How Destructive Character Patterns Affect Addiction

How Destructive Character Patterns Affect Addiction

Certain personality traits, environmental factors, and even genetics can lead to addiction to drugs or alcohol. It can be common to see specific patterns of thoughts or behaviors that are present when seeking treatment. It is important to be aware of these behaviors and thoughts and work to adjust or avoid them. Some destructive character patterns can include:

  • Lack of impulse control
  • Loss or lack of self-control
  • Poor stress management
  • Neglecting (or undiagnosed) co-occurring disorders
  • Risk-taking behavior

Impulse Control

One common pattern of behavior when it comes to addiction is impulsivity. When you develop an addiction to alcohol, cocaine, opioids, or other substances, you may often struggle with impulse control. This refers to the inability or lack of consideration when it comes to the consequences of your actions. If you struggle with impulse control, you may engage in risky or detrimental behaviors without weighing the negative impacts your decisions may have.

When you struggle with impulse control, you may lack the inner dialogue that occurs when you are deciding what to do. This refers to the ability to negotiate and comprehend the potential consequences of a decision. Self-regulation is also a skill that you may struggle with if you lack impulse control.


Another common pattern of behavior when it comes to addiction is a lack of self-control. This can be similar to impulse control; however, this speaks more to being able to stop doing something or moderate your thoughts or behaviors when you want or need to. For example, you may be fully aware of the consequences of a poor decision but find yourself unable to avoid making the decision that leads to the negative consequences.

Addiction is a perfect example of this concept. When struggling with substance use disorder, you might be aware of the harmful effects of using. Although, you might have no control over your dependency on the substance you are using.

This can be difficult to understand for those who have not experienced addiction firsthand and can even be difficult to process when you enter treatment. At Enlightened Solutions, we use 12-Step principles to help you identify your loss of control over your addiction and embrace the healing that comes with that realization.

Stress Tolerance

Stress affects everyone differently. You may have a high tolerance for stress and may even feel motivated by it. Yet, you could be very debilitated by stress and anxiety. This can often lead to self-medicating or seeking release in the form of drugs or alcohol.

Managing stress well is essential to your health for many reasons. In addition to the risk of addiction, increased stress levels can lead to poor mental and physical health. It can even trigger life-threatening conditions such as poor cardiovascular health.

Co-Occurring Disorders

It is normal for you to discover that you have a co-occurring diagnosis upon completing the intake and assessment process. A co-occurring disorder refers to the presence of an underlying diagnosis that could be triggering or reinforcing your substance use. A few common co-occurring diagnoses include depression and anxiety.

Similar to those seeking substances to relieve stress, you might choose to drink alcohol or use drugs to ease symptoms of anxiety or depression. Neglecting to address these disorders can lead to substance use and abuse. At Enlightened Solutions, we provide a full mental health evaluation to be sure we provide you with everything you need during treatment to find healing and good health.

Risk-Taking Behaviors

In some cases, taking risks can be a beneficial thing. While this can be harmless in some situations, it can sometimes lead to much worse.

When you take risks often, you may lack some or several of the aforementioned character traits. You may lack impulse control, which affects your judgment and processing of consequences. Perhaps you lack self-control and, despite knowing something is dangerous, feel unable to refrain from taking the risk.

Sometimes, there may be an underlying condition or disorder that could be leading to dangerous or risky behavior. Substance use can often begin as a one-time experimental thing out of curiosity. If you enjoy taking risks often, you may not consider the long-term impact of your decisions but only consider the immediate risk. After all, you are not intending to become addicted to substances.

During treatment, clinical professionals will help you identify any potentially harmful thoughts and behavior patterns that could have led to your substance use in the first place. Learning more about these behaviors and developing strategies for change is crucial. By participating in therapy and focusing on healing and change during treatment, you can stay on track and be successful in recovery.

Harmful behavior patterns can often lead to substance abuse. Some common examples can include lack of impulse control, loss of self-control, poor stress management, the presence of a co-occurring disorder, or engaging in risk-taking behaviors. Some may exhibit a combination of these traits. Possessing any of these characteristics or behaviors significantly increases the likelihood of substance abuse. It is important to address and correct these behavior patterns to avoid addiction and relapse. At Enlightened Solutions, we help clients recognize any underlying issues that may have led to their addiction and pose potential for relapse in recovery. Our programs help you develop strategies for correcting destructive thoughts and behaviors and create more productive and healthy habits. If you or someone you love is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, we would love to hear from you. Call Enlightened Solutions today at (833) 801-LIVE.

Understanding the Correlation Between Trauma and Addiction

Understanding the Correlation Between Trauma and Addiction

Trauma is an emotional response to an occurrence that had abundant negative impacts on someone’s life. Examples of trauma could include an accident, assault, natural disaster, and more. There are various types of trauma, and trauma may be perceived and experienced differently by different people.

Trauma is often something people would prefer not to talk about. In the past, it may have been a little stigmatized, implying that discussing your trauma was a sign of weakness. Today, society seems to be embracing the importance of acknowledging and processing trauma as it relates to healing and overall health.

Opening up about trauma can be very difficult. Usually, traumatic events are something people may prefer to avoid thinking or talking about as they can bring up terrible memories. However, trauma that is left unresolved or unprocessed can present issues in all areas of life. Just because you aren’t talking about it doesn’t mean you don’t still think about it, whether it is through conscious thoughts or not. Sometimes, trauma creeps up and affects areas of functioning without you even realizing it. Trauma can impact relationships, affect productivity, and lead to substance use.

Trauma and Addiction

It has been found that trauma and substance abuse can be closely related. For example, many who have experienced trauma in their life turn to using drugs or alcohol to cope with thoughts and feelings relating to their trauma. They may use it as an escape or distraction to avoid thinking about or focusing on unpleasant events of the past.

As mentioned by Lamya Khoury, Yilang L Tang, Bekh Bradley, Joe F Cubells, and Kerry J Ressler in their 2010 article that appears in the Depression and Anxiety journal, "Early traumatic experience may increase risk of substance use disorders (SUDs) because of attempts to self-medicate or to dampen mood symptoms associated with a dysregulated biological stress response.” This can often be what jump-starts addiction. When you realize that something helps take your mind off thoughts or feelings that can be really negative and consuming, you’re inclined to continue seeking that remedy.

On the other hand, those who use substances are more likely to be put in situations where they could experience trauma as a result of their lifestyle. Substance use increases the likelihood of victimization in many different ways. You are more likely to be present in unsafe environments, engage and interact with others who are engaging in unsafe behaviors, and you’re more likely to have your judgment skewed as your main focus is to seek and obtain your substance of choice.

Addressing Trauma During Treatment

A thorough assessment at intake can be critical to identifying any trauma that may be present and needs addressing. As someone goes through the treatment process, it’s important to address any underlying conditions that could be encouraging substance-using behaviors. Understanding what led to the substance abuse and what continues to drive it for each client is critical to their recovery.

Attempting to treat just someone’s addiction if they have experienced trauma in their life would be only a short-term fix at best. Following treatment, that individual would most likely still be impacted by the trauma that led them to use drugs or alcohol in the first place. Essentially, you would only be treating the surface-level issue. Digging deep and understanding what really led someone to make the decision to use substances they likely knew could be risky is important to their recovery success.

Some may not even be aware that their trauma could have led to their addiction. It can be common to suppress memories and negative thoughts and emotions so deeply that they may not even be acknowledged when discussing how addiction began. Therapists and intake specialists are trained to help you identify any trauma that may exist, no matter how historical or deeply suppressed it may be.

Choosing a Facility With a Trauma-Informed Approach

Choosing a treatment facility that prioritizes holistic healing can make all the difference. Staff is trained to address trauma first and help you work through any underlying issues that could serve as a barrier to your growth, success, and healing. They are aware of trauma symptoms and signs as they may present in those with SUD. It’s important to process your own feelings and emotions throughout treatment and understand how to cope with these to avoid relapse in the future. At Enlightened Solutions, we can help you do this.

Confronting trauma can be hard, particularly if it is not something that you have ever really sat with and thought about before. Discovering existing trauma and learning that this could have been the driving force behind your addiction can be incredibly enlightening. You will leave feeling empowered knowing that you are more aware of yourself and are now equipped with the tools to take back control of your life.

Trauma and addiction can be directly related. For many, one may be the cause of the other. Whether you began using drugs or drinking alcohol to cope with trauma or you experienced trauma as a result of substance abuse, there is usually a correlation. Addressing any trauma clients may have experienced as part of the treatment process is critical. This increases the likelihood of long-term success and reduces the risk of relapse. Enlightened Solutions conducts a thorough assessment to identify any trauma that may be contributing to your substance abuse at intake, and develops a plan catered to your specific needs. If you or someone you love is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction and could benefit from our trauma-informed approach to treatment, don't hesitate to reach out. To begin your journey to recovery, call Enlightened Solutions today at (833) 801-LIVE.

How to Break Bad Habits Following Addiction

How to Break Bad Habits Following Addiction

Habits can be learned behaviors that you develop over time. Typically, they begin without intention. If they are intentional, they often end up being a more frequent or consistent thing than you planned for. Habits can be good or bad. Good habits could include things such as a daily exercise routine or meditation practice. Bad habits could include things like eating junk food daily before bed or spending too much time scrolling through social media.

Substance Use and Habits

When it comes to substance abuse, habits are often formed as a result of this lifestyle. For example, you may have developed a habit of poor eating or stay up way too late. You may have developed a habit of hanging around the wrong people or spending time at places that do not serve you well. Still, substance use on its own can be considered a habit.

Habits can be very difficult to break. Have you ever been a nail-biter or someone who tends to crack their knuckles often? Even the smallest and most insignificant habits can be tricky to discontinue.

When you decide to seek treatment, you may need to break a few old habits. To do so, it can be helpful to incorporate new helpful and positive routines. Filling the void of the old habits with new habits can make the transition a little easier.

You will need new things to do, new people to spend time with, and new hobbies. A few positive habits to adopt during treatment and carry into recovery could include:

  • Following a bedtime routine
  • Expressing your thoughts and feelings in a healthy way
  • Meditating
  • Spending time outdoors

While this is certainly not a comprehensive list, it does give you an idea of the types of things that could become positive habits. The best part is that these are easy to incorporate into your daily routine and take very little time.

Getting Quality Sleep

Getting enough good quality sleep is incredibly important. Addiction can take a huge toll on sleep quality and quantity, leaving your body sleep-deprived and functioning at far less than its best. By developing new, healthy habits surrounding sleep, you can ensure you are getting the rest your mind and body need.

It all begins with creating a good environment for sleep. This involves making sure you feel safe and feel able to relax. Using essential oils, dimming lighting, or listening to calming music can be great tools. Establishing habits to form a bedtime routine can signal to your mind and body that it is time for rest and help you fall asleep faster and easier.

Building Healthy Expression

Having the ability to communicate thoughts and feelings in real-time and in an honest way can be tricky. While struggling with addiction, it can be common to hide your truth out of fear or shame. Individual therapy and therapy groups can help promote open expression and can provide you with healthy ways to process and express how you feel.

Engaging in Meditation

Meditating has many benefits. Making a habit of meditating regularly has many more. Meditation allows you to check in with yourself in real-time. You are encouraged to focus on the present and what you are feeling, thinking, and experiencing at that very moment.

Meditation promotes better focus and helps you learn to drown out distractions. This, as you can imagine, is key during treatment and throughout recovery.

Getting Outdoors

When was the last time you took a moment to appreciate the earth and all it provides? Spending time outdoors has many health benefits and can serve as a breath of fresh air – literally – when life feels a little overwhelming.

Research has shown time and time again that being in nature can promote healing, lifts your mood, and can even improve sleep quality. With these advantages, why not consider taking a daily walk outside when the weather is nice?

Gardening is another way to get involved in nature and give back to the earth that gives so much to us. Spending a little time planting, watering, or even weeding a garden can be therapeutic.

The difficult task of breaking habits tends to have a negative connotation. However, when you consider healthy habits, this obstacle can be a good thing. Developing healthy habits during treatment and recovery is essential to your long-term success.

By creating routines that support your mental, physical, and spiritual health, you are more likely to avoid relapse and stay on track. Keeping busy with things that are positive and helpful to you and your new lifestyle is key.

We all have habits. Some of our habits may be good,  and some of them may be bad. Addiction often brings many bad habits that can be difficult to break. Some may even serve as a barrier to seeking treatment. Replacing the bad habits with new, healthy habits can be helpful. At Enlightened Solutions, we provide an environment that encourages structure and engaging in activities that promote healing consistently. Our program offers healthy strictly organic foods, a variety of health and wellness classes and groups, and many outdoor experiential therapy options to choose from. We believe in our holistic approach to treatment, and encourage those we support to incorporate more holistic-focused habits into their new lifestyle. If you could benefit from developing some healthy habits with us, don’t hesitate any longer. Let us help you begin your journey to recovery today by calling Enlightened Solutions at (833) 801-LIVE.

What Happens if You Have a Co-Occurring Disorder at Enlightened Solutions?

What Happens if You Have a Co-Occurring Disorder at Enlightened Solutions?

At Enlightened Solutions, we believe in holistic care and offer a safe space for all, regardless of one's diagnosis. At the very beginning of your time spent as our client, we evaluate you to see if you have any co-occurring diagnoses, but we still treat you as a whole person. We know that with proper care and healthy practices, you can overcome your struggles with addiction to alcohol or other substances or behaviors. We also know that overcoming any other diagnosis is possible. We believe in every single one of our clients and their ability to recover from their addictions and mental health diagnoses.

Choosing Health

When you choose treatment at Enlightened Solutions, you are choosing wellness. We offer many resources to ensure you are at your best when you leave our New Jersey treatment facility. As part of your treatment, we want to help you learn how to best take care of yourself so that you are ready to tackle life and live the life you want when you return home. We encourage and provide you with the resources to eat healthy, exercise, and engage in therapy before we consider medication needs for your co-occurring diagnoses. We want you to have the life you always imagined and wanted. We know struggling with multiple diagnoses can be challenging, and we want to set you up for success.

Healthy Diet

As part of your treatment at Enlightened Solutions, we offer clients sustainable food. We provide organic and healthy meals as part of our resources for your treatment. We utilize our own gardens as part of our therapy options and use the foods we grow as part of the healthy diet we provide to clients. We want to ensure you achieve your best health, and we begin by ensuring you eat wholesome and sustainable food.


Exercise promotes endorphins, which improves mood and combats anxiety and other mental health diagnoses. We utilize various forms of exercise in your treatment, including yoga and walking in nature. We recognize that movement therapy will help your recovery and improve your mental stability, making recovery easier to manage and more sustainable.


As part of your treatment at Enlightened Solutions, you will work with an individual therapist and participate in other groups to learn how best to manage your symptoms and navigate recovery. You will learn how to set goals and meet with your therapist weekly to discuss your progress and any changes that need to be made to ensure your progress in meeting your goals for adequate management of your co-occurring diagnosis.

Is Medication Necessary?

Sometimes, medication is necessary, but at Enlightened Solutions, we want to ensure you can live your best life and know that sometimes medication can cause unwanted side effects and be frustrating to the person trying to overcome their diagnosis. We begin by establishing wellness goals to help you find balance. If medication is necessary, we will help you find the right medication and help you learn how to balance your life with the side effects. When you leave our campus, we want you to be able to greet your life with whole wellness and not just depend upon medication for your well-being. We treat you as a whole person, not just a diagnosis.

Retrain the Brain

Managing a co-occurring disorder is difficult. You may have utilized your struggle with alcohol or other substances or behaviors to manage your symptoms. Understanding what to do when met with a diagnosis or challenging symptoms can seem overwhelming and uncertain. At Enlightened Solutions, we help you develop solutions to “retrain your brain” and develop more positive coping strategies to enhance your well-being and develop a healthier life.


Mindfulness has been shown to be effective in promoting one's well-being and enhancing one's wellness. At Enlightened Solutions, we utilize mindfulness in everything we do. Being mindful is just one part of our holistic treatment and has been shown to support a healthier life.

Cognitive Restructuring

Part of retraining the brain requires examining your thinking. Some refer to problematic thinking as “stinking thinking.” Stinking thinking often gets us into trouble and makes us more likely to engage in unhealthy behaviors and sets us back in our recovery. Examining our thoughts and adjusting them according to the truth and reframing those thoughts in a helpful manner will help you have a more successful recovery, not only from addiction but also from any co-occurring diagnoses.

Remember Your Unique Strengths

Having a co-occurring diagnosis does not define you, just as your addiction does not define you. You are always a person first. You are defined only by what you want and allow. You are a person with unique strengths and challenges. Having a history of addiction to alcohol or other substances or behaviors is not the essence of who you are, just as having a co-occurring diagnosis does not define you.

Life with a co-occurring diagnosis may seem impossible to manage, but at Enlightened Solutions, we believe life can still be enjoyed and lived wholesomely. We believe in wellness and retraining the brain to live in a sustainable way that enriches your life and the lives of others, no matter your diagnosis. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction to alcohol or other substances or behaviors, hope is available. At Enlightened Solutions, we recognize that addiction sometimes happens with a co-occurring diagnosis, and we are ready to treat the whole person, not just one aspect of your struggle. We believe in your ability to overcome addiction and any other co-occurring diagnosis. You are a person first at our treatment center. If you want to overcome addiction or a co-occurring diagnosis, call us at (833) 801-LIVE and learn how to live your best life. 

Addiction: Existence in Middle-Class Communities

Addiction: Existence in Middle-Class Communities

Substance abuse knows no socioeconomic boundaries. It can affect those living in high-class, wealthier areas just as it can affect those living in lower-class neighborhoods. A common misconception is that drug use is more likely in what one might consider "rough" areas. The idea that people with less money are more likely to do drugs and become addicted to substances is a misconception.

Addiction was once considered to be a disease that only impacted the weak-minded or those who lacked self-control. It was thought to be something that you would only see in impoverished neighborhoods where people were less educated and desperate.

The media often gives this impression, even in today's society. You often see addicted individuals portrayed as struggling in poor living conditions, sometimes in run-down government housing, or even homeless. While this may sometimes be the case, addiction is just as likely to occur in middle or even high-class neighborhoods where people hold well-paying jobs and are highly educated.

Reasons for Seeking Substances

Let's consider the reasons people from various neighborhoods may seek out drugs or alcohol. It can be common for those of lower economic status to be struggling financially. Financial difficulties are known to be one of the leading causes of stress, which creates a natural urge to relieve this negative sensation. People in this situation may seek out substances to relieve the pressure and stressors they are feeling and find a temporary escape.

Unemployment and addiction have been shown to correlate in some cases. As mentioned, the stress of unemployment can lead to substance abuse. This leads to less money in an already likely tight situation, which produces more stress and results in more substance use. On the other hand, addiction often results in poor performance at work, which makes maintaining a job difficult. This becomes an endless cycle that is difficult to break.

While well-paying, stable employment can reduce the risk of substance abuse, it certainly does not disqualify it. Those of middle or high socioeconomic status can have different reasons for using substances. For example, having more money can mean having more accessibility to drugs. Depending on the substance, drugs can be very expensive, especially if someone is a habitual user. Those with higher incomes can more easily access drugs than those who may have to finagle the funds.

Middle-class people are most likely to spend their time with others of similar socioeconomic status. This means they are surrounded by others who have similar resources and accessibility, making initial and repeated exposure to substances more likely.

Variations in Substance Use

Just as reasons for seeking substances and ultimately developing an addiction can differ between low- and middle-class individuals, so can the substances. Studies have shown that when it comes to alcohol consumption, a much higher percentage of middle- to upper-class people with higher incomes and college degrees drink alcohol than those in a lower socioeconomic class. As reported in a study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, "Alcohol use, heavy episodic drinking, and marijuana use were all more prevalent among young adults raised in households with greater resources."

Opioids can also be more prominent in middle-class neighborhoods, as healthcare is often more accessible, meaning prescription drugs are as well. In a study about opioids in white neighborhoods published in the American Journal of Public Health, authors Helena Hansen, MD, Ph.D. and Julie Netherland, Ph.D. state, "In the United States, where insurance coverage and access to physicians are racially stratified, opioid prescriptions disproportionately went to White patients, whereas non-White patients, even those with access to a physician, were less likely to be prescribed opioids, which increased racial differences in opioid use."

Addiction Can Happen to Anyone

Despite what you may see in the media, substance use and addiction affect all racial, socioeconomic, and geographical groups. It can be easy to assume that addiction could never happen in your neighborhood or at your school. However, this is not the case. It is important to consider not only the prevalence of addiction in various neighborhoods but the accessibility members of these different socioeconomic classes may have to treatment programs. Someone battling addiction with middle-class income and good resources is much more likely to be able to receive treatment. While this is a privilege, they may be more likely to relapse knowing treatment will be accessible again when they are ready, thus, leading to more drug use among middle-class individuals.

Understanding that substance use can affect people from all neighborhoods – of all races and ages – is important. Never assume someone is exempt from experiencing addiction because of where they live or how much money they make.

The misconception that substance abuse only impacts those living in lower socioeconomic neighborhoods is still widely believed. The truth is, middle-class people with blue-collar jobs and families can be just as likely to be impacted by drug or alcohol addiction. Motives for use can vary based upon lifestyle or needs being met. Substances most prevalent can also vary between neighborhoods. The bottom line, however, is that anyone can fall victim to addiction. At Enlightened Solutions, we provide the highest quality of care and work with most insurance providers in the U.S. to provide the best possible coverage and minimize your out-of-pocket expenses. We aim to make treatment accessible to anyone in need. Let us help you regain control of your life and begin your journey to recovery. If you or someone you love is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, call Enlightened Solutions today at (833) 801-LIVE.

Students Seeking Help: Addiction in College Students

Students Seeking Help: Addiction in College Students

College can be a great experience. For many, this is a time of growth, learning, and evolving into the adult you are going to become. It is a time for making new friends, new hobbies, and trying new things. College serves as a transitional period, if you will, between young adulthood and a more mature version of you.

Unfortunately, for many, college can involve experimenting with alcohol and other drugs. As you are exposed to new people, places, and situations, you can be tempted to try drugs or alcohol. Peer pressure can be very powerful, particularly for college-aged students. For some, substance use may remain recreational or occasional. For many, however, this can spiral out of control quickly and become a problem. With no ill intent, you can end up trying to balance college courses while battling drug or alcohol addiction.

How the Problem Starts

What causes college students to begin using drugs or drinking? Is it a rebellious streak itching to get out after years of living under your parents' roof? Maybe it begins with a harmless effort to fit in at a party or a moment of desperation after flunking an impossible exam. While reasons may vary, a few common causes could be new friend groups or influences, the stress of school itself, or the financial difficulties that often accompany this chapter of life.

New Influences

Attending college can be a huge adjustment. Many are just moving out of their parents' house and are experiencing their first taste of real independence. Now being surrounded by tons of new people and a new way of life, college students are eager to exercise their newfound freedom.

Often desperate to make new friends and feel a sense of belonging, college students can be easily influenced by those they hope to connect with. Parties are in full swing, and drugs and alcohol are almost always accessible.

School Stress

College can be very stressful. Coursework is harder, the workload is larger, and tests are more difficult. College professors are far less likely to be concerned about student success. This means, for the most part, college students are responsible for their own success or failure. This pressure can be overwhelming, causing many to engage in drinking or drug use in an attempt to relax.

Financial Struggles

Have you heard the phrase "broke college student?" There is often some truth to this. College students are typically unable to work full-time jobs, or not well-paying ones at least. While working to earn a degree, most college students work part-time jobs in service industries, retail, or other entry-level positions, usually earning just enough to scrape by.

Often, jobs are short-lived or inconsistent, leaving students struggling to make ends meet. A diet of ramen noodles and Pop Tarts becomes all too familiar. When combined with the stress of attending classes and actually passing them, financial stress can lead to substance use in an attempt to escape.

Challenges and Risks

Addiction in college students has increased significantly over the last decade. With substances becoming more accessible and more widely used, students who struggle with substance abuse are missing out on the college experience they could otherwise have.

Drug or alcohol use among college students is associated with various challenges. These can include lower grades, higher rates of unemployment during and after college, and an increased risk of sexual assault. Many battling addiction struggle with focus and do not get quality sleep. As a result, class attendance lessens and priorities shift.

College students are also more likely to continue to use substances and have their misuse reinforced by the prevalence and acceptance of drugs and alcohol in this setting. As stated by Justine W. Welsh, M.D., Yujia Shentu, M.S., and Dana B. Sarvey, M.D. in the psychiatry journal Focus, "One of the most significant challenges with addressing substance use on college campuses is related to its history of integration into the normative tradition and fabric of the college experience." Take Greek life, for example. Most sororities and fraternities incorporate alcohol, at least, into every event or activity. This makes substance abuse that much more likely for those involved in these groups.

Tips for Avoiding Substance Abuse

While avoiding exposure to alcohol or other substances during college can be difficult. There are a few things you can do to decrease your vulnerability. A few tips for avoiding substance use in college include:

  • Choosing friends who are positive influences
  • Staying focused on your goals
  • Budgeting
  • Practicing self-care
  • Developing healthy habits
  • Prioritizing wellness and nutrition
  • Hobbies

College is meant to be a positive, memorable time. Battling addiction while in college not only takes away from your experience but also results in less learning, less positive friendships, and less personal growth. Going to college is a privilege and is an opportunity to make the most of.

College students can be particularly vulnerable to substance use and addiction. They are often excited about their new level of independence and eager to try new things. Unfortunately, drugs and alcohol have become increasingly prevalent on college campuses, making substances easily accessible to anyone interested. Addiction takes so much away from the college experience and can result in wasted time, money, and effort. If you are a student struggling with substance abuse, consider seeking help to avoid missing out on what could be some of the most important years of your life. Enlightened Solutions offers a variety of treatment programs and services with a holistic approach. Let us help you get back on track so you are able to re-assess your priorities and reach your goals. If you or someone you know is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, call Enlightened Solutions today at (833) 801-LIVE.

Why Teachers Fall Victim to Addiction

Why Teachers Fall Victim to Addiction

If you know an educator, you are probably familiar with the unfortunate fact that teachers are often paid far less than they deserve and typically work many hours outside of the scheduled school day. With ever-changing curriculum guidelines, pressures and criticism from parents, challenges with students and families, and other stressors, teachers may find themselves feeling overworked and underpaid. Teaching, despite the coveted "great schedule" and abundance of breaks, is considered to be a very stressful occupation.

For these reasons, among others, you can imagine that seeking substances to ease the stress teachers experience within and outside of the classroom is all too common. Addiction among educators may be more prevalent than you think, with many choosing to seek help during the summer break. While summer break can provide an excellent opportunity to sober up and seek treatment, it is important to consider that there are ways to seek help throughout the school year too. Sometimes, waiting until summer only prolongs a solution and worsens the problem.

Stressors of Teaching

Before discussing treatment options for teachers, let's first review the reasons educators may develop a substance use disorder (SUD). While this is certainly not a comprehensive list, a few common reasons for substance use among educators can include low pay, long work hours and no overtime pay, high and often unrealistic expectations, and challenges with students or families.

Minimal or Insufficient Pay

Teachers continue to be one of the lowest-paid occupations along with others in public service such as law enforcement officers, firefighters, etc. Teacher salaries are often based on the area and the income range for that geographical location. Also taken into consideration is the budget for that county or region. Often, areas in need of the best and most qualified teachers pay the least. This can be even more discouraging and unmotivating for educators in high-need areas.

Long Hours

While a seven-hour school day may seem manageable, the truth is that a teacher's responsibilities almost always stretch beyond that timeframe. Teachers take a lot of work home each day and fulfill many duties from home, such as grading papers, answering emails, and lesson planning. This can lead to burnout, frustration, and ultimately substance use.

Added Pressure

Teachers, more so now than ever, are held to a higher standard when it comes to the success of their students. It is no longer enough for a student to work hard and get good grades. Many school systems have adopted the practice of standardized testing, placing test scores at the highest value and basing teaching quality accordingly.

This is in addition to the pressure teachers put on themselves to ensure their students succeed. With classroom sizes larger than ever, it can be difficult to adapt to the needs of all students and cater to various learning styles. If students don't succeed, educators may feel personally responsible, which can weigh heavily on their mental health.

Challenges with Students or Families

Those who are called to teach often have a passion for helping others. This means that if a student is struggling, the teacher is inclined to do everything they can to help. Teachers encounter students from all walks of life, coming from all different home situations. This can be difficult to cope with, motivating teachers to seek reprieve on the weekends or after a difficult day at work.

With all of these challenges that often accompany this field of work, educators can easily fall victim to substance abuse. It can begin as a coping mechanism on the weekends in an attempt to unwind after a difficult week. This can quickly evolve into a daily, after-work routine that eventually becomes a problem.

Treatment Options

Fortunately, there are treatment programs designed to offer programs and services that are suitable for working individuals. With outpatient programs, most can maintain their jobs and other obligations while meeting the criteria for treatment.

As with any treatment program, a full assessment would take place first to ensure outpatient therapy or treatment is appropriate for your level of addiction. If you are deemed a fit, you can take advantage of all that treatment has to offer while maintaining your role as a teacher. Learn more about the benefits of outpatient treatment here.

Outpatient programs often involve therapies, meetings, and other activities commonly accessed through residential treatment but lack around-the-clock supervision. This is a great option for those able to stay on track with less supervision. Staying connected and engaged in the treatment process while staying employed is possible with such a program.

Teaching is difficult. You may have ungrateful students and/or parents, harsh criticism from administrators, and unrealistic expectations set both by others and sometimes yourself. This combined with low pay and long hours can take a huge toll. For these reasons, among others, teachers can often fall victim to addiction. Seeking substances to cope with occupational stress is often common and can quickly evolve into a substance use problem. At Enlightened Solutions, we offer a variety of treatment programs suited to meet your specific needs. We begin with a full assessment at intake to determine your level of care needed and develop an individualized treatment plan for you and your situation. Some may qualify for outpatient treatment, which can allow individuals to maintain their jobs while receiving treatment for drug or alcohol addiction. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse, call Enlightened Solutions today at (833) 801-LIVE

Alcohol abuser on a bridge

Why does society view alcohol abuse differently than other substances?

Why does society view alcohol abuse differently than other substances?

As you know, alcohol abuse is a really big problem in many parts of the world. It's even worse for teenagers who are abusing alcohol because they don't fully understand what can happen if their drinking habits get out of control. And yet, society treats this issue differently than other substances like drugs and cigarettes. Why is that? Well, there are many reasons for this - addiction, withdrawal symptoms, etc. We will go through some of them here so that we can better understand why society views abuse of alcohol as different from other substances.

What is alcohol and its difference from other substance abuse?

To understand the vast differences in society's views on alcohol abuse versus illicit substances, we first need to get acquainted with how both of them work. Alcohol is a depressant that slows down your central nervous system and creates feelings of relaxation and lightheadedness.

Drugs are any substance that alters brain function by changing its chemistry. The key difference between these two substances is the risk they pose for addiction, dependence, or death, as well as their legality. When it comes to the risk for addiction and dependence, there's no question about alcohol.

Alcohol has a high potential for abuse because of its effects on neurotransmitters in your brain, leading to feelings of pleasure or euphoria when you drink too much. Similar risks exist with other substances like heroin and cocaine, but many people feel that alcohol is somehow different.

Why does society view alcohol abuse differently?

Alcohol has been around longer.

This could be because alcohol has been around for centuries, and it's become part of our history, culture, traditions, etc. In contrast, many other substances have been seen as illegal from the beginning. Society has gotten used to the idea of alcohol being around for a long time, but it's difficult for them to change their views on illicit substances. Or maybe people don't want to think that their favorite drink can cause serious harm in the hands of a serious drinker.

Alcohol is legal

Alcoholic beverages are legal, making them more accessible than other substances and giving people the impression that they are safe. However, alcohol is a depressant, meaning it slows down your central nervous system, which can create feelings of relaxation or lightheadedness and affect judgment-making.

Alcohol is part of our culture.

As mentioned above, alcohol has been around for centuries, and it's become a big part of many cultures. For example, in some countries like Italy or France, wine plays an important role at mealtimes and religious ceremonies. But again, the problem with this view is that society tends to ignore how dangerous alcohol can be if people drink too much too quickly without realizing it.

Alcohol also isn't considered very harmful by most people because they feel they can control their drinking habits even if they've had one too many drinks on occasion. We all know someone who hasn't let themselves go overboard when they drank; however, many individuals struggle more than others - especially teenagers whose brains are still developing and who haven't yet learned to control their alcohol intake.

The lie - Alcohol is not as dangerous as other substances.

Because of how society views alcohol, it seems like they believe that drinking alcoholic beverages isn't very harmful because people can avoid getting too drunk if they want to without a problem. But what many don't realize is how easy it is for someone with a low tolerance level to lose control over how much he drinks before realizing they need help for alcohol abuse or understanding why his judgment has been affected so badly after having had one drink too many. And when this happens now and then, most individuals can go back home at night safe and sound where family members will look after them until everything goes back to normal again the next day.

Alcohol addiction is not as severe as other substances.

Even though some people may feel like alcoholism isn't very harmful compared to addiction to certain illicit drugs, this doesn't mean it's not an issue worth looking into further. Many addicts start off by using something like alcohol until it consumes them. One morning they wake up feeling completely miserable, having had no control whatsoever. this is where they need help for alcohol abuse.

Withdrawal symptoms

Another reason why society might view alcohol abuse differently is that there are no withdrawal symptoms associated with this substance after you stop drinking - unlike heroin or cocaine that often come with cold sweats and headaches when people who have become dependent try to quit. Many people seem to feel as though these addiction-related effects somehow make alcohol different from other substances like marijuana which doesn't cause any physical pain whatsoever during withdrawal periods.

Do I have a problem with alcohol? how to tell

  • Drinking alone
  • Lying about drinking habits
  • Lack of understanding
  • Stealing money to get a bottle of alcohol
  • Hiding alcohol- stashing it in the wardrobe or anywhere else not visible
  • Spending long periods and energy thinking about where you can find alcohol, how to get hold of it, etc.
  • Feeling angry when someone tries to control your drinking habits
  • Put down by people who care for you because they're worried that you may have a problem with alcohol
  • Unable to control the amount you drink when out at a party or socializing with friends

These are all signs that someone may have an addiction issue, and this person needs to seek help for alcohol abuse. While it's not as severe as other addictions, it can lead individuals down a dangerous path if left untreated.

Why is alcohol socially acceptable?

Source of fun and relaxation

Alcohol is a substance individuals around the world have been using for centuries as a way to unwind and relax after having had a long, hard day. Because it's so readily available, individuals feel like they can enjoy this drink responsibly without any serious consequences in their lives - unlike other drugs that people tend to associate with addiction and drug-related issues. Alcohol also seems less harmful because many assume that everything will go back to normal again once you stop drinking.

Socially acceptable in our culture

The way that society views alcohol is another reason why people might think it's not such a big deal. Most individuals view drinking as socially acceptable and don't realize how easy it can be to fall into an addiction trap if they aren't careful with their intake.

Big business

Alcohol consumption has become big business, with companies spending millions on marketing campaigns to get people hooked on their brand. This insinuates that drinking alcohol is something completely normal and harmless when in reality, anyone who drinks too much can lose control over how much they consume.

The glamour of drinking

Many people enjoy the feeling of being out on a romantic date or having drinks with friends, which can be another reason why alcohol abuse might look less severe than it is.

Alcohol addiction can affect anyone.

No matter what type of lifestyle someone leads, how old he is, or where he comes from, anything is possible when we understand that our actions come down to the choices we make. And when it comes to alcohol, there are so many different ways that people become addicted and need help in overcoming their drinking habits before they begin making significant changes for the better which will last a lifetime.


These are some of the reasons why society treats alcoholism so differently than drug or cigarette use. Alcohol may be legal in most places throughout the world today, but its misuse still leads to many deaths each year.


Contact Enlightened Solutions to get help for Alcohol Abuse in New Jersey. We are a top-rated treatment center with highly trained staff.

harm reduction approach to substance abuse treatment

What is the harm reduction approach to substance abuse treatment?

Substance abuse is a complex condition that can affect many areas of an individual’s life. There were over 20.7 million Americans in need of substance abuse treatment in 2017. Thus, it is a no-brainer that there is a dire need for specialized substance abuse treatment. The good thing is that substance abuse treatment programs help address the needs of people struggling with substance abuse.

What is the Harm Reduction Approach?

It is a well-known fact that substance abuse encourages many harmful behaviors. They include risky sexual behavior, driving under the influence, and sharing needles. The harm reduction approach aims to limit such destructive behaviors among drug addicts and improve their quality of life.

Generally, harm reduction is a public health strategy that utilizes practical ideas to limit the negative effects related to drug use. It is a social justice movement designed for drug addicts who do not respond to traditional rehabilitation methods or abstinence. The harm reduction approach to substance abuse treatment contains proactive strategies that addicts can put in place on their own or with the help of their family and friends.

Examples of the Harm Reduction Model

Contrary to the punitive approach, the harm reduction approach to substance abuse treatment acknowledges the humanity and dignity of addicts. It aims to bring them into a community of support and care. In turn, this minimizes the harms of both ineffective and racialized drug policies and problematic drug use.

As a result, the approach promotes social inclusion and optimal health among addicts. There is no universal formula or definition for implementing the harm reduction model. But, below are the central principles involved in harm reduction practice.

1. Safe Needle Exchange Programs

Needle exchange programs provide free and sterile injection equipment. In turn, addicts who are not yet in a treatment program receive contaminant-free needles. This reduces their chances of contracting hepatitis A or HIV.

According to research, such centers serve as a bridge between addicts and other essential services. Such services include drug dependency treatments and HIV testing. These centers also provide safe disposal sites to throw away hypodermic needles and syringes.

2. Supervised Consumption Sites

Also known as Overdose Prevention Sites, these are areas that provide a safe and controlled environment for addicts to use currently illegal substances. In turn, this occurs under the supervision of trained personnel and without fear of arrest.

Such safe consumption spaces also offer mental health and medical help to users. They also provide a crisis helpline in case of emergency. Onsite workers also train the users on how to use medication-assisted treatment.

3. Medication-Assisted Treatment

Over-reliance on prescription painkillers is just as problematic as heroin addiction. Excessive use of OxyContin, Vicodin, and Fentanyl leads to opioid dependence. With the help of injectable Naloxone, methadone, and buprenorphine administered by a medical professional, addicts can reverse opioid overdose effects.

These medications also aid in limiting heroin cravings. They also improve the tolerance to HIV medications and other treatments. As a result, they enhance community and personal consistency. Treatment centers that provide this harm reduction service pair it with group therapy and counseling. Thus, patients can focus solely on mending their emotional and mental health without getting worked up about physical withdrawals.

4. Counseling and Peer Support Groups

Traditional peer support programs and counseling groups work hand in hand with the harm reduction approach to substance abuse treatment. They equip addicts with the relevant psychological tools to allow them to live a normal and fulfilled life.

Group and individual counseling help addicts understand the underlying reasons for their drug use. Talk and behavioral therapy assist them in taking note of the environmental and mental factors that contributed to their addiction.

5. Alcohol Treatment

Treating alcoholism involves several harm reduction strategies. For instance, the doctor and patient work together to create and maintain abstinence or limited drinking goals. Other harm reduction ideas involved in alcohol treatment include:

  • Arranging a ride before going out drinking
  • Giving your car keys to a sober companion
  • Logging off and keeping away from various social media platforms
  • Counseling and support groups to help you understand why, how, and when you drink.

6. Housing First

Also referred to as non-abstinence housing, these are permanent housing solutions for under-housed or homeless people. It also provides a safe and controlled environment for people who use drugs. They do not have to commit to abstaining from the use of illegal substances.

7. Community Mobilization and Empowerment of Rights Protection

Human rights protection is essential to health just as much as sterilized injection equipment. Mobilizing the community to realize this is vital in enforcing the harm reduction model. In turn, it is critical to legally empower communities to enhance the access of those who use illegal drugs. It also reduces cases of police harassment.

Community mobilization is also helpful when it comes to advocacy for drug policy reforms. It can help to decrease interference from law enforcement during lifesaving services. It also aids in holding and preventing various people accountable for abusing the rights of those who use drugs and reducing incarceration.

Pros and Cons of the harm reduction approach to substance abuse treatment

Compared to detention and the punitive approach, research shows that harm reduction strategies are more cost-effective. They also produce better and more effective results as it allows people who misuse alcohol and drugs to improve their quality of life.

Furthermore, people who use harm reduction strategies are more likely to get referrals to social services and medical organizations. They can even receive employment through special programs. By reducing the harmful effects of substance abuse, such individuals can actively work on getting their lives in order before going through physical withdrawals.

On the other hand, many people believe that implementing these strategies encourages illegal substances in the community. Likewise, some safe needle exchange sites are poorly managed. Thus, it is vital to do your research before choosing a facility.


Suppose you or a loved one suffers from substance abuse and is not willing to commit to traditional rehabilitation programs. In that case, the harm reduction approach to substance abuse treatment may be an ideal option. At Enlightened Solutions in New Jersey, our trained specialists use various harm reduction strategies to ensure addicts improve their lives.

definition of addiction

How does addiction develop and what are the key factors involved?

Several factors impact a person's risk of addiction. However, before discussing these factors, it is crucial to have a clear idea of what addiction is and what it is not.

What Is Addiction?

Simply put, addiction is a disease that affects the brain. It can alter the brain structure and the way the brain works. In the same way that cardiovascular disease affects the heart's function, addiction impedes the brain from functioning normally. Drug addiction is a chronic disease. However, like other chronic diseases, it is preventable and can be treated.

Drugs affect the brain in several ways. One is by interfering with the communication between nerve cells and how they create dopamine. When a person takes an addictive substance, their brain produces more dopamine.

Dopamine makes you feel good. The more dopamine that is released, the more a person will want to get that dopamine high again. With time, the body becomes accustomed to having higher levels of dopamine. As a result, a person loses the ability to experience joy and pleasure from everyday activities. Instead, they need to keep doing drugs to maintain a happy, joyful, or pleasurable feeling.

The need to seek that dopamine high becomes the driving force in a person's life. The pleasure they get from hanging out with friends or being in other people's company is replaced by an irrational drive to seek out drugs.

A popular myth is that addiction is the result of a moral failing. The truth is that it is a treatable disease that has a physical, emotional, and psychological impact on the person suffering from it.

What Factors Contribute to Addiction?

Drug addiction and alcohol addiction are ongoing problems in the United States and around the world. Researchers have devoted a considerable amount of time to see why people become addicted to drugs and why others who use the same drugs do not develop an addiction. Several factors can contribute to addiction. Some people may only have one of these factors and are less prone to addiction, whereas others may have several factors, increasing their propensity to develop an addiction.


Genetics plays a role in the development of most diseases. If there is someone in your family who has dealt with substance abuse in the past, it does not guarantee that you will become addicted to a substance as well. In the same way, a person in your family having cancer does not automatically mean that you will develop cancer.

However, because a member of your family has a problem with addiction, genetically speaking, there is a greater propensity for you to become an addict if you use drugs. Statistics indicate that genetics contributes to up to 60 percent of the risk of someone developing an addiction.

Your Age When You Started Taking Drugs

Research indicates that the younger a person is when they start using drugs, the more likely they will develop an addiction as they age. A critical factor in this is how a person's brain develops, especially when they are a teenager. When a person uses drugs during their formative years, they can become more vulnerable to addiction as they get older. Studies have shown that most people who develop substance use disorder begin using drugs between the ages of 18 to 24.


Statistically, men are more likely to abuse and use drugs than women. There are some noticeable differences in how drugs affect the male body as opposed to the female body. There are also differences in the drugs that men and women use. Research shows that men are more inclined to use alcohol and marijuana. Women are more likely to become addicted to drugs that lower anxiety levels. In recent years, some of these statistics have been changing.

Mental Illness

If a person has several mental illnesses, there is a higher chance that they may abuse drugs. There are several reasons why this is true. One could be that the drugs give the user a sense of well-being and euphoria. It is also possible that certain mental illnesses will impact the parts of the brain that are also affected by drugs, thereby increasing the propensity for abuse.

Unstable Home Environment

Children who grow up in a home where their parents are involved and provide a stable home environment have a decreased chance of using or abusing drugs. Conversely, children who grew up in an unstable environment, especially one where parents are addicts themselves or have a mental illness, have an increased chance of using and abusing drugs.

Growing up in an Environment Where Drugs Are Present

Suppose you were growing up in an environment where drugs were readily available or in an environment where friends and family members used drugs. In that case, this is going to impact the likelihood of developing an addiction. There are some environments where it is just easier for people to get drugs. Because the drugs are there, they decide to try them.

Looking Beyond Risk Factors

While the above-mentioned risk factors do play a role in whether a person will develop an addiction, it is vital to go beyond simple risk factors and understand the human psyche. The psyche plays a huge role in making one person different from another person.

Two people could come from families where addiction was present and both could be exposed to people who used drugs, but one person will develop an addiction and the other will not. This does not mean that one person is stronger or weaker than the other. It means that the individual psyches of people differ.

It is important to remember that idea, especially when discussing addiction treatment. Since no two people have the same road to addiction, no two people will have the same journey to recovery. For recovery programs to be effective, they need to treat people as individuals and provide a safe, inviting environment that is conducive to recovery.

Enlightened Solutions provides a safe and inviting environment where recovering is our top priority. Contact us with any questions or if you need help with addiction.