shot at addiction recovery.

But still, no one wants to join drug addiction treatment programs – at least not at first. Rehab is a scary thought for many families and people who struggle with addiction. The word itself comes with a huge stigma, and the idea of joining a facility for residential treatment can be equally overwhelming.

Also, joining rehab means letting go of substances, leaving the comforts of your home, and starting a new life. It means giving up control and embracing change. But as they say, change is as good as rest.

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Common fears about rehab

Fear of detox and withdrawal

The thought of detox or withdrawal symptoms can be intimidating, especially if you’ve experienced them before or have heard stories. While withdrawal isn’t going to be your cup of tea, there are many ways to make it comfortable and tolerable. Treatment programs offer full-time help and access to medications and therapies to ensure you are pain-free. You’ll also be monitored by trained medical staff throughout your entire detox process.

Fear of leaving behind your life

Walking away from your comfort zone – your family, home, job, friends, or even substances can be scary. After all, you are leaving behind your life as you’ve known it and heading towards the unknown. But while this thought can be overwhelming, treatment is way less damaging than staying and continuing with your using habits. If the people you’re scared to leave behind care about you, they will be happy to see you get help.

Just ensure that everything is in order so that your only concern is to sober up. Arrange care for your elderly parents, children, or pets. Apply for the 12 weeks of family and medical leave to protect your work and sign up for automatic bill payments. The goal is to leave bills, jobs, and drama outside so you can focus more on getting better.

Fear of missing out (FOMO)

FOMO is one of the most common fears many people who struggle with addiction deal with before going to rehab. The illusion that drugs and alcohol go hand in hand with fun can make you skeptical about getting help. You may feel as though you’ll miss out on weekends, or after work, and so on. There’s also the aspect of friends; how they’ll hang out without you and how boring your life will get without them.

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All these can be overwhelming, making you afraid of rehab and what happens afterwards. But substance abuse only leads to addiction, legal issues, financial troubles, broken relationships, etc. Unless you break free, you really won’t have a clear perspective of what fun means. Once you go through rehab, you’ll make new friends, learn new things, take up a hobby, travel, and even spend more time with loved ones. You’ll also identify fun activities that aren’t harmful to your health and relations.

Fear of not knowing how to cope with anxiety and stress

If you fall into the 50% category of those who experience substance use disorder due to mental health issues, you may fear that you won’t know how to cope once you stop using. But the good news is that treatment facilities often offer 12-step programs to help you resolve most of the underlying issues. They also offer holistic treatments to address mind, body, and soul. On top of that, they point you to support groups to serve as your sounding board, so there's no need to be afraid of rehab.  

Fear of dealing with past trauma, neglect, or abuse

Many aspects – including childhood neglect, abuse, and trauma – might have contributed to your substance use disorder. Perhaps you’ve been suppressing the difficult past, but now you’re dealing with the prospect of facing it as part of the healing process.

It is scary to face the ghost of the past, but you won’t do it alone. Treatment centers have counselors who will hold your hand throughout the process. You’ll also have access to group therapy and other treatment options to help you process thoughts, emotions, and beliefs linked to the past trauma. In the end, the past won’t have a grasp on you.

Fear of starting a new life

Without drugs or alcohol, you may have no idea what you are, and that’s a scary place to be. But this is only temporary. During treatment and early recovery, you’ll be able to step out of your comfort zone and try new stuff. You’ll also hang out with sober friends and family and create new experiences. This might be a great time to try out new hobbies and interests.

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Fear of failure

One of the main reasons most people are afraid of rehab is the fear of failure. The thought of going through a treatment plan but ending up with a relapse is devastating. But failing to try because you fear failing is denying yourself an opportunity to lead a clean life. In fact, you may be shocked by how well you respond to treatment.

And even if you relapse, it is still a step in the right direction. The National Institute on Drug Abuse shows that 40-60% of people with addiction relapse after treatment. Should you relapse, it’s vital to point out the triggers and find a way to avoid placing yourself in similar situations again.

Fear of success

Perhaps you’ve done things in the past that you aren’t proud of and feel like you have to punish yourself or be unhappy forever. Or maybe you suffered in the hands of someone who said you didn’t deserve happiness or that you wouldn’t amount to anything, and you believed them. So you’re always self-sabotaging to avoid success.

But everyone deserves a shot at happiness. Embrace your fears and not run away from them. Treatment centers have experts who will reinforce positive mental health and help you overcome any trauma that may have affected you. There is no need to be afraid of rehab. Depending on the rehab, the treatment plan may also include a faith-based approach to help you connect with your higher power to overcome addiction.

TV Shows About Drug Addiction (And What They Show Us)

Society views addiction as a choice or weakness. So, when someone gets caught up in an addiction, they tend to see themselves as falling short of the standard. They feel guilty of their perceived shortcomings and end up with a negative mindset. The public stigma around the “failings” of those with addiction doesn’t encourage anyone to seek addiction treatment. It also makes it hard for those struggling with addiction to speak about their habits and get immediate help. Luckily, some TV shows about drug addiction are helping to fight the negative stigma.

And since addiction is a chronic disease, it can be challenging for individuals to pull themselves out of it without help. Some try but slip back as soon as the withdrawal symptoms set in. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a person’s ability to not indulge in addictive behavior becomes compromised. Unless they get quick access to medically reviewed treatment, addictions, whether to substance use disorder or behavior, can lead to death.

All these may seem like “usual” words until you experience the struggles of addicts and the damage that addiction does. With that in mind, here are some TV shows about drug addiction to give you a glimpse into how it works and its effects.

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Intervention on A&E

Intervention is an American series that profiles one or two people who struggle with addiction. The addicts in this Emmy-winning series believe they’re being filmed for a documentary until their family and friends stage a dramatic intervention. Launched in 2005 on A&E, Intervention is among the first series that highlights the lifestyle of those who suffer from substance or behavioral addictions. It also captures what these addictions can do to families and teaches the various reasons behind the addiction.

Tackling everything from the opioid crisis to alcoholism to eating disorders, Intervention follows addicts whose loved ones have submitted a request for help in getting them into treatment. The series has some disturbing images that depict the realism of addiction that may make you afraid, but that’s the point. Intervention partners with different addiction treatment centers in the US and provides resources for each individual profiled in the show.

As its name suggests, the series sheds light on addiction and its ugly effects on addicts and their loved ones and takes action to improve the situation. According to Screenrant, 70-75% of addicts who appeared on the show are still sober.

Mom on CBS

Set in Napa, California, Mom follows a dysfunctional mother-daughter duo. The two - Bonnie and Christy Plunkett - had been estranged for years due to addiction. Christy, a single mother of two, Violet and Roscoe, encounters a series of challenges.

Her young daughter, Violet, gets pregnant and decides to put her baby up for adoption. She later gets engaged to an older guy and moves out. Roscoe opts to stay with his dad, even though he’s a drug dealer and deadbeat. Despite all that, Christy strives to maintain her newfound sobriety. She moves to Napa, and works as a waitress, and also attends Alcoholic Anonymous meetings.

But her wayward mother, Bonnie, reenters the picture and criticizes her life. Bonnie is also a recovering alcohol and drug addict attending AA meetings. The CBS series has been applauded for addressing themes of real-life issues like substance abuse disorders, gambling, teen pregnancy, cancer, domestic violence, homelessness, rape, palsy, overdose, stroke, ADHD, etc. It has been praised for striking a perfect balance between the humorous and dark aspects of these issues.

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This Is Us on NBC

This Is Us is an emotional and heartwarming story about a unique set of triplets, struggles, and caring parents. While not the central theme, this NBC series shines a light on different types of addiction, including addiction to food, alcohol, and pain pills. Kevin, the first-born Pearson, got hooked on alcohol and painkillers. He struggles with depression and finds it hard to understand that Jack, his dad, had an addiction. Rebecca, his mother, never mentioned it because of shame and fear of stigma.

Sophie, Kevin’s sister, is a nurse but can’t connect his erratic behavior to addiction. That’s to be expected since loved ones usually have no reason to suspect substance abuse disorder. Earlier on, Jack confesses to Rebecca that he didn’t quit drinking when he said he had. But after another attempt to quit, he was successful.

He attends AA meetings and leads a clean life. Kate, Kevin’s sister, also can’t get over binge eating. She attends an eating support group where she meets Madison, who struggles with not eating enough. 

This Is Us shows us that genetics is one of the risk factors for addiction and that sometimes, loved ones won’t realize there’s a problem. It also uncovers the aspect of shame about addiction and that skinny people struggle with eating problems too. Lastly, it shows us that relapse can be a part of recovery.

Addicted on TLC

Addicted is another one of the American reality TV shows about drug addiction that follows the lives of addicts through intervention, detox, and rehab and behavioral therapies. Kristina Wandzilak, a recovered alcoholic, prostitute, and drug user turned family interventionist, guides the addicts and their loved ones through the process as a sponsor and advocate. It’s incredibly raw and shows those struggling with addiction getting drunk and high in close-up detail. Due to its graphic nature, warnings pop up at every commercial break to prepare you for what is coming.

In the show, you see people consuming large amounts of alcohol, injecting drugs into arms, and getting high. You also see the tricks they use to acquire substances. Kristina intervenes and gets them to rehab; some refuse, some get themselves kicked out of rehab, and some successfully go through it. The show also depicts the pain that addiction inflicts on family. You’ll see the anger, anxiety, and other emotions that families experience dealing with a loved one who struggles with addiction.

Celerity Rehab on VH1

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Celerity Rehab revolves around a group of famous individuals as they undergo substance abuse treatment with Dr. Drew Pinsky and his team at the Pasadena Recovery Center in California. The reality TV show premiered in 2008 on the cable network VH1 and was later renamed Rehab with Dr. Drew, which focused on non-celebrities.

It shines a spotlight on celebrity and their substance abuse or behavioral addiction problems and their journey through rehab. Pinsky, a board-certified physician and addiction expert, adds an air of credibility and makes the show more educational.

If you’d like to see more on celebrity addiction, you can stream Too Young to Die on Pluto TV or Prime Video. It bases its stories on celebrities whose lives were cut short due to addiction and overdose. The episodes of Too Young to Die cover American stars like John Belushi, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kurt Cobain, who died from drug abuse. The documentary series shows how serious the drug addiction problem is and how it can be too late to help someone.

Reference to a diagnostic and statistical manual can produce more insight into this problem. As well, various treatment approaches exist to help those struggling with short- and long-term addiction. So, if someone close to you is struggling with any form of addiction, it can be a good idea to help them get treatment immediately.

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Alcoholism is Getting Bad Thanks to the Pandemic

Alcohol slows down the central nervous system, creating feelings of relaxation. It also lowers inhibitions, memory, and judgment. Because of these qualities, many people turn to alcohol to distance themselves from the challenges or stressors they’re facing due to COVID-19. The pandemic is associated with negative economic and health impacts, loss, grief, isolation, prolonged uncertainty and stress.

Recent studies show that people are binge drinking to cope with the negative impacts COVID-19 pandemic. One study found that American adults have sharply increased their alcohol consumption, drinking on more days per week.

The study released by RAND Corporation compared the drinking habits of adults between spring 2019 and spring 2020. Reviewing over 1500 adults across America, participants were asked about their change in alcohol use between 2019 and 2020 during the first peak of the virus.

The study found a 14% increase in alcohol use among adults, compared to the same time last year. This was a 19% increase among all adults ages 30-59. Women, in particular, showed a 41% increase in alcohol use.

Experts warn that the pandemic’s stress could be could be prodding some people to drink alcohol. In the previous years, surges in alcohol use were noted following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, 2003 SARS, and September 11th terrorist attacks. Such traumatic events and their resulting stressors tend to lead to increased post-disaster alcohol use and abuse.

Why are people drinking during the pandemic?

People are consuming alcohol as a way to manage emotional stress. The pandemic has created collective grief and loss of security and safety with incredible uncertainty. Before the pandemic, alcohol use was already a significant public health concern. The pandemic seems to be fueling this even further with its vast effects, like:

Before the outbreak of the coronavirus, people would go out and blow off some steam. They’d go to the gym for a workout or the movies to calm down. But with the lockdown and less social contact rules, that’s not an option anymore. People can’t hang out with their friends and loved ones as they used to. They can no longer engage in activities that help them reduce stress and enhance well-being. But they can access alcohol because liquor stores were deemed essential businesses and stayed open.

When you combine anxiety and stress with the ability to order alcohol through an app and have it delivered to your doorstep within an hour, you get a perfect pathway towards excessive drinking and abuse.

The effects of alcohol on the body

These studies show that many people could be turning to alcohol to cope with pressures created by COVID-19. Drinking alcohol to cope with life situations like boredom or stress can become a habit that leads to substance abuse disorder. When a person self-medicates with alcohol to cope with stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues, they can develop co-occurring substance use disorder.

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Alcohol is a depressant and sedative that affects the central nervous system. At first, drinking alcohol can reduce fears and take the mind of troubles. It can help an individual feel less anxious, boost mood and make them generally relaxed.

In fact, the effects of alcohol can be the same as those of anti-anxiety medications. That’s because alcohol slows activity in the amygdala, a brain part that prepares the body’s “fight or flight” response to stress.

Repeated use decreases the amygdala’s dampening effect. It also causes tolerance and dependence. So a person has to drink more alcohol to achieve a similar level of high. At this point, they can’t stop drinking because of withdrawal symptoms, like tremors, nausea, anxiety, headache, confusion, and insomnia.

Mild alcohol withdrawal can be treated at home. But severe cases need supervised care in a hospital setting to avoid potentially dangerous complications like seizures.

Who is more vulnerable to increased alcohol use during the COVID-19 outbreak?

The measures to curb the spread of coronavirus have been hard on everyone. So, everyone is susceptible and may end up with problems with alcohol. However, studies show that some groups are more vulnerable than others.

Younger people

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), alcohol use has led to at least four deaths on college campuses since spring 2021. Young adults face unprecedented stressors: loss of income, the uncertainty of the future, and social isolation, resulting in conditions like loneliness, depression, and anxiety which can increase the risk of heavy drinking.

Women

The psychological stress associated with the pandemic was also linked to greater drinking for women. A study by RAND Corporation and supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Use and Alcoholism shows that heavy drinking among women has soared. In the survey, 1 in 5 women had heavily consumed alcohol at least one additional day per month compared with the previous year.

Physicians

A survey of 12,000 physicians found that over 40% of physicians experienced burnout, which was amplified mainly by COVID-19. Of these physicians, more than a quarter were drinking to cope with the burnout and resulting stress.

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More studies point to the increase in alcohol use thanks to the pandemic

BlueCross BlueShield survey dubbed “Behavioral health by the numbers: a closer look at the impact of COVID-19” reveals a 23% increase in alcohol consumption since the outbreak began.

Another survey on 1,000 American adults 18 years and older by The Recovery Village found that 55% of the participant had an increase in past-month alcohol consumption, with 18% reporting a significant increase.

How to cope with the negative impacts of COVID-19 without alcohol

Healthy coping involves taking part in activities that directly reduce stress or improve wellbeing. This includes exercising, getting enough sleep, following creative pursuits, eating nutritious food, and staying hydrated. It is also a good idea for people to reach out for help and get support to make healthier life choices.

Those recovering from alcohol can take part in online Alcoholic Anonymous meetings. Such support groups can serve as a pillar to help avoid relapse.

Why Do I Keep Using Meth? Ways to Stay Clean

You’ve gone through recovery, and things are starting to fall back into place. But for one reason or the other, you slip and end up using meth. So, you start over again, only to find yourself in what feels like square one – using meth, yet again.

So, now, you can’t help but wonder why this is happening. Why you keep using meth despite your desire and effort to quit. Well, if it’s any consolation, you are not alone.

Many people who struggle with meth addiction end up relapsing even after rehabilitation. According to the National Institute of Drug Use, 40 to 60% of people in recovery end up relapsing.

After a relapse, you may experience feelings of regret or shame. You may also feel like throwing in the towel and giving into your addiction instead of fighting the desire to use. Depending on how long you’ve been using, you may suffer from meth mouth and this can also worsen your feelings of shame.

While it’s devastating, you should know that relapse doesn’t mean you are a failure. It doesn’t mean the rehab you underwent was unsuccessful or negate your previous efforts to stay clean. But it also doesn’t mean you should take advantage of the situation and continue using.

Why does relapse happen?

Your relapse has to do with neural pathways. A pathway forms when you do something right. A pathway also forms when you do something wrong, like use crystal meth.

Human beings build habits this way, both good and bad. So, the reason you keep using meth is that you’re likely going to slip back into existing neural pathways. Let’s break this down further.

Causes of relapse

Studies show that the initial target of highly addictive drugs like meth is the brain’s reward circuit. The reward circuit registers essential experiences and events and their adaptive value. Then it provides incentives for actions.

This reward process triggers the release of the neurotransmitter dopamine, a feel-good hormone that tells the brain to do it again. When used habitually, meth depletes the supply of dopamine and interferes with the feedback between different brain parts that coordinate desires with expectations and priorities.

But these changes are not necessarily the problem. Quitting meth use temporarily can be easy. You can go for days, weeks, months, or even years without meth. What makes permanent recovery challenging is a drug-induced change that creates lasting memories.

Your brain already knows the rewarding experience that comes from drug use. After a period of use, your environment becomes marked with cues or reminders of the reward. This learning is referred to as behavioral conditioning. And since methamphetamine addiction weakens your self-control and ability to make the right decision, you’re likely to keep using even when you know that a reward isn’t coming.

As you’ve learned from support groups like Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholic Anonymous, it’s the first drink that gets you drunk. So, a small dose of crystal meth serves as an effective cue. But places, things, and people, too, can be cues associated with meth.

An animal struggling with substance abuse will slip back to using when it goes back to the cage where it first developed the addiction. For people, triggers could be environment, the sight of paraphernalia, mental health issues, peers and so on.

Withdrawal symptoms are also a common reason many methamphetamine users relapse. Symptoms like anxiety, fatigue, sleepiness, depression, psychosis, meth cravings, etc., may linger on for weeks or months, causing relapse.

Getting back on the road to recovery

Irrespective of how committed you are to lifelong sobriety or how diligently you pursue recovery, there’s a chance of relapse. The National Institutes of Health study notes that about 40-60% relapse within a month or more of treatment. Another 70 -90% will relapse at least once.

But the good news is that the risk diminishes with time. Extended abstinence does predict long-term recovery, according to an eight-year study on nearly 1200 addicts. In fact, if you can make it to five years of sobriety, then your chance of relapse is less than 15%.

Ways to stay clean

Get help from a reputable addiction treatment center

Recovery for meth addiction needs a holistic meth treatment plan that consists of detox, therapy, and counseling. Depending on the circumstances recovery may also include medical advice. Meth is one of the hardest drugs to overcome. But treatment facilities in central Texas exist to help people like you regain control over their lives.

Such facilities will also address underlying issues that cause the relapse. For instance, they may offer family therapy that helps your family members to understand that relapse is not a sign of weakness or lack of morals. They will also offer mental health services to address psychological issues that may cause relapse.

Know the triggers of relapse and avoid them

Understanding the triggers of relapse and having a plan for those triggers are the first steps toward prevention. Triggers include things like:

 

Create new habits

Old habits will most certainly lead you back to addiction. So, you want to come up with new ones that will help you grow into the person you want to become. You can try out a new hobby, take up a new class, exercise, etc. Trying a new activity gives you something to look forward to. It also reduces the cravings and withdrawal symptoms that may lead to relapse.

Like other chronic diseases such as asthma and heart disease, treatment for drug addiction isn’t a cure. It only allows you to counteract the disruptive effects of addiction on your brain and behavior and regain control of your life. But with these tips, you should be able to manage your addiction and relapse problems successfully.

Can Remote Drug Rehab Work?

In the world today, it seems as though uncertainty and fear linger behind every corner, as the Coronavirus, also commonly known as Covid-19, has caused extreme panic and unrest across the globe. Since being brought to mainstream media attention somewhere back in the beginning of this year, the Coronavirus has forced nations to shut down, forcing businesses and government agencies to close their doors to the public in an attempt to flatten the curve. Due to the fact that the virus has a high-exposure rate and can live on surfaces for a long time, only essential businesses were allowed to remain open. This has caused many widespread consequences that are being felt across the world.

One of the biggest impacts that Covid-19 has caused in the United States alone is a high percentage of relapse rates among people in addiction recovery from drugs and/or alcohol. A higher rate of relapse could lead to an increase in drug overdose deaths. The increase in drug and alcohol use could be due to a number of reasons, such as: high unemployment rates, forced isolation due to city shut downs and self-quarantining, free federal aid, closure of outpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs, no access to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA) meetings, etc. Unfortunately, due to the nature of coronavirus, people are being forced to self-isolate and are being cut off from the peer-support life line that helps to keep them sober.

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While drug and alcohol rehab facilities have been forced to make some difficult decisions, they have also come up with some revolutionary ways to remain a valuable source to those in recovery that need it. One way that rehab facilities have come up with in order to serve those still in need during this time of social distancing is by offering remote rehab. Remote rehab is typically an outpatient program designed to fit the individuals specific needs with the use of digital technologies, such as Zoom, Skype or Facetime. This is great for anyone who still needs rehab treatment during the time we are unable to leave our homes. Here are some additional benefits to remote drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs;

Increased Level of Privacy with Remote Outpatient Drug & Alcohol Rehab

In today's modern world, where Facebook and social media are key, it seems like nothing is ever kept a secret anymore. Well, remote drug rehab can help save you the trouble, or potential embarrassment, of someone seeing you while at a drug or alcohol treatment center or facility. Being able to attend a counseling session, with a licensed therapist one-on-one, on the internet through your computer, tablet, or phone provides an increased sense of privacy as you do not have to leave the comfort of your own home. Who knows, you never know who you will see and sometimes it’s better to avoid a situation where you have to explain yourself at all.

More Flexibility with Personalized Addiction Treatment

A lot of times, outpatient programs require their participants to attend class at a certain time of time, usually one to two times per week, and sometimes even more. This schedule can be hard to fit in with a busy everyday life. We have all probably been there before and have felt the stress that comes along with having to meet a very demanding schedule. An added benefit with remote alcohol or drug programs is the added flexibility. The majority of remote drug and alcohol programs allow you to select an available appointment that best fits your needs, instead of giving you a set time where you are supposed to be somewhere. This is also really great for those who have their kids at home because of public school closure due to the virus.

Added Comfortability with Stay-At-Home Addiction Counseling

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Along with more privacy and more flexibility, is the increased comfort that remote drug rehab can provide. Long gone are the days where we have to worry about what outfit to wear to our next class, appointment, or meeting. Instead, it has become easier than ever to do the things that we need all while never changing out of our favorite pair of sweatpants. Attending outpatient treatment remotely allows you to get the help that you need all in the comfort of your own home while also wearing your favorite pajama pants, or perhaps none at all. Of course, this is not to say that we do not have to have a professional appearance, but the standards are way lower when both parties are communicating from an online platform, instead of in-person, with a room full of peers.

Guaranteed One-on-One Time With an Addiction Specialist

The majority of outpatient alcohol or drug addiction programs require that you meet a couple times a week with a group of peers who are also on the road to recovery. While this is great, that can sometimes mean that you don't necessarily get the one-on-one feedback that you would like. The great thing with remote drug and alcohol rehab is that you are guaranteed to get more one-on-one time with your counselor or addiction treatment specialist. This can be especially useful during a time where daily life is changing drastically for everyone. A little extra time with someone who truly understands what you are going through can really make all the difference.

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These are just a few of the ways that remote drug and alcohol rehab can benefit you, even more so in a time where the only way to stay connected is online. It is important to remember that even though you may feel like it, you are not alone! While relapse can be a part of recovery, that doesn't mean that it has to be. At More Than Rehab, we are still here to help those who are struggling and we are all in this together! Most importantly, we hope that you and your family are staying safe and we wish you well. If you, or someone you know, has been struggling with sobriety because of COVID-19, or any other reason, please do not hesitate in asking for help! Just because it feels like the world outside has shut down, that does not mean that we are not here to help those who need it!

(888) 249-2191

The Best Drug Ever Created?

It is no secret that our country is currently suffering from a widespread problem, that problem is better known as addiction. Current research suggests that more than 21  million Americans struggle with an active addiction to drugs or alcohol every single day. While there are a large number of illegal drugs currently being abused, the most addictive and commonly abused are listed as followed; alcohol, methamphetamine, heroin, opioids, cocaine, crack cocaine, and marijuana. You may ask yourself, what makes these drugs so dangerously addictive to those who decide to use them? Well, the answer to that question would be Dopamine, the best drug ever created. What exactly is Dopamine, then?

Dopamine is a chemical neurotransmitter that is naturally released inside the brain.

While Dopamine is often associated with drug and alcohol abuse, it doesn’t just stop there; it is linked to shopping addictions, gambling addictions, sex addictions, so on and so forth. Dopamine is meant to act as a positive reinforcement for things normally dependent on survival, such as the rewarding feeling you get after eating a delicious meal or the pleasure you feel after sex.

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Dopamine is often referred to as the “pleasure center” or “reward center” of the brain. Our brains are literally wired to increase the odds that we will repeat a pleasurable experience. When someone engages in a rewarding activity, the burst of dopamine is meant to signal to the individual that something important is happening and that it should take place again. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, this signal of dopamine causes changes in the neural connectivity of the brain making it easier to repeat these same actions over and over again without ever having to really think about it. This is what eventually leads to the formation of habits.

Drugs produce an overwhelming sense of euphoria and an intense burst of dopamine.

This powerfully reinforces the connection between using the drug, the resulting pleasure, and everything else that becomes associated with the experience like people, places, or things. In essence, this large surge of dopamine teaches the brain to seek and use drugs, even at the expense of other healthier goals or activities.

With the continued use, and the increased surges of dopamine, the external stimuli that get associated with a person's drug abuse are ultimately what become their triggers later on, and they are often very hard to overcome. This can result in a person having uncontrollable cravings when they encounter things that remind them of using their drug of choice, sometimes lasting even years into sobriety.

What many people do not know is that addiction is a disease of the brain. It is characterized by the inability to stop using drugs or alcohol despite having suffered extreme, severe, and negative consequences, like overdosing, losing their family, or ending up homeless. It is a chronic and often relapsing condition in which the only treatment or cure is to abstain completely from drugs or alcohol.

Drugs interfere with the way neurons send, receive and process information, causing physical differences in the actual structure of an addicted person’s brain. The three main areas that are most heavily affected by drug usage are the basal ganglia, the extended amygdala, and the prefrontal cortex.

The basal ganglia plays an important role in positive forms of motivation, including the pleasurable effects of healthy activities, otherwise known as the reward center. By overstimulating this circuit with a flood of dopamine, it diminishes the sensitivity and makes it hard to feel pleasure again without the use of drugs or alcohol.

The extended amygdala plays an essential role in stressful feelings, especially ones associated with withdrawal. Overtime, the increase of dopamine causes this area of the brain to become more sensitive, which is why it is difficult for those who are addicted to deal with stressful emotions without the use of drugs or alcohol.

The prefrontal cortex is responsible for the ability to think, plan, solve problems, make decisions, and exert control over one’s impulses. Overwhelming the brain’s circuit with the repeated influx of dopamine causes an individual with a substance use disorder to suffer from a lack of impulse control and diminished decision making skills.

Some of these changes to the brain can heal over time, but depending on how extreme the usage of drugs or alcohol was, and for how long they were being abused, some of these changes can be permanent. When someone suddenly stops using drugs or alcohol, the brain goes on high alert because it has been tricked into believing that it needs drugs or alcohol in order to feel good again or to even feel normal.

Some common symptoms of excessive dopamine and drug withdrawal include:

For this, the list could go on. If you believe you or someone you know may be suffering from a severe drug withdrawal, it is always recommended that you contact a medical health professional. There is no telling how your body will react when detoxing from a dangerous and addictive substance.

The research surrounding the problem of addiction is continually offering new insight in how to better deal and treat this life-long disease that affects so many people in our country alone. For so long, addiction was seen as the person lacking moral fiber, but now we know that it is a disease that chemically alters the structure of the brain. especially over time. Thankfully, scientists and doctors have been able to identify the link between addiction and dopamine. Hopefully, now that we may all have a better understanding about the role it plays in developing an addiction, we will be able to better manage it when it occurs, or stop it from happening entirely. If you need help and believe you are suffering from an addiction yourself, please do not hesitate to reach out to us for help! We have a team of professionals who are more than happy to help you begin your journey to healthy and happy life.

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I am Addicted: 10 Steps to Take to Get Away From Drugs

Struggling with an addiction can oftentimes be a very overwhelming and emotional situation where the user may feel as though they are trapped by their drug addiction, with little to no chance of ever getting help and escaping the deadly grip of drugs or alcohol. So, why even bother trying? This feeling is what can ultimately lead them to continuing their destructive way of living without ever getting the help they so desperately need. For those of you who know, overcoming a substance abuse problem can prove to be very difficult, especially when someone is unwilling to admit they have a problem or is afraid to seek help.

How Do I Get Away From Drugs and Alcohol?

The first step in any recovery plan is admitting that you are powerless over drugs and alcohol. So, if you are here because you are addicted to drugs and alcohol and are seeing what it takes to begin the recovery process, then congratulations! You have already completed the very first step in recovery. At this moment, you are already on the right track to leading a healthy and fulfilling life, but it will take a few more steps to get there. As any expert will tell you, recovery is a process and it will look different for everyone, but here are a few steps you can take that will help to get you away from drugs and alcohol.

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Help For Your Addiction is Available in Many Forms.

Always remember that there is hope for recovery and that someone who cares is never more than a phone call away. You are not alone and getting help for addiction recovery is never a reason to feel any shame. Beginning a life of sobriety is very important for your physical and mental health. We really hope this list of steps will help to lead you in the right direction toward a lifelong journey of sobriety. The sooner you get help, the easier it will be to overcome this addiction! Don't hesitate to call us right away:

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Does Your Insurance Affect Your Drug Rehab Choices?

For most people, the cost of certain medical procedures are a major concern as the coverage for insurance can vary among providers. Unfortunately, the question for the cost of a drug treatment facility is no different. Perhaps you or a loved one are struggling with an addiction and now you are wondering what the cost may be and whether or not it is covered by your insurance.

It is never a good feeling when someone has to wonder whether or not they can afford the cost of going to rehab for an addiction to drugs or alcohol, but if you do find yourself in that situation, just know that you are not alone. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, 19.7 million Americans aged 12 and older suffered from a substance use disorder in the year of 2017. Furthermore, out of those 19.7 million people who had reported having an addiction in 2017, only 19% of them had received substance abuse treatment of some kind. If you are one of those many americans still suffering, then we are here to help! There are many treatment options available.

If you are wondering if your insurance company can help cover any of the cost for treatment, then do not worry, thankfully, through the Affordable Care Act, every health insurance provider must offer coverage for substance use disorder services.

What is the Affordable Care Act?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA), also commonly referred to as Obamacare, was first signed into legislature in March of 2010. It defines 10 essential health benefits, one of them being services for substance abuse disorders and behavioral health, meaning that health insurance companies could no longer deny coverage for these type of services. It also extended coverage to millions of uninsured Americans and helped to lower the cost of health care. Also, due to the passing of this health reform, people cannot be denied based upon pre-existing mental health conditions or substance abuse disorders.

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How Health Insurance Affects Rehab Choices

While having health insurance is a benefit when looking for drug and alcohol treatment, it can still affect your choices for a drug rehabilitation facility. There are many reasons why your insurance may affect your choice when thinking about admitting a loved one or yourself for treatment, one of them being the amount of coverage that is offered by your specific insurance plan and the individual insurance benefits that come along with it. Some insurance companies may have out-of-pocket expenses or additional copays, while others may cover the cost of treatment completely. Be sure to speak with your provider for more details.

Cost of Rehab

The cost of drug rehabilitation alone can greatly affect the options someone may have when considering drug rehabilitation. The cost for treatment can depend on many factors, including;

The type of insurance you have, the deductible and copay can play a huge role in selecting the treatment facility that is best suited for your or your loved one.

In-Network/Out-of-Network

Another thing to consider when looking for the best option available is whether the specific treatment facility is considered to be in-network or out-of-network. In-network health insurance means that the specific provider has been approved for coverage and is typically contracted at a specific rate, helping to reduce costs. Out-of-network facilities have not been approved for coverage so it will not help in reducing cost for treatment. However, if there is a preferred option that is out-of-network, cash may cover any additional expenses needed to attend.

Length of Stay

The length of stay can also have a huge impact on where a person decides to check into for drug rehabilitation. While most insurance companies only offer coverage for 30 days, medical professionals at rehab facilities will work with insurance companies to extend that coverage for the needed stay for the intended individuals to have a full and healthy recovery.

How to Get Treatment Without Insurance

Statistics show that one of the many reasons why people do not seek treatment when it is needed is because they do not have insurance. What they may not know is that sometimes insurance is not necessary in order to get treatment. Here are some ways to get treatment without insurance:

Research suggests that for every dollar spent on substance abuse treatment, it saves $4 dollars in medical expenses and $7 in law enforcement and criminal justice costs. Finding a way to pay for treatment not only helps to save your life but will also save you money in the long run on expenses like medical treatments, court costs, and further loss of income related to drug use.

The sooner you reach out for help for either yourself or a loved one, the sooner the healing process can begin. There are many treatment services available that are designed to fit the needs of the individual. We will work with you, with or without insurance, to ensure that you are getting the best care needed for you or your loved ones recovery.

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Mental Health and Addiction Treatment

Dual diagnosis is the treatment of addiction with another co-occurring disorder.

In the field of addiction treatment, when someone has a substance use disorder, coupled with another form of mental health issue, we call this a co-occurring disorder or a dual diagnosis. Sometimes addiction treatment alone is not enough. We have helped many people in the Houston, Texas area by identifying a co-occurring mental health issue that was adding to their substance abuse problem. In a dual diagnosis treatment program, your treatment plan is customized to meet your specific individual needs. A personalized addiction treatment plan is the best chance for a successful recovery in these cases.

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For someone who has silently struggled with a mental health issue for years, often the only solace they find is to self-medicate with alcohol and drugs. Many patients say this helps quiet the voice in their head telling them that everything is wrong. People with depression may experience a boost of confidence when they use, even if it is only temporary. For someone dealing with and trying to hide their own troublesome internal thoughts, an addiction can develop quickly. If they receive treatment for their substance use disorder, but not for their mental health issue, they will be more likely to drop out of treatment, or even relapse into abusing drugs and alcohol.

Since mental health issues can lead to someone abusing substances, it is often hard to tell which one caused the other. Withdrawal symptoms can sometimes look like a mental or behavioral disorder to the untrained eye. Feelings of lethargy, depression, hopelessness and sudden weight gain are common signs of clinical depression. These same mental and physical symptoms can come from the early acute withdrawal symptoms from alcoholism. In most cases, it is not entirely clear if the mental health of the patient led them to abuse drugs and alcohol or if the abuse of substances created the mental problems they are experiencing.

Detox from drugs or alcohol is the first step in diagnosing an underlying mental health issue.

Cognitive impairment from long term drug and alcohol abuse can often interfere with the proper diagnosis of a mental illness. Once a patient undergoes a full medical detox, cleansing the chemicals from the body and mind, clinicians can start to assess the patient’s underlying mental health. This is a crucial part of addiction recovery, as many patients might not even realize they have been living with a mental health disorder. Some people have been using drugs or alcohol on a daily basis, filling up most of their daily life with intoxication. This can go on for years and years, without them ever realizing they have an underlying struggle with mental health.

When a patient finally experiences sobriety for the first time in a long while, the emotional stress can be very difficult to overcome. Stress, anxiety, sadness and guilt are all commonly experienced when someone first enters addiction recovery services. This is why it is important for someone who struggles with drugs or alcohol to seek rehab from a professional treatment facility. These facilities should offer detox and recovery services for addiction treatment while a dual diagnosis drug rehab will offer help with emotional recovery, medication management, stress reduction and other crucial mental health services. With the support of the right program it is entirely possible to transform your life and rebuild yourself from the ground up.

How mental health and substance abuse can develop together.

The US Department of Health and Human Services notes that, mental health and substance use disorders may share similar, underlying causes for their development. These include changes in brain chemistry, genetic vulnerabilities and childhood exposure to extreme stress or trauma. These problems are further compounded when the person begins using drugs or alcohol to hide their symptoms. Studies have shown that people who struggle with anxiety or mood disorders are almost twice as likely to struggle with addiction than the average person is.

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The four most common mental health issues where substance abuse is more prevalent are:

These types of disorders, when complicated with drug or alcohol abuse are often very difficult to treat. They may require months or even years for someone to fully recover towards a high-functioning state of well-being.  

How is a dual diagnosis treated?

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Treatment for co-occurring disorders at a drug rehabilitation facility will commonly include a variety of physical, mental and behavioral therapies. These are designed to work together on an individual basis, to help the patient with their mental health and to overcome their addiction. These will typically be conducted through a combination of individual and group therapy sessions.

Your treatment providers will work with you during your stay at rehab to formulate an aftercare plan that will help you stay focused on your recovery after you leave their direct care. Outpatient programs, 12-step support groups and relapse prevention strategies will help you during the crucial, early phase of your recovery.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, consider seeking treatment right away. The pain experienced through a mental illness can have devastating consequences when left untreated. We employ a social model of addiction recovery in the Houston, Texas area. More Than Rehab is available 24/7, so we can get you the help you need, right away. Please call us:

888-249-2191

When is the Time For Drug Rehab?

Maybe you’ve just come to realize that things have gotten bad, but are things really bad enough to check yourself into rehab? It is important to be aware that you are not alone. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that an estimated 22.7 million Americans need treatment for a problem with drugs or alcohol. But how do you know when is the time for drug rehab for yourself, or even for a loved one? Having a substance abuse problem does not always mean the person is addicted to drugs.  Often times it will get to the point of addiction, before a person decides they want to stop.

It is important for you to know that a substance abuse disorder, or developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol does not mean that you are a bad person. Becoming dependent on alcohol or drugs is not a moral failing. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, (SAMHSA) “addiction is a health issue, not a moral issue”. Many people fear judgment they may receive because of the negative stigma that has been associated with drug and alcohol abuse. Please realize that there are millions of others just like you. You just need to know when it is the right time to ask someone for help. Addiction is a disease and much like any other disease, addiction is a treatable one.

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Addiction or dependence on substances can be both mental and physical:

You don’t have to develop a dependence, or be addicted to drugs or alcohol to attend rehab. If your substance abuse is causing any negative impacts on your life, it is never too early to ask someone for help. Sometimes it’s easier to see the changes in your life from the outside. Confiding in your close friends or family members is an important indicator to take into consideration when making the decision to attend a rehabilitation facility. If your family and friends are concerned about you, then you probably should be too.

A lot of people who struggle with an addiction to drugs or alcohol will try to quit on their own, without the help of a structured substance abuse treatment program. In most all cases, it is very difficult to break free from substance abuse on your own, especially once a physical or mental dependence on the drug has developed. Getting help from a structured drug rehabilitation program is the most likely way for someone to achieve sobriety.

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Denial can become a huge factor and coping mechanism for someone who is struggling with substance abuse. A lot of people who become addicted deny the facts surrounding them, in order to further justify using alcohol and drugs. You may have yourself convinced that you have things under control, or that you can stop at anytime. If your substance use becomes more important than other areas of your life, you likely have a problem. If you find yourself using more and more often or justifying the financial losses, turmoil in your personal relationships or if you’re facing legal troubles, it is likely a good time to consider checking yourself into a drug rehab facility.

Making the decision to seek professional help from a drug rehabilitation center:

It is usually not one earth-shattering, destructive event that may have pushed you to seek rehabilitation from drug or alcohol abuse. For most people who struggle with an addiction, it’s just the day-to-day routine of being constantly under the influence, struggling to find the money to get your next fix, all while trying to hide your problem from your friends and family.  Your routine of getting high becomes so exhausting that you finally begin to understand the fact that you need some professional help.

Many will feel trapped by their addiction.  They want to change, but don’t know how or they’re too afraid to ask for help. Perhaps they fear that they would become a burden to others, or they’re simply afraid to admit that things have gotten out of control. Most people do not want to admit their weaknesses to others. That is an essential part of our innate human nature. We constantly strive to appear strong, being able to take care of ourselves, even when, deep-down we know we can’t. It’s understandable and honestly, committing to go to a drug rehab is a huge decision that shouldn’t be taken lightly.

Many people who are struggling with addiction fear the painful withdrawal symptoms.

If you are experiencing withdrawal symptoms when you stop using, this is a sign you’ve developed a dependence to alcohol or drugs. Perhaps you experience nausea, headaches, insomnia, paranoia or a multitude of other ills when you stop using. This is how addiction holds on to you with a tremendous amount of power and control. A lot of addicts who want to stop using, simply don’t because the withdrawal symptoms can be too painful. These symptoms will only get worse with continued use.

A full medical detox is the first step of the most effective alcohol and drug rehabilitation programs. This can be intimidating and even scary for someone who is a struggling addict. A variety of evidence based, medication assisted treatments are available to help people who struggle with certain types of substance abuse. These medications can assist by easing the withdrawal symptoms during the early stages of a patient’s recovery. Some withdrawal symptoms can turn deadly, especially for people who become addicted to opiates like heroin, prescription drugs like Oxycontin or other opioids. A professional, medical environment is strongly recommended for the initial detox phase.

The best time for drug rehab is right now.

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Getting help with substance abuse is never easy for someone to admit, but the problems will only get worse over time. Addiction is a progressive disease, the longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to finally quit. Addiction can lead you to some dark places in life. Countless people do things they would have never even imagined before they started using. A continued addiction can also bear deadly consequences. In 2017, more than 72,000 people died from a drug overdose in the United States. Your family members and loved ones would be devastated if you left this planet because of your addiction. Get help today, pick up the phone and call our treatment center. We are available 24/7, and we want to help you right away.

888-249-2191