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Addiction Treatment Transformations

7 Incredible Addiction Treatment Transformations

In the past century, we’ve witnessed some incredible addiction treatment transformations.  For instance, 100 years ago, addicts were perceived as moral degenerates who needed to be punished for their substance abuse. Most of the “treament” methods involved what amounted to torture in prisons or asylums. These individuals suffered severe withdrawals as a result of this misguided attempt to correct their bad behavior.

During those years, doctors had a limited understanding of the detoxification process and had few procedures in place for easing withdrawal symptoms and pain.  Unfortunately, many doctors were among the believers that an addict should suffer for their moral failing. Also, they believed that successful detox meant the person was cured of their addiction.

How Addiction Treatment Programs Have Evolved 

Many decades passed before scientists recognized addiction as a brain disease comprised of mental and physical aspects.  With this new perception, treatment for addiction has progressed dramatically. Comprehensive treatment plans were created with detoxification as merely the first step in the process of addiction recovery rather than as a punishment for being an addict.

As more and more medical professionals began to view addiction as a physical affliction, treatment approaches advanced and improved.  Addiction treatment programs of today offer a multi-disciplinary plan that seeks to address the physical and mental aspects of addiction. 

These are some of the most significant addiction treatment transformations to date:

  1. Recognizing that there are underlying psychiatric or psychological disorders present.  Many addicts began substance abuse as a coping mechanism for depression, low self-esteem, abuse, and more.
  2. Understanding that underlying disorders must be addressed before sobriety can be achieved.  Unless the individual learns more effective methods for dealing with their situation, it is unlikely that they will remain sober.
  3. Recognition of recovery as a life-long process. We refer to former addicts as “in recovery” rather than “recovered.”  This distinction is important because it removes the  sense of having to meet a deadline. 
  4. Treating each addict as an individual. Many treatment programs today focus on creating an individualized treatment approach.  They encourage the individual to take an active role in planning their recovery. Available options include faith-based, natural, medical, Indigenous/Native American, or traditional approaches. 
  5. Understanding that each addict responds to treatment differently. With this in mind, many facilities offer an open-ended program, allowing patients to take the time they need to heal.
  6. Simultaneously treating co-occurring physical health problems.  Most people who suffer with substance abuse disorders also have physical health problems such as HIV/AIDS, heart disease, cancer, lung disease, hepatitis, or liver disease.  They may also have mental disorders such as bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, depression, or anxiety. When these co-occurring disorders are present, the integration of primary care and addiction treatment is a must.
  7. Recognizing the importance of aftercare. Studies show that many addicts relapse in the first six months after completing rehab.  This has prompted treatment providers to strongly recommend an aftercare program.  These programs provide continuing support, counseling, and guidance as the person attempts to reenter society. 

With these transformations in addiction treatment, millions of individuals have overcome their addictions and are now living productive, drug-free lives.

Learn More About Transformations in Addiction Treatment

The best way to learn more about the transformations in addiction treatment is to talk to one of our specialists at Awakenings Recovery.  We will be happy to tell you about our comprehensive, evidence-based treatment programs. Begin your addiction recovery today. Call now. 

Resources: – Innovations in Addiction Treatment

Maintaining Complete Sobriety

The Truth About Maintaining Complete Sobriety

Most people agree that making a commitment to remain sober is the choice of an alcoholic in recovery. The view on alcoholism has always been that it is a decision completely of the mind.  But for most, maintaining complete sobriety is a daunting commitment, simply because drinking is considered a choice.

Alcoholism for some is not a choice. Most medical professionals consider alcoholism a disease like many others. The alcoholic is never in full control even though they think they are. Alcoholism can sneak up on you like a ninja and take everything that you thought you had under control away from you. Everyone assumes it is simple to make your mind up about getting sober. However, they do not realize how difficult it can actually be. If alcohol has been a part of your life for a long time, getting the proper help is not the most difficult part of the journey. Finding the strength to even try can prove to be much harder.

The Social Aspect of Alcohol

Most places across the country accept alcohol consumption as a normal activity. There are not many places in the world where a recovering alcoholic can really go without some type of exposure to alcohol. Families drink during holidays and sports fanatics drink during games. Even corporate holiday parties will allow the consumption of alcohol.  Since it has become so mainstream, avoiding alcohol entirely is almost impossible. It would be awkward at social functions to avoid a toast or social drink with people who you don’t want to tell about your addiction. Scenarios like these make it extremely hard for maintaining complete sobriety while in recovery.

Since drinks or cocktails are such a normal part of social settings, it is no surprise that people don’t consider alcohol as dangerous as harder drugs. Drugs like heroin and meth are much stronger than alcohol. However, alcohol can have comparable if not more destructive effects on the user. The only difference is that society sees social drinking as acceptable, but having an addiction is viewed as unacceptable.

Addiction is a disease that has the reputation of being perceived as a weakness. Therefore, people don’t make the connection between social drinking and addiction. This makes it harder for the alcoholic to confess that they have a problem with alcohol to family and friends. Throw in the fact that, most alcoholics are in complete denial and don’t truly realize they have a problem. If the fear of being viewed this way is present, a person may never admit they have an issue and resist support.

The Support System when Maintaining Complete Sobriety

Finding the right support system is the most important aspect of maintaining complete sobriety. If a person does not feel safe around the people who are there to help, then it will prove to be extremely difficult. This system is crucial to maintaining the right level of balance to help sustain a person’s confidence. If someone recovering from alcohol returns to a place that triggered the ongoing addiction, then the results are normally not as successful. The only way this scenario would work is if the proper support is there to aid the person to get past the issues.

Sometimes alcoholics face family members who are not supportive. This is really hard as they have to figure out a way to omit these individuals from their lives. Omitting negative influences is the very first step in the process and is the most important one for many reasons. If the person that is unsupportive is a close friend or family member, this is going to cause more stress on the individual.

The process of confessing your addiction can be an uncomfortable experience for everyone involved. Even though it presents a challenge, it is crucial to communicate with your support system. You must do this to achieve the desired results and maintain them. Friends and family may forget from time to time and accidentally offer you a drink. This presents a challenge for you as it could trigger the emotions that caused the addiction in the first place.

The Final Step

Once the process is complete and the proper support has been established, it is important to remember that there will still be bumps in the road to maintaining complete sobriety. Everyone is human and not a single person on this earth is perfect. Slipping once or twice is not considered a complete relapse. It is how you respond to the slip that matters the most. If you maintain the proper willpower and continue to maintain sobriety after the slip, then you are strong enough to succeed. It proves that you have found the spirit and confidence to handle life and all of its curveballs without the aid of alcohol.

Some people like to turn to faith for support. There are support groups available for recovery. It is important to find your groove and to remember that everyone makes mistakes along the way. Finding the right support which provides a positive influence in your life is the most important factor for maintaining sobriety.

If you or a loved one are suffering from alcoholism, contact us at Awakenings Rehabilitation today. Our specialists are more than ready to provide the support and treatment to get you to sobriety. One of our representatives can answer any questions you may have about our facility.

Resource: – Alcohol Use Disorder


Difference Between Detox and Withdrawal Management

What is the Difference Between Detox and Withdrawal Management?

Is there a difference between detox and withdrawal management?  Professional organizations and clinicians believe so and have recently replaced the term “detox” with the term “withdrawal management.” They recognize that these two processes are not the same thing and that the term detox can be misleading. 

Clarifying the Differences Between Detox and Withdrawal Management

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that there are technical issues with continuing to use the terms detox and detoxification to describe the withdrawal process.  As such, they decided to describe the process as withdrawal management. The American Society of Addiction Medicine (ASAM) has followed suit.

They sum it up like this:

“The liver performs detoxification and clinicians manage withdrawal symptoms.”

The ASAM has formally applied the term to all of their publications with references to recovering from substance use disorders. 

Let’s take a look at the difference between detox and withdrawal management to understand better why there needs to be a distinction between the two. 

Understanding the Detoxification Process

Detoxification, or detox, refers to the cleansing of toxins from the body.  Of course, the liver performs this process naturally every day by eliminating waste products and foreign substances from the blood.  This natural detoxification occurs in healthy individuals and even some people who are using a drug or medication. 

Ultimately, withdrawal symptoms appear when a drug of abuse is not replenished.  This syndrome happens because the body has adapted to the presence of the addictive substance. Therefore, if the drug is withheld, the system is thrown out of balance.  As a result, the symptoms can manifest as physical or emotional consequences.

Why Withdrawal Management is Necessary

Withdrawal management refers to the psychological and medical processes that can become life-threatening depending on the drug involved and the severity of the addiction. Of course, some people have successfully overcome drug abuse on their own, but this is not recommended in most instances. 

Some of the withdrawal symptoms that require medical intervention include:

  • Nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea that can lead to dehydration
  • Anxiety, aggressiveness
  • Confusion, disorientation
  • Depression
  • Insomnia
  • Rapid heart rate
  • Increased blood pressure
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Shakes, tremors, muscle cramping
  • Seizures, coma

Of course, the duration and intensity of withdrawal symptoms vary depending on the person’s physical health and the drug involved.

Other factors that indicate the need for professional withdrawal management include co-occurring mental health issues such as:

  • bipolar disorder
  • major depressive disorder
  • personality disorders
  • severe alcoholism

Individuals with these dual-diagnosis issues are advised against going through withdrawal without medical intervention. In many cases, it has resulted in self-harm, injury, or death as a result of these conditions.

During withdrawal management, patients are monitored 24/7 by a team of addiction specialists and medical personnel.  Accordingly, the goal is to ensure a safe, effective withdrawal process that prepares the individual for the next phase of treatment. 

What Comes Next?

After undergoing withdrawal management, the individual should enter a professional rehabilitation program.  Rehab addresses the underlying causes of the addiction with a variety of counseling and skills training classes.  Furthermore, patients learn more effective methods for coping and overcoming daily stressors that played a role in their drug use. 

Recovering addicts are specifically advised to take advantage of an aftercare program after completing rehab.  Overall, these programs provide continuing advice, support, and guidance as the person attempts to reintegrate into society as a sober person.  Sober living homes are also an excellent resource for recovering addicts. 

Learn More About the Difference Between Detox and Withdrawal Management

When a person fears detox and withdrawal, they often avoid seeking help for their addiction, and many lives have been lost. For this reason, if you know someone who is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, help them learn the facts and overcome their fear of treatment. Contact us today at our toll-free number to learn more about the difference between detox and withdrawal management.  All in all, this knowledge could save a life.

Resources: – The ASAM Criteria – Clinical Guidelines for Withdrawal Management and Treatment of Drug Dependence in Closed Settings


Age-Related Alcohol Use Disorder

Age-Related Alcohol Use Disorder:  What You Should Know

Alcohol Use Disorder involves more than a person merely drinking excessively.  New research shows that there are five distinct types of AUD that a more prevalent at specific ages.  Of course, not everyone who has an alcohol use disorder is an alcoholic. Also, a person does not have to be an alcoholic to benefit from treatment for alcohol abuse.  So, how does age influence a person’s drinking behavior, and what are the different age-related alcohol use disorder classifications?

Let’s begin by looking at some statistics from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).  According to their research:

  • Approximately 16 million Americans have an alcohol use disorder today. 
  • The research also shows that about 86.4 percent of people over the age of 18 reported drinking alcohol at some point. 
  • Also, 26.9 percent of people over 18 reported binge drinking in the past month, with 7.0 percent engaging in heavy alcohol use in the past month.
  • An estimated 88,000 people die from alcohol-related problems each year.
  • About 9,967 driving fatalities are attributed to alcohol.
  • The economic burden of alcohol abuse cost the US more than $249.0 billion per year.
  • More than 10 percent of children in the US have a parent with AUD.
  • Globally, about 3.3 million deaths are alcohol-related.

What makes people consume enough alcohol to become one of the above statistics?  New research shows that problematic drinking has symptoms that are more common at certain ages. This research may help in our understanding of how to improve treatment methods.

5 Classifications of Age-Related Alcohol Use Disorder

Below are the 5 profiles of AUD, according to a survey conducted by the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions:

  1. Alcohol-induced injury – Individuals engage in risky behavior and get into situations that cause injury.  More prevalent as age increases.
  2. HIghly problematic, low-perceived life interference – These individuals have many AUD symptoms. However, their alcohol abuse does not have adverse effects on their family, work, or social obligations.  Prevalent among younger adults.
  3. Adverse effects only – Participants reported hangovers or alcohol withdrawal symptoms.  Prevalent among younger adults.
  4. Difficulty cutting back – People in this category struggled or were unable to cut back on their alcohol consumption.  More prevalent as age increases.
  5. Highly problematic – These individuals have all of the above symptoms. Prevalent among younger adults.

The study will continue trying to determine if a young person in one category (profile) will slow down or escalate their drinking as they get older.  The research shows that individuals with AUD need treatments that are specifically tailored for age-related alcohol use disorder.

Understanding the 3 Main Types of AUD

Age-related alcohol use disorders also fall under 3 types:

  • Alcohol abuse – Your drinking is considered alcohol abuse if you continue drinking in spite of the following:
    • Neglecting responsibilities
    • Drinking while driving
    • Legal problems
    • Poor school or work performance
  • Binge drinking – You drink harmful amounts of alcohol in one session and may engage in the following:
    • Miss school or work
    • Cause property damage
    • Have more hangovers
    • Become injured 
  • Alcohol dependence (alcoholism) – Alcohol abuse can become alcoholism quickly.  You are an alcoholic if you continue to drink despite the adverse effects it’s having on your life and health.  Signs of alcoholism include the following:
    • Drinking compulsively despite problems 
    • Have severe cravings when not drinking
    • Need more alcohol to get the desired effect
    • Withdrawal symptoms worsen

If you’re not sure if you have a problem with alcohol, this simple test might help you.

Getting Help for Alcohol Use Disorder

Experts agree that quitting alcohol is easier in the early stages before dependence or alcoholism develops.  However, thousands of people are now sober after seeking professional addiction treatment. 

If you would like more information about age-related alcohol use disorder, or about treatment for alcohol abuse, contact us today. 

Resources: – Alcohol Facts and Statistics – Do You Have an Alcohol Abuse Problem?



Reducing the Opioid Crisis

How You Can Play a Role in Reducing the Opioid Crisis

When we try to think of ways to contribute to reducing the opioid crisis, it’s hard to figure out where to begin.  Where should we apply our efforts to achieve the best results? Can only one person do anything that will genuinely make a difference?   Here’s the thing. If you can influence just one person to avoid drug use or to give up drugs, you’ve made a huge contribution. We can win the battle against drug abuse, one person at a time if necessary.

If you want to get involved in reducing the opioid crisis, we have a few suggestions that will help you get started.

Begin by Sharing the Knowledge About the Dangers of Drugs 

More likely than not, you’ve heard someone say, “It’s safe; everyone’s using it.”  Or, “One won’t hurt you.”  Or, “It’s a prescription pill, so it’s not dangerous.”  These misconceptions have led many people to become addicted to these dangerous substances and had their lives and health disrupted.  There’s no such thing as innocent experimentation. Some drugs can be deadly, with only one dose.

You can help spread the word about the dangers of drugs in a variety of ways.  Here are a few organizations that encourage public involvement in their campaigns:

Also, each month of the year, nationwide education and awareness organizations sponsor a variety of events such as:

These are only a small portion of the many organizations and events that need your support.  Millions of people are involved daily in doing whatever they can to prevent drug abuse. Many lives have been saved, but there are still more that need saving. 

How Bad is the Prevalence of Drug Abuse and Addiction?

More than 70,200 people died from drug overdoses last year. About 17,029 of those deaths involved prescription opioids. 

It’s far too easy to obtain addictive substances today.  Look in any bathroom medicine cabinet, and you’ll see a variety of pain pills, sleep aids, depression meds, and more.  Even over-the-counter drugs are abused to get high, and every household has these drugs stashed somewhere. 

In 2018, over 214 million opioid prescriptions were dispensed by retail pharmacies.  Nine out of ten of these individuals reported not finishing all of their medications.  That means there are millions of these unused pills sitting around waiting to get into the wrong hands.  Many of these drugs end up at “skittles parties” or being handed out to friends at school.

If you find some of these unused prescriptions, check out this infographic to learn the best ways to dispose of them. 

Other Ways to Contribute to Reducing the Opioid Crisis

One of the best ways to help reduce the opioid epidemic is to serve as an example to your friends.  Let them know you won’t tolerate drugs in your presence. Encourage your friends to find ways to have fun without getting high. 

Talk to your parents and relatives about the dangers of leaving unused medications in the home.  Show them the above infographic on how to dispose of those drugs.

If you would like more information about reducing the opioid crisis, please contact us today.  We’ll also be happy to talk to you about our treatment program if you know someone who needs help overcoming addiction.


Support Groups in Addiction Recovery

The Importance of Support Groups in Addiction Recovery

If you have ever attended an addiction rehabilitation facility, you realize the importance of support groups in addiction recovery. Once you have completed your treatment program, the battle is not over. You must return home and learn how to deal with everyday living without the use of drugs or alcohol, something which you probably haven’t done for quite some time.

During your addiction treatment program, you learn about cravings, triggers, and how to handle different problems that may arise. However, knowing how you are supposed to handle these issues and actually doing it are completely different things. For that reason, support groups in addiction recovery can be very beneficial.

Types of Support Groups in Addiction Recovery

The first thing counselors will tell you when are ready to leave your treatment program and return home is to make sure you get in a good support group and attend your meetings regularly. Group meetings are very helpful to each individual attending. Each person can discuss their feelings, fears, and struggles as they try to maintain their sobriety daily, while the group offers support and encouragement to each other.

You can also form life-long friendships with others who, like you, are starting a new life without drugs or alcohol. You can find sober activities to participate in together such as working out, walking, or going for coffee or lunch. Some of the different types of support groups include but are not limited to:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Narcotics Anonymous
  • Dual Recovery Anonymous
  • SMART Recovery
  • Secular Organizations for Sobriety
  • Women for Sobriety

There are numerous support groups out there from which you can choose. Do some research and see which one is right for your needs. Recovery is not an overnight occurrence. You need support for the long-haul. 

Through support groups, you can continue to receive support and encouragement from others who are also living in long-term recovery. Make a commitment and make sure you continue attending meetings and interacting with others who have the same goal as you — living a healthy life in sobriety and free of drugs or alcohol.

Start Your Road to Recovery from Addiction

If you are struggling with addiction to alcohol or drugs, seek inpatient addiction treatment. Don’t spend another day in the chains that are keeping you from being the person you know you can be. Start your road to recovery by entering a reputable and licensed inpatient addiction treatment facility. 

At Awakenings Rehabilitation, we offer detoxification before starting a treatment program. Detoxing will remove all of the toxins from your system in a safe manner. Our staff will be on hand 24 hours a day, seven days a week to make sure you are as comfortable as possible. Should any emergencies arise, a specialist will be available to handle them immediately.

After detoxification, you will be ready to focus on a treatment program which we will design specifically for your needs and preferences. Our staff will educate you on the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Furthermore, you will be taught the skill necessary to remain sober once your treatment program is completed at our facility.

Support Throughout Long-Term Addiction Recovery

Choosing the right support groups in addiction recovery will help you maintain long-term sobriety. You can go on to live a healthy and happy life without addiction standing in your way. Call one of our representatives today to learn more about the treatment programs we offer at Awakenings Rehabilitation.


Source: – Benefits of Peer Support Groups in the Treatment of Addiction


Choosing a Drug Rehab

What You Need to Know About Choosing a Drug Rehab Program

Choosing a drug rehab program can be a confusing and frustrating process.  Whether you’re searching for a treatment facility for yourself or a loved one, you want to be sure you’ll find one that meets your expectations and needs. The abundance of information about rehabs can make you feel overwhelmed when it comes to narrowing it down to one facility.  Here is some information may be helpful in your search.

Determine Your Rehab Goals and Needs 

The first step in choosing a drug rehab is to determine your specific needs and preferences.  Do you prefer private rooms, open-ended programs, and non-religious approaches? Or are the traditional programs your choice?  Only you can make this determination on what is right for you. Also, you’ll want to decide if you need an outpatient or inpatient program. 

The following options in treatment programs are available:

  • Residential Programs – Provide 24/7 medical and clinical services with highly structured activities in a non-hospital setting that help clients develop personal accountability and responsibility and examine and replace the negative thought patterns that contributed to their addiction.
  • Partial Hospitalization Programs (PHP) – Provide treatment 5-days per week, 6-hours per day. Therapy involves techniques to help individuals reintegrate into a sober lifestyle. Clients learn practical coping skills for relapse prevention.
  • Intensive Outpatient Programs (IOP) – Provide treatment 9-20 hours per week.  The Medical and Clinical Directors supervise the daily assessment of needs.  Therapy includes educational and group activities and helps patients develop recovery skills to maintain a substance-free lifestyle. 

Of course, before entering any of the above programs, you will be required to undergo detox in a medically supervised facility.  Many treatment facilities provide on-site detox, which is beneficial as it allows patients to transition more easily from detox to rehab.

It’s also important to point out that addiction specialists strongly recommend an inpatient treatment program because they are proven to provide more lasting results.

Determine Your Preference in Treatment Methods

Fortunately, today’s addiction treatment programs are more advanced and individualized than in the past few decades.  For instance, you can choose a traditional, faith-based, 12-step, self-help, or Indigenous/Native American approach to therapy.  You won’t have to try to adjust to a treatment method that makes you uncomfortable. 

You also need to determine whether a dual-diagnosis treatment program is best for your needs.  This type of program addresses co-occurring mental health disorders along with the addiction. Talk with your physician or an addiction counselor who can assess your needs in this area.

Why You’ll Need an Aftercare Program

While in rehab, you are sheltered from the stress and temptations of daily life.  Stepping back out into the real world can seem intimidating. You’ve had 24/7 support and guidance during your time in treatment, but will you be able to make your way in life as a sober person without relapsing?  Studies show that many recovering addicts who relapse do so within the first ninety days after leaving rehab.  However, in most cases, these individuals weren’t taking advantage of the services offered by a supportive aftercare program.

Many aftercare programs assist with:

  • Housing and transportation
  • Childcare
  • Education
  • Finding employment
  • Help with legal issues
  • Building new social networks
  • Learning how to engage in healthy relationships

Additionally, an aftercare program offers counseling and support when the person needs advice or encouragement.  The goal of these programs is to help recovering individuals transition back into their communities and avoid relapse.

All in all, the types of aftercare programs include support groups, outpatient programs, sober living facilities, and more.  The appropriate kind of aftercare for you depends on your specific needs following rehab.

If you would like help choosing a drug rehab, please contact us at Awakenings Rehabilitation.  One of our representatives is on hand to assist you in any way.

Resources: – Types of Treatment Programs – The Science of Addiction


Why are Overdose Deaths Among Millennials on the Rise?

Between 2007 and 2017, drug-related overdose deaths among millennials (people aged 18 to 34) increased by 108%.  Opioid overdose death rates among millennials increased by more than 500% between 1999 and 2017.  Alcohol-related deaths among this age group were up 69% while suicides were up 35%. This information is provided by the non-profit Trust for America’s Health (TFAH) and their affiliate, Well Being Trust.  Also, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that these “deaths of despair” were higher for millennials than for Baby-Boomers and senior citizens. 

Who are Millennials and Why are They Overdosing?

Millennials are individuals who were born between 1977 and 2000, and they make up about 25% of the U.S. population.  According to Well Being Trust, these young adults have risk factors that make them more vulnerable to drugs, alcohol, and suicide. 

  • At this age, the frontal lobes of the brain are not fully developed, which makes them more likely to engage in impulsive behavior.
  • People in this age group take more risks in sexual behaviors and drug-use than older adults. 
  • Unusually high numbers of millennials live in high-stress environments.  For instance, 42% of the federal and state prison populations are between ages 20 and 34.
  • Millennials make up 80% of U.S. enlisted military personnel, which is another high-stress environment.
  • These young adults are often facing large amounts of college debt. As many as 40% of millennials have outstanding student loans, with as much as half of their income going to make the payments.
  • Another source of stress for millennials is the rising cost of raising children.  According to the DEA, raising a child to age 17 can cost about $240,000.
  • Healthcare costs are an additional stress factor.  Research shows that one in four millennials avoided medical care due to the costs.
  • People in this age group have a high proportion of substance abuse, yet only 7.2% get the professional help they need.
  • People between the ages of 25 to 34 and 35 to 44 are more likely to be uninsured.
  • This age group grew up during a succession of traumatic events such as the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the Great Recession, and the 9/11 terrorist attacks. 

Many of these young people also struggle with family dysfunction, history of substance abuse, poverty, and mental health issues. 

What Can be Done to Address the Rising Overdose Deaths Among Millennials?

The rising overdose deaths among millennials will decrease with policies and programs that are specifically targeted to this age group. These policies should focus on screening, treatment, and prevention resources. For example:

  • Behavioral healthcare and screenings should be a routine part of healthcare in a non-judgemental manner.
  • Screening and treatment for mental health and substance use disorders should be part of routine healthcare. 
  • Expand education programs among the healthcare system and treatment providers to improve suicide prevention.
  • Routinely utilize screening tools for substance use disorders and mental health issues.
  • Invest in and expand Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs and drug disposal programs.
  • Continue following the CDC’s opioid prescribing guidelines.
  • Insurance companies should continue coverage for young people on parents policies until age 26, as mandated by the ACA. 
  • Strengthen the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline to ensure that all calls are answered promptly, and expand to include text and app-based services.

Of course, the above examples are only a few suggestions of ways to help reduce the overdose deaths among millennials.  It’s important to remember that substance abuse and overdose deaths have an adverse impact on society. On our quest to prevent the spread of substance abuse, we take one step closer to protecting our future as a nation. 

Resources: – Opioid Overdose: Understanding the Epidemic – Alcohol and Drug Misuse and Suicide and the Millenial Generation: A Devastating Impact

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. The purpose of the program is to address addiction to addictive 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.

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 AA.  SMART 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 approach 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!

Resources: – Narcotics Anonymous – Alcoholics Anonymous

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

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