Our Staff



Jessica Mann, MSW, LSW, CCTP

Bianca Volpetti, MSW, LSW

Primary Therapist

Tara Van Ness, MA, RDT, E-RYT

Expressive Arts Therapist

Madelyn Funkhouser

Counselor Intern and Intake Coordinator

Riley Rohrbaugh

Staff on Duty

Ben Shaver, MEd

Primary Therapist


Drew Ailes

Admissions Supervisor

Angela Sireci

Admissions Coordinator

Crystina Dippolito

Verification Of Benefits Specialist


Laurie Staller

Director of Marketing

Samantha Loyle

Treatment Solutions Advocate


Kim Watt

Administrative Assistant


Don Dobkin


Jimmy Burnside


Holistic Providers

Tony Mascara

World Drum Workshop & Aromatherapeutic Meditation

Brianna Bee

Director of Enlightened Farm

Stephenie Sofield MM, MT-BC

Music Therapy

Jonathon Logan

Sound Healing

Jon Greenburg


Kim Watt

Yoga Teacher

Erika Dice


Giulia Florez-Gerhard

Sound Healing

Keil Gerhard

Sound Healing

Dave Murphy


Georgina Hand


Mike Plantarich

Personal Trainer

Taylor Johnson

Alumni Coordinator

Addiction Treatment in Philadelphia

Enlightened Solutions Philadelphia’s Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP) is designed for those who have completed detox, residential treatment, or have been sober for a period of time and may have experienced a brief relapse and need assistance in getting back into recovery. We recognize that this is often a low point in which people need encouragement and support in their process of reintegrating back into a life of recovery. Because of this, we structured an intimate program that allows for identification of each individual’s needs and formatted a treatment plan that fully binds the mind, body, and spirit.

Through group, family and individual therapies, we call on each client’s desire to succeed in recovery, and their commitment to staying free of addictive substances. Our team of recovery and addiction specialists have designed our IOP to provide clients with the discipline and guidance they need to stay on course and find their unique path to recovery. In addition to our IOP, we’re able to provide counseling services to those residing in our structured sober living as well as those who live at home.

Our Philadelphia location offers the following:

GroupFamilyIndividual Therapy, Yoga, Reiki, Creative Group therapy, Structured Sober Living, Recovery Coaching, Case Management


Holistic Treatment

We believe in treatments that fully bind the mind, body, and spirit. Through holistic therapies, we call on each client’s desire to succeed in recovery, and commit to staying free of addictive substances.

Our holistic therapy solutions allow for reflection, community building, and the connection between our beliefs and actions. Our unique program offers clients long lasting recovery results by focusing on all of the aspects of their natural recovery process.

Addictions Treated

Enlightened Solutions treats the abuse of substances that affect the mind by clouding our judgment, and make the body unfit to live a healthy life. Our clients may want to change, but don’t know how to let go of their destructive lifestyle.

We help each client by bringing them into a safe and trusting environment that offers them comfort and assistance in detoxing their bodies without fear, worry, or sadness. Our specially trained addiction and recovery staff is tasked with helping you every step of the way, so that the sometimes daunting road to recovery isn’t traveled alone.

We invite our clients to cleanse their bodies of these substances they’ve abused, and allow them to do so in an environment free of guilt and suffering, because here is where you learn why you use and how you can truly heal your body, mind and burdened spirit. If you’re reading this page and you’re a family member or someone suffering from substance abuse, you’ve found the recovery center that will help you reach your loved one. If you’re an addict, you’ve found the place where we care, and will meet you where you are on your journey to a successful recovery.

Substances we treat:

We provide recovery treatment for substance dependencies and their common co-occurring conditions:

Alcohol Addiction

Alcoholism is a widespread problem that is commonly associated with co-occuring mental health concerns. Anxiety, PTSD, depression, grief and personality disorders like bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder are frequently accompanied by substance abuse as individuals with these concerns often attempt to self-medicate through drinking.

Cocaine and Crack Addiction

The effects of cocaine can leave a host of concerns in their wake. When you are high on coke or crack, the overactivity in your brain and body lead to rapid heart rate and racing thoughts. It’s common to develop anxiety disorders and mood disorders as a result of these symptoms.

DXM/Cough Syrup Addiction

Cough syrup slows mental processes significantly. Over time, as the brain becomes used to functioning at a lower level, sober brain activity feels overwhelming and can be tied to mental health concerns like anxiety, uncontrollable and unpredictable moods, depression or anger issues.

Ecstasy/MDMA Addiction

These drugs are known for their ability to produce extreme feelings of euphoria and sociability. They are often used as “party” drugs and may be appealing to individuals who struggle with social anxiety or depression. Over time, ecstasy and MDMA (also called “molly”) may worsen symptoms as an individual relies on these drugs to avoid feeling anxious or unmotivated.

Gambling Addiction

The rush that comes from taking the risk of gambling is highly addictive for many people. Often, these individuals develop problems with mood control including unpredictable mood swings or anger management problems as they experience the drastic ups and downs of “winning” and “losing” in their habit.

Hallucinogen Addiction

Hallucinogens cause a mental detachment from reality that some individuals associate with liberation, but the truth is that these mind-altering drugs can be addicting and that the mind is much freer without them. Using these drugs continuously can disrupt natural brain processes and lead to anxiety, depression, poor cognition and mood disorders.

Heroin Addiction

Heroin is a dangerous drug related to opioids like Vicodin and fentanyl. Heroin addiction is often coupled with personality disorders, depression and anxiety that worsen or develop as the brain can’t function normally while sober. Heroin also results in physical symptoms like malnutrition and weight loss, which can lead to body image problems that last into recovery and beyond.

Marijuana Addiction

While many people don’t believe that marijuana is addictive or dangerous, it is possible to develop a marijuana use disorder if you become dependent on its effects. It has been tied to the development or worsening of anxiety and depression symptoms, especially with prolonged and regular use.

Meth Addiction

Meth is a powerful stimulant that causes several issues with the brain and body. Anxiety is frequently paired with long-term meth use due to the intense boosts of energy and brain activity that the drug produces. Meth is also known for causing drastic weight loss and skin and dental problems, which lead to low self-esteem and body image disorders during and after drug use.

Opioid Addiction

Opioids include prescription painkillers like Oxycontin (OxyCodone), fentanyl and hydrocodone (Vicodin). These substances are known for being highly addictive and for quickly leading to overdosing, which is known to be fatal. They are also known for their dangerous withdrawal symptoms and should only be treated by medical addiction professionals.

Prescription Drug Addiction

Many people believe that prescription drugs are less dangerous than “street” drugs, but this is not true. Addictive prescription drugs can include medications taken for anxiety (benzodiazepines like Xanax and Valium), ADD/ADHD (stimulants like Ritalin and Adderall) and chronic pain (opioids like OxyContin and Vicodin), and when used improperly they can worsen the symptoms they were intended to treat.

Sex Addiction

Sex addiction is often tied to trauma (PTSD), relationship issues and codependency. Individuals who struggle with sex addiction use sex to feel pleasure and to mimic feelings of love and intimacy that they have difficulty finding elsewhere. Sex addiction may also be coupled with body image concerns or mood disorders that flare up when sexual gratification is unavailable.

Addictions are formed where no other solutions seem available. But in recovery, we know there are other ways to deal with these problems without turning to alcohol or drugs. We seek to enrich the mind, body and spirit with education, as well as traditional and alternative therapies. If you or a loved one has developed a prescription drug addiction, call Enlightened Solutions at 833-801-LIVE to enroll in our deep healing recovery programs today and experience everything you thought was missing in your life .

Prescription Drug Addiction

The Problem with Prescription Drugs

Prescription drugs are one of the leading causes of addiction, and are becoming more of an issue in the United States, due in part to the widespread availability and prevalent advertising by pharmaceutical companies. Although physicians prescribe these drugs, they haven’t always been well-monitored regarding the volume of prescriptions written or the “doctor shopping” that happens with patients desperate to get their fix. The most common prescription drug addictions we treat are pain killers, but there are others that present addiction issues such as sleeping pills (sedatives), opiates, and stimulants.

Sedatives, Opiates and Stimulants: Effects and Uses

  • Sedatives are meant to give people with insomnia and other sleep conditions the ability to rest. For those that become dependent on sleep medications, they’ve grown to believe that they need it every evening, even if that isn’t the prescribed dose. These types of prescription drugs are offered to patients that have hyperactive disorders or increased anxiety. The drugs work to reduce the heightened activity in the brain, and to suppress these overactive minds and allow calm to settle in. For people that have acute anxiety and sleep issues, these drugs are only meant to be used when necessary.
  • Opiates are pain medications that have become the common answer to stopping physical pain, but often turn into a method of blurring mental pain as well. Pain medications work to target pain receptors in the brain and reduce their ability to produce pain stimulation. Opiates are dangerous because in high doses, they can reduce breathing function, sometimes causing people to stop breathing completely. In recent years, studies have also shown an increase in heart conditions developing in people that have abused pain medications, as well as compromised liver and kidney function due to the body’s inability to properly filter the overload of toxins from the body. The high from opiates is described as numbing and elating, so only feel good effects are experienced, but these mask the serious health issues they cause. In 2014, more than 28 thousand people died from a prescription opiate overdose.
  • Stimulants are “uppers,” so people with severe depression or chronic fatigue are the target audience for these drugs. For people that require stimulation to get through the day or to correct imbalances in the brain, these are helpful in moderation. However, many times people never fully undergo proper mental health screenings, so the emotional imbalances may be attributed to other conditions and could make their situation worse. Stimulants communicate an increase in everything, causing the body to wake up and function – meaning higher heart rates and heightened alertness. These body functions are not designed to be “on” at all times; they can put your system into overdrive and sometimes cause strokes and heart attack. Ritalin and Adderall are examples of stimulants that are popular with students, since it creates a false sense of hyper-focus and awareness, but if consumed for long periods can cause harm to the body.

Prescription Theft and Sharing

Many of the clients we see here at Enlightened Solutions started experimenting with these prescription drugs because they were readily available at home or offered by a doctor. The more accessible these drugs are, the more they will be abused. Most of the time, the abuse of prescription drugs goes unnoticed.

Signs and Symptoms of Prescription Drug Addiction:

  • Irritability
  • Changes in sleep patterns
  • Increased or reduced eating habits
  • Emotional withdrawal
  • Glazed look
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Confusion
  • Odd behaviors and conversation
  • Decline in personal hygiene
  • Anxiety and paranoia
  • Chest pain or raised heart rate

How to Control the Unnecessary Abuse of Prescription Drugs

At Enlightened Solutions, our first step in eliminating the abuse of prescription painkillers, stimulants, and sedatives is to look at the problem holistically. We think about natural ways to solve the issues people are experiencing, and strive to find alternative solutions within, instead of using chemicals to mask the true problem. Holistic health alternatives in talk therapy and the variety of modalities we use can accomplish that goal. For example, when addressing someone’s sleep issues or pain, we find that some of their problems can be traced back to mental stresses, past trauma, or family issues. At Enlightened Solutions, we remove these toxic drugs from the body, cleanse your mind, and help you understand the why behind your dependency on prescription drugs. Pain can often be managed with exercise, or with practices such as yoga and meditation – and those in turn can help clear the mind and induce healthy sleep.

Addictions are formed where no other solutions seem available. But in recovery, we know there are other ways to deal with these problems without turning to alcohol or drugs. We seek to enrich the mind, body and spirit with education, as well as traditional and alternative therapies. If you or a loved one has developed a prescription drug addiction, call Enlightened Solutions at 833-801-LIVE to enroll in our deep healing recovery programs today and experience everything you thought was missing in your life .


During addiction treatment at Enlightened Solutions, we concentrate on some of the most addictive drugs from around the world, including hallucinogens. Hallucinogens have been known throughout history as a naturally occurring drug that is derived from plants such as mushrooms and flowers. In certain cultures, these drugs are considered a vital part of a devoted religious practice. During these types of religious practices, the drugs might be smoked, or cooked down into liquids that followers drink before taking part in cleansing rituals. For some, these natural herbs open the door to the spiritual world so they can feel closer to their spiritual entity.

In the western world, the use of hallucinogens has increased in popularity, and they’re abused by those hoping to experience something otherworldly. But because of the demand or the lack of certain ingredients, most natural ingredients are replaced by man-made substances meant to replicate these naturally growing herbs and other plants.

The common names for these hallucinogens are:

  • LSD or Acid
  • Magic mushrooms
  • Boomers
  • Blotters
  • Salvia
  • Belladonna
  • PCP
  • Peyote

These hallucinogens can come in pill form, or as a liquid added to sugar cubes or small pieces of paper called blotters that are taken by placing them on the tongue. Some of these drugs can be smoked or snorted, while others, such as mushrooms, can be eaten whole or crushed and added to food.

Why Hallucinogens Are Addictive

The key effect of hallucinogens is that they create another reality for the user that causes mind-altering visions or false physical feelings, even conversations, that are not actually happening. As with any drug that works against our natural chemical processes within the brain and body, those using hallucinogens develop an unhealthy tolerance and most begin to experience deteriorating health issues. Over time these drugs can induce mental health conditions, as they damage chemical pathways and the production of the naturally occurring chemicals within the brain.

Effects of Hallucinogens:

  • Increased or irregular heart rate
  • Hallucinations
  • Nervous tremors
  • Anxiety
  • Depression post-consumption
  • Dry mouth
  • Intestinal issues and digestion problems
  • Nausea
  • Heightened body temperature and chills
  • Numbing sensations
  • Loss of coordination
  • Memory loss
  • Death (in extreme cases)

It’s important that people understand that more often than not, hallucinogens are made with harmful ingredients that should never be ingested. These can cause serious irritations within your tissues and destroy your immune system, brain function and digestive system. Mental health conditions that develop because of an addiction to hallucinogens can create a double dependency on the drug, because real life experiences will not mimic the hallucinogen. This is where addiction comes from, since reality is dulled for these individuals. They find no interest in life and may often turn to alcohol or other drugs as well.

Enlightened Solutions Treatment for Hallucinogen Addiction

Our job is to help clients remove the need for hallucinogens from their mind and life. We work with clients to perform a safe, medical detox to strip the drug from their system and perform the right dual diagnosis therapy sessions to learn more about their dependency. Hallucinogens alter the chemical balance in the brain, so we must detox the system to calm any after-effects or mental health conditions that are induced by the drug. In holistic treatments, we cleanse the body and mind so that we can experience the world with a clear view. When the system is clean and ready for healing, we begin addiction and recovery therapies.

We create mindful exercises paired with meditation, yoga, and creative expression to allow those suffering from drug addiction time to explore their feelings. The goal is to reach inner peace, come to terms with our past, and realize the benefits of a sober future. At Enlightened Solutions, we are accepting and welcoming to anyone seeking to live a sustainable and healthy lifestyle, because by coming to us, you recognize that there can be fulfilling joy in everything you do without the influence of these drugs.

Call Enlightened Solutions today at 833-801-LIVE to find out more about our recovery programs and how you can find inner peace and release from addiction.


Benzodiazepines are the best family of drugs on the market today to treat anxiety, according to many physicians that prescribe them to their patients. However, many of the doctors that have helped these drugs become among the most prescribed drugs in the world are finally starting to see the problem with their use now that it’s too late.

These drugs weren’t intended as a long-term solution for insomnia and acute anxiety, but as an ‘in the moment’ type of solution to ease the symptoms of anxiety.

The following are common names of drugs that are part of the benzodiazepine family:

  • Flunitrazepam
  • Rohypnol
  • Valium
  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Lorazepam

Over the years, benzodiazepines have been used as a “cure” for people that have anxiety disorders and sleeping problems; in fact, their levels of use go up each year. Most people may think that the largest group of benzodiazepine users might be in their 20s or 30s, but research shows that the most prescribed group of people are actually seniors ages 65 and over. Prolonged use of these drugs on average is about five to ten years of use; that’s a lot of benzodiazepine build up in someone’s system. It is also important to note that persons can seize during detoxification from benzodiazepines. Proper medically assisted detox is recommended.

How do benzodiazepines work and why are they addictive?

Benzodiazepines are like a sedative or a complete system depressant that relaxes the body fully to help those that deal with high levels of anxiety when the body goes into overdrive. Anxiety can come on out of nowhere, and for some people, it can be difficult to function because they haven’t learned how to calm their body or why their body reacts the way that it does when anxiety attacks. These drugs are not like other drugs that may need some time to build up in someone’s system before they take effect, they are an immediate fix, which is why it is so easy to slide into addiction.

Addiction starts when our innate reward response kicks in and we immediately stop feeling anxious or stressed. For those of us with addictive personalities, this drive to seek out this easy reward with these fast-acting drugs is one of the most difficult things to resist. The addictive brain will become dependent on this drug to loosen the body and mind, and the tolerance to benzodiazepines is an easy build up that rises higher and higher over time. Let’s think about those people that were in the five-to-ten years of use category – benzodiazepine tolerance in those people has just kept rising, and they’ve simply been prescribed higher doses. Oftentimes, these prescriptions didn’t come from just one doctor, but many, which is another sign that the drug use has become a real problem.

Effects of Benzodiazepines:

  • Drowsiness
  • Loss of muscle coordination
  • Impaired brain capacity for learning
  • Amnesia
  • Long withdrawal period
  • Inhibits CNS
  • Affects neuroplasticity
  • Dizziness
  • Vertigo
  • Nightmares
  • Insomnia

At Enlightened Solutions, we focus on holistic care of the body, and try to avoid any type of prescription drug use, because most of them are abused and turn into serious addictions that can ruin the immune system and create artificial chemical processes in the body that cannot be maintained without a drug. Our treatment for the addiction of benzodiazepines focuses on the mind-body connection to the physical symptoms to reduce this abuse of the drug and allow people to deal with their stressors naturally. To see the seriousness of benzodiazepine use, all we need to do is look at the statistics. Instead of offering a “magic pill” to someone so that they can better cope with stress or anxiety, we should first explore the real problem and work through therapies to help these people manage their own symptoms through awareness and wellness.

At Enlightened Solutions, we offer medical detox from benzodiazepines, and teach our clients about total body wellness, to help them find their own path to holistic healing. Call today at 833-801-LIVE to speak with one of our intake counselors that can help you or your loved one begin their recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.

Alcohol abuser on a bridge

Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction is one of the toughest conditions that men and women all over the world struggle with every day of their lives. The reason why alcohol addiction is so hard to battle is that most people don’t often see the regular consumption of alcohol as a problem, so it becomes habitual and commonplace.

After all, it’s an acceptable (and legal) way to celebrate, commiserate, and relax. For many people, one or two drinks with dinner or at a social gathering is enough, but for those that bear the weight of addiction one is too many, and ten is never enough. At Enlightened Solutions, we have created a recovery program that can help those suffering from alcohol addiction, since contrary to what we may see, it is a prevalent problem, but not one you have to suffer through alone.

What is Alcohol Addiction Like?

When we think about alcohol addiction or talk with someone that struggles with it, the need to drink is often described as an obsession or a nagging feeling, but how you choose to label the addiction is up to you. In recovery treatments, we respect these labels as our clients choose to use them, but we establish the need to take control over this obsession so that we can overcome that need and redirect the mind’s focus from alcohol to healthier choices in life. In alcohol addiction, the brain’s natural chemical processes and focus are interrupted so that instead of thinking about responsibilities or loved ones, they think about alcohol. The central point in an addictive mindset is the substance, and the focus on when and how they can get their next “fix.”

Signs of Alcohol Addiction:

  • Missing family events, important meetings, and lack of control with everyday responsibilities
  • Financial issues
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Isolation
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Glassy, red-eyed gaze
  • Inability to speak clearly
  • Resentment and anger
  • Irritation when asked about excessive drinking
  • Inability to process or make coherent conversation

Addictive Behaviors and an Affinity for Alcohol Addiction

Alcohol addiction is one of the hardest to pinpoint in family members and friends since it’s so easy to hide, and therefore easy to fall into without even realizing there’s a problem. Alcoholism is also a disease that runs in families, and the behaviors of an alcoholic can start in childhood. Depending on the situations and/or trauma a child experiences, and whether or not they were around someone in the family with alcoholic tendencies, their brain is conditioned for addiction early on. In family constellation therapy, we work with these inherited behaviors and the predisposition towards alcoholism by connecting with the emotions surrounding alcohol addiction. We think back to our childhood and the specific bonds we have to our family members. Understanding our past connections and current loyalties will help us unpack our need for alcohol.

Recovery is Challenging

We must engage completely to be successful in recovery.

Recovery from alcohol abuse is complicated since it’s connected in so many ways to our past and present experiences, the environment we grew up in, and how we’ve been conditioned to feel or not to feel through suppression of emotion. People often turn to alcohol to protect themselves from feelings – shame, guilt, problems with romantic connections, and self-esteem issues. For many, these deeply settled causes of alcohol addiction have lived within them for years, sometimes decades. To achieve complete recovery and to find your balance in a sober living environment, it’s necessary to strip our souls of trauma layer by layer. At Enlightened Solutions, should you choose to open up to treatment, we will work through emotions and memories and dissect the reasoning behind addictive behaviors.

Alcohol impairs judgment, and steals your control and ability to maintain a healthy lifestyle in so many ways. When alcohol is consumed for a long period of time, the body can’t filter it like it used to and the liver is compromised, causing issues like heart conditions and diabetes, which will only worsen with further abuse. We want to help our clients heal starting with detoxification, mindful conditioning, and spiritual cleansing. Our 12 step philosophy can guide our clients through their daily activities here at Enlightened Solutions so they can take stock of how far they’ve come in their journey to free their mind, body, and spirit. When we drink, our thoughts become dark, and we internalize the emotional struggle within our hearts; addiction recovery will help break through these barriers to find happiness once again.

Treatments We Offer:

Call Enlightened Solutions today at 833-801-LIVE to learn how we can help you find the love and support you need for a healthy recovery that will bring joy back into your life.

DXM / Cough Syrup Addiction

Most people are unaware that a highly addictive substance is sitting right there in the medicine cabinet. The drug we are referring to DXM, or what we know as unsuspecting cough medicine. While cough medicine is readily available on the shelves, there is a reason why the checker asks to scan your identification card when you purchase a bottle. The more you know about DXM/cough medicine, the better prepared you will be to recognize signs of abuse. We encourage parents and family members to monitor items in your medicine cabinet and to dispose of those expired.

We will explain cough medicine abuse, ingredients that makes it addictive and how it can be abused. Throughout our website and here at Enlightened Solutions, we encourage everyone to learn more about substance use and mental health disorders so you assist a friend or family member find treatment, or access help yourself. No one is turned away when they call or come into our treatment center, and if we are not right fit for you, we will refer you a treatment center that best meets your needs.

So what is DXM, and why is it addictive?

DXM is one of the drugs that is often abused by many as it remains easily available to them. The full name of DXM is Dextromethorphan, and it comes in pill or syrup form; you can find it at any drug or grocery store. Another (prescribed) cough suppressant that is addictive is promethazine-codeine, a syrup commonly taken. Should you see these ingredients in the cough syrups you use, we suggest that you try an alternative brand or treatment method. If you are aware that the disease of addiction is in your family, it is suggested to avoid addictive substances, even those that come over the counter. You may ask your doctor or pharmacist for an alternative.

Common brands that include DXM in their formula are:

  • Nyquil
  • Vick’s
  • Dimetapp
  • Mucinex
  • Robitussin

This specific formula found within cough medicines that contain DXM causes the user to experience pleasurable and numbing effects throughout the body and brain. People abusing the drug do so because of the additional hallucinogenic effects at the right dose. Again, this drug, like so many others, depends on the dose and the person. However, because DXM is not prescribed for these doses, testing the effects without a doctor’s supervision can lead to accidental overdose. DXM causes an excess of the neurotransmitter dopamine to flood your system, but because your body learns to adapt to this heightened dopamine level, it will require more and more DXM each use to elicit the same effect.

There are many reasons a person becomes addicted substances, all of which affect confidence and the ability to maintain a stable lifestyle. Families and support persons are encouraged to discuss over the counter medication such as DXM and explain the consequences of their abuse. This is one of many drugs that is easy to attain, and it is often difficult for families to see addiction developing before their eyes. Getting help starts now, and recovery is about more than addressing the substance: we treat all of the factors that contribute to continued use.

If you are searching for a recovery program that offers treatment plans that include yet move beyond traditional counseling, call Enlightened Solutions today at 833-801-LIVE to find out how we can help.

Cocaine / Crack Addiction

Cocaine has a long and convoluted history — not only in the United States, but also in the world at large. The drug originates from a plant that grows naturally in South America. Ancient South American civilizations chewed the leaves of the coca plant for its stimulant and numbing effects. When European explorers came to the Americas, they began taking some of the dried leaves back home, where the plant became popular for similar purposes.

Then, in the 1800s, a German chemist isolated the chemical compound in the leaves that gave the plant its unusual abilities. Scientists and doctors were quick to synthesize the new compound, called cocaine, and began using it during medical procedures as an anesthetic. But the dangers of the drug had not yet been explored, and as such, the general public’s access to cocaine was not limited or controlled. The chemical was added to powders, pills, beverages, creams and more, and was widely used in ways from soldiers’ “pep pills” to purported teeth whitening.

It eventually became clear that cocaine’s harms were equal to, if not more than, its benefits, and that it had a strong potential for addiction. By the mid-1900s, cocaine was a controlled substance in the United States and much of the Western world. However, the new laws did not stop people from making, distributing and using it — and from creating increasingly powerful versions of the drug. Today, cocaine is available in two forms: a white powder, commonly associated with an upper-class partying lifestyle, and a crystallized rock called crack, which throughout much of the ‘80s and ‘90s wreaked havoc on inner-city communities.

Modern cocaine of all types is a dynamic drug that affects Americans of all walks of life, from homeless people to top-level executive figures. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimates that 2.2 million people in the United States are current cocaine or crack users, and that 966,000 of these individuals have a cocaine use disorder — that means that nearly half (about 44%) of all cocaine users struggle with cocaine addiction.

At Enlightened Solutions, we know that cocaine addiction in New Jersey and beyond affects so many individuals, their families and their other loved ones, and we want to help. We provide holistic cocaine addiction treatment in the Atlantic City, New Jersey area, that is focused on helping people and their loved ones heal from the physical and psychological wounds caused by addiction to drugs like cocaine and crack. We educate family members about the drug and how it affects the individual, and about ways to recognize addiction as early as possible. We also offer several types of outpatient recovery programming for cocaine addiction, including detox, to help New Jersey residents and their loved ones through this difficult process.

Signs of Cocaine Addiction

Cocaine is an illicit drug — although it does still have some highly limited medical purposes, any use of cocaine in daily life is a risky behavior that could result in serious health concerns, legal trouble or otherwise. If you or someone close to you is using cocaine or crack, you should seek professional assistance immediately to safely stop using the drug and to learn about ways to avoid using it again in the future.

If you are using cocaine and are unsure whether your use is becoming problematic, you can monitor yourself for signs of addiction and you can familiarize yourself with the path from occasional drug use to drug dependence. Cocaine users who are on the road to addiction will quickly develop a tolerance, which means they will need to use more and more of the drug to achieve the same high. They may also begin to experience intense “comedowns” between highs, in which they feel depressed, exhausted or irritable — these effects are the beginnings of withdrawal symptoms that occur when the body becomes dependent on cocaine or crack. They may also start to experience cravings for cocaine or crack, either in certain situations or anytime throughout the day. Even if you do not think this is happening to you, we do urge you to keep in mind that cocaine is a dangerous drug regardless of how frequently you use it or how much you use. You should consider talking to a professional healthcare provider who can give you the tools you need to stop using cocaine before you become trapped in a cycle of addiction.

If you do not know for certain whether a loved one is using cocaine, there are some signs of cocaine or crack use that you can watch for. If any of the following signs are apparent, you should consider talking to your loved one or a professional about your options for seeking treatment.

  • Bouts of high energy with crash or sleeping through the following day
  • Changes in moods, personality or daily interests
  • Decreased performance at work, school or other responsibilities
  • Abnormal sleeping patterns
  • Rapid breathing
  • Increased heart rate
  • Clammy skin or excessive sweating
  • Reduced hygiene
  • Unexplained financial difficulties
  • Dilated pupils
  • Difficulty with memory or concentration
  • Nervous movements
  • Nosebleeds and dryness around the nostrils
  • Burn marks on the hands or mouth
  • Signs of white powder on skin or clothing
  • Presence of drug paraphernalia including razors, pipes, or baggies

If you are near Atlantic City, New Jersey and are worried about yourself or a loved one, please contact Enlightened Solutions today to find out how we can help. Our compassionate staff is ready to answer your questions and connect you with the resources you need to leave your drug use or addiction in your past and to take your first steps toward a new, sober life.

How are Cocaine and Crack Used?

Like most drugs, cocaine and crack are absorbed into the bloodstream, where they make their way to the brain and trigger chemical signals that create a high. In order for cocaine or crack user to achieve these effects, they must take the drug in a way that gets it into their bloodstream as quickly as possible. This usually includes proximity to absorptive mucous and highly vascularized tissues — notably found in the nasal passages and the lungs. Powder cocaine is, therefore, most frequently used via snorting, or forcibly breathing the powder in through the nose. Crack, on the other hand, can be vaporized in a specialized crack pipe. The smoke is carried into the lungs and absorbed the same way the body takes in oxygen.

The human body is not designed to process drugs like cocaine and crack in this manner, and as such using the drug can have serious physical effects. Individuals who take cocaine via snorting often struggle with nasal problems ranging from dryness and frequent nosebleeds to injuries in the septum that can become infected and require surgery. Crack users who smoke the drug are susceptible to mouth, throat and lung problems that run the gamut from burns to cancer. And, the more frequently the drug is used, the more serious the physical effects: cocaine users can develop a tolerance quickly, and chronic users can find that they need doses every hour or every half hour.

Seeking treatment to cease cocaine use is therefore essential, not only to prevent deterioration of psychological health but also to prevent the physical effects of crack and cocaine use from causing long-term health concerns.

Reasons Someone Would Use Cocaine or Crack

Cocaine and crack affect many different kinds of people for equally as many different reasons. Some young people turn to cocaine because they have seen it glamorized in movies or on television, and they fall prey to peer pressure among friends at school or work. Other people have grown up in an environment that normalizes cocaine or crack use, and they do not realize that life without drugs is an option for them. But one of the main reasons that cocaine and crack take such a strong hold on their users is that these drugs have the powerful ability to boost mood and energy and to stave off negative feelings.

In these cases, cocaine and crack users may be self-medicating — they may have underlying emotional or mental health concerns that cause painful memories and feelings. Past experiences may include traumas such as sexual abuse, emotional abuse or abandonment, which leave behind feelings of powerlessness or self-doubt. Others may struggle with depression or anxiety, the symptoms of which are easily masked by a cocaine or crack high. Being high on cocaine or crack lends a false sense of self-control, self-confidence and sociability, which allows individuals to get through their day without worrying about the problems that may lie deep within them.

Contact Enlightened Solutions

Cocaine and crack are dangerous drugs that come with many serious health concerns — including the possibility of a fatal overdose. It is vital that you or your loved one comes to understand the risks they are taking on when they use cocaine, and that they understand how their actions are affecting their future, their families and others around them. At Enlightened Solutions, we provide effective treatment for cocaine and crack addiction that teaches our patients and their families about the realities of drug abuse and addiction, and gives them the tools they need to begin taking confident steps toward sobriety.

We welcome anyone that is seeking help to find solutions in recovery and is open to exploring the mind, body, and spirit. Please contact us today to learn more about our recovery community and to find out what we can do for you.

Who Is At Risk For Cocaine Addiction?

Those who struggle with cocaine/crack addiction are primarily people who are trying to self-medicate. Past experiences may include traumas such as sexual abuse, emotional abuse or abandonment, where the individual feels powerless and looks for validation in cocaine use because of the side effects and/or altered perception. Those that abuse cocaine describe the use of the substance as an enhancement of themselves that elicits feelings of power or control. However, cocaine produces a false sense of control and self-possession. Cocaine is a dangerous drug, since the dose needed to achieve an initial high, followed by an increased high, is never the same from one to the other. Whether or your loved one understand the severity of cocaine/crack use, one use can kill you, and the risk of fatality only increases with each dose. Common causes of death from cocaine use ends in a heart attack.

We welcome anyone that seeking help in finding solutions in recovery and is open to exploring the mind, body and spirit. Our program was built to work with you or loved ones by addressing the whole person, not only detoxing the system. Lifelong recovery from addiction requires holistic methods. Call our intake team at Enlightened Solutions to discover ways you can remove cocaine from you or your family member’s life.