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.


How Problematic Is Marijuana Addiction?

Whether it’s called weed, pot, grass, bud, herb, or any of its numerous slang names, marijuana and its main psychoactive chemical, THC, is one of the most commonly abused drugs in the United States.

New Jersey has legalized marijuana for recreational use, but there are many persistent misunderstandings about this drug’s addictive potential. Because of this, marijuana addiction is systematically undertreated. In 2015, four million people were diagnosed with a use disorder for this drug, but only 138,000 sought treatment.

Use of Marijuana

Marijuana is the broken or ground dried flowers of the cannabis sativa plant that users usually smoke or mix into food. However, there has also been a sharp increase in the abuse of this plant’s resin, a substance with a higher THC concentration that produces more intense highs.

The short-term effects of marijuana intoxication include:

  • Feelings of happiness
  • Mild hallucinations
  • Reduced anxiety
  • Paranoia
  • Increased appetite
  • Reduced reflexes

Users generally experience significantly reduced response times and motor skills when under the effects of the drug. Nationwide, marijuana use is the cause of the second-highest number of hospital visits of any illicit substance - largely due to an increased risk of accidents. In 2011, 456,000 emergency room patient reports in the United States mentioned marijuana.

Marijuana Changes the Brain

Areas of the brain, such as the hippocampus, rely on an endocannabinoid neurotransmitter called anandamide for some of their dopamine production. However, with frequent use, the brain adapts and reduces the production of its anandamide - messengers we need for normal functioning.

At the same time, the continuous abuse of this drug seems to alter and harm this region of the brain. The hippocampus – which is responsible for memory formation and information processing - seems to shrink with prolonged heavy use. This can lead to very worrying changes in cognition, especially in young people.

Eventually, the use of marijuana produces cross-sensitivity. This means that the brain has adapted to the drug, and the groundwork has been laid for dependence and addiction to other psychoactive substances. In addition, there has been a growing body of evidence that corroborates marijuana’s status as a gateway drug, especially in long-term studies of teenage users.

Signs of Marijuana Addiction

Marijuana use disorder is a clinically diagnosed condition that describes the compulsive use of the drug even when people want to stop or when it harms a user’s life. Experts estimate that about 30% of people who use marijuana in some form have a degree of diagnosable substance use disorder.

Heavy users of the drug can go into withdrawal when they can’t access or cease using the drug. Symptoms of withdrawal from marijuana include:

  • Mood and sleep problems
  • Irritability
  • Decreased appetite
  • Cravings
  • Physical discomfort
  • Restlessness

Why Seek Marijuana Addiction Treatment?

Studies have begun to illuminate exactly how harmful long-term marijuana use can be for mental health. Eventually, THC exposure may even speed up the aging of the brain through the loss of neurons.

Studies looking at marijuana abuse disorder in adolescents found that continued use alters the connectivity and shrinks the size of areas in the brain involved in executive functioning (memory, learning, problem-solving, and impulse control).

Others have found that abuse, particularly in teenage years, is associated with significantly lower scores on IQ tests by mid-adulthood.

Two longitudinal studies have found that marijuana abuse causes cognitive impairment or loss of verbal memory functions in adults as well.

The loss of mental functioning means that people who use marijuana recreationally are likely to be functioning at a lower level even when they are not under its influence. These changes are continuous and incremental, making them harder to detect in oneself. Still, the evidence points to marijuana abuse drastically affecting our ability to achieve our potential in work, school, and relationships.

If you are worried marijuana use may be turning into an addiction, there are treatment programs that can help.

Marijuana Addiction Treatment in New Jersey

Enlightened Solutions is a licensed dual diagnosis treatment center that offers each client the tools they need to begin a sober life. We offer an effective individualized recovery program with a long-term focus rooted in the 12-step philosophy. Our treatment modalities include both talk therapy and holistic treatment practices, with the potential to continue in support groups long after you leave our center. If you would like help with marijuana addiction, reach out to us at (833) 801-5483.


The Pitfalls of Painkiller Addiction

The Pitfalls of Painkiller Addiction

Painkiller addiction and abuse are serious public health problems in the United States. Over eleven million people abused these drugs in 2017. Painkiller addiction can lead to long-term health problems such as kidney and liver failure and be devastating to your work and social life.

Addiction is a chronic disease with complex causes. However, it is possible to recover, and most people benefit from some form of treatment. With commitment and support, you can live a fulfilling life of sobriety.

What Are Painkillers and Why Do People Use Them?

Painkillers are powerful prescription drugs. Doctors usually prescribe them following an accident or post-surgery and occasionally for chronic pain. Most addictive painkillers contain opioids, and according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, New Jersey doctors wrote 38.9 opioid prescriptions for every 100 people in 2018.

While opioid painkillers are incredibly useful in treating short-term pain, many people misuse them. Misuse is defined as using pain medication more often or in higher doses than your prescription requires or to experience its pleasurable effects. It is possible to develop a painkiller addiction using them exactly as your doctor prescribes, but abuse makes it much more likely.

Why Are Painkillers Addictive?

Using opiates repeatedly over time can lead to chemical changes in the brain and produce strong urges to seek or use painkillers that can be very difficult to resist. These changes may be long-lasting and persist even after years of sobriety.

Repeatedly using painkillers may also lead you to develop a physical dependence on the drug. Your brain becomes used to the increased levels of opiates in the body and adapts by decreasing its natural production of opioids. You begin to need higher and higher doses to experience the same effects, and eventually, you can become dependent on the drugs just to feel normal.

While everyone’s experience of addiction is different, certain factors make developing an addiction more likely. These include:

What Are Some Types of Addictive Painkillers?

Opiate Painkillers

Opiates are natural sedative drugs derived from the seeds of the opium poppy, such as morphine and codeine. Opiates can produce experiences of euphoria in the user and relieve physical and emotional pain.

Opioid Painkillers

Opioids are natural, synthetic or semi-synthetic drugs that have similar effects to opiates. Some common opioid painkiller brands are:

  • Lortab
  • Vicodin
  • Zohydro
  • Percocet
  • Hycodan
  • Roxicet
  • Percodan
  • OxyContin

What Are the Dangers of Painkiller Addiction?

If untreated, painkiller addiction can be devastating to your health, relationships, and work-life. Effective treatment, however, can be life-changing and can put you on the path to a life free from addiction.

How Does Painkiller Addiction Affect Your Health?

Painkiller addiction can cause long-term and short-term health problems, including

How Does Painkiller Addiction Affect Your Social and Work-Life?

Painkiller addiction and abuse can take over your life. You eventually spend most of your time acquiring and taking painkillers, losing interest in activities you used to enjoy, and neglecting work and social responsibilities. Some users are driven to commit crime to fund their habit.

Addiction can also strain relationships with family members and other loved ones. You may lie to hide your addiction from those around you or prioritize your drug use over your relationships.

What Are the Signs and Symptoms of Painkiller Addiction?

Sometimes it can be hard to tell if you or a loved one has a painkiller addiction. However, there are certain signs and symptoms you can look out for. These signs can be behavioral, mental, and physical.

Behavioral signs of painkiller addiction include:

  • Using painkillers even when the pain has gone away
  • Lying about pain to get medication
  • ‘Doctor shopping’ - getting multiple prescriptions for the same medication
  • Slurred speech
  • Thinking and talking about painkillers frequently
  • Spending less time with friends and loved ones
  • Prioritizing painkillers over work and family life
  • Taking high doses of the drug

Mental and physical signs and symptoms may include:

  • Sweating profusely
  • Coordination problems
  • Sleeping difficulties
  • Itchiness
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Hallucinations
  • Mood swings
  • Depression
  • Anxiety

Painkiller addiction is a serious illness that can take over your life. At Enlightened Solutions, we provide clients with the tools you need to overcome your addiction and move forward in your sober life. Our individualized programs are rooted in the 12-step philosophy, and we focus on healing the entire person. Our treatment modalities include talk therapy and group support, as well as holistic healing methods such as equine therapy and meditation. As a co-occurring treatment center, we treat any underlying mental health issues alongside your addiction. Our treatment center is on the southern shore of New Jersey, the perfect place for healing and relaxation.

If you struggle with addiction, or if someone close to you does, please call us at (833) 801-5483 for more information about our treatment options.


How Long Does Cocaine Stay in the Body?

What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine, also known as coke, blow, and white, is a powerful stimulant drug. SAMHSA explains that stimulants increase activity in the central nervous system, resulting in a powerful, euphoric high.

The effects of cocaine are intense but brief. They peak within 15 minutes of use and subside within 45-60 minutes. The effects are highly desirable, so the short-lived nature of the high drives many users to take more once the effects begin to wear off. Frequent cocaine use leads to mental dependence, making it extremely difficult to stop.

 

How Long Does Cocaine Stay in the System?

When you use cocaine, the body breaks it down into chemicals known as metabolites, which are what show up in drug tests. There are four standard tests used to detect cocaine. These are:

Blood test

Cocaine metabolites remain in your blood for up to two days after last use.

Saliva test

Cocaine metabolites remain in your saliva for up to two days after last use.

Urine test

Cocaine metabolites remain in your urine for up to four days after last use.

Hair test

Hair sample tests can detect cocaine metabolites for up to 90 days after last use.

 

What Factors Influence How Long Cocaine Stays in the Body?

The above tests and timelines are not exact. They are an approximate timeline for how long cocaine metabolites remain in the system and can be detected. 
Several factors influence how long cocaine remains in the body. These include:

  • How much cocaine has been used - higher doses of cocaine lead to higher concentrations of metabolites.
  • The method of consumption - cocaine can be snorted, dabbed on the gums, smoked, or injected. Snorted or dabbed cocaine remains in the system for longer than injected or smoked cocaine. 
  • Frequency of use - regular use of cocaine keeps metabolites present for longer than they would remain after one-time use.
  • Polydrug use - simultaneous use of cocaine and alcohol can keep metabolites in the system for longer than they would remain if cocaine were used by itself. 
  • Weight and metabolism - cocaine remains in the system for longer in those with a high percentage of body fat.

 

What Are the Signs Symptoms of Cocaine Addiction?

If you have recently used cocaine or know that a loved one has recently used cocaine, it’s essential to understand the signs and symptoms of abuse. 

Primary Care explains that cocaine has a high potential for abuse. Dependence and addiction can happen after even a short period of misuse. If you believe that you or a loved one may be struggling with cocaine addiction or is likely to develop an addiction, be aware of the following symptoms, as outlined in the Journal of the National Medical Association:

  • Anxiety, panic
  • Insomnia
  • Psychosis
  • Paranoia
  • Mood swings
  • Difficulty in cutting down or stopping use
  • Stealing, borrowing, or begging for money to fund cocaine use
  • Lies and secrecy about drug use
  • Feeling that you need cocaine to function in daily life

If you have noticed any of the above signs and symptoms in yourself or a loved one, seek professional help. Effective, evidence-based cocaine addiction treatment is available. Addiction is a progressive condition, which means it gets worse the longer a person goes without treatment. The earlier you seek treatment, the greater your chance of successful recovery.

Psychotherapeutic and behavioral interventions are available to help you overcome cocaine addiction. These approaches consider your history of substance use and your personal background. Addiction often has its roots in other issues, such as unresolved trauma, so it's essential that treatment addresses the entire person.

At Enlightened Solutions, we offer our clients many tools to move forward in their sober lifestyle.  We focus on healing the whole person rather than just treating the addiction. Enlightened Solutions is a licensed co-occurring treatment center. We can treat both substance use disorders and the mental health issues that frequently accompany addiction.  Our treatment program is rooted in the 12-Step philosophy and offers each client an individualized recovery plan. At Enlightened Solutions, 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 care, and equine-assisted therapy.  Our facility 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 about our treatment options.


Signs of Teen Drug Use

It can be frightening to think that your teen has been misusing drugs or alcohol. Teenagers are at a crucial stage of development, and drug or alcohol misuse at this stage of their brain development can have dire consequences on their overall health and well-being. 

Peer pressure, self-exploration, and mistakes are natural parts of growing up and, as much as we would like them not to, many teens experiment with drugs and alcohol. However, there is a difference between one-time drug use and chronic use. 

If your teen has been misusing substances, it is essential to seek professional help. An adolescent mental health specialist can guide you on the steps you can take to prevent the onset of dependence and drug addiction. If your teen is already addicted, evidence-based teen-friendly treatment programs are highly effective.

How Do I Know If My Teen Has Been Using Drugs? 

You may notice some worrying behaviors in your teen and jump to the conclusion that they have misused drugs or alcohol. It is likely that your teen's mood swings, withdrawal, rebelliousness, and unusual behavior stems from their racing hormones and developing sense of the world around them, however, there is a chance it could be from substance misuse. 
It is essential to recognize the early warning signs of teen drug misuse so that you can take effective action to help them. 
According to Innovations in Clinical Neuroscience, early warning signs of teen drug use include(1):

  • Loss of interest in previously enjoyed hobbies and activities
  • Secrecy about whereabouts
  • Health problems 
  • Sudden change to social group
  • Unusual sleeping patterns
  • Increased irritability, aggression
  • Drastic weight loss or gain
  • Missing prescription drugs
  • Possession of drug paraphernalia (rolling papers, needles, bongs, empty spirit bottles, burned spoons)

What Are the Behavioral Signs of Teen Drug Use?

Behavioral signs are usually the first signs of teen drug use that parents and loved ones notice. Common behavioral signs of drug or alcohol misuse to look out for include:

  • Coming home late
  • Frequently asking for money
  • Withdrawing from the family
  • Absence from school or work

What Are the Physical Signs of Teen Drug Use?

Physical indicators of drug or alcohol misuse in teens include:

  • Neglect of personal hygiene
  • Bloodshot eyes
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Sores on mouth
  • Large dilated pupils
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Shakes and tremors
  • Sudden weight loss or gain

What Are the Risk Factors for Teen Drug Use?

FACTS is an acronym you can use to understand the risk factors for teen drug use. 

F - Family History

Suppose there is a history of substance misuse in the family. In this case, a child or teen is more likely to use drugs and develop an addiction(2). SAMHSA reports that children with first-degree relatives who have Substance Use Disorder are eight times more likely to misuse substances than those without(3).

A - Age of First Use

The younger a person is when they first use drugs or alcohol, the more likely they are to develop an addiction(4). Teen brains are at a crucial stage of development, and drug or alcohol misuse at this time can shape how the brain continues to grow and develop. 

C - Craving

Drug or alcohol misuse can lead to dependence. When dependence occurs, the teen experiences intense cravings for the substance when it is not available. Teens may not yet have developed the ability to tolerate the distress associated with these cravings, making them more vulnerable than adults to addiction.

T - Tolerance

Tolerance to a substance's effects builds up the more it is used. If your teen needs to use more of a drug in greater frequency to achieve the desired effects, they are at high risk of dependence and addiction. 

S - Surroundings

Exposure to drug or alcohol misuse in the home or in one's peer groups increases the likelihood of drug or alcohol use, and prolonged exposure normalizes the behavior. A teen may notice that family members or friends use drugs or alcohol in stressful times and learn to do the same. 

Should I Talk to My Teen About Drugs?

It’s essential to talk to your teen and listen to their opinions and perceptions about drugs and alcohol. By speaking with them about the reality of substance misuse, you create a trusting, supportive relationship in which they feel comfortable talking about their experiences. 

Talking goes a long way in reducing the risk of substance misuse. Make sure that when you talk to your teen, you do so with compassion and understanding. Hostility and confrontation will not help. 

If you have discovered that your teen has been misusing drugs or alcohol, don't hesitate to reach out for help. Effective interventions and treatments are available and can help your teen curb their drug use before addiction takes over. 

You’re never too young for recovery. There are treatment centers and support groups across the United States dedicated to helping teens find recovery.

At Enlightened Solutions, we offer our clients numerous tools to move forward in their sober lifestyle.  We focus on healing the whole person and not merely treating the addiction. Enlightened Solutions is a licensed co-occurring treatment center; we can treat both substance use disorders and the mental health issues that frequently accompany addiction.  Our treatment program rooted in the 12-Step philosophy provides each client an individualized recovery plan. At Enlightened Solutions, we offer a range of 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 picturesque southern shore of New Jersey allows us to provide optimal healing and relaxation. If you want to be free from addiction, or if someone close to you does, please call us at (833) 801-5483 for more information about our treatment options.

 

(1) Ali, Shahid et al. “Early detection of illicit drug use in teenagers.” Innovations in clinical neuroscience vol. 8,12 (2011): 24-8.

(2) Center for Substance Abuse Treatment. Substance Abuse Treatment and Family Therapy. Rockville (MD): Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); 2004. (Treatment Improvement Protocol (TIP) Series, No. 39.) Chapter 2 Impact of Substance Abuse on Families. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK64258/

(3) Lipari, R.N. and Van Horn, S.L. Children living with parents who have a substance use disorder. The CBHSQ Report: August 24, 2017. Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Rockville, MD.

(4) Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (US); Office of the Surgeon General (US). Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General's Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health [Internet]. Washington (DC): US Department of Health and Human Services; 2016 Nov. CHAPTER 2, THE NEUROBIOLOGY OF SUBSTANCE USE, MISUSE, AND ADDICTION. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK424849


Understanding MAT

Medication-assisted treatment (MAT) is an effective approach to addiction treatment. As the name implies, MAT uses medications to help those struggling with addiction overcome their condition.

SAMHSA defines MAT as 'the use of medications, in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies, to provide a "whole-patient" approach to the treatment of substance use disorders.'

Medical intervention is one aspect of a broader approach used in addiction treatment. Medication helps clients manage their problematic symptoms. As a result, they can engage more in other parts of treatment. Clients in addiction recovery programs receive intensive psychotherapy, behavioral therapy and counseling, as well as life coaching and skills building alongside medical support.

What Does MAT Treat?

MAT treats clients struggling with:

  • Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)
  • Opioid Use Disorder (OUD)

The medications used in MAT promote healthy brain chemistry by rebalancing the hormones and chemicals in the body that have become out of balance due to alcohol or opioid misuse.

Some MAT medications block the effect of alcohol and opioids on the brain. This serves to reduce cravings and helps clients get through the withdrawal stage of recovery. 

Other medications prevent the body from becoming overwhelmed by abstinence from a given drug. For example, sudden cessation of opioid use can be dangerous if the client has a physical dependence. As such, MAT would involve substituting the client's substance of misuse with a safer, controlled substance, such as methadone. 

What Are MAT Medications?

Methadone

Methadone is an effective medication used in opioid addiction treatment. Methadone treatment aims to ease the withdrawal symptoms that occur when a client stops using opioids. Withdrawal is one of the leading causes of relapse. Methadone helps clients get through withdrawal safely so they can start the rest of their recovery.

Buprenorphine

Buprenorphine reduces cravings for clients struggling with OUD. Similar to methadone, Buprenorphine is a partial agonist which means it activates the opioid receptors in the brain, but to a far lesser degree than a full agonist. Buprenorphine, unlike methadone, does not produce a high. 

Naltrexone

Naltrexone is prescribed under the brand name Vivitrol. Naltrexone reduces cravings and lowers rates of relapse in both OUD and AUD. Naltrexone is an opioid antagonist, which means it blocks the brain's opioid receptors. As such, it becomes impossible to achieve the 'high' associated with opiate-derived drugs. MAT providers use Naltrexone after the detox stage of recovery, not before or during. 

What Are the Benefits of Medication-assisted Treatment?

SAMHSA reports that MAT helps clients struggling with AUD or OUD achieve and maintain sobriety. MAT supports clients on a chemical level while also supporting their behavioral health through behavioral therapies. 

Addiction treatment programs use MAT to suit the client's needs. Some medications and therapeutic approaches will be more suitable than others, depending on a range of factors, such as your history of drug misuse and your current health status. MAT's comprehensive and tailored approach offers a range of benefits to clients. Benefits of MAT include:

  • Increased engagement in rehab and therapy
  • Increased likelihood of completing a rehab program
  • Decreased symptom severity
  • Improved chances of gaining and maintaining employment
  • Reduced risk of relapse

Why Choose MAT?

There are many reasons to opt for MAT if you are struggling with AUD or OUD. MAT is an effective treatment approach for both of these disorders. Delivered alongside counseling and behavioral therapy, MAT is an integrated approach to addiction recovery. It can increase the time a person spends in treatment, which increases their chance of recovery success. 

Some people disregard MAT as substituting one drug for another, but this is not the case. MAT is safe. While MAT involves drugs, the medications used are highly regulated at a federal level and are FDA approved. MAT promotes addiction recovery by keeping the body as safe as possible. It reduces the risk of overdose that might happen if a client were to seek illicit drugs on the street. 

MAT is an approach to addiction treatment endorsed and supported by:

A comprehensive and integrated approach to treatment, MAT is a leading treatment type for both alcohol and opioid addiction. By easing withdrawal symptoms, MAT promotes greater resilience and encourages a deeper commitment to one's recovery. 

At Enlightened Solutions, we offer our clients tools to use as they move forward in a sober lifestyle.  We focus on healing the whole person and not just treating the addiction. Enlightened Solutions is a licensed co-occurring treatment center. We treat both substance use disorders and the mental health issues that frequently accompany addiction.  Our treatment program is rooted in the 12-Step philosophy and provides each client an individualized recovery plan. At Enlightened Solutions, we offer a range of treatment modalities, including cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), family constellation therapy, art and music therapy, yoga and meditation, massage,reiki, acupuncture and chiropractic care, and equine-assisted therapy.  Our facility near the picturesque southern shore of New Jersey allows us to provide optimal healing and relaxation. If you struggle with addiction, or if someone close to you does, please call us at (833) 801-5483 for more information.


How a Drug-Induced Murderer Turned Into a Computer Engineer

How a Drug-Induced Murderer Turned Into a Computer Engineer

Drugs can cause you to do unspeakable things that you would never imagine doing sober. It can be a very tough question to answer whether a murderer deserves a second chance even if his actions were the cause of drug abuse. The story of Zachary Moore can teach you how keeping your feelings hidden about your parent’s drug use and your own can cause you to commit shocking acts that have the potential to ruin your life. 

Moore’s Drug-Induced Act of Murder

Moore grew up in Redlands, California where he would play video games, sports, and hang out with his friends. Unfortunately, he grew up with a dysfunctional family. His parents were both alcoholics who would go on frequent drink binges and forget to feed their kids. When Moore became a teenager, he was having trouble being able to manage his feelings. This would cause him to self-medicate with drugs and alcohol. He felt like this would help numb and ignore his home life problems.

On November 8, 1996, an argument he had with family members pushed him over the edge where all of the anger and pain he was harboring led him to stab his sibling to death while he was sleeping on the couch. Moore’s defense attorney spoke at the trial that he blamed Moore’s home life of drug abuse, domestic abuse, and alcoholism as the cause of his actions. That it was a psychotic break after years of neglect and abuse. The jury did not take pity on Moore and was found guilty of murder. He was tried as an adult and was sentenced 26 to life in prison. Three days before his 17th birthday, Moore was transferred from juvenile hall to a high-security prison.

Moore’s Self-Discovery in Prison

For the next few years, Moore would go from prison to prison trying to figure out who he was and about what he did to land him there. Moore said he was surrounded by a bunch of adults who were on the same journey of self-discovery as him. In 2000, Moore landed in a “cell within a cell” where he was on lockdown 23 hours a day with little human contact. Being in that cell made Moore realize that his crime was the result of extreme emotions and how his circumstances growing up was not what made him kill his brother. That there were millions of kids who grew up like he did that found other ways to deal with negative emotions compared to committing murder. Moore discovered there were things about him that needed to be fixed. 

Moore formed a “brotherhood” with a group of other convicts who were trying to better themselves. He attended Buddhist services, meditation classes, and learned to deal with his emotions through the support of his new friends. In his late 20s, Moore landed at Ironwood, a medium-security facility in Riverside County. He enrolled in an online college program at Palo Verde College where he earned an Associate’s degree and graduated with a 3.89 GPA. 

The Last Mile

In 2010, entrepreneur and Silicon Valley investor Chris Redlitz was invited to give a business talk at San Quentin State Prison. He and his wife founded “The Last Mile,” a bi-weekly entrepreneurship program at the prison. Redlitz noticed a problem in that when inmates are released, they are given $10-$200 in cash and sent on their way with no job or housing help. In California, 7 to 10 released inmates recommit a crime within three years. This leads to an incarceration crisis of $183 billion a year spent. 

Redlitz wanted to empower inmates to have a future outside of prison to give them hirable skills. Coding is a very powerful skill to have in California. Since the prison had a no-internet policy, the program had a fake internet using video seminars. When “The Last Mile” expanded its program to Ironwood, Moore was one of the first people to sign up after finding a flyer for it in the prison hallway.

Moore Discovers Coding

Since Moore was sentenced in 1996, that meant he never saw the internet before. Even though Moore had a life sentence, he still had hope that he would one day be released with a good job. Only 10% of inmates with life sentences get admitted to the program. Moore was accepted and began the first of two 6-month curriculums.

Four times a week from 7 am to 2 pm, Moore and a team learned front-end code like HTML and CSS. For the first month, he could only write his code by hand. When computers were brought in, he relied on instructional videos and screenshots of real-user flows. For the second month, he learned Javascript and NodeJS. For his final project, he built a mock e-commerce site called GeekChic. Moore put in a transfer for San Quentin to continue his training. Not long after, he discovered he was up for parole.

How Moore is Now

On November 12, 2018, Moore was released after 22 years. For six months, Moore worked as a part-time engineer for “The Last Mile.” In May 2019, Moore went from intern to full-time engineer at Checkr, a background check technology firm. “The Last Mile” has transitioned 70 graduates to the workplace. Moore is an example of what happens to you when addiction and mental health are untreated and that if you work hard, you can get a second chance.

Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions is a recovery center that uses evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress-reducing techniques centered around a 12 step network, you will ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please call us at 833-801-LIVE as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


How to Tell If a Coworker Is Abusing Drugs in the Workplace

How to Tell If a Coworker Is Abusing Drugs in the Workplace

It can be hard to know what to do when you can suspect a coworker has a drug problem. You do not want to get that person in trouble but at the same time, their low performance can affect the workplace and drag everyone down if your coworker does not get help. It is important to speak to your coworker about their drug addiction as well as your boss to ensure your coworker gets help as quick as possible.

Signs Your Coworker Has a Drug Problem

Your coworker may not be thinking clearly since their mind and body is more focused on where to get their next fix instead of getting their work done. Your coworker may physically be there, but they are mentally somewhere else which can be bothersome if you're trying to get their attention. Your coworker may be prone to suffering from multiple accidents or injuries since they are not mentally aware. They could hurt themselves or someone else by accident if they are operating heavy machinery or have a job with a lot of responsibility like a police officer, lawyer, teacher, etc. You also may have noticed that your coworker has been missing a lot of shifts lately. They could either be getting high at home or they are too insecure to show up at work in fear that others will know about their drug use by their appearance.

It is also possible that a coworker may have a drug addiction if you notice valuable pieces of property or money from the company has been stolen by your coworker. You may also notice a difference in hygiene in your coworker as well as extreme mood swings. It may be hard for them to follow simple instructions or are taking too long at accomplishing a task that was swift for them before.

Telling Human Resources

Before you speak to Human Resources, be certain that the symptoms you are noticing in your coworker are signs of drug addiction and not simply stress, not getting enough sleep, or feeling sick. If you are certain your coworker is struggling with drug addiction, speak to Human Resources in a non-judgemental way as you are not doing this to get someone in trouble but to help them. If you do not want to speak to your coworker about this, check with Human Resources if your company has a confidential hotline to call or an employee assistance program.

Telling Your Boss

If you are suspicious about your coworker abusing drugs, it is best to speak to your coworker first before reporting to your boss as you could get someone who may not have a drug problem in trouble. On the other hand, if you actually see someone using drugs in the workplace, that is the time to report your co-worker to Human Resources or your boss. If you decide to tell your boss, many companies have Employee Assistance Programs and procedures when it comes to reporting suspected drug addiction. If your coworker’s drug addiction is affecting the safety of others in the workplace, you may need to report that person.

Speaking to Your Coworker

It can be hard to initiate a conversation with your coworker about their drug use as you could be worried they will be angry at you for meddling in their business. If you have a close relationship with your coworker such as having a relationship outside of the office and speak to each other all of the time, your coworker may think you are being genuine for wondering. Just let them know that you are concerned about their health and want you to take care of it now before your boss or Human Resources find out, costing you your job. If you have only spoken to your coworker a few times in the whole time you two have worked together, your coworker may be defensive towards you. Just give your coworker examples about how their poor performance is affecting the company and to do something about it now.

Risk of Job Loss

Your coworker may not want to do anything about their drug addiction in fear that they can get fired if Human Resources or their boss finds out that they entered a rehab facility. The truth is that if an employee decides to enter a drug rehab facility, there are federal laws where you can be protected. The Americans With Disabilities Act and the Family Medical Leave Act says that a person cannot get fired from their job for having a drug problem if they decide to enter an addiction treatment program. On the other hand, these laws will not protect your coworker if their drug use is affecting their job performance or is in violation of company policies.

Preparing to Enter Treatment

If your coworker decides to go into treatment, this would be a wise choice as he or she will not be fired if you attempt treatment first. Your coworker should let your boss know what kind of treatment program they will do whether it is inpatient or outpatient to make sure it does not interfere with their schedule. It is best for your coworker to be open and honest with their boss since they will be struggling with withdrawal symptoms in the beginning. By speaking to your coworker about drug treatment options, you could be helping your coworker as well as your company.

Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions is a recovery center that uses evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress-reducing techniques centered around a 12 step network, you will ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please call us at 833-801-LIVE as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


How to Live with Someone Who Struggles with Addiction

How to Live with Someone Who Struggles with Addiction

It can be challenging to live with someone who is struggling with addiction. They could be experiencing intense behavior as a result of their drug use, not helping pay rent, or constantly bothering you for more money to acquire their next fix. To make it livable living with someone struggling with addiction, it is important to set boundaries and take care of yourself to avoid any stress in the household.

Keep Everyone Safe

You should make sure that everyone in your household in safe away from the toxic behaviors of the one struggling with addiction. This especially means people like children, the elderly, pets, or anyone else who has trouble defending themselves. If your loved one with addiction becomes violent, this is the time to either ask that person to temporarily move out until they get better such as to a rehab facility. While it may not be the fault of your loved one for their behavior, it does not mean that others need to suffer at the hands of it if that person poses a great danger.

Have a Backup Plan

Just in case if the situation escalates into something where you do not feel safe with your loved one, create a backup plan. This can mean having friends, family, therapists, or the police to turn to just in case you loved one is doing something that is scaring you as a result of their drug use. While your loved one may not be dangerous when they are sober, it can be a very different story while intoxicated so be prepared. See if there is anyone you can stay with if you ever feel like your life is being threatened.

Restrict Financial Access

Addiction means doing whatever it takes to ensure they get more and more of their drug or alcoholic beverage of choice. Purchasing drugs is expensive and someone with an addiction has the power to clean out your bank account. It is best to take them off of your bank accounts or credits if they have access to them. Find a safe place to keep your cash that they would not be able to find it. This may involve opening up your own private bank account to keep your money if you do not trust your loved one with it.

Setting Boundaries

In order to show your loved one how serious you are about the intensity of their addiction, you need to set boundaries. This can mean telling them things like when they do things like throw objects across the room when they are angry, it makes you feel scared. You can tell them that you would prefer that whenever they feel angry or stressed that they go outside or in another room to take a deep breath instead of hitting the bottle or drug. You can also let them know about what you will do if they continue to do things that are not safe. For example, you can tell your loved one that if they plan on getting in a car while intoxicated that you will involve the police. Establishing boundaries will provide a clear understanding to your loved one that you mean business in regards to living with them.

Talk About Treatment Options

Speak to your loved one about taking a treatment center into consideration. You can recommend successful ones in your area by sending them links to their websites, brochures, and the phone numbers of them all if they ever want to give them a chance. Tell that person about how you feel about what you have seen when they are under the influence and how much you care about their wellbeing and the wellbeing of others at home. Let them know that there are other forms of treatment whether it is psychotherapy, group counseling, 12 step meetings, etc.

Take Care of Yourself

Do not feel like because you are living with someone struggling with addiction that you need to devote all of your time to that person to ensure that they are safe. Dedicating all of your energy to worrying about your loved one will cause you to develop anxiety and you will feel drained. You need to think about yourself. This involves taking time out alone to do something you have always wanted to do like go to a movie, get a coffee, read a book at a bookshop, etc. Make sure that you are eating right, sleeping for seven to eight hours a night, exercising, and being able to relax.

Do Not Enable the Addiction

You may feel like you are being a bad person if you do not try to help this person from getting arrested or ending up in the hospital if they experience withdrawal symptoms. To avoid enabling their addiction, do not give them anymore money if they feel like they need a fix. You will only be letting the drug addiction escalate worse. Be cautious whenever you bail that person out of jail. If you feel like your loved one ends up falling back into jail as soon as you release them, let them know this time bailing them out will be the last. Enabling addiction will decrease the chances of your loved one receiving help if you will always be there to bail them out. By communicating with your loved one and providing them with helpful resources will make living with your loved one easier.

Located on the shore of Southern New Jersey, Enlightened Solutions is a recovery center that uses evidence-based therapies and holistic healing to treat addiction and mental illness. With the opportunity to learn about therapies that are keyed in to healing the human spirit and learning about new stress reducing techniques centered around a 12 step network, you will be ensure a lasting recovery. For more information, please call us at 833-801-LIVE as we are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.


Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome

When you are sharing your body with a fetus, whatever you put into your body is what the baby will absorb as well- including opioid drugs. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a baby is born every 25 minutes suffering from opioid withdrawal. It is important to protect your baby from Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome during pregnancy and to make sure you give your baby the proper treatment to avoid the deadly consequences that may come.

Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome is when a baby suffers a series of conditions after suffering from withdrawal as a result of being exposed of opioids in the womb. Opioids pass through the placenta which grows in the womb and supplies the baby with food and oxygen through the umbilical cord. Drugs such as codeine, Vicodin, morphine, oxycodone, tramadol, heroin, antidepressants, and benzodiazepines are examples of drugs that a fetus can be addicted to. If the drug is no longer available, the central nervous system of the baby will experience withdrawal just like a fully grown human being with addiction. For nine months, you and your baby are one body. Nothing you put in your body will be able to escape your child and can lead the serious problems in the womb and after your child is born.

The changes your baby can experience with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome can happen three days after birth, right after, or a few weeks after. Symptoms may include tremors, seizures, twitching, tight muscles, excessive crying, fever, blotchy skin, trouble sleeping, diarrhea, throwing up, stuffy nose, and sneezing. This can cause your child to have a premature birth, slow growth, and birth defects. Your child having Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome can depend on which drugs were used, how much drugs, how long you have been taking them, and if the baby was born 37 weeks early. You should have a feeling if your baby has Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome early such as if your baby weighs less than five pounds, eight ounces, the baby’s skin and eyes are yellow from not having a fully functional liver, if the baby has to stay in the NICU, or needs to be under medication.

A doctor can determine whether or not your baby has Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome by using a scoring system to give points on the severity of each symptom your baby is exhibiting to determine the right course of treatment. There is also a meconium test for the baby’s first bowel movement as well as a urine test that the doctor can administer. A small piece of the umbilical cord could also be used for drug testing. You should make sure that if you are currently using opioids but want to quit, do not quit cold turkey as it can lead to death for the baby if they suffer withdrawal symptoms. Make sure to speak to a doctor to give involved in a treatment program. You may need to be on a medically-assisted treatment program where you can be on medications like methadone and buprenorphine during pregnancy to help with withdrawal.

It is possible that you could be taking pain medications as a result of your pregnancy or for any other condition that you may have. Before agreeing to take any medications, check with your doctor to see if any of the medications prescribed can lead to Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome so that you can stop certain medication or change to safer ones. If you are abusing opioid pills such as taking more than prescribed or stealing medications from other people, you should be on birth control so that you can take care of your addiction before pregnancy. Birth control can come in the form of IUDs, implants, pills, or condoms.

If your baby does have Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, make sure that your baby is under medication to treat or manage their symptoms such as morphine, methadone, or buprenorphine. The goal is to prescribe your baby a medication that is similar to the one the mother used while pregnant and then slowly wean off the doses over time. The fluids would be administered through an IV to prevent dehydration, diarrhea, or throwing up. If your baby has a diaper rash or other areas of a skin breakdown, give your baby a special ointment or cream. Your baby may also have to drink a higher calorie formula if they have trouble being fed or are growing too slowly. With five to thirty days, your baby should feel better.

If your baby is being really fussy during treatment, wrap your baby up in a warm blanket to better comfort him or her. You could also press your baby onto your bare chest with him or her wearing nothing but a diaper. Make sure that the room is quiet and dim to avoid any distractions or loud noises. Continue to breastfeed your baby. It is important to remember that if you are thinking of having a child, you need to put the child’s needs before your own. This means that if you are suffering from addiction, go into treatment now instead of while you are pregnant. If you are pregnant and are abusing opioids, speak to your doctor about weaning off of them to avoid your child having any health problems that can affect them as they grow up. Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome is absolutely preventable so think of the health of your baby as well as yourself.

Through years of experience working with art and music therapy, we know how powerfully beneficial they are in healing and relapse prevention. Call Enlightened Solutions today: (833) 801-LIVE.