Why Does My Therapist Ask Me About My Family?

Although there are commonalities among people who suffer from addiction to drugs like amphetamine, just as there are commonalities among people with heart disease or cancer, it is important that treatment be individualized and based on each patient’s unique needs. In addiction treatment, therapists will seek to learn as much as possible about their patients and their life circumstances. Knowledge about both an individual’s family of origin and current family situation can help in tailoring a treatment plan. Continue reading Why Does My Therapist Ask Me About My Family?

Why Finding Funding for Treatment Is Worth It

Addiction treatment is funded in a variety of ways. Often, health insurance covers a significant portion of the costs. Frequently, patients use more than one source to pay for their treatment. The 2006 National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that about 53% of patients surveyed used two or more sources of funding. These included private insurance, public assistance programs like Medicare or Medicaid, gifts or loans from family members, personal savings or earnings, and payment through military health care, the court system, or an employer. Continue reading Why Finding Funding for Treatment Is Worth It

Reviewing EMDR

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a therapy originally developed to treat post- traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It was developed by Dr. Francine Shapiro, who made the observation that when upsetting thoughts came to her mind, her eyes began moving rapidly. She theorized that it was the brain’s mechanism for dealing with unwelcome memories and noticed that when the memories were recalled later, they had lost a great deal of their power. Dr. Shapiro began studying the phenomenon, and in 1989, published a study of the successful use of EMDR on 22 trauma victims. Continue reading Reviewing EMDR

How Does Treatment Get Me from Addiction to Recovery?

Addiction is a multi-faceted condition that needs to be addressed in a comprehensive manner. Quality treatment programs recognize this and focus attention on multiple areas of need. Although no one program is the right choice for every individual struggling with addiction, there are commonalities among effective treatment programs. Continue reading How Does Treatment Get Me from Addiction to Recovery?

Choosing Treatment: Why You Need to Call Rehab Centers for Information

There are many types of addiction treatment programs. Methods and therapies differ as do treatment philosophies. In a research-based guide to effective addiction treatment, the National Institute on Drug Abuse notes that no one treatment program is the right choice for every patient. They stress the importance of matching treatment to each individual’s unique needs.[i] Continue reading Choosing Treatment: Why You Need to Call Rehab Centers for Information

Learning to Believe in Yourself During Addiction Treatment

There are many factors that contribute to success in meeting goals such as recovery from addiction. Motivation is important, as is a sober support network. One important characteristic is people’s belief that they have what it takes to overcome challenges. This is sometimes known as self-efficacy.

The American Psychological Association defines self-efficacy as the belief that people hold that they are capable of doing what is necessary to produce given results. They note that people’s evaluations of their capabilities influence the setting of goals and the amount of energy spent on them. They also affect the likelihood of reaching the goals that have been set.

Self-Efficacy in Addiction Recovery

A 2015 study reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse  examined factors associated with recovering from addiction. The study identified variables that helped patients become abstinent and those that helped them remain abstinent for an extended period of time. There was overlap between the lists, but they were not identical.

One personal characteristic that appeared on both lists was self-efficacy. Patients with higher self-efficacy were confident in their ability to use the skills they had been taught in treatment. Patients currently in outpatient treatment who were still using cocaine were interviewed. Those with high self-efficacy had a 35 percent likelihood of being abstinent at the next interview, compared to almost no likelihood for those with low levels. Among patients who were already abstinent, those with high levels of self-efficacy had more than an 80 percent chance of remaining abstinent for the next interview, compared to 40 percent for those with low scores.

Developing Belief in Yourself

Self-efficacy is thought to develop in a number of ways. The website Education.com explains that the psychologist Albert Bandura developed self-efficacy theory. He posited that beliefs come from mastery experiences, vicarious experiences, social persuasions and physiological reactions.

Mastery experiences involve the interpretation of past success. Performing a task successfully builds confidence that future attempts will also be successful. Vicarious experiences, or social modeling, involves drawing confidence from the successes of others. Social persuasion is the encouragement individuals get from other people, and physiological reactions are the moods and feelings that are the backdrop for the way in which people interpret events.

Ways to build self-efficacy include the following:

  • Build on small successes. Make a small, manageable change in order to boost your confidence. Set another small goal, and when it is reached, set another.
  • Remember past achievements. Taking time to remember when past goals were met can build a sense of confidence and belief in yourself. It is especially helpful to think of times when goals were accomplished that initially seemed too difficult or unreachable.
  • Follow someone’s lead. Finding role models with whom to identify can help build a sense of possibility. If others who share characteristics with you can overcome challenges, it can bolster the belief that you can do it, too.
  • Find ways to boost your mood. Take time to relax and do things you enjoy. Address any mental health issues such as anxiety or depression.
  • Pay attention to your support system. Some people are more naturally encouraging than others. Try to spend more time with people who encourage than with those who don’t.
  • Acknowledge and address negative thought patterns. It is natural to have periods of self-doubt, but all thoughts don’t need to be accepted as truth. Acknowledge the thoughts, examine their validity and counteract them.

The Support of Others

Self-belief may develop somewhat differently in males and females. A 2005 article in the American Journal of Community Psychology reported on a study of social support and self-efficacy for patients recovering from substance addiction. The study found that time in treatment related to increased self-efficacy and to decreased support for alcohol and drug use. The authors found, however, that for women, social support mediated the link between treatment and increased self-efficacy, but the same was not found for men.

There are a number of practices that therapists may use to help their patients build belief in themselves. One is motivational interviewing (MI). A motivational interviewing assessment notes that MI is intended to help patients resolve ambivalence. Treatment providers aim to express empathy, develop discrepancy, roll with resistance and support self-efficacy.

We Can Help You Begin a Recovery Journey

If you are ready to begin an addiction recovery journey, we can help you get started. Our toll-free helpline is staffed 24 hours a day with knowledgeable consultants who can answer your questions and help you understand your treatment options. They can also check your insurance coverage for you if you wish, at no cost or obligation. There is nothing to lose by calling, and much potentially to gain. Why not call now?

How Stress Management Can Aid Rehab

Stress and substance addiction are closely related. Stress can contribute to the development of addiction and is a significant relapse risk. Learning to manage stress in a healthy way is an important recovery goal.

The American Institute of Stress notes that stress is a subjective concept that is difficult to precisely define. It was originally defined as the response of the body to any demand for change. Over time, it became synonymous with strain or tension or with demands that overwhelm personal resources. The Institute notes, however, that there are elements of stress that can be helpful. To a point, increased stress results in increased productivity, but there is a level at which the trend reverses. The tipping point differs for each individual, however, so paying attention to early warning symptoms of stress overload is vital. If you are struggling with an amphetamine addiction, learn how stress management can help you succeed in rehab.

How Stress Contributes to Addiction

Stress and substance abuse interact in multiple ways. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism explains the way in which stress can contribute to an increased risk of alcohol relapse. They note that alcohol can cause dysfunction in stress responses. Both chronic abuse and acute withdrawal are associated with increased activity in the brain’s stress systems. This involves higher levels of stress hormones in specific areas of the brain.

Chronic alcohol use can also change the brain’s reward pathway. This altered pathway can increase alcohol craving when people are exposed to alcohol-related stimuli, and also when they are under stress. In other words, people suffering from addiction may have both an overactive stress response and a tendency for stress to increase substance use cravings.

Stress may increase the addiction and relapse risk directly or indirectly, through its effect on other variables. A 2008 article in the journal Pain reports on a study indicating that stress can affect pain tolerance. Substance abuse sometimes begins as an attempt to address pain.

A publication by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) entitled Managing Chronic Pain in Adults with or in Recovery from Substance Use Disorders notes that chronic pain and addiction frequently co-occur.

Higher levels of stress also correspond to an increase in negative emotional states. A 2010 article in the journal Personality and Individual Differences examined stress in adolescents. A strong association was found between stress and negative emotions such as depression and anxiety.

Managing Stress

Dealing with stress can take many forms, including the following:

  • Addressing conflicts – Some degree of stress is inevitable, but recurring conflicts that cause higher than normal stress levels can often be addressed and resolved. Relationship issues, especially within the family, are common contributors to increased levels of stress. Family or couple’s therapy can be very beneficial.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) – CBT involves becoming aware of the beliefs and thoughts than underlie emotions. Stress can sometimes arise from or be intensified by unhelpful or untrue beliefs, such as “Things never work out for me” or “No one likes me.” CBT involves examining beliefs for their truth and counteracting or discarding those that are harmful. Viewing a situation from a different and more positive angle is sometimes known as reframing.
  • Breathing exercises – Focusing on breathing when the stress level begins to rise can turn down the body’s stress response. When under stress, the body tends to take quick and shallow breaths. Taking deeper and slower breaths can communicate to the body that there is no danger. It can lower heart rate and blood pressure. Breathing exercises can vary. One common technique is to breathe in slowly, hold the breath for a defined period of time, then slowly exhale.
  • Muscle relaxation – Muscles tense when stress levels rise. A helpful relaxation technique can be to focus on one muscle at a time, tense it, and then let it fully relax. Receiving a massage is another way to address muscle tension.
  • Music – Listening to any enjoyable music can be pleasurable, but there are certain musical styles that have been shown to lower the stress response. Classical music can be very calming. There are also music-based audio programs using music based on binaural beats, which can slow brain waves.
  • Mindfulness – Mindfulness is the practice of focusing fully on the present moment, becoming aware of physical and emotional states without judging them. Stress can often be heightened by a focus on the future or the past, and focusing on the present can release unnecessary tension.
  • Gratitude – Becoming consciously aware of and thankful for circumstances, relationships, belongings and other positive aspects of life can be very powerful. Gratitude has been shown to lower stress and improve sleep.
  • Exercise – Physical exercise can boost endorphins, the body’s feel-good chemicals, and help counteract stress. Even moderate or low-level exercise can be beneficial.
  • Meditation – Meditation can take various forms. A common technique is to choose a positive affirmation, such as “I am at peace” and to slowly repeat it to yourself, either out loud or silently. This is often timed to coincide with taking slow, deep breaths.
  • Laughter – Laughter can lower stress hormones and increase endorphins. Taking time to watch a humorous movie or television show or deciding to read a funny book or webpage can enhance wellbeing.

By incorporating a few of these techniques into your daily routine you can learn to cope with stress in healthy ways.

Give Us a Call

If you are struggling with amphetamine addiction and are ready to start an addiction recovery journey, give us a call. Our helpline is toll-free and available 24 hours a day. We can help you understand your treatment options and find the one that is best for you. We can also check your insurance coverage for you if you wish, at no cost or obligation. Addiction is a treatable disease and we can help you find your road to recovery. Why not call now?

3 Determining Factors for Choosing Gender-Specific Treatment

The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that there is no one right path to recovery that is the best choice for every individual. It is important to consider individual characteristics when making treatment decisions. For some people, the best treatment program is one that is gender-specific.

If you are ready to recovery from addiction to amphetamines, some possible reasons to consider gender-specific treatment include the following.

Emotional Comfort

For a variety of reasons, people may simply feel more comfortable in a same-gender environment. Sometimes this is due to a history of abuse. When people experience abuse at the hands of someone of the opposite sex, it can affect their view of the opposite gender and their ability to fully relax in a mixed-sex group. This can be addressed in treatment, and addressing it within the context of same-gender treatment may be the best approach.

Sometimes, no abuse is involved, but other elements of personal history make people feel more comfortable among others of the same sex. This may be simply due to family makeup, such as having all brothers, but no sisters, or attending an all-female or all-male school. Recovering from addiction takes focus and emotional energy. If people feel that their emotional energy will be drained by being in a mixed-gender environment, they may choose a gender-specific program to avoid that.

Gender-related Physical and Emotional Needs

Women may have specific needs related to childbearing or childcare. Women who are pregnant may benefit from a program that focuses on specific pregnancy-related concerns. Those with infants may want a program that provides for childcare and the ability to continue nursing a baby during treatment.

There are physical differences in the ways that men and women metabolize and are affected by drugs and alcohol, and some people may wish to choose a gender-specific program that recognizes and focuses on these differences. A 2013 BU Today article notes that alcohol abuse decreases the white matter in brains of both men and women, but that the area of the loss differs. For men, the corpus callosum is affected, while the cortex is more affected in women. The article also notes that there are gender differences in the rate of brain healing, with women recovering more rapidly than men.

Men and women may also abuse substances for different reasons, and understanding these can help focus treatment. Gender-related reasons for abusing substances may be due to physical, emotional and social differences. A 2014 article in the Hartford Courant reports on a study finding that the neurotransmitter dopamine is activated in both male and female smokers, but that in women, the part of the brain associated with habit formation is affected, while in men, it is the part of the brain that reinforces psychoactive effects.

A publication by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration notes that substance abuse among women is often related to interpersonal relationships. They are often introduced to drugs or alcohol by friends, boyfriends, or family members and view shared substance use as a way to maintain ties. Women are more likely than men to relapse as a result of interpersonal conflict and to relapse in the presence of a significant other.

Less Distraction in Rehab

For heterosexual patients, same-gender rehab programs may reduce romance-related distractions. When people become abstinent from drugs and alcohol, there is often a tendency to fill newly available time with romantic relationships. For a number of reasons, most recovery experts recommend against forming new romantic relationships during rehab and early recovery. While people are learning new habits and skills, it is wise to maintain focus, and a new romance can steal time and energy from the goal.

Romantic relationships formed during rehab may not be as healthy as they could be, because the people involved are still working on issues raised during treatment and have not had enough time to resolve them. Emotions also tend to be unstable during early recovery. It is not uncommon for people to experience depression or anxiety as part of withdrawal, and episodes can continue for a while as the brain heals and regains balance. When people have been in recovery for a while and are emotionally stronger, they make better romantic partners. When relationships are formed too soon, there may be a degree of volatility and pain that is counterproductive to the recovery process.

Begin to Break Free

If you are ready to overcome addiction to amphetamines or other substance and would like to identify and discuss your options, give us a call. Our helpline is toll-free and available 24 hours a day. Our consultants are knowledgeable and compassionate and understand the issues involved. They can answer your questions and can even check your insurance coverage for you if you wish, at no cost or obligation. You have nothing to lose by calling—and much to gain. Call now and begin to break free.

A Guide to Different Types of Therapy

In a research-based guide to effective drug addiction treatment, the National Institute on Drug Abuse states that no one treatment is right for every patient. They note that patient and drug characteristics affect the appropriateness of treatment settings, interventions and services. For this reason, there are a large number of potentially helpful interventions. Treatments can be broadly categorized as psychotherapy, medication-assisted treatment or alternative therapies.

Psychotherapy

Psychotherapy, or counseling, which may include individual, group or family sessions, is the most common type of addiction treatment. Patients work with counselors to understand what triggers their desire to abuse substances and ways to combat it. They learn relapse prevention skills and work on motivational enhancement. If there are co-existing mental health disorders like depression, anxiety or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), these are addressed as well. A 2003 article in the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry reviewed studies of psychotherapeutic treatments for addiction and concluded that they consistently proved to be helpful. Types of psychotherapy include the following:

  • Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) – CBT focuses on identifying thoughts that underlie feelings and actions. The thoughts are examined for validity and helpfulness, and patients are taught to confront and discard them if they are not constructive and are leading to self-destructive behavior.
  • Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT) – A related treatment to traditional CBT, DBT adds the element of validation. Validation involves affirming that a patient’s feelings, thoughts and behaviors are logical in some way. DBT balances the acceptance of these with the goal of change.
  • Psychodynamic therapy – Behavioral therapies tend to focus on the present and on specific targeted behaviors. Psychodynamic therapy is more open-ended giving patients an opportunity to free-associate and discover unconscious relationships between current challenges and past experiences. It is also known as insight-oriented therapy.
  • Interpersonal therapy – Interpersonal therapy focuses on relationships and interpersonal skills. Patients learn to identify the emotions they experience when in conflict with others and healthy ways to express them. Patterns of isolation or aggression are identified and addressed.

Medication-assisted treatment

Medications for addiction to drugs like amphetamine are not generally used alone but may be used in addition to psychotherapy. Withdrawal symptoms may be treated with drugs, and for some addictions there are also medications to help with relapse prevention. These include the following:

  • Opiates and Opioids – There are a number of medications available to treat addiction to natural opiates like heroin and morphine and their synthetic counterparts, opioid painkillers like oxycodone and hydrocodone. Medications include methadone, buprenorphine and naltrexone. Methadone and buprenorphine reduce withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) notes that the drugs have been shown to increase retention in treatment. Naltrexone reduces the relapse risk and SAMHSA notes that it may be especially helpful for people exiting a treatment setting where abstinence has been enforced.
  • Alcohol – Alcohol addiction may be treated with acamprosate, naltrexone and disulfiram. Acamprosate reduces protracted withdrawal symptoms. Naltrexone reduces cravings. Disulfiram affects the way in which alcohol is metabolized leading to unpleasant physical reactions when alcohol is consumed.
  • Tobacco – Some addiction treatment professionals believe that treating tobacco addiction will help patients overcome other addictions as well. Medications to assist the process include nicotine, bupropion and varenicline.

Alternative Therapies

Alternative or complementary therapies may be added to an addiction treatment protocol. Possible treatments include the following:

  • Nutritional therapies – Optimizing nutrition can include both dietary interventions and the consumption of vitamin supplements. Drug and alcohol cravings can be linked to imbalances of nutrients and neurotransmitters. Physical conditions such as hypoglycemia, adrenal fatigue, oxidative stress and inflammation can also contribute. Although a nutritional program should optimally be individualized, recommendations generally include avoiding caffeine and highly sweetened, salted or processed food and consuming adequate amounts of protein, fiber and healthy fats. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory supplements can be helpful as can natural energy-producing aids such as B vitamins.
  • Bodywork – Therapies based on movement or manipulation of the body include acupuncture, yoga, exercise programs and massage. A specific type of acupuncture using 5 points on the ear may be used to treat drug cravings during withdrawal.
  • Animal programs – Programs involving the care of and interaction with animals, such as equine or canine therapies, can lower stress, increase self-esteem and provide an external focus. Patience and communication skills can also be improved.
  • Meditation – Meditation, often combined with breathing exercises, can lower stress and help people become more aware of thoughts and feelings that may contribute to substance abuse.

Give Us a Call

If you are looking for addiction treatment for drugs like amphetamine that is right for you, we can help you find it. Our toll-free helpline is available 24 hours a day and staffed with knowledgeable consultants who can answer your questions and help you identify your treatment options. They can even check your insurance coverage for you if you wish at no cost or obligation. Call now, and begin a new life.

How to Let Go of Bad Habits in Rehab

How to Let Go of Bad Habits in Rehab
Some people find they can replace a bad habit, even drug addiction, with another behavior, like exercising

Addiction is a disease based in habit and routine. The connection between addiction and habit is so strong that one can be confused or misinterpreted as the other. This leads to the minimization of addiction as a problem or allows for continued misconceptions of addiction as a choice. As the New York Times explains, “Addiction is brought about by the repeated pursuit of highly attractive goals and corresponding inattention to alternative goals” (“Addiction Is a Bad Habit That Can Be Unlearned,” February 17, 2014). This does not negate addiction’s status as a disease, but it does show how habit and routine contribute to addiction. Since these factors help build amphetamine addiction, they need to be addressed in rehab for long-term recovery.

Replacing Old Habits with New Hobbies

Rehab does more than provide a place to overcome the past. It offers excitement and interest in the future, and it often does so by helping patients replace old habits associated with amphetamine or other drug use. As the National Institute of Health’s News in Health shares, “One way to kick bad habits is to actively replace unhealthy routines with new, healthy ones. Some people find they can replace a bad habit, even drug addiction, with another behavior, like exercising” (“Breaking Bad Habits,” January 2012). Quality rehab programs will help you find new, healthy behaviors or rekindle old interests and hobbies. They may offer a variety of fitness classes including yoga or dance. They will encourage patients to pursue artistic outlets such as writing, drawing or painting. Rehab professionals will listen to patients to determine what their interests outside of drug use may be, and they will offer opportunities to explore these interests and let go of bad habits by replacing them with positive, enjoyable activities.

Let Go of Bad Habits to Move Forward in Recovery

Do not stay stuck in the routine of drug use and addiction. You can break free from bad habits associated with amphetamine and other drug abuse, but doing so requires professional help. Many rehab programs offer the therapy, activities and support needed to replace or negate old habits, but finding the right one of these programs can seem overwhelming. Let us manage the confusion and stress of finding treatment for yourself or helping a loved one address addiction. We are here 24 hours a day, and our caring and confidential admissions coordinators are passionate about matching individuals to the right rehab program for their specific situation. All calls and phone services are free, so please let us help today.