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alcohol withdrawal timeline, alcohol detox california

Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline and When Alcohol Detox California is Necessary

Alcohol Withdrawal Timeline and When Alcohol Detox California is Necessary

If you suspect that you or someone you know has a drinking problem, learning the facts is vital. Doing so gives you an idea of the situation you are facing and what steps you can take to solve it before it gets even worse. Discovering what alcohol addiction looks like is a good place from which to start, but your job is not over yet.

You must also learn about the stages of alcohol withdrawal and what symptoms addicts can expect at each one. The following guide even helps you decide when alcoholics should go to an addiction and detox treatment center to get the bests odds of making a recovery. The information you will soon learn arms you with the required tools to make the decision that is right for you. Those who need a hand should opt for alcohol detox California to break the chains of addiction for good.

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alcohol withdrawal timeline, alcohol detox california

Signs of Alcohol Abuse and When Alcohol Detox is Needed

Learning how you can detect the signs of trouble in yourself or someone you love is a powerful step in the right direction. If you are lucky, you can respond to the threat and get help before the problem spirals out of control. Stopping alcoholism before it tightens its grip allows you to move forward without unneeded stress, and you will be pleased when you see the outcome.

The first red flag appears when people drink so much that it gets in the way of their daily life and obligations. At this point, they often ignore financial responsibilities so that they can fund their alcoholism, which only gets worse from here. Those in the early stages of addiction find it hard or impossible to relax or stay calm unless they have been drinking.

Stage One of Alcohol Withdrawal

The first stage of withdrawal usually occurs between eight and 12 hours after a person has had the last drink. These symptoms are minor at first but become progressively intense as time passes. Those with a strong will won't have much trouble at this point.

People will notice mild anxiety that they can't seem to overcome, and they can even have trouble falling asleep at night. Unless they grab another drink, they will experience an upset stomach that becomes even more painful with each passing hour. The severity of the symptoms depends on several factors you need to keep in mind, such as the person's age, health and the amount of time they have been drinking.

Stage Two Alcohol Detox

You are now ready to explore the next part of the alcohol withdrawal timeline. You will discover what people encounter once they survive the first few days. Knowing what will happen before it does gives you time to prepare, increasing your odds of staying on the right path. After one to three days have passed, recovering alcoholics enter the second stage, which can last for up to a week.

They will get high blood pressure, increased body temperature and an accelerated heart rate. Confusion and a lack of focus are also common withdrawal symptoms people can encounter during the second stage. They can find it hard to perform daily tasks and are at risk for disciplinary action at work as a result. Most people who try to quit drinking on their own give up on their goal during this stage to avoid the pain and stress.

Alcohol Withdrawal Stage Three

After between 72 hours and one week, the worst of the withdrawal symptoms will appear, and those going through it need to be careful if they value their health. Hallucinations, fever and seizures are just a few of the things addicts in the third stage are likely to encounter.

If you have a friend or loved one going through alcohol withdrawals, monitor your friend or loved one during this part of the process to avoid the unthinkable. The symptoms continue to get worse for most people until they reach the seven-day mark, and the painful withdrawals will then start to subside. Although the worst of it is done, most people still take several weeks or more to feel like they did before they started drinking.

When You Need to Detox Under Medical Supervision

If you or your loved one has been drinking excessively for more than a few weeks, combating addiction alone is not wise. Even if the withdrawal symptoms appear mild in the beginning, they can take a turn for the worst when you least expect it, catching you off guard. Severe withdrawal symptoms can even lead to death in extreme situations. That is a risk you never want to take when it comes to your life or that of someone you love.

Getting Started with Alcohol Detox and Withdrawal

Alcohol withdrawals often start within 8 to 12 hours of the last drink, and they peak after a few days to a week. The symptoms can be so bad that they cause seizures, unconsciousness or even death if the recovering addict does not get treatment. A qualified treatment center will monitor healing addicts and use a proven detox process to make their recovery as safe and comfortable as possible. If you need more information or are ready to make a positive change, we encourage you to contact our alcohol detox California center right away.

sobriety coaching vs inpatient rehab

Sobriety Coaching vs Inpatient Rehab

Sobriety Coaching vs Inpatient Rehab

If you are on the search for an inpatient drug rehab, you may be surprised at the number of options available to you. Your specific circumstances can influence the type of treatment center you choose. The material below has been gathered to help you choose the best treatment facility for long-term results. It will also discuss the common benefits that inpatient rehab programs can provide.

What is a Sobriety Coach?

You may have heard that many famous people who struggle with addictions use a sobriety coach to help them maintain their freedom from substance abuse. A sobriety coach is a highly trained individual who is capable of helping someone fight addiction on a continual basis.

A sobriety coach acts as a personal mentor, guiding and directing those who want to achieve long-term sobriety from drug or alcohol abuse. These individuals generally use a variety of programs and tools to help people develop coping skills and fight temptations that come along. They may implement their skills to help individuals maintain sobriety over a period of months or even years.

How Does Sobriety Coaching and Inpatient Rehab Differ?

Sobriety coaching occurs on an outpatient basis. As an individual navigates his way through daily life, he will be met with many temptations to return to the abuse of drugs or alcohol. Cravings, old acquaintances, and daily stress can trigger a relapse for many people. Sobriety coaches are there on an ongoing basis to help a person keep their resolve to remain free from addictive substances.

With inpatient rehab, on the other hand, a person checks into a residential facility to complete their drug rehabilitation program. The length of time they will spend at the treatment center will depend on their unique problems and the goals they want to accomplish. Inpatient facilities are sometimes staffed by medical professionals who can oversee the difficult parts of breaking free from addictive substances.

Does an Inpatient Rehab Offer Specific Benefits?

Inpatient rehabs offer many different advantages that can be helpful as you go through the recovery process. Consider the following list of benefits associated with inpatient treatment programs:

Access to Care Day and Night

In an inpatient setting, you will have continual access to care both day and night. When you are going through addiction treatment, you never know when an emergency will arise. Continual access to a strong support system can give you wonderful peace of mind.

Medical Interventions

In some cases, people need medical help as they wean their body from damaging addictive substances. In an inpatient setting, this type of assistance is often available around the clock.

Possibility for Medication Use

Inpatient treatment centers are equipped to use prescription medications when they are necessary. These drugs are often used to handle the immediate side effects and discomforts associated with breaking free from addictive substances.

Devotion of Full Attention to Recovery

When you are in an inpatient treatment center, you remove access to outside distractions that can hinder your recovery. You have the luxury of devoting all of your attention to the healing process. Many people find this helpful when it comes to making a complete recovery from addiction.

Removal of Temptations and Access to Substances

Those who are not getting inpatient treatment may find themselves presented with many temptations to return to abusing drugs or alcohol. Choosing an inpatient facility removes distractions, temptations, old friends, and other things that can get in the way of a successful recovery. Additionally, there will be no way that a person can gain access to addictive substances inside the treatment facility.

Recognizing the Need for Professional Rehabilitation

It's important to be aware of common signs of drug addiction. Recognizing these clues early on will help you get treatment quickly. If someone you love has been affected by substance abuse, he may suffer from mood swings, isolation, personality changes, and alterations in appearance. If you notice strange differences in someone you care about, it should prompt you to seek professional care right away.

Choosing the Right Drug Treatment Center for You

It might be confusing to try to select a treatment center when many different types are available. It can help to think about the things that mean the most to you in terms of rehab. Do you want your immediate family to be included in your treatment? Do you value holistic care options that address your physical, spiritual, emotional, and mental needs? Does the treatment center you are considering have a long reputation for the successful management of addiction issues? The answers to these questions will help you narrow down your search for the ideal rehab center.

At Ocean Hills Recovery, we understand exactly how scary and isolating addiction can truly be. Many people who suffer from this condition feel as if they carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. Over years of treating people just like you for addiction-related issues, we have developed a great deal of experience in implementing effective treatment programs.

We can help you create a rehab program that is designed to focus on your specific strengths and weaknesses for long-term success. If you or someone you love suffers from substance abuse problems, please contact Ocean Hills Recovery today to find out how we can help you experience healing.

Marijuana in California, rehabs in california

Is Marijuana in California the Next Big Tobacco?

Is Marijuana in California the Next Big Tobacco?

Although marijuana use is still prohibited by federal law in the United States, the drug is now legal for medicinal and/or recreational use in 29 states. On January 1st, 2018, marijuana in California officially became legal for recreational use. Anyone aged 21 or older can now buy, possess and use the drug legally—at least on the state level. Right around the same time, however, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded a policy that provided some protection for the fledgling marijuana industries of those states. Where does all of this leave people who use the drug—and is the marijuana industry poised to become the next Big Tobacco?

A Brief History of Marijuana in California

The battle over legalized marijuana in California stretches back several decades. In 1972, in fact, California became the first state to attempt to legalize the drug. Proposition 19 failed after 66.5 percent of voters rejected it. In 1996, however, voters in the state passed Proposition 215, which legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Voters weren’t quite ready to pass legalized recreational pot in 2010, when 54 percent of them opposed Proposition 19. That finally came to pass in 2016, however, with the passage of Proposition 64.

The Federal-State Disconnect Regarding Marijuana

While many U.S. states have relaxed their laws regarding marijuana, the drug has remained illegal on the federal level. However, an Obama-era policy was put in place that discouraged federal prosecutors from bringing charges in places where marijuana is legal by state law, and this allowed operators and users in those states to breathe a bit easier. During his campaign, President Trump repeatedly promised not to use federal authority to shut down sales of recreational marijuana, but his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, appears to disagree with the Commander in Chief; he had the policy rescinded earlier this year. Even so, it appears to have been done more to incite fear than to actually crack down on marijuana sales in states where it has been made legal.

The Next Big Tobacco?

Even proponents of the legalization of marijuana are concerned about how the process appears to be unfolding, including the potential for Big Marijuana. As long as the drug remains illegal federally, the industry will remain understandably hampered. Already, however, many major tobacco companies are making moves that suggest that they will be ready to pounce if and when federal restrictions are lifted. Should this come to pass, the marijuana industry could easily become as predatory and harmful as Big Tobacco.

There have already been many signs of the potential for Big Marijuana. For example, in Colorado, where the drug has been legal for some time, Governor John Hickenlooper attempted to pass a bill that would require marijuana magazines with cartoon ads and coupons for $1 joints to be kept behind the counter. The legal pot industry there sued and won, raising concerns about the industry’s potential for targeting children. It could be that the industry will follow Big Tobacco’s lead, which involved getting people hooked while they were young—and this could have disastrous effects for public health.

Even if Legal, Marijuana Use Can Prompt Serious Short- and Long-Term Side Effects

There is no question that public attitudes regarding marijuana use have shifted dramatically over the last few decades. In fact, as more and more states jump on the legalization bandwagon, public discourse seems to focus more on why the drug shouldn’t be illegal than on its many potential side effects. Given that the legal pot industry is poised to follow Big Tobacco’s lead by targeting young people and otherwise using underhanded marketing tactics to ensure strong profits, it is more important than ever for people to be aware of the potential consequences of using it.

Occasional, short-term use of marijuana may prompt these and other side effects:

  • anxiety
  • short-term memory issues
  • reduced reaction time
  • sexual problems
  • reduced coordination

When used regularly over the long term, marijuana can cause symptoms such as:

  • poor performance at work or school
  • impaired ability to learn and perform complex tasks
  • antisocial behavior
  • decline in IQ
  • financial difficulties

With clear signs that the tobacco industry is prepared to pivot into marijuana distribution should federal legalization occur, it is more crucial than ever to educate people about the potential risks of marijuana use. While drug dealers are often blamed for pushing their wares onto innocent people, the marketing savvy of Big Tobacco is far more worrisome from the standpoint of addiction. As the drug becomes more and more legal and accessible, the risks associated with using it are sure to be more and more obscured by powerful interests—and this could create a new wave of addicted people.

Marijuana Treatment is Offered By Rehabs in California

California has historically had some of the laxest laws concerning marijuana, and the state is now one of just a handful where people can legally use the drug for recreational purposes. Although people often associate rehab with addictions to substances like alcohol and opiates, it is often just as necessary and useful for dealing with addictions to marijuana. With the use of marijuana being more and more normalized, it is crucial for people to understand that help is available. Ocean Hills Recovery is one of the rehabs in California that offers such help, so please contact us if you are looking for it.

Safe Injection Sites California

Safe Injection Sites California

Safe Injection Sites California

In the wake of a heroin problem that has been sweeping the nation, people from all walks of life are desperate to find a solution that will save lives and stop the threat in its tracks. If you or someone you know is looking for hope and a way to escape from addiction, you are probably wondering where to turn.

The war on drugs has not slowed or stopped the use of illegal substances. Many people now hope for another answer that might provide better results. The discussion of Safe injection sites California aim to give addicts a safe place to inject heroin to reduce the odds of overdosing and contracting diseases, but the controversial approach has earned a mixed response.

California Safe Injection Sites Explained

Before you go any further, review information on safe injection sites to get a clear picture of what they are and how they work. Those who use heroin in the United States have to do so in secrecy because the drug is illegal and generates social stigma. Being forced to hide their drug use makes it challenging for addicts to get clean needles and the medical attention they need if something goes wrong.

On the other hand, safe injection sites aim to provide addicts with a safe place to use the drug. When people go to an approved safe injection site, they will have no fear of legal fallout, and medical professionals will be on hand to help if an overdose occurs. Safe injection sites also provide HIV and AIDs screenings to decrease the spread of harmful diseases.

What Those Who Disagree Say

Looking at both sides of an issue is essential if you want to make the best possible decision. A lot of people actively oppose the approval of safe injection sites for heroin users. They fear that these sites will encourage heroin users to continue moving on the harmful path because they won't have a reason to stop.

Opponents of safe injection sites even say that this option will encourage a lot more people to use heroin because they will be able to do so without negative consequences. Others want to prevent this approach because they don't believe the government should spend tax dollars to facilitate illegal drug use.

What Supporters Say

It's time for you to look at the reasons supporters want to use safe injection sites California to protect the public. People who want to use this method believe that heroin users will continue on their destructive path regardless of the solutions available to them. Heroin addiction is so strong that it can compel people to use even when doing so destroys their lives.

The heroin problem is showing no sign of slowing down, and supporters don't want to watch as countless people lose their lives. By offering a secure place to inject, they believe cities and states can reduce the number of overdose deaths, slow the spread of disease and get even more people into a proper treatment center. Some supporters believe safe injection sites can reduce the financial burden of the drug epidemic by getting people into treatment and preventing them from needing additional health care.

What the Facts Reveal About Safe Injection Sites

Since some supporters and detractors will do or say anything to push an agenda, nothing compares to looking at the facts when your mission is to make an objective decision. When officials opened a safe injection site in Vancouver, annual overdose deaths decreased from 253 to 165 per 100,000 people.

Before the city opened the safe injection site, emergency crews responded to 27 overdose calls per month. The number dropped to 9 calls after the city opened it. When you look at the facts with an objective eye, you can't deny that safe injection sites save lives and reduce the burden placed on medical workers.

Legal Status of Safe Injection Sites in California

If you are on the hunt for a viable solution to the heroin problem, you might be wondering if you can find safe injection sites in California. At this time, no city in the state offers this type of treatment to drug users, but everything might change over the next few months.

By July, treatment experts plan to open a safe injection site in California that aims to reduce the threat and save the lives of people who want help. Some people are still trying to prevent the center from opening, so only time can reveal the outcome. A lot of people are hoping that it will open and save the life of a friend or family member, and most heroin users who want to stop view potential safe injection sites as a vital stepping stone.

The Importance of Seeking Addiction Treatment

No matter where people stand on this issue, most agree that going to drug detox California is the safest and most effective way to begin to overcome heroin addiction. Going to drug detox California gives you access to the tools you need to move forward with your life without needing to worry about the problems associated with heroin use. Detox programs help you make it past the most painful and stressful stages of the recovery process, helping to reduce the odds of a relapse, especially during the early days of recovery.

You will work with caring and talented medical professionals who will learn about you and your needs. A complete treatment plan will let you break past any roadblocks that have been holding you back, allowing you to take control of your situation before it's too late. Since each time you use can increase the odds of long-term fallout, contact Ocean Hills Recovery today to enroll in a qualified treatment program right away.

accredited addiction treatment centers in california

Finding an Accredited Addiction Treatment Center in California

Finding an Accredited Addiction Treatment Center in California

Thanks to the internet, it is easier than ever to find addiction treatment centers across the country. With that being said, not all such facilities are created equal. While there are top-notch rehab facilities in most major metro areas, the field is also crowded with fly-by-night facilities that don’t necessarily have patients’ best interests at heart. Those who are suffering from substance abuse and their loves ones are often so desperate for help that they overlook many glaring red flags. Given the importance of this step, however, due diligence is a must. The simplest part of that is seeking out rehab centers that are accredited by reputable accreditation bodies. Read on to learn more and for tips for finding such facilities.

The Importance of Accreditation

When seeking addiction treatment, people understandably focus on things like areas of specialization, location and price. As long as an addiction treatment center is licensed by the state, they assume that the facility is up to par. However, licensing is not required in all states. Furthermore, state licensing standards tend to be far laxer than those of the best accreditation bodies. To earn accreditation from an organization like CARF, the Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities, a facility must undergo a rigorous, months-long process. In doing so, a rehab center demonstrates its ongoing commitment to quality care.

Accreditation Bodies for Addiction Treatment Centers

It is important to be familiar with the accreditation bodies that most commonly grant accreditation to substance abuse treatment centers. That way, you can know at a glance whether a facility’s credentials are truly up to today’s most rigorous standards. Addiction treatment facilities typically seek accreditation from one of two accreditation bodies: CARF and the Joint Commission, which was formerly known as JCAHO. According to a recent study, 56.9 percent of treatment facilities lacked accreditation entirely. Around 19.2 percent held accreditations from the Joint Commission while around 21.8 percent were accredited by CARF.

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The Accreditation Process for Rehabs

Like some people, you might wonder if accreditation in the industry is just another way for facilities to market themselves. As long as the accreditation comes from a reputable body like CARF or the Joint Commission, however, you can rest assured that the facility had to endure a rigorous, in-depth accreditation process to get there. Facilities must open their doors and allow such organizations to investigate their processes, practices, structure, clinical programming and patient outcomes. They must also invest money into the accreditation process, and they must renew their accreditation every one to three years, depending on the type that they hold.

How to Find an Accredited Addiction Treatment Center

Whether you’d like to enter treatment near home or elsewhere in the country, make finding an accredited facility your top priority. Finding a program that is properly accredited is just one piece of the puzzle; here are some tips for finding an accredited center with the right attributes:


First and foremost, seek out rehab centers that hold accreditations from CARF or the Joint Commission. One way to do this by searching for facilities first and then eliminating those that do not hold such credentials. A faster option is to visit the official website of the Joint Commission or CARF and to perform a search from there. That way, you can rest assured that every facility that appears in the results is currently accredited by that organization. Ask how long they have been accredited for and when they are due for re-certification. Any facility that is serious about maintaining its accreditation will be able to answer those questions without any trouble.


While accreditation standards for organizations like CARF are rigorous, they only go so far. Typically, accreditation bodies have standards in place in terms of the level of education and training of employees. However, these tend to be fairly minimal, and different facilities have different standards when it comes to the employees whom they hire. Therefore, always inquire about the kind of training and education that employees are required to possess. It is also wise to find out the level of involvement of the facility’s physicians and medical directors as some programs only have such professionals on board in name only.

Treatment Options

Make sure that any addiction treatment center that you consider offers programs and treatments that cater to your specific substance abuse issues. Some facilities offer treatment for a dizzying array of substances while others focus on only a handful. Since addiction often goes hand in hand with mental illness, it may also be smart to select a facility that offers dual diagnosis treatments.

Quality Control

Accredited treatment facilities are typically required to have policies in place for evaluating the effectiveness of the treatments and programs that they offer. Even if a facility is accredited, however, be sure to ask about how they go about doing this. The right facility will also take care to monitor patient outcomes, so always ask about that too. These things demonstrate a facility’s commitment to continual improvement, which is crucial.

In a perfect world, the only substance abuse treatment programs out there would be of the utmost quality. In reality, however, some really miss the mark when it comes to providing adequate care. If you are looking for addiction treatment facilities in the state of California, insist on a treatment center that possesses accreditations from reputable organizations. Ocean Hills Recovery is proud to be accredited by CARF, and we are here to help.

recovery and social media

Recovery and Social Media: Addiction is not Always Anonymous

Recovery and Social Media

Largely due to the emphasis that has long been placed on it by Alcoholics Anonymous, the concept of anonymity is an important one in the world of recovery. When AA was founded in the 1930s, of course, the internet was still a far-off dream. Today, AA members and others in recovery are increasingly turning to social media to share their stories. Which approach is better, then: Maintaining anonymity while overcoming an addiction, or being open about its ups and downs online? Moreover, are you even allowed to be open about such matters when completing inpatient treatment?

Anonymity in Inpatient Rehab

For the safety of patients, most inpatient treatment centers have strict rules about publicly sharing information about what occurs within their walls—and about who is there seeking treatment. Such facilities are bound by HIPAA, which protects patients’ confidentiality, so the programs themselves are not permitted to share information about patients with the world at large. Therefore, while still a patient at an inpatient treatment center, you must use discretion when using social media and other public forums. Even so, there is nothing to stop you from sharing your experiences online—you just need to do so without naming names or places.

Recovery and Anonymity in the Real World

Inpatient rehab acts as a cocoon that shields patients from the outside world so they can focus on their newfound sobriety. For continued success, it is important to seek additional help, like outpatient treatment, to help you to adjust to life in the real world. For many, this means participating in a 12-step program like AA, where the importance of anonymity is highly stressed. As a result, it is easy to emerge from rehab with the impression that it is wrong to share your recovery with the world—but nothing could be further from the truth.

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The Tradition of Anonymity in AA

There is a lot of confusion about why anonymity has long been such a crucial tenet of 12-step programs like AA. The program does not discourage members from openly discussing their addiction or recovery. Rather, it suggests that people not identify themselves as members of AA because no single member is supposed to act as a spokesperson for the group. Therefore, even if you elect to use a 12-step program like AA to help with your continued sobriety, you don’t have to clam up about it on social media. Avoid ruffling feathers by simply omitting the fact that you’re using that exact program, and you will be good to go.

Recovery Blogging: Reducing the Stigma of Addiction

Long before social media came along, blogs were the primary way in which everyday people shared their personal experiences on the internet. From the earliest days of the internet, people in recovery have taken to blogs to share their journeys. Slowly but surely, these efforts have been chipping away at the stigma that has long been associated with substance abuse. Today, someone who is new to recovery can go online and quickly find others who are going through the same things and openly sharing their struggles and achievements.

Benefits of Sharing on Social Media in Recovery

While in active addiction, it’s easy to feel completely alone. What many don’t realize is that recovery can be every bit as isolating. That’s mostly due to the unfortunate stigma that has long been associated with addiction; for a long time, people in recovery have felt too ashamed to share their stories openly due to fears of being judged and labeled by society. One of the top benefits of sharing your recovery on social media is that it allows you to connect with others who are going through the same thing. You’ll quickly see that you are far from alone.

Another benefit of sharing your recovery on social media is that doing so allows you to truly embrace it as a way of life. Rather than compartmentalize your recovery by only discussing it at, say, 12-step meetings, being open about it on social media shows that you’re not ashamed and that you believe in what you are doing. Life is easier when you don’t have to be secretive about such a big part of it. As an added bonus, sharing your story could prompt someone you care about to seek help for their own addiction.

Potential Downsides

Recovery and social media can and should coexist, but care must still be taken. If you participate in outpatient or inpatient rehab, for example, know and obey their rules regarding social media. Know that while social media can be a powerful tool in sharing your story, it has significant downsides—especially for people who are still fragile and in the early stages of sobriety. In particular, sites like Facebook can make it look like other people’s lives are way better than yours, and that can be rough. Spending too much time on social media tends to be isolating, and that can be dangerous for people in recovery.

Tips for Using Social Media Responsibly in Recovery

Finally, here are a few tips for using social media responsibly in recovery:

  • Limit how much time you spend on social media
  • Avoid name-calling or other negativity
  • Unfollow or block social media contacts who you know are in active addiction
  • If you are participating in outpatient or inpatient treatment, obey the program’s rules regarding social media use

Of course, many of these tips are helpful whether you are in recovery or not! For tips on how to manage in recovery, or other news in addiction treatment, make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter!


Dependency vs Addiction

Drug Dependency vs Addiction vs Habit

Drug Dependency vs Addiction vs Habit

Terms like "substance abuse," "addiction" and "drug dependency" may often be used interchangeably in casual conversation surrounding the issues of problematic drug use. However, in the environment of treatment and recovery, each of these terms has a specific definition.

Understanding these definitions is more than an exercise in semantics. The language of addiction provides an important way to discuss the specific problems facing an individual who struggles with substance use. A person with drug dependency will require different types of intervention and respond differently to treatment than someone with a problematic drug habit.

Understanding the terms and using them correctly can empower you to better understand your circumstances or the circumstances of your loved one who is facing treatment.

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drug dependency vs addiction vs habit

Dependency vs Addiction vs Habit

In general terms, a habit is a particular behavior that a person engages in as part of a routine. Habits can be healthy or unhealthy depending on the behaviors in question. Exercising each day before work is an example of a healthy habit. Other habits may not be very healthy: regular binge drinking, drug use, gambling or even eating too many sweets. However, even an unhealthy habit is not necessarily an addiction.

Where habits cross over into addictions is when the user loses control over his or her behavior. Addictions are compulsive; an individual will experience strong and uncontrollable cravings. These cravings lead to compulsive behavior even if a person no longer enjoys that behavior or recognizes that it's harmful.

Addiction is caused by altered brain biology. The reward system of the brain becomes essentially rewired toward use. In order to overcome an addiction, an individual may need to undergo therapy to reprogram the brain and develop new behaviors to replace the destructive addiction.

Dependency on the other hand is a purely physical experience. It occurs when the body becomes accustomed to the presence of a particular substance and experiences withdrawal symptoms when that substance is no longer taken. This occurs when the body becomes accustomed to the presence of certain chemicals and stops producing its own analogous hormones; when the substance is taken away, the body undergoes a period of withdrawal before being able to produce its own neurotransmitters like dopamine.

Addiction and Dependence Do Not Always Occur Simultaneously

It's important to recognize that addiction can occur with or without physical dependence.

For example, many behaviors can become habit-forming and eventually addictive even if no physical dependency is developed. Gambling, pornography, online gaming and other behaviors can be addictive without any physiological component. Some drugs, including methamphetamines, have relatively mild withdrawal symptoms but can still cause severe addiction.

Some people also develop a physical dependency on drugs without the accompanying addiction.

For example, people who take prescription painkillers can become physically dependent on them without developing a craving for them or a desire to use them recreationally. Babies born to drug-using mothers can also be born with drug dependency and experience withdrawal symptoms after birth.

Because opioids attach to receptors in the brain usually used for the body's own neurotransmitters, it is easy to develop chemical dependency on these drugs. Many other substances can create a similar type of dependency: nicotine, anti-depressants, caffeine and even sugar can all produce withdrawal symptoms.

Many people who are addicted to a substance will also develop dependency to it from frequent use. Treating the dependency without addressing the underlying addiction will not have long-term success for recovery.

Treating Dependency vs Addiction

The period of withdrawal from substances like opioids or alcohol can be extremely unpleasant and even dangerous. Withdrawal symptoms may be similar to an illness; they might include fever, vomiting, heightened blood pressure and pain. These symptoms generally peak within a few days of drug cessation.

When someone has developed a chemical dependency to a substance, cessation of that substance should generally occur under a physician's guidance. In some cases, a replacement substance can be used as a stepping stone to reduce the severity of withdrawal symptoms and ease a person through that transition.

Once this period of detoxification has ended, the work of addiction recovery can begin. Successfully treating addiction means understanding the underlying causes of that addiction and training the brain to form new connections and behaviors. For this reason, ongoing therapy in both inpatient and outpatient settings is essential for most people to stay on the path of recovery.

For more information about our program or to inquire about seeking treatment, contact Ocean Hills Recovery today.

clinical opiate withdrawal scale

Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale

Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale

Opium, the ancient ancestor of modern-day heroin, morphine and prescription painkillers, is the oldest drug on earth. Mesopotamians who cultivated the opium poppy in 3,400 B.C. named it “joy plant.”

Heroin, morphine and codeine are natural opiates derived from the opium poppy. Legally prescribed drugs like Demerol, Vicodin and OxyContin are synthetically produced opiates commonly called opioids.

Today, the U.S. leads the world in opioid use, consuming 80 percent of the global supply. A nationwide government survey conducted in 2014 revealed that almost 2 million Americans ages 12 and older had a serious opioid problem. Opioid-related deaths quadrupled between 1999 and 2014.

There’s been a dramatic rise in heroin use over recent years; opioid abusers who can’t get any more refills hit the streets looking for a substitution. Given that opiates are some of the most addictive drugs around, that’s not surprising. Ordinary people who have never used drugs recreationally get hooked every day when they take painkillers following a surgery, car accident or sports injury. Nearly 1 in 4 first-time heroin users become addicted.

Once the brain builds tolerance to opiates, only higher and more frequent doses will temporarily satisfy strong cravings. The vicious cycle begins.

We at Ocean Hills Recovery, an opiate addiction treatment center are glad that you’ve reached out to us. It’s almost impossible to quit opioids without assistance, and our caring staff members are committed to helping people like you get well and make a new start. Whether on an inpatient or outpatient basis, we hope you’ll lean on us throughout your journey to recovery.

Withdrawing From Opiates

Depending on your age, your overall physical health and the severity of your addiction, opiate withdrawal symptoms vary widely. Some people stabilize in just a few days while others require weeks or even months.

We’ll assess your needs for opiate addiction treatment using a standard tool called the Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale. If you come across the acronym COWS, that’s what it refers to.

Opiate withdrawal is nothing like alcohol, cocaine or barbiturate withdrawal. Ongoing management and treatment goals differ as well. That’s why the COWS was designed specifically for opiate and opioid users. An age-appropriate assessment is used to get a better idea of how difficult and uncomfortable withdrawal is likely to be.

The scale is based on eleven factors that both the clinician and the patient score:

  • Pulse rate at rest
  • Sweating
  • Restlessness
  • Pupil size
  • Joint or bone aches
  • Runny nose or teary eyes not attributed to a cold or allergies
  • Gastrointestinal upset
  • Tremors
  • Yawning
  • Irritability or anxiety
  • Goose bumps

There are descriptions and a rating scale for each category. Your total score will reflect either mild, moderate, moderately severe or severe withdrawal. Our staff will know how to best proceed from there.

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Clinical Opiate Withdrawal Scale Opioid Treatment

What to Expect During Opiate Withdrawal

One thing is for sure: Withdrawal should never be attempted on one’s own. Drugs have long-lasting effects that alter the way people think, behave, function and feel. No one can predict how the body will react to suddenly quitting a drug, and in rare, extreme cases, symptoms can be life-threatening.

Not only that, but people who undergo withdrawal in their own beds at home are far more likely to give up and start using again. Even those who initially succeed without professional help have slim chances of avoiding relapse.

The clinical setting is best. A trained, experienced medical team will monitor your condition 24/7 and provide encouragement and emotional support. As toxins are flushed from your system, you’ll be rehydrated. Nutrients lost to drug use will be replaced. When you’re physically stable and mentally alert, you can fully focus on your continuing treatment. We use a comprehensive assortment of tried-and-true methods.

For most prescription opiates, discomfort starts within eight to 12 hours of the last dose. Symptoms of methadone withdrawal don’t kick in as quickly, but they’re typically more severe and last longer. Discontinuing a fast-acting drug like heroin could bring on withdrawal symptoms in as few as five or six hours.

You probably won’t experience all the symptoms listed here, but you’re still better off in our care through withdrawal:

  • Powerful drug cravings
  • Anxiety
  • Bad mood
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Aches and pains
  • Runny nose
  • Watery eyes
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Weakness
  • Tremors or twitching
  • Loss of appetite
  • Gooseflesh
  • Fever
  • Increased blood pressure and respiratory rate
  • Racing pulse
  • Vomiting or diarrhea

Opiate Addiction Recovery and Ongoing Support

Recovering addicts who have been clean for some time never regret going through rehab. If you accept our help with your withdrawal and ongoing treatment, you’ll meet many of them and hear their stories.

It takes just one phone call to start the healing process and reclaim your life. We’re ready for you, and we sincerely hope that you make that call now.

meth side effects

Short & Long Term Meth Side Effects

Meth Side Effects

Methamphetamine, usually abbreviated as meth, is a synthetic stimulant. Some methamphetamines are prescribed to treat certain conditions, especially ADHD, but more effective prescriptions have been developed in recent years to replace them. Nevertheless, a homemade version called crystal meth continues to be a popular drug for recreational use.

Crystal meth may be smoked, snorted or injected. It is highly addictive, and as many as 12 million people in the country have taken crystal meth or non-prescribed methamphetamine. Meth use is especially common in rural areas, and addiction is especially prevalent among women when compared to many other types of illegal substances.

In addition to the many social problems that accompany drug addiction of any kind, meth use is very damaging to the body. Meth side effects can prematurely age a person and create significant medical issues that may haunt a person even after drug use has ceased.

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meth side effects

Short-Term Meth Side Effects

As a stimulant, meth provides a burst of energy and euphoria. There is usually an initial "rush" for up to 30 minutes followed by up to 12 hours of alertness and increased energy.

This period of increased energy can lead to a person pushing beyond his or her natural limitations to the point of exhaustion. Users may "crash" after the effects of the drug have worn off, leading to severe drops in mood and physical exhaustion. This may drive the user to take more of the drug, creating a destructive spiral of worsening symptoms.

Physical effects of meth use include insomnia, periods of inactivity, irritability and increased levels of aggression.

Long-Term Meth Side Effects

Methamphetamine is a natural appetite suppressant, and one of its original pharmaceutical uses was a diet aid for severely obese patients. When taken recreationally, meth can dramatically reduce an individual's hunger levels. This leads to rapid and unhealthy weight loss.

Heart problems are another common meth side effect. Elevated blood pressure, rapid heart rate and arrhythmia can all develop over time. These effects can be life-threatening.

Another common symptom of methamphetamine use is "meth mouth," or severe tooth decay. This happens because meth causes chronic dry mouth, and the decreased saliva production can be damaging to tooth enamel. Combined with a loss of hygiene habits and teeth-grinding behaviors often seen in meth users, several dental problems can often result. It is not uncommon for meth users to lose many or all of their teeth to decay.

Emotional and mental effects are also common among meth users. Delusions, paranoia and severe anxiety can all manifest while taking methamphetamine. Risks of suicide and even homicide are also increased in users. Other common meth side effects include memory problems, lack of concentration and organ damage. Some long-term meth users develop symptoms similar to Alzheimer's disease.

Periods of psychosis sometimes referred to as "tweaking" may occur when a user has developed a resistance to the drug or during withdrawal periods. Long-term users may fail to get the initial rush or pleasant high from the drug that they are accustomed to. Instead, they may experience despair, delusions and an altered perception of reality. Rates of depression rise during these episodes, and some users are at a higher risk of suicide at this time.

Meth Addiction Support and Recovery

Crystal meth addiction can be devastating. The mental and physical toll this drug takes on the body can cause lasting damage. Addiction can also create problems with work, family obligations, relationships and more. The short-term experience of euphoria and energy is not worth the long-term devastation that can be caused by meth abuse.

Fortunately, it is possible to recover from methamphetamine addiction and reverse some of its effects. Meth side effects can be scary, but they don't have to be permanent. If you or someone you care about is currently struggling with meth addiction, Ocean Hills Recovery can help. Contact us today to learn more about our program and begin the first steps toward recovery.

binge drinking and addiction

The Relationship Between Binge Drinking And Addiction

Binge Drinking And Addiction

Although there is no official definition for alcoholism, the American Society of Addiction Medicine says that the disease is characterized by a preoccupation with alcohol, failure to control its consumption and continued use of the substance despite negative consequences. If you feel like this only describes your pattern with alcohol some of the time, you might still be at risk for developing an alcohol use disorder. Binge drinking and addiction are not the same, but periodic episodes of excessive drinking can be just as unsafe as chronic alcohol abuse.

What Is Binge Drinking?

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines binge drinking as consuming enough alcohol to bring blood alcohol levels to at least 0.08 g/dL. Although everyone metabolizes alcohol differently, women tend to reach this point when they consume about four drinks in two hours. For men, drinking five alcoholic beverages in two hours is considered binge drinking.

In comparison, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans 2015-2020 state that alcohol should be consumed in moderation. Moderate drinking involves consuming up to one drink daily for women and up to two for men. Even if you only drink more than that once a month, you have participated in binge drinking.

Who Is At Risk For Binge Drinking?

According to NPR, many Americans fall into the blurry zone between moderate drinking and alcoholism. The CDC reports that women who take in more than eight alcoholic beverages a week are heavy drinkers. If those drinks are consumed in two evenings, they probably contribute to binge-drinking behavior.

This CDC fact sheet explains that people who are most likely to binge drink include:

  • Men
  • Adults aged 18 to 34 years
  • People with annual household incomes greater than $75,000
  • Individuals with higher levels of education

Many who fall below the legal drinking age say that they have had at least one bout of binge drinking. Most have engaged in this type of alcohol consumption many times.

The Dangers Of Binge Drinking

Most people who binge drink a few times per week or month are not physically dependent on alcohol. They don’t experience withdrawal symptoms when they stop drinking, and they haven’t developed a tolerance to the substance. However, binge drinkers consume a total of about 17.5 billion drinks a year.

Binge drinking and addiction can cause a number of problems, including:

  • Hangovers
  • Memory loss and learning problems
  • Loss of coordination
  • Reckless behavior
  • Unintended pregnancies
  • STDs
  • Motor vehicle accidents
  • Alcohol poisoning
  • Chronic diseases
  • Cancer

In young people whose brains are still developing, excessive drinking can cause long-term damage to brain cells.

Do You Need Treatment For Binge Drinking?

Although all binge drinkers are not alcoholics, some people with alcohol use disorder are binge drinkers. If you use alcohol compulsively, have trouble controlling your intake or crave the substance when you’re not drinking, you may have cause for concern.

Many people who binge drink have trouble stopping after just a few beverages. The next day, they are plagued by nausea and headaches and may have trouble going about their daily activities. These factors may indicate that you are at risk for alcohol use disorder.

About 16 million Americans suffer from alcohol use disorder, and one in six American adults binge drinks approximately four times a month. While physicians often screen for severe alcohol problems, they may miss warning signs in patients who restrict their alcohol consumption to a few intense episodes per month.

Binge drinking, however, is a predictor of other alcohol-related problems. If excessive alcohol consumption is negatively impacting your physical, social, financial or emotional wellness, you may want to seek help. Learning other ways to cope with stress, relax at the end of a long way or enjoy socializing can bring you more fulfillment than a few drinks and a Sunday hangover.