intensive outpatient program

Where is the Sobriety?

Recovery is starting to make an appearance in mainstream media. Netflix series like Flaked and Love feature characters who attend twelve step meetings. ABC Family, now called Free Form, has a series called Recovery Road which features a high school aged teen put into sober living and forced to reconcile her alcoholism. The TV Show Mom highlights the ups and downs of recovery between a sober mother and daughter. Mom star Alison Janney is an advocate for addiction treatment and the fight against opiates.

Though recovery is starting to become “cool”, the mainstream media has always loved alcoholism more. Whether it’s a college party movie, a bachelor weekend movie, or a girls night out movie, mainstream media loves to binge drink. It isn’t just the movies either- books are equally to blame. Memoirs about alcoholism are usually much more about the sensationalization of drunken episodes than the encouraging and inspiring journeys of sobriety. For many, simply hearing one got sober and has stayed sober for X amount of years is inspiring enough. The spiritual program of the twelve steps is too touchy for many, especially because of the use of the word “God”. Communicating the “experience” of alcoholism is easy. The “strength” and the “hope” of recovery is an ongoing life experience, one that is often hard to put into words. That stuff, however, is the good stuff and the stuff that needs to be heard by people who are dying.

Blogger Heather Mallick writes that it’s strange that recovering authors don’t write about sobriety. She notes that “the reason nobody talks about sobriety is that it has no narrative, in the sense that one unmedicated event happens after another, which is just life but with your protective skin removed.”

Indeed, sobriety is less than thrilling compared to the often extreme adventure of active addiction. However, it is those small victories of daily life, the adventures which are made in sobriety, that are also in need of being expressed. Grocery shopping alone without having a panic attack for the first time is a tremendous accomplishment. Making amends and healing hurt relationships, going years on end without a drink…these are things that are hard to express and are only understood by others in recovery.

“Don’t leave before the miracle happens” is an infamous recovery quip. If those miracles could be written about more articulately, maybe more people would be interested in getting sober.


Things You Need to Know About Treatment

It Isn’t Jail

Treatment might feel like a punishment, but it isn’t. For some, attending treatment or “rehab” for a drug or alcohol addiction might come as a court order or mandated by an employer. Treating addiction and the addicts who are suffering from it is never about the dichotomy between “bad” and “good”. Though many addicts have a criminal record, they are not criminals. They are neither immoral, lost, nor inherently wrong in any way. Addicts are sick people who need to get well. It may be difficult to come to terms with the fact that you or a loved one is sick with a peculiar disease. Treatment is a time to get well and learn how to live in wellness for the rest of your life.

There Are Rules

Despite what many think, treatment isn’t a time to luxuriate and miraculously get sober. Of course, there are many luxurious amenities that come with treatment and some facilities even advertise themselves as being luxury. Treatment will come with rules, schedules, and structure. Some of the most basic rules are going to include: no doing drugs and no drinking alcohol. Depending on the type of treatment and the type of facility there will be unique and specific rules as well. Generally, there will be a lights out curfew, a wake up time, needing to take medication every day, and most likely, no fraternizing with patients of the opposite sex (or same sex).

Everything is For Your Benefit

When you are working through therapy modalities which may seem awkward you might find yourself asking how this is supposed to help. Most treatment facilities base their programs off of proven methods of therapy and evidence-based treatment modalities. That means every single part of your daily programming in treatment has a purpose. As time goes on you will start to recognize the lessons in every day activities.

You’re Going to Feel Better

You may think that 28-30 days isn’t going to make a difference. Truth be told, in the long scheme of things, 30 days is just the beginning stage of a lifelong process in recovery. However, within those first thirty days, you will start to see some pretty big transformations. You will start to regain mental clarity and as you absorb more and more therapeutic information, you will crave substances less. Your body will stop hurting, your brain will stop hurting, and you’ll start feeling better. At the end of 30 days, you’ll be craving more recovery, rather than more drugs and alcohol.


Commonly Abused Substances

Synthetics

Synthetic drugs are the most difficult to regulate by law enforcement officials, medical doctors, and psychologists. Synthetic drugs are not traceable to a plant or particular chemical like many other drugs. Instead, synthetic drugs or “designer” drugs are made, quite literally, with everything under the kitchen sink. As a result, determining how the drug will effect the brain and body is unpredictable. Synthetic drugs are powerful stimulants, creating a fast and furious high and almost instantaneous dependency. Generally the effects and symptoms of Synthetic drug abuse include:

Paranoia

Rapid heart rate

Overheating

Slurred speech

Irrational thoughts

Fear of being chased by evil forces

“Superhuman” strength

 

Methamphetamines

Crystal Meth is a highly abused stimulant and synthetic drug. Also known as “ice” or “glass” the crystal like shards are smoked or injected. Meth is abused for its stimulant properties, causing people to stay awake for as long as ten days. Effects and symptoms of meth abuse include:

Dilated pupil

Suppressed appetite

Erratic behavior

Insomnia

Focus on picking the skin

Paranoia

Rapid weight loss

 

Alcohol

Alcohol is the most commonly abused substance, contributing to high numbers of death and alcohol-related injury each year. Binge drinking is defined as four or more drinks per sitting, which is about two hours. Drinking abusively can impair basic cognitive and motor functions, judgment, and thinking. Alcohol damages the liver, brain, and body. Effects and symptoms of alcohol abuse include:

Incoherence

Blackout

Slurred Speech

Poor Judgment

Vomiting

Imbalance, or stumbling

Needing more alcohol or not knowing one’s limits

 

Stimulants

Cocaine is the most popularly abused stimulant drug. Crack and other amphetamine drugs like Adderall and drugs used for studying are popular as well. Stimulant drugs work with the central nervous system, quickly accessing the brain and putting into hyper speed mode. Cocaine can cause in overdose with just one hit while other amphetamines taken in large quantities can cause heart complications. Effects and symptoms of stimulant abuse include:

Hyper focus

Ability to stay up all night

Maximized productivity

Jittery behavior

Suppressed appetite

Irritability

Aggression

 

Opioids

In 2014 approximately 28,000 Americans died from overdose on opioids including heroin and prescription painkillers. Opioid overdose is caused by respiratory depression, the slowing of the heart until it stops. Opioids are highly addicting, but through subtle means like chronic pain treatment. Opioids create euphoric sensation through muscle relaxation and feelings of warmness. Dependency on opioids result in brutal withdrawal symptoms, causing a need to continue using the drugs just to avoid the withdrawal. Effects and Symptoms of opioid abuse include:

“Nodding out” or falling asleep frequently

Slowed movement, or doing nothing at all

Rapid weight loss

Change in skin pigment and elasticity

Irritability when not on the drug

Constipation

“Pinholed” pupils

Severe symptoms of withdrawal

 

Benzodiazepines

Introduced in the 1950’s as “mommy’s little helper” benzodiazepines became famous for “taking the edge off”. Famous brands like Valium and Xanax are prescribed to help cope with anxiety. Though marketed as non-dependency forming, regular users of these drugs experience immediate symptoms of withdrawal when they miss a dose. Abusing Xanax can result in euphoric sensation similar to opioids. Effects and symptoms of benzodiazepine abuse includes:

Slow movements

Shallow breathing

Loss of judgment for physical pain

 

Enlightened Solutions offers hope and healing for recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. Our doors are open to men and women seeking holistic, 12 step based treatment. If you are concerned you or a loved one are suffering from problems with drugs or alcohol, call us today. We have a solution. 833-801-5483.


Music Therapy and EDM: A Link for Treatment

Last year, the EDM (electronic dance music) industry reached a peak in industrial growth. The most recent numbers came from the 2014-2015 year which saw a drop in growth (12%). From 2013-2014, the electronic dance music industry grew an impressive 37%. In that time the number of EDM ‘festivals’ seemed to quadruple with local, small scale events happening regularly. Live music events account for the majority of the current value at nearly $7 billion.

Electronic Dance Music comes under a lot of scrutiny for its close affiliation with drugs. Psychedelics and psychoactives are renown for ‘enhancing’ the music experience. Drugs like psilocybin (magic mushrooms) and acid (LSD) are common. Most widely known is ecstasy or MDMA. MDMA is a psychoactive that primarily interacts with serotonin. Along with feelings of euphoria and the sensation of being connected or in love with the whole world come dangerous side effects. MDMA is not always pure. It can be cut with heroin, meth, crack, and other drugs. Overheating, dehydration, high blood pressure, and hypertension are the primary causes for overdose and death at EDM festivals each year. “Green amor” is a new drug being sold at EDM shows combining MDMA and crystal meth.

Death counts are startling at these shows. As recently as May, 5 people died at one EDM show in the Philippines, due to overdose and heart attack on MDMA and other drugs. July of 2014, the start of that year’s festival season, had an already reported 15 deaths.

Despite slowing growth, EDM has transformed into a global community. Now, neuroscience researchers are looking into what it is about EDM that makes the music itself addicting and how that could possibly help addicts in recovery.

Music Therapy for Addiction Treatment

Music therapy is an alternative modality used by treatment centers. Creative output plus the healing energy of sound equate to a unique application of expressive arts. Australian researchers are looking to study the neuroscience of the brain ‘on’ EDM.

Formulaically, EDM includes a build up and a ‘drop’. The researchers assign both of these parts with craving and pleasure, respectively. For most EDM fans, the music is highlighted by the drop in bass and melody. Researchers believe there is a connection between how the brain experiences craving and pleasure in the music as well as in mental disorders with cravings, such as addiction. Music is used as a therapeutic tool in emotional regulation for people with and without mental illnesses. Individualized music therapy programs could help reduce acute symptoms of craving, the researchers believe.

Enlightened solutions incorporates music therapy as part of a holistic treatment program. Seeking to heal mind, body, and spirit, enlightened solutions offers a bunch of hippie shit. To learn more and get your chakras assessed, call 833-801-5483.