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are dreams about relapse normal

Are Dreams About Relapse Normal?

Are Dreams About Relapse Normal?

After recovering from substance abuse, having dreams about relapse and using again can feel terrifying. It takes a great deal of effort to become sober, so the last thing anyone wants is to go through a relapse – or even entertain the thought of it. While this type of dream is horrible to experience, it is actually quite normal.

How Many People Dream About Relapsing?

Studies show that these disruptive dreams are more common when people are just starting out in recovery. Individuals with a history of severe substance abuse are more likely to have this type of dream. An estimated one out of three people who undergo addiction treatment have this kind of dream at the beginning of the recovery process.

This type of intensive dream is extremely traumatic for people who have stopped using drugs. Even though someone has made the decision to quit, they can still have distressing dreams about using drugs or drinking alcohol. Scientists know that these kinds of dreams about relapse are quite normal, but they are still uncertain about the exact effect they have on the individual.

Scientists are still working to figure out what role these dreams play in someone’s chances of actually relapsing. While the dreams seem to gradually go away over time, many people have relapse dreams years after they become sober. For some, these dreams are disconcerting and distressing. Unfortunately, the stress caused by these dreams can even make someone more likely to relapse, so it is important for individual’s to get help right away and find the right recovery support.

How Do These Dreams Work?

For the most part, relapse dreams go through a fairly similar pattern no matter who has them. After becoming sober, the individual has a dream that they are drinking or using drugs again. They begin to feel guilty, ashamed or panicked because of their dream.

When the individual wakes up, they often feel better because they realize it was just a dream. Unfortunately, this dream can also be stressful. The individual may question why they dream about using when they want to remain sober. They may also experience cravings following the dream.

While these kinds of dreams are overwhelming to go through, they tend to decrease as someone continues in their recovery process. The individual may still dream of using years later, but the overall frequency of the dreams will be much lower. Scientists may not know how dreams really work yet, but they assume that there is a reason why these dreams disappear as someone stays sober for a longer time period. Over time, they think that the individual’s body and mind adjusts to being sober. Withdrawal symptoms and psychological disturbances gradually go away as the individual learns how to live a sober lifestyle.

It is entirely possible that these relapse dreams are just another part of the healing process. After living with an addiction for months or years, it naturally takes the individual time to recover. These dreams might be another sign that the mind is starting to stabilize and develop a new way of approaching the world.

Finding Help and Preventing a Relapse

After experiencing these dreams, individuals may feel a lasting sense of guilt or panic. The dream may reawaken a desire to use drugs or alcohol again. Because stress and triggers are linked to relapsing, it is important that individuals seek help right away. By getting help, individuals can talk through their concerns and prevent a trigger from affecting their sobriety.

A counselor, rehab or trusted friend can help individuals work through difficult dreams and experiences during their recovery. If you are experiencing dreams about substance abuse or are struggling to stay sober, Ocean Hills Recovery can help. Call us today to learn about the many ways we can work to assist you on your path to sobriety.

opioid use speed brain aging

Does Opioid Use Speed Brain Aging?

Does Opioid Use Speed Brain Aging?

It’s no secret that there is a growing opioid problem in the United States. Statistics show that more than 130 people die every day in the U.S. after overdosing on opioids. The impact opioids have on the body, including the brain, are dramatic for those addicted. The impact can be seen in nearly all brain functions, leading many to ask does opioid speed brain aging? Let’s take a look at the effects opioids have on the brain.

How Does Opioid Use Affect the Brain?

Scientifically speaking, opiates work by attaching to certain receptors in the brain and mimic the effects of pain-relieving chemicals that the body produces naturally. They relieve pain and work their way through the nervous system. Taken as a prescription to relieve pain, these drugs may not be dangerous. But, when they are taken differently than prescribed, illegally and/or in high doses, the body begins to react differently.

Opioids lead the brain to release much higher levels of dopamine, the chemical that makes the body feel good. Opioids affect the brain and its functions by producing a feeling of euphoria and making the body crave more to keep that feeling. As someone uses opioids, they need more of the drug to maintain that same high.

As the brain begins to think it needs these drugs to maintain that feeling, addiction occurs. When a person uses opioids, short-term effects on the brain include:

  • Confusion
  • Poor-decision making skills
  • Memory problems
  • Attention problems

Long-term effects on the brain include:

  • The brain loses its ability to control pain on its own
  • Anxiety and feelings of depression because the body becomes addicted to the drug and nothing else can give them the same high as using opioids
  • Brain damage
  • Speed of completing tasks

Signs of Brain Aging

Researchers have found that when people continue to abuse opioids, the front part of their brain is affected. This impacts how well the brain operates and how well it comprehends things. They have also found volume loss in the brain associated with long-term use of opioids.

While getting help in a recovery program can save your life, studies show that the effects of opioid use on the brain can last a lifetime. Researchers found that people who abused opioids continued to have cognitive impairments even after they stopped using the drug. This can include:

  • Memory loss
  • Trouble finding the right words to speak
  • Anxiety
  • Slow speech
  • Hearing loss

Another interesting aspect when asking does opioid use speed brain aging is to look at the effects depression can have on the brain. Many people who begin to use opioids may be depressed when they start using or become depressed as a result. Researchers are looking into how depression can make the brain age faster. It has to do with synapses in the brain. They discovered that people who are depressed have a lower density of synapses than people who are not depressed. Since a greater amount of synapses is generally linked to better cognition, they are lead to believe that depression is making people age faster. The exact rate remains unknown as the research and studies continue in this area.

Is Opioid Use Affecting Your Brain Aging?

If you are experiencing any of the signs of brain aging and are using opioids there is a very good chance that your drug use is to blame, especially if you were generally healthy before you started using. If you’ve used in the past and have been sober, you may also be still dealing with the effects your drug use has had on your brain.

For those who are seeking help with their opioid abuse, there is plenty of help out there. Realizing you have a problem and need help is the first step. This is often the hardest part for many people.

Getting Help for Opioid Addiction

At Ocean Hills Recovery we have counselors on hand 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to take your call and begin your recovery process. The staff at Ocean Hills Recovery is fully trained and experienced in dealing with opioid abuse.

After speaking to a staff member, the team will develop a treatment plan tailored to your needs. Detox is often the first and most important step in dealing with an opioid addiction. A trained medical team will be on hand to monitor you as you may experience withdrawal symptoms. Once detox is complete, the rest of your treatment plan will begin. This often consists of therapy sessions, both one-on-one and in a group, to help determine what triggered the addiction. This is vital so that you can avoid the people and places that lead to your addiction.

At Ocean Hills Recovery, you will also learn how to take on new hobbies to activate the pleasure points in your brain that are no longer being triggered by opioids. It is during this time that may patients find new passions and meet new people who share the same interests. The length of each program varies from patient to patient, as everyone’s addiction is different. Many patients also continue with outpatient therapy once their program is complete.

If you’re ready to take the first step in your recovery contact Ocean Hills Recovery today to speak to a counselor or fill out our online form. We are here to help you live the sober life you deserve.

roadblocks in addiction recovery

The Roadblocks in Addiction Recovery (And How to Overcome Them)

The Roadblocks in Addiction Recovery (And How to Overcome Them)

Understanding the roadblocks in addiction recovery isn’t just the responsibility of the care provider. While highly-trained professionals are able to recognize the signs of addiction and help those suffering from the disease find their way to recovery, beating the addiction battle that’s plaguing our communities must be a group effort.

From the families affected to the groups who don’t understand the struggle of addiction and play into the barrier of stigma, it takes understanding and a willingness to engage in education to thoroughly understand the challenges of those fighting to recover.

The idea that drug addiction is a choice is simply untrue. It’s myths like this that keep many suffering from addiction from seeking the help they need. A number of factors can make certain people more susceptible to chronic drug use, like bad behavior, mental health issues, and a person’s environment. If we want to create communities free from addiction, we must first consider these outlying factors and understand how they play into drug addiction.

How Triggers Plays into Drug Addiction

Similar to how a sedentary lifestyle can lead to severe health complications like obesity or diabetes, the same is true of drug use. It’s often a trigger that continues over a period of time that leads to drug addiction.

A minor injury that leads to an opioid prescription can quickly become an addiction if the person begins to take more than prescribed or feels symptoms of withdrawal when they stop taking them. Stress from work or the financial anguish of unemployment can also lead to a dependency for relief.

Unhealthy choices – lack of exercise, poor diet, and ignoring medical advice – leads to more than 800,000 cardiovascular disease-related deaths each year in the United States. Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of American adults, and yet, it remains a no-fault disease. Just as those receiving treatment for coronary heart disease, stroke, or heart failure aren’t placed under a stigma of shame for seeking health, so should be the case for those desiring treatment for drug addiction.

More than 70,200 Americans died of a drug overdose in 2017. Recognizing these triggers like increased stress, financial instability, and seclusion from others can help communities and health professionals lower that number.

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roadblocks or barriers in addiction recovery

Mental Health Issues and Drug Addiction

About half of people who experience a mental illness will also experience a substance use disorder at some point in their lives and vice versa. Understanding how mental illness like depression and anxiety can create a drug addiction is key in breaking down the stigmas and ridding our communities of the disease. Research suggest that those diagnosed with a mental illness are more likely to use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. Ongoing drug use is also likely to make present mental illnesses more severe and make a person more likely to develop another mental illness.

The two health challenges go hand-in-hand, making it crucial for families who have loved ones diagnosed with a mental illness to ensure their loved one continues the proper medical treatment and be aware of any personality or behavioral changes. It’s also important to make doctors and drug addiction counselors aware of any medication the addict is taking. Treatment for co-morbid illnesses must consider the substance use disorder and mental illness together, rather than treating the two as separate issues.

By looking at drug addiction as an ongoing disease rather than a one-time sickness and cure, people in recovery are less likely to relapse.

Consider this: when a cancer patient goes through treatment and is considered cancer-free at the end of their journey, neither the doctors nor the patient considers that the end of the disease. The patient continues to return for routine checkups and tests to ensure the cancer stays in remission. Similarly, a drug addict isn’t cured after a month or year of being sober. The roadblocks in addiction recovery are numerous, and ongoing treatment is necessary to ensure the patient continues on a drug-free path.

Environment Creates Roadblocks in Addiction Recovery

A person’s environment can not only predispose them to drug addiction, but it can also serve as a hindrance to building a drug-free life. A person’s family and friends, general quality of life, and economic status influence that person’s decisions and actions. Traumatic experiences like physical or sexual abuse can cause a person to withdraw from their friends and normal activities, leaving them seeking a release from the fear or pain.

Early exposure to drugs, whether from use in the home or peers at school also affect a person’s likelihood of drug use and addiction. In addition, when parents or guardians fail to get children the proper medical help needed when signs of anxiety disorders and impulse-control disorders, such as ADHD, arise, the child is at increased risk for substance abuse later in life.

Poverty and living in a home with high stress levels also make an individual more susceptible to drug use and addiction. It’s important to look for risk factors that could lead to a dependency. For parents, teachers, and counselors, understanding that a child’s life experiences can greatly influence their later years can help reduce the risk of drug addiction in vulnerable individuals.

It Takes A Village

The war against drug addiction will not be won in rehabilitation clinics alone. Therapists, emergency room doctors, counselors, and primary care physicians need to be educated on how to identify drug use and probable co-morbidity with substance addiction. Early detection and treatment, as with many diseases, allows for the best possible care and outcome with addiction. Recognizing the warning signs in children, teens, and adults will increase their chances of successful treatment.

Drug addiction is a disease that changes the brain. When we as medical professionals, families, and communities begin to view substance abuse as a no-fault, ongoing disease, we’ll break down the stigmas and begin treating the patient rather than judging them.

If you or a loved one is battling a drug addiction, know that you have somewhere to go. The caring, professional staff at Ocean Hills Recovery is waiting to walk with you through recovery and ensure you enjoy life outside the confines of dependency.

die from heroin withdrawal

Can You Die From Heroin Withdrawal

Can You Die From Heroin Withdrawal

As numbers of those suffering from the opioid epidemic continue to climb, many people question whether or not you can die from heroin withdrawal.  The simple answer is that, yes, you can.

Heroin: What is it?

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, heroin is an opioid made from morphine.  Morphine is a substance extracted from opium poppy plants. The plants are most commonly found in Southwest and Southeast Asia, Columbia or Mexico. Heroin can be found in a white powder or a brown powder. It can also be a black sticky substance that is commonly referred to on the streets as black tar heroin. 

Heroin Use: The Numbers

While heroin and opioids have been a problem for years, lately the numbers are rising at such an alarming rate that it is now considered an epidemic. As such, the drug has infiltrated and affects all demographics, ages, and socioeconomic statuses all across the globe. 

In the United States, reports have up to 2.1 million heroin users. Eighteen percent of admissions to rehab/treatment centers on the US are for an addiction to heroin. Studies have tracked users as young as twelve years old.

In Europe, heroin is responsible for four out of every five drug related deaths, according to a report from the European Monitoring Centre on Drugs and Drug Addiction.

The rise in the use of heroin is tied to the abuse of prescription opioids.  Though doctors prescribe these powerful drugs to relieve pain, they are highly addictive. Once addicted, users find heroin to be a cheaper and more accessible option to the prescription drugs, albeit one with similar potency. 

Consequences of Heroin Use

The most obvious consequence of heroin use is an overdose and/or death caused by overdose. But heroin can also affect the innocent, as many children of addicted mothers are now being born addicted to the substance. Heroin also spreads infectious diseases, including HIV and Hepatitis C.

Common Medications Used to Treat Heroin Addiction

Heroin is such a strong narcotic that treating an addiction usually requires one or more of several medications: methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone.

Heroin overdoses are also on the rise. A large dose of heroin often slows down both breathing and the heart rate so much that the user will not survive unless medical attention is sought. 

As both heroin use and incidents of overdose permeates society to a larger degree, the use of Narcan has become commonplace. Narcan is a form of naloxone, one of the agents used to counteract an overdose. Narcan is accessible to caregivers and family members in the event of an emergency. As heroin overdoses increased, Narcan was made available in nasal spray form to keep on hand should critical action need to be taken. Time is often an issue when a heroin overdose is involved and the nasal spray is an effective intervention while awaiting medical assistance. 

Can You Die From Heroin Withdrawal?

Because heroin is so potent and so powerful, it is natural to wonder if you can die from heroin withdrawals. There are plenty of horrible stories about the difficulties of rehabilitation from a heroin addiction, so the question is a natural one. Withdrawal from any type of substance usually puts the patient at risk for dehydration and even Grand Mal Seizures. 

However, heroin is much more potent and so the unfortunate answer is that, yes, according to the National Drug and Alcohol Research Center, death from heroin withdrawal is possible. This is because during heroin withdrawal, the body experiences hypernatremia, or elevated blood sodium levels. This condition can lead to heart failure, which can ultimately lead to death. 

For this reason, it is important that the withdrawal not be attempted alone; quitting “cold turkey” is also not suggested due to the dangers inherent in the withdrawal process. A professional staff and a controlled setting, such as a medically supervised detox center, should be utilized. 

No matter how a user chooses to fight the addiction to heroin, the process is one that requires medical management. For this reason, it is important to note that programs need to be in place at any location where heroin users may go through withdrawal. This includes jails and prisons. 

If you or someone you know suffers from any type of addiction, there is no shame in reaching out to seek help. Contact Ocean Hills Recovery to begin your journey to recovery in a safe, controlled fashion and put yourself back on a healthy path toward healing and happiness.

 

non addictive opioids

Are New “Non-Addictive” Opioids Safe?

Are New “Non-Addictive” Opioids Safe?

In the US alone, 130 people die from an opioid overdose every day – many of whom became addicted after being prescribed a painkiller by their doctor. Due to opioids being incredibly effective at treating chronic pain and other ailments, they were prescribed frequently in the past decade without a proper understanding of just how addictive and dangerous they could become. Now with an opioid epidemic plaguing the United States, the pharmaceutical industry has begun damage control by attempting to create new, safer opioids.

While opioid use in the short term can be safe, the biggest danger they present is their highly addictive nature which leads to abuse and eventually addiction in some people. This is a problem because once addicted, the body craves opioids until it enters withdrawal. This leads many seeking out drugs from third parties – often with questionable origins – putting them in danger when the drug isn’t what they say it is.

To help prevent addiction from forming, drug manufacturers are creating opioids that claim to be non-addictive which can both help those suffering with an addiction already and prevent opioid users from becoming addicted in the first place. However, whether they prove to be a safe and effective alternative to opioids is yet to be proven. In fact, many of the same opioids that are fueling the epidemic in the United States were believed to be much less addictive than they are, so it’s right to be skeptical.

What Makes Opioids So Addictive?

Just like addiction to anything else – drinking, skydiving, gambling, and more – opioid addiction starts in the brain. Taking codeine, morphine, heroin, fentanyl, and other opiates activates the reward center in your brain, releasing a rush of dopamine – the “feel good” endorphin – into your brain that reduces pain and induces a kind of euphoric state. Obviously for those who are suffering from extreme pain, this is a breath of fresh air – but it doesn’t come without consequences.

Due to the rush of dopamine your brain is experiencing, over time it begins to regulate its own production of dopamine and other endorphins because it is expecting the opioids to provide them. When you stop providing the extra endorphin release through taking the opioid, however, your brain isn’t able to react quickly enough to maintain the necessary levels. This leads to withdrawal occurring while your brain regulates its endorphin levels again – which leads to a week or two of extreme discomfort.

How Do Non-Addictive Opioids Aim to Prevent Addiction?

In order to prevent addiction from forming, the newest generation of opioids is aiming to be non-addictive by isolating the receptors of the brain that they affect to only provide the pain relief without the addictive qualities. One of these promising discoveries is the compound AT-121, which directly targets two specific brain receptors to provide relief without the same consequences.

AT-121 activates the “mu” opioid receptor - responsible for providing pain relief – in the same way that morphine does, but at 1/100th of the dose. It also targets the “nociception” receptor, which blocks addictive effects on the brain and the development of tolerance to opioids. It can help to treat withdrawals in the same way buprenorphine is used in rehabs during detoxification.

Together, these two receptors are expected to be able to provide non-addictive relief for those suffering from chronic pain and help reduce the effects of withdrawals in those who are currently addicted. However, it has not been tested on humans yet despite promising results on primates.

Dangers of New “Non-Addictive Opioids” Hitting the Market

There are already plenty of opioids on the market that come in a variety of forms and doses for various specific uses. While the new generation of opioids that aim to be less addictive provide similar health risks to regular opioids, the danger they bring is uncertainty in non-medical environments.

Dsuvia (sufentanil) – a new generation opioid approved by the FDA in 2018 – is a sublingual tablet that goes under your tongue when taken. It was made for use in hospitals in the case that a patient cannot swallow or receive opioids through an IV. However, despite only being intended for use in medical settings, it is possible that it could find its way to the streets where its incredible potency could further the opioid epidemic. Sufentanil is 10 times more potent than fentanyl - the leading cause of overdose death in the US as of 2016 – which makes it incredibly easy for even a small amount to be taken unknowingly, leading to overdose and death.

The Verdict

When it comes to the safety of prescription drugs, almost every drug can be safe to use when taken responsibly and monitored by a medical professional. The new opioids that are being released into the market are safe for their intended uses – such as in hospitals or medical facilities – but the second they leave these controlled environments is when they become more dangerous. This is especially true for unsuspecting users who don’t expect the potency some “non-addictive” opioids contain, which can lead to accidental overdose.

Opioid Rehabilitation Facilities: The Best Way to Kick Your Addiction

While non-addictive opioids would be incredibly helpful for treating current addictions (and preventing new ones from forming), a pill alone is not enough to address the complex and life-threatening problem of opioid addiction. When it comes to kicking your addiction, professional rehabilitation services with an emphasis on personalized, holistic care can greatly improve the effectiveness of recovery.

At Ocean Hills Recovery, we’re committed to providing a safe and relaxing environment to help you on the path to sobriety. We’re with you throughout the entire rehabilitation process, including detoxification, therapy and other holistic treatment. There are also other ongoing treatment services to help you stay clean after you leave. Our programs span from 30 days to 90 days of inpatient services in a beautiful facility to give you a peaceful environment so you can focus on your recovery. Our expert staff will work to make you happy, comfortable, and healthy during your stay.

If you’re ready to kick an addiction, give us a call today to schedule a consultation with one of our counselors.

what to do after overdose reversal

What to do After Overdose Reversal – Why ERs are Missing the Chance to Save Lives

What to do After Overdose Reversal - Why ERs are Missing the Chance to Save Lives

Emergency departments all over the country are missing an opportunity to help a large demographic of people. With few exceptions, hospitals treat drug overdoses by reviving, stabilizing, and then discharging the patients. After overdose reversal, people struggling with addiction return to their everyday lives and tend to fall into their old destructive patterns unless they receive outside help. It is no wonder that those same patients often end up back in the emergency department with subsequent overdoses, some of which are fatal.

If hospitals are willing to put some stepping stones in place to help this under-served population after the first overdose incident, many of those patients could go on to make a full recovery instead of winding up back in the ER.

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Doctors Cannot Force Addiction Recovery 

The argument could be made that recovery from addiction requires the patient to take initiative and make the effort to get better. Doctors cannot force their patients down a path to recovery. However, the same is true for dozens of other health conditions as well. If a type 2 diabetic patient with an eating disorder comes into the ER in a diabetic crisis, doctors stabilize the patient and then discharge him with a prescription for diabetes medication, a referral to an endocrinologist, and perhaps even referrals to a nutritionist for dietary help and a mental health counselor for therapy.

In contrast, if a patient is admitted for a drug overdose, he or she is treated and discharged with no further help. Both addiction and type 2 diabetes can be managed with behavioral modification and ongoing medical assistance, but only one of these hypothetical patients will be offered a further treatment plan to manage his condition. Why are overdose patients overlooked when it comes to this critical second step?

Why Those Struggling With Addiction are Overlooked

Part of the issue lies with the fact that doctors and medical staff rarely have the training to understand addiction and recovery. Emergency doctors, in particular, are trained to deal with urgent crises and not with the sensitive and difficult recoveries that happen after their initial treatments. It can be easy for emergency workers to become desensitized to drug addiction and overdoses in certain communities, especially when they are constantly overworked, busy, and exposed to trauma on a daily basis. This is where a solid referral network could save thousands of lives every year.

Hospital systems already use expansive networks with specialist physicians in order to make referrals for other medical conditions. Drug addiction treatment centers are a crucial piece of the puzzle to include in this network. Not every patient will follow up with the treatment center after a referral, but for some, this small helping hand could make the difference between life and death.

Overdose reversal is just the first step toward the long path of recovery. Many more patients could be counseled to take that path if they are provided with adequate resources and a stepping stone.

Long-Term Addiction Recovery

Full addiction recovery requires several key components such as a proper detox procedure, medication to ease withdrawal symptoms, a controlled and safe environment, and talk therapy.

Standard hospitals rarely have the resources or space to take on patients experiencing acute withdrawal, let alone the prolonged recovery programs and counseling most people need in order to make a permanent change. However, for a person who just survived a severe drug overdose and was sent home without any further resources, making the effort to seek out specialized help often proves to be an insurmountable challenge. Emergency medical staff need to have a protocol on hand to bridge that gap and provide an easy transition to long-term care at a rehabilitation clinic.

Comprehensive Addiction Treatment 

Specialists at drug treatment centers offer comprehensive and long-term assistance tailored to each patient’s individual needs. Long-term recovery care at one of these facilities will far exceed the short-term care offered in an ER or a standard hospital on an outpatient basis. If you are serious about recovery, there is no replacement for a dedicated addiction treatment center. Just as a diabetic patient with a life-threatening blood sugar level is not expected to make a full recovery entirely on his own, you should not expect yourself to combat a severe and life-threatening addiction on your own after an overdose reversal.

If you need help, for yourself or for a loved one, your first step should be to reach out to an addiction treatment center. Contact Ocean Hills Recovery today for more information and help finding the resources you need to get better. You will receive effective intervention and detox services, followed by long-term, personalized drug treatment programs that are covered by most PPO insurance plans.

There is no need to feel alone or helpless anymore. Ocean Hills Recovery will help you conquer your addiction and take ownership of your life again.

 

 

 

 

relapse danger signs

Relapse Danger Signs

Relapse Danger Signs

In the course of recovery, the idea of a relapse is an ever-present possibility looming over one’s progress. The stages of change treatment model actually builds relapse into its model. This is because the model acknowledges that for the vast majority of individuals seeking to make a significant change in their behavior, a relapse is almost certainly going to occur at least once at some point in the future. Of course, there are those rare cases where a person quits a substance and never looks back, but this is almost always the exception to the rule. If you are in the midst of recovery, here are a few of the most common relapse danger signs to be aware of.

Relapse is a Process

When a person decides to relapse into an old behavior, to an outsider it may appear to be a singular event; a simple momentary lapse in judgement and self-control. However, this is often not the case as many incidents of relapse are actually a longer process which started long before the actual event took place. There are several stages a person will go through before they decide to use again.

Stage 1

The first stage of a relapse is when a person experiencing an emotional relapse, which is when a person experiences a negative emotional response. This may be in the form of moodiness, erratic behavior, a disruption in sleeping habits, intense bouts of anger or sadness, or any other signal which can indicate an emotional relapse has begun. Typically, this stage occurs quite a while before a person is aware of the possibility that they are about to relapse.

Stage 2

The second stage is when a person has a mental relapse, whereby they begin to argue and battle with their mind over their decision to remain sober. In this stage, an individual may experience feelings of intense doubt and personal conflict, as an old pattern may reemerge and begin to create a push-and-pull feeling inside of someone. During this period, a person will become conscious of the possibility of relapse and their own personal desire to begin using again. If an individual doesn’t correct their thoughts, it can be very easy to enter the last stage of a relapse.

Stage 3

The third and final stage of relapse is a physical relapse, which is when a person makes the decision to relapse and consumes whatever substance they were abstaining from. A break in sobriety can make it more difficult, though not impossible, to become sober and abstain from the substance. The act of breaking a long period of sobriety can make it very easy to use multiple times within a short period of time, highlighting the need to remain vigilant about the various relapse danger signs.

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relapse danger signs

Change in Attitude 

A major relapse warning sign to be aware of is when a person experiences a change in their attitude regarding their sobriety. This may be due to a recent experience or discussion with someone else which triggered the idea of potentially relapsing. If you find yourself starting to believe that your previous serious addiction was actually not that bad and that you’d probably be fine to start using again, this is a significant warning sign to become aware of. A change in attitude may not be explicitly about your sobriety, but it can eventually lead to a relapse if it makes it more likely that you’d want to use again, such as having a more negative outlook on life.

Stressful Life Circumstances

A huge relapse danger sign that every person in recovery should be aware of is when difficult life circumstances arise. This can be something such as a break up, the loss of a loved one, a new job, economic hardship, or any other number of factors. Stress can cause a person to lose their inhibitions and begin experiencing stronger cravings for their preferred substance. Any situation which creates feelings of hopelessness or depression can lead a person down the road towards relapse. Often, individuals experience stress after re-entering the ‘real world’, following a stint in residential treatment. A treatment center which provides a healing environment can be a stark contrast to many scenarios which may await a person upon their release.

The Effect of Mental Health on Relapse

Mental health concerns, such as anxiety and depression, are one of the strongest possible triggers which a person should be aware of in their fight to remain sober. Depression and substance abuse are very often linked from the start. If a person begins to feel depressed or stressed, it can trigger a relapse because it is linked with the primary reason they began using to begin with. Drugs and alcohol can be an extremely common negative coping skill for an individual dealing with mental health issues, and an experience which makes their symptoms worse can also be damaging to their recovery process.

Stress and Relapse

Stress can exacerbate any of these conditions, as it can make a person much more vulnerable and less able to healthily cope with their present condition. Dealing with any form of stress, regardless of the root cause, can precipitate a relapse, as a person may reach a point where they feel like the only way to relieve their tension is to use their preferred substance of choice. This makes it incredibly important to develop healthy coping skills and to recognize when additional help may be needed. Stressful situations can lead a person to overreact and do something their normal self wouldn’t be likely to engage in.

Get Help with Relapse Prevention

If you are experiencing serious relapse danger signs and you’re wanting to address the problem before it gets out of control, contact Ocean Hills Recovery today to keep you focused on the path to recovery. We offer a solutions-focused approach which is structured according to each person’s individual situation. Relapse doesn’t need to be viewed as a failure, but it can only become a success if you decide to take the next step and address the problem. Let the caring clinicians of Ocean Hills Recovery help you jumpstart the recovery process and keep you on the road to sobriety.

is drinking ruining your relationships

Is Drinking Ruining Your Relationships?

Is Drinking Ruining Your Relationships?

An addiction to alcohol can negatively impact many areas of your life, as the mental and health risks associated with drinking are widely publicized and well-known. But another area of your life which can suffer as a result of abusing alcohol is your relationships. If your relationships with family and friends have started to become strained and you no longer feel close to many of the important people in your life, it may be time to consider is drinking ruining your relationships?

Drinking Can Impact Your Social Life

Alcohol is a substance which can damage your social life as much as it can damage your own personal health. Often, when individuals begin to develop an addiction to alcohol, they begin to prioritize drinking over any other activities, which can significantly alter their interpersonal relationships. Eventually, a person who is dependent on drinking will begin to only associate with people who engage in the same level of substance abuse, potentially avoiding other relationships in the process.

As this situation progresses, a person will often only see other individuals under the presence of alcohol, creating a scenario where many of the most important relationships in their life are dependent on drinking. Drinking as one’s only social activity can reduce the chances of engaging in healthier, more productive activities, such as exercise and other beneficial forms of recreation.

Drinking can also impact a person’s memory and ability to organize their life, which can cause stress to one’s relationship as a result. An individual may forget to meet up with a friend, causing strain to their relationship as a result of alcohol. A person may also become more irritable with loved ones in their life when they aren’t under the influence of alcohol, creating a downward spiral where they begin to become more estranged from those who are closest to them.

Drinking Can Reduce Your Intimacy and Connection

Because alcohol is a depressant, it can begin to dull your senses and limit your emotional awareness. The experience of being under the influence of alcohol can transform a person into a removed individual, absent from themselves and their loved ones. If every interaction is colored through the lens of drinking, it’s very likely that a person’s romantic relationship will become severely strained and impacted as a result of being constantly under the influence of alcohol.

Additionally, drinking can negatively impact a person’s sex drive, reducing the possibility of becoming intimate with their partner. A diminished sex drive can continue to drive a wedge between you and your partner, leaving you alienated from one another and possibly leading to a broken relationship. When you begin to prioritize drinking over every activity which provides a deeper sense of connection, it’s likely that drinking is ruining your relationships.

Solutions for Those Struggling with Alcohol

Struggling with alcoholism can feel like a losing battle, something which is impossible to overcome. Thankfully, there are solutions for those seeking to address their condition and improve their relationships as a result. Thoughts of "is drinking ruining your relationships?" don't have to fill your mind when you make the decision to reach out for help.

Ocean Hills Recovery offers its clients a wide-range of interventions to effectively treat the root causes of one’s addiction. We understand that there are many factors which can contribute to a person’s dependence, and we are committed to uncovering the best solution for your individual needs.

Ocean Hills Recovery offers a safe place for our clients to undergo a detox from alcohol while under the observation of medical professionals. We also provide intensive therapy, both one-on-one with a clinician and in a group setting with your peers. Getting sober can require a large amount of support from many different sources, and we believe it’s important to tackle addiction from all possible angles to make a person’s sobriety sustain itself.

Overcoming an addiction to alcohol on your own can be a daunting task and it is easy to become discouraged when repeated relapses occur. If it’s impacting your relationships or your life as a whole, contact Ocean Hills Recovery today to begin getting your life back on track.

Seeking professional help can be a difficult pill to swallow for many individuals who pride themselves on being independent and self-sufficient, but it is often the best path to overcoming a debilitating addiction. You and your loved ones deserve to have your best self, and you owe it to those in your life to make it a reality.

alcohol awareness month april 2019

Alcohol Awareness Month Helps Fight Stigma

Alcohol Awareness Month Helps Fight Stigma

One of the difficulties people face when dealing with alcohol addiction is the threat of being shamed and socially ostracized. The stigma of alcohol addiction may keep people from looking for a treatment program that can help them fight addiction and make positive changes in their lives. That’s why an initiative like Alcohol Awareness Month is so important.

Banishing Stigma Through Greater Awareness

In April 1987, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence launched the first Alcohol Awareness Month. Since then, it has become an excellent opportunity to offer people support and spread education about alcohol use and addiction. What’s the theme for this year? “Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow.”

The main purpose of raising awareness is to weaken the stigma that hurts people who are addicted and makes them feel ashamed for seeking help. When people struggle with alcohol misuse or addiction, they may mistakenly assume they’re alone in their struggle or come to the harmful and incorrect conclusion that there’s no way for them to get better.

The truth is that millions of adults and hundreds of thousands of underaged teenagers in the U.S. have alcohol use disorder. Alcohol-related problems can affect people regardless of how old they are, how much money they make, what religion they practice, where they live, the amount of formal education they’ve completed, or any other demographic factor.

Furthermore, alcohol use disorder doesn’t have to be severe to cause problems in people’s lives. It can increase their risk of accidents, weaken their mental and physical health, and negatively impact their relationships, performance at work, and academic success.

Alcohol Awareness Month Events

Throughout April, you’ll find a variety of events at schools, community centers, religious institutions, and other locations across the country. Some of the events will be geared towards teenagers, helping them and their parents better understand how the misuse of alcohol can affect the body and brain. Adults will also find information and support, making them more aware of alcohol-related issues and resources for treatment.

A critical event is Alcohol-Free Weekend, which is scheduled this year from April 5 through April 7. The main point of this weekend is for people to see if they can smoothly get through three days without drinking any alcohol. Is this something you would struggle with? Would it affect your mood or thoughts, change how you relate to others, or possibly lead to withdrawal symptoms? There’s a chance you may not have noticed or fully realized the extent to which alcohol impacts your life.

Alcohol-Free Weekend is also a chance for family members to pay attention to the effects of alcohol on the dynamics of the home and to seek support of their own. With greater awareness of the issues, people are in a better position to make compassionate and effective choices that will help themselves and their loved ones.

When society treats alcohol-related problems as a shameful secret, people are less likely to turn to professional help. Raising awareness can show the public that addiction isn’t rare or a sign of having a poor character. Communities all around the U.S. are home to people who are silently grappling with alcohol addiction or unsafe alcohol use.

Treatment and Support Are Critical for Fighting Alcohol Problems

Professional treatment for alcohol misuse and addiction can help make people healthier, prevent their premature death, and improve their quality of life. Unfortunately, many people who could experience these benefits don’t enter into a treatment program. According to the 2015 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, roughly 6.7 percent of adults who met the criteria for alcohol use disorder in the previous year underwent treatment for it.

Don't hesitate to care for yourself and seek treatment. Some of the qualities of a top treatment program are:

  • The program employs reputable and caring professionals who specialize in addiction treatment and related issues. The individuals working for the program all have the appropriate licenses, accreditation, and level of experience for their jobs.
  • Instead of focusing exclusively on the addiction, the program insightfully addresses the whole person. Do you live with social isolation, depression, or anxiety? Which factors in your life might contribute to the addiction, and which factors could promote your healing and growth? Understanding the individual is key to finding personalized strategies to treat alcohol problems and help people become more healthy and fulfilled.
  • The program has a positive reputation built on successful outcomes and favorable reviews.

Contact Us for Treatment

When you reach out to Ocean Hills Recovery for treatment, you can expect dedicated care that’s responsive to your individual needs. Our comprehensive treatment approach addresses your physical health, mental well-being, and spiritual and emotional growth. We also help you develop habits and strategies to apply in day-to-day life to prevent relapse and maintain a healthy way of living. There should be no stigma attached to struggling with and healing from addiction or other alcohol-related problems.

Contact Ocean Hills Recovery today - regain control of your life.

Prescription Drug Abuse In Colleges

Prescription Drug Abuse In Colleges

Prescription Drug Abuse In Colleges

It’s what every parent fears when they send their young adult off to college—that they’ll somehow become addicted to alcohol or get involved with drugs. And, with prescription drug abuse in colleges becoming an epidemic, experts warn it’s only getting worse as the opioid addiction crisis continues to grow. Parents certainly worry with good reason.

But parents aren’t the only ones worrying; college students worry too, knowing how easily drug addiction can take their dreams and hopes for their college success on a very different path. How has prescription drug abuse in colleges gotten to be such a widespread problem, and what options do young adults have to reclaim their lives?

Prescription Drug Abuse Beginnings

It starts ‘innocently’ enough. According to the National Council of Patient Information and Education, one in four college-aged people will use prescription medications in a non-prescribed way at least once in their lives. The non-medical use of pain relievers particularly is on the rise in college students, and that includes the abuse of opioids. Often, college students maintain injuries acquired in high school that require the legitimate use of prescription drugs. Sadly, though, the ease of falling into addiction is even more prevalent as they are already vulnerable to the stressors that being far from home and under increased workloads may bring.

Those workloads also are what entices young college students to look into prescription drugs to help them balance the obligations they are under. Pulling ‘all-nighters’ for study sessions and such becomes a norm, and young adults between the ages of 18- and 22-years-old are twice as likely to turn to prescription stimulants for non-medical reasons when compared to their peers not in college, or only in college part-time. Considering that prescription drugs for conditions like ADD are prescribed in record numbers for today’s college student, it’s easy to see how they are not only simple to access, but a leading cause of prescription drug abuse in colleges today.

The Struggle Is Real

College students also find it easier to have access to prescription medicines because they find themselves with new doctors who are more prone to ‘give a shot’ at prescribing relatively ‘benign’ medicines like those for attention issues or even short courses of pain-killers for ‘temporary’ issues. But that accessibility and the pressures of college to perform in ways not used to from high school days is what college students find makes it so easy to abuse their prescription drugs. One all-nighter leads to another, and increasingly, more and more is needed just to keep up with their body’s demands. Before they know it, they’re caught in a cycle of addiction, which leads them down a path destined for failure and disappointment.

It’s the very path they were trying to avoid in the first place, and which made their susceptibility to abusing the prescription drugs all the stronger.

Options Seem Limited

Because peer pressure even in college is still so driving, college students often feel unable to share their struggles with workloads, being away from home or just life adjustments in general. It’s easier to take a pill to help them ‘push through’ or to ‘numb the pain.' Telling others seems to be the direction they’d take if they were looking for someone to chastise them or even report them for abuse.

So, they keep their abuse to themselves, but only for so long. Eventually, the stimulant-induced all-nighters lead to irritability and behaviors that push friends away, as well as lowered immune-systems and illnesses. Abused pain-relievers and narcotics become demanding, expensive, and can lead to erratic behaviors that also concern friends and family alike. The house of cards the young student has built begins to wobble with every breath, and that only makes the craving for the drugs even stronger. For many, they just don’t know where to turn or how to dig themselves out of the pit they find themselves in.

Hope Is Available

It’s at times like that where Ocean Hills Recovery steps in, doing what it does best and giving college students who have fallen into the trap of prescription drug abuse their lives back. The compassionate and concerned staff at Ocean Hills Recovery don’t just look to end the abuse of the drugs; they look to support the whole person and teach them valuable life-skills for defeating addiction and succeeding in life.

Ocean Hills Recovery creates individual plans for each person caught in the relentless cycle of prescription drug abuse, and with professionalism and concern, takes a college student out of the bondage abuse and addiction had them in and back onto the path of a bright future.  Ocean Hills Recovery calls their evolved, customized approaches to drug treatment ‘Collaborative Recovery,’ because it looks at a person’s history, learning style and most importantly—their individual responses to treatment.

Whether it’s a 30-,60- or 90-day program, clients are shown the skills they need to not only break the chains of drug abuse, but are surrounded by caring clinicians who will help show how good life can be again—despite heavy workloads and obligations.

It’s never too late to get help, and Ocean Hills Recovery wants to be there for you as you’re battling not only the challenges of college, but the harrowing life that is with drug abuse. You deserve to be free of addiction, and free to spend these years developing the career you’ve always wanted so you can live the life you were always meant to live.

If you’re ready to take that first step, you won’t be alone - reach out to Ocean Hills Recovery. They’re ready to hold on to you and help you get your life back!