Addiction, Mental Health and Unemployment

The COVD-19 pandemic has gravely impacted our mental health and addiction due to unemployment in more ways than one. The majority of individuals are anxious about the unknown, and millions of hard-working Americans are experiencing a financial crisis after losing their jobs. We are not only mandated to stay home, but we are mandated to remain home while trying to cope with economic adversity after being laid-off. Unemployment negatively affects our mental and emotional health. Unemployment has the potential to lead to addiction or worsen an already present substance use disorder.

 

Beyond the negative impact of an economic disaster, COVID-19 presents additional challenges such as fear of the virus itself, collective grief, prolonged physical distancing, and associated social isolation that will all compound the impact on our collective psyche. A job is not just a job for many individuals. Many individuals take pride in how they make a living, and their career becomes a part of whom they are; it becomes their identity. So when this is stripped away, an individual’s identity is also robbed.

 

The true meaning of work

Our jobs provide a sense of security and offer connection to peers, meaning, purpose, sense of accomplishment, and self-efficacy. When our jobs are stripped away, so are many of these traits.

 

Nearly 21 million Americans have lost their jobs over the past eight weeks because of COVID-19. The unemployment rate is above 15 percent, well above the unemployment rate during the Great Depression. 

 

Humans are not robots, we are individuals with needs, feelings, and emotions, and therefore the loss of a job is not just the elimination of a paycheck but also the loss of a routine, security, and connection to others (and not to mention, access to healthcare).

 

The link between unemployment and suicide

Studies have shown that unemployment is highly linked to suicide, and unemployment during this COVID-19 pandemic is no different. Our country and the world are at an increased risk for suicides, no matter how you see it. Unfortunately, many Americans who are now unemployed are now uninsured and, as a result, are unable to afford mental health treatment. It is a lose-lose situation.

 

In 2008, the Great Recession ushered in a 13 percent increase in suicides attributable to unemployment, with over 46,000 lives lost due to unemployment and income inequality in that year alone.

Everyone is at risk

This economy crash affects everyone, regardless of his or her job or income. Layoffs have occurred across the board from blue-collar workers and health care professionals to white-collar executives. Budget cuts are being made in nearly every industry because of the doomed economy. Many small businesses have been forced to shut their doors, leaving employees and business owners struggling to pay the bills. Regardless of employment status, bills need to be paid, and mouths need to be fed.

 

 

The economic stimulus and unemployment benefits have been a godsend for many, but how long will the government be willing to help those 21 million unemployed and unable to find work?

 

This pandemic has created a mental health and financial crisis. Many highly educated and highly skilled individuals are unable to find jobs because the economy is closed. Very few sectors are hiring, so the only option is to keep searching and waiting this out…but for how long?

Turning to alcohol as a crutch

Daily drinking, regardless of employment, has made a steady rise during this global pandemic. Those who have lost their jobs often turn to alcohol or drug use to numb their pain, block out their reality, and find a quick escape. Access to alcohol is easier than ever, as almost every business is now offering take-out or delivery. Cocktails “to go” can be ordered via phone and picked up via curbside or delivered to your front door, and liquor stores and dispensaries are delivering alcohol and marijuana at the click of a button.

More people are saying cheers with a drink in hand over virtual happy hours. It’s nearly impossible to scroll through social media without coming across the trendy drink term “quarantini”. Many people have posted phrases such as “days are divided by coffee hours and alcohol hours” or “during a crisis, you know, cocktail hour can be almost any hour”. Many of these phrases and trends are meant to be funny, but when daily drinking becomes a habit, it can suddenly down spiral into an addiction, which is never a laughing matter. Alcohol should never be used as an emotional crutch as drinking can worsen an already underlying depression or suicidal ideation.

 

Stress, isolation, and boredom increase the need to use

The increase in alcohol and drug use may be related to boredom, isolation, and stress, especially for those who have lost their employment. Job loss can create a sense of boredom, loneliness, and low-self esteem, which can all trigger the need to use. For those in recovery, the combination of financial distress and social distancing can make maintaining sobriety all the more challenging. As a result it relapse rates can be on the steep incline.

 

It seems that those who are unable to maintain social bonds and a sense of community through virtual interactions are more at risk for drug use and relapse. For individuals who have adopted harm reduction techniques are now using drugs alone instead of with a friend. If an overdose occurs, there is nobody around to administer the life-saving drug naloxone. First responders are finding people alone in their homes, dead due to overdose.

 

A report released at the beginning of May by the Well Being Trust predicted that up to 75,000 Americans could die due to drug or alcohol misuse and suicide as a result of COVID-19.

 

Isolation and depression

Mental health experts have argued as far back as the Great Depression that unemployment damages mental health and undermines society’s social fabric. Involuntary joblessness can elicit feelings of helplessness, self-doubt, anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem.

 

“Who are we if we cannot take care of our families and ourselves?”

“Who are we if we cannot put food on the table?”

 

Individuals who suffer unintended job loss are less likely to socialize with their friends and family because they feel ashamed or embarrassed, leading to isolation, which leads to depression, and more isolation. It is hard for many to socialize with friends who are gainfully employed when one is struggling to find any job leads, especially during this pandemic.

 

The economic impact of depression

The World Health Organization has noted that depression and anxiety have an estimated cost to the global economy of $1 trillion per year in lost productivity. A likely surge of people experiencing acute behavioral health problems, both those with new symptoms and those with existing conditions, has the potential to strain the healthcare system further and add cost to an already unprecedented economic downturn.

 

 

Staying strong during this time

We must remember that this is not our fault. We cannot blame ourselves for this financial crisis that has occurred because of COVID-19. We cannot blame ourselves for being laid-off. We also must safeguard our mental health in every way possible. Therapy and social connections are imperative for our mental health, but when we are out of work and are mandated to isolate, what other options do we have? For addiction reading about staying strong during this pandemic, read Feelings of Hope During COVID-19

 

Develop a daily routine: Unemployment can often lead to boredom, feelings of hopelessness, isolation, and depression. We need to develop new daily habits so that we stay active and motivated. This includes the following:

  • Adopt a regular sleep/wake cycle
  • Adopt a daily exercise routine
  • Take time each day to develop a new skill or work on a new project
  • Nourish our bodies with plenty of whole foods and water
  • Spend at least 30 minutes a day outside
  • Spend quality time with loved ones (even if that means virtual happy hours and meetings or practicing social distancing)
  • Spend time to meditate, read, or practicing yoga
  • Spend time to focus on activities that bring you joy
  • Avoid alcohol or drugs
  • Attend community support groups, whether they are virtual or in-person
  • Get in contact with an addiction treatment center

PTSD and the Lifelong Road to Recovery

This blog is written by John D. Ivanisin III, a Quest 2 Recovery alumni. On May 17th, 2020 he celebrated one year of sobriety.

Introduction

I grew up in a small town outside of Hartford, Connecticut. My parents raised me, my brother, and sister together until they separated in 1995 when I was 11 years old. From what I can remember, I had a fairly happy childhood. There was no abuse going on in my home, my parents were both sober and in recovery for alcohol and prescription drugs. Things seemed to be normal until they sat us children down and told us they would be separating. Their separation lasted around five years. Within that time frame, I moved homes about 10 times; in the same town, to and from my father’s house. It was also during this time that I started experimenting with drugs and alcohol. I started smoking marijuana, which eventually led to trying other harder drugs, such as ecstasy and cocaine. My drinking always seemed to bother me because my father was a recovering alcoholic and I did not want to go down the same path. I eventually stopped using all drugs and alcohol on my own, so I could get my life together and join the US Marine Corps.

My Life in the Marine Corps

On December 19, 2003 I enlisted into the delayed entry program of the United States Marine Corps. On February 9th the following year, I went to boot camp. After boot camp, I completed combat training, and parachute rigger school. Then, I was sent to my first duty station in Okinawa, Japan. I had just turned 20 years old when I got there. Because we were in a foreign country, there was a curfew for all junior Marines. This left a lot of idle time, which led to boredom, and eventually to starting drinking underage in the military, which is illegal. Luckily, I never got caught drinking before finally turning 21. When I turned of age, it was on. I would drink as much as I could just about everyday for several months, until my lack of attendance at work started to raise some concerns, and my command mandated that I attend classes for alcohol abuse. I had been in the military less than a year at this point. I spent the next nine years of my life in the military deploying twice to Iraq and twice to Afghanistan. After these deployments, which lasted 7 months a piece, my drinking continued to go through cycles of good times and really bad times, though I never really felt like I couldn’t control my drinking. I was a Marine and there was nothing I couldn’t control. I was invincible and the roughest, toughest guy out there. I didn’t need AA or rehab, I just needed everyone to stay out of my business so I could handle my problems the way I knew best, which of course, was to drink. Nobody knew what was best for me except for me. In October of 2012, I was arrested for driving under the influence. I blew a .159 BAC. I got lucky and was never charged by the military, and due to my moving to Florida, the Honolulu Superior court decided not to prosecute, and dropped all charges in 2018.

Life After the Military

In 2013, I was honorably discharged from active duty. My mother and stepfather bought a house in Florida, so I decided to move there with them and start my new life as a civilian. I met my wife in 2014, and in 2015 we moved to California, where we currently reside with our two children. In my early days in California, my drinking started to increase because I was working as a DJ at some of the local bars. As I drank more, I started snorting cocaine to be able to keep drinking. For about a year, I was spending around $1,700 a month on cocaine. All the money I earned from DJing went to drugs and more drugs. I had other sources of income, so nobody really knew how much I was spending, except for me and my dealer. In December of 2017, after being out of the military for four years, I was finally diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety disorder, depression disorder and substance abuse disorder.

Quest 2 Recovery

My last night using drugs and alcohol was May 16th,  2019. I blacked out from drinking and taking Xanax, and drove myself to a bar where I was ultimately carried out of an hour after arriving. I remember waking up soaked in my own urine at about 4 am and immediately started making phone calls to find more cocaine. I left to go get it and did not return home until about 5pm later that day, despite my wifes and friends’ efforts to get me to come home. When I arrived at my house, my wife said that she was going to be moving back to Florida if I did not stop drinking, so I agreed to go to rehab. I just wanted to die at that time and end all the pain, but I got online and started googling rehab facilities near me. Quest 2 Recovery was the closest place to where I lived, so I figured I would call them first. I spoke to Armen Melikyan, the co-founder of Quest, and he gave me some information on the program, and also asked a few questions. He then told me someone would be in contact within the next 15 minutes. Sure enough, the Clinical Director and Therapist for Quest, Amber Carra, called me and talked to me for a while discussing treatment options and whether or not I was serious about getting sober; I was. I arrived at the facility at about 9 pm that same night. The facility was nothing like what I had pictured in my head. I was expecting a big white hospital, with white padded rooms, and security guards in white scrubs, walking around with billy clubs like I’d seen in some movies. I had never been to rehab, so I was shocked when I pulled up to a normal house. The facility was beautiful, the staff were friendly and very supportive. Quest is dedicated to their military and first-responder clients, and they made that very clear at the start. I was treated well upon arrival and made to feel like I mattered to someone.

What Quest Did for Me

During my time at Quest, I was able to focus on myself and getting healthy again. There were no outside distractions that kept me from getting better. The staff and fellow clients at Quest helped  show me that I can have a good life without alcohol or drugs. Through therapy, I was able to address some of the issues that I had been dealing with for a long time. I was able to really take the time to find out who I am, and what I want out of life. I could not have quit drinking and using drugs on my own. I needed a place to feel safe and comfortable in order to get better, and Quest was the miracle that saved me. Some of the important things I gained from my time at Quest are finding my higher power, feeling the sense of relief when I figured out that I am not alone, and that there were many people just like me going through the same things that I struggle with. I also learned that a positive outlook, even in bad situations, can really make all the difference. Having a clear head to make decisions has changed my life entirely for the better.

A Message to Veterans

The hardest thing I had to do in my recovery was make that first phone call to Quest 2 Recovery, and decide that it was time to end the insanity that I called my life. Recovery is not something that you just get, it requires as much effort as getting through boot camp, if not more. But there is peace, serenity, and happiness that can be attained if you are willing to put in the effort. I did not believe it until I began to experience it for myself. Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous were truly a cornerstone of my recovery after Quest. I know how difficult it can be to reach out for help, but asking for help essentially saved my life and my marriage. If you are a veteran or a first responder, Quest is the place to go to get better. It was nothing like I imagined, in fact it was the complete opposite. My 30 day stay at Quest was honestly some of the most beautiful days of my life, and it has only gotten better since then. Getting the help you need can mean the difference in life and death. I did not want to live, I didn’t think there was anything worth living for, but I am typing this letter to you now being sober for over one year. It has not been the easiest thing I have ever done, but it has been worth every effort that I put in. If I can make one recommendation to anyone out there struggling with addiction and PTSD, it is to never give up. There is a path to happiness, you just have to walk down that path. Take advantage of all the resources that Quest has to offer and be open minded. If you can make the choice to get clean and sober, Quest will do everything they can to get you there and help keep you sober. All you have to do is pick up that phone and call

Why Dual-Diagnosis Programs Are Beneficial For First Responders

First responders are the true American heroes. Paramedics, firefighters, and law enforcement officials such as police officers, work tirelessly so society can feel safe and secure. First responders are the solution to situations that seem like they have no solution. They display a level of courage that is almost unfathomable during the typical ‘work day’. At Quest 2 Recovery, we feel it’s important to acknowledge and honor these individuals, so we created an addiction program specifically for first responders. We want to thank them for everything they do and hope to take care of them the way they take care of us.

Due to the stressful and traumatic nature of the job, first responders are prone to developing issues related to addiction, drug abuse, and mental health disorders. Often these disorders co-exist amongst each other, thus the creation of dual-diagnosis programs in addiction treatment.

What Is a Dual-Diagnosis Program?

A dual-diagnosis program is the term used to describe a treatment center that has the capabilities of treating addiction and mental health disorders. Common disorders that are treated together are addiction and anxiety, addiction and depression, and addiction, and PTSD. On average, 67% of alcoholics are diagnosed with a depressive disorder and 75% of opioid addicts receive a similar diagnosis. That’s a tough pill to swallow, no pun intended. 

Dual-diagnosis programs function similarly to non-dual-diagnosis addiction programs. Our clients at Quest 2 Recovery will start their recovery journey with detoxification (if needed), then progress to inpatient treatment. During this time their addiction will be addressed through individual therapy and group therapy while utilizing therapies such as cognitive-behavioral and dialect behavioral to address mental illness. 

Mental Health and First Responders

It’s no secret that stress and trauma have a negative impact on physical and emotional health. Because first responders perform a job that requires troubleshooting and mitigating emergencies, mental health issues are all too common for them, like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

PTSD is triggered by a terrifying event. Since everyone is different and processes trauma in different ways, symptoms of PTSD can vary from person to person. Symptoms are grouped into four types: intrusive memories, avoidance, negative changes in thinking and mood, and changes in physical and emotional reactions. At Quest 2 Recovery we provide individualized care for all of our clients so we can effectively address these symptoms. 

Chemical Dependency and First Responders

It’s also common for first responders to develop substance abuse disorders. Sometimes it can develop relatively innocuously. Generally speaking, working professionals look forward to unwinding after work with a drink. Sometimes it’s in the comfort of their own home or sometimes with friends. The same goes for first responders. The difference between the two is the person working a desk job probably doesn’t have trouble sleeping at night, whereas the first responder may be up all night reliving the trauma they experienced during the day. The one drink the first responder uses to unwind after work could turn into drinking an entire bottle so they can fall asleep.

No one wakes up randomly one day and becomes an addict. Addiction is something that develops over time, especially when unresolved trauma and stress build up. We hope if you’re a first responder struggling with mental illness and addiction and reading this now, you’ll reach out to us for help. We know it can be challenging for first responders to seek help because they’re worried about the stigma of ‘not being able to handle the job’, but getting help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. 

Quest 2 Recovery Is Here for You

At Quest 2 Recovery, we are a dual diagnosis, substance abuse program that offers detoxification and residential inpatient levels of care. We are here to also serve first responders who are located in the Los Angeles and Southern California area. We know that first responders often suffer from both substance abuse disorders as well as mental health issues. We believe that both should be addressed together in a safe environment. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you with addiction treatment, please give us a call today! 

Neurotherapy & Addiction: All You Need To Know

Addiction and substance abuse aren’t a matter of self-control, they are a physiological disorder that runs much deeper. Attempting to become sober and live a life of recovery can be intimidating and may seem impossible to someone battling an addiction, but it’s certainly possible to live a fulfilling, drug and alcohol-free life. Treatment options such as detoxification, inpatient, and outpatient programs, are widely available for someone looking to get sober. 

As technology advances, there are investments in new diagnostic and treatment options for addicts. One popular tool used in treatment is called biofeedback, which is the process of collecting information about the human body and applying it in various techniques. One sub-form of biofeedback is Neurotherapy.

What is Neurotherapy?

Neurotherapy, also known as neurofeedback, is one of the main components of biofeedback. This type of therapy collects information on the signals that are passed between parts of the brain. This tool can be used to measure the health of someone’s brain. The brain plays a major role in addiction because when someone is addicted to a substance, the fundamental chemistry of the brain changes. An addicted brain believes it requires the substance to stay alive. Neurotherapy can help retrain the brain to live without the substance, ultimately leading to someone overcoming addiction. The biggest takeaway from Neurotherapy is that it’s a long term solution to a chronic disease. 

How Does it Work?

Neurotherapy is a multi-step process that includes equipment, software, and feedback. The clinician, during the sessions, uses electronic sensors to monitor the waves of the brain. Over time, these sensors are going to collect information on what is happening in the rest of the brain. These signals are going to produce waves on a sheet of paper that varies in height and frequency. Using a process that is called quantitative EEG, also shortened to EEG, the doctor will be able to spot areas of dysregulation throughout the brain. This information is then used to teach the addict how to change their own physiological activity, by changing their thoughts and emotions. 

How Does it Help in Treating Addiction?

Neurotherapy helps in treating addiction because it will help the addict accept change. One of the biggest hurdles in recovery is for an addict’s brain to accept the change that they’ll no longer rely on the substance they were addicted to. The waves that are recorded during Neurotherapy can also be applied to come up with an effective treatment strategy for those who suffer from addiction. An EEG from someone who suffers from addiction can be compared to the EEG of someone who doesn’t suffer from addiction. Then, differences between the two patterns can be spotted. 

There are numerous addiction treatment strategies that can be applied based on information from an EEG in a Neurotherapy session. For example, the brain waves of someone who suffers from an addiction to alcohol might be different from someone who suffers from an addiction to cocaine. Depending on the appearance of these waves, some people might respond better to certain treatments than others. Therefore, Neurotherapy can play an important role in someone’s recovery process, guiding professionals in coming up with a treatment plan that has been tailored to meet the needs of the individual.

Let Us Help You!

At Quest 2 Recovery, we are a dual diagnosis, substance abuse program that offers detoxification and residential inpatient levels of care. Our goal is to help people in the Los Angeles and Southern California area during the first few days of the treatment process. Our professionals have undergone extensive training to help individuals who suffer from a variety of forms of addiction including drugs, alcohol, and more. We will help you through the most challenging days of the journey toward sobriety. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you recover from addiction, please contact us today! We would be honored to assist you.

A Day in the Life of a First Responder in Addiction Treatment

addiction treatment and first responders

Addiction is one of the most pressing issues facing the public health system today. Some people are at a greater risk of developing addiction and mental health disorders than others, such as individuals who are exposed to traumatic events. This includes first responders; the first people to show up at the scene of a natural disaster, terrorist attack, or serious crime. 

Most people cannot fathom what first responders see on a daily basis, therefore it’s common for first responders to not know where to turn for help. As a result, they end up coping in unhealthy ways. This is one of the biggest reasons why first responders end up developing mental health and substance abuse disorders at a higher rate than the average population. For this reason, there are specific addiction treatment centers that focus on the treatment of first responders.

What Does Addiction Treatment Look Like for First Responders?

If someone has been enrolled in addiction treatment for a first responder, the day is going to follow a typical framework. At a residential inpatient facility, the morning will involve a healthy breakfast which can include a mix of meat, grains, and fruit. Then early meetings are going to take place. Meditation, yoga, or other wellness activities are common during this time. After, group meetings are going to take place where first responders can learn from the experiences of others. There will usually be a counselor or therapist leading the group. They help someone learn about the treatment process, addiction, and recovery. 

After lunch, there are usually one on one therapy sessions. These sessions are going to be tailored to meet the needs of the individual. For example, someone will participate in cognitive behavioral therapy, an effective method used in the treatment of addiction. This treatment therapy focuses on identifying people’s individual responses to triggers. This will also help prevent relapses from taking place. 

Others may participate in specialized sessions. These can be tailored to help someone deal with grief or stress management. More group therapy is also offered at this time of the day or family therapy, helping someone rebuild his or her relationships.

During free time, first responders have the option to enroll in alternative types of therapy. Art therapy, music therapy, dance therapy, exercise therapies, and equine therapy, are all great options for first responders.

Dealing with Mental Health Issues for First Responders

One of the major issues that accompanies addiction in first responders is the development of mental health disorders. Two of the most common mental health disorders that first responders develop are:

PTSD: Post-traumatic stress disorder, also known as PTSD, is one of the most common mental health disorders that develops among first responders. Symptoms include flashbacks, emotional lability, crying fits, trouble sleeping, and anger issues. People suffering from PTSD encounter triggers that transport them back to the scene of the event. PTSD is best addressed by trained professionals who know how to handle these delicate issues.

Depression: Depression is another mental health disorder that develops among first responders. People with depression often have trouble sleeping, feel guilty about past events, experience changes in appetite, and have issues finding enjoyment in activities that previously put a smile on their faces. Depression can be addressed by a well-rounded treatment approach that involves counseling, therapy, and medication. Of course, it’s up to the discretion of trained professionals about what medicine and therapy should be prescribed. 

How To Find Addiction Treatment for First Responders

It’s critical for anyone who is suffering from mental health or addiction disorders to find treatment. There are a number of ways first responders can find treatment. First, it’s always a good idea to talk to friends and family members. They may know people who have sought out treatment in the past. The internet is also a great tool to research different facilities. The best way to see if a treatment center is right for you is by researching and calling the facility to ask questions.

We Can Help You!

At Quest 2 Recovery, we’re a substance abuse and addiction treatment center that provides specialized treatment for first responders. We are located in the beautiful area of Lancaster, CA. We blend proven therapies with an innovative approach. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you, please contact us today. We would be honored to help you with your healthcare needs and we’d like to thank you for your service. 

Veterans & Substance Abuse: A Growing Problem

veterans and substance abuse

Substance abuse is one of the biggest problems in the United States and directly affects the healthcare system. Historically, it’s difficult for people to get the help they need and access mental health resources. As time evolves, more resources are becoming available and they are helping destigmatize mental illness and substance abuse. 

One population that is particularly prone to developing mental health and substance abuse are veterans. We should be honoring the people who serve our country and put their lives on the line every day and make treatment accessible

Statistics on Substance Abuse and Addiction Among Veterans

There is a growing concern surrounding substance abuse and addiction as it relates to veterans. Right now there are more than 2 million people serving in the armed forces and more than 23 million veterans in general. Many of these individuals are facing significant challenges as it relates to drug and alcohol abuse. A study produced following a survey that took place between 2004 and 2006 showed between five and 10 percent of veterans might meet the criteria for a substance abuse disorder. For young adults specifically, this rate was as high as one in four. 

The Reasons Why Veterans Are At Risk for Addiction

Why are veterans at such a high risk of developing substance abuse and addiction disorders? There are a few reasons to note.

Trauma

This is the biggest factor. Veterans are exposed to events on the battlefield that most people can barely fathom. As a result, they need to find ways to cope with what they see. A large number of veterans go on to develop mental health issues such as PTSD. Some people may not be able to cope with counseling and therapy. Others may not want to. Instead, veterans turn to drugs and alcohol to help them cope. This, in turn, leads to addiction.

Abuse

The rate of sexual assault in the army has come to light recently with alarming numbers. Veterans who are abused in the military are at risk of developing other mental health issues including PTSD and depression. In order to cope with the symptoms of these disorders, veterans may look to drugs and alcohol once again. This is a coping mechanism to help them deal with the trauma they have suffered.

Barriers to Treatment

Some veterans may find that there are major barriers to treatment. There is a shortage of access to mental health resources in the United States and veterans may also struggle to obtain prescription medications they need. This can leave veterans looking to drugs and alcohol for assistance once again.

Homelessness

Homelessness is a devastating epidemic amongst United States veterans. The vast majority of veterans who are homeless also have mental health disorders. It can be difficult for a veteran to find and maintain a job while battling mental health disorders. Without a job and health insurance, they will struggle to find health care providers who are willing to see them. This contributes to drug and alcohol abuse even further.

Drug Abuse and Addiction Among Active Military Members

There is an epidemic of drug and alcohol abuse in the military. Members serving often turn to prescription medications to help them cope with their experiences while on active duty. Some of these members even use prescription medications to self medicate chronic pain and PTSD. Many of these prescription medications end up getting abused because they are extremely addictive.

It is important for everyone, including veterans, to know that resources are available that can help people fight back against addiction. There is no shame in asking for help. With the guidance of trained professionals, everyone can beat addiction.

Rely on Quest 2 Recovery for Addiction Treatment

Anyone who is looking for addiction treatment including veterans should rely on Quest 2 Recovery in Lancaster, California. Our trained professionals will work with you to come up with a plan that suits your needs. We offer treatment plans that also specialize in dual diagnosis which is perfect for veterans battling PTSD and substance abuse. Contact us today to get more information and help. 

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 Find Substance Abuse Treatment as a First Responder

substance abuse and first responders

Battling addiction is always tough. It can be even more difficult if you are a first responder and your reputation and livelihood are on the line due to substance abuse. That’s why Quest 2 Recovery in Lancaster, CA, has devoted an entire program for first responders to heal along with peers going through the same issues.

Statistics indicate that first responders, such as firefighters and police officers, often turn to alcohol and drugs to self-medicate from PTSD and stress related to their jobs. According to a recent SAMHSA report, for example, heavy or binge drinking occurred among half male firefighters surveyed in the previous month. Of these, 9% admitted to driving under the influence of alcohol.

Who Are First Responders?

You may imagine that first responders consist of ambulance drivers and ER medical professionals combined with police officers, FEMA workers, and firefighters. However, there are many other careers that involve people to respond to emergency situations. If you or a loved one works as an air marshall, campus security officer, animal control officer, DEA agent, park rangers, Red Cross worker or serve in the military, then this label fits your job title.

First responders arrive first when a crisis occurs. This includes terror attacks, crimes, accidents, and natural disasters. They have the tough job of preventing the loss of life and harm to pets and property as fire rage, rivers flood and buildings crumble around them. Due to the extreme nature of the job, these workers suffer more trauma than most people do during the course of their workday. Therapists and others used to think that these people were resilient and able to leave the stress and strain at the doorstep when they got home. That turns out to be untrue.

Researchers are still struggling to understand how the constant stress of being a first responder impacts substance abuse disorders and alcohol addiction. Mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and PTSD play their own roles and have to be addressed as part of any robust first responder treatment program. At Quest 2 Recovery, we provide a place for first responders to meet and discuss their addiction in a safe space. Participants learn to confront their addiction and pick up valuable coping skills that help them avoid a relapse.

First Responder Group Therapy

Clients who participate in first responder group therapy can open up and help their peers process their experiences. Everyone in the circle understands the stress that comes with knowing someone else’s life may depend on your actions. Some of the people you meet in group therapy sessions may include correctional officers, emergency medical professionals, law enforcement, firefighters and military veterans. Many people who attend this exclusive group therapy session gain confidence in their ability to discuss and face their challenges.

This is a critical component of your recovery, and it’s much easier to share your thoughts and feelings when you are with a group of people who are going through a similar experience. Within a group of peers, there’s no fear of judgment. This has been a barrier for first responders attending group sessions with others recovering from substance abuse. Group sessions are overseen a licensed therapist and conducted in a private setting.

First First Responder Addiction Treatment in Lancaster, CA

At Quest 2 Recovery, our substance abuse recovery program is open to first responders in the Lancaster, CA, area and beyond. Contact us today to take the first step in a life free of drugs and alcohol. We know that you face more stress and trauma than most people face in a lifetime, but there’s hope for a brighter future among a community of your peers. We have a residential detox and residential inpatient treatment options for substance abuse recovery.

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.