Outpatient Recovery: Taking Precautions

After finishing inpatient drug rehab, many individuals are involved in some sort of outpatient recovery. The amount of intensity involved in the outpatient process depends upon the individual and his/her goals. It’s key that precautions are taken to avoid relapse into addiction while in outpatient recovery.

“(Matthew) Perry’s troubles with alcohol and prescription painkillers kicked into high gear during his years as one of TV’s ‘Friends,’ but treatment helped him create a healthy new normal. Today, he’s a fierce champion of treatment for addiction rather than incarceration. Helping those who share his struggles, he told People magazine in 2013, is the ‘thing I like the most about me.’” (elementsbehavioralhealth.com) Perry says, “When you’re having a bad day, the best thing you can do is call somebody and ask them how they’re doing, and actually pay attention and listen to the answer to get out of your own head.” Taking these kind of precautions, like Matthew Perry did when he focused on helping someone else through a bad day, can really strengthen outpatient recovery.

Often, during inpatient recovery, individuals recognize people and relationships that encourage drug use in their lives., its important to take precautions and have a full awareness of those individual who may trigger

drug abuse in one’s future. Often, these coping tactic with individuals who may present these triggers are dealt with in outpatient recovery. In this way, a process can be in place to remove oneself from triggering friends and situations. Other tri

ggers, such as visiting certain locations or driving certain vehicles, or eating specific foods, can also be discussed and examined so

preventative measures can be put into place when those situations arise.

When it comes to addiction recovery it doesn’t matter if you’re a famous celebrity or the guy down the street, any precaution to stay sober is what is needed for lasting outpatient recovery.

source: elementsbehavioralhealth.com

Family Therapy is Important in Recovery

Recovery from addiction often begins on an individual level but is most often improved when families get involved in strengthening and supporting the person in recovery. Addiction is referred to as a “family disease” because it impacts every member of the family in some way. Further, addiction can be triggered or perpetuated by family issues or contention as well. Thus, successful addiction recovery often involves family therapy to strengthen the individual in recovery.

Eric Patterson, MSCP, NCC, LPC, in the article Family Therapy: A Vital Part of Addiction Treatment, indicates that “Family therapy refers to a group of treatment styles that target the group rather than the individual within the group. All of the styles are based on the notion that families share a connection, and by modifying one component of the system, you can affect the other components. This means the health of a family can play a major role in the success of recovery” (Eric Patterson, drugabuse.com).

Family therapy can be combined with other types of therapy. In other words, if an individual is in recovery and is participating in individual therapy, they need not stop that to join in family therapy sessions as well. Just as group therapy is often used in addiction recovery (where individuals who are in recovery go to therapy together), family therapy can be participated in simultaneously with individual therapy. Further, sometimes the issues that a family struggles with can be resolved or worked on in family therapy which can prevent further members from struggling with addiction and can strengthen the family into a more cohesive unit to support and lift. Often, it is also healing for family members to discuss how an addict’s behaviors have impacted them as well— even though they may not have struggled with addiction.

As far as the benefits of family therapy are concerned, Patterson offers the following key points about benefits of family therapy in recovery:

  • Assists the substance user to gain awareness of their needs and behaviors.
  • Improves the mental and physical state of the entire family unit.
  • Permits family members to gain self-care interventions to improve their own well-being.
  • Improves communication styles and relationship quality.
  • Helps families understand and avoid enabling behaviors.
  • Addresses codependent behavior that may be preventing recovery.
  • Helps to learn and understanding the systems in place that support and deter substance use.
  • Prevents the substance use from spreading throughout the family or down through future generations.

Overall, family therapy in recovery is often a vital part of an individual’s success in

overcoming addiction.

Relaxation in Recovery

. Many activities and practices of relaxation and meditation are designed to release tension from the body. In recovery, releasing tension can have many desirable outcomes.

Alcoholrehab.com indicates the following benefits of using relaxation techniques:

“* Relief of stress

* Sleeping better at night

* Improved concentration

* Increased ability to learn

* Improved memory

* Increased blood flow to major muscles

* Reduced feelings of anxiety

* Increased confidence in the face of challenges

* Reduced feelings of anger and frustration

* Combats hypertension (high blood pressure)

* Slowed the heart rate

* Slowed respiration

* Relieved muscle tension

* Reduced pain intensity

* Reduced hyperactivity in children

* Improved immune system functioning

* Reduced risk of developing heart problems or suffering a stroke

* Looking healthier and fresher

* Improved mental health

Generally speaking, recovery is stalled or halted when individuals are experiencing excessive amounts of stress. Stress is how the body deals with demand and in addiction, there is a prevalence of excessive demand. Many times, then individuals feel stressed, they turn to their addiction to cope. Deep breathing, yoga, tai chi, listening to relaxing music, meditation, guided imagery, and mindfulness are some of the powerful relaxation activities that can enhance recovery.

Natural Disasters Can Trigger Relapse

Natural disasters, such as the recent flooding in Houston, Texas, can be devastating and can lead individuals in recovery to relapse. Many people may experience serious stress during a natural disaster as well as in the aftermath which can evolve into an anxiety disorder known as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When individuals have struggled with drug or alcohol addiction, the combination of PTSD and stress is one of the most common causes for relapse. Further, experiencing PTSD due to natural disasters or otherwise, can often trigger first time drug or alcohol use or an increase in drug and alcohol use in current users.

Due to the fact that individuals who have struggled with addiction in the past may be extra sensitive to stress, they are more prone to cope with the stress of a natural disaster with drugs and/or alcohol as a coping method. Drug cravings are shown to increase with stress as well. Further, stress due to a natural disaster can cause depression, anxiety, insomnia, and even nightmares. Thus, those battling drug addiction have a much higher potential to relapse in an attempt to suppress stress or other emotional troubles associate with natural disasters.

Fear and depression have also been shown to increase when natural disasters strike. For former drug addicts, drugs and alcohol are often used to numb the feeling associated with or to cope with the loss of control, overwhelming stress, or despair associated with fear and depression.

Awareness of the possibility of relapse and the factors of fear, depression, and PTSD that can lead to a possible relapse are key in staying in healthy recovery during a natural disaster. Also, reaching out for support from loved ones who were not affected by the natural disaster can also sustain individuals dealing with recovery from drug/alcohol addiction.

Qualities of an Excellent Drug Rehab

Many offer different types of therapy, in-patient and out-patient facilities, shared or private rooms for inpatient care, different durations of recovery programs, gender-specific programs, programs with or without family involvement, etc. With so many options and choices, it’s good to get educated on what’s most important when deciding on a drug rehab facility.

CNN Health offers a few tips when looking for the right drug rehab for recovery. Most important, it is crucial to verify that the staff members are certified in their given specialties. Most qualified treatment centers will list their accreditations and licensure on their website, but if you can’t find it, don’t be afraid to call and ask. Drug Rehab facilities are used to these kinds of questions and know they are in contest with many other facilities. Further, gender specific programs have been shown to help in recovery since there are no distractions or impediments from the opposite sex. Also, look for programs that offer individual therapy sessions as this has proven to be very effective in recovery. And finally, make sure the facility you choose has a solid aftercare plan to help you or your loved one stay on track.

Some other important qualities to look for include the sincerity and quality of the care of the individuals in the facility. Don’t be afraid to ask for a tour and watch close how the individuals who work at the facility treat patients and each other. Are they friendly? Are they warm and empathetic or do they seem judgmental? All of these qualities should be evaluated and will vary from person to person. The staff members at drug rehab facilities are the “heart and soul” of the treatment center. Patients must feel comfortable and accepted without judgment—something that is essential to a successful recovery environment. Also, make sure your privacy and security are priorities and not in jeopardy of being compromised in any way.

Another point many don’t consider, especially when considering in-patient treatment, is the status of the facility. If you are used to certain luxuries such as jetted tubs, certain thread counts, etc., make sure the facility provides those things. Don’t shy away from asking about the accommodations – remember, being comfortable and feeling secure will help with recovery immensely.

There are many other things to consider when choosing a drug rehab but these few things can help get the process started. Take time to choose the right facility and make sure that there isn’t any pressure involved in the decision you make. Feeling confident in your choice of a drug rehab will also help with a successful recovery.

Exercise and Recovery– Even More Reasons!

Adding exercise to a recovery routine is not anything new, but there is recent evidence that shows that exercise and recovery together are more powerful than once believed. Many rehab facilities are equipped with exercise equipment, classes, and instructors. It has been shown that gaining physical strength can lead to stronger mental strength and more emotional stamina. Mental strength and emotional stamina are both key in addiction recovery. Physical strength can also help to rid the body of harmful toxins.

A recent study published in Mental Health and Physical Activity, shows that regular physical activity can decrease your chances of relapse.

Further, integrating exercise into addiction recovery has so many benefits. A few of these include:

  • Becoming or remaining active in addiction recovery can help keep the body and mind busy, which can prevent relapse in early recovery.
  • Exercise leads to fewer cravings by increasing the brain’s pleasure neurotransmitters.
  • Hard physical exercise allows for the release of anger, stress, frustration, or other negative emotions which often arise during addiction recovery.
  • Studies show that increase physical exercise leads to better sleep as it can restore circadian rhythms or sleep cycles that are often thrown off from years of addiction. Because of this, falling asleep at night and staying asleep becomes more possible.
  • Exercise improves self-confidence while boosting energy as well. Further, research also shows that individuals who exercise believe they will recover from addictions; they have more hope.

Source: https://www.journals.elsevier.com/mental-health-and-physical-activity/

When individuals reach the point where they want to recover from drug abuse, many feel they simply do not have the funds to do so.  Or, they feel like they can beat it on their own and save money.  Or, they think that rehab is too costly and they can’t or won’t afford it.  A very interesting fact, however, is that when the cost of continuing drug abuse is examined, it is often found that rehab would actually be less expensive – especially in the long run.

Further, financing a drug addiction is a large financial burden that carries an even larger risk with it: the lengths people will go to to obtain drugs to feed their addiction.  Theft, blackmail, and harming others can be very prevalent among addicts.  Many people have questions about the cost of drugs in comparison to the cost of drug treatment. Often, when choosing between a continuing drug habit and financing rehab, people don’t consider the sheer cost of feeding their drug dependences. Many individuals will end up spending thousands—or more—on drugs and alcohol throughout their lifetimes

Again, it is interesting that research shows that some people put off getting treatment because they fear they cannot afford rehab. Interestingly, it turns out that rehab is much cheaper than drug addiction in the end.

Most importantly, rehab is an investment.  Generally drug rehab will bring better health, more meaningful relationships, increased self-esteem, and much more disposable income (instead of spending any disposable income on a drug addiction). And, individuals will most certainly have a brighter future when investing in rehab over addiction.

Individuals with alcohol or drug addictions should seek treatment – whether inpatient or outpatient. All kinds of treatments are available at all various costs. Putting one’s health first will prove to be a better financial decision with a more positive outcome.  Research shows that most addicts are unable to achieve successful recovery on their own or with family members alone, so finding help is vital. Deciding between costs, inpatient and outpatient rehab, and finding the right treatment center – regardless of expense –are all important decisions to be made for a successful recovery outcome.

Top 10 Most Abused Drugs Drug RehabTop 10 Most Abused Drugs

Recent statistics show that there has been a slight shift in the top 10 most commonly abused drugs. The most noteworthy is marijuana, moving from 3rd place to 2nd place recently. Most speculate this is due on part to the legalization of recreational marijuana in many parts of the country.


  1. Alcohol: The CDAC notes that, “with over half (51.8%) of U.S. population identified as drinkers, alcohol is the #1 most abused substance. Nearly a quarter of the population participates in binge drinking (58.6 million), and 6.7% of the population reported heavy drinking (16.9 million). As a depressant, alcohol produces impaired coordination and judgment, slurred speech, and blackouts.”
  2. Marijuana: Marijuana is the #1 most abused illicit drug and the third most abused drug according to the CDAC. The CDAC reports that, “the dried parts of the Cannabis plant can cause distorted perceptions, impaired coordination and problems with learning and memory.”
  3. Tobacco: At least one quarter of Americans (6.9 million) are users of a tobacco product making it the second most abused drug. Many individuals are drawn to smoking because it stimulates the pleasure centers in the brain and turn on the body’s natural chemicals that produce euphoria. Cigarette smoke contains over 4000 chemicals, causing long-term systemic effects. These risks include high blood pressure and smoking has been proven to increase the risk of cancer.
  4. Prescription painkillers: The abuse of prescription drugs is on the rise and has moved up in ranking to be the fourth most abused type of drug. Painkillers, such as Vicodin and OxyContin, are the most abused prescription drugs. These drugs can produce effects similar to heroin. Painkillers can have negative effects on the physical body causing heightened sensitivity to sound and light, hallucinations, blackouts and problems with the lungs, central nervous system, stomach, intestines, liver, kidneys, heart and death from overdose.
  5. Cocaine: Although cocaine gained popularity back in the 1980’s, it still remains on the top 10 list of most abused drugs: listed as the fifth most abused. According to the CDAC, nearly 1.5 million people in America are current users of this white powder. Cocaine use results in severe psychological dependence and intense drug cravings. This is due to cocaine’s short-lived yet powerful effects of euphoria. With cocaine, tolerance builds quickly, making it more dangerous.
  6. Prescription Sedatives: The most common sedatives are benzodiazepines and tranquilizers. Approximately 2.4 million people in the U.S. are using sedatives for non-medical purposes. These are highly addictive and can cause memory loss, poor motor coordination, paranoia, stupor, suicidal thoughts, aggression, respiratory depression and coma. Mixing sedatives with alcohol is very dangerous and can cause death.
  7. Prescription Stimulants: Prescription stimulant drugs have a high addictive rate and about 1.2 million Americans are currently taking prescription stimulants for non-medical purposes. These stimulants, such as Ritalin or Adderall, are usually prescribed for people who have narcolepsy or ADHD. These drugs increase the level of dopamine in the brain causing feelings of euphoria. Abuse of stimulants can cause heart attacks, strokes, depression, malnutrition, hostility and paranoia. Because stimulants increase energy and focus, teenagers are abusing the drug because they believe it will enhance their learning and test scores. The abuse of these drugs has increased significantly on college campuses across the country.
  8. Hallucinogens (LSD, ecstasy): Approximately 1.1 million people are currently taking hallucinogens in the U.S. Hallucinogenic drugs are known as PCP, mescaline, Ecstasy, LSD and psilocybin mushrooms. These drugs cause hallucinations and profoundly affect the perception of reality. Some negative effects of using hallucinogenic drugs are delusions, paranoia, panic, terror, despair, psychosis, and psychological illness. Flashbacks from some of these drugs may occur at anytime after using the drug. LSD is reported to be the most popular hallucinogen among users. LSD, also known as “acid,” is the most potent hallucinogen in the world. It is often sold on blotting paper, or “window panes.” The effects of LSD are unpredictable, altering the user’s mood, personality, and sensations of reality. (CDAC, 2012).
  9. Heroin: Heroin is known as the most powerful and addictive drug in the world and its use is increasing in the U.S. Heroin induces euphoria by binding to the opioid receptors that control consciousness, breathing and blood pressure. Long-term effects of using heroin include collapsed veins, partial paralysis, memory loss, intellectual impairment, and disease of the heart, liver and kidneys. Heroin is often diluted with other substances creating a high risk of physical complications and death. It is made from poppy plants and is a highly addictive opiate. It can be injected, smoked, or sniffed and creates a feeling of a euphoric rush. Users feel an increased ability to communicate easily with others, and report heightened sexual performance.
  10. Methamphetamine: The tenth most abused drug is methamphetamine, also known as meth, crank, or speed. Although last on the list, it shouldn’t be ignored. Meth is popular among young adults. Meth produces feelings of well-being and energy which can last from 4 to 16 hours. Because of its lasting effects, it is a popular drug for both parties and nightclubs. Meth is highly addictive, and burns up the body’s resources and can cause permanent damage to the brain and body.

Rehab & Recovery Denial: I Can Do It On My Own

Convincing someone with an addiction to drugs or alcohol to go to rehab or to detox is often a very difficult and touchy situation. Even harder sometimes, is convincing someone to stick with rehab, detox, or recovery in a structured setting. Although there are lots of reasons why an individual will refuse to go to detox or rehab, or attempt to leave before they are ready, all of the reason are just a means to an end – which includes not recovering from addiction to drugs and alcohol.

Commonly, many addicts think that they can accomplish detox or sobriety on their own—without the help of professionals or rehab. Most addicts believe that they’re smarter, stronger and different from other addicts. Because of this false belief, many addictions escalate and get worse, and addicts lose even more control over themselves and their lives.

In addiction, in recovery, rehab or detox, certain ideas or themes or topics often get repeated in the education and rehab process. Often, when addicts go through multiple relapses, rehab attempts, and/or detoxes, they feel like they are just hearing the same things they heard all of the other times and their desire to overcome their addiction is lessened and seems to diminish. This can lead to feelings of hopelessness and many individuals attempt to quit rehab before they are ready and recovered. When addicts don’t feel they are gaining any new insight, they often want to give up.

On the other hand, addicts can develop quick confidence sometimes when they’ve been clean for just a couple of weeks. They truly believe themselves to be fully recovered and don’t see the point in finishing the recovery process; thinking it is too costly, time consuming, or just inconvenient. These individuals are anxious to get back out into the world because they think they won’t relapse, that they are past that stage, but the sad truth is often that extended treatment produces much more recovered individuals who have fewer relapses and are more prepared to enter the world once again. Staying in a rehab program for as long as it takes is crucial to a more complete recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.

Memory and Addiction

A recent study was published in the Journal of Neuroscience by Washington State University researchers. They indicated that found a mechanism in the brain that enables memory in the process of drug addiction. This is important because the discovery opens a new area of research geared at discovering a therapy that could alter or stop this mechanism in addiction; making drug addiction less addictive.

Turning off the tool that creates these powerful memories will hopefully lessen the impact and content of the memory – thereby decreasing the motivation for relapse and addiction. Memories associated with drug use definitely drive the impulses behind drug addiction. The brain reinforces memories, and in so doing, gives them emotional weight. The result of the memories being reinforced is a perfect list of what guides and directs the basic decisions.

The NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) indicates that the amygdala, a part of the brain’s limbic system, which is critical for memory and responsible for evoking emotions, becomes active and a craving for drugs is triggered when an addicted individual thinks about, sees, or hears about drugs.

They indicate, “This craving demands the drug immediately. Rational thoughts are dismissed by the uncontrollable desire for drugs. At this point, a basic change has occurred in the brain. The person is no longer in control. This changed brain makes it almost impossible for drug addicts to stay drug-free without professional help. Because addiction is a brain disease.”

In the WSU study they found that their processes did not erase the drug memory completely, but perhaps diminished its emotional power. Hopefully, Learning how to hone in on emotional strength in memories and what allows for them will hopefully, ultimately, lead to information that can allow for control over these memories. This type of finding could help end the vicious cycles of drug abuse and addiction.

Sources: sciencedaily.com, wsu.edu, nida.gov


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