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.

Self-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 Do I Know If My Loved One Has an Addiction?

How Do I Know If My Loved One Has an Addiction?

Are you up late at night losing sleep because you’re worried about your loved one? Maybe they seem to be acting a little differently lately. Maybe their priorities have shifted, or they’re hanging with a different crowd these days. Whatever the reasons for your concern, it’s never a good feeling to have to ask yourself whether your loved one could potentially be struggling with drug or alcohol abuse.

In this situation, it’s important to know the warning signs and be able to determine when it is time to seek help. Many changes can occur when someone is engaging in substance abuse. There are often physical symptoms and signs as well as behavioral changes you may observe when someone is battling an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Typically, once addiction becomes severe enough, it is very difficult for anyone to hide the telling signs and symptoms. Things can often escalate quickly, so it is important to be aware and take action as soon as you suspect there may be a problem. Below are a few things to look out for if you are concerned that your loved one may have an addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Behavioral Changes

Usually, those close to you know you best. So, while there are some common signs and symptoms, it’s important to note that your loved one may display signs or symptoms that may not align exactly with some of the examples provided. Some common behavioral changes can include increased frustration or irritability, loss of interest in activities your loved one used to enjoy, a short temper, or seeming withdrawn or distant from family members and friends.

Of course, these behaviors can be a result of other things that may be going on and causing distress. It is important, however, to try to figure out if addiction could be the cause of the behavioral changes you’re seeing. If you are seeing behavioral changes in addition to any of the physical changes listed below, chances are good that substance use may be a factor.

Physical Changes

There are a few physical changes that can be indicators of addiction. Often, addiction interferes with your appetite. This can result in excessive weight gain or weight loss depending on the person and the substance being used. Often, these fluctuations in weight appear to be quite drastic and seem to happen pretty quickly.

Another physical change that could occur if your loved one is engaging in substance use can include changes to the eyes. Many substances can either cause pupils to dilate or shrink. If you notice a change in your loved one's appearance, specifically in reference to pupil size or eye redness, it may be worth looking into.

Additionally, a person's level of care when it comes to hygiene and appearance can change with addiction. They may seem a little more unkempt or could possibly be observed dressing inappropriately for the weather. For instance, many heavy users may tend to carry drugs or paraphernalia with them. In an effort to hide these objects, they may wear more layers of clothing or choose clothes with larger pockets.

When to Get Help

Noticing any of the symptoms mentioned above could certainly indicate that there is an issue, but not always. Sometimes, there may be another issue at hand contributing to behavioral or physical changes in your loved one. It’s important to be aware of common signs and symptoms of substance abuse, but it’s also important to trust your instincts. Again, you know your loved one best and know when there is something out of the ordinary going on.

Make it a point to try to confront your concerns and have a conversation about the signs and symptoms you have observed. They may open up about a potential problem with drugs or alcohol, or they may become defensive and deny that there is an issue.

Treatment facilities will conduct a thorough assessment of your loved one and determine the best plan for treatment. They will go through the detox process, helping them to cleanse their body of all drugs or alcohol before entering into treatment programming. They will be taught new, healthy ways of living while healing mentally, physically, and spiritually to ensure the best future possible.

You never want to believe that someone you love and care for has an addiction. While coming to terms with this reality can be extremely disheartening and devastating, it’s important to get your loved one the help they need. Pay close attention to their behavior and appearance if you suspect they may be using drugs or alcohol and could have a problem. Getting help early on can reduce long-term damage and lead to an easier transition into recovery.

Learning that your loved one has an addiction to drugs or alcohol can be extremely tough to process and cope with. There are many common signs and symptoms to be aware of and look out for if you are suspicious that there could be a problem. It’s important to get help as soon as possible if you do discover that someone is struggling with substance abuse. Enlightened Solutions offers excellent options for treatment and provides activities and uses strategies to promote holistic and healthy living. Our therapists aim to identify any co-occurring disorders at intake or contributing trauma that might need to be addressed to ensure complete healing. Let us help your loved one overcome this challenge and find sobriety. If you or someone you love is battling addiction, we would love to help. Don’t hesitate to give us a call today at (833) 801-LIVE.


Can Anyone Develop Addiction?

Can Anyone Develop Addiction?

Substance use disorders (SUDs) do not discriminate. Anyone can develop an addiction to alcohol and other substances or behaviors. Addiction is a chronic disease that can affect anyone, regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, or social status. Struggling with addiction does not make you any less of a person or insinuate a lack of judgment or willpower. Multiple factors play a role in one's susceptibility to developing an addiction. The important thing to remember is that recovery is possible. At Enlightened Solutions, we believe in your ability to recover.

5 Factors in the Development of Addiction

While there are multiple factors relative to the development of addiction, scientists and practitioners have explained that the following five factors are very important in one's susceptibility to developing an addiction to alcohol or other substances or behaviors.

#1. Biology

Our biology plays a powerful role in everything we do and who we are. Our genetics put us at risk for diabetes and cancer; doesn't it make sense that our genetics also put us at a higher risk for developing addiction? Biology is why we react in certain ways to our environment, and our biology puts us at greater risk for developing certain disorders. Researchers are still trying to understand how genetics plays a role in the development of certain diseases, but it is clear from current studies that genetics play a role in whether or not we are likely to develop an addiction to alcohol or other substances or behaviors.

#2. Environment

Our environment shapes us, from what we decide to eat to how we organize our days. Depending on our environment and with whom we surround ourselves, we can be at greater risk of developing an addiction. When we surround ourselves with healthier people, we tend to engage in healthier activities. When we surround ourselves with negative influences, we are more likely to succumb to peer pressure and engage in less healthy activities.

A key component of this aspect of the development of addiction is also tied to our genetics. Epigenetics relates to how our biology is impacted by our surroundings. Our biology puts us at specific risk of the development of certain diseases. Our environment also impacts whether or not certain genetic sequences are “turned on," putting us more at risk.

#3. Development

Risk-taking behaviors occur primarily in our youth. The younger we are when we start using substances, the more likely we are to continue engaging in dangerous behaviors. As teens and young adults, the brain is not fully developed, and making decisions about what is best for us is difficult. It is not uncommon, and unfortunately, the younger a person is when introduced to substance use, the more likely they are to develop an addiction.

#4. Trauma

Another critical component to the development of an addiction is the experience of trauma. At Enlightened Solutions, we recognize how trauma can play a critical role in your struggles, which is why we offer individual therapy as a part of your treatment program. Trauma changes a person's ability to see themselves clearly and impacts nearly all aspects of an individual's life. Trauma can enact certain genetic markers, making one more prone to developing addictive behaviors and playing a role in the development of addiction as a result of epigenetics.

#5. Co-Occurring Diagnoses

At Enlightened Solutions, we recognize how your addiction to alcohol or other substances or behaviors did not occur in a vacuum. We also acknowledge that other diagnoses may have played a role in your struggles with various behaviors. A co-occurring diagnosis, such as anxiety, bipolar, depression, or PTSD, can play a role in the development of any addiction. Learning how to cope with triggers and symptoms is difficult, and many people have used alcohol and other substances or behaviors to cope with unpleasant symptoms. In truth, people want to feel “normal,” and the use of substances has been a coping strategy, which is how some people develop an addiction in relation to a co-occurring diagnosis.

You Are Not Your Diagnosis

A critical thing to remember as you begin your battle against addiction to alcohol or other substances or behaviors is that you are not your diagnosis, and your struggles do not define you. Instead, remember that you are a unique individual with a special purpose on this planet. At Enlightened Solutions, we see you as full of possibility. A part of your treatment will be to get you to see the many possibilities and strengths you have and can bring to the world. You are an amazing person. Shouldn't your best life start now?

Addiction is an equal opportunity disease and doesn't discriminate between race, gender, occupation, or social standing. You are not alone in your struggle with alcohol or other substances or behaviors. Remember that help is available. At Enlightened Solutions, we recognize your intrinsic value and want to see you succeed in recovery, which is why we offer honest solutions to your struggles. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use disorder, we are here to help. We believe in your ability to recover and offer treatment for every step of your recovery process, whether it be detox or if you need assistance on an outpatient basis. We are here to help you recover from addiction. Contact Enlightened Solutions at (833) 801-LIVE and learn how we can help you overcome your struggles with drugs or alcohol and embrace the life and recovery you want and deserve. We are here to help you. 


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


The Importance of Sleep in Recovery from Addiction

The Importance of Sleep in Recovery from Addiction

There have been countless studies conducted on sleep. This can include the benefits of sleep, what happens when you don’t get enough sleep, how sleep can impact daily functioning, and how to set yourself up for a good night of sleep. The reason this topic is so heavily researched and discussed is that sleep, in fact, is of critical importance to you and your health. Many suggest sleep is as important to your survival as food and water.

Quality of sleep impacts everything from your brain functioning to how well your body heals after you pushed yourself a little too hard during your last workout class and pulled a muscle. Many things can affect your quality of sleep. This can include stress, diet, activity level, and more. Addiction, as you can imagine, has a tremendous impact on sleep.

Good Sleep

What is considered a good amount of good quality of sleep anyway? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that adults between the ages of 18 and 60 years of age get at least seven hours of sleep per night. Just as important as the number of hours spent sleeping is the quality of your sleep. A few indicators that could suggest poor quality of sleep include snoring or struggling to breathe or repeated waking during the night.

Sleep and Mental Health

Sleep has been shown to have a tremendous impact on mental health. The quality and amount of sleep you are getting each night can alter your body's responses to stress and your perspective on things. Lack of sleep can also increase symptoms of anxiety and depression. Learn more about the correlation between inadequate sleep and various mental illnesses here.

Because lack of sleep negatively impacts the way the brain functions and processes things, you are more likely to respond to situations in a less thoughtful or a more impulsive way. What seems like a huge problem or challenge after a sleepless night may feel much more manageable after you’ve gotten some much-needed rest.

Sleep can also directly affect your mood and energy levels. Too little sleep can leave you feeling down and lethargic. Prioritizing sleep is important to maintaining a positive outlook, clear mind, and focus.

Sleep and Brain Function

Your brain requires sleep to function at its best. If you think about it, your brain controls everything you do. It controls the way your body moves, the way your organs function,  the way you think, and the way you feel. Without quality sleep, all of these processes can be disrupted. According to the article, “Differential Effects of Addictive Drugs on Sleep and Sleep Stages” by Harold W. Gordon, Ph.D., “Addictive drugs affect sleep both in individuals currently using drugs and in individuals who have withdrawn from drugs." The article goes on to say that "sleep disturbances are reported by individuals for some drugs long after they have quit taking them and after other withdrawal symptoms have subsided, [which] suggests that addictive drugs and sleep share some of the same neurobiological mechanisms.”

For example, addiction can interfere with your brain’s signals that would typically cue your body to settle down, relax, and prepare for rest. Many substances can create chemical changes in the body that disrupt our natural circadian rhythms.

Sleep and Addiction

Throughout addiction and during heavy substance use, sleep patterns tend to be extreme. In most cases, you are either sleeping most of the time or hardly sleeping at all. It can be common to treat sleep disruptions with more substances resulting in more and prolonged sleep difficulties. Maybe you struggle to stay awake, so you choose substances that will help keep you alert. Alternatively, perhaps you battle insomnia and choose substances that help you relax and quiet your mind. This becomes an endless cycle of trying to treat one problem with another problem. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “The relationship may be complex and bidirectional: Substance use causes sleep problems; but insomnia and insufficient sleep may also be a factor raising the risk of drug use and addiction.”

Sleep and Recovery

Getting good sleep during recovery is very important. There is often a huge transition concerning sleep as you enter treatment. This is common, and sleep quality is often poor during this time. Give yourself a little grace and be patient; your sleep quality could worsen before it improves. After your body has adapted and you have adjusted to the changes of treatment, getting quality sleep is crucial to your progress.

Getting the proper amounts of good sleep can also help prevent relapse. As discussed, inadequate sleep can result in increased mental health symptoms, dampened mood, lack of energy and motivation, and even relapse. It is important to keep yourself well-rested and feeling your best to remain on track with recovery.

Getting enough quality sleep each night is critical to good health. Sleep affects everything from your mood to your ability to focus and function well. Addiction can affect your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep. As you enter treatment, sleep patterns may shift. Getting good sleep is crucial during recovery and essential for making progress and staying on course. Enlightened Solutions takes a whole-person approach to treatment, meaning we address all aspects of health. Sleep quality is an area of focus during treatment, as we understand that getting good rest is often a struggle for many coming into our program. Enlightened Solutions introduces and encourages various holistic strategies for improving sleep quality and creating a safe and comfortable environment for sleep. If you or someone you care about is battling drug or alcohol addiction, call Enlightened Solutions today at (833) 801-LIVE.


How Does Alcoholics Anonymous Really Work?

Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) is a fellowship of people in recovery from addiction that has helped millions of people in the United States and across the globe. A recent scientific review of numerous studies found that AA helps people maintain abstinence in the long term more than other addiction treatment methods. 

Alcoholics Anonymous provides a setting where you can learn from shared experiences, develop strong support networks and interpersonal skills, and experience the healing power of helping one another. AA meetings are free, accessible to everyone, and can offer support throughout your entire recovery journey.

What Is Alcoholics Anonymous?

Alcoholics Anonymous is an informal society that encourages people in recovery to meet together in support groups and share their experiences of addiction. It has a community of over two million members worldwide and aims to facilitate the sharing of strength, hope, and mutual support between members as they move forward in a sober lifestyle.

AA membership is free - the only requirement is the initial will to stop drinking. AA is non-political and is not aligned with any other institution. Meetings are self-organized, and there is no central authority directing the operation of each group. Members are free to design their meetings in the way that best suits their members.

What Is the 12-Step Method and How Does It Help Addiction Recovery?

When Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Holbrook founded Alcoholics Anonymous almost one hundred years ago, they collectively wrote ‘The Big Book’, which lays out the 12-step method for addiction recovery. 

While not all AA programs now follow the 12-steps, most members find them to be a powerful tool for overcoming addiction and maintaining abstinence. Many other self-help groups, including Narcotics Anonymous and Gamblers Anonymous, have also adopted the 12-step philosopy. 

The steps can be split into three main stages:

Acceptance

The first steps involve accepting that you are powerless over your addiction and giving yourself over to a higher power. Accepting your addiction helps you overcome feelings of shame and re-instills a sense of self-worth. You learn to love yourself so you can love the world around you and commit to a life of sobriety.

Personal Growth

The next steps focus on spiritual development and personal growth. They involve recognizing harmful thought patterns and behaviors and replacing them with healthier habits and decisions. They also require making amends to others for the harm you have caused them. This helps you avoid destructive feelings of guilt and lets you find self-worth in the humility and compassion you have shown.

Helping Others

The final step is to share the 12-steps with other people in alcohol recovery. Teaching the 12-steps to others helps you reinforce the steps in yourself and strengthens your commitment to your recovery goals.

What Are the Benefits of Alcoholics Anonymous Over Other Treatment Options?

  • AA’s most powerful asset is its ubiquity and accessibility. Addiction is a chronic illness, and recovery is a lifelong process. You can attend AA meetings free for the rest of your life, providing you with a constant source of invaluable support and guidance.
  • AA meetings also give you the chance to support others in recovery. Helping another recovering alcoholic helps you to heal and remain committed to your own recovery journey.
  • When you join a local AA program, you become part of a local community. You’ll meet other people who share your goals and form strong friendships. You may also spend time with these friends outside of AA sessions, which can help you stay away from alcohol and triggers.

At Enlightened Solutions, our entire treatment program is rooted in the 12-step philosophy. We integrate the 12-steps into our treatment approaches and connect you to local AA groups to support you once you have left the center.

Enlighted Solutions is a licensed co-occurring treatment facility- we focus on healing the whole person, not just treating the addiction. Our individualized recovery plans combine a range of treatment modalities, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), family constellation therapy, art and music therapy, yoga and meditation, acupuncture and chiropractic work, and equine-assisted therapy. Our location near the southern shore of New Jersey allows us to provide optimal healing and relaxation.

If you seek relief from addiction, or if someone close to you does, please call us at (833) 801-5483 for more information.


The Inner Workings of Rehab

Recovery from alcohol or drug addiction isn’t easy. Overcoming addictive behaviors and staying sober requires motivation, support, and expertise. Rehab centers offer just this. They offer evidence-based treatment approaches under the guidance of professional staff and provide compassionate care to help you develop the skills to overcome your addiction and remain committed to sober living.

What Is the Difference Between Inpatient and Outpatient Rehab?

There are two types of rehab centers - inpatient and outpatient. Outpatient centers offer part-time programs that fit in around your daily life. Programs may offer 10-20 hours of treatment each week so you can continue to work and fulfill other obligations.

Inpatient programs are intensive, residential rehab programs where you stay in the treatment facility. Programs vary in length but most last at least thirty days. Inpatient programs offer a safe and controlled environment with twenty-four-hour medical support. They tend to be more effective than outpatient programs for more severe cases of addiction. 

What Treatment Options Do Rehab Centers Offer?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the most effective treatment programs offer a combination of different treatment options tailored to match each individual’s needs. Everyone’s experience of addiction is different, and no single treatment approach suits everyone. Rehabilitation programs tend to offer a variety of different therapies and holistic healing approaches to provide a treatment experience that works for you.

These treatment options may include:

  • Individual therapy
  • 12-step program
  • Cognitive-behavioral therapy
  • Dialectical-behavioral therapy
  • Group therapy and support groups
  • Experiential therapies such as music therapy, art therapy, and equine therapy
  • Dual diagnosis
  • Family therapy
  • Yoga and meditation
  • Medically assisted detox

Addiction treatment programs help you identify the causes of your addiction and develop the skills to overcome them. This may involve learning what your triggers are and how to avoid them or developing coping skills to deal with triggers in healthy ways. 

Rehabilitation also aims to improve your mental and spiritual well-being. It is a chance to find joy and inspiration in sober life and commit to your recovery journey.

What Is Dual Diagnosis and How Does It Help Treat Addiction?

Almost 50% of people with a substance use disorder also suffer from another mental health condition. Co-occurring disorders like anxiety and depression can be the driving force behind addiction. If ignored, they can cause addictive behaviors to resurface, even after years of sobriety.

Dual diagnosis programs treat co-occurring disorders alongside addiction. They offer a holistic healing approach that aims to treat the entire person. Dual diagnosis helps you overcome the underlying causes of your addiction so you can maintain sobriety in the long term.

What Are The Different Stages of a Rehab Experience?

A recovery program usually begins with an in-depth assessment of the nature of your addiction and your circumstances. This allows therapists, medics, psychologists, and other staff to design a treatment plan to suit you.

For most people, the next stage in the recovery process is detox, to remove all traces of the substance and its toxins from your body. Rehab centers typically offer medically assisted detox to ensure that withdrawal is as safe and comfortable as possible. 

After detox, the main part of the treatment program begins. You participate in therapy sessions, support groups, and other treatment modalities over several weeks or months. During this time, you learn and develop the skills you need to overcome addiction.

The final stage of rehabilitation is aftercare. Recovery is a lifelong process that requires continued support and commitment. Rehab programs may connect you with support groups in your local area, provide you with a sober companion, or offer guidance to family members. 

Aftercare programs help you to stay supported and motivated once you have left a rehab center and guide you to lifelong recovery.

If you are struggling with addiction or substance abuse, recovery can seem scary or even impossible. However, with the proper support, anyone can recover from addiction. 

At Enlightened Solutions, we offer our clients a variety of evidence-based tools to assist them with moving forward in their sober journey. We focus on healing the whole person and not just treating their addiction. Our world-class treatment program is rooted in the 12-step philosophy and offers each client an individualized recovery plan.

We offer a range of advanced treatment modalities, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), family constellation therapy, art and music therapy, yoga and meditation, massage, acupuncture and chiropractic care, and equine-assisted therapy. Our location near the southern shore of New Jersey offers unparalleled healing and relaxation.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please call us at (833) 801-5483 for more information.

 

 


How Dangerous Are Smart Drugs?

Smart drugs are stimulant prescription medications that people use to enhance their mental performance. Smart drugs can make you feel more awake, more motivated and improve aspects of memory and learning. Like all stimulants, however, they pose serious health risks, and abusing smart drugs can lead to heart problems, psychosis, paranoia, and addiction.

Why Do People Use Smart Drugs?

Smart drugs such as dextroamphetamine (Adderall®) and methylphenidate (Ritalin®) increase the signaling of dopamine in the brain. Dopamine is a chemical that produces feelings of euphoria and may enhance cognitive functions.

Doctors prescribe Adderall and Ritalin for certain psychiatric disorders like attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and narcolepsy. However, there is a growing trend of the misuse of smart drugs by healthy people without any medical need. This includes:

  • Professionals to increase their productivity
  • Older people to slow declining cognition
  • High school and college students to improve academic performance.  Research suggests that in North America, up to 25% of students may have used smart drugs

What Are The Short-Term Dangers of Smart Drugs?

While smart drugs may cause short-term improvements in brain function, they can also have uncomfortable and dangerous side effects. 

Common adverse effects include headaches, dizziness, nervousness, and insomnia, though some people have more extreme reactions. Taking smart drugs can cause psychotic episodes, extreme paranoia, and suicidal thoughts.

Taking high doses of smart drugs also puts you at risk of an overdose. Stimulant overdoses, while not normally fatal, can be extremely dangerous. You may develop a dangerously high body temperature, fast or irregular heartbeat, cardiovascular failure, and have seizures.

What Are The Long-Term Effects of Smart Drugs?

While it may be tempting to use smart drugs to help you do better in college or be more productive at work, repeatedly using smart drugs can lead to a range of severe health problems. 

Using smart drugs may lead to psychiatric disorders such as insomnia, anxiety, and depression. These conditions can have an immense impact on your mental well-being and decrease your productivity and performance in the long run. 

Repeated use of smart drugs can also lead to addiction. When you take smart drugs, it activates the reward pathway in your brain, producing urges to seek and reuse the substance. It also interferes with your ability to resist these urges. These effects may be stronger on a developing brain, putting young people at greater risk.

Addiction is a serious illness that can be devastating to your health, work, and social life. It is a chronic brain disease that causes physical changes in the brain, which can be long-lasting or even permanent. Recovering from addiction requires commitment and support, usually from a rehabilitation center or professional treatment program.

Do Smart Drugs Improve Mental Performance?

Most people misuse smart drugs to try and improve their mental performance. However, scientific research offers contradictory evidence on their effectiveness. Several studies suggest that for healthy individuals, smart drugs do little to improve most cognitive functions. 

A systematic review of studies found that Modafinil did increase wakefulness and attention, even in healthy individuals. However, it also made individuals feel more confident, making it difficult to assess its impact on other aspects of cognitive performance. 

Similarly, a study on the effects of Adderall on young people found that there was no improvement in cognitive functions such as working memory, control, creativity, and intelligence for most people. However, as with Modafinil, participants did perceive their mental skills to be enhanced. This overconfidence may hinder someone’s ability to complete tasks and work effectively, outweighing any benefits of the drug.

Smart drug abuse and addiction can cause serious damage to your health, social life, and work performance. At Enlightened Solutions, we offer our clients tools to use as they move forward in a sober lifestyle. 

Our treatment program focuses on healing the whole person and not just addiction. Our individualized recovery plans are rooted in the 12-step philosophy and provide a range of treatment modalities, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), family constellation therapy, art and music therapy, acupuncture and chiropractic care, and equine-assisted therapy. 

Our treatment facilities are located near the southern shore of New Jersey, allowing us to provide optimal healing and relaxation throughout your stay. If you struggle with addiction, or if someone close to you does, please call us at (833) 801-5483 for more information.


The Dangers of Polydrug Use

Polydrug use is when you use more than one drug at a time or mix drugs and alcohol. People usually mix drugs to enhance their effects and to experience a more euphoric high. However, mixing drugs can compound their side effects and increase the chances of an overdose, respiratory failure, or even death.

What Are the Dangers of Polydrug Abuse?

The dangers of mixing drugs depend on the combination of drugs or alcohol that you are using. While it is possible to combine some drugs safely when following a prescription, mixing drugs without medical advice or mixing illicit drugs is extremely dangerous. Some of the possible dangers include:

  • Mental health issues such as depression and anxiety
  • Liver damage and failure
  • Heart problems
  • Stomach bleeding
  • Seizures
  • Coma
  • Respiratory failure
  • Brain damage

Alcohol and Benzodiazepines

Mixing drugs with alcohol is one of the most common forms of polydrug abuse. In 2011, over half of all alcohol-related emergency room visits in the United States also involved illicit drugs. People often mix drugs and alcohol at parties to intensify the intoxicating effects.

Mixing benzodiazepines (benzos) with alcohol can be particularly dangerous. Both substances are central nervous system depressants that work by slowing down the brain. Taking them together compounds their effects and may lead to slow breathing, organ failure, and coma.

Alcohol and Cocaine

People often mix alcohol with cocaine to ease some of cocaine’s negative side effects like anxiety or twitching. It can also re-energize someone and make people feel less drunk.

However, using alcohol with cocaine is hazardous. It enhances the effects of cocaine, increasing its blood concentration by up to 30%. It may also increase your heart rate and cause you to behave more violently.

Combining alcohol with cocaine also produces a new chemical in the liver called cocaethylene. This drug is toxic and may lead to seizures, liver damage, and a weakened immune system.

Opioids and Benzodiazepines

Opioid painkillers and benzodiazepines are both prescription drugs that your doctor may prescribe to treat certain conditions. Combining opioids and benzos is always extremely dangerous. Both drugs are sedatives that impair thinking and suppress breathing which is the leading cause of death by overdose. A study in North Carolina found that death by overdose was ten times higher in patients combining opioids and benzos than in those just using opioids.

Worryingly, many doctors still prescribe opioids and benzos simultaneously. In 2013, 17% of people receiving opioid prescriptions in the United States were also prescribed benzos.

Heroin and Cocaine

Combining heroin and cocaine is known as ‘speedballing’. Taking heroin with cocaine enhances the effects of each drug and produces a new kind of high that you can not experience from taking either substance on its own.

Using both substances together can also reduce some of their negative side effects. While this may make the experience more pleasurable, it can cause you to think that you are soberer than you are. Speedball users may continue to take more of each substance, increasing the chance of an overdose.

The duration of cocaine is shorter than heroin, so the effects wear off earlier. Users who have taken a high dose of heroin can experience respiratory failure when the effects of cocaine subside. Repeatedly injecting drugs also increases the risk of collapsed veins and abscesses.

How Does Polydrug Use Lead to Addiction?

When you repeatedly use an addictive substance, it affects the reward pathways in your brain. Your brain recognizes the pleasurable effects of a drug and produces urges to use the substance again. If you take multiple addictive substances, this reward-seeking behavior is reinforced and intensified. It strengthens the urges to use drugs, increasing the chances of addiction.

Polydrug abuse is a serious problem in the United States that can be devastating to your short-term and long-term health. At Enlightened Solutions, we offer our clients numerous tools to move forward in a sober lifestyle. We focus on healing the whole person alongside addiction. Our treatment program is rooted in the 12-step philosophy and offers each client an individualized recovery plan.

We offer a range of treatment modalities, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), family constellation therapy, art and music therapy, yoga and meditation, acupuncture and chiropractic work, and equine-assisted therapy. Our treatment facilities are on the south shores of New Jersey and provide optimal healing and relaxation. If you seek relief from addiction, or if someone close to you does, please call us at (833) 801-5483 for more information about our treatment options.