Addiction: Progress Not a Cure

“Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable. Every step toward the goals requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals.”

-Martin Luther King

Addictive behavior is a symptom of deep underlying emotional processes. This destructive symptom often turns into habitual behavior. We don’t plan to become addicted to food, alcohol, or drugs, but when we are unable to work through emotional trauma or toxic stress, we often turn to these vices to cope with our overwhelming feelings and emotions. As a result, we cannot “cure” the addiction since addiction is merely a symptom of an underlying cause. Recovery is focused on treating the underlying cause to make progress on the road to recovery.

There is no magical cure

Recovery from addiction is a life-long process. There is no magical cure, and results do not appear overnight. As a result, recovery treatment is a stepwise approach that involves pattern recognition, adopting new coping skills, understanding the underlying triggers, and learning new behaviors. Even when individuals “successfully” complete their treatment program, meaning that they are not readmitted because of relapse, they are still not “cured”. The term “cure” infers that the addiction is gone, and it cannot reappear. Unfortunately, since addiction is a symptom of an underlying emotional process, it can make a comeback when the underlying triggers become unbearable. Often when individuals are unable to cope with negative emotions or stressors, they relapse, returning to their addictive behaviors as an emotional crutch.

Defining progress

If we look at addiction treatment as a form of progress, we can look at the bigger picture and celebrate the small victories, regardless of whether we have reached the “end goal” of sobriety. For example, progress can be measured by an individual’s mood, attendance at group meetings, the ability to open up in therapy, admitting you struggle with addiction, making strides towards healthier relationships, and adopting healthy habits and hobbies. One of the beautiful things about progress is that it is not black and white, and it cannot be measured in numbers. It is relative, individualized, and every step towards a positive attitude, outcome, or behavior is considered positive progress.

Finding progress after relapse

Relapse in recovery may seem devastating, but relapse should be treated as a learning lesson. No one can advance in life without adversity. When we make bad choices or if a treatment has failed us, we are in a position to ask why.

Why did this go wrong for us? Answering this question allows us to understand ourselves and our addiction better. It will enable us to make progress.

Understanding what has not worked out and why it has not worked is very important for an individual’s progress. Being able to turn failures into something productive signifies that they have a healthy approach to their recovery.

Finding progress in recovery

  • Discovering your purpose: We all have a higher purpose in life, and once we discover that purpose, most of the pieces of our life puzzle start to come together. Whether our mission is being a parent, a writer, a coach, a teacher, or a good friend to others, finding our purpose and following it through can be a monumental positive step towards progress in recovery.
  • Adopting new hobbies: Addiction is a symptom of underlying negative triggers that usually take up a lot of emotion, time, and space. Working towards progress in recovery often means there is more free time that can be utilized to adopt healthy new hobbies that can replace old habits and triggers.
  • Working through the pain: Addiction is closely tied to trauma, which is both tied to pain. Deep wounds may open during recovery, and it is essential to sit with the pain, feel it, and allow it to pass. Overcoming the emotional pain associated with addiction and recovery is one of the most challenging forms of progress.
  • Living in the present: It is so easy to focus on the past or dream about the future, but it is essential to sit with the present. Living fully in the present can allow us to heal from the past and be prepared for what our future holds.
  • Forgiving others: Addiction often comes with broken relationships, which may or may not be repairable. It is essential to make peace with yourself and forgive others. Forgiveness allows you to let go of any hurt that has been tied to the past.
  • Celebrating the small moments: Small victorious moments are progress, and regardless of how small or big these moments are, we must take time to recognize and celebrate them.

Men’s Health Month: Masculinity and Mental Health

According to research, men are less likely to seek mental health services compared to their female counterparts. One of the factors that contribute to this underuse of seeking professional help is masculinity norms.

June is Men’s Health Month; a month dedicated to raising awareness of preventable health problems and encourages early detection and treatment of diseases among men and boys. It is well understood that men are less likely to focus on their physical and mental health due to toxic masculinity that has been ingrained in society for hundreds of years. As a result, men often suffer from depression and anxiety in silence and turn to illicit drugs and alcohol as negative coping mechanisms and ways to numb their pain.

The silent health crisis

  • There is a silent health crisis happening among men in the United States.
  • The Men’s Health Network reports that men die at higher rates than women due to these top 10 causes of death: heart disease, cancer, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, accidents, pneumonia and influenza, diabetes, suicide, kidney disease, and chronic liver disease and cirrhosis.
  • Men are less likely than women to see a physician
  • Men are more likely to be uninsured compared to women
  • Approximately 30,0000 men in the United States die from prostate cancer each year
  • Prostate cancer and skin cancers are the most common types of cancer in men.
  • Sexual dysfunction is a common health problem in men that can lead to an array of psychological setbacks such as low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety.
  • Sexual dysfunction is usually caused by atherosclerosis, the same process that causes heart attacks and strokes.
  • Men also die at a younger age compared to women.
  • In 1920, women outlived men only by one year. Today, CDC figures show the life expectancy gap has widened: Today, on average, women survive men by over five years.
  • Many men believe that as long as they are working and feel good, there is no need to see a doctor.

Men’s mental health matters

Mental health is a major component of a man’s well-being, and unfortunately, men’s mental health is often silenced in society. There is a catastrophic intersection of low rates of diagnosed depression and high rates of suicide and substance abuse among the U.S. male population. Men are more likely to use substances, at greater quantities, and are two to five times more likely than women to develop a substance use disorder (SAMSHA). Heavy drinking and binge drinking are more prevalent in men (National Institute on Drug Abuse). Men chronically use nonmedical opioids at twice the rate of women (even though women are prescribed them more often), and more men die of prescription drug overdoses than women (CDC). Men are more likely to use external methods to cope with the inward turmoil and pain caused by depression. Men often deal with depression by over-working. They also self-medicate by turning to substances such as drugs and alcohol as a way to avoid dealing with depression and anxiety.

The connection between toxic masculinity and substance abuse

Toxic masculinity refers to actions that discourage displays of emotion, other than anger, in men while also encouraging behavior that will deem the male “dominant” in a given situation. Even as children, young boys who express feelings are compared to girls in a negative context. Common responses to young males who become emotional include:

  • Boys don’t cry!
  • Man up!
  • Don’t be such a baby!
  • Don’t cry like a girl!
  • Be a man, get over it!
  • You throw like a girl!

Displaying traits of toxic masculinity can lead to numerous negative outcomes and adherence to rigid masculine norms may lead to:

  • Problems with dating and interpersonal intimacy
  • Greater depression and anxiety
  • Abuse of substances
  • Problems with interpersonal violence (sexual assault, spousal abuse)
  • Greater health risk (high blood pressure)
  • Greater overall psychological distress

Recovering from toxic masculinity

All recovery is a lifelong process, whether you are recovering from drugs, alcohol, codependency, or toxic masculinity. In fact, beyond these specific issues, every human life is truly one long recovery process. Born into a world that conditions fear and separation, we emerge as adults who are disconnected from our power, from our goodness, from each other. Once we recognize that there is a truer way of being, beneath what we were taught, every day is a chance to restore a bit more of our perspective from fear to love. Every moment is a chance to remember the truth of who we are: Whole, sacred beings who inherently deserve love and care.

Breaking the stigma

As treatment professionals, it is our job to reach out to men who are struggling internally and who are using illicit substances and alcohol to number their pain. Men want to be respected, men want to provide for their family, men want to work hard, men want to stay healthy, and men want to be loyal to their friends. If you are a male and are struggling with a mental health or substance use disorder, we want to help you. We at Quest2Recovery, want to treat you, the individual, and not just your disorder. We want to break the mold, set the standard, and be role models for the rest of the addiction treatment industry. We want to invite you to seek help in a compassionate, non-judgmental environment.

LGBTQ Pride Month

Stigma, Addiction, and Mental Health within the LGBTQ Community

“Like racism and all forms of prejudice, bigotry against LGBTQ people is a deadly carcinogen. We are pitted against each other in order to keep us from seeing each other as allies. Genuine bonds of solidarity can be forged between people who respect each other’s differences and are willing to fight their enemy together. We are the class that does the work of the world, and can revolutionize it. We can win true liberation.”

-Leslie Feinberg

 

Individuals who identify as LGBTQ are more at risk for substance use and mental health disorders compared to the heterosexual cis community. As we dive deep into LGBTQ Pride Month, it is important to honor this minority community and gain a deeper understanding of why these individuals are at a higher risk for addiction and mental health concerns. We want to eliminate the stigma associated with addiction and mental health in this special community, and we want to break down the barriers to entering treatment.

 

LGBTQ Pride Month is celebrated every June in honor of the 1969 Stonewall riots. The Stonewall riots took place in New York after the NYPD raided the Stonewall Inn, a gay club located in Greenwich Village. This raid sparked a six-day violent protest between the community and law enforcement and catalyzed gay rights across the globe. As with many minorities, the LGBTQ community is marginalized and stigmatized and often discriminated against, causing this community stress and anxiety. In recent years, we have made giant steps forward in terms of equal rights for the LGBTQ population, but there is still enormous progress to be made as we move forward and eliminate the stigma.

 

Taking a look at the statistics

  • Among all U.S. adults aged 18 and over, 96.6% identify as straight, 1.6% as gay or lesbian, 0.7% as bisexual, and the remaining 1.1% as “something else.”
  • 38-65% of transgender individuals experience suicidal ideation.
  • An estimated 20-30% of LGBT individuals abuse substances, compared to about 9% of the general population. 25% of LGBT individuals abuse alcohol, compared to 5-10% of the general population.
  • Approximately 8 percent of LGBT individuals and nearly 27 percent of transgender individuals report being denied needed health care outright.
  • More than 1 in 5 LGBT individuals reported withholding information about their sexual practices from their doctor or another health care professional.
  • LGBT youth are four times more likely to attempt suicide, experience suicidal thoughts, and engage in self-harm than straight youths.
  • LGBTQ individuals are almost three times more likely than others to experience a mental health condition such as major depression or generalized anxiety disorder.
  • The LGBTQ community is at a higher risk for suicide because they lack peer support and face harassment, mental health conditions, and substance abuse.
  • Compared with heterosexual men, gay and bisexual men had a significantly higher prevalence of lifetime full syndrome bulimia, subclinical bulimia, and any subclinical eating disorder.
  • 25% of LGBT people abuse alcohol, compared to 5-10% of the general population.
  • An estimated 20-30% of LGBTQ people abuse substances, compared to about 9% of the general population.
  • The LGBT community is at a higher risk of bullying and has even been the center points for violent attacks.

 

Why are substance abuse and mental health disorders so much higher in the LGBTQ population?

 

  • Stress: The LGBTQ community and other minority communities are under constant stress and tension. Our society does not view them as equal, and as a result, they are continuously enduring social prejudice. Whether it is in public, in the workplace, in relationships, in their family, or within the political system, the LGBTQ community struggles with being seen and heard. Often, their family members and close friends will disown them because of their sexual orientation. This community is at risk of loneliness, stress, and discrimination, and as a result, they are more likely to use alcohol and drugs as a way to cope with their feelings. Drowning out rejection, sorrow, and depression with alcohol or heroin can be a temporary unhealthy Band-Aid to relieve their internal pain. With increasing use, this can turn into a habit, which can quickly snowball into an addiction.
  • Stigma: The stigma associated with identifying, as LGBTQ, is unfortunately still very real and powerful. This community is often brutalized, isolated, and harmed simply because of how they choose to identify with their sexuality. The stigma associated with addiction and mental illness is still prominent today. When a member of the LGBTQ community is struggling with depression or an opioid use disorder, the stigma rises exponentially, putting this community at risk of even more rejection, isolation, low self-esteem, and physical threats of violence.
  • Limited access to treatment: Unfortunately, many therapists and treatment centers are not aware of the specific issues that the LGBTQ community faces. Nor can they relate to this community for the following reasons: their cultural norms conflict with this community, they do not recognize this community is a high risk, and fail to look past the client’s gender and sexual orientation. As a result, members of the LGBTQ community are less likely to seek out treatment for their substance use and mental health disorders out of fear that they will experience discrimination, worsening stigma, and lack of being understood by their providers.

 

Resources for the LGBTQ community 

 

Breaking the mold

As treatment providers and mental health specialists, we can do better. We can educate ourselves about the LGBTQ community and try to understand their views, opinions, and internal struggles. We can learn the proper vocabulary and erase the hateful jargon that is often used to stigmatize this population. We can create LGBTQ, specialized treatment programs that are inclusive, empowering, and educational for this population.

 

If you are part of the LGBTQ community and are struggling with a mental health or substance use disorder, we want to help you. We at Quest2Recovery, want to treat you, the individual, and not just your disorder. We want to break the mold, set the standard, and be role models for the rest of the addiction treatment industry. We want to invite you to seek help in a compassionate, non-judgmental environment.

Feelings of Hope During COVID-19

Feeling of Hope: What We Will Never Take For Granted Again

 

“When this is over, may we never again take for granted: 

A handshake with a stranger

 Full shelves at the store

 Conversations with the neighbors

 A crowded theatre

 Friday night out

 The taste of communion

 A routine checkup

 The school rush each morning

 Coffee with a friend

 The stadium roaring

 Each deep breath

 A boring Tuesday

 Life itself

 

When this ends: 

 May we find that we have become more like the people we wanted to be, we were called to be, we hoped to be, and may we stay that way, better for each other because of the worst.”

– Laura Kelly Fanucci

 

There is no telling when this global pandemic will come to an end. Millions of us are unemployed, thousands of us are sick, and many of us are fearful of the unknown. We are scared of the virus, terrified of the effects it will have on our economy and our mental health. Many of us are forced to work on the front lines while others have the luxury of staying home. There may never be a return to normal, a new normal is on the horizon, but what is a new normal? Will we always have to wear masks in public? Will we still be bumping elbows instead of shaking hands? Will we always be encouraged to practice social distancing? There are so many unknowns that have driven unwanted fear, hate, anxiety, stress, and sadness. But there is also so much hope that has brought into the world because of this global pandemic. 

 

We have adapted

We have learned to communicate virtually through social media and video conferencing. We have clapped for each other, sang with each other, and cheered for each other on our balconies to communicate, “we are still here.” We have become accustomed to masks in public and keeping our distance, six feet to be exact, as a courtesy to protect others. We have visited our doctors and therapists via computers and phone calls, and we have learned to take advantage of curbside pickup and delivery. Our lives and circumstances have changed drastically, but we have not given up. Instead, we have learned to adapt. 

 

We have come together in community

It is not uncommon to see groceries left on doorsteps, encouraging chalk art on the sidewalks, artwork hanging in windows, people volunteering to run errands for the sick and weak, people donating their time and money to help others. Celebrities have provided free virtual comedy shows, concerts, and entertainment to the public. The rich and famous have donated large sums of money to help develop a vaccine and medications to fight COVID-19. Politicians have fought hard to provide financial cushions, debt forgiveness, and forbearance to those who qualify. Regardless of our gender, social class, or race, we have all been affected either directly or indirectly from this virus. As a result, we have all learned to come together as a community to lend a helping hand and choose hope and happiness

 

We have slowed down

Travel has been postponed, vacations and sporting events canceled, our social calendars have been cleared, and we have been asked to stay home from work and play. We have learned to appreciate the comfort of our homes, the company of our immediate families, and the value of time. We spend more time nourishing our bodies with home-cooked meals and virtual living room workouts. We can now sip our morning coffee with ease, enjoy long conversations with loved ones, take time to read books, listen to music, and watch the seasons change with ease. We are no longer running the rat race, stuck in traffic on the freeway, and trying to “get ahead of the game”. We are slowing down, reflecting, and taking the time we need to rejuvenate our bodies and minds. 

 

We have practiced kindness

Whether its running errands for strangers, dropping off food for our loved one, supporting our front line workers, or donated to those in financial need, so many of us have gone above and beyond to practice kindness during this trying time. Generosity and kindness are beneficial to our happiness and mental health. Kindness is linked inextricably to joy and contentment, at both psychological and spiritual levels. 

 

We have become resilient 

Everyone has been affected by COVID in one-way or another. Whether we have succumbed to physical illness, mental turmoil, or have reaped the financial repercussions from job loss and the economy, COVID-19 has done a number on our society. However, we are still standing. This is not the first time our society has survived a global pandemic, and more than likely, it will not be the last. We have found ways to keep going, even when reality seems grim. We are strong and resilient, and we have shown that through these trying times. We are finding ways to occupy our time, to entertain each other, to connect, and to make ends meet. 

 

We have asked for help

Many of us are stubborn in the sense that we take pride in being independent and strong. Many of us view asking for help as a weakness when, in fact, asking for help is a sign of strength. Asking for help shows humility, reveals the value in teamwork, and shows that we are trying to learn and gain different perspectives. Asking for help, in the long run, makes us smarter, broadens our horizons, and can do wonders for our mental health. Many of us have asked for help during COVID in more ways that one. We have asked for help financially, we have asked strangers, neighbors, and friends for favors and errands, and we have asked for help from our government, family members, frontline workers, and professionals. Sometimes asking for help can be difficult, especially if we are natural leaders, self-sufficient, and strong-willed, but asking for help during COVID has shown the importance of teamwork, humility, and the willingness for change. 

 

 

 

During this trying time, our world has come together to support each other. We have adapted to change, strengthened our communities, offered our helping hands, portrayed kindness, learned to be still, and have become more resilient than ever. It is easy to see the hardships and adverse effects of COVID-19, but even through the darkness, we can still have feelings of hope. Hope for the future, hope for our health, and hope for the next generations to come.

Why You Should Never Detox From Drugs By Yourself

When you have a drug or alcohol problem, detoxing yourself is a dangerous choice. The problem with detoxing at home is that the withdrawals you go through need professional medical supervision. Withdrawal symptoms from detox are delusions, seizures, insomnia, vomiting, appetite changes, sleeping problem, anxiety,  and poor concentration.  Often medications or medical treatment is needed to control serious withdrawal symptoms. Drug abuse and alcohol abuse should never be treated at home due to the serious symptoms that occur. Professional medical supervision with nurses, doctors, and trained staff is needed to safely get off drugs and alcohol.

Reasons That Individuals Attempt to Detox Alone

Sometimes friends or family may tell the person that they can overcome the addiction with will power. This makes them believe that if they try hard enough they can stop drinking or taking drugs. This never works because it is like treating a chronic medical condition without a doctor. After detox, most people need psychological counseling to change their behavior and lifestyle. Detox is only one part of the entire process for recovering from addiction. Changing your behavior and thoughts is the next part.  Often the person does not want anyone to know they have a problem with drugs and alcohol.  Guilt and shame are connected to addiction.

Often the fear of being arrested or reported is another reason individual detox at home. They might fear to end up with a criminal record or be known as an addict. They may never mention the problem to their doctor or seek advice or treatment. Other reasons are that the person fears they may lose their job if the employer learns about their addiction. Some may have tried a treatment program and relapsed. So they conclude these programs do not work, and they do not want to go them again. Going back for treatment, a second time does not mean it will fail again.

Another reason someone does not seek treatment is that they may have concerns about the cost of treatment and not having the right insurance to cover it. Treatment centers accept insurance and sometimes financial help is available for those that need it.  A lack of money does not have to be a problem when seeking professional treatment. The danger of detoxing alone from alcohol or drugs is very high. Physical symptoms can lead to a medical emergency. Often physical symptoms last for a few weeks or longer. This can lead to serious illness and death in some cases.

Quest 2 Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program

Quest 2 Recovery in Lancaster CA has a complete addiction treatment program the had detox for drug and alcohol abuse, inpatient care, dual diagnosis, and aftercare. We treat alcohol, prescription drugs, heroin, cocaine, meth, opioid, and other substance abuse. Their detox program helps the patient to deal with the withdrawal symptoms with supervised medical care. Often prescription drugs are prescribed to help the person with withdrawal symptoms. They minimize the side effects caused when they stop using alcohol or drugs. Our program provides medical and psychological treatment for detox. Both are needed for success.

The first stage is to evaluate the patient through blood tests, medical tests, and psychological tests. Once the patient diagnosed and admitted they will receive medical and psychological counseling as they go through the detox program. The length of time it takes to go through detox depends on the severity of the addiction. We offer many support therapies as part of our program. We have group therapy, anger management, cognitive behavioral therapy,  individual counseling, meditation, yoga, art, music, exercise, family therapy, social skills, 12-step programs, and more.

We offer Neurotherapy that targets how the brain processes information. This treatment is used to treat addiction and the symptoms that often accompany it. Trained professionals help patients change their thought processes by a series of specific exercises. It relieves stress, anxiety, and stabilizes mood swings. It is a form of biofeedback that uses electrical sensors and a computer to measure brain waves. Patients learn to control their thoughts through visual and auditory feedback.

After a patient is released, we have aftercare programs to help them make a transition back to regular life. We have group therapy, classes that teach living skills, help with housing and finding a place to live and help with going back to school and finding work. All these programs help to keep the patient from relapsing by providing support in needed areas.

Don’t try to treat drug abuse or alcohol abuse alone, contact Quest 2 Recovery for an evaluation and a program that works for you. We provide addiction treatment and psychological treatment and will find the best program for your addiction. We want to help you overcome addiction and learn to live again. Call us at 1-885-783-7888 or fill out our online form.

How To Tell If You have A Drinking Problem As A Police Officer

Police officers play a very important role and are a critical piece of the puzzle of a community. They have a job that has to be filled within every modern society. Law enforcement officers help to keep the peace and protect citizens from danger. In most situations, police officers are also role models that many people, particularly young children, look up to and want to imitate. Because of this role and the pressure to be model citizens and the fact that everyone is always watching them, many law enforcement officers feel ashamed about a chemical dependency problem that they may have. This often leads to self-imposed isolation, lack of support, added stress and anxiety, the development of depression and other harmful symptoms of alcoholism that are worsened when one does not have a good support system.

How Common is Police Intoxication?

Research has shown that police alcoholism and drug abuse are much higher than many realize and can be as high or even higher in some areas than that of the general population. This alarming statistic is thought to be largely due to the stressful and at times traumatic life police officers and law enforcement endure day in and day out. Combined with the pressure from the community to never appear weak or to have a bad day and it can quickly become too much to handle without some way to deal with the stress. Unfortunately, many officers work in an environment where co-workers often rely on smoking, drinking, or drugs to deal with stress, so the temptation and peer pressure to start is very high as well.

How to Identify Alcoholism in a Police Officer

Identifying alcoholic behavior in a police officer can be difficult but it is the necessary first step to getting them the help and support they need to break the cycle. Here are some of the common warning signs that can indicate an officer is dealing with their own personal battle with alcoholism:

Self-imposed isolation

Many police officers begin drinking as a social opportunity and a way to relax and destress after a hard day on the streets. As the alcohol use continues and intensifies, they will often begin to drink outside of social events and may even hide in a room at home to drink alone and in private. Another warning sign of alcohols-induced isolation is a lack of interest in things they once loved- dropping out of social clubs, avoiding friends, not doing things they used to do, and avoiding family and friends. All of this is done so they can have more time to drink; they may even turn what social interactions they do have into an opportunity to or an excuse to drink.

Financial Problems

Another common sign of any alcoholic, including those in law enforcement, is having money issues. Most of the extra money that an alcoholic has will go towards buying alcohol. In some situations, they may even ignore other obligations or cut back on other spending in order to have more money to put to their drinking habit. Since most police officers are paid a decent wage, especially if they have been in the service for a number of years, if an officer is often saying they are short on money or as asking for money or for someone to cover their tab, this may be a sign of a hidden alcohol problem.

Mood Swings

Serious alcohol addiction will have a huge impact on the mood, personality, and behavior of the individual. When sober, the officer might become easily agitated, anxious, paranoid, judgmental, or depressed. Once they are able to drink again, they may suddenly shift moods and appear more energized, upbeat, and easy-going. However, some alcoholics have the opposite mood shift and get quiet, reserved, irritated, and annoyed when they are drinking. If you suspect someone is developing a problem with alcohol, keeping an eye on their moods will be one of the first ways you can start to notice that something is wrong.

Contact Quest 2 Recovery For Help

Quest 2 Recovery is a dual diagnosis, substance abuse program in Southern California that offers detoxification and residential inpatient levels of care. We specialize in chemical dependency recovery and have helped everyone from police and law enforcement officials to members of the general public and we can help you too!  Call today for more information and to schedule your consultation with our team.

Neurotherapy for Chemical Dependency in First Responders

First Responders are some of the most important people for those struggling with addiction. They are often the first point of contact for individuals with chemical dependency problems who are at the hardest points of their illness. The unfortunate truth is that First Responders can also develop these problems themselves.

Neurotherapy is a new technique for helping to treat addiction. It has proven useful for First Responders and makes an effective complement to other treatments.

First Responders and Substance Abuse

First Responders face life-threatening conditions and high-stress work environments. This exposure to stress can lead to higher rates of substance abuse amongst these workers.

Firefighters face dangerous work conditions. They respond to everything from potential threatening medical calls to burning buildings. In addition to those risks, firefighters also face medical side effects from their work such as burns and lung disease. All of this adds up to the sad fact that rates of binge drinking are higher amongst firefighters than the general population.

Paramedics and EMTs also have to navigate saving people’s lives while coping with some of the most demanding work conditions known in America today. Paramedics routinely work shifts longer than 12 hours and are often on-call for nights and doubles. During these working hours, they have to keep their focus sharp in order to help people with all kinds of medical conditions from routine accidents to life-threatening emergencies. The stress, long hours, and dangerous conditions lead to PTSD and anxiety being higher amongst paramedics than the general population. This can also lead to higher rates of substance abuse just to keep up.

Other first responders also face dangerous conditions similar to the two outlined here. No matter what the specific job is, all first responders have a high-stress environment to cope with.

What is Neurotherapy

This therapeutic technique is a non-invasive, medication-free technique that helps identify areas of the brain that might have become damaged or otherwise aren’t functioning at their best. This therapy has been used for ADHD, insomnia, and PTSD. It has also shown very promising results for people struggling with addiction.

Neurotherapy is based on the “brain disease” model of addiction. This medical model is embraced by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This model correctly suggests that addiction is caused by changes to the brain and not by any moral failing. The idea that addiction is caused by moral weakness or lack of willpower is outdated and not very helpful for people in recovery.

How Neurotherapy can Help Treat Addiction

Neurotherapy uses state of the art brain mapping technology to identify the areas of the brain most damaged by addiction. While it may look like a machine from a science fiction movie, the technology behind this therapy is perfectly safe and totally noninvasive.

Once areas of the brain are identified, positive stimulus is given to those areas when the brain is in a calm state. This helps individuals struggling to recover from drug and alcohol abuse associate calm sensations with positive feedback which helps to break the cycle of addiction.

Neurotherapy is typically used in conjunction with other therapies such as classic 12 Step programs or more modern therapies such as SMART. This therapy helps return control back to the individual and helps them slowly repair areas of the brain that have been changed through the course of a substance abuse problem.

Get Help Today

Addiction can feel like it is unbeatable, but with help, you can overcome it. First Responders are on the frontlines helping people with addiction start their recoveries and help is available for them as well.

Are You Ready to Quit Heroin? Here’s How it’s Done

Among the numerous issues facing the modern healthcare system, addiction is among the most serious. There are countless people all over the country who are dealing with addiction to alcohol, drugs, and other dangerous substances. There has been a lot of attention paid to addiction over the past few years. The evaporation of the stigma surrounding addiction and the new diagnostic and treatment options have already helped numerous people all over the world. One of the often-overlooked addictive substances is heroin. This is a dangerous drug that can lead to serious side effects that leave individuals and families everywhere looking for answers. Fortunately, those who are looking for a way to quit heroin have a few steps they can take to get themselves, and their families, moving in the right direction.

An Overview of Heroin

When it comes to this drug, there are a handful of things that everyone should keep in mind. First, heroin is a potent opiate that works on the brain to trigger a powerful reward effect. When heroin is ingested, it causes the brain to release a set of chemicals that make people feel good. Some of the examples of these substances include dopamine and endorphins. Furthermore, this reward system is actually so powerful that about 25 percent of all people who try heroin for the first time are addicted instantly.

This reward system is important because these chemicals are actually necessary for survival. For example, they help people cope with pain, hunger, and other difficult situations. Unfortunately, the brain actually responds to heroin in a similar way. Eventually, people get to the point that they actually cannot function without the drug. Furthermore, when people do try to stop, they start to develop withdrawal symptoms. This makes the process of quitting even more difficult.

Signs that an Addiction has Formed

If someone has become addicted to heroin, there are going to be a few common symptoms that people might demonstrate. First, one of the major signs is that the person continues to use heroin even though the drug has caused major problems in his or her life. It might impact their job, school performance, and relationships with family members and friends.

Next, people who are addicted to heroin often try to quit but fail multiple times. This can bring a lot of frustration to the individual, causing him or her to feel down and hopeless.

In addition, those who are addicted to heroin will start to have cravings. When they have gone without heroin for a long time, their body will start to trigger the feeling of wanting, hunger, or demand for the addictive drug.

Finally, people who are addicted to heroin will often develop a tolerance to heroin. This means that they will require more of the same drug to achieve the same effect. When they go without the drug for a while, they may also start to develop withdrawal symptoms. These can take the form of chills, shakes, sweats, and more. People who are developing these symptoms when it comes to heroin need to know that professional help is available.

Getting Help for an Addiction to Heroin

Because of the reward system that heroin triggers, this addiction can be one of the most difficult to treat; however, heroin addiction treatment is available and people can quit with the right support. It is important for people to rely on the support of their loved ones, as this will play an important role in helping someone cope with the addiction emotionally. Then, it is a good idea to trust the professionals when it comes to addiction treatment. Heroin is challenging to break and there are professionals who have helped people break their heroin addiction in the past. There are outpatient options, partial hospitalization programs, and inpatient treatment options that can help people flush heroin, and its side effects, out of the system, helping people feel as good as new. Even though there are going to be significant challenges when it comes to this process, breaking heroin’s hold is possible.

Breaking an Addiction to Heroin

These are a few steps that people can take to try to break their addiction to heroin. This is a dangerous drug that can lead to dangerous side effects. The symptoms of withdrawal, along with those that accompany an overdose, can be life-threatening. Therefore, anyone who is looking to break their addiction to help should rely on the experience of trained professionals. Breaking an addiction to alcohol and drugs, such as heroin, is a difficult task and those who are suffering from addiction need to know that they do not have to face this problem alone. The support of family members, friends, and trained professionals can help someone get on the road to recovery.

If you or a loved one are struggling with heroin addiction, contact us today. At Quest 2 Recovery, our goal is to help you free yourself from the chains of addiction. Our friendly and professional staff is waiting on your call.

Stress & Addiction: How They Fuel Each Other

In the United States, 8 out of 10 people consider themselves stressed. Whether it be an internal force that causes their stress, like overthinking or fear of missing out, or external factors like family problems or troubles at work, there are a myriad of ways that stress can creep into our lives. According to the American Psychological Association, the top stressors of Americans are money, work, the economy, family responsibilities, relationships, personal health concerns, housing costs, job stability, health of loved ones, and personal safety, in that order.

With that in mind, what coping mechanisms do people utilize in order to manage their stress? Some might exercise more to alleviate their stress. Others might meditate. But for those with addiction, stress could become a trigger for their vice.

What is Stress?

Stress is the feeling of pressure mentally and how the body responds to it. Stress can be due to strenuous circumstances that make life more difficult, but it could also be the body’s inability to cope with its surroundings.

What is Addiction?

Addiction is the brain choosing a substance or behavior for the feeling that it provides despite the often negative consequences of use. The first addictions that come to mind are typically drugs or alcohol, but there are many other types of addiction. Addiction is not about the use of a bad substance, but the mind’s dependence of use of any substance. Here are some examples of substances that people can become addicted to:

  • Alcohol
  • Caffeine
  • Cannabis
  • Inhalants
  • Opioid
  • Sedatives
  • Stimulants
  • Tobacco and Nicotine

Here are some behaviors that people can become addicted to:

  • Binge-eating
  • Shoplifting
  • Sex
  • Gaming
  • Gambling
  • Shopping
  • Smartphone Use

While it is possible to see that the excessive use of a substance or action is bad for your health or wallet, it is important to understand that treating the addiction is not about what you are addicted to but the feeling that you are addicted to.

Are Stress and Addiction Related?

Yes. In the cases that stress can affect addiction, stress is referred to as environmental factors. Think about how many people say they need a drink after a bad day at work. There are people who need to smoke a cigarette after an argument with a coworker or family member. There are others who insist that a day at the casino or some consumer therapy will help alleviate any stressful situation that they may have. While not all people who exercise this use of substance or behavior in response to stress are addicted to the substance or behavior, these environmental factors can be a trigger to those with addiction to use their vice as a way of coping with their stress.

Addiction Treatment

There are many ways of treating addiction. People who require addiction treatment can consider each of the following options as a way of treating their addiction:

  • Detoxification
  • Medication-Assisted Therapy
  • Therapy (Group, Cognitive, Recreational or Family)
  • Stress Tolerance
  • Medication and Withdrawal Management

There are numerous other addiction treatment plans available. It is important to understand that managing the triggers of addiction, such as stress and stressful environmental factors, is essential in creating a successful addiction treatment plan. In addition to residential treatment plans, there are after-rehabilitation support groups that can share and compare addiction treatment journeys to ensure a sense of accountability and encouragement among those with stress and addiction.

At Quest 2 Recovery, the addiction recovery program starts with detoxification and ends with aftercare planning, to ensure that recovery continues to be a part of your life even as you leave the rehabilitation center. While stress might trigger your addiction, Quest 2 Recovery can give you the tools to find healthier ways of coping with your stress.  Contact us today if you or a loved one are struggling with addiction.

What To Expect When Coming Down From Alcoholism

The dreaded alcohol come down. Anyone who has experienced symptoms of withdrawals has an idea of what lies ahead when deciding to get sober, once and for all. It may have taken months, or years, to finally arrive at this important fork in the road, but no matter, you are here and have chosen the right path.

Deciding to get sober is one thing, but following through can be another story altogether. You are psyched up and mentally prepared for this first step in seeking recovery from alcohol use disorder, but the idea of coming down from alcoholism is a daunting one.

The best way to approach the goal of achieving sobriety is with the support of a trained team of detox experts. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can become erratic and intense, so it is never wise to take on the challenge alone. A medical detox program will provide the safety and comfort to get you through the detox and withdrawal process and prepare you for the treatment phase of recovery.

What is a Medical Detox?

When coming down from alcoholism there are is a diverse range of symptoms, the intensity of the withdrawal symptoms dictated by the length of history engaged in alcohol abuse, the level of daily alcohol consumption, general health status, and whether there is more than one substance involved. All of these factors will determine the severity of the detox process.

To help ease the detoxification process, while the body is purging the alcohol and toxins, detox specialists provide clients with medications. Because each person’s detox experience will vary, these interventions are determined based on the observable symptoms, vital signs, and psychological status throughout the process. Benzodiazepine is commonly administer to help minimize the risk of seizure, anxiety symptoms, and to aid sleep. Over-the-counter medications provide relief for gastrointestinal distress, headache, and fever.

What Are the Symptoms of Coming Down From Alcoholism?

Coming down from alcoholism happens gradually over a period of days, with the peak withdrawal symptoms occurring on days 2-3, before beginning to subside. In most cases, withdrawal symptoms emerge between 6-12 hours after the last alcoholic beverage, and the detox usually lasts for 5-7 days.

Withdrawal symptoms may include:

  • Sweating
  • Hand tremors
  • Headache
  • Agitation
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Disorientation
  • Insomnia
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures

Where Should I Get Treatment for the Alcohol Problem?

Getting treatment for alcohol use disorder (AUD) may be somewhat confusing at first glance. There are different types of treatment programs, most falling into two camps: outpatient or residential treatment. The outpatient option is appropriate for a recently acquired AUD, one that is mild to moderate in severity. Outpatient programs offer far less structure and oversight, so for someone with a more entrenched AUD, this format will probably not be advisable.

The residential treatment option is appropriate for moderate to severe AUD, as these rehabs offer structure, 24-hour oversight and support, and have a physician on staff. A residential program will likely feature a full daily schedule of various therapy sessions, classes, and groups, which are all designed to promote success in recovery. A residential program lasts from one to nine months, depending on the needs of the client. In general, the longer someone can remain in treatment, the better their recovery outcome.

What to Expect in Treatment

An effective alcohol recovery program will utilize a variety of treatment elements that are designed to work together in helping clients overcome the AUD and transition to a new sober lifestyle. Each rehab has its own “personality” and philosophy, but most will offer most of the following treatment modalities:

Evidence-based therapies: These are scientifically studied therapies that resulted in statistically significant results. Clients will engage in the therapy best suited to their own specific needs and underlying factors. All of these therapies work toward assisting the client to change their behaviors by guiding them toward recognizing disorder thinking that fueled the AUD. Some examples of evidence-base therapies include cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), psychodynamic therapy, motivational enhancement therapy, dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and contingency management.

Group sessions. Peer interaction in group therapy sessions is essential while in treatment. These sessions offer the participants a supportive space where they can share their stories, their fears, their disappointments, and their hopes.

Recovery classes. Learning about how addiction happens, how the brain is affected by alcohol, and how to avoid relapse, is helpful in teaching clients how the disease of addiction develops. Recovery tools are taught, equipping clients with new coping skills and better communication techniques that will benefit them when encountering challenges in recovery.

Holistic activities. The mind-body connection is important to address in recovery. Learning techniques that help to regulate stress and anxiety are essential coping tools to be incorporated into life after rehab. These activities might include mindfulness meditation, yoga, massage, acupuncture, deep breathing exercises, aromatherapy, and art therapy.

After Treatment, Then What?

Leaving rehab after an extended stay can be very stressful. After a prolonged stay in a highly structured environment, clients may leave rehab feeling vulnerable and lonely. Attention should be paid to aftercare planning from the outset of treatment. Such services as sober living housing, continuing outpatient therapy, and locating a recovery community for social support are critical in maintaining sobriety for the long term.

Quest 2 Recovery Provides Evidence-Based Treatment for Alcoholism

Quest 2 Recovery is a Los Angeles-based rehab, located in a private home setting. This family-type environment provides a comfortable, secure setting for obtaining a medically supervised detox, and then transitioning into treatment. The treatment program is customized to align with each client’s unique recovery needs and goals, and is based on a comprehensive plan that combines several treatment methods for best results. At Quest 2 Recovery, clients find a caring, compassionate staff that is highly supportive throughout the early recovery process. For more information about our program, please reach out to the team at (888) 453-9396.