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Differences Between SMART Recovery and 12-Step

5 Important Differences Between Smart Recovery and 12-Step Programs

Alcoholics Anonymous, or AA, is a 12-step program founded in 1935 for people struggling with alcohol abuse. AA has a presence in most cities and rural communities across the United States. Narcotics Anonymous is a 12-step program founded in the 1950s to address addiction to amphetamines, opiates, barbiturates, and other substances. SMART Recovery is a relatively new organization, and it is not a 12-step program. Five concepts emphasize differences between SMART recovery and 12-step programs like NA or AA.

Breaking Down the Differences Between SMART Recovery and 12-Step Programs

SMART Recovery was founded as the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Self-Help Network, or ADASHN in 1992. It became SMART Recovery in 1994. AA and NA are the most recognized and firmly established addiction recovery organizations, but the benefit of 12-step programs is questionable. The chance of staying clean for a year after starting a 12-step program is less than 25%. Some estimates are as low as 5%. Many people do not feel comfortable with the steps and dogma of NA or AASMART Recovery’s protocols center on the six stages of change, and they are much more flexible than 12-step programs.


Chapters of Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous can overlap or maintain strict separation. The level of separation depends on specific groups and communities. Some AA chapters are strictly for people with a history of alcohol abuse. NA chapters make most distinctions between alcohol and other substances, although the terminology is slightly different. While people in recovery are clean in NA. They are sober while in AA. The Basic Text is NA‘s version of the Big Book in AA.

Narcotics Anonymous is meant to provide a welcoming and supportive environment for people recovering from substance abuse. The demographics of NA and AA chapters can be very different. Young adults are now more likely to use a substance other than alcohol. The difference in age, circumstances, and drug of choice often lead people to feel more comfortable in NA than AA, or vice-versa. SMART Recovery does not separate meetings or strategies for recovery based on the substance of choice.


NA, AA, and other 12-step programs aim for complete abstinence. Most chapters want people to be clean or sober for at least 24 hours before attending a meeting. There is no discussion of tapering or strategies to reduce substance use instead of abstaining. This can be a problem because people can’t access the support of a meeting during a relapse. The requirement of complete abstinence leads people to lie or close themselves off. Most do this at meetings instead of reaching out for support and help. The chip system contributes to this problem. People who relapse are given a one-day chip no matter how much clean time they previously had. Tracking clean time with chips is helpful for some people, but it can also be discouraging and humiliating. The chip system is another factor pressuring some people to be dishonest and withdraw from the group.

SMART Recovery does not use a chip system or require complete abstinence. At meetings, people can discuss drug use and harm reduction. Harm reduction refers to behaviors and resources that lower the risk of death, injury, or illness. Providing clean needles is an example of harm reduction. People can reach out for help and receive advice or support during a relapse in SMART Recovery’s permissive atmosphere. The deviation from mandatory abstinence lets people seek help while they are still using.


The initial step in NA and AA is admitting powerlessness over addiction. Individuals can feel that the very first step is forcing them to give up control of their own lives. The spiritual aspect may feel manipulative. These concepts are especially concerning during court-ordered attendance. People can feel forced to attend meetings, forced to admit helplessness, and forced to acknowledge a higher power regardless of personal beliefs. The combination can spark so much anger, resentment, and frustration that it results in giving up on treatment entirely.

SMART Recovery is not based on admitting powerlessness or a higher power. Individuals can choose to incorporate a higher power or religious beliefs, but they aren’t required to do so. SMART Recovery includes behavioral and cognitive therapeutic techniques.


One of the most significant differences between SMART recovery and 12-step programs is the conclusion. NA and AA consider recovery an ongoing process; everyone is a recovering addict or alcoholic, and there is no such thing as a recovered addict. This outlook is beneficial for some people. It can provide a sense of purpose and prevent relapse. Unfortunately, the concept of recovery as a continuous process that is never finished can also be discouraging or trigger feelings of hopelessness.

SMART Recovery does not promote recovery as a lifelong process. The sixth step of change is graduation. Participants in SMART Recovery don’t have to graduate. They can participate in active recovery as long as they wish. It is entirely a personal choice. Each person can stay in recovery indefinitely, but a conclusion is within reach too. Putting behaviors and thoughts related to addiction in the past, with no presence in the future is very empowering.

Look at All Options and Differences Between SMART Recovery and 12-Step

Narcotics Anonymous, Alcoholics Anonymous, and SMART Recovery are all legitimate networks to aid people in recovery. Individuals determine the best program to join. Some people do very well with NA and AA, while others feel like 12-step programs are distressing or restrictive. SMART Recovery is less accessible than AA or NA. SMART Recovery doesn’t have as many chapters as NA or AA. Individuals seeking treatment and support should look at all available options and attend a variety of meetings to decide which program will help them be successful.

To learn more about the differences between SMART recovery and 12-step programs, or for more information on addiction treatment, contact Awakenings toll-free today!

Methadone Maintenance Treatment

Are There Benefits to Having Methadone Maintenance Treatment?

Methadone maintenance treatment is not something new to the methods of treating opioid addiction. Methadone maintenance treatment has been used since the 1950s for opioid-dependent patients. This drug is an opiate, and it is addictive. However, addiction to methadone is not the same as addiction to illegal opioids like heroin.

What is Methadone and Methadone Maintenance Treatment?

Methadone is classified as a Schedule II drug. What a Schedule II classification means is that the drug has a legitimate legal use in the medical field. However, it also is a highly addictive drug. Methadone is a synthetic opioid which physicians use to treat moderate to severe pain. It is also used to treat opioid addictions, such as addictions to heroin.

For those with addictions to heroin, methadone can curtail the withdrawal symptoms when they stop using heroin. In addition, it can decrease the cravings for heroin. However, anyone using methadone maintenance treatment is at a high risk of abuse and dependency on this drug because they are already addicted to opiates.

How is Methadone Administered?

By law, methadone can only be dispensed through an opioid treatment program (OTP) certified by SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration). Patients taking methadone for opioid addictions must have physician supervision in a clinic or medical facility.

Methadone comes in liquid, pill, or wafer forms. Methadone maintenance treatment is not just a matter of showing up at the clinic and taking your daily dose of methadone. It also involves a treatment program of counseling and group support meetings. In other words, you have to be trying to help yourself as you slowly withdraw with methadone from heroin or other opioids.

Methadone as a Painkiller

In recent years, physicians have started prescribing methadone as a painkiller, just like OxyContin or Vicodin. Methadone is less expensive than these name-brand opioid painkillers. Therefore, insurance companies are more willing to pay for this drug over others.

Methadone is a long-acting drug. Because of this, it can build up in the body where even one extra dose of the medication can cause an overdose. When physicians prescribe methadone as a painkiller, they must supervise their patients carefully to avoid dangerous results. Methadone’s half-life makes it less effective as a painkiller.

What are the Side Effects of Methadone?

Whether a person is using methadone for pain relief or as methadone maintenance treatment, there are side effects to deal with.

Some of the common side effects include:

  • Dry mouth
  • Weakness
  • Anxiety
  • Constipation
  • Loss of appetite
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Drowsiness
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness

Some of the more severe side effects of methadone include:

  • Dizziness
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Chest pain
  • Shallow breathing
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Confusion
  • Hallucinations

Furthermore, methadone may interact with other medications. In fact, these medications can be prescription medications, over-the-counter medications, even vitamin supplements. Anyone starting methadone maintenance treatment or starting methadone as a medication for chronic pain should tell their doctor any of these drugs that they are currently taking.

Methadone Abuse and Addiction

As Methadone becomes more available to drug abusers either by stealing it from friends or buying it illegally on the streets, there are more individuals forming addictions to this drug today. Furthermore, individuals are abusing methadone and using it recreationally more than ever before. It can be easy for a user to overdose on methadone, especially if mixing it with alcohol or other legal or illegal drugs. If a patient is taking methadone for chronic pain, they can develop a tolerance to the drug, just like any other opioid painkiller. Once this happens, abuse turns into an addiction.

Methadone Maintenance Treatment Can Transform into Addiction

When physicians put individuals on methadone as maintenance treatment for heroin or other opioid addiction, they can end up with an addiction to this drug. If this happens, don’t be ashamed to ask for help at a professional addiction treatment center. In fact, an inpatient addiction treatment program can be tailor-made for your needs as well as your preferences.

You can regain your health and become a productive member of society and your community with the help of inpatient addiction treatment. Contact one of our informed representatives today to discuss a treatment program that will fulfill all of your needs. They can answer any questions you may have about our facility (Awakenings Rehabilitation) and the treatment programs that we offer. Contact us today!


ncbi.nlm.nih.govMethadone Maintenance Treatment

samhsa.govMedication-Assisted Treatment

samhsa.govMedication and Counseling Treatment

Stay Sober This Summer

It’s Almost Summer:  How to Stay Sober and Still Have Fun

Summer is on its way, and millions of people are planning cookouts and beach trips.  Of course, most of these summer activities include alcohol. For a newly sober person, this may seem like the ultimate challenge.  Can you participate in these things without drinking? Are you able to stay sober this summer?

Although summer brings memories of drinking, it is an excellent time of year to stay sober. You can find many ways to keep yourself busy that don’t include alcoholic beverages.  It will be easier than in the winter months when you are often stuck at home, bored because of bad weather. Everyone who has beat alcoholism will agree that boredom is your worst enemy when it comes to resisting the urge to drink.

So, to help you stay sober this summer and still have a good time, here are a few tips.

Tips on How to Stay Sober This Summer

Bring Your Own Non-Alcoholic Drink to the Event

People love to get you drunk.  If you’re standing around at the event without a drink in your hand, someone will try to give you one.  Be prepared for this scenario by bringing your own beverage. Fill a big red solo cup with your favorite flavored water or juice or whatever you prefer.  Then, you can say, “No, thanks. I already have a drink.

Make Sure You Have an Exit Plan

The longer you hang around where people are drinking, the more likely you are to give in to temptation.  You tell yourself that one little drink won’t hurt anything. But, if you’re honest, one drink can lead to another and another.  One way to avoid temptation is to plan to leave early. Take a sober friend with you to the party who can back you up when it comes time to go before the party is over.  You should be able to come up with a good excuse for your early exit.

Have an Emergency Contact Available

If you end up going to the event alone, make sure you have an emergency contact on board.  This contact should be someone you can call if you find yourself feeling tempted to drink. Sometimes, just talking to an outside support person can bring you back to reality and help you avoid giving in to the temptation to take ‘just one little drink.’

Know What You’re Going to Say

Going to an event that promotes alcohol is a brave move.  Before you go, it’s a good idea to know what you will say when someone shoves a drink at you.  You can tell the truth and say that you no longer drink. Or, you can laugh it off and say something funny like “I’m allergic to alcohol.  When I drink it, I break out in handcuffs!” Of course, simple excuses are often the best. You can simply tell them you are the designated driver, or that you are avoiding alcohol for health reasons.

Spend More Time With Sober People

If it’s early in your sobriety, you should try to spend more time with sober friends.  The less you have to deal with temptation, the better. It’s essential for you to learn how to have fun without alcohol present.  The good thing is, you’ll find out how much you’d missed when you were always intoxicated. Staying busy with sober activities is the best way to avoid boredom and loneliness, both of which are big triggers.

Find Online Resources or Webinars

The internet is an excellent resource for finding support and advice to help you stay sober this summer.  You can find many valuable tips for staying sober and enjoy chatting with others who are having the same experience.  Also, if you’ve just completed a rehab program, the counselors can provide information about support groups and aftercare programs in your area.

Stay Sober This Summer and Be Proud

You’ll be surprised at the creative ways to fill the void alcohol once filled. Stay sober this summer, wake up with a clear mind every day, and you’ll be proud of what you’ve accomplished.


rethinkingdrinking.niaaa.nih.govAlcohol and Your Health:  Questions and Answers

Misunderstood Facts About Drug Rehab

10 Commonly Misunderstood Facts About Drug Rehab

In the United States today, more than 23 million people are struggling with substance use disorders.  The sad thing is that only about 10 percent of these individuals receive the treatment they so desperately need.  Is there a reason why so many people don’t enter addiction treatment programs? It’s possible that some of the commonly misunderstood facts about drug rehab are part of the problem.  Let’s take a look at some of these misconceptions and provide the facts to debunk them.

Misinformation About Drug Rehab Can Generate Fear

It’s surprising in today’s world to find that so many individuals don’t know the truth about drug rehab.  With an abundance of information at their fingertips, there is no reason for people to base their opinions about rehab on hearsay and false information.  Their lack of knowledge about rehab has caused a significant number of people to fear rehab and avoid treatment for their addictions.

The best way for a person to overcome their fear of rehab is to learn the facts.  Of course, rehab isn’t easy for anyone.  However, going into it with the right expectations and attitude can make all the difference in a person’s successful recovery.

10 of the Most Commonly Misunderstood Facts About Drug Rehab

To help a person overcome their fear of rehab, we have chosen ten of the most commonly misunderstood facts about drug rehab to debunk.  Hopefully, the right information will lead someone to take action and begin treatment right away.

1. Only hardcore addicts need rehab.

This misbelief has caused many people to avoid treatment until overdose or death occurs.  It is never too early to enter a rehab program, regardless of the substance involved. In fact, the sooner a person begins treatment, the easier the process will be. Also, long-lasting damages to the person’s health are diminished if they enter rehab early in the addiction.

2. Only mentally ill addicts need rehab.

Most people don’t realize that many addicts suffer from mental and emotional issues along with their addiction.  It is impossible to recover from addiction without also treating these mental problems. In a drug rehab facility, detox addresses the physical aspects of addiction.  A combination of counseling, education, and skills training helps addicts understand what caused their addiction and how to avoid the triggers that can cause a relapse.

3. Rehabs force religion on you.

A person seeking addiction treatment today has many options when it comes to the type of program they need.  While many of the programs are faith-based, there are non-religious programs available.

4. Rehab doesn’t work.

When a person goes through rehab and then relapse shortly after, it’s easy to assume that the program didn’t work.  But, relapse is often the result of leaving the program too soon, choosing the wrong treatment plan, failure to take advantage of an aftercare program after rehab.

5. Being in rehab is like being in prison.

Although a rehab program has strict rules, the environment is far from oppressive.  Patients can leave anytime they want, however, they jeopardize their ability to stay sober.  Most rehabs offer daily activities that help patients relax and have a little fun while working on recovery.

6. Detox is all I need.

This is one of the most common misconceptions about drug rehab.  Detox is only the first step in recovery, not the cure-all. When a person goes through the detox process, they are addressing the physical part of their dependence on a substance. The next step after detox is to learn how to effectively cope with life’s challenges without resorting to drugs or alcohol. A rehab program offers a comprehensive assortment of options to help recovering addicts learn how to avoid the behaviors and environment that contributed to their addiction.

7. I’ll lose my job if I go to rehab.

The fact is, you can go to rehab and still keep your job.  The Americans with Disabilities Act protects persons who work in government jobs or private companies that have 15 or more employees.  Also, if a company gets federal funding, the Rehabilitation Act protects individuals who need to enter rehab.

8. All rehabs are the same.

Not true.  There are hundreds of programs that offer a variety of amenities and approaches to treatment.  Today’s treatment providers realize that each addict has their own unique needs.  Their programs provide a personalized approach to treatment.

9. Rehab gets you hooked on other drugs.

Depending on the drug involved, your addiction can be treated without using other addictive substances.  You have the option of choosing a holistic approach to treatment that doesn’t involve drugs. Keep in mind that with some substances such as heroin, the withdrawals can be intense or dangerous, and medicated detox is often the best option.

10. Relapse means rehab failed and I failed.

As discussed above, relapse is not an indication that anyone failed.  It simply means you need to reenter treatment or make some changes in the environment you must occupy.  It’s also important that you join an aftercare program following rehab to benefit from the continued support and guidance they offer.

Learn the Truth About Drug Rehab at Awakenings

If you would like more information about the most misunderstood facts about drug rehab, contact us today.  We will be happy to tell you about our program and we can help you succeed in beating drug addiction for good.


drugabuse.govTreatment Approaches for Drug Addiction

ada.govInformation and Technical Assistance on the Americans with Disabilities Act

Life After Rehab

Life After Rehab: The Importance of Transition Planning and Aftercare

A recovering addict’s ultimate challenge is preventing relapse and remaining committed to sobriety.  It sounds easy enough. But, the truth is, it can be one of the hardest things a person must deal with in life after rehab.  Let’s look at some of the ways an aftercare program can help these individuals transition back into society and avoid relapse.

Why Recovering Addicts Need an Aftercare Program

When you leave rehab, the real recovery process begins.  You’re leaving behind the security of the facility and heading back out into a world full of expected and unexpected challenges.  This is why rehab counselors recommend an aftercare plan that you can depend on when things get tough.

Seeing the world through sober eyes can cause a person who is fresh out of rehab to doubt their ability to cope.  All the old triggers are still there. Plus,  they feel like a stranger in their old environment. These are only a few of the reasons why an aftercare program is needed to help the person transition into life after rehab.

Ultimately, the key to a recovering addict’s success is support.  With a team of caring counselors and peers, a recovering person won’t feel that they are the only one struggling to overcome one of life’s biggest challenges.

What to Expect From an Aftercare Program

With the support and guidance of an aftercare program, you won’t feel alone in your attempts to reclaim your place in the community.  Someone is always available if you need advice, assistance, or need someone to talk to.

Transition planning is essential for a recovering addict.

For instance, here are some of the ways an aftercare program can help a person stay on track:

  • Assists with obtaining employment
  • Locates sober living residences
  • Finds community resources, meetings
  • Arranges transportation, child care
  • Provides counseling
  • Plans group activities with peers

The goal of an aftercare plan is to give a person the tools he or she will need to stay sober.  The world outside of rehab can be a scary place, especially for a person who was isolated in their addiction for an extended period.  An aftercare program provides a source of strength and stability for the struggling person and can make all the difference in their overall success.

Life After Rehab: Taking the Next Step

No doubt, rehab was tough, but you made it through.  You graduated and are ready to show the world what you can do.  Now, the hard part really begins. As you take this step into the world of sobriety, remember, you are not alone.

You learned many things in rehab about how to face life’s challenges without resorting to drugs or alcohol.  These skills will help as you go about getting your life back together. Nevertheless, sometimes things don’t work out the way you’d planned.  At these times, an aftercare counselor is only a phone call away.

Recovery is a process that has no defined end date.  But, at the end of each day, as you continue to maintain sobriety, you’ve reached a goal.  Day after day, your confidence grows with each new goal you achieve. You’re building a foundation for your new, addiction-free life.

Learn More About Transition Planning at Awakenings Rehabilitation

If you are ready to enter an addiction treatment program, contact us at Awakenings today.  We will be happy to talk to you about our program and give you more information about aftercare and transition planning.  We believe that life after rehab begins with getting the best treatment possible.



Recognizing and Defining Addiction

How Much do You Know About Recognizing and Defining Addiction?

Recognizing and defining addiction isn’t always an easy task. Although there are many ways to define addiction, the American Heritage Stedman’s Medical Dictionary defines it as the “habitual psychological and physiological dependence on a substance or practice beyond one’s voluntary control.

In the worst cases, addictions have a few devastating similarities that can be agreed upon by all:

  • Addiction separates an individual from reality.
  • It can inflict significant damage to the addict immediately or over time.
  • Addiction often damages others that are close to the addict.

Cocaine, heroin, or other drug addictions are not only illegal but are socially unacceptable as well. Other addictions like smoking and alcohol use or gambling can be equally as damaging but are much more socially acceptable or even encouraged in some circles.

Addictions such as shopping and eating are routine activities that evolve to distorted levels. Still others such as addiction to coffee, tea, or chocolate in most cases do not even resemble the more severe addictions and are generally considered non-problematic or benign.

Recognizing Addiction

Nobody intentionally sets out with the goal of becoming addicted to harmful substances or behaviors. However, many people find themselves hopelessly addicted. The quicker a person can identify that there is an addiction problem, the more of a chance they have of effectively doing something about it. Here is a short list of some of the more prominent warning signs that may indicate an addiction problem is present:

  • Abandonment of social or occupational activities to engage in addictive behavior, i.e., drug use, shopping, overeating, gambling.
  • Inability to abstain from using substances or engaging in damaging behavior despite the knowledge of its dangers.
  • Extended amounts of time expended obtaining, using, or recovering from substance abuse or damaging behavior.
  • Repeated unsuccessful attempts to stop substance use or refrain from addictive behavior.

Addiction can be very subtle and often the addict does not realize that he or she has become dependent. Recognizing and defining addiction is the first step in resolving this growing problem.

Seek Inpatient Treatment for Substance or Behavioral Addictions

If you are struggling with any addiction, or if you have a loved one who may be, seek inpatient addiction treatment. Once you are capable of recognizing and defining addiction, you will have taken the first step to realize that you or a loved one can benefit from addiction treatment.

Here, at Awakenings Rehabilitation, we offer many different treatment programs that will benefit you or your loved one.  We not only take care of your physical needs, but we also rehabilitate you emotionally. A treatment program will be designed to fit your individual needs and preferences. You will leave Awakenings with renewed health and ready to live a sober, productive and happy life once again.

Contact one of our representatives to learn more about our facility at Awakenings Rehab and the different treatment programs that we offer.  Don’t continue on that dead-end road of addiction. Make that call now.


drugabuse.govThe Science of Drug Use and Addiction: The Basics

Life Lessons About Alcoholism

5 Real Life Lessons About Alcoholism

Life lessons are not always the easiest parts of our lives as we mature and grow older. But somehow we learn to respect them and be grateful for them. Some things come to us quickly while others are hard lessons to learn. Sometimes we start on a road that we do not perceive as wrong.  However, when we do finally grasp the experience in it all, we can correct the error. Life lessons about alcoholism are some of the hardest to learn.

The impressions we make on others can linger on in their minds for a long time, especially if we meet them in a drinking and partying environment. Let’s face it; some individuals can drink alcohol socially and be no worse for it. Others become entirely different people when drinking alcohol.

Life Lessons About Alcoholism

Some of these life lessons about alcoholism are heartbreaking and embarrassing.

Here is a list of a few life lessons about alcoholism:

  • Bad reputations can be hard to outlive.

Once you get a reputation for being obnoxious while drinking, people will turn in the other direction when they see you coming. As mentioned before, some people can drink socially and be complete ladies and gentlemen. Then others, drink and become someone completely different from their sober self. They become angry, loud, and disruptive in any environment.

You may gain a reputation for getting drunk frequently. Once you start drinking daily or drinking to the point of intoxication every time you drink, you will undoubtedly offend others and say hurtful things to them. You may even do worse things to them than only speaking hurtful words.

  • Dangerous risk-taking has consequences.

Anyone who is an alcohol abuser or struggles with alcoholism takes unnecessary risks. For instance, driving while under the influence of alcohol not only endangers your life, it also endangers the lives of your friends and even strangers. If you are lucky, this is one life lesson you will learn before something tragic happens to you, someone you love, or an innocent victim or victims on the road. Never drink alcohol while driving a vehicle.

Other risk-taking actions while intoxicated include having unprotected sex. When drinking large amounts of alcohol, you do not think about the consequences that can come from having unprotected sex with a friend or with a stranger. You can end up with an unwanted pregnancy or a sexually transmitted disease. You may wake up in the morning after a night out and not even know you had sex with someone.

  • Drinking alcohol does not make your problems go away!

Another of the life lessons about alcoholism which people learn the hard way is that drinking alcohol does not erase your problems. Many individuals drink alcohol to avoid thinking about problems they may have in their lives. They drink to forget past traumatic experiences they have had. We soon learn that no amount of alcohol can make these problems or experiences go away. We have to learn how to handle our emotions and issues without alcohol. Alcohol only adds more problems and issues to our lives including losing family and friends.

  • Broken relationships that can never heal.

Once you have become a regular drinker and are, in fact, an alcoholic, you will lose many valued relationships with family and friends. Some of these can be repaired while others may be lost forever. People can only put up with a “drunk” for so long and then they walk away — some for good. After a while, apologies get old and don’t mean anything. Friends and family know that it means nothing to you except an attempt at another chance to hurt or otherwise offend them. After a while, your apology means nothing to them because they know you are not sincere even though you may think that you are.

  • You are the only person responsible for your actions.

One of the most important lessons learned about alcoholism is that you are responsible for your actions, drunk or sober. You can only blame being drunk for your actions for a short period. After that, the excuse is lame. People think, “If you are going to act like that, then you shouldn’t drink.” In fact, they are right.  If you can’t drink alcohol and maintain your respectful ways, you shouldn’t drink.

Professional Help is Available for Alcoholism

If you are experiencing some of the many life lessons about alcoholism, there is still time for you to stop the struggle. Only you can make the decision that you need professional help to stop drinking  There are many inpatient addiction treatment facilities who can design a program for you complete with detoxification and an aftercare program to help you through your early recovery period and adjusting to sober living away from the facility.

Don’t wait any longer.  Contact one of our representatives at Awakenings Rehabilitation today to learn more about the programs we offer at our facility. There is one that will fit your individual needs and preferences. Start your road to recovery now.


cdc.govSexually Transmitted Diseases

Ritalin and Addiction

Problems for Teens and Young Adults: Ritalin and Addiction

Ritalin is a central nervous stimulant for treating ADD/ADHD and narcolepsy.  However, when the individual takes more than prescribed to get a euphoric feeling, Ritalin and addiction become a problem.

Ritalin (Methylphenidate) is responsible for regulating chemically charged nerves. These nerves are responsible for impulse and hyperactivity synapses in the brain.  Ritalin is an FDA approved drug that was initially used in the 1960s and 1970s to treat narcolepsy.  Later, in the 1990s, treating ADD/ADHD with Ritalin began.

Is Ritalin Addictive?

Surprisingly, Ritalin is in the same family of amphetamines as the highly addictive crystal meth. Abuse of Ritalin is mostly common with teenagers and college kids because of heavy school workloads. The drug is readily available in most markets and can be easier to obtain than marijuana. For instance, it is available at home, school, with friends and it can now be purchased illegally online.

Ritalin abusers like the high produced by the drug. After prolonged abuse, tolerance builds in the body, and the user needs more of the drug to obtain the same effects. Some individuals even resort to crushing, injecting and snorting the drug to achieve the desired results faster. This abuse can cause a host of health problems including rapid heart rate, seizures, and even death.

Side Effects that Come with Ritalin and Addiction

Ritalin abuse produces many side effects. Some of these symptoms are serious and should not be ignored.

The common side effects of Ritalin abuse include:

  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Shortness of breath
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Seizures

Some users have reported having changes in skin color and blurred vision. While these are not significant side effects, you should stop taking the drug and address the issues with your doctor. Also, if you experience hives and a swollen throat or tongue you should seek medical emergency immediately. These allergic reactions can be life-threatening and should be treated accordingly.

Ritalin Withdrawal

Withdrawal from any drug that an individual is abusing is going to be a tough challenge. Ritalin changes chemicals in your brain and causes a temporary rewiring to occur. Suddenly stopping Ritalin use causes significant changes in the way an individual behaves or acts. Some of these changes are debilitating like panic, fatigue, aggression and suicidal tendencies. The withdrawal process is very complex, and the individual will need as much support from family and friends as possible.

Ritalin and addiction can be very serious. It is not recommended to try to quit abusing Ritalin on your own because detoxing can cause various psychological behaviors. Our professionals at Awakenings Rehabilitation are here and ready to help you tackle any obstacles you may face. Contact us immediately if you are facing Ritalin and addiction and we will help you get your life back on track.



Substance Abuse and HIV

Is There a Connection Between Substance Abuse and HIV?

The HIV/AIDS epidemic and substance abuse go hand-in-hand in many cases. Earlier, it was mainly related to intravenous drug use. However, today it is a factor in widespread substance abuse. The connection between substance abuse and HIV is the fact that the abuse of many substances, including alcohol, increases the chance of high-risk sexual activity.

High-risk sexual activity includes having sex with multiple partners. You might be having sex with various partners, some of which have the HIV/AIDS virus. Some individuals who are addicted to drugs or alcohol knowingly have sex with other people in exchange for drugs or money to obtain drugs.

How do Individuals Contract HIV/AIDS?

Many myths persist to this day about how you contract HIV. There are only a few ways to transmit HIV.  It can be transferred from one person to another who are sharing needles for injections, commonly injecting illegal substances. HIV can live in a used needle up to 42 days depending on temperature and other factors.

People can also transmit this disease through sexual behaviors. Having unprotected sex is very risky for individuals. Many people who abuse drugs or alcohol are more prone to have unprotected sex when under the influence of these substances. The effects of drugs as well as alcohol can have intoxicating effects, lowering inhibitions as well as judgment.

Other ways HIV/AIDS are contracted include:

  • From mother to child before or during birth or while breastfeeding
  • Infections from blood transfusions or accidents in healthcare
  • Sexual contact through semen, vaginal fluids, or blood
  • Through other materials used in making or injecting drugs

Transmitting HIV is not possible through these bodily fluids:

  • Sweat
  • Saliva
  • Tears
  • Urine
  • Feces

You cannot get HIV/AIDS from any blood-sucking insect. Also, many individuals wonder if you can contract HIV from shaking hands, hugging someone who is HIV positive, or sharing toilets. You cannot contract HIV in any of these manners.

The Connection Between Substance Abuse and HIV

As with most diseases, HIV patients have a strict regimen of taking different medications. If a patient is using alcohol, they will not take their prescribed drugs in the way necessary to prevent full-blown AIDSHIV is a human immunodeficiency virus. Alcohol abuse weakens the body’s immune system. A person whose immune system is already compromised can quickly develop AIDS if not taking their medication as required for their disease.

Another connection between substance abuse and HIV is the impact both of these diseases have on the liver. HIV medications affect liver function. Alcohol adversely affects the liver. HIV or AIDS patients may also suffer from hepatitis C which also affects the liver.

Seek Help for Addiction to any Substance

As you can see, the connection between substance abuse and HIV is real. Misuse of any substance can have a dangerous and fatal outcome. If you are struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol, don’t continue on your path of destruction.

Seek help from a licensed and reputable inpatient addiction treatment facility such as Awakenings Rehabilitation. There are many benefits to attending inpatient treatment. Contact one of our informed representatives today to learn more about the treatment programs we offer. We can help you design a program that will be successful for your individual needs and preferences. Our representatives can also answer any questions you may have about our facility.

Don’t take a chance with your health by taking part in high-risk behavior because of being under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Get the treatment that you so deserve to get back to a healthy way of living without using drugs or alcohol. Don’t gamble with your life. Contact us today!


drugabuse.govHow Does Drug Abuse Affect the HIV Epidemic?

hiv.govHow is HIV Transmitted?

Addictive Personality

How Can You Tell if You Have an Addictive Personality?

Have you ever wondered, “Do I have an addictive personality?” Do you have the personality traits that predispose you to addiction? While this subject is constantly debated in the medical field, some professionals believe that certain personality traits can make you lean more towards addiction.

More Than an Addictive Personality, Certain Factors Exist

While we can’t say that certain individual personalities cause addiction, there are certain factors that do contribute to an individual becoming addicted to a substance.

Some of these factors can include:

  • Inability to cope with stress
  • History of compulsive behavior
  • Lack of social support
  • History of abuse or neglect
  • Drug use among peers
  • Socioeconomic status

While no one personality trait or risk factor can cause a person to become addicted to a substance or behavior, some of them can make an individual more prone to becoming addicted if using drugs or alcohol.

Some Addicts Share Common Addictive Personalities

While each person is a unique individual, there are some traits that are shared by different addicts. Different substances satisfy different needs for individuals. Some of the addictive personality traits do exist in people with different types of addictions.

These traits can include:

  • Compulsive behavior
  • Depression
  • Substituting vices
  • Low distress tolerance
  • Antisocial personality
  • Difficulty delaying gratification
  • Insecurity

Individuals with compulsive behavior issues are either “all in” or not at all interested. They either do something perfectly or are disinterested or a complete failure. They have a problem doing anything in moderation. A person with an addictive personality such as compulsive behavior is prone to develop an addiction.

People who struggle with depression or any other form of anxiety may be more prone to develop addictions. They tend to use substances such as drugs or alcohol to self-medicate their problems. These individuals use substances as escape mechanisms. In the same way, a person who has a history of childhood abuse or trauma is more likely to develop an addiction as a way to keep from facing reality.

Another Addictive Personality Trait – Substituting Vices

Are you the type of person who substitutes vices? You may stop drinking alcohol, only to pick up another unhealthy addiction. If you have an addictive personality, chances are that if you stop one addiction, you will start another. For example, you may stop doing drugs but start overspending money on a daily basis as another vice to satisfy your addictive personality. You may stop drugs and start gambling every day as a result. This is a problem you need to find a healthy way to deal with.

Another personality trait that is common with addiction is insecurity. Individuals who feel insecure in relationships such as trusting someone else or who can’t make a commitment may abuse alcohol or drugs as a way to gain self-confidence.

Healthy Ways to Handle an Addictive Personality

There are healthy ways to control your compulsive behaviors and unhealthy vices. Start to focus on eating healthy foods and exercising.  Once you do these two things, you will feel better and have the energy to do other fun activities.

When you feel depressed or isolated from the world, find an activity to do to take your mind off of your issues. Instead of drinking alcohol or using drugs, go for a walk, read a book, find a crossword puzzle to work – anything other than unhealthy ways to deal with it. After you do these activities for a while, they will come as normal ways to deal with other issues in your life.

If You are Struggling With an Addiction

If you are struggling with addiction to alcohol or drugs, find a reputable licensed inpatient addiction treatment facility and get the help you need.  Our treatment center has a compassionate staff that will make you feel at home as you go through your treatment programs and addiction counseling.

Don’t let an addictive personality control your future. You are not doomed to a life of addiction just because you have a few personality traits that could point you in that direction. If you have started abusing a substance, you can overcome the addiction and return to a healthy and happy life. You will learn coping skills in a rehab facility to help you handle any situation without the use of drugs or alcohol.

Contact one of our representatives at Awakenings to learn more about the many treatment programs we offer. They can answer any questions you may have about our facility. Don’t wait another day; call now!


drugabuse.govDrug Misuse and Addiction

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