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The Purpose of Aftercare

What is the Purpose of an Aftercare Program Following Drug Rehab?

Recovery from addiction is a complex process that doesn’t end with detox and rehab.  It is a long-term commitment that a person faces anew each day.  The challenges are endless, and the individual in recovery needs all the support he or she can get.  For that reason, the purpose of aftercare is to help someone reintegrate into society and avoid relapse.

What is Aftercare and Why is it Important?

“Aftercare” is a term used to describe ongoing support and guidance for individuals who have completed rehab.   Adjusting to life can seem overwhelming after leaving the structured environment of rehab.  Also, many people don’t have a supportive family to help them adapt.  The purpose of aftercare is to provide ongoing encouragement, counseling, and support a recovering individual needs during this sensitive time.

Different Types of Aftercare Programs are Available

Aftercare programs vary in the services they provide. Each person has their own specific needs after rehab, and programs are available that focus on those needs.  Here are the different aftercare programs a person can choose:

  • Facility-based programs – In some cases, rehab facilities operate their own aftercare programs.  These can include follow-up therapy, medical evaluations, alumni support groups, or sober-living homes.  During rehab, counselors work with patients to outline an aftercare program that can begin immediately after leaving treatment.
  • Sober living homes – Generally, sober-living homes are residential facilities for people recovering from substance abuse.  Some of the homes are affiliated with a rehab facility or government organization.  Others are independently owned and operated.  The purpose of aftercare in a sober-living home is to provide a structured, drug-free environment.  Also, the homes have a leader, and residents must abide by curfews and other guidelines such as remaining sober and maintaining employment.
  • Self-help support groups – People in recovery are strongly encouraged to attend support group meetings.  Some of the benefits include a sense of stability, a source of advice and information, and a judgment-free atmosphere with like-minded individuals.  Most self-help groups are classified as 12-step programs, although there are other types of groups available.  Of course, the key is that regular attendance keeps a person focused and helps them feel that they are not alone.
  • Therapy and counseling – Regularly scheduled counseling and therapy sessions help those in recovery continue the crucial daily sessions they were accustomed to in rehab.  In the beginning, the sessions may be held weekly.  Over time, the sessions are bi-weekly or monthly as the individual progresses.

Sobriety is a continuous chain of decisions and actions a person in recovery must make daily.  However, there is good news.  Recovery gets easier as new habits, relationships, and routines are formed.

Understanding the Purpose of Aftercare

Furthermore, the purpose of aftercare is to help an individual learn to take responsibility for their future.  Specific guidelines serve as a step-by-step timeline as to when certain goals should be reached.  For instance:

  • Within 30 days after rehab
    • Set goals and how to achieve them.
    • Learn to recognize and respond to negative impulses.
    • Find supportive, healthy living arrangements.
    • Establish a daily routine or schedule.
    • Find and attend at least two different support groups.
    • Meet with a counselor or therapist.
    • Establish a support system to turn to when triggers appear.
    • Get regular exercise or other physical activity.
  • 30 – 90 days after rehab:
    • Continue regular support group meetings at least once a week.
    • Continue counseling or therapy at least once a week.
    • Keep a journal of daily challenges and how you responded.
  • 90 – 180 days after rehab:
    • Work on repairing damaged or broken relationships
    • Talk to a financial planner to develop short or long-term goals.
    • Begin focusing on long-term goals.
    • Experiment with new hobbies or increase focus on one or several.
  • 180 – 365 days after rehab:
    • Celebrate the goals achieved or milestones reached.
    • Pay it forward by helping others who are beginning their own recovery journey.
    • Seek new motivation and ways to spend your time sober.
    • Set 5 or 10-year personal, financial, and professional goals.

These guidelines will give you a preview of the purpose of aftercare.  However, each program differs in its methodologies.  Overall, the purpose of aftercare is to help you reclaim your place in society and enjoy a substance-free lifestyle.

What Happens if You Relapse During Aftercare?

No doubt, maintaining sobriety is not easy, and many people suffer a relapse within the first year after leaving rehab.  Keep in mind that relapse does not mean you have failed.  However, it may be an indication that you need to reenter rehab for awhile.

So, if you have relapsed and need to enter treatment, contact us at Awakenings Rehabilitation today.  Or, if you know someone who is still struggling with addiction, we can help.

Sources: – Treatment and Recovery – Programs for Recovering Alcoholics in Aftercare


Chronic Alcohol Abuse

What are the Effects of Chronic Alcohol Abuse?

Drinking too much alcohol now and then probably won’t damage your health if you are in good physical condition. However, the effects of chronic alcohol abuse can be detrimental to your health, physically and mentally.  Heavy drinking can damage every organ in your body over a period of time. Alcohol is a central nervous system (CNS) depressant.

Effects of Chronic Alcohol Abuse

When a person drinks alcohol, it first enters the stomach and small intestine. From here, it is absorbed in the bloodstream. Once alcohol enters the bloodstream it is circulated throughout the entire body. A person may develop cancer of the mouth, throat, esophagus, tongue, stomach, pancreas, breast, and liver due to chronic alcohol abuse. Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can damage any person’s health, no matter what their age.

Some of the effects of chronic alcohol abuse include but are not limited to:

        • High blood pressure
        • Stroke
        • Loss of attention span
        • Memory loss
        • Trouble learning
        • Diminished white matter and gray matter in the brain
        • Irregular heartbeat
        • Cardiomyopathy
        • Fatty liver
        • Cirrhosis of the liver
        • Alcoholic hepatitis

Long-term heavy drinking can also cause depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder. In fact, chronic alcohol abuse can also cause dementia. 

Binge Drinking and Alcohol Poisoning

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines binge drinking as, a pattern of drinking alcohol that brings blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 percent – or 0.08 grams of alcohol per deciliter – or higher.”

Binge drinking means that a person consumes a large number of drinks in a short period of time, such as two hours. NIAAA defines “heavy drinking” as consuming four drinks in one day for men and drinking more than three drinks in one day for women.

Binge drinking can also lead to alcohol poisoning. Drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short period of time can result in this serious (and sometimes, deadly) condition. Signs of alcohol poisoning include:

        • Vomiting
        • Confusion
        • Seizures
        • Hypothermia (low body temperature)
        • Slowed breathing
        • Pale or bluish skin
        • Passing out or unconscious
        • Irregular breathing such as stopping and starting back taking breaths

If you cannot awaken a person who is unconscious or passed out, call 911 immediately. This person is at risk of dying. Don’t think that the person will just “sleep it off” as many individuals do and just leave them alone.

Knowing the Signs and Symptoms of Alcohol Abuse

By knowing the signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse, you can avoid the effects of chronic alcohol abuse. If you think you are in the early stages of alcohol abuse or that your drinking could lead to abuse or addiction, know the signs to look for. By recognizing these signs, you can seek treatment and prevent more serious problems in the long term.

Signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse include:

        • Having a strong urge to drink
        • Spending a lot of time drinking or recovering from it
        • Oftentimes, drinking more than originally intended
        • Trying to cut down on the amount of drinking unsuccessfully
        • Using alcohol in unsafe situations such as driving or swimming
        • Failing to fulfill obligations and responsibilities because of drinking
        • Needing more alcohol to feel the effects (tolerance)
        • Showing withdrawal symptoms if not drinking alcohol
        • Continuing drinking when it causes family and relationship problems

If any of these signs and symptoms sound like you and your drinking behavior, seek help to avoid long-term physical health problems and the chance of mental problems also. Don’t let alcohol be the reason for declining physical health.

Contact Awakenings Rehabilitation

If you are seeing a pattern in your consumption of alcohol that is leading to more dangerous issues, you don’t have to continue on this path. Seek help from a reputable alcohol and drug addiction treatment facility. Don’t put your future health and happiness at risk. Seek help.

Contact us at Awakenings Rehabilitation today. We can design a treatment program for your individual needs and preferences. One of our representatives can answer any questions you may have about our facility and our many different treatment programs. Contact us now!

Resources: – Drinking Levels Defined – Alcohol Poisoning – Alcohol Use Disorder

Edible THC Products

More Children Getting Sick From Edible THC Products

Poison control centers report a sharp increase in calls about children eating marijuana-infused chocolates, gummies, and brownies. This is happening especially in states where recreational marijuana use has been legalized.   Many of the children are as young as four or five years of age and don’t know what they’re consuming.  So, what do parents who use legalized marijuana need to know about the dangers of children and edible THC products?

Signs That a Child has Consumed Edible THC Products

Young children under the age of 12 are highly susceptible to the effects of THC because of their size and weight.  The doses are for adults, so it will have a stronger and more prolonged effect on a small child.  

When a child consumes edible THC products, the symptoms may take a while to manifest.  Some of the most common signs are lethargy, difficulty breathing, poor coordination, and unresponsiveness.  The onset of symptoms can take from one to four hours and can last for several hours.

A visit to the ER ensures that the child is not in danger from an overdose.  Medical professionals monitor the child until the effects of the drug subside.  In some cases, children remain hospitalized due to severe symptoms.

How Widespread is the Problem of Children Consuming Edible Marijuana? 

As of May 2020, the recreational use of marijuana is legal in 12 states and decriminalized in 26 states.  Also, medicinal use is legal in 34 states.  No doubt, the potential for marijuana getting into the hands of children increases with each new addition to this list.  

The problem of children consuming edible marijuana has increased tenfold in states where recreational use of marijuana is legal.  In Michigan, for instance, calls to 911 increased from 6 in 2017 to 59 this year.  In Maine,19 calls have been made so far this year, which is a 160 percent increase from 2016.  Colorado reports that twice as many kids came to the ER to be treated for THC ingestion since recreational marijuana became legal.  Other states are reporting similar trends.  

Overall, in the United States, children’s exposure to marijuana products rose 147.5 percent.  However, in states where medical marijuana is legal, the figure jumped to 610 percent. 

What’s Being Done to Protect Children?

State marijuana regulators require states to package the products in childproof containers.  But, many people say more oversight is needed.  Jeremy Unruh, a spokesperson for Pharmacann, LLC has this to say about the problem:

“I don’t think anybody is more out in front of this than the cannabis industry right now,” Unruh said. “We agree that rules, regulations, and protocols should be robust enough to discourage or remove the opportunity for minors to unintentionally ingest these products.”

Unruh suggests that parents keep edible THC products locked up and far out of reach of kids.  Also, it is crucial that the products remain in the original, childproof packaging.  

Many instances of children taking the edibles to school and sharing with classmates were reported.  Children need to be warned about the dangers of accepting candy, brownies, or cookies from anyone other than trusted individuals.  

Are You Struggling to Control Your Marijuana Use?

If you are struggling to limit or stop your marijuana use, contact us at Awakenings Rehabilitation today.  Our multi-modality approach to addiction treatment will help you enjoy a drug-free lifestyle that lasts.

Sources:– Map of Marijuana Legality by State– Framingham middle-schooler hospitalized after eating marijuana edible on school bus – Acute Marijuana Intoxication – Drug Alert: Marijuana Edibles

Facts About Withdrawal and Detox

What Are the True Facts About Withdrawal and Detox?

Is the fear of withdrawal preventing you from getting the addiction treatment you need?  Are you listening to people who have tried detoxing on their own and had a terrible experience?  If so, you need to know the straight-up, true facts about withdrawal and detox. With this information, you can put your fears aside and begin your path to a drug-free lifestyle.

Detoxification is not the solution or the magic cure for addiction.  It is only the first step in a comprehensive plan to help a person overcome drug abuse.  Without professional detox, relapse is inevitable. 

Here are the truths about detox and withdrawal you need to know.  

Why Do Most Rehab Centers Require Detox?

The process of detox helps the body rid itself of all traces of an addictive substance.  Withdrawals are medically-monitored to ensure the safety and success of each patient.  After completing detox, a person no longer feels the physical cravings that keep them in the cycle of addiction.  

A person who does not undergo detox is unable to focus on treatment for the emotional aspects of their addictions.  Continued cravings eventually lead them back to their drug use.  This is why most rehab facilities require detox before entering their program.  They want to help a person recover.  However, they know it is pointless to try to counsel someone who is dealing with strong cravings.  For this reason, many rehab facilities provide on-site detox programs.

Yes, Detox Can be Uncomfortable

Depending on the drug involved and the duration of your addiction, withdrawals can be uncomfortable.  Some of the most common physical and emotional symptoms can include the following:

Physical withdrawal symptoms

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Chills and sweats
  • Shakiness
  • Runny nose
  • Muscle aches/pains/cramps
  • Sleeplessness

Emotional withdrawal symptoms

  • Anxiety, agitation, aggressiveness
  • Depression, despair
  • Confusion
  • Apathy, lack of motivation
  • Mood swings
  • Inability to experience pleasure
  • Delirium tremens (DTs)

Generally, these symptoms vary in intensity and duration with each person depending on many factors.  However, medically-monitored detox programs help patients get through these symptoms as safely and comfortably as possible.  Generally, detox takes two to seven days.

More Facts About Withdrawal and Detox You Need to Know

Remember, the withdrawal symptoms are an indication that the chemicals are leaving your body.  Your brain and nervous system are returning to normal.  That’s a good sign.  Here are some more facts about withdrawal and detox you need to know.

What is Medically-Assisted Detox?

Medically-assisted detox refers to a withdrawal process that is supervised by clinicians and medical personnel.  In some cases, medications may be administered to help control or minimize symptoms.  The goal of medically-assisted detox is to ensure the safety and comfort of the patient during the tapering process.  This is one of the facts about withdrawal and detox that often goes overlooked.  

Generally, any drug of abuse can require detoxification.  However, some drugs carry a risk of life-threatening withdrawal symptoms.  Those drugs include opioids, Benzodiazepines. Barbiturates, and alcohol.  Prolonged addiction to these substances can result in dangerous withdrawals such as fever, seizures, hallucinations, high blood pressure, increased heart rate, suicidal thoughts, or coma.  Medically-assisted detox can help minimize these symptoms and ensure a person’s safety during the transition.

Why is Self-Detox Dangerous?

As mentioned above, withdrawing from certain drugs can cause dangerous symptoms.  Also, the process can take months or years, depending on the drug involved.  A person who attempts self-detox will not be able to manage the more severe symptoms, and convulsions, coma, or death are possible.  

Also, self-detox does not address issues such as nutrition and vitamin deficiencies.  However, medical detox programs work to treat all aspects of the addiction for more success in achieving lasting sobriety.  Healthy meals, vitamin supplements, and nutritional guidance are often part of a comprehensive program.

What Happens After Successful Detox?

Completing detox is the first step in your journey to sober living.  Now that your body is cleansed of the toxins, and physical cravings are diminished, it’s time to address the psychological aspects of the addiction. 

Of course, professional rehabilitation programs are the best option for gaining the skills and education needed for preventing relapse.  The goal is to address the emotional factors that contributed to the addiction.  These programs are as follows:

  • Inpatient Addiction Programs

Patients remain within the facility for an extended period.  The goal is to provide a drug-free, secure environment where patients can focus on healing and learn to function as a sober individual.  

Overall, these programs vary in duration and options provided.  However, most facilities offer 30, 60, or 90-day programs or longer if needed.  They include counseling, life-skills training, music and art therapy, relaxation techniques, exercise and fitness routines, cognitive-behavioral therapy, anger management, and more.  

  • Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHPs)

These treatment programs allow patients the flexibility to continue working, living at home, or attending school while in therapy.  Regularly scheduled meetings and counseling sessions are required.  This approach to treatment is ideal for individuals with mild addictions who cannot commit to a long-term inpatient program.

  • Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOPs)

Similar to PHPs, intensive outpatient programs also allow patients to work, attend school, and live at home while receiving treatment.  They provide scheduled counseling, group therapy, and other activities to help a person transition to sober living. 

IOPs are also beneficial for individuals who have recently completed a rehabilitation program.  As a form of aftercare, IOPs can help people transition into society gradually with added support and guidance.

Detox and Addiction Treatment at Awakenings Rehabilitation

Knowing the true facts about withdrawal and detox is a step in the right direction toward overcoming addiction.  Now that you are ready to take back your life, call us at Awakenings Rehabilitation.  We can answer your questions about our program and help you get started on a lifetime of healthy, drug-free living.

Sources: – Withdrawal Management – What is Withdrawal?

How to Have Fun Sober

How to Have Fun Sober: It’s Not as Boring as You Think

One of the first things a person fears about getting sober is boredom.  Their preconceived notion that they will never have fun again keeps many people from seeking treatment.  It’s no surprise that they feel this way considering that our culture equates fun with drinking or drugs.  So, is it possible to have fun sober?  The answer is yes.  Millions of people do it every day.  The truth is, the things you do while drinking are self-destructive patterns of behavior that will not end well.  

Are You Afraid Sobriety Will be Boring?

The trick to remaining sober is to redefine your idea of a good time.  Rather than focusing on what you may be missing, think about all the hangovers you won’t have to deal with.  You wasted many evenings being drunk and wasted most of the next day trying to recover.  Nothing fun about that.  

If you drink and drive, then spend the night in jail because you were caught, that’s seriously boring.  Not to mention the fines, insurance increases, revoked license, criminal record, and embarrassment you’ll probably have to deal with.  So, maybe a sober life is something to consider.  

Life as a sober person has many rewards.  Think back to the days before you started drinking.  You found ways to have fun, and your memories of those days are something you’ll cherish.  As a sober person, you’ll learn to once again take pleasure in the small things and find ways to enjoy each day.

Can You Have Fun Sober?  Here Are a Few Suggestions

  1. Take a new look at old interests.  Some of the things you did before alcohol or drugs came into your life are still there.  Did you love to dance?  Walk on the beach?  Listen to or play music?  Paint?  Rekindle your interest in these activities without getting high first. Look for sober alternatives to continue these interests.  Instead of going to a bar to hear music and dance, try a coffee-house or sober dance club.
  2. Explore new interests.  If you are worried about being bored, find creative ways to fill your time and keep your mind off of partying.  Learn to play an instrument. Take a few classes to further your education.  Try a new hobby.  
  3. Expand your sober community.  You can have fun sober and it is easier when you have a group of like-minded people to share activities with. So surround yourself with new, sober friends through local meetings, alumni events from your treatment facility, community events that don’t promote alcohol, or through support groups in your area.
  4. Take time to take care of you.  Having fun doesn’t always have to mean spending time in a noisy, exciting venue.  Learning to spend quality time alone is a milestone in your recovery.  Find ways to spend some quiet time reading, painting, working a puzzle, watching a movie, the choices are endless.
  5. Do some traveling.  Traveling doesn’t have to involve a grand, expensive excursion.  Visit areas of your city that you’ve never seen.  Have a picnic in the countryside.  Go hiking.  Experiencing new sights and sounds can be rejuvenating.

The key to having fun is to break out of your comfort zone.  Do it gradually to avoid becoming overwhelmed.  Seeing the world through sober eyes can be a little scary at first.  Naturally, you’re concerned about facing the challenges.  So, ease yourself into new experiences one step at a time.

What to Do if You Relapse

Reinventing your life won’t be easy.  In fact, many people have trouble adjusting and relapse within a few weeks or months after leaving rehab.  However, a relapse doesn’t mean that you failed at living a sober life.  If you relapse, don’t give up.  Contact us at Awakenings Rehabilitation right away.  A different treatment approach could be all you need to get back on the path to sobriety.  

Sources: – Protecting Sobriety with the Science of Safety –  8 Tips for Staying Clean and Sober


Connection Between Heroin Addiction and Rx Opioids

Is There a Connection Between Heroin Addiction and Rx Drugs?

Pharmaceutical companies began the aggressive marketing of opioids for pain relief in the 1990s.  Since then, thousands of people are treated for opioid misuse every day. To date, about 218,000 people have died from opioid-related overdoses.  However, we also need to look at the number of heroin deaths and overdoses as well.  It’s possible that many heroin users started out using or abusing prescription painkillers.  Some of them switched to heroin because it is cheaper and easier to obtain.  So, how prevalent is the connection between heroin addiction and Rx opioids?

Studies show that 8 out of 10 people who use heroin abused prescription painkillers first, according to NIDA.  Another study shows that Oxycontin abusers are 19 times more likely to switch to heroin.  

Why Would Someone Switch from Opioids to Heroin?

People switch from opioids to heroin for a number of reasons.  The most obvious reason has to do with the fact that Rx painkillers are tracked.  The tracking system (PDMP) makes it difficult to obtain the large amounts of painkillers an addict requires.  Furthermore, opioid manufacturers have designed pills that are harder to crush, making them more expensive.  

In many cases, the connection between heroin addiction and Rx opioids is a result of costs. For instance, on the streets, a prescription painkiller sells for $30 to $80 per pill, compared to $10 for a bag for heroin.  

Dangers of Heroin Compared to Rx Opioids

Both drugs are highly addictive and produce a range of dangerous side effects.  In fact, heroin is also an opioid.  The main difference is that prescription drugs are manufactured in a controlled environment with strict safety precautions in place.  

When someone purchases Rx opioids, they know what they’re getting.  On the other hand, heroin production is not controlled and it is often laced with other dangerous chemicals.  When buying heroin from a street dealer, a person never knows for sure what they’re getting. 

Today, the most widely used substance for cutting heroin is Fentanyl.  This drug is 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin and is one of the most popular and most deadly chemicals found in heroin today.  Other substances include acetaminophen, quinine, rat poison, cocaine, meth, paracetamol, phenolphthalein, laundry detergent, caffeine, sugar, flour, and more. 

Heroin was involved in more than 14,996 fatal overdoses in the United States last year.  For that reason, it’s important to know the warning signs of a heroin overdose.

Warning Signs of Heroin Overdose

It’s not unusual for substance abusers to combine alcohol, marijuana, or other drugs to enhance the effects of heroin.  Consequently, the chances of overdose increase significantly.  These are some of the warning signs of overdose to be aware of if you know someone who engages in heroin use:

  • Drowsiness
  • Dry mouth
  • Disorientation
  • Small pupils
  • Weak pulse
  • Shallow breathing
  • Low blood pressure
  • Unresponsiveness
  • Coma

If you suspect an overdose, get medical help right away.  Be prepared to provide information regarding the substances involved and how much was ingested.

Other Victims of the Connection Between Heroin Addiction and Rx Opioids

We know that non-medical use of prescription painkillers can lead to addiction and ultimately to heroin abuse.  But, legitimate painkiller use can also have the same result.  Millions of people use prescription opioids daily.  In fact, in 2018, more than 500,000 people on Medicare received opioids for pain. The drugs are for short-term use, but they are addictive.  A person can develop a dependency or addiction even when using the drugs as prescribed.  

Those individuals are often senior citizens who are on fixed incomes.  As the prices of these drugs continue to increase, they can’t afford the medications but are still in need of pain relief.  Many of them resort to buying heroin because it’s more affordable and offers the same painkilling properties.  

Get Help for Heroin or Rx Painkiller Addiction Today

Are you struggling with heroin or painkiller abuse and want to stop?  If so, contact Awakenings Rehabilitation today.  We understand the connection between heroin addiction and Rx opioids and are equipped to treat all aspects of any addiction.  

Sources: – Prescription Opioids and Heroin – The Connection Between Pain Medications and Heroin – Heroin Use Rises as Prescription Painkillers Become Harder to Abuse – Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs (PDMPs) – Characteristics and Consequences of Heroin Use Among Older Adults in the United States

Scope of Alcohol Abuse Today

Is the Scope of Alcohol Abuse in the US Getting Worse?

Alcohol use disorders (AUD) in the United States are on the rise during today’s challenging situation with COVID-19.  Of course, the scope of alcohol abuse was already at shockingly high levels before the virus came along.  For example, in a survey conducted by the NSDUH in 2018 shows that 86.3 percent of people over the age of 18 reported drinking alcohol at some point in their life.  More than 70 percent said they drank in the past year, and 55 percent drank in the past month.  Of those, about 26 percent reported heavy alcohol use or binge drinking in the past month.

Because of the numbers above, The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) once again stresses the importance of educating the public and policymakers, destigmatizing the disorder, and convincing individuals to seek treatment for their drinking problems.  According to their statistics, only about 7.9 percent of adults and 5.0 percent of youth received treatment for AUD in 2018.

Why is the Scope of Alcohol Abuse Getting Worse Today?

While we are calculating the deaths caused by COVID-19, the increasing number of deaths from AUD-related problems continues to rise as well.  In past years, approximately 88,000 people died annually due to their drinking issues.  That number will increase substantially as people use alcohol to help cope with the anxiety and challenges posed by the virus lockdowns.

Post-disaster studies show that substance use and abuse increases dramatically during major traumatic events. Here are a few examples that support the validity of that statement:

  • Some survivors of Hurricane Ike turned to alcohol for solace.
  • After Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, substance abuse soared.
  • During the events surrounding 9/11, binge-drinking and drug consumption increased.
  • Hurricane Sandy saw an increase in opioid abuse.

Impact of Virus Lockdowns on AUD

Experts predict that more than 30 million people will be left jobless during the coronavirus pandemic. 

Also, as we struggle to adjust to social-distancing, joblessness, and the isolation imposed by stay-at-home mandates, some people become bored, lonely, or depressed and worry about how they can provide for their families. 

These emotions can lead to increased substance use as a form of self-medication to escape the fears and stress.  In this way, the scope of alcohol abuse and drug abuse will increase, taking even more lives.

Do You Have an Alcohol Use Disorder?

It’s not difficult for social drinking to escalate into alcohol abuse.  So, if you consider yourself a casual drinker, pay attention to these signs of AUD as listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5):

  • Intense cravings for alcohol
  • Often drink more than you intended
  • Continued to drink despite consequences
  • Lost interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Struggle with withdrawal symptoms when not drinking
  • Engaging in dangerous activities while intoxicated
  • Drinking has interfered with your job or performing daily responsibilities
  • You have driven while drunk
  • Practiced unsafe sex while drunk
  • Are unable to control or cut down on your drinking

Meeting two or more of the above criteria indicates an alcohol use disorder is present.  If you meet two or three of the criteria, you may have a “mild” AUD.  The presence of four or five indicates a “moderate” problem, while six or more indicate a “severe” alcohol use disorder. Those who meet at least two of the criteria over the course of a year-long period have a “lifetime” diagnosis of AUD.

Is AUD Different from Alcohol Abuse or Alcoholism?

The definition of AUD, according to the DSM-5, is as follows:

Problem drinking that becomes severe is given the medical diagnosis of “alcohol use disorder” or AUD.  AUD is a chronic relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive alcohol use, loss of control over alcohol intake, and a negative emotional state when not using.”

If you suspect that your alcohol consumption is out of control, please contact us at Awakenings Rehabilitation today.  We can conduct a confidential assessment and help you get the high-quality treatment you need and deserve.  Remember, sudden abstinence from heavy drinking can be dangerous, so let our professionals help.  Our goal is to minimize the scope of alcohol abuse and save lives.

Sources: – Results From the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health Detailed Tables – Psychiatric Comorbidity and Substance Use Outcomes – Alcohol Use Disorder: A Comparison Between DSM-IV and DSM-5 – Alcohol Use Disorder


End the Stigma of Addiction

How do We End the Stigma of Addiction Once and for All?

Addiction can happen to anyone from any walk of life. It is not something that only happens to the destitute and disadvantaged population. Society has a way of looking down on individuals who struggle with an addiction to alcohol or drugs. For some reason, people do not think that this can happen in their families or to their friends or any other loved ones. This is far from true. Addiction happens! And, for this reason, we should all ask ourselves, “How do we end the stigma of addiction once and for all?”

End the Stigma of Addiction

If we want to end the stigma of addiction, we must all practice more compassion and empathy in our daily lives. Addiction should not be a source of shame. It is not a moral failure on the part of the addict. Addiction is a serious health and mental disorder. And, it is something that needs understanding on everyone’s part. Families should not be ashamed of a family member who is struggling with addiction. Denying that there is a problem in your family with addiction is not helping your loved one. Addiction is something that needs to be acknowledged and not denied. 

Many families worry more about what society thinks and what their friends will say than what their addicted loved one needs. Families should come first above all else. Do what you can to help your addicted loved one without worrying about what others think and might say about your family.

The truth is, addiction touches everyone in the United States in one way or another. We all know someone who is struggling with addiction. It might be a family member, it might be a friend or a friend of a friend. But everyone knows someone whose life is changed because of addiction. In fact, it might be you who is struggling with the addiction and trying to hide it from others.

The Stigma of Addiction and Not Seeking Treatment

We have to end the stigma of addiction. This stigma can keep a person from asking for treatment for the simple reason that they don’t want to admit that they have an addiction. This should never happen in our society today. It takes courage to ask for help for addiction. Admitting that you have a substance abuse problem is the first step in returning to a life of productivity and health.

Individuals who live in small communities and areas where almost everyone knows everyone struggle with the stigma of addiction more often than people who live in larger cities. They try to hide the fact that they have an addiction problem because of the way they are stigmatized by the community. They often will not ask for help from an addiction treatment facility for this reason.

Addicts in Recovery Still Being Stigmatized

The really sad part of stigmatization is that many addicts who have gone through treatment for addiction and are now living in recovery are still labeled as “an addict.” They will never outlive their problems with addiction. Part of this is because of the lack of compassion and empathy. People should be happy and proud of the individual for overcoming their addiction. Instead, they want to constantly the person as “less than.” 

Don’t let the stigma of addiction stop you from seeking treatment in an addiction treatment facility. Awakenings Rehabilitation can help you return to a life of sobriety and productivity. You can even become a member of your community who helps others with addictions by telling them your story and helping them to see that there is no shame in having a problem with addiction. It can happen to anyone and does. Don’t worry about what others are thinking or saying when it comes to your health and wellbeing. The effects of discrimination because of addiction can be detrimental to your physical and mental health. We all need to strive to better understand addiction and not condemn it as has been done in years past. 

Contact Awakenings Rehabilitation for Help

Contact Awakenings Rehabilitation today and learn about the treatment programs that we offer. We can design a program that will fit your individual needs and preferences. One of our representatives can answer any questions you may have about our facility and the many different treatment programs that we offer. Contact us today!



asam.orgPatients with Addiction Need Treatment – Not Stigma

Inpatient or Outpatient Addiction Treatment

Which is Best for Me, Inpatient or Outpatient Addiction Treatment?

Now that the states are lessening the “Stay at Home” restrictions on citizens in the United States, people are trying to get back to business as usual. Today, individuals are going back to work with restrictions, and businesses are opening as well with restrictions. Now might be the time that you are thinking about getting into a treatment program for substance abuse.  In fact, you might be wondering which is best for your needs, inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment.

Choosing Inpatient or Outpatient Addiction Treatment

By making the decision to seek addiction treatment, you are taking the first step to your sobriety. Now, you can plan which program is best for your needs, inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment.  There are advantages and benefits to each type of treatment. Therefore, you must decide on your individual needs which program is most beneficial for you.  

The difference between these two types of rehabilitation is that inpatient addiction treatment allows you to remain at the treatment facility and receive intensive treatment. You do not have to focus on anything else at the time. With outpatient addiction treatment, you can remain at home and take care of daily responsibilities that you may have such as attending school or attending work daily. 

Outpatient Addiction Treatment

Undoubtedly, outpatient addiction treatment is more beneficial for individuals who do not have a severe addiction issue.  Importantly, if you realize that you have a substance abuse problem that can develop into more severe issues, outpatient addiction treatment is a good option for you. You can maintain your daily responsibilities while attending counseling and support meetings on a schedule that works with your other responsibilities. 

Counselors and specialists will educate you about addiction and the ways to continue on a sober path. In addition, these counselors will provide one-on-one counseling at which time you can discuss confidential issues that may be causing your substance abuse. Also, the outpatient clinic will also provide group meetings. Here, you will meet with other individuals who share the same issues with substance abuse. You will realize that you are not alone in your venture. With others going through the same battles, you can lend encouragement and support to each other.

You may have been through inpatient addiction treatment and living in recovery when COVID-19 struck our country. Sadly, relapsing back into substance abuse is a common occurrence today with the isolation of recovering addicts and not being able to attend aftercare programs and support groups in person. Hence, outpatient addiction treatment might be a solution for you to receive more counseling to help you get back on track with your recovery.

Inpatient Addiction Treatment

Inpatient addiction treatment is a more intensive treatment for individuals with severe addiction problems. These rehabs require you to remain at the facility. Almost all inpatient facilities offer detoxification for the patient before starting their treatment programs. Addicts go through the detoxification process with medical professionals on hand 24 hours a day to ensure a safe detox. Medical staff monitor the patient and are there to handle any issues that may arise during the process.

By enrolling in an inpatient treatment program, you will remove yourself from daily distractions. You can focus solely on your recovery. However, most inpatient rehabs ask for family participation in forms such as family counseling. Here, any issues brought on by the addiction can be discussed and resolved. Family support is very important in the recovery process.

Inpatient addiction treatment programs offer intensive one-on-one counseling along with group support meetings. They also provide education about addiction and methods to help you remain sober in recovery. Nutritionists plan healthy and tasty meals for you daily. You will also receive emotional support 24 hours a day from compassionate staff members.

Contact Awakenings Rehabilitation

To learn more about which treatment option is best for your needs, contact Awakenings Rehabilitation. One of our informed representatives can answer any questions you may have about treatment programs. They can help you decide if inpatient or outpatient addiction treatment is best for your needs.

Any of our representatives can answer questions about the treatment programs that we offer. We can design a program that will suit your individual needs. We can help you get back to a sober and healthy life. Contact us today.

Resource: – Types of Treatment Programs

Reasons for Teen Drug Abuse

What are Teens Saying About Their Reasons for Drug Abuse?

Despite the widespread campaigns to educate our youth about the dangers of substance abuse, far too many teens use drugs and alcohol today.  But, there are also millions of teens who don’t abuse substances.  So, what are the reasons for teen drug abuse and why do some teens experiment with drugs or alcohol while others refrain?

Experts at the Center on Addiction surveyed teens to better understand the reasons for their drug use.  About 1,014 US teens participated in this extensive, web-based survey.  Part of the goal was to help parents recognize the attitudes, behaviors, experiences, and perceptions related to teen substance use.  Below are some highlights of their findings.

  • Intentions to try substances in the future?
    • About 61% of older teens said yes.
    • Teens with friends who use drugs said yes.
  • Witnessed illegal drug use in real life?
    • Almost 30% reported they had witnessed someone using illegal drugs, primarily at school.
    • More than 82% said they have at least one friend who uses drugs.
    • About 46% did not have friends who use drugs.
  • Ease of access to drugs or alcohol?
    • 37% of teens aged 15-17 said they could easily obtain cigarettes.
    • 31% of teens aged 15-17 said they could easily obtain marijuana.>
    • 0.8% claimed they could easily obtain heroin, 10% could obtain cocaine, and 0.9% could obtain meth.
  • Trust unreliable sources of information about drugs?
    • 33% of teens get information about drugs from other teens via the internet and social media.
    • 61% of older teens get their information from friends who use drugs or alcohol.

The statistics are shocking, but one of the positive results shows that 56% of the survey participants believe some teens choose not to use drugs or alcohol because they have a strong bond with their parents.  Among all the reasons for teen drug abuse, family dysfunction, lack of support, and loneliness rank highest.

Do the Risks of Drug Use Increase as Teens Get Older?

The study also focused on understanding the differences in risk factors as teens get older.  Responses from teens were grouped according to age. For instance, they compared the responses from 12-14 year-olds to those of the 15-17 year-olds. Their findings reveal that the risk factor increases significantly with age.  In almost every category, the older teens ranked higher in their exposure to drug and alcohol use by peers.  

Other Reasons for Teen Drug Abuse

More reasons why some teens are at high risk for drug abuse include the following:

  • Self-Medication:  Teens need an outlet for their anxiety and frustration.  The pressures of being a teen can cause depression and cause teens to seek an escape or something to make them feel better.
  • Boredom:  Many teens have trouble keeping themselves occupied.  They crave excitement and their risk-taking behavior to escape boredom often includes drugs or alcohol.
  • Rebellion:  Teens use drugs to flaunt their independence or to strike out at their parents.  Angry teens usually turn to alcohol.  Teens who want to party tend to use a combination of alcohol and prescription drugs.  Other teens turn to marijuana, LSD, or other hallucinogens to relax and escape to a different place in their minds. 
  • Poor Self Image:  Teens who are shy or who lack confidence find that they can do things under the influence of drugs or alcohol that the wouldn’t do otherwise.  They lose their inhibitions and social anxiety issues.  
  • Watching Others:  Impressionable teens are often surrounded by friends or family members who consume addictive substances.  Also, they see drug and alcohol use in movies, youtube videos, and other online sources.  They begin to see substance use as part of life.

Of course, there is no simple solution to the reasons for teen drug abuse.  Parents can find an abundance of information and resources online to help them talk to their teens about the dangers of using drugs.  

Resources: – Teen Insights into Drugs, Alcohol, and Nicotine: A National Survey of Adolescent Attitudes Toward Addictive Substances – Top 8 Reasons Why Teens Try Alcohol and Drugs


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