How Can Relapse Be a Part of Drug Recovery?

There’s a lot to feel good about when your loved one goes through an arduous recovery journey and then comes out clean and sober. Sadly, even after rehab though, your loved one may relapse at some point. Relapse doesn’t happen to everyone in recovery, but it does happen to many people. That’s why newer schools of thought on addiction feel that the painful occurrence of relapse is actually a very important part of the sobriety journey. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 40-60% of those recovering from substance use disorders will relapse during their path to recovery. This should help put the struggle of your loved one doing illegal drugs into perspective, that they aren’t alone.

Addiction is a chronic disease or mental illness whose nature is a barrier to sobriety. Your loved one, like other patients, faces a consistently high risk of relapse because addiction alters the brain’s function and structure. Alcohol and drug use trigger dopamine production in the brain’s reward pathway. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that regulates the brain’s pleasure and reward centers and emotional responses. These changes influence the way the brain prioritizes what’s important.

The brain of a patient who has developed an addiction recognizes substance use as important – even more than survival. That’s partly why those struggling with addiction take risks to continue abusing substances. Addiction also affects the prefrontal cortex – a part of the brain that identifies issues and plans solutions. So when a person relapses, it’s not because they are weak or lack morals, but because of something that’s way beyond their control. And even after treatment, some of these changes might persist.

What is relapse? 

Relapse is when someone goes back to using drugs or alcohol after a period of sobriety. The person may “slip up” and have a drink (or use a drug) and then stop again. Slips are hardly seen as relapses, but they can trigger stronger cravings for harder drug use or more alcohol. On the other hand, full relapse is when the person in recovery intentionally seeks drugs or alcohol and no longer cares for their treatment.

Is addiction an incurable disease?

The National Institute on Drug Abuse in the United States indicates that people in addiction recovery have a 40 to 60% chance of relapse. This puts addiction relapse at the same level as other chronic conditions like hypertension and asthma, which have a 50 to 70% relapse rate.

According to NIDA, addiction has no cure. But it can be managed successfully. Like other chronic illnesses, there’s medication to address the problem. However, the patient may need to go through lifestyle changes, routine maintenance, and checkups to prevent relapse. They also have to learn new ways of thinking. All in all, relapse is not failure. It only shows that it’s time to reinstate, adjust or try out a new treatment.

Relapse as part of the recovery process

Addiction is a chronic brain disease with biological, behavioral, emotional, physical, and social aspects. It is characterized by an inability to control drug or alcohol use. The chronic nature of addiction makes relapse part of the healing process as opposed to failure. As mentioned earlier, drug addiction disrupts brain circuitry and causes dependency. At this point, one is bound to experience side effects like drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms when they stop using. Unless they use their substance of choice, they may not feel “normal.” Relapse may seem like an excellent way to get back to “normalcy,” combat intense cravings, and relieve withdrawal symptoms. That’s why relapse can be a form of self-medication.

Drug relapse is a common part of the recovery process. When it happens and is handled correctly, it can strengthen one’s commitment to long-term sobriety. Recovery is the journey of maintaining long-term sobriety, reaching new goals, and facing life with new, healthier strategies. A hitch on the road doesn’t mean that all is lost. Yes, it might feel overwhelming – but with the right help, your loved one can get back on the right track.

Strategies to avoid relapse or mitigate its effects

More than half of the people in recovery relapse. But the fact that it is common doesn’t mean that you should not try to prevent it. An addiction relapse not only undoes the hard work, but it’s also potentially life-threatening. Relapsing can result in binging that can even lead to overdose. Here are some strategies to help prevent relapse or mitigate its effects.

Reaching out for help

People in recovery often feel humiliated and devastated when they slip or relapse. So, the last thing you want to do is reprimand them or come out as judgmental. You also don’t want to leave them to their own fate. Instead, try to encourage them to go back to their support network or treatment. It doesn’t matter how many times one relapses. In fact, experts agree that one is likely to have a successful long-term addiction recovery when there is more repetition of positive reinforcing habits.

Attending long-term treatment programs

Recovery from alcohol and drug addiction is not a quick fix. A single medication or a month of therapy may not guarantee a clean life. Often, one may need to engage in intensive long-term treatment, accompanied by continual support for a better outcome. A study with 1000+ addiction patients discovered that relapse rates reduced for every nine weeks a person spent in treatment. Sustained recovery also increased in the study for participants who had ongoing treatment with aftercare.

Identifying and managing triggers

Treatment programs integrate therapies that teach patients how to cope with internal and external stressors that may trigger a relapse. Mental health issues like anxiety, stress, depression, and mood changes tend to co-occur with substance abuse. When someone in recovery gets anxious or stressed, they may crave, think about, and eventually use substances. Triggers can be specific – like certain places or people, or very general – like hanging around people who are using. Evidence-based therapies help those in recovery recognize their personal relapse triggers and even train them to cope.

Lifestyle changes

Managing triggers is a great relapse prevention strategy. But you also want to encourage your loved one to make positive changes over the long term to build a healthier life. They can learn and use healthy coping mechanisms for negative emotions: recognize and manage mental issues: and develop positive activities like meditation, exercise, or art.

More Than Rehab is here to help. We have decades of experience in treating addiction, from the root-causes, to the after effects people experience once they become sober. If you, or a loved one needs help with their addiction, please don’t hesitate to call us! We are available 24/7.

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How Alcoholism Can Make Your Blood Pressure Worse

Scientists are still learning how alcoholism affects heart health and blood pressure. According to a few John Hopkins University studies, moderate alcohol drinking may lead to a lower risk of dying from heart disease. Also, modest amounts of alcohol might help to slightly raise the levels of HDL or “good” cholesterol as per some studies. Does that mean, however, that alcohol consumption is a great habit and has no repercussions on your health? Not at all. Let us look at the ways alcoholism can make your blood pressure worse.

The association between moderate alcohol drinking and heart health is still debatable, with both supporters and naysayers offering evidence; the focus keyword, however, remains “moderate”. Excessive alcohol drinking, on the other hand, has no positive side to it.

Too Much of a Good Thing

While short-term repetitive drinking can lead to temporary spikes in blood pressure and heart rate, long-term alcohol abuse and alcoholism may lead to chronic hypertension/high blood pressure and even cause heart disease. Addiction to alcohol is a very serious problem.

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How Alcohol Affects My Blood Pressure?

Although the impact of alcohol consumption on the body depends a lot on age and risk factors, excessive drinking is never recommended for anyone. This is because alcohol abuse can lead to a myriad of direct and indirect impacts on the body and mind, which are detrimental not just to the individual but also to those who surround them.

Direct effects

Alcohol abuse and alcoholism can have pronounced direct effects in the short- and long-term, chief among them being a temporary increase in blood pressure, which may turn into long-term excess due to repetitiveness.

Indirect effects

There are several ways in which alcohol is known to affect blood pressure indirectly. Alcohol is known to affect the nervous system, which controls blood pressure. Also, it causes changes in pressure receptors that sense blood pressure levels, making blood pressure higher. Alcohol consumption increases cortisol levels – the stress hormone that increases blood pressure – and the level of calcium that lines arteries, making them more constricted, elevating blood pressure.

Scientists have also found that alcoholism affects the number of other vasoconstrictor hormones (artery-constricting hormones), impacts the retention of fluids filtered in the kidneys and leads to weight gain in the long-term, all of which contribute to increases blood pressure numbers.

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How Much Is Too Much with Alcohol?

The American Heart Association has outlined the definitions of excessive drinking, which one can revise to keep their consumption in check:

According to AHA, one drink is equivalent to 12 oz of beer, 4 oz of wine, 1.5 oz of 80-proof alcohol and 1 oz of 100-proof alcohol. At the end of the day, however, it does not matter what is the beverage you pick – what matters is the amount.

Why is High Blood Pressure Bad for You?

There are two kinds of blood pressure numbers we are familiar with. The higher number denotes high blood pressure, which occurs when the heart is contracting and forcing blood into the arteries. The lower number stands for low blood pressure which occurs when the heart is in the relaxed phase.

Consistent and abnormally high blood pressure or hypertension is detrimental to our body because it damages the lining of arteries, causing them to harden (arteriosclerosis), ultimately leading to arterial blocking. The blockage of arteries subsequently leads to a blocked flow of blood to the heart (causing heart attack), brain (causing stroke) as well as other essential organs, leading to multiple-organ failure.

On the other hand, low blood pressure is not a long-term condition, though it also leads to poor health outcomes such as dizziness and pale skin. However, low blood pressure is easier to reverse and quicker to recover from.

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Alcoholism and Serious Diseases

Heavy drinking is directly associated with several poor bodily outcomes, including heart conditions such as cardiomyopathy which affects the heart’s muscles. Excessive alcoholism may even lead to heart failure and stroke, apart from the most common complication - heart attack. The long list of problems associated with alcohol abuse also includes liver diseases, obesity and poor mental health.

Compared with people who did not binge drink, people who drank alcohol at twice the gender-specific binge drinking thresholds were 70 times more likely to have an alcohol-related emergency department (ED) visit, and those who consumed alcohol at 3 times the gender-specific binge thresholds were 93 times more likely to have an alcohol-related ED visit, says the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Alcohol intake can also specifically affect those who are on blood pressure medications. These medications usually come with side effects associated with low pressure – dizziness, loss of balance control and so on. Excessive alcoholism also impairs our sense of balance, which is why this combination can prove detrimental. Alpha- and Beta-blockers as well as Nitrates can interact dangerously with alcohol and should be avoided.

Reversing the Ill-Effects of Alcohol on Heart Health and Blood Pressure

The good news is that the ill-effects of alcohol abuse can be reversed if you take action at the right time. Studies show heavy drinkers who reduce their consumption to moderate can lower the upper blood pressure readings or systolic blood pressure by about 5.5 millimetres of mercury (mm Hg) and their lower readings or diastolic blood pressure by about 4 mm Hg.

That being said, one rule does not fit everyone when it comes to getting rid of alcoholism. Recovering from alcohol is as much a personal process as it is a medical one. It can lead to withdrawal symptoms, impact your mental health and cause visible changes to your body. However, with the combination of the right approach and evidence-based treatments from specialists, one can stop drinking and de-addict themselves effectively and holistically.

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How Does More Than Rehab Help?

At More Than Rehab, we aim to provide quality care to those in need of all-inclusive and therapeutic modalities, helping individuals identify what is best for their recovery. Our team of a skilled and compassionate team of counsellors, psychiatric specialists and physicians who coordinate a comprehensive and individualistic plan for the recovery of individuals in need. Coupling our approach with cognitive behavioural therapy, More Than Rehab caters to the full spectrum of a person’s addiction.

Alcoholism is one of the leading mental and physical issues affecting the United States today. However, it can be gotten rid of, and its impacts treated or reversed. It is upon you to make the best out of the opportunity to, for you might get only a chance at it. You can start your life afresh – we are just a click away.

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How Much Does Alcohol Rehab Cost?

It is never a good feeling when you, or a loved one, are considering whether or not professional treatment is necessary for an alcohol use disorder or an alcohol addiction.

However, the simple fact that there is even a question is a strong indicator that there is possibly a problem and that professional help may be necessary. This is especially true if there have been negative consequences associated with the alcohol use, such as getting a DUI, getting fired from work, relationship difficulties, getting in trouble with the law, or other negative consequences of drug or alcohol abuse.

According to the National Institute on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, around 17.6 million people struggle with an alcohol abuse or dependence issue every year in the United States. So, just know that if you or a loved one are suffering, you are certainly not alone. In the year since the pandemic began, alcohol use has seen a sharp increase in the United States.

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One of the biggest steps that people can take when they are suffering from an alcohol use disorder or addiction is to admit that they have a problem, and then get the help necessary to recover.

Once you have decided that help may be necessary for whoever is struggling, you may begin to wonder if your family can afford it.

Exactly how much does alcohol rehab cost?

Well, the answer to this question can depend on many factors. No two people are alike, and the same can be said about their addictions. The cost will typically depend on the level of treatment required for that individual to begin the road to a successful recovery.

The level of treatment someone needs depends on a variety of issues such as how long they’ve been using alcohol or drugs, whether they abuse alcohol in combination with other drugs or substances, and how often they abuse their drug of choice. Depending on the severity of the symptoms and the addiction, a more intensive treatment may be necessary.

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What is an alcohol rehab program like?

Typically, when a person is looking to get treatment for alcohol abuse, they do an intake assessment to determine what level of care is appropriate. When it comes to alcohol rehab, there are several different levels of treatment, each with their own general cost. Here are some of the most common.

*These prices are based off out-of-pocket expenses without insurance coverage. However, many insurance companies will pay for all or a portion of alcohol rehab treatment costs.

Aside from the different levels of treatment that may affect the overall cost of alcohol rehab, there are several other factors to consider when it comes to the price. One of those factors is the length of the program. Along with the intake assessment, many treatment centers will also specify an amount of time they believe necessary for effective treatment. Depending on the individual's specific needs, this time frame typically ranges between 30 to 90 days.

The location and amenities of the treatment center can also play a significant role in the overall cost. If you decide to go to an alcohol rehab center located on the beach, it’s likely to cost more than the one nestled in the heart of a small inland city.

The amenities the rehab center offers will also add some major dollar signs to the total cost. Some luxury rehabs offer acupuncture, private tennis courts, and swimming pools. Keep in mind that you don't have to stay at the Ritz in order to get quality treatment but choosing a treatment center with just the right number of amenities may go a long way in making the stay much more enjoyable and beneficial in the long run.

At our beautiful Texas rehab centers, known collectively as More Than Rehab, we combine the right balance of affordability, while still providing luxuries that encourage you to get involved with your recovery process. If you feel as though the cost of alcohol rehab may be too much, keep in mind that most insurance plans will cover all, or a portion of the cost for your alcohol addiction or substance abuse treatment.

At More Than Rehab we offer a wide range of care levels and work with most major insurance companies. We pride ourselves on remaining affordable while providing the highest quality of care--all while staying at a beautiful and serene location surrounded by the most wonderful natural surroundings that Texas has to offer.

There is absolutely no shame in getting help when you need it. So please reach out to us today at More Than Rehab and let our highly trained staff help you or your loved one. As always, we are available 24/7. Give us a call today!

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Fun Things to Keep Busy & Off Drugs for the Holidays

For a lot of people, winter marks a great time of the year. They look forward to fun things like spending time with family, eating great food and celebrating the holidays. What some people don't know though, is how difficult this time of year can be for a recovering alcoholic or drug addict. For someone who is in recovery from a substance abuse problem, the holiday season can be especially troubling. Most of the time before getting sober, holidays used to be about getting drunk or high and using their drug of choice. Holidays were often an excuse to abuse drugs or alcohol, even if that meant hiding it from their friends and family.

When someone is newly sober, or sometimes even long into recovery, celebrating holidays can often become a relapse trigger and make them want to abuse drugs or alcohol again. Not to mention the limited outdoor activity, reduced sunlight, and less social contact that often comes with winter and colder temperatures. This can dramatically increase the risk of relapse for many addicts, especially those who also struggle with their mental health. If you or a loved one struggle with maintaining sobriety during the holidays, then you can probably relate.

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Here are a few fun things you can try to help keep you busy & off drugs this holiday season:

  1. Exercise

Though initially exercise may not sound like fun for everyone, it never hurts to try. Many who exercise regularly report feeling happier and less stressed when compared to those who don’t. Try signing up for a free membership at your local gym or start small by doing workout videos at home and cranking up the music. You can even download a video game like Just Dance to help get your heart rate going. If you can make it a regular habit, exercise is proven to increase things like self-confidence and reduce stress.

  1. Volunteer

Another great way to help keep you busy during the holidays is to volunteer your time to a great cause! You can start by working at your local soup kitchen or reach out to a local organization whose efforts you would like to support such as the Humane society. Research has consistently proven that those who give back to others, often feel better than those who only take care of themselves. Simply giving even just one hour of your time each week can make a world of difference for more than just yourself.

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  1. Fix Up Your Space

Is there a new design idea you have always been wanting to try? Or perhaps a cool new chair for your man cave? Try sprucing up a room in your house, one bit a time and on a budget that you can afford. Paint the walls a new color. Do whatever creatively comes to mind. This is a great way to expel some of your pent up mental energy. You can also spend time cleaning out places like the garage or the attic. All of these are great examples of things that will keep you busy and help you feel better at the same time.

  1. Get A Plant

Getting a plant can actually be very rewarding. If you have ever had the chance to speak with a gardener, they will likely tell you how mentally and spiritually fulfilling it can be. The same thing goes with getting a house plant. Attending to the needs of something as simple as a plant can help you stay busy and feel better about yourself. It can also help give you something to look forward to, which helps you further avoid a relapse, as getting drunk or high would likely mean its end. Getting a plant is also a great way of fixing up your space on a tight budget. Try visiting your local plant store and speaking with someone to help figure out the right type of plant for you.

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  1. Go Ice Skating or Play Hockey

Even though you may not be able to go outside as easily as you can in the summer, there are still plenty of activities that you can do during the colder months. There are many places to go ice skating, usually both indoors and out. You can also try to find a local hockey league in your city if you want to get a little physical on the ice. Perhaps even try getting together a group of sober friends or people from your local AA or NA support groups so that you can all lace up together and hit the puck around the ice. This is a great way to combine physical activity with your social support network while doing some fun things.

  1. Take Naps

With reduced sunlight and the related chemical changes that can happen in the brain with shorter days, it may be no surprise that you are tired halfway through the day more often than you used to be. Don't be afraid to take a nap every once in a while, maybe even once every day. Taking a nap is a great way to pass the day and has many proven benefits, such as improved cognitive abilities and heightened mood. Just as long as you don't start sleeping too much, as that can have its own set of problems.

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  1. Do Puzzles

Puzzles are a great way to get the creative juices flowing in the brain and release some mental tension. They also take up quite a bit of time to finish, which is great for the wintertime and holidays. Plus, once they are done it's a very celebratory and rewarding moment. Go to your local supermarket and take a peek at their puzzle section, you are sure to find one that you would like to complete. The great thing about puzzles is that you can do them alone, or with loved ones or friends.

These are just a few ideas to get you started on how to have fun and avoid any potential drug cravings during the holidays. We wish you the best during this time of year but if you do find that you need some additional support with your sobriety, then we are always here to help. Reach out to us at More Than Rehab any time of day!

(888) 249-2191

What Happens to Your Brain When You Get Blackout Drunk?

If there is one thing that we can all agree on, it is that 2020 has been a stressful year. Along with the nation battling the surge of cases in the COVID-19 pandemic, is the increased rates of alcohol consumption sweeping across the country. No one could argue against ending a long stressful day with a relaxing alcoholic beverage, but there is such a thing as drinking too much. Even in the face of adversity, if you are getting “blackout drunk,” there might be a problem.

Most experts agree that drinking moderation is perfectly fine, and while that may look different depending on the individual, in general, consuming more than four alcoholic drinks per day for men and three alcoholic drinks for women is considered to be too much.

Another important thing to consider if you are beginning to wonder if you or a loved one are consuming too much alcohol is whether or not memory lapses have been experienced after a night of drinking. Drinking too much alcohol in a short amount of time, especially on an empty stomach, can lead to what is known as an alcohol-related blackout. If you have ever experienced a time when you got blackout drunk, you might have had that “uh-oh” feeling the next day as you begin texting your friends, trying to piece together what happened the night before. Unfortunately, though commonly experienced, blackouts are a tell-tale sign that way too much alcohol has been consumed.

What is it like to get blackout drunk?

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For those who have ever experienced a blackout, it can often be a scary experience. Not only are you left wondering what happened the night before, you may also begin to wonder what exactly happens to your brain when you get blackout drunk? Why does it make it impossible to remember what happened, say, after the fourth shot of tequila? Well, even though we can’t exactly tell you whether or not you really danced on the pool table in front of your boss, we can try to help explain why drinking too much may cause memory lapses or blackouts.

What happens to your brain when you get blackout drunk?

When you hear the term blacking out, that doesn’t necessarily mean that the person is unconscious. In fact, it may even be hard to tell that a person is experiencing a blackout when they have had too much to drink within a short amount of time. Blackouts typically occur when a person's BAC (blood alcohol content) reaches twice the legal limit, that is around .15%. Also commonly referred to as alcohol-induced amnesia, blackouts happen when enough alcohol has been consumed that it inhibits the brain's ability to process and store short-term memories into long term memories. Interestingly, it's also not so much about how much you drink but how quickly you drink. Someone who slams three drinks in a row is much more likely to experience a blackout when compared to someone who elevates their blood alcohol content over twice the legal limit, slowly over a longer span of time.

When you rapidly consume a large amount of alcohol, a roadblock essentially goes up between the immediate and short term memory, affecting the brain's ability to store memories and recall them later. The main ingredient behind alcohol’s potent effects is a substance known as ethanol. When consumed, ethanol has the ability to cross the blood-brain barrier. This can then allow the ethanol, or alcohol, to target receptors located in the hippocampus, the area of the brain responsible for controlling functions like emotions, memory, and recollection. During a blackout, you may be able to recall things in between the 30, 60, and 90 second time-span but anything beyond that is all but forgotten.

Additionally, depending on how much alcohol is consumed, and how many of these receptors are targeted, a blackout can either be partial or complete. A partial blackout is commonly referred to scientifically as “fragmentary”, and they are sometimes referred to as “brown-outs”. Partial blackouts are where bits or pieces of information may be easily recalled, but there are still gaps in time where nothing can be remembered. Visual or verbal cues may be helpful in putting together what may have happened the night before. Or, these cues could help someone recall more bits of information if a partial blackout is the kind experienced.

Drinking too much alcohol can cause temporary amnesia.

Complete blackouts, however, are when the person experiences complete and total amnesia up until a certain point in time where they ultimately consumed too much alcohol. Complete blackouts are sometimes referred to scientifically as “en bloc” or as “that never happened”. It is also highly possible that even though you may have experienced a complete black out, you weren’t a total mess. Sometimes the blackout is triggered before enough alcohol has been consumed to affect your cognitive abilities and motor functions. This sometimes happens when someone was consuming too much alcohol on an empty stomach. This can make it difficult to detect, as there may not be any signs beyond normal slurring of speech and the appearance of minimal impairment.

If you have a friend or loved one who has a tendency to go a little overboard while at the bar, it might be helpful to ask them if they remember what happened 15 minutes ago. If they do not, it is highly likely they have had too much to drink and are experiencing a blackout. If you’re a good friend, then you should maybe at least try to keep them from making poor decisions they might regret later. Although one isolated incident of drinking to the point where you experience a blackout may not initially be a sign that an alcohol abuse problem is present, if it is something that continues to happen on a regular basis that is a huge sign that there is an alcohol problem. It may be a great enough problem that it might require some professional help from a reputable addiction treatment program.

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If you believe you, a friend, or another loved one may be experiencing an alcohol addiction or substance abuse problem of any kind, then we are here to help. At More Than Rehab, we are a team of trained professionals who are also a family, not just with the staff but with our clients as well. We understand what it takes to live a life of sobriety and we would love the opportunity to share the tools we have learned with you. Reach out to us today and join the family at More Than Rehab. We’re here for you 24/7:

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Alcoholism is on the Rise During COVID-19

I’m sure the year of 2020 hasn’t turned out quite the way any of us had envisioned it would have in the beginning of the year. Since the arrival of COVID-19 in our country, we have all faced many challenging obstacles. Temporary closures of businesses deemed non-essential, self-isolation, quarantine, and other dramatic changes of how we live on a daily basis have all led to some seriously negative consequences that experts suggest we will be dealing with for years. While many of the effects of this global pandemic have remained relatively unmeasured, there are still several issues that have substance abuse treatment specialists rightfully worried throughout the United States.

Alcoholism is on the rise during COVID-19 across the US.

Along with increased rates of overdose and relapse, alcoholism has also been on a steep rise since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Recent data shows that the purchase of alcohol and the rates of alcohol abuse have rapidly been growing since the beginning of the year.

For example, alcohol sales increased by 54% for the week ending March 21 of this year, right around the same time that the quarantine and major government shut-down began; online sales have also reportedly increased by over 260% since 2019. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also released several statements regarding this issue. Not only are they concerned with riskier behavior that is associated with the consumption of alcohol, but alcohol also increases the likelihood of contracting the virus and can make the symptoms of the coronavirus much more severe.

Social isolation in quarantine can contribute to increased drug and alcohol consumption.

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Many are having to adapt to conditions such as working from home with distractions that they aren't ordinarily used to putting up with, managing personal relationships with their partner or spouse while living and working in the same proximity, or having to juggle helping their kids stay at home and learn in the virtual classroom. All of this makes it very easy to understand the desire to pour a glass of wine or grab yourself a beer after a long stressful day to help take the edge off, especially when one considers the amount of changes we are all going through on a daily basis.

According to a recent self-reporting survey, more than 55% of adults reported an increase in their drinking since the beginning of the pandemic, with nearly 20% reporting a significant increase. An issue that may be more of a concern for certain members of the population, as another self-reporting study showed that excessive drinking has increased by over 41% for women. Though a large number of the population admittedly seem to be enjoying a drink more often because of the COVID-19 pandemic, there is still such a thing as “too much” - and one may begin to wonder, what exactly is that limit?

How much alcohol consumption is “too much”?

Though the amount of alcohol recommended for daily consumption varies slightly depending on the source, all major health organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) agree that drinking in moderation is the safest way to consume alcohol in order to most effectively avoid any negative health effects associated with drinking. Moderate drinking is defined by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) as up to 4 alcoholic drinks per day for men and 3 alcohol drinks per day for women. Though, this can differ depending on many things such as weight, height, and family history.

One concern of drinking above moderation is that it can lead to changes in tolerance and dependence. Not only that, but researchers are concerned that less people will seek medical attention due to the pandemic for fear of overburdening the system or catching the virus. This can lead to those in help not seeking the medical treatment that they need.

So, if you are concerned that you or a loved one may be struggling with an alcohol addiction or other substance abuse disorder, then More Than Rehab is still here to help! Do not worry, we are also taking extra precautions during this time to ensure that our clients are safe while on their road to recovery.

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Signs that you, or a loved one may be struggling with alcoholism:

If you are still unsure if you or loved one have gone from recreational drinking to what may be an alcohol abuse disorder, then here are some common signs or symptoms that there might be a bigger problem:

There are other many alcohol related symptoms that one may want to look out for if you are concerned that there may be a problem. Alcohol is an easy substance to become addicted to and is the leading reason people seek substance abuse treatment in the United States.

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The first step to getting help for alcoholism is admitting that you have a problem.

We know that daily life has become especially difficult for people living in our world today. If you are a loved one have developed a problem, or have been struggling with an addiction for a long time and need help recovering again, we can help to get your life back on track. At More Than Rehab, we also help teach you healthy coping skills, so that you no longer need to rely on alcohol to help relieve the stress of today’s world. Many of us here at More Than Rehab have been where you are before, so we know what it takes to lead a healthy life without drugs or alcohol. Please let our family help yours today!

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Call anytime, we are available 24/7.

How to Live Without Drugs: 7 Ways to Overcome Addiction

If you have ever struggled with an addiction to drugs or alcohol then you know just how hard it can be to turn your life around and get sober, once and for all. For a lot of people who are still living in an active stage of drug addiction and/or alcohol abuse, having fun without the use of drugs or alcohol seems to be out of the question.

While people who struggle with a substance abuse problem often have a laundry list of reasons that keep them from getting sober, such as no desire or denial that they even have a problem to begin with. One major and common excuse is that there is no way to live life and have fun without the use of drugs or alcohol. Although it may feel that way for the majority of addicts, and those in the beginning stages of recovery, that just simply isn’t true.

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For someone who has been living life under the influence of powerful, mind altering drugs, it may seem as though there is no other alternative, but there is a way to live life while sober and still have fun at the same time. That is not to say that sobriety will not offer challenges, but getting through them without the use of drugs or alcohol will become very rewarding. Those in recovery understand how important it is to have an enjoyable life while maintaining sobriety.

Here is a list of 7 ways to live without drugs or alcohol that others have found useful.

  1. Work Out- Working out may not initially sound like everyone's idea of fun, but research has proven that physical activity reduces stress. Not only that but it also balances out the production of serotonin and dopamine, which are neurotransmitters commonly affected by drugs and alcohol. The stimulation of these through exercise naturally leads you to feeling happier. It is important to remember that working out can take on many forms, not just hitting the gym. Consider trying yoga, going swimming, or enrolling in a Zumba If you challenge yourself and are having fun, you are more likely to repeat the same activity.
  2. Play a Sport- To some, the idea of working out or going to the gym is not something they may be willing to do, and that's ok. Another way to stay physically active is by playing a sport. Most cities have community leagues for baseball, basketball, soccer, volleyball, etc. The majority of these leagues can be found by visiting your local cities governmental website. These community athletics leagues help to incorporate physical activity while offering a social aspect as well.
  3. Develop a Hobby- If sports or physical activity really just aren't your thing, then there are still ways to live without drugs or alcohol. One of the most helpful things to do for long-term sobriety is to develop a hobby, such as photography, cooking, reading, knitting, pottery, gardening, etc. Hobbies allow you to gain self-esteem and are naturally rewarding. They allow you to boost your motivation, improve a skill, and become better at something that you are interested in, which can be important in recovery as it gives you a little something extra to stay sober for.
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  • Volunteer- The simple act of volunteering has been reported as one of the easiest ways to have fun while in recovery. Research suggests that nearly 94% of people reported having an elevated or improved mood after having volunteered. Not to mention, volunteering is probably the cheapest way a person can have fun, it often costs you nothing but your time. The simple act of giving back is very personally rewarding, and can become a pillar in someone's life. Volunteering also gives you the opportunity to meet new people, a lot of whom are also in recovery.
  • Take Classes- A lot of people in recovery state that drugs or alcohol kept them from pursuing higher education. Well, sobriety is the second chance to pursue that goal. Go back to college or attend some local community classes. It is never too late to go back to school, and oftentimes first time students, or returning students, qualify for grants and student loans. You can also take classes to improve a hobby, such as creative writing classes, cooking, or photography and gardening. Going back to school or taking classes is easily one of the best ways to live without drugs or alcohol.
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  • Attend a Self-Help Group- Self-help groups are usually offered for free around the community. For those in recovery these often include Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). Though they may not sound like fun at first, these are the preferred choices for those who are successful in their recovery. This is because they offer sober and social interactions. They often have sober activities outside of the group as well, such as barbecues or dances. This gives you the opportunity to meet new people and develop a good support system, which is important for long-term sobriety.
  • Meditation- To some, meditation is an important part of living life without drugs and alcohol. Meditation has been known to produce important changes to the structure and the function of the brain, helping to repair damage that may have been caused by the use of alcohol or drugs. It has also been shown to reduce stress and improve overall mental and physical health. It can also help to reduce depression and anxiety, which are common triggers for relapse. Meditation also increases spiritual awareness which can be extremely beneficial when learning how to live without drugs or alcohol.
  • These are just a few of the most common ways that others in recovery have found useful for their sobriety. There is life without drugs or alcohol, even though it may not feel like it to some. If you are someone you know is struggling with an addiction please do not hesitate to ask for help! We sincerely hope that you found this list useful and wish you the best in your recovery!

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    How Much Does Heroin Cost In Texas?

    Opioid addiction has increasingly become an epidemic in America in recent history, with many attributing this growing problem to prescription painkillers. These painkillers are being prescribed at a rate. The average price for a single pill of an opioid prescription, like norco or percocets, can run the user anywhere between $8 without insurance to $40 dollars on the street. Since opioids are highly addictive, when people are cut off or run out of their medication, they often turn to the streets for a cheaper alternative. Due to the substance abuse problem with these prescription painkillers, the use of heroin has been widely sold as a cheaper solution. As a result, many users have gotten hooked on the substance after seeing that it also achieves a more intense high.

    When looking at the prices of heroin in the United States over the last few years, we have seen it steadily become more cheap and readily available, with the potency levels continuing to rise. Heroin and black tar heroin are illegal substances that mimic the effects of other opiods. They are mainly being trafficked by Mexican drug cartels who smuggle them across the Mexican border and then distribute them illegally throughout American cities, like Texas and Dallas. Due to close proximity with the border, Texas becomes a major hotspot for these cartels to traffic their drugs. Today, more and more often, heroin is being cut with other substances, such as fentanyl (a high strength opioid), in order to drive those prices back up on the street, increasing the profit margin for drug traffickers or other people who are selling heroin.

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    While the average price for a “baggie” of heroin can range anywhere between $5-$20 dollars (with many recovered addicts reported having bought 15-20 of these single use bags per day), we must ask ourselves, what is the actual cost of using heroin?

    The economic burden America faces when dealing with this categorical problem is estimated to be around 78.5 billion dollars a year due to things like decreased productivity in the workforce, the overwhelming cost of healthcare, addiction rehabilitation treatment costs, and criminal justice involvement. Not only can a heroin addiction have a detrimental impact on the economy, it can wreak havoc on the users finances as well, costing the average addict anywhere between $438 to $1,750 per week.

    However, once the addiction to heroin has taken hold, it will not stop to ask the price that anyone is willing to pay, because unfortunately, with many addicts, no price is too high. They do not see the impact their addiction is having on the world around them. An addiction to heroin will take as much as the user is willing to give, which in most cases, can and will be everything. Heroin will not stop at taking your job, your car, your money, your family, your home, your health, your appearance, your friends and in most cases, it will even take your life. Addiction is a powerful disease that will continue to take and take, until either the user has gotten help from a substance abuse treatment program or has died from their disease altogether. 

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    Heroin is a high strength, extremely addictive and highly dangerous opioid that it is one of the leading causes of death in America, with Texas being one of the states most heavily impacted by its usage. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 130 people in the United States alone die from an overdose on opioids every single day, with Texas attributing to about 5% of that number. In 2017, Texas had around 2,199 reported deaths related to an opioid overdose, coming in 5th on the list behind states like Florida and New York. 

    Addiction from heroin can affect any region, race, and age demographic. Surprisingly enough though, in Texas during the year of 2017, the age group most affected by opioid overdoses were people aged 55 and above, followed by young adults who were aged 25-34. With up to 80% of people who struggle with a prescription painkiller dependency that may turn to heroin, one can not be surprised by these staggering numbers.

    In response to this crisis, the US department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has been focusing its efforts on these major areas; 

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    The National Institute on Health (NIH), a component of the US Department of Health and Human Services, also met with major pharmaceutical companies in 2017 in order to help solve this problem. In these meetings, they discussed alternative methods for the treatment of pain, like non addictive alternatives, ways to prevent opioid misuse, and how to effectively manage opioid abuse disorders or how to avoid altogether.

    We hope that in time, with these combined efforts, this problem in America will begin to subside. Until more people are willing to seek help, many will remain affected. With drug overdoses from heroin and other opioids still on the rise, we urge those suffering to reach out for assistance if they are struggling with getting clean or staying sober. No one is safe from becoming a part of this epidemic. 

    The time to get clean is today. The longer an addiction is left unchecked the harder it is to overcome. When an addiction is allowed to thrive for an extended period of time, the chance for overdose escalates as the users tolerance begins to increase along with the amount of time being spent on getting high. The one and only lasting cure for any type of drug addiction is to lead a life of sobriety. If you or a loved one are suffering from withdrawal symptoms or are unable to stop taking drugs or alcohol please reach out to More Than Rehab.

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    Can You Afford Drug Rehabilitation?

    If there were two primary obstacles to attending addiction treatment, they would most likely be a fear of asking for help and the doubt that they could even afford drug rehabilitation. Addiction treatment can be prohibitively expensive for many people who struggle with addiction, so how can you find out if you’re eligible to receive help when you’re ready for it? Millions of Americans still cannot afford health insurance, even with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, or “Obamacare”. While the well-intentioned government mandate that all health insurance plans available on the open exchange must cover mental health (including addiction treatment), there are still a lot of people who can’t afford health insurance to begin with.

    Most people who have a substance use disorder may not even realize that addiction treatment might be covered by a health insurance plan they currently hold. This leaves the average person truly unaware of the costs associated with addiction treatment and drug rehab in Texas, and across the nation. Addiction treatment costs widely vary too, depending on the type of substance you’re addicted to, the level of addiction and the types of treatment you need to receive.

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    Scientific, evidence-based approaches to drug rehabilitation are likely the most cost-effective versions of care, as they offer a proven success rate, regardless of age, gender and other demographics. These methods of rehabilitation can literally be life-saving so it is difficult to put an accurate price tag on rehabilitation. A lot of this comes from the perspective of the money you’ll be saving, taken for granted that the rehab works.

    Addiction to drugs can be very expensive, let alone costing you your life...  

    Say you have a major cocaine addiction, the typical addict can spend anywhere from $200-$1,000 a day on the drug during a heavy binge. This equates anywhere from $6,000, up to $30,000 a month for the simple maintenance of your coke habit. If rehabilitation works, just think of the money you could actually save in the long run. This is just one extreme example, but the bottom line is your livelihood and the chance to spend the rest of your life doing things with your family and close friends, versus chasing a high from a drug that will ultimately only ruin your life.

    The different types of drug rehab and their associated average cost in Texas.

    There are many different types of drug rehabilitation and different levels of care with each option and for each individual’s unique needs. Let’s break down the options below.

    Detox: a full-medical detox is commonly the first step of a longer, more in-depth alcohol or drug rehabilitation. Some patients will only receive the detox part of rehab, because they think that’s all they’ll need. Detox will help you get off of the drugs or alcohol in a safe, medically monitored way. Some addictions have severe withdrawal symptoms that in some cases can be deadly. In the case of opiates, alcohol and benzodiazepines, quitting cold-turkey can have deadly consequences. Seizures, heart palpitations and delirium tremens could all possibly result in death. Again, the cost will vary depending on the severity of the chemical dependency and the type of substance you are detoxing from. Typically a medical detox at an outpatient clinic will run anywhere from $1,000 to $2,000 dollars.

    Inpatient drug rehab: Most inpatient drug rehabilitation centers will require a minimum 30 day stay. Some require longer stays with a 90 day program. Depending on the area, and types of services provided the typical cost of inpatient drug rehab will range anywhere from $6,000 to $20,000 or more per month. Some rehab centers are quite luxurious, offering amenities that go far beyond what is required to quit using drugs or alcohol. These “destination rehabs” can go well beyond $20,000 per month and are typically reserved for movie stars and highly-paid CEO’s.

    Outpatient addiction treatment: An outpatient treatment program can be much less expensive than a stay at an inpatient facility. Outpatient drug rehab programs usually comprise of support groups and individual therapy sessions, completed daily and you can typically attend these programs around your busy school or work schedules. Outpatient programs can be good enough for a mild addiction, but it could end up taking much longer than a stay at an inpatient facility. Outpatient drug rehab programs typically run around $5,000 for a three-month program.

    A note about medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and evidence-based drug rehab.

    An evidence-based approach to addiction treatment typically offers the highest success rates of any type of drug rehabilitation. For a patient who is addicted to alcohol or opiates like painkillers or heroin, medication may be beneficial to help you quit using. These medications, like buprenorphine, Suboxone or methadone are beneficial to help ease the painful, early withdrawal symptoms.

    Evidence based methods of treatment show greater success rates when combined with individual and group therapy sessions, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, 12 step program integration and other supporting treatment options. Some medications will be taken for up to 12 months and the yearly cost of these medications will be around $5,000 per year.

    How do I pay for addiction treatment? How Can We Afford Drug Rehabilitation? 

    Most people will pay for a drug rehabilitation program with their insurance coverage. Since the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), otherwise known as “Obamacare” health insurance plans on the exchange will pay anywhere from 60-90% of the cost of drug rehabilitation program. This has been an important step to fighting the nations current drug overdose and opioid epidemic. Now more people have access to life-saving drug rehab services than ever before. If you are struggling with addiction and need treatment, you should consider looking into your health insurance coverage options.

    If you cannot afford drug rehabilitation, some people will take out personal loans to pay for their addiction treatment. Attaining sobriety and giving yourself the amount of care you deserve is worth the money. You can think of rehab as an investment into making a better life for yourself, your family and your friends. Think of the alternative without attending rehab, typically you can either A) end up in jail, or B) continue your substance abuse and possibly die from a drug overdose. Sobriety is worth it and while it may seem difficult, sobriety is very much an attainable goal.

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    With so many different options for you to get help, it is possible for almost everyone to get the addiction treatment they need. If for some reason, none of these options are a possibility for you or your loved one, there are many state-funded programs available to you. The Texas Department of Health and Human Services has a searchable database of low-cost rehab programs on their website: https://dshs.texas.gov/sa-search/. But do keep in mind that many of these government run programs will have long waiting lists, with robust eligibility requirements.

    If you need help right away please don’t hesitate to give us a call at More Than Rehab. We strive to offer the best quality addiction treatment programs in the Houston, Texas area, at a low cost to our clients. We never want cost to prohibit you from getting the help you need. In many cases, we can find a way to offer care at little to no cost for you out of pocket. Please call us anytime, we are available 24/7 to take your call:

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    What are some of the inspiring de-addiction stories?

    When people first enter the substance abuse treatment program at More Than Rehab, the lifestyle of addiction is the only thing that seems normal to them. A lot of young adults in America are accustomed to the lifestyle of drinking and drug use. In fact, it’s almost an expected rite of passage in modern American culture. Popular music, movies and television shows all glamorize the use of alcohol and drugs, while social media outlets offer a place for people to share their experiences, without any punitive consequences. This culture normalizes substance use to the point that many young Americans don’t realize any of the negative consequences that come along with alcohol or drug use.

    The drug abuse problem in the United States has exploded to an epidemic level. The Centers for Disease Control shows that over 72,000 people have died in the US from a drug overdose in 2017.  This is the largest number of recorded overdose deaths ever. When you factor in the 630,000 people who have died from a drug overdose since the late 1990’s, you’ll see a worsening problem that shows no signs of stopping or slowing down. For someone who is struggling with an addiction, the best time to get help is right now. The longer you wait, the more powerful the disease of addiction becomes. Leaving your addiction untreated, will only make it more difficult to cure this potentially deadly disease in the long term.

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    Many people experience a turning point in their life that begins the process of recovery.

    Most people who begin abusing drugs or alcohol do not plan on becoming addicted. A lot of people don’t even realize they have developed an addiction until they try to quit. The compulsive use of substances can easily develop into a life threatening illness. A chemical dependency can lead to self-destructive behaviors that will ultimately lead to serious health issues and the deterioration of personal and professional relationships. For some, these moments of devastation can be the “wake-up call” they needed in order to seek help from a drug rehabilitation center.

    Know when it is time to get help for your addiction.

    Once you make the decision to realize that your addiction has gotten out of control, you have to reach out for help. This may require you to navigate beyond your comfort zone, confiding in someone close to you about the problem you tried so long to hide. We know that there are a lot of people who are afraid to reach out for help. Some are afraid of the negative stigma that is associated with addiction and substance abuse. They become worried about the judgment of family and friends, fearful that they will be seen as a failure or a bad person. We can assure you that this is not the case, nor should it be.

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    There is no shame in developing an addiction to drugs or alcohol. For many Americans it is almost unavoidable. Many are drawn to alcohol and drugs to cope with inner feelings of depression, anxiety or a variety of other mental health issues. Regardless of the underlying causes of your substance use, those who are closest to you will be happy that you decided to get the help you need.

    Sobriety is absolutely possible! A fulfilling, healthy lifestyle is within your reach.

    At More Than Rehab, we have seen a wide variety of people come to our rehabilitation center for help. We’ve had doctors, college students, musicians, stay at home mothers literally just about everyone come to us with a debilitating substance use disorder. Addiction knows no bounds. It is true that literally anyone can develop a psychological and physical dependency on substances ranging from alcohol to prescription and illicit drugs. Some of our clients were convinced that they had already ruined their lives before they walked into our addiction treatment facility. We were quick to point out that their lives were not over, but they were actually just beginning.

    Seeking treatment for an addiction to drugs or alcohol can be the most important decision you will make in your lifetime. We’ve seen people who sacrificed everything in their lives just to get high. Some had lost their jobs, their families, friends and all of their worldly possessions. When they made the decision to get help and come clean, it was like we had opened up a window to a new world, a window they thought they had boarded shut. It is never too late to open your window and see the world in a whole new light.

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    To learn more about the quality, evidence-based substance abuse rehabilitation and addiction treatment programs available to you at More Than Rehab, please call us today. We are available 24/7 and a licensed addiction counselor will answer your call. Don’t wait another day, make the call right away:

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