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The OCD Experience: Are OCD Thoughts Real?

According to the National Institute of Mental Health, more than 1% of adults in America have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). It is estimated that almost 30% of people who have OCD also have a substance use disorder. Unfortunately, many people with mental health disorders look to substances to numb their symptoms. Learning about OCD and how it is expressed can be the first step to better managing its symptoms. 

So, what does OCD feel like and how can a person get help for the disorder? Learn more below. 

What Is OCD?

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is characterized by irrational fears and thoughts that lead to compulsions. Fears and thoughts are often referred to as obsessions, while compulsions are compulsive behaviors. OCD looks different in each individual. The OCD experience, or how OCD is expressed, can range greatly from person to person. OCD may center around fear of germs or arranging objects in a specific manner. The mental disorder is not limited to those obsessions and compulsions, though. 

What Does OCD Feel Like?

Though OCD can vary, one thing about the disorder is somewhat consistent: Overwhelming thoughts are often at the root of the OCD experience. These thoughts can be so powerful to some that they can convince them otherwise on a subject they were certain about. For example, let’s say you leave the house and lock the door. On your ride to work, you begin having thoughts that you left the door unlocked. These thoughts can become so powerful that you begin to believe that you left the door unlocked. 

In this case, someone with OCD may even turn around because the urge to check the door becomes so overwhelming. Someone with severe OCD will experience this type of feeling several times a day, interrupting their daily life. 

Intrusive thoughts can be hard to ignore, especially for someone with obsessive-compulsive disorder. Someone with OCD can lose control of their thoughts entirely. In this case, the mind becomes completely absorbed by obsessions. 

What Are 5 Symptoms of OCD?

What does OCD feel like? OCD symptoms can be classified into five themes. These themes do not cover every single obsession. However, most forms of OCD fall within these themes:

  • Fear of dirt or contamination
  • Difficulty tolerating uncertainty; constant doubting
  • Requiring things to be symmetrical or orderly
  • Awful thoughts about the loss of control or potentially harming yourself or others
  • Unwanted and unreasonable thoughts, including sexual, religious, or aggressive subjects

Potential examples of these obsessions include:

  • Not wanting to touch objects other people have touched due to contamination
  • Doubts that you turned off the stove, locked the door, or similar scenarios
  • Severe stress when particular objects aren’t facing a certain way
  • Cognitive images of you driving your car into people
  • Urges to act inappropriately in public, thoughts about shouting vulgarities
  • Sexual images
  • Avoiding situations that may trigger OCD, including shaking hands or touching certain things 

What Is the Vicious Cycle of OCD?

The OCD experience involves having thoughts or impulses occur unwillingly. You likely do not want to be having these thoughts or ideas, but you can’t stop them. As mentioned, these thoughts can disrupt daily life and cause issues at home or work. 

Naturally, people tend to deal with obsessive thoughts by using compulsions, also known as behaviors or rituals, to make the obsessions go away. The vicious cycle of OCD roots itself deeply since these compulsions can sometimes work temporarily. Therefore, you may find yourself acting out through rituals over and over again. For example, to avoid the fear of contamination, you may construct cleaning rituals that you perform elaborately. Though it may feel like you are acting on your obsession, you ensure that the obsessive thoughts come back even stronger. 

This situation can cause someone to be riddled with anxiety. Anxiety plays a large role in OCD and is often the reason OCD can be so disruptive and time-consuming. The vicious cycle of OCD generally works in this order: 

  • Obsessive thought
  • Anxiety
  • Compulsive behavior
  • Temporary relief

What Does OCD Do To A Person?

The OCD experience can manifest itself in many ways. One individual’s OCD experience may differ completely from another’s. Regardless, people with severe OCD deal with obsessions and compulsions that may take up hours of their day. This can be an obvious detriment on family and social relationships, education, and employment. 

As obsessions and compulsions become more severe, avoidance also becomes an issue. OCD can make an individual attempt to avoid any scenario that may trigger their OCD. For some, this could result in them staying within the boundaries of their home indefinitely. 

Obsessive fears can make it difficult for people with OCD to eat, shop, drink, read, and perform normal daily responsibilities. In many cases, OCD is compounded by symptoms of other mental health disorders, such as depression, anxiety, panic disorder, and more. 

If someone becomes embarrassed of their symptoms, they may go to great lengths to hide them. Many family members of people suffering from OCD can become distressed and involved in their loved one’s rituals. 

Are OCD Thoughts Real?

Intrusive thoughts are a key component of OCD. Just because you are having thoughts does not mean they are real. Intrusive thoughts are not only limited to words that show up in your mind. These thoughts can take the form of sensations, ideas, memories, urges, and images.

Even though some of these thoughts can be “blamed” on OCD, it does not make them less distressing. People with OCD may have a difficult time realizing their thoughts are just thoughts. Uncertainty leads to a strong distress response. Tolerating the distress and when the mind and body go on high alert is difficult. At this point in the OCD cycle, the individual feels the need to act on these thoughts, attempting to make sure the thoughts do not come to fruition. Though the thoughts may not be “real,” it is easy for someone with OCD to get “stuck” by fighting the thoughts and protecting against them. 

What Can Trigger OCD?

The cause of OCD is still unknown. Scientists continually investigate the cause of OCD, other than it being passed on genetically. One scientific journal found links between inflammatory biomarkers and OCD. This evidence requires further investigation before it can be solidified. If this were the case, some form of anti-inflammatory medication could treat OCD. 

Some theories about the causes of OCD include: 

  • People experiencing anxiety begin using compulsions as a learned behavior. Once associated with relief from anxiety, the behavior becomes repetitive and looks like an expression of OCD.
  • Hereditary and genetic factors pass on OCD.
  • People with OCD have functional and structural abnormalities in the brain. 
  • Symptoms associated with OCD stem from distorted beliefs that are continually reinforced.

OCD likely stems from several factors. Since each person’s OCD experience is different, that theory is more than likely. The underlying expression and functions of OCD may be influenced by personality traits, hormonal changes, and life events. 

Treatment For OCD 

Another study found that mice with a higher level of Immuno-moodulin (an immune protein) exhibited OCD-like behaviors. During the study, scientists gave the mice an antibody that blocked Immuno-moodulin, and their repetitive behaviors decreased. 

Though there is no absolute cure for OCD, many treatments can help manage even the most intense symptoms. Treatments may include individualized therapy, such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) or exposure and response therapy (ERP). For some, medications like SSRIs (serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are an option. The best option is to talk to a mental health professional. 

There are even support groups that people with OCD can benefit from. Support groups consist of individuals dealing with similar issues that act as a communication and support system. 

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT helps by changing the individual’s patterns of behaviors, beliefs, and thinking. Clinical professionals help their clients by promoting control over their symptoms. During therapy sessions, the specialist may even expose their client to situations that trigger their obsessions. While doing so, the therapist will help them develop tools that reduce their avoidance and compulsion behaviors. 

The process is often gradual, and it begins with less intensive triggers. Consistent exposure can help prevent compulsions and reduce the anxiety that surrounds the triggers. This process is called exposure and response therapy.

What Happens If OCD Is Left Untreated?

People with mild OCD may find that they can adapt to their condition. The symptoms that they experience may only interfere with their life in inconsiderable ways. However, symptoms of OCD tend to worsen over time if untreated. As people with OCD get older, they may find that they are altering certain aspects of their life to avoid certain triggers.

Compulsions can drive individuals subconsciously. As OCD compulsions worsen, you may find that you:

  • Avoid gatherings
  • Avoid going outside unnecessarily
  • Stop visiting particular friends or family members
  • Have difficulty focusing on work because you are consumed by thoughts
  • Isolate yourself
  • Engage in compulsions that interfere with hobbies and other activities
  • Miss school or work due to avoiding triggers

OCD and addiction are common co-occurring disorders that require professional intervention. In severe cases, some people with OCD look to substances to numb their symptoms. Treatment centers like Intrepid Detox Residential offer dual diagnosis programs explicitly designed to deal with OCD and addiction. 

Find Help With Intrepid Detox Residential 

Here at Intrepid, we strive to offer treatments that target co-occurring disorders. We provide a range of mental health services designed to help our clients develop tools to manage their mental health while recovering from addiction. 

If you would like to learn more about what OCD feels like and what we offer at Intrepid Detox Residential, please contact us today.

cocaine withdrawal symptoms

Cocaine Recovery Timeline: What Should I Expect?

What Is Cocaine?

Cocaine is a powerful potent stimulant drug. That is why cocaine withdrawal symptoms are extremely severe. Over a thousand years, individuals in South America have ingested and chewed coca leaves, also known as Erythroxylon coca. That is the source of cocaine for the stimulant effects. 

Cocaine hydrochloride, the purified chemical, was isolated from the plant over 100 years ago. In the early 1900s, the main active ingredient was the purified chemical in elixirs and tonics to treat a huge variety of illnesses. 

Cocaine was an ingredient in the early formations of the soda, Coca-Cola. Before the synthetic local anesthetic development, surgeons utilized cocaine to block an individual’s pain. Research has shown that cocaine presents as a powerfully addictive substance that can alter brain function and structure upon repeated use. 

How Is Cocaine Distributed?

Cocaine is a Schedule II drug which means that it presents great potential for abuse and can be administered by a doctor for legitimate medical uses, for local anesthesia surgeries for:

  • Throat
  • Eye
  • Ear

Cocaine dealers cut or dilute the drug often with non-psychoactive substances to increase their profits such as the following:

  • Talcum powder
  • Baking soda
  • Cornstarch
  • Flour

Many users combine the drug with various drugs such as:

  • Amphetamine
  • Procaine
  • Heroin 

What Is The Effect Of Cocaine On Society?

Cocaine use affects a variety of ages ranging from teens in high school to adults beyond. According to a study done in 2018 regarding cocaine usage trends, cocaine is known to be the most prevalent among the following age groups:

  • About 14.7% of children as young as 12 years of age
  • Around 11.4% of individuals aged 18-25 years of age
  • About 16.8% of people around the age of 26 and older

In 2019, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health estimated 5.5 million individuals were cocaine users. Drug addictiveness is shown in its prevalence. Matter of factly, cocaine is commonly considered one of the most addictive drugs in wide usage and circulation.

It’s important to remember that once a person uses cocaine for an extended period, and then stops, withdrawal symptoms could occur almost immediately. Cocaine withdrawal can be psychological or physical because the drug floods the brain with unnatural amounts of the following:

  • Adrenaline
  • Serotonin 
  • Dopamine

Cocaine increases the dopamine amount in an individual’s brain. As a natural effect, dopamine is reprocessed back into the brain. Cocaine is so powerful that it stops this process. As a result, the brain begins to depend on cocaine to increase dopamine levels. 

Physical Effects Of Cocaine On The Body

  • Increased appetite
  • Chills and tremors
  • Lack of pleasure
  • Muscle aches
  • Restlessness
  • Sleepiness
  • Nerve pain
  • Fatigue

The physical withdrawal symptoms of cocaine are less remarkable than withdrawals experienced by other substances such as alcohol. The cocaine withdrawal symptoms and their severity depend on the length of cocaine addiction. For example, an individual who has used cocaine once will undergo less noticeable withdrawal symptoms than someone who uses cocaine regularly. 

Cocaine doesn’t normally produce life-threatening withdrawal symptoms, but there are some serious cocaine withdrawal symptoms to be aware of.

  • Grand mal seizures
  • Heart palpitations 
  • Heart attacks 
  • Delirium 
  • Strokes

Psychological Cocaine Withdrawal Symptoms

  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Suspicion or paranoia
  • Increased cravings
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Nightmares
  • Depression
  • Agitation
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety

The psychological symptoms of cocaine withdrawal can be harsher than physical symptoms because they are less prominent. Furthermore, individuals who engage in drug use could have an underlying mental health issue, known as a co-occurring disorder. When individuals experience withdrawal symptoms that have a co-occurring disorder, their mental health issues can be heightened therefore creating a bigger problem. 

What Is The First Week Of Cocaine Detox Like?

Every person’s body reacts to the cocaine detox process differently. The frequency of drug use will play a huge factor in the cocaine recovery timeline as it impacts the duration of the individual’s stay. 

The detox process will depend on the following key factors:

  • The amount of the drug the individual has been utilizing 
  • Length of time of the addiction 

The Crash

It’s important to keep in mind that the detox process can take anywhere from 5-7 days for the detoxing to occur for some individuals, and for others, it could take up to three weeks. The first step in the detox process should start 8-12 hours after the individual has taken their last dose of cocaine. 

Once the individual has started, the first sign they will experience the following:

  • Dysphoric feelings
  • Exhaustion 
  • Irritation 
  • Anxiety
  • Fatigue

The Withdrawal Cravings

As the body builds up the dependence on cocaine, the physical symptoms of anxiousness and fatigue are normally masked. During the detox process, it’s common for the individual to feel lethargic and tired.

They may also start to become agitated and experience sweating. Poor concentration and increased cravings are also experienced here and are associated with a higher probability of relapse. 

By the end of the first week of cocaine detox, the person will most likely experience the following symptoms:

  • An increase in difficulty with concentration
  • Loss of motor control 
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Nausea 

The Extinction

This phase consists of occasional cravings. The individual is often more aware of utilizing coping skills to control their external triggers. 

As a couple of days continue passing, the symptoms will become worse. To the point that the individual might be wondering, “How long do cocaine withdrawals last?” The individual could begin experiencing extreme cocaine withdrawal symptoms.

  • Hallucinations
  • Convulsions 
  • Tremors

Though these cocaine withdrawal symptoms are uncomfortable, it’s a crucial aspect of the process as the person’s mental and physical harm goes up dramatically. During this stage of the detox process, the individual might feel the urge to abort the entire recovery journey.

It’s completely understandable however if the person endures and makes it past the first week, the remaining flu-like symptoms will eventually vanish. It’s important to stick it out because the person will soon find themself functioning at an average level by the end of that seventh day. 

It is important to note that if someone has a severe cocaine addiction, it might take longer than three weeks to completely detox. The possibility of the symptoms reappearing isn’t uncommon. But by the end of everything, you will have a clear:

  • Body
  • Mind
  • Spirit

Factors That Affect The Withdrawal Process

  • How long an individual has been taking the drug
  • The way that the person has ingested cocaine
  • Their metabolism
  • Genetics
  • Drug use
  • Age

How Does A Professional Detox Help Minimize Symptoms And Cravings? 

Due to the potential for relapse is heightened during the withdrawal process, there are various options available aimed to help. Inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation treatment can assist people by minimizing their symptoms, cravings, and ultimately increasing their likelihood for success. 

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient drug rehab is often called residential care. Upon searching for addiction treatment programs in Florida, the primary decision needed to be made first is whether to seek outpatient or inpatient care. The main difference between the treatments is clients are admitted during an inpatient treatment process, and they stay there at the residential facility

The treatment can include constant medical monitoring and partial hospitalization in severe cases of addiction. Inpatient treatment is generally lengthier than outpatient care. It normally lasts 30 to 45 days. However, some therapeutic communities treat severe addiction for 12-month treatment. 

We understand that addiction is not a one-size-fits-all and we refuse to use that approach. Each individual will receive an individualized treatment plan customized by our caregivers to meet their specific needs. Our drug addiction rehab is prepared for clients to safely stabilize and detox. 

Who Will Benefit From Inpatient Treatment?

  • Individuals who live alone
  • People with few supporters
  • Those in poor physical shape
  • Individuals with comorbidity 
What Is Comorbidity?

When an individual struggles with comorbidity, also known as a co-occurring disorder or dual diagnosis, they have more than one mental issue. Substance abuse frequently goes hand in hand with individuals who battle with eating disorders, mental issues, depression, or anxiety. 

Why Is It Important To Pursue A Treatment Program After Detox? 

It is only natural to feel accomplished after completing detox. Once an individual completes detox, they have accomplished something incredible. However, detox is the first step in substance use disorder recovery. By engaging in ongoing rehab treatment, an individual will further learn coping skills to manage their drug or alcohol use. 

Once detox is completed, the next phase of SUD treatment is focusing on recovery work. The treatment programs will coincide with behavioral therapies to assist with that. We believe the extensive range of resources and services available cannot be beaten. Clients can dive in and enjoy diverse activities such as:

  • Vocational training
  • Musical therapy
  • Social outings
  • Financial tips
  • Acupuncture
  • Sports

Behavioral Therapy Assists With The Following

  • Altering the behavior and thinking related to substance abuse
  • Staying committed to treatment goals and plans
  • Learning healthy coping skills

Aftercare And Support

Our clients can enjoy no distractions, support from our experienced and caring staff, and support from other residents who are on the same journey, just at different stages. The sense of community cannot be replaced. The relationships formed typically last for years. Ultimately, encouragement and support are invaluable. 

Recovery Awaits At Intrepid Detox

Fighting cocaine addiction requires a variety of diverse weapons. By engaging in a safe and comfortable detox process, support and aftercare await on the other side. There are numerous therapeutic options available aimed to enhance recovery. Contact us today to get started. 

7 Common Traits of an Alcoholic

Alcoholism is a chronic disease that has a severe negative impact on brain chemistry. Addiction, without help, can progress from a mild issue to uncontrollable abuse. Alcohol dependence can be both psychological and physical, leading to several financial, health, or relationship issues. Although an “alcoholic personality” is not a clinical term, many people who are suffering from alcoholism share personality traits that may be associated with addiction. 

If you or a loved one are suffering from alcoholism, Intrepid Detox offers the help you need. We provide addiction treatment to individuals from all walks of life. Learning about the following characteristics of an alcoholic may help you see early signs of addiction within your loved ones. 

Dealing with addiction is challenging. Catching it early can increase the chance of a positive outcome. 

Alcoholic Personality: Traits of An Alcoholic

Characteristics of an alcoholic can vary depending on the stage of alcoholism. Alcoholic personality traits can become apparent early and further develop as the person becomes a problematic drinker. Knowing the early signs of alcoholism can help you understand if you or your loved one needs mental health and substance abuse treatment

1. Persistent Focus on Alcohol 

Someone with a chemical dependence on alcohol will have a constant focus on alcohol or intoxication. One aspect of an alcoholic personality is the constant need to have plans based around alcohol. Someone displaying traits of an alcoholic may not attend an event if there is not any alcohol present. 

This individual may become anxious if their drink is not brought to them soon enough while out to dinner. Once addiction develops, it causes the individual to act in ways that may seem abnormal or unlike them. This is mainly because of addiction and how it can affect the brain and personality. 

2. Constantly Blaming Others

Out of all characteristics of an alcoholic personality, blaming others is one of the most prevalent. This behavior is not unique to alcohol only, as people addicted to other substances display similar behavior. This behavior is common among people with substance use disorders since their behavior is problematic, and they do not want to wear all of the blame. If their behavior were not damaging, they would not feel the need to blame others for the problems in their lives. 

Some individuals even blame their entire alcoholic personality on someone like their partner, boss, spouse, or alcoholic parent. To some, blaming others may seem like the path of least resistance so they will not have to deal with the consequences of their actions. But, realistically, constantly blaming others and making excuses are telltale characteristics of an alcoholic

3. Constantly Making Excuses

Excuses and blaming others are similar characteristics of an alcoholic since both behaviors spare the individual from any accountability associated with drinking. One overtly common excuse people use when drinking is stating that they have had a rough day at work. People struggling with alcohol use may use alcohol as a reward system after dealing with a difficult time at work or elsewhere. This behavior makes it easy for addiction to set in, developing problematic alcohol use to an even worse stage.

People with traits of an alcoholic will often find any excuse to start drinking. For example, someone may say they can’t watch sports without drinking beer or enjoy dinner each night with several glasses of wine. People struggling with alcohol use will tend to find any excuse to drink in any environment.

4. Uncontrollable Drinking

As addiction develops and progresses, it becomes overwhelmingly difficult for struggling people to control their drinking habits. Uncontrolled drinking is a very apparent alcoholic personality change, and it is often difficult to deal with or accept. Someone with uncontrollable drinking habits may constantly seem out of control, especially if they are your loved one. This is a sign of dependency and, at this stage, requires professional intervention. At this point, the urge to drink is not only physical but psychological, too. 

Once a person displays an alcoholic personality through uncontrolled drinking, it will be increasingly difficult for them to stop drinking. This trend may seem familiar. For example, this behavior could look like someone who always initially says they will have a couple of drinks but ends up having several. At this point, loved ones typically take notice and begin to reach out – attempting to help. 

5. Financial Difficulties

Financial struggles are another common alcoholic personality trait. To keep up with drinking habits, people tend to spend a substantial amount of money, whether it’s keeping liquor at home or buying it at the bar. The cost of alcohol can quickly add up, leading people to make bad financial decisions. 

These decisions tend to result in the person choosing to fuel their addiction instead of allocating their finances productively. Some people even begin working fewer hours or even quit their job altogether because of a problematic drinking habit. Alcoholism and compulsive behavior often go hand in hand, and when dealing with finances, it can be a dangerous combination. 

6. Shifting Priorities

When people’s drinking habits become an issue, you may notice them shifting around priorities in their life. Alcoholic personality changes, such as shifting priorities, may occur alongside financial difficulties. This is because the struggling individual begins to make things such as partying or drinking more of a priority than working or general productivity. Alcoholism can lead to job loss, relationship loss, neglect of family members, and more. 

Once alcoholism takes over, it is extremely difficult to maintain general life priorities. Minor examples might include no longer cleaning their home, or tending to hygiene, while major examples might include completely neglecting a child. 

After long-term alcohol use, people feel the need to consume alcohol just to feel normal and function. This can occur for several reasons, one being withdrawal symptoms. Alcohol withdrawal symptoms are challenging and uncomfortable to deal with, leading many to continue their inebriation to avoid feeling the effects of withdrawal. At this point, alcohol has completely taken over, and professional intervention and treatment are necessary and crucial.

7. Reckless Decision Making

Alcoholism and recklessness often progress simultaneously. Recklessness and dangerous decision-making are characteristics of an alcoholic that can lead to severe consequences including death. It is impossible for someone to make only good decisions, but it may be time to reflect on substance use when bad decision-making becomes a chronic issue. 

Alcoholism can make even the most mild-mannered individual act in uncharacteristic ways. Reckless behavior can include drinking and driving, dangerous or illegal activities, getting in fights, or going to work or school while intoxicated. Most of these behaviors endanger the struggling individual and the people around them as well. 

Alcoholism: How to Beat It? 

Alcoholism can seemingly alter a person’s personality. Addiction is a brain disease and can cause people to act in ways that may be hard to believe. Alcoholism can take a toll on almost every aspect of an individual’s life. Dealing with alcoholism in the family is challenging and uncomfortable. It is not easy to see a loved one make such consequential decisions. If your loved one is affected by addiction, there is a way out, and there is an answer. Intrepid Detox can provide all levels of care for anyone struggling with mental health and substance use disorders. 

Detox Program

Withdrawal symptoms can be extremely dangerous and even deadly in some circumstances. At Intrepid, we offer a state-of-the-art detoxification program that helps people get ready for treatment in a safe and comfortable environment. Our medically guided detox program ensures that each individual can withdrawal from substances in a manner that is not only safe but also guided and supported by medical professionals. 

After a successful detox, our clients move on to other levels of care depending on the severity of their addiction. 

Inpatient Treatment

Inpatient treatment, also known as residential rehabilitation, provides our clients with the highest level of care. Individuals in our inpatient program live at the facility and have access to support 24/7. This works well for people with severe addictions since the program is highly structured and monitored. Most inpatient programs last from 30 to 45 days. However, some can last much longer. Our inpatient program is individualized and is catered to each person, ensuring that they get the treatment that will work for them. 

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

About half of people in inpatient rehab programs have a dual diagnosis. Dual diagnosis, also known as co-occurring disorders, refers to two or more mental disorders occurring simultaneously. In most cases, addiction and another mental disorder co-occur. For example,  depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety, schizophrenia, and post-traumatic stress disorder may occur alongside addiction.

Dual diagnosis treatment treats each co-occurring disorder simultaneously. By doing so, our experienced addiction counselors can understand how each disorder plays into the other. It is not uncommon for someone to have an undiagnosed disorder with moderate to severe symptoms. Unfortunately, many people in this category turn to substances like alcohol to cope with their difficult symptoms. In dual diagnosis treatment, we get to the root causes of addiction and help heal the whole person from the ground up.

Get Help at Intrepid Detox

Characteristics of an alcoholic personality are sometimes easy to spot. Addiction is not something that should be tackled alone. If you or your loved one are battling addiction, the time to reach out for help is now. Our caring professionals are on this journey with you and want to do whatever they can to help you live a healthy and fulfilling life, free from addiction. Call us today. 

How to Avoid 7 Common Relapse Triggers

Relapse is one of the most common factors in the recovery journey. Since every case is different, it’s important to remember that relapse can happen to anyone and it only means that you’re still learning. The emotional and psychological tug of war that relapse brings can initiate feelings of hopelessness after the hard work is done. Relapse commonly presents triggers that send the brain back into the established patterns of addiction

Relapse triggers can come in many forms. Something to keep in mind is that relapse comes in stages and it’s crucial to pinpoint where you are to make a change. For example, the waves of wanting to escape boredom can manifest as a relapse trigger. Hanging out with the people you used to can spark addiction triggers. Keeping a plan in mind is one of the tools you can use to continue your healing.

What Are The 7 Common Relapse Triggers?

Relapse is best described as returned use to an addictive substance or behavior after going through the process of recovery. Relapse is when a person makes a conscious decision to use while a freelapse is when they unknowingly take an addictive substance. Usually, the person is struggling to prioritize their recovery after treatment.

Boredom

Boredom is a key factor in determining how successful a person in recovery handles their new coping skills. In the absence of structure, you might have difficulty filling in the time that would’ve been used for substances or compulsive behaviors. It’s important to find a hobby or seek education to keep these addiction triggers from haunting you. Boredom can increase the dream factor of reminiscing of using or experiences to escape from the struggles of life. Always reach out to your support system if you find yourself battling these urges.

Times of Celebration or Professional Success

Surprisingly, celebrations and professional success can serve as a double-edged sword when it comes to relapse triggers. Parties and other celebrations typically create an environment for alcohol and other substances. A key technique would be to have a trusted friend accompany you to provide support on this journey. These moments should be appreciated and don’t have to be an obstacle through responsible action.

Isolation

Isolation can breed relapse triggers by preventing you from seeing your thoughts objectively. There’s a storm brewing inside your head, with feelings of emptiness, guilt, shame, and hunger. Isolation is one of those addiction triggers that prevent you from creating genuine connections to others. Being present in the moment and seeking relationships outside of use can be beneficial for your development.

Stress/Relationship Difficulties

The challenge of reentering the world after completing treatment can be difficult for some. Stress is a dominating factor in relapse and how the person relies on old behaviors to cope. The end of a difficult day can produce some of these dormant feelings but it’s important to be mindful of how you act. It’s normal to feel urges to escape but it’s noted that relapse occurs in stages that end in the physical. 

The conflict within relationships can serve a buffet of various emotions, promoting anxiety by the uncertainty of life. Relationships (romantic or otherwise) within recovery pose unique obstacles, so it’s significant to preserve compassion for yourself as you adapt. Reaching out to a sponsor or loved one can help process your feelings to seek a better understanding of how to navigate these issues.

Untreated or Undiagnosed Mental Illness

There’s an overwhelming majority of people struggling with substance use and mental health disorders. Even after treatment for substance use, it’s important to focus on the mental components of recovery such as counseling and self-care. Recovery is a lifelong practice in order to alleviate cravings and temptations. People often self-medicate for their mental health disorders, which can increase the possibility of relapse.

Access

If you find yourself in the same non-sober environments and spending time with people who use easily sets up the course for relapse. For example, a fully stocked minibar shouldn’t be in the presence of someone struggling with addiction. It’s important for your support system to ensure that your environment is suited for recovery by eliminating relapse triggers. Revisiting these addiction triggers reintroduces the same negative feelings that break down your resolve.

Times When You Need to H.A.L.T.

HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired) works as a diagnostic to decide how you feel in order to prevent relapse. Any of these feelings can brew addiction triggers and it’s crucial to be mindful of your emotional/physical state. Hunger is a potential addiction trigger, so it would help to find a trusted person to eat with. Anger is a common emotion we all experience. To manage anger, it’s important to see what triggers it and what you can control. 

Loneliness can prey on you in the most intimate moments, those moments of silence and your thoughts. Remember to reach out to someone if you feel overwhelmed. Tiredness can have draining effects on the mind and body. By assuring your meeting your physical and mental needs through exercise and self-care, you will have a better chance of functioning.

How Can You Avoid Them and Prevent Relapse? 

It’s important to remember that relapse is not a sudden incident that falls from the sky. Generally, the more of these factors begin to pile up, the chance of relapse increases. Multiple studies have recognized that about 50% of relapses happen within the first 12 weeks after intensive treatment. Taking course over a few days to months, a relapse will develop in three stages:

What Is the Emotional Relapse Stage?

This would be considered the first phase of relapse. You might be experiencing different emotions at once after recovery and have difficulty coping with them. Isolating and suppressing emotions are some of the common ways people will cope. The subconscious desire to escape serves as a relapse trigger by laying a foundation. You might not show up to meetings and tend to focus on the problems of others. The longing to use again creeps in the shadows of your mind. Recognizing denial through self-care would be a productive way to manage these feelings.

How Do I Know If I’m in the Mental Relapse Stage?

The mental stage of relapse is best described as the awareness of conflict revolving around sobriety. Maintaining sobriety is a fight of endurance and skill. You might be grappling intense cravings and battling thoughts that could send you over the deep end. The danger of romanticism plays a role, as daydreaming of previous experiences fills you up. These relapse triggers can come in the form of remembering early days of use. You could begin to rationalize a lapse by minimizing the consequences of “just using this one time”. 

Am I In the Physical Relapse Stage?

The physical relapse stage is noted as the final stage of relapse. Typically at this point, you might find yourself surrounded by addiction triggers and your resolve has lessened. If you struggle with addiction, you might find it challenging to pace yourself and end up diving deeper. This could start as one drink or starting to place small bets to give you that quick escape. The thoughts and cravings have been clouding your mind and it was only a matter of time.

What Happens If I Do Relapse?

Roughly 60% of people in recovery will relapse. It might feel as though the fight is over and there is nothing worth coming back to. This is far from the truth and it should be reiterated that this fight doesn’t have to be a lonesome one. Since there isn’t an overall relapse prevention program, seeking guidance from your support system and counselor would be the next step to see where you can improve. Updating your relapse prevention plan would serve as a great alternative to what you could be experiencing. By working on prevention, it would better suit you to seek alternatives that might function better to your needs.

What Is a Relapse Prevention Plan?

A relapse prevention plan is a set of guidelines to monitor your triggers and outline ways for you to maintain sobriety. A relapse prevention plan can be effective to prevent triggers that cause addiction on a specific basis. A recovering person should brainstorm scenarios and situations that could initiate relapse triggers. It is important to act out these circumstances to have a practical understanding of how to deal when it comes to acting. Relapse prevention is characterized by monitoring, medications, along with therapy/skill development.

What Treatment Options Are Available?

Rehabilitation is still an option if you feel as though your journey requires more attention. The highlight would have to be therapy and alternative treatment options tailor to this period. An outpatient treatment program might be geared for your needs if this was a singular incident, but it’s important to be honest with yourself. Maintaining a structured schedule and relationships with your support system will be an entry point. 

Ask for Help with Intrepid Detox

Over at Intrepid Detox, we understand that relapse is another obstacle to overcome in the fight against addiction. Self-compassion is necessary to deal with the effects of shame, guilt, and fear from relapse. Seeking treatment should be reliable and transparent to meet your needs. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, feel free to contact us to begin your recovery.

Woman having stomach pains from benzo belly

Benzo Belly: What Causes It?

Benzo belly is a withdrawal symptom many people experience when quitting benzodiazepines, also known as benzos. People who try to quit cold turkey may have some uncomfortable consequences. Still, medical detoxes provide a safe way for them to stop taking the drug in an environment that stimulates their minds and bodies with healthy activities.

Benzodiazepines and Benzo Belly 

Benzodiazepines play an important role in the medical world, though they can be overwhelmingly addictive. More than 12% of Americans use benzos, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Benzo abuse is not the most common prescription drug addiction, but 2% of the 30 million people who take benzos are addicted to them. 

According to a national survey, over 17% of the 30 million Americans who take benzos have abused their prescription at least once before. Misuse of benzos can easily translate into a substance use disorder as the drug can be extremely addictive. 

Benzo Belly: Benzo Withdrawal Symptoms

Benzo belly can refer to a variety of withdrawal symptoms from benzos. It is possible for people to experience benzo belly even if they are not misusing the substance. That being said, benzo withdrawal symptoms such as benzo belly can last anywhere from a few weeks to over a year. Possible benzo withdrawal symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Restlessness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Hand tremors
  • Headache
  • Racing pulse
  • Sweating
  • Hyperventilation
  • Aches and pains
  • Panic attacks
  • Depression
  • Abnormal boy sensations
  • Increased physical sensitivity
  • Issues with memory or concentration
  • Visual disturbances
  • Delirium
  • Grand mal seizures
  • Hallucinations

Consistent benzo use can lead to a physical and psychological dependence on the drug. Since benzos change brain chemistry, the brain adapts to its new normal, which can lead to issues when stopping benzo use cold turkey. Symptoms more closely related to benzo belly include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Appetite changes

Research shows that stopping benzo use can trigger mental illness as well. One study reports that rebound anxiety may occur after a person’s last dose of benzodiazepines if they have a psychological dependence. 

benzo belly

What Causes Benzo Belly?  

When a person consumes benzos, it affects their central nervous system (CNS). The CNS is made up of the brain and spinal cord. When people consume these drugs, it impacts how they think since it affects neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters send messages throughout the body to deliver information from one neuron connection or pathway to another. 

One way in which consuming benzos alters thinking patterns is by targeting neurons with certain chemicals like GABA, for instance. Not only does GABA cause sedation when consumed, but it also slows down neurotransmission within those cells. Benzo belly happens partly due to what this drug has done on your body’s central nervous system.

What Is GABA?

GABA, or gamma-aminobutyric acid, is one of the types of neurotransmitters within the brain. It is one of the most common types of brain hormones found within the central nervous system. GABA is known as an inhibitory neurotransmitter, meaning it slows down the messages that neurons send throughout the brain and body. This results in the body’s systems slowing down and becoming more relaxed. 

Benzos target and bind to GABA receptors. By doing so, they block the receptors, causing GABA to sit in the brain and not move elsewhere. This gives the user a calming effect since the brain has more GABA to work with. 

Benzo Belly: What Causes It?

The central nervous system is complex. When something is off-balance within the body and brain, the CNS tries to maintain balance in different ways. When involving benzos for a long period, the brain becomes conditioned to the receptor blockage, which leads to less GABA production or even less production of the receptors that receive it. 

Withdrawal from benzodiazepines is mostly derived from a lack of GABA within the brain. In this instance, the brain is unbalanced and can’t cope with the chemical imbalance, leading to a violent reaction, such as benzo belly. 

Benzo belly can also occur if someone develops a tolerance to benzos and increases their dosage to feel “normal.” According to NIDA, the brain becomes less sensitive when a chemical imbalance is present, especially the area of the brain that gives a rewarding feeling. As a person’s benzo tolerance increases, they will need more of the substance to receive the rewarding feeling substances as benzos provide. 

The Gut-Brain Connection

According to a Harvard Medical School blog, the brain directly affects the GI tract (gastrointestinal tract). The stomach and intestines are contained within the GI tract, and if the brain sends down troubling signals to the system, it can cause irritation. For example, this gut-brain connection is responsible for when people feel disgusted or nervous, and they become nauseous, and in some cases even vomit. 

When people experience brain chemistry imbalance from a lack of GABA, the brain sends signals to the GI tract. In some cases, the distress can result in benzo belly and other extremely uncomfortable and sometimes fatal withdrawal symptoms. 

What Are Benzodiazepines? 

Benzodiazepines, commonly known as benzos, are a type of psychoactive drug classified as a depressant. Depressants lower brain activity and are used to treat conditions like insomnia, anxiety, and seizures. Benzos are depressants that increase the effect of GABA, which results in sedative, anxiolytic, hypnotic, anticonvulsant, and muscle relaxation properties. 

High doses of benzos can cause dissociation and anterograde amnesia. This makes benzodiazepines useful in intermediary or short-term use. Overall, benzos are viewed as effective and safe for short-term use. Short-term use usually means about two to four weeks. While taking benzos, even for a short period, cognitive impairment and aggression or behavioral disinhibition effects can occur. 

Common benzodiazepines include:

  • Diazepam (Valium)
  • Lorazepam (Ativan)
  • Alprazolam (Xanax)
  • Triazolam (Halcion)
  • Oxazepam (Serax)
  • Clonazepam (Klonopin)
  • Chlordiazepoxide (Librium)
  • Flurazepam (Dalmane)

Benzos are often used for more than just putting people in a state of relation. Some benzos relax muscles, which makes them effective for treating muscle spasms. In some circumstances, benzos can help people fight symptoms of alcohol withdrawal. Though benzos have a relatively high risk of addiction, it may not be the best course of action for individuals with highly addictive traits. 

Benzo Belly Relief

Benzo belly is not a curable issue. This condition varies from person to person and can range from mild to severe. However, benzo belly relief can be found in a number of ways. Since it is a GI issue, there are steps you can take to find relief. Changes in diet and other similar issues having to do with the gut can impact benzo belly relief. 

Those looking for benzo belly relief should avoid greasy foods or other foods known to upset the stomach. Therefore, people suffering from benzo withdrawal symptoms should stick to nutritious and light meals.

Studies show that acidic and spicy foods can make the effects of benzo belly worse. It may help to take probiotics to aid digestion. Fermented foods like kimchi and sauerkraut can be beneficial since some probiotic dairy products can cause an upset stomach. 

Addiction Treatment For Benzodiazepines

Alcohol and drug addiction require professional intervention. At Intrepid Detox Residential, we provide a continuum of care that balances evidence-based traditional programs with holistic treatments catered to each individual. Benzo withdrawal symptoms are extremely dangerous, and it is crucial detox is done in a medically assisted setting. After a successful detox, we offer residential treatment, intensive outpatient treatment, followed by outpatient and aftercare.

Medical Detox

Medical detox is essential in the treatment process for a variety of reasons. Simply put, detox ensures that each individual in treatment is beginning their road to recovery with a completely sober mind and body. More importantly, medical detox programs provide a safe environment for people to stop using and, in some cases withdrawal, from the substance they are addicted to. 

Depending on the substance, withdrawal symptoms can be severely uncomfortable and even fatal. Benzo withdrawal symptoms are known to be some of the most severe. Therefore, anyone stopping the use of benzos should seek a medical detox program that will provide the necessary medical attention and medication.  

Inpatient Drug Rehab 

Inpatient rehab, also known as residential treatment, is the next step after a successful detox. Most inpatient programs last from 30 to 45 days, or even longer, depending on the severity of the addiction. At Intrepid, we offer a tailored program that is unique to each individual. Our addiction specialists help create a customized treatment plan that fits each person’s needs. 

Inpatient treatment works well for people with moderate to severe addiction since it provides 24/7 support and monitoring. This live-in program is structured and designed to help people live a sober and fulfilling life while learning skills that help prevent relapse

Outpatient Drug Rehab

Outpatient programs do not require people to live at the treatment facility. For some, this can be beneficial since they can keep some home responsibilities when they return home after treatment. For others, the lack of complete structure and monitoring can present a high risk of relapse. 

In addition, outpatient rehab is less expensive than inpatient, but cost should not be a limiting factor when talking about addiction. Many people use outpatient rehab as a transitional level of care after completing inpatient treatment. Although Intrepid doesn’t offer outpatient programs, we do have other calculated levels of care. This puts our clients in the best position to maintain and sustain sobriety and a healthy living style. 

Find Help at Intrepid Detox

Addiction is a battle that should not be fought alone. Benzo addiction is highly dangerous but also treatable. If you or a loved one are struggling with benzo addiction or trying to stop using substances, please call us today. 

Our trained staff can help you work through benzo withdrawal symptoms in the most comfortable and safe way possible. Freedom from addiction is just one call away. 

substance abuse treatment and family therapy

The 5 Most Serious Effects of Substance Abuse on Family Members

Substance abuse is a problem that affects millions of Americans throughout the country and around the world, but these individuals are not the only ones suffering from the effects of substance abuse. Family members are also heavily impacted by the addiction of a loved one. 

Substance abuse undoubtedly influences families of all structures, but there are treatments and family therapy to help recover and move forward with healthy relationships. The mental, physical, and economic burdens of addiction can have ripple effects throughout an individual’s family. Let’s take a look at how substance abuse affects the family in five different ways. 

1. Damaging to Family Relationships

The symptoms of substance abuse and addiction can have severe effects on an individual’s relationships. If a person is dealing with substance abuse, they may be manipulative, deceitful, abusive, and exhibit other unhealthy traits. Individuals with addiction are dealing with a complex chronic disorder that isn’t necessarily cured once they progress through treatment. Recovering addicts need a strong support system and individuals who relapse cause their family more pain and frustration, but relapse can be a part of the disorder. 

All stages of an addiction, including relapse, can have an impact on family relationships, but the effects may vary depending on the family structure. If an individual is dealing with substance abuse, their parents will most likely give them more attention in an attempt to help or even hide the substance abuse. In these cases, siblings can become victims of feelings of neglect, loneliness, resentment, and anger. Siblings of substance abusers are sometimes referred to as “invisible victims” due to the challenges they face, often silently. 

The damage done to family relationships through substance abuse certainly does not exclude parental relationships. As expected, parental relationships undergo extreme stress, tension, and potentially abuse with a child being affected by substance abuse. Parents may feel a multitude of emotions and thoughts toward their child dealing with an addiction. This can cause enabling their loved one’s actions in some cases, but remaining open and supportive is an incredibly high priority. 

Addiction is a chronic disease and if a parent is embarrassed, negative, and unsupportive then relapse is all the more probable. So, although parents are heavily affected, sometimes even manipulated, they can also have an incredibly positive effect in return. Intrepid Detox has more information about how to get help for a loved one suffering from addiction and other resources. 

2. Abuse Within the Family

Damaging to Family RelationshipsUnfortunately, abuse within families of individuals suffering from addiction is not uncommon. Like previously mentioned, addicts may become manipulative, deceitful, and abusive in order to facilitate their addiction. This can result in an entire family living in a confrontational environment and eventually lead to violence. Abuse within a family is obviously damaging to relationships but depending on the family structure there can be different long-lasting effects for family members. A child of an addict may try to enable, or shift blame from their parent, which could cause them to act out. Additionally, a child may develop social issues that follow them into adulthood. 

Abuse does not only come from the individual dealing with addiction because sometimes the addict can be the victim of abuse. The effects of substance abuse on family can be stressful and painful. Oftentimes family members become frustrated and may physically or emotionally abuse the individual who needs help. Being supportive while also feeling manipulated can be incredibly frustrating, but one of the best things for a loved one suffering from substance abuse is to be there for them. 

3. Effects on Children 

Effects on ChildrenAs previously mentioned, children are heavily affected by having to witness and be around substance abuse in a family. The effects can be long-lasting and according to a study, 1 in 5 children grow up in a home where a parent abuses drugs and or alcohol. Children who have to witness a parent suffering the effects and symptoms of addiction are also more likely to develop substance abuse problems later in their lives. These same children are also more likely to be neglected, along with being physically and sexually abused. Growing up and maturing in an environment affected by substance abuse can hinder a child’s learning and development, but also foster long-term mental and emotional disorders. 

A family environment being affected by substance abuse could be violent, neglectful, emotionally abusive, and exhibit more unhealthy characteristics. A child growing up in this kind of environment is likely to be exposed to aggressive behavior, so they may become troubled and even unstable. The emotional and mental toll of being raised in a dysfunctional environment can cause children to feel extreme guilt, unsafe, unworthiness, and loneliness. In extreme cases, children can be taken from their families and placed in foster care. Children are a great example of why getting treatment for substance abuse is important to more people than just the individual directly receiving care. 

4. Financial Troubles

Substance abuse and addiction come with a number of serious problems and financial troubles are one of the most serious. An addict is responsible for their substance abuse, but they may hurt more than themselves trying to fund their addiction. Not only do most substance abusers lose their job at one point or another, due to issues with performance or attendance, but they typically turn to savings and other valuables to provide for their addiction. If this is the case, a family may have trouble paying for basic needs like rent, food, and utilities. 

In addition to potentially losing a job, individuals dealing with an addiction usually find themselves in trouble with the law. For example, if an individual is arrested for driving under the influence and caught with drugs, they could lose their license. They could also lose their job and the associated cost will cause another series of financial problems. Sometimes an enabler in the family may even supply money or drugs to the individual suffering from addiction, which will only increase the financial problems and prolong the addiction symptoms. 

5. High Stress 

Family members living or dealing with a loved one who suffers from addiction know how it can be incredibly stressful. A spouse may try to protect and hide the addiction from their children, family, and friends, which could enable the substance abuser. This level of responsibility and stress, while also assuming parenting duties can strain relationships and lead to abuse, neglect, and an unhealthy family environment. The added responsibility of caretaking can also induce a lot of stress, as individuals suffering from addiction are usually taken care of by family or another loved one. 

Bills, major decisions, personal hygiene, daily chores, parenting, and more are all things that an individual dealing with substance abuse likely pushes onto their partner. The effects of substance abuse on family members can be stressful and demanding. Parents, siblings, children, and a partner will all be more prone to elevated stress. High levels of stress can result in symptoms such as:

  • Headaches
  • High blood pressure 
  • Anxiety 
  • Insomnia 
  • Chest pain and more

How Substance Abuse Affects the Family

how substance abuse affects the familyDifferent family structures react to substance abuse differently, but all families are affected. There can be common emotions running throughout the family such as blame, loneliness, fear, and plenty more. Despite all these emotions, actions, and hardships, families still need to communicate and remain open and sympathetic with each other. When considering how substance abuse affects the family, it can be important for the entire family to undergo therapy. This will help them all work through their problems and learn to build trust again. These are some common side effects of substance abuse that can directly influence a family:

  • Withdrawal 
  • Financial troubles
  • Exposure to drugs
  • Poor school performance 
  • Reckless or irrational behavior inside the home
  • Stealing money from a parent(s) and or sibling(s) to support an addiction 
  • Running away from the home 

The relationship between family and drug addiction can be deep and the chronic disease never truly goes away. Due to the hardships that come with treating and recovering from substance abuse, individuals need a strong support group. This is vital to helping them avoid relapse and returning to their addiction later. An individual is still responsible for their own actions, whether the substance abuser is a parent or their child. However, it’s never too late to get help and move forward with a fulfilling and healthy life. 

Intrepid Detox Can Help You and Your Family

Substance abuse and addiction are problems that affect more than just the user. Family, friends, and other loved ones will all be affected in one way or another. These effects are symptoms of treatable and fixable issues. Addiction can ruin an individual’s life, but through substance abuse treatment and family therapy, recovery is possible. 

Social and economic troubles as a result of addiction should never be taken lightly, but mental and physical problems are just as dangerous. As this list shows, the effects of substance abuse on family members can be intense. Don’t wait. Contact Intrepid Detox for more information on how to find recovery for yourself or a loved one today. 

References:

Opiate Withdrawal Timeline

Opiate Withdrawal Timeline: What Should I Expect?

Understanding what an opiate withdrawal timeline will look like is important for addicts and their loved ones. It is too common for users to reject even trying to become sober out of fear of opiate withdrawal. After all, opiate withdrawal is very painful and could even be fatal. However, professional detox with medical supervision could minimize the painful effects of opioid withdrawal. 

An opiate addict will fabricate justifications for not getting sober – fear of withdrawal is a popular one. By familiarizing oneself with an opiate withdrawal timeline and understanding how a medically supervised opiate withdrawal transpires, an addict and their loved ones can feel confident about sobriety.   

What are Opiates?

To understand how a body reacts during opiate withdrawal, one must understand how opiate usage affects the body. Opioids are a large class of drugs, including heroin, oxycodone, codeine, morphine, and many more. 

Opioids are effective pain relievers because, when consumed, they attach to proteins on nerve cells in the brain, spinal cord, and other parts of the body. Essentially, opioids tell your brain that you are not in pain by blocking the pain messages sent from an injury through the spinal cord to the brain. 

Statistics about the opioid crisis are simply terrifying. 1.27 million Americans are currently receiving medication-assisted treatment for opioid withdrawal. In 2016, 297 people out of every 100,000 suffered opioid-related hospitalizations. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, synthetic opioids are the most common cause of overdoses. In 2019, over 70% of the 70,630 overdoses involved an opioid. In the 20 years between 1999 and 2019, about 500,000 people died from opioid usage.

How Do People Become Addicted to Opioids?

Opioids release endorphins into the body, which are the brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters. When people start taking opioids, the euphoria created is a result of an excess of brain chemicals. Gradually, the brain stops producing its own feel-good neurotransmitters because the consumed opioids are getting the job done. As a result, a person will need the opioids to return to their regular physical and emotional well-being.

Since opioids are so effective at blocking pain and making users feel good. Every day, countless people suffer injuries and are prescribed opioids. In the few days of taking the prescription to numb the pain, the person has become addicted. Addiction is blind to sex, race, intelligence, or wealth status – anyone can become an opioid addict.

When the opioid effect wears off, the body will want to consume it again. Frequent usage will rewire the body so that the pain is magnified when the user stops taking the drug. As a result, the user will continue taking the opioid, making the addiction more ingrained each time.

Opiate Withdrawal Can be Fatal

Depending on how severe a user’s opiate addiction is, their withdrawal can be fatal once they stop taking the drug. Opiate withdrawal will not directly kill someone. However, the anatomical reactions of opiate withdrawal can. Nausea and diarrhea are common symptoms of opioid withdrawal and can cause dehydration. If the user fails to replace these fluids, they can die. 

Opiate users who get arrested are at risk of dying from an overdose due to a lack of supervision in their cells. As long as jails follow the right protocols to take care of inmates suffering opiate withdrawal, there should not be any deaths. In addition, any addict who experiences withdrawal by themselves is at risk of dying. Besides increasing the chances of death, people who try to detox themselves from opiates have a good risk of resorting to more opiates to relieve withdrawal symptoms.

The Opiate Withdrawal Timeline Will Look Different for Different Users

Opiate Withdrawal TimelineBetween eight and thirty hours after an opiates addict’s last fix, withdrawal symptoms will begin to materialize. The half-life of a drug can accurately predict when cravings will start. The half-life of a drug refers to the time a body requires to expunge half a dose of the drug.

Typically, opioids have a half-life of a few hours. Oxycodone’s half-life is three to five hours. Methadone’s half life is eight to 60 hours. Substances with shorter half-lives will have more intense withdrawal symptoms. 

While these withdrawal symptoms will usually be painful, they should begin to decrease within a few days, and within a week, there will be an apparent improvement in acute symptoms. 

Opiate withdrawal symptoms will range in pain and intensity from mild to severe and can last from a few days to a month. 

Opiate Withdrawal Timeline

As with most good things in life, we need to trudge through the storm to get to the clearing. This can not be more true when it comes to opiate withdrawal. Anyone suffering from opiate withdrawal symptoms should understand that their symptoms will progressively lessen. Time simmers all physical dependency. Most drug users just need to lock themselves in a room for a week, and the addiction will be reduced. However, because opiate withdrawal symptoms can be so painful, opiate withdrawal must transpire with medical supervision.

Anyone considering giving up opiates needs to familiarize themselves with the opiate withdrawal timeline. Opiate withdrawal symptoms are different for different users, but generally, they can be forecasted, making this painful and imperative experience easier for the addict and their loved ones.

Day 1: Opiate Withdrawal

Day one of opiate withdrawal will start bad and end worse. During that first day, individuals may experience cravings, headaches, anxiety, muscle aches, insomnia, eyes tearing, excessive sweating, aggression, and appetite loss. Day one of opiate withdrawal symptoms usually correlates with fears of the withdrawal process. The recovering addict understands that his cravings and anxiety are about to get a lot worse. As a result, day one of opiate withdrawal is plagued with anxiety and drug-seeking behavior.

Day 2: Opiate Withdrawal

Day two of opiate withdrawal symptoms will include all the symptoms from day one and more. Individuals can experience body tremors, panic attacks, muscle spasms, and increased blood pressure. On day two of opiate withdrawal, individuals will see an increase in anxiety and restlessness. Individuals may become nauseous, they might start vomiting, and they might suffer from stomach aches. The worse that the symptoms become, the more cravings and drug-seeking behavior will endure.

Day 3: Opiate Withdrawal

Depending on the sort of opiate the user has been taking, the peak of symptoms will occur during the third day of opiate withdrawal. Individuals going through this vicious stage should drink plenty of water and eat nutritious food. It is important to keep the body hydrated and healthy. On this day, there is a good chance that the detoxing individual may not have an appetite. In that case, they should eat whatever they can, including soups and mashed potatoes, anything that is easy on the stomach and does not require much chewing. Cravings and urges will be strongest on this day.

Day 4: Opiate Withdrawal

Day four of opiate withdrawal will see a continuation of all previous symptoms. Individuals could see their peak of withdrawal symptoms on day four. Additional symptoms may include shivering and enlarged pupils. 

Day 5: Opiate Withdrawal

Some users experience a tapering off of physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms on this day. Individuals may start to feel better on this day. However, withdrawal symptoms may last weeks or even months for some users. Until all opiates have left the body, people will continue to feel increased anxiety, trouble sleeping and lingering drug cravings. 

Day 6 and After: Opiate Withdrawal 

During this stage, the physical withdrawal may be gone, but individuals will continue to be affected by lingering symptoms. Mood swings, drug dreams, poor concentration, depression, and insomnia are just some of the afflictions that may affect an individual. In addition, environmental triggers that may lure someone into relapse are potential hazards.

How Does Medical Detox Help Minimize Symptoms and Cravings?

opiate withdrawal timelineA detox can take place three ways; alone, with friends or family, or medically. The first two scenarios are dangerous. Even under the supervision of friends or family, something can go wrong. If someone does something wrong or doesn’t know what to do, serious consequences could unfold, including death.

Medical detox is the most effective way to minimize both the painful symptoms and the length of time of withdrawal. For starters, medical detox is medically supervised. In addition, individuals undergoing a medical detox receive specific medications that help to reduce the severity of withdrawal.

During medical detox, the supervising team will use certain medicine that has been proven to assist those going through opiate withdrawal. The following medication is often used during a medically supervised detox:

Clonidine

Clonidine is prescribed mainly to reduce blood pressure and suppress withdrawal symptoms, such as anxiety and stress. The extended-release tablet is taken once or twice a day. It could also come in the form of a wearable patch. Clonidine does not provide the euphoric sensations that come with opioid painkillers. As a result, Clonidine will not become habit-forming.  

Methadone

Once upon a time, methadone was the most widely used medication in detox situations. It has since been replaced with buprenorphine. Methadone is effective in weaning patients off of their addictions. However, the reason that methadone has been largely replaced is that it is a long-acting opioid. Most of the medical community does not approve of replacing one opioid with another.

Buprenorphine

Frequently used in treatment for alcoholism, buprenorphine is also very effective in treating opiate withdrawal. The drug decreases withdrawal symptoms. The drug can be injected, placed under the tongue, as a skin patch, an implant, or placed in the cheek.

How to Perform a Detox Quickly

The purpose of rapid detox is to make the detox process as quick as possible. Detox is a harrowing experience, so the faster the process, the less painful and the more likely an effective outcome will transpire. There are two methods of speeding up the detox process:

Rapid Detox

In a rapid detox, the patient is given different medications that have been proven to speed up detox.

Ultra-Rapid Detox

In an ultra-rapid detox, general anesthesia is used. While the patient is sedated, an opioid blocker is given, causing the body to commence the detox process. When the patient awakes, the most unpleasant symptoms have passed.

If something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. According to the American Addictions website, the rapid detox process is not considered safe. The rapid detox could cause a heart attack, paranoia, infections, relapses, and other afflictions.

Continued Treatment After Detox is the Best Way to Ensure Sobriety

When the patient finally walks out of detox, he or she is certainly on the road to recovery. However, they have just begun their voyage; a few oceans and a few mountains still must be traversed. Some people may be in treatment for the rest of their lives. After all, detox is just to expunge substances from the body. In terms of changing an addict’s addictive habits, a detox does nothing.

According to the Principles of Effective Treatment by the NIDA, National Institute on Drug Abuse, number five is “Remaining in treatment for an adequate period of time is critical.” This statement is supported by extensive research illustrating that most addicts need AT LEAST three months of drug treatment to reduce or stop drug use.

When a patient leaves their rehab program early, not all the blame should lie with the patient. Clinics and programs need to develop strategies that keep their patients in treatment. 

Number eight on the same NIDA document, Principles of Effective Treatment, is that “An individual’s treatment and services plan must be assessed continually and modified as necessary to ensure that it meets his or her changing needs.”

A recovering addict will see a lot of ups and downs. The most effective way to ensure sobriety is to modify the intensity of the patient’s therapy to match their changing needs and lifestyles. A team of experienced medical professionals is required to accomplish such a task. 

What Sort of Treatment is Available Post-Detox?

Opiate Withdrawal TimelineThe best way to achieve sobriety after detox is to follow a mapped-out journey. After detox, depending on the severity of their addiction, a person will go to inpatient or outpatient rehab. The most significant difference between these two forms of rehab is that patients go back home for the night in outpatient rehab. They both provide counseling and introduce patients to many others going through similar lifestyle changes. As a result, these rehab centers provide overwhelming support.

After rehab, patients need to continue their rehabilitation with counseling and therapy. Nowadays, a session with a therapist can be conducted on a computer in someone’s living room. As a result, excuses for discontinuing therapy are hard to come up with.

Contact Intrepid Detox Residential Today

Deciding to get a detox is the first step of a very long road. However, that first step is the hardest and most important. Acknowledging a problem is evidence that a person is determined to defeat it. As this article has illustrated, the road to recovery has many different paths. One wrong turn could easily lead to a relapse. 

Speak with an operator at Intrepid Detox Residential to find out what we can offer you. One of the most respected detox facilities in South Florida, Intrepid Detox has been helping people gain sobriety for decades. We have earned the highest level of accreditation in healthcare. Call now to get the best possible results!

References:

Effects of alcohol withdrawal

Does Hypnosis Work to Stop Drinking?

Using hypnosis to stop drinking is an uncommon but potentially impactful practice. Alcohol addiction is a habit that requires support, discipline, and often professional help to break. Alcohol dependency is a continuously growing issue in the United States. Since each person needs a unique route to recovery, hypnosis to stop drinking may help you or your loved one. 

What is Hypnosis?

Hypnosis, or hypnotherapy, is a tool used in a range of fields of scientific study. Hypnosis is essentially a method used to put someone in a relaxed state of mind. The hypnotic state can be compared to a meditative state. This state can be beneficial to turn the subject’s attention internally, bringing mindfulness benefits. 

The primary goal of hypnosis is to relax the conscious mind, letting the subconscious move more into focus. By doing so, the likelihood of the person gaining psychological insight is increased. Studies show hypnosis has been effective in helping people stop smoking. The studies in-depth explain that hypnotherapy can help curb bad habits and influence healthy changes in individuals. 

Many researchers believe hypnosis can be effective for other addictions aside from tobacco. This includes hypnosis to stop drinking and using other substances. However, hypnotherapy is used to treat several conditions, including:

  • Pre-surgery anxiety
  • Headaches
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Menopausal symptoms
  • Hot flashes in breast cancer survivors 
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Chronic pain 

Does Hypnosis Work to Stop Drinking?

Those looking for assistance for severe addictions should speak with an addiction specialist. Hypnotherapy is currently used in treating addiction, substance abuse, and alcohol dependency. Successful hypnotherapy may help an individual address problem drinking, binge drinking, or simply stop drinking altogether. 

Only qualified individuals should perform hypnosis for healthcare. Qualified individuals may include physicians, nurses, psychologists, or licensed therapists. Trained hypnotherapists should not be confused with stage hypnotists. Hypnotherapy is a medical treatment and should be conducted by a medical or clinical professional. 

How Does Hypnosis Work to Stop Drinking?

does hypnosis work to stop drinkingHypnotherapists generally make sure their patient is entirely calm and comfortable before beginning the process. During the session, the patient can expect to discuss their goals and problems. When ready, the hypnotherapist will guide the patient into a relaxation state. This process may include the patient closing their eyes or focusing on a specific visual stimulant. 

The state of relaxation may turn into a hypnotic state or trance. When the hypnotherapist recognizes this state, they may then ask their patient to visualize specific situations.  The therapist may give a patient encouragement to make positive changes in their behavior. The patient may even relive through uncomfortable symptoms. 

Once the therapist is done conducting their exercises, they will gradually guide their patient out of the hypnotic state. The fundamental goal of these sessions is to encourage the patient’s unconscious mind to integrate healthy behavior suggestions from the therapist. In some cases, this is enough for someone to change their habits or stop drinking altogether. 

Benefits of Hypnosis for Alcoholism

Potential benefits of using hypnosis to stop drinking includes:

  • Increased relaxation, short-term and long-term
  • Relief of depression, stress, and anxiety
  • Stronger immune system
  • Long-term substance abuse recovery

It is more likely for people to experience benefits than adverse effects when it comes to hypnosis. In some uncommon cases, short-term adverse effects are possible.

Adverse Effects of Hypnosis for Alcoholism

does hypnosis work to stop drinkingPotential short-term adverse effects or negative consequences include:

  • Drowsiness
  • Anxiety or distress
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Unsuccessful addiction treatment

Individuals that experience psychotic symptoms, such as delusions or other forms of hallucinations, should avoid hypnotherapy. Risks for individuals with severe mental health disorders may include:

  • Stupor 
  • Seizure
  • Dissociation 
  • Worsened mental illness
  • Stress from previous trauma 

Alcohol Abuse and Addiction

Drinking alcohol regularly causes the brain to learn to have a high supply of glutamine. After long-term use, people develop a high tolerance for alcohol, leading to the brain needing to adapt. When someone is dependent on alcohol, issues can arise when they take a break from drinking. This is referred to as alcohol dependence in a physical and psychological sense. 

Alcohol withdrawal symptoms can be dangerous and even deadly in severe addiction situations. Therefore, it is essential to work with a professional and detox in a controlled environment. Addiction is a cycle, and once tolerance develops into dependency, severe withdrawal symptoms may occur. 

Research shows high levels of glutamine worsen withdrawal symptoms. Many facilities utilize hypnosis to not only help people stop drinking but also to manage symptoms.

Withdrawal Symptoms and Excess Glutamine

The primary role hypnosis plays in alcohol addiction is to deter the person from ingesting alcohol. GABA is a neurotransmitter in the brain that allows different parts of the body’s system to communicate. GABA’s central role is to regulate the body’s nervous system.

Successful GABA function means the neurotransmitter helps decrease anxiety and other mental health symptoms. Unfortunately, GABA and alcohol do not mix well. Alcohol consumption can lead to GABA withdrawal, which may be expressed in persistent worrying, intrusive thoughts, and other mental health issues. Excess glutamine builds up in the body through the cycle of addiction and is a significant factor regarding withdrawal symptoms. 

Effects of alcohol withdrawal may include: 

  • Nausea, vomiting, and stomach pain
  • Fatigue
  • Swelling and bloating – specifically in the arms, legs, feet, and hands 
  • Constipation or diarrhea, gastrointestinal issues
  • Tremors
  • Hallucinations
  • Headache, dizziness, or confusion
  • Dry throat and mouth
  • Flu-like symptoms, increased perspiration, and elevated temperature 
  • Joint pain often in the shoulders or back
  • Muscle spasms
  • Convulsions
  • Seizures

Treatment Options for Alcoholism

does hypnosis work to stop drinkingHypnosis to stop drinking is one element of the journey of sobriety. At Intrepid Detox, we offer several programs. These programs are designed to cater to many different circumstances. Some may have success using hypnosis to stop drinking, while others may require a combination of treatment for alcoholism.

Multi-Phased Methods

Intrepid cultivated a multi-phased treatment method over time that has proven successful to be for our clients. The method is meant to help gradually introduce our clients to a healthy, sober lifestyle. 

The continuum of care starts with the foundation of recovery:

  1. Medical Detox
  2. Residential Treatment
  3. Partial Hospitalization or Intensive Outpatient Treatment
  4. Outpatient Treatment, Sober Living, and Aftercare

Medical Detox for Alcoholism

At Intrepid Detox, our first step towards recovery is detox. Our medical detox program includes a clinical and medical assessment, addiction education, and physical stabilization. During medical detox, each client rids their body of toxins left over from substance use. This ensures each person in treatment will have a sober body and mind. The length of a medical detox depends on the patient. Some patients work through this step faster than others, but the principle goals remain the same:

  • Healthy coping tools
  • Relief from mental compulsion
  • Physical stabilization 
  • Essential life skills 

Residential Treatment 

Residential, or inpatient treatment is a more intensive level of treatment. Residential treatment is early on the continuum of care but is a core pillar of substance use recovery. Residents will live in our South Florida facility with access to our amenities and countless programs. During treatment, our clients can expect to build a vast knowledge of the 12-step program. We offer alternative forms of treatment as well, helping residents learn about spiritual connection and healing the whole self. 

Residential care includes many comprehensive treatments at Intrepid Detox. When fighting addiction, it is vital to develop tools for physical, mental, and emotional battles you will face during recovery. The following approaches may be used alongside hypnosis to stop drinking:

  • Individual counseling
  • Group counseling
  • Family or couples counseling
  • Recreational Therapy
  • Skill-building opportunities
  • Alone time
  • Meditation therapy
  • Holistic therapy

Intensive Outpatient Treatment

Intensive outpatient programs (IOPs) are an alternative to residential treatment. We recommend clients with a more severe substance addiction join our residential program since it offers a higher level of care and 24/7 support. IOPs work well for our clients with less severe substance addiction. IOPs offer similar programs, like 12-step. But in an IOP, clients live off of the facility in sober living homes. Clients in an IOP can expect to attend daily treatment sessions and other therapeutic programs. 

Aftercare

Aftercare programs are often personally customized to fit the needs of the individual. The journey of recovery does not stop after the completion of treatment. At Intrepid Detox, we will work with you to develop a plan going forward. We often help our clients find stable employment, plan to return to school, or find other opportunities. Aftercare is essential in minimizing the risk of relapse and a continued support system. 

Dual Diagnosis Treatment

Many individuals that join treatment have co-occurring disorders, also known as dual diagnoses. Dual diagnosis refers to a combination of mental health issues a person experiences. Most commonly, someone with co-occurring disorders suffers from addiction and another mental health disorder such as depression, anxiety, bipolar, post-traumatic stress disorder, or schizophrenia.

Many addiction issues begin as a coping mechanism for another aspect of life. Unfortunately, when dealing with complex mental disorders, substances may seem to help cope with the disorder’s symptoms. The coping is short-lived and creates an easy path for addiction to sneak into every aspect of the struggling person’s life. 

We offer specialized treatment for patients with a dual diagnosis. Treatment methods for co-occurring disorders help the individual cope with mental illness while beating addiction. Co-occurring disorders are a battle no one should fight alone. 

Get Help Today at Intrepid Detox

Whether you are looking for hypnosis to stop drinking or other treatment methods, Intrepid Detox can help. We base our programs around relapse prevention and help you or your loved one break down the unhealthy habits that lead to addiction and substance use. Each person deserves a chance to fight their addiction, and it does not need to be done alone. Please call us today for more information.

alcohol myths

11 Common Myths About Alcoholism

Although we know more about the effects of alcohol than we did in the past, there are still some popular myths about alcoholism and drinking problems. Learning the truth as opposed to the myths can help you make healthy decisions.

1. If you can “hold your liquor,” you have a lower risk of alcoholism.

This is one of the long-standing myths about alcoholism. Truth: Having a few drinks without feeling any effects sounds like a good thing. However, if you need to drink increasing amounts of alcohol to feel an effect, this is called tolerance. This could be a sign that you have a problem with alcohol.

2. You won’t become an alcoholic if you only drink on weekends.

Truth: You don’t need to be a daily drinker to have a problem with alcohol. Heavy drinking is defined by how much you drink in a day or in a week. 

You may be at risk if you:

  • Are a man and have more than four drinks in a day or more than 14 drinks a week
  • Are a woman and have more than three drinks a day or more than seven drinks in a week

Drinking this amount or more is considered heavy drinking, even if you only drink on the weekends. Heavy drinking can also put you at risk for health problems such as heart disease, stroke, liver disease, sleep disturbances, and some types of cancer.

3. The risk of having an alcohol use disorder (AUD) decreases as you get older.

Truth: In case you thought that alcoholism has to start early in life, the fact is that some people develop alcohol problems at a later age.

People become more sensitive to alcohol as they get older. Some people take medicines that make the effects of alcohol stronger. Sadly, some older adults may start to drink more because they are bored or feel lonely or depressed.

Even people who never drank much when young can have problems with drinking as they get older. A healthy range of drinking for men and women over 65 is:

  • No more than three drinks in a single day
  • No more than a total of seven drinks in a week

Adults aged 65 and older tend to drink less than they used to, but 40% of them still drink. Because of the way the body breaks down alcohol with age, they often feel the effects quicker. Signs of alcohol dependence particular to older adults include:

  • depression and anxiety,
  • loss of appetite,
  • mysterious bruises, and
  • poor hygiene or cleanliness.

Alcoholism Myths4. If you only drink wine or beer, you don’t have a problem.

Truth: Problem drinking isn’t about what you drink. It’s about how it affects your life. If you can answer “yes” to two of the following statements, you have an alcohol problem:

  • Sometimes you drink more or longer than you planned to.
  • You haven’t been able to stop or cut down on your drinking on your own, even though you have tried to or you want to.
  • You spend a lot of time drinking, being sick from drinking, or getting over the effects of drinking.
  • Sometimes your urge to drink is so strong, you can’t think about anything else.
  • Because of your drinking, you take care of your responsibilities at school, work, or at home. Maybe you keep getting sick because of drinking.
  • You continue to drink even though it’s causing problems with relationships.
  • You have cut back or quit taking part in activities that you used to enjoy. Now you use that time to drink.
  • Drinking has led to situations that could lead to you or someone else getting injured, such as driving while drunk or unsafe sex.
  • Drinking makes you feel anxious, depressed, and forgetful or causes other health problems, but you continue to drink.
  • You need to drink more than you used to to get the same effect from alcohol. 
  • When the alcohol wears off you have symptoms of withdrawal. These could include tremors, sweating, nausea, insomnia, seizures, and hallucinations.

5. Drinking is a good way to take the edge off chronic pain.

Truth: Pain relievers and alcohol are a bad mix. Drinking while taking painkillers may increase your risk of liver problems, stomach bleeding, and other issues. Additionally, drinking to relieve pain increases your risk for alcoholism. Most people need to drink more than a moderate amount to relieve pain.

Also, as you increase your tolerance for alcohol, you will need to drink more to get the same pain relief. Drinking at that level increases your risk for alcohol dependence and addiction. Ironically, long-term alcohol use can actually increase pain. If you have withdrawal symptoms from alcohol, you may become more sensitive to pain. Heavy drinking over a long time can also cause a certain type of nerve pain.

6. If you drink too much, coffee will sober you up.

Truth: If you are drunk, only the passage of time can sober you up. Your body needs time to break down the alcohol in your system. The caffeine in coffee will help you stay awake but it won’t help your coordination or decision-making skills. These can be affected for several hours after you stop drinking. This is why it is never safe to drive after you’ve been drinking, whether you’ve had coffee or not.

7. One drink equals whatever I pour in my glass.

Truth: A drink is defined as:

  • 12 fluid ounces of beer
  • 5 fluid ounces of wine
  • 1½ fluid ounces of liquor

Many American glasses and mixed drinks hold much more than one serving. For example, some cocktails count as three or more standard drinks.

8. Drinking makes you more social.

Truth: An alcoholic drink may cause you to lose some of your inhibitions. However, overdoing it can actually hurt your social life. You might say and do things you really shouldn’t. Over time, heavy drinking can harm healthy relationships and cause problems when you fail at your responsibilities at home, school, or work.

9. Kids can safely drink some alcohol.

Truth: Even before birth, drinking can harm children. If mothers use alcohol while pregnant, it increases the risk of learning and behavior problems for their children. Also, young people who begin drinking before age 15 have five times the risk of alcohol problems when they become adults.

10. Alcohol doesn’t cause as much harm as other drugs.

Truth: Drinking can create many health dangers. In the short term, excessive alcohol use can increase your risk of accidents, injuries, and violence.

In the long-term, chronic drinking increases your risk of :

  • liver damage,
  • high blood pressure,
  • irregular heartbeats,
  • depression,
  • anxiety,
  • memory loss, and
  • some types of cancer.

For people with mood disorders or osteoporosis, the risk is even greater.

11. It’s okay to drive as long as you don’t feel drunk.

Truth: Alcohol almost immediately impairs the coordination you need to drive safely, even if you aren’t slurring your speech or stumbling. And you’re still not safe after you stop drinking. The alcohol in your stomach and intestines continues to enter your bloodstream for hours. 

Treatment for Alcohol Use Disorder

Although it is a serious disease, there is treatment for alcohol use disorder. Unfortunately, only about 15-20% of people with alcoholism get help from doctors or treatment programs. A lot of people don’t get help until they are forced to by a court, family member, or employer. 

Still, studies show that 66-75% of problem drinkers are able to make positive changes. Recovery for AUD follows a continuum. Each step flows into the next with the goal being long-term sobriety. Steps along the continuum include:

Detox

The first important step for people with AUD is detox. The point of detoxification is to give your body time to clear out the alcohol and return to a normal balance. Withdrawal symptoms typically begin within six to 24 hours after the last drink. The symptoms can begin even while there is still alcohol in the bloodstream. Most people require a medically supervised detox in a treatment center to help deal with these withdrawal symptoms:

  • Tremors (mainly in the hands)
  • Anxiety
  • Sleep difficulties
  • Unstable heart rate and blood pressure
  • Hallucinations
  • Delirium tremens (DTs): A life-threatening symptom that can make a person restless, confused, and cause seizures, fever, and hallucinations

Individuals in a medically monitored detox receive 24-hour supervision with clinicians available to give medications if necessary. The main goal of detox is to stabilize the patient and prepare them for a formal treatment program.

Residential Treatment Program

The highest level of patient care is offered by a residential (or inpatient) program. In this type of program, the individual lives at the treatment center for a duration of time that meets their needs. This typically ranges from a month to a year. 

Residential treatment provides the patient a secure, safe, and structured environment in which to recover. This allows the addict a safe space free of any triggers or reminders of alcohol use. The focus each day is on them, their recovery, and how to prevent a relapse.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

Also sometimes called partial hospitalization programs, IOPs offer a second level of care. Depending on the severity of the patient’s AUD and their support network at home, this may be a good alternative to a residential program. 

In an IOP, patients are able to live at home and attend therapy and group sessions during the day. It is usually three to five times per week for several hours a day. Because the individual will be living at home, IOPs are frequently used after residential programs as a step along the continuum of care. This is meant to ease the patient back to an unsupervised life while maintaining sobriety.

Outpatient Program (OP)

An OP could be considered the next level of care. These programs are similar to the IOPs but require fewer days at the treatment facility, for fewer hours. Once again, another stop along the continuum of care meant to ease the transition into normal life.

Aftercare or Sober Living Program

If, after completing the formal treatment programs, an individual is still not feeling confident in their sobriety, they may want to enter an aftercare program or sober living residence. Recovering alcoholics find valuable support through continuing therapy, participation in 12-step groups, or sober living homes. Studies show that people who continue in some type of aftercare have a better chance at long-term abstinence and recovery.

How To Help an Alcoholic

Maybe you have a friend or other loved one who is an alcoholic. Now that you know the myths about alcoholism, here are some ways to help.

  • Stop hiding the problem. When everyone knows about it, it can be dealt with.
  • Get support. Make a plan to talk to the alcoholic person with whoever they respect most.
  • Do not attempt to talk to the person when they have been drinking or are stressed.
  • Form a non-accusing team to confront the person with the damage they are doing to themself, their job, and their community. Be specific.
  • If this is the first confrontation, you may want to give them another chance to quit on their own. If they are a long-term drinker, it probably isn’t the first confrontation.
  • If the person has had second chances and failed, they will have plenty of excuses. This is the time to discuss rehab.
  • If they refuse to talk about rehab, family, and friends will need to agree on consequences.
  • If these steps fail, find someone that the individual holds in high regard, or as an authority. Sometimes that person can convince them.
  • Finally, you may reach the point where you need to contact a professional interventionist. Bring in the interventionist and give them all the help they need to get your friend or loved one into treatment.

Getting Treatment at Intrepid Detox

You can get this type of comprehensive treatment for alcoholism at Intrepid Detox. Whether it is for yourself or your loved one, you can be assured that we have the expertise and experience in handling this condition. 

Our clinicians are certified professionals whose only goal is to help you succeed. Plus, many members of our staff were former clients. They understand exactly where you are and what you’re going through. And they are able to relate to family and friends at the same time. Do not hesitate. This issue is too serious to let it go and hope for the best. Contact us now.

Need to Go to Detox

Do I Need to Go to Detox?

Most effective drug treatment programs have several distinct phases. The first phase is almost always medically monitored detox, where men and women are closely monitored as they undergo withdrawal. Individuals who have been abusing drugs or alcohol for any length of time are at risk of experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they stop using chemical substances abruptly.

While most of the time these symptoms are not life-threatening (depending on the type of substance being abused and the severity of abuse), they are usually uncomfortable enough to lead to relapse when attempted in an at-home setting.

Some people mistakenly believe that because their substance abuse disorder was not that severe, they can skip detox and go straight to inpatient or outpatient treatment. It is recommended that those who are serious about maintaining sobriety enter into a medical detox program for at least two to three days. Once they are medically cleared, they can transfer directly into a higher level of clinical care.

If you have attempted to detox on your own and been unsuccessful, entering into a medical detox program is a great idea. However, it is important to know that there can be several roadblocks when it comes to entering into such a program. We have made a list of these potential roadblocks and included effective ways that you can overcome them.

Roadblocks To Medical Detox

1. The age-old problem of “not enough beds.” Most state-run detox facilities fill up fast – so does the detox portion of most hospitals. If you have tried to enter into a state-run detox program beforehand, you might have been turned away and told, “Sorry, we don’t have any more beds.” One great way to avoid this roadblock is by finding a detox program that is privately owned and operated.

Not only will this allow you instant access to quality clinical care, but you will be provided with more services than you would find otherwise. These services often include rehab placement, which can be extremely beneficial if you are looking to enter into the next appropriate level of clinical care once you have completed detox.

2. Financial capability. Most people let the price of medical detox drive them away. It is important to consider the fact that active addiction is not only financially draining, but it robs you of the opportunity to thrive in any area of life. While it is true that medical detox is not always cheap, undergoing treatment pays for itself inevitably.

It is also important to note that many reputable treatment centers and medical detox centers accept regional and national health insurance. At Intrepid Detox Residential we work with most major providers, making medical detox even more accessible. In some instances, we also offer financial assistance – simply reach out to us today for more detailed information.

3. Fear of undergoing withdrawal. Sadly, many men and women who desperately need addiction treatment let the fear of undergoing withdrawal prevent them from entering into a medical detox program. However, the benefit of medical detox is providing a pain-free withdrawal and offering 24-hour access to professional medical care.

While the prospect of experiencing a wide range of physical and psychological symptoms can be scary, it is also important to understand that the longer you go without seeking treatment, the worse the withdrawal symptoms will be when you finally do.

4. Failure to admit that a problem even exists. One of the most difficult parts of the addiction recovery process is admitting to yourself and your loved ones that treatment is necessary. Addiction is a disease of denial, and we very often convince ourselves that nothing is wrong and that we can still stop at any point in time – even when this clearly isn’t the case.

In order to overcome a substance abuse disorder, you will need to acknowledge the fact that your substance use has become a problem. Keep in mind that you don’t need to do this right away – all you really need to do is accept that the withdrawal process will be easier with a little bit of assistance.

5. Personal obligations and responsibilities. Some people are the primary caretakers of one or more dependents, or they have high powered careers that they cannot easily step away from for days at a time. Sometimes personal obligations like these prevent people from seeking the help they need.

If you give us a call, we will gladly help you develop a plan of action that takes these considerations into mind. At Intrepid Detox Residential we offer a flexible program of clinical care that can be modified to fit your personal needs.

If you have been struggling with a substance abuse disorder of any severity, medical detox is always necessary. You might feel as if you can successfully detox on your own, but serious and dangerous complications can occur even when the symptoms of withdrawal are not too severe.

Men and women who attempt to detox in an at-home setting have a very low chance of maintaining sobriety for longer than several days. If you are serious about overcoming a substance abuse disorder long-term and finally going on to lead the life you deserve, Intrepid Detox Residential is available to help.

What To Expect From Medical Detox

What will the detox experience be like? Will you be situated in a luxury facility, wearing a fluffy white bathrobe and sipping on herbal tea? Will you be stuck on a hard cot in a prison-like room, shaking and sweating as doctors pass by the window with clipboards? Most medically monitored detox centers were carefully designed with client comfort in mind. At Intrepid Detox Residential, we provide our clients with an extremely comfortable luxury-style facility, which was decorated to facilitate healing.

We offer a wide range of amenities and services, including private and semi-private bedrooms, around-the-clock access to an incredible (and fully stocked) kitchen, chef-prepared meals and expansive common areas where clients can relax and mingle. There’s really nothing to be scared of or apprehensive about. Reputable detox centers focus on providing a completely pain-free withdrawal experience.

You might not be feeling your best, but we do everything in our power to ensure that you are not feeling your worst. Most of the time, the symptoms of withdrawal are not as severe as people might think. They generally subside within a few days, and they can mostly be treated with a combination of non-narcotic pain relievers and a great amount of rest.

How Long Will Medical Detox Last?

The length of your stay in medical detox depends heavily on what type of substance or substances you were actively abusing, how long your active addiction lasted and whether or not there are any underlying issues present (physical or psychological in nature). Most detox experiences last for between three and five days. However, if chemical substances like alcohol or benzodiazepines were being abused, detox might last for between one and two weeks. You will be released from the detox program and admitted to the next appropriate level of care once withdrawal symptoms have predominantly subsided.

Intrepid Detox Residential – Begin Your Personal Recovery Journey

Don’t let a fear of the unknown prevent you from living the life you deserve. Men and women who struggle with drug addiction or alcoholism often lose sight of how “normal” life can be. Their day-to-day lives are completely consumed by substance use, and normalcy flies out the window completely – out of sight, out of mind. In order to regain the sense of normalcy, you must simply take the first step – reach out for help and admit yourself to a medical detox program. For more information on our program of recovery or to begin your personal journey of healing, reach out to us today.