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7 Relapse Prevention Strategies You Will Learn in Addiction Treatment

relapse prevention strategiesRecovering from addiction is not an easy task. When you start to consider all the people, places, and things that remind you of addiction, staying sober seems much harder. In fact, studies show that between 40-60% of people relapse at some point in their recovery.

Learning how to prevent relapse is vital for your recovery. Addiction treatment centers will teach you relapse prevention strategies that allow you to remain sober even in distressing times.

Relapse prevention skills not only help you deal with triggers and stay sober from drugs and alcohol, but they can also improve your mental health and your recovery as a whole. Here are 7 relapse prevention strategies you may learn during rehab.

1. Identifying and Preventing “HALT”

HALT is an acronym for hungry, angry, lonely, and tired. These are all feelings that could easily lead to relapse without proper intervention. Whenever you feel a craving to use substances, ask yourself if you are experiencing any of these feelings.

By doing an inventory of HALT, you can decipher whether you need to address feelings of hunger, anger, loneliness, or being tired. This can help you prevent yourself from experiencing a relapse and understand what you need to stay healthy and content.

2. Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation is a practice that can help you become more self-aware. Being self-aware will help you identify triggers as they come, preventing you from relapsing.

Mindfulness meditation encourages you to learn how to accept your triggers and cravings, rather than fighting them. Accepting the idea that cravings will happen is a skill that you learn through this practice. After you accept that cravings occur, you will implement relapse prevention skills such as letting go of personal control and the use of prayer or meditation.

The goal of mindfulness is to teach you to pay attention, focus on what you’re doing, where you are, who you’re with, and more. In other words, it teaches you to be in the moment. This can prevent you from worrying about the past or future and keep you in the present, leading to tremendous insight and empowerment over cravings.

3. Knowing Your Triggers

An important skill to have when it comes to relapse prevention strategies is to be able to recognize your triggers. Triggers are distressing things or events that cause you to feel like you need to use drugs or alcohol. There are internal triggers (anxiety, irritability, stress, anger, low self-esteem) and external triggers (people, places, or things that remind you of drug use).

Being aware of your personal triggers can help you avoid them and work through them when avoiding them is not possible, reducing the risk of relapse.

4. Joining Support Groups

Another relapse prevention strategy you will learn is how to rely on support groups. Regularly participating in a support group like Alcoholics Anonymous or SMART Recovery can provide you with support, accountability, education, and the ability to meet others who are going through similar issues as you.

Going to support groups further prevents relapse as it decreases feelings of loneliness, isolation, and hopelessness, which are all common triggers for relapse.

5.  The “5-4-3-2-1” Technique

Some of the biggest triggers for relapse are stress and anxiety, which are common feelings you may experience in early recovery. An extremely helpful anxiety-relief skill is known as the 5-4-3-2-1 technique. This is a grounding technique that takes you through the five senses to allow you to focus on the moment, avoiding thoughts of anxiety or substance abuse.

The 5 steps begin by taking a few breaths, which are followed by:

  • Acknowledging 5 things you see around you
  • Acknowledging 4 things you can touch around you
  • Noticing 3 things you can hear around you
  • Noticing 2 things you can smell around you
  • Acknowledging 1 thing you can taste around you

This exercise concludes with a long and deep breath. Focusing on your senses allows you to increase mindfulness, gain self-awareness, feel more in control, and reduce feelings of being overwhelmed. All of these things help you prevent yourself from facing a relapse.

6. Play the Tape Through

One of the most popular relapse prevention strategies that you will learn in addiction treatment is “playing the tape through.” When you begin thinking about using drugs or alcohol to cope with uncomfortable situations and emotions, this is a great tool to use. Playing the tape through is a skill that asks you to imagine what will happen in the short and long-term future if you decide to go through with using substances.

This exercise helps you remember the consequences of addiction to prevent you from desiring drugs or alcohol.

7. Breathing Exercises

As you know, breathing is central to life. To live, you have to breathe. Oftentimes, we breathe without even thinking about it, however, focusing on your breath can provide you with a multitude of physical, emotional, and mental benefits.

Breathing greatly impacts your emotions and controls your overall mood. Deep breathing releases certain neurotransmitters in your brain that make you feel good. This provides you with relaxation, happiness, and even a reduction in pain.

Knowing how to control your breath and using deep breathing exercises can help you control stress, anxiety, anger, and even fear. Being able to self-regulate your emotions in this way can prevent you from relapsing.

Relapse Prevention at Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment

If you or a loved one suffer from addiction, attending a professional addiction treatment program can save your life. Addiction can lead to an array of health consequences, including heart attacks, strokes, organ failure, and fatal overdoses, but the relapse prevention strategies you will learn in treatment can help you stay sober.

At Woburn Wellness, we embrace personalized addiction treatment for each of our clients and arm them with the tools they will need to stay sober long-term. Contact Woburn Wellness today to get started.

What is Chronic Relapse and How Can a Rehab Center Help?

what is chronic relapseAddiction is a chronic and progressive disease that can continue to worsen without the proper coping mechanisms. While many people who suffer from addiction learn how to manage their symptoms in an addiction treatment program, sometimes they forget that recovery doesn’t end after graduation from a rehab center. This can cause a drug or alcohol relapse.

Relapse occurs when someone is sober from substances for some time and then returns to drug or alcohol use. Usually, this happens because the person stopped doing the things that kept them sober in the first place. For example, if they went to support meetings, attended therapy, and practiced coping mechanisms like mindfulness and yoga, these techniques must be continued on a long-term basis – otherwise, the person risks suffering from a relapse.

Some people struggle with chronic relapse. If you are worried that your loved one is a “chronic relapser,” you must understand what that chronic relapse is, why it happens, and how a rehab program can help them.

What is Chronic Relapse?

Relapse occurs when someone is partially recovered from substance abuse but falls back into their addiction after a period of abstinence. If they struggle from chronic relapse, this means that they have relapsed multiple times. Almost everyone who suffers from chronic relapse requires long-term addiction treatment before they are ready to return to society.

The reason this happens is that relapse is a chronic disease. Without continuous treatment and recovery management, your loved one can continuously fall back into their addiction. Sometimes, relapse happens so often that you and your daily members lose hope that they will be able to maintain long-term sobriety.

Short-term addiction treatment does not work for someone who suffers from chronic relapses. If your loved one enters a 30-day drug treatment program, leaves after 30 days, and immediately gets drunk or high – they may suffer from chronic relapse.

Why Do Some People Relapse Multiple Times?

Unfortunately, completing a drug rehab program does not guarantee recovery for life. Oftentimes, people who attend addiction treatment are forced to return to the same environment where they used to abuse substances. This exposes them to triggers, which can begin the cycle of addiction relapse.

If you or a loved one suffers from chronic relapse, there could be many reasons why. One of the leading causes of relapse is suffering from long-term addiction. People who struggled with a substance use disorder that lasted for years are more likely to relapse than individuals who were only addicted for a short time.

Other reasons your loved one might relapse multiple times include:

  • Experiencing triggers
  • Not participating in aftercare planning
  • Experiencing physical or mental exhaustion
  • Dealing with mental health conditions like depression
  • Suffering from physical pain
  • Being dishonest about their feelings
  • Being jealous of non-sober friends
  • Stress from unemployment

As your loved one continues to struggle with their emotions, they begin to feel like they are hopeless, causing them to seek outside forms of comfort, which they have previously found within substances. As a result, they turn to drugs or alcohol to make themselves feel better. This is why many people struggle with chronic relapse.

Is Going to Rehab for Chronic Relapse Worth It?

Drug and alcohol relapse can be extremely dangerous. When your loved one gets sober, their body adjusts to the fact that they are not taking substances anymore, causing their tolerance for drugs and alcohol to go down tremendously.

When your loved one relapses, they may not take into consideration their tolerance has decreased, so they may take the same amount of drugs or alcohol that they did when they had a tolerance. This could easily lead to a life-threatening overdose.

Because chronic relapse puts your loved one at an increased risk of overdosing, going to rehab after relapse is more than just worth it – it’s necessary.

How Can a Rehab Center Help Me Prevent Relapse?

First, rehab centers use behavioral therapies to teach your loved one how to cope with uncomfortable feelings, emotions, or situations. One of the best relapse prevention tools used in rehab programs is a therapy known as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).

CBT looks at the way a person’s thoughts are related to their actions so that they can modify negative thought patterns and trigger positive behaviors instead of negative ones. In other words, CBT can change the way your loved one’s brain works, allowing them to avoid a relapse in times of distress.

Substance abuse treatment centers also use a technique known as relapse prevention planning. These plans are created by your loved one with the help of their therapist. The goal of this planning process is to create a plan of action for your loved one to use to avoid relapsing during triggering moments.

Some of the goals of a relapse prevention plan are:

  • List of triggers personal to your loved one
  • List of coping mechanisms to use in times of need
  • Ways to manage cravings if they occur
  • Continuing programs and support through 12-step meetings and alumni groups
  • Writing a list of consequences should you relapse
  • Attending a support meeting
  • Continued therapy and psychiatry
  • Exercising
  • Journaling
  • Writing a gratitude list

Relapse Prevention Planning at Woburn Wellness

If you or a loved one recently suffered a relapse after a period of sobriety, it’s time to seek help. Relapse can be dangerous, as your body was used to being sober and now you are attempting to use the same amount of substances as you did in the past, placing you at an increased risk of a life-threatening overdose.

Getting help sooner rather than later can help you prevent the consequences of relapse. We can help you create a relapse prevention plan to keep you on track even after you leave our facility. Contact Woburn Wellness today for more information on how to get started.

Can an Addiction Treatment Center Help Families of Addicts, Too?

families of addictsAddiction affects everything that is in its path, including the family of the affected individual. If your loved one suffers from addiction and is receiving treatment, you are probably wondering if their treatment will also help you. Because families play an important role in the individual’s recovery, most rehab programs emphasize family involvement.

When your loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, you can develop your own mental health issues as a result of the chaos that is unfolding in front of you. Constantly worrying about your loved one’s safety can really take its toll on your mental health. Addiction recovery includes everyone, not just the person who was abusing substances, and there are many ways an addiction center can help families of addicts heal.

How Does Addiction Affect Loved Ones?

You will experience your own stressors and pain when your loved one abuses drugs or alcohol. Sometimes your pain can present like an addiction, as you become consumed with your loved one’s well-being, whereabouts, and use of drugs and alcohol. In other words, drug addiction can create chaos in your family system, proving the need for support for all family members.

Addiction can tear a family apart. As your loved one’s behavior becomes more and more erratic, it causes stress on each member of your family. This is one of the many ways addiction affects the loved ones of the addict.

Other ways that addiction affects the entire family include:

  • Financial hardship
  • Stolen money or items
  • Parental grief or guilt
  • Young children being exposed to substances or addictive behaviors
  • Witnessing the side effects of drugs
  • Reckless behavior within the home
  • Dangerous people coming into the home
  • Substances in the home
  • Increased risk of more addiction in the family
  • Broken relationships
  • Overall chaos
  • Constant arguments or physical altercations
  • Loss of trust

Can an Addiction Treatment Center Help the Families of Addicts?

Addiction affects your entire family so rehab programs often offer services to members of an addict’s family. When the addicted individual’s family heals from their hardships, they have a higher chance of remaining sober after leaving their treatment program. Providing services to your entire family helps you and your loved one in the same manner.

Some of the ways an addiction treatment center can help families of addicts include:

Family Therapy

Family therapy helps to improve family conflict and resolve family issues that resulted from or contributed to your loved one’s issues with addiction. Additionally, family therapy is effective in helping you and every member of your family recover from the effects of witnessing and experiencing addiction in your home. This process allows you and your family to address issues that created resentments, estrangements, and misunderstandings.

Family therapy focuses on varying problems that include but is not limited to:

  • Marital strain
  • Substance abuse
  • Conflict resolution
  • Trauma
  • Grief
  • Relationship dynamics
  • Infidelity
  • Addiction stigma
  • Health concerns
  • Mental health issues
  • Parenting concerns
  • Domestic violence
  • LGBTQ+ issues
  • Financial concerns
  • Communication issues
  • Improved functioning within the family

Addiction Education

A vital part of recovering from the effects of your loved one’s addiction is understanding why they behaved the way they did in the first place. The only way to fully understand the intricacies of your loved one’s substance abuse is to become educated on the disease of addiction.

During family therapy sessions, some of the meetings may be focused on addiction education and the science behind the disease. This will help you begin to understand how the drugs affected your loved ones, why they behaved the way they did, and how you can help them recover from here on out.

Peace of Mind

Another way that rehab programs will help your family is by providing you with peace of mind. During your loved one’s addiction, you probably spent a lot of time lying awake at night wondering if they were okay and alive. Once they enter an addiction treatment program, you can rest assured that they are in a safe and supportive environment.

Having this peace of mind will allow you to begin focusing on yourself instead of having to obsess over your loved one’s well-being. You will finally have time to practice the self-care techniques you probably neglected during their active addiction, providing you with stress relief and time for yourself.

Referrals to Support Groups

Lastly, your loved one’s addiction treatment program can help you by referring you to support groups. There are groups intended for the families of addicts that allow you to connect with other individuals who were affected by addiction in some manner.

Al-Anon is one of the most common support groups that provide this care.

According to Al-Anon, this program helps people as “members share their own experience, strength, and hope.” You will meet others who share your feelings and frustrations, if not your exact situation. We come together to learn a better way of life, to find happiness whether the alcoholic is still drinking or not.”[1]

Al-Anon and other support groups can provide you with the peer support and camaraderie you need to recover from the effects of your loved one’s addiction.

Family-Focused Addiction Treatment at Woburn Wellness

If you or your loved one suffer from addiction, it’s time to seek professional treatment. Not only can drug and alcohol rehab help the addicted individual recover, but also the entire family. Each member of the family is affected by addiction, so addiction treatment should focus on each person belonging to an affected family.

At Woburn Wellness, we provide our patients with family-focused addiction treatment that can help you and your loved one recover. Contact us today to get started.

4 Common Barriers Women Face in Addiction Treatment and How to Overcome Them

barriers for women in addiction treatmentMen and women have unique life experiences that the opposite gender cannot always relate to. When it comes to addiction and recovery, men and women have different risk factors that lead them to addiction, different needs when it comes to treatment, and different barriers that stand between their current situation and achieving long-term sobriety.

While women and men are equally as likely to develop a substance use disorder, studies show that women are more susceptible to craving and relapse.[1] Receiving individually-tailored, evidence-based treatment can help women get sober, stay sober, and truly embrace life in recovery. However, they must get into treatment first, and have the support they need to stay sober.

The many barriers women face in addiction treatment and recovery can hold women back from living the healthy, sober, and happy life they deserve. Here are the top four barriers women face in treatment and recovery.

1. Not Being Able to Find or Afford Childcare and Fear of Child Protective Services Involvement

A major concern among many women seeking addiction treatment involves motherhood. For example, pregnant women may have trouble finding a treatment program that treats pregnant women and accepts health insurance.[2] Pregnant women may also feel as though they will miss out on the experience of pregnancy if they go to rehab, causing them to delay getting treatment.

Mothers with children may face additional barriers, as well. They struggle to find reliable and affordable childcare for the time in which they will spend in rehab. They may also be fearful of the state’s child protective services getting involved if people find out about their substance abuse.

The host of worries and responsibilities that come with motherhood may stop women from seeking treatment or prevent them from completing their rehab program in its entirety because a mother may be tempted to leave rehab early to go back home to her children.

Tips for success: If you are a mother, know that no matter your situation, your children will be better off when you are sober. This means you should go to any means possible to find childcare and treatment that works for you. Ask friends, family, neighbors, and others to help with childcare. You may also choose an outpatient program that allows you to continue caring for your children as you receive treatment on an outpatient basis. Finally, child protective services can not intervene simply for you going to rehab. They will only intervene if an existing situation requires their involvement. And, you’re more likely to keep your children in your custody if you are sober and capable of parenting to the fullest extent.

2. Intimate Partner Violence

Another common barrier women face when it comes to seeking addiction treatment and staying in recovery is intimate partner violence. Nearly 1 in 4 women have experienced intimate partner violence. Substance abuse is involved in 40-60% of intimate partner violence and 60-75% of women in substance abuse treatment report a history of intimate partner violence.[3,4, 5]

Women experiencing domestic abuse or violence may be tempted to use drugs or alcohol to cope, but they may also fear for their safety if they go to rehab. This fear can keep them trapped not only in an abusive relationship but also in their addiction.

Women with a history of intimate partner violence who do seek treatment may have difficulty trusting others, getting vulnerable in therapy sessions, and disclosing the details of their intimate relationships. This reluctance in treatment may prevent women from obtaining the complete healing they need to recover.

Tips for success: The earlier you leave an abusive relationship, the easier things will be. Let the rehab center know that they are not allowed to share your information or whereabouts with your abuser. Finally, during treatment, remember that many women share the same experiences as you do with physical, sexual, and emotional abuse, so there is no shame in opening up about your experiences. Consider finding a rehab center that specializes in women or one that offers gender-specific treatment.

3. Shame, Fear, Guilt, and Stigma

Women face a lot of pressure from society as a whole. They face pressure to look, act, and think in a certain way. They also face a lot of judgment in certain professions, sports, hobbies, and other activities. Due to societal pressures, women struggling with addiction may feel shame, guilt, or fear when it comes to seeking treatment.

These feelings can stem from different reasons. A woman may feel shame and embarrassment because she is afraid of her friends, family, or loved ones finding out that she has been abusing drugs or alcohol. Another woman may feel guilty because she feels like she has failed at being a friend, daughter, mother, or partner due to her addiction. These troublesome emotions can hold women back from seeking treatment and also make it difficult to stay sober.

Studies show that women often have difficulty acknowledging their problems with drugs and alcohol and professionals are reluctant to ask women about their substance use, but burying these issues is no plausible, long-term solution.[6]

Tips for success: Be completely open and honest with your therapist. Your therapist is not there to judge you or shame you, and he or she can help you work through some of these self-defeating emotions that are holding you back. Therapies like CBT and DBT focus directly on thoughts, emotions, and behaviors, so there is no feeling that you can’t overcome.

4. Trauma, PTSD, and Co-Occurring Disorders

Trauma, PTSD, and other mental health conditions like depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder increase the risk of substance abuse and addiction in both men and women, but co-occurring disorders are more common in women. In other words, women are more likely to suffer comorbid mental health and substance abuse issues than men are, meaning women often require comprehensive, integrated treatment.[5]

Trauma or mental health conditions can make addiction recovery more difficult than it already is because individuals must receive treatment for both conditions. These conditions can also make staying sober difficult because the re-emergence of symptoms can result in a relapse. As a result, women are more likely to relapse due to their mental health than men.

Tips for success: Just because women are more likely to have a co-occurring mental health condition doesn’t mean they can’t stay sober. Dual diagnosis treatment centers offer intensive care for both substance abuse and mental illness. If you know you have a dual diagnosis, seek treatment from one of these facilities for the care you deserve.

Break Past Barriers and Start Treatment Today

Here at Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment, we understand that asking for help with a substance abuse problem can be the hardest thing to do, but we also recognize and honor the unique needs of women. If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, don’t let any of these barriers hold you back from seeking the treatment you need and deserve. Call today to speak with a treatment specialist about starting your recovery.

References:

  1. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/substance-use-in-women/sex-gender-differences-in-substance-use
  2. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/275576360_Barriers_to_Treatment_for_Women_With_Substance_Use_Disorders
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/fastfact.html
  4. https://www.psychiatrictimes.com/view/role-substance-abuse-intimate-partner-violence
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4766974/
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3151455/

5 Mistakes to Avoid Making While Staging an Intervention

mistakes to avoid during an interventionWatching your loved one struggle with addiction is never easy. It is extremely common for the loved ones of addicts to feel guilty, ashamed, or even responsible for their loved one’s addiction. If you can relate to this, the first thing you should do is remember that you are not at fault.

While understanding that your loved one’s addiction is not your fault is a great first step, you are probably still wondering how you can help them. Convincing your loved one to attend addiction treatment is extremely difficult, especially if you do so without professional help. The best way to get your loved one the recovery support you need is to host a professional intervention.

When hosting an intervention, there are do’s and don’ts that you should be aware of. For example, you should never go into an intervention unprepared. This is why hiring a professional interventionist is so important. An interventionist can help you plan and stage an effective intervention while also avoiding the most common mistakes people make.

Here are the top 5 mistakes to avoid while staging an intervention.

1. Being Unprepared

Addiction doesn’t develop at the spur of the moment and intervention shouldn’t either. Interventions should be carefully planned. When an intervention goes unplanned, emotions can get messy. Addiction is an extremely touchy subject and if you aren’t prepared, you can easily say the wrong thing.

Interventions are most effective in a calm and loving environment. The tone should always be supportive to avoid causing your loved one to become defensive. Because addiction causes so many people to suffer, if you go into an intervention unprepared, you could easily say something that comes off accusatory rather than supportive.

Before beginning an intervention, everyone involved should write out what they want to say to their loved one. This allows each person to collect their thoughts calmly, rather than “winging it” on the day of. Additionally, having your statements written out shows your loved ones that you took the time and made an effort for them, making them more likely to be perceptive of your thoughts.

2. Including Too Many People

One of the most common mistakes you could make is including too many people. You have probably seen an intervention on TV and noticed a large group of friends and family members all sitting down to address their suffering loved one. This is only something you will see on TV.

During a true intervention, a small and intimate group of family members and friends will gather together. When someone is being asked to attend addiction treatment for their substance use disorder, emotions will run high and people may become overwhelmed. Imagine if you included 10-15 people in your intervention group, this would most definitely become too overwhelming for your loved one.

3. Using the Wrong Tone

When you are hosting an intervention, your tone of voice is extremely important. Your loved one will likely be experiencing distressing emotions and they may even feel like they are being ganged up on. If you allow your tone to become defensive, accusatory, or negative in any manner, you risk them walking out of the intervention altogether.

Because of this risk, having a positive and supportive tone (no matter what your loved one says or does) is extremely important. They need to know that you are here for them no matter what, even if they are not behaving how you would like them to. Being supportive in this manner will show them that you are here for them through it all, making it more likely for them to come to you when they are ready to attend addiction treatment.

4.  Not Continuing Support After the Intervention

This is probably the most damaging mistake you could make during an intervention. If you are asking your loved one to attend addiction treatment and offering your support during the intervention, that needs to continue after the meeting is over.

If you were to tell your loved one that you support them and then stop offering support once the intervention ends, this will make them feel like you aren’t there for them. As a result, it is important to ensure that you plan out ways to support your loved one after the intervention – whether they accept treatment or not.

Even after your loved one attends treatment and completes a program, they will still need your support. Familial support is a vital aspect of addiction recovery and can make your loved one’s recovery process go much smoother.

5. Not Hiring a Professional

Interventions are difficult to plan and hard to go through. A lot goes into the planning of an intervention, like having a treatment program for your loved one to attend already set up, writing out letters to read that will truly help your loved one see the need for treatment, and ensuring that everything runs smoothly during the process.

Planning to host an intervention without professional help is the biggest mistake you could make. Instead, hire a professional interventionist who is trained and experienced in planning and hosting interventions.

Intervention Support at Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment

If your loved one suffers from addiction and is not seeking help for themselves, you are probably wondering what you can do for them. The best and most effective way to help them is to plan a professional intervention, where the admittance to a treatment program will be set up and ready to go immediately after the intervention ends.

Thankfully, programs like Woburn Wellness offer intervention support to help get your loved one into treatment and a top-rated addiction treatment program that can help your loved one stay sober. Contact us today for more information on how to get started.

5 Reasons You Should Go to Rehab Sooner Rather Than Later

why you should go to rehab sooner than laterAddiction can wreak havoc on your life and lead to severe, life-threatening consequences. It is a complex condition that requires more than detox. To truly overcome addiction, you must receive comprehensive, compassionate treatment for the condition’s social, physical, and emotional aspects and learn new skills that will allow you to manage stress and challenges healthily.

In addiction treatment, timing is important. Waiting to go to rehab could mean sacrificing your physical or mental health or getting into trouble at work, school, or home. As a result, it’s always best to go to rehab sooner rather than later. The sooner you seek the help you need, the more likely you will be to avoid the worst consequences of addiction.

5 Reasons You Should Go to Rehab Sooner Than Later

There are many benefits to seeking treatment as early as possible. Research suggests that the sooner you go to rehab, the better able you are to put addiction behind you for life. Here are five reasons you should go to rehab sooner than later.

1. Waiting Longer Means Your Substance Abuse Will Worsen

The longer you continue to live with untreated addiction, the worse it will become. Prolonged, heavy substance abuse doesn’t just affect your immediate health and behavior. Over time, repeated exposure to drugs or alcohol can actually change the way your brain and body function. It can damage your brain, heart, liver, and other systems. The worse the physical effects of addiction, the harder it can be to overcome the condition and move forward in life.

Along with the physical changes caused by substance abuse, there are emotional and social consequences. Without treatment, many people lose essential relationships, experience legal or financial trouble, and lose jobs or opportunities. If you go to rehab sooner than later, you may avoid some of the most severe consequences of substance abuse.

2. You May Save Money

Many people worry about the cost of treatment. However, the sooner you go to rehab, the less treatment you may require to overcome substance abuse or addiction.

Addiction treatment is offered in several levels of care, including:

  • Inpatient/Residential
  • Outpatient
  • Partial hospitalization programs (PHP)
  • Intensive outpatient programs (IOP)

The level of treatment and type of program you require may be based on the length and severity of your addiction. Attending a shorter rehab program or one in a lower level of care may mean your overall treatment costs will be lower. Going to rehab sooner than later may also prevent financial loss from a lost job, buying drugs or alcohol, and legal fees.

3. You Will Be Less Likely to Put Off Treatment Indefinitely

Like with many life choices, putting off the decision to go to rehab may make it less likely that you will ever get the help you need. There are many reasons you may not want to go to rehab. You may worry about the cost, not want to take time away from work or family, or not believe that your condition requires treatment. But the longer you wait to go to rehab, the worse your substance abuse is likely to get–and a more severe addiction makes it even harder to seek treatment.

4. Recovery Takes Time

Recovery from addiction doesn’t happen overnight. Real, long-lasting recovery takes time and commitment. The longer you wait to rehab, the worse your substance abuse will become–and the longer it may take to recover when you eventually go to rehab.

Comprehensive, effective substance abuse treatment doesn’t end after detox. Instead, it provides support, therapy, and treatments to help your whole self heal from addiction and embrace a healthy, sober future. Your treatment program is likely to utilize evidence-based and holistic therapies, including:

  • Individual therapy
  • Group counseling
  • Education
  • Medications
  • Mental health and medical treatment
  • Holistic therapies, such as exercise, nutrition counseling, art and music, and mindfulness practice

If you go to rehab sooner than later, you will give yourself all the time you need to recover physically, identify the roots of your substance abuse, and learn the skills you need to avoid relapse in the future.

5. You can identify resources and support

The longer you wait to seek treatment, the more the reasons not to get help will pile up. You may worry about finding or keeping a job, taking care of kids or other family members, finding the money to pay for treatment, or navigating your insurance plan to determine what will be covered.

This can keep people from getting the help they need to overcome addiction and learn the skills to live the healthy lifestyle they deserve. In fact, research suggests that only about 11% of people who require addiction treatment ever go to rehab.

Deciding to go to rehab may feel overwhelming, but it can be the first step toward lifelong recovery. Once you start treatment, you will have access to the programs and professionals you need to support you during and after treatment.

The facility staff will work with your insurance or help you develop an affordable payment plan. Your counselors can help you identify coping skills and community support that will help you stay sober for life. You may also receive support from your treatment team to find housing, employment, and financial assistance if needed.

If you or someone you love requires addiction treatment, don’t wait another day to get the support and treatment you need to put substance abuse behind you.

Get Help Now

Going to rehab sooner rather than later can improve your treatment outcome and prevent negative consequences from happening in your life. Contact the caring specialists at Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment today to learn more about starting a substance abuse treatment program in Massachusetts.

10 Ways Your Body Changes When You Stop Drinking Alcohol

healthy after stopping drinking alcoholAlcohol is part of our American culture. Most people in the United States regularly consume alcohol at home, with friends, or as part of a celebration. While drinking in moderation can be part of a generally healthy lifestyle, many people develop an unhealthy relationship with alcohol. Some people may use alcohol to self-medicate stress or other discomforts or drink more than the recommended amount regularly as part of their lifestyle. These behaviors can lead to severe consequences, including addiction.

Recognizing the signs of an unhealthy relationship with alcohol may prompt you to want to reduce the amount you drink or stop drinking altogether. So, what happens if you stop drinking alcohol? Learning the many health benefits may help you commit to a healthy, sober lifestyle.

If you or someone you love needs help to stop drinking, reach out to the specialists at Woburn Addiction Treatment today.

What Happens When You Stop Drinking Alcohol?

If you have been drinking heavily for a prolonged period, your body may have adapted to the presence of alcohol in your system. When you stop drinking alcohol, you may experience withdrawal symptoms, including:

  • Shaking/tremors
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Restlessness
  • Irritability
  • Insomnia
  • Headache
  • Sweating

These uncomfortable symptoms can begin as soon as six hours after your last drink. After a complete detox, your body can start to heal from the effects of alcohol use. Many people experience a noticeable improvement in the first 30 days of sobriety.

What Happens to Your Body When You Stop Drinking?

One of the immediate effects of not drinking is that you will be less likely to be involved in an accident or injury while intoxicated. In time, other aspects of your health will likely begin to improve.

So, what happens to your body when you stop drinking alcohol?

1. Improved Heart Health

When you drink more than you should, your heart health can suffer. The body breaks down excessive amounts of alcohol in a process that creates free radicals–cells that can cause damage to the body. These free radicals may oxidize LDL (bad) cholesterol and create blockages in your arteries.

While drinking moderately may contribute to improved heart health, especially in later life for men, consuming more alcohol than recommended is hard on your heart. If you stop drinking alcohol in excess, your heart health will likely improve.

2. Healthier Liver

Your liver’s job is to metabolize toxins and hormones. A healthy liver is essential to overall health and wellbeing. Drinking more than recommended can lead to a fatty liver that is ineffective at removing toxins from your body.

When you stop drinking alcohol, your liver can heal in a relatively short amount of time–within weeks, your health may improve drastically. Without working hard to break down and eliminate toxins from alcohol, your liver can function more efficiently.

3 Healthier Weight

Alcoholic beverages are often high in sugar and calories. When you stop drinking alcohol, you may notice that you lose a little weight over time. Weight loss can be more significant for people who often drink heavily. Even without losing substantial weight, many people who stop drinking alcohol notice improved body composition, including reduced belly fat.

4. Reduced Cancer Risk

Decades of research have linked excessive alcohol consumption to numerous types of cancer. While many potential factors raise your risk of cancer, reducing your alcohol intake may lower your risk of developing breast, mouth, colon, esophageal, and throat cancer.

5. Better Sleep

Drinking alcohol can keep you from getting good quality sleep. While you may feel drowsy after drinking, alcohol interrupts your REM sleep and can cause frequent awakenings at night. You may also need to get up to go to the bathroom more if you drink heavily before bed. When you stop drinking alcohol, you will likely enjoy a more restful, refreshing sleep, which can lead to a better mood and more energy during the day.

6. Increased Immunity

A single episode of heavy drinking may lower your body’s ability to fight infection for a full 24 hours. Regularly drinking more than recommended can seriously impair your immune system, making you more vulnerable to getting sick. When you stop drinking alcohol, your body can more effectively defend itself from illness–meaning you may get fewer colds or shorter periods of being sick.

7. Lower Blood Pressure

Normal blood pressure is 120/80, and anything over 130/80 is considered high. Regularly drinking excessively can increase your blood pressure, which may raise your risk of having a stroke. When you stop drinking alcohol, your blood pressure may return to normal.

8. Better Memory

Research has shown that prolonged heavy drinking can affect a person’s memory and cognition. Over time, excessive alcohol use may lead to brain damage. If you stop drinking alcohol, some of this damage can heal. People who stop drinking often report better memory, clearer thinking, and improved motor skills and concentration.

9. Increased Libido

Drinking heavily may seriously impact a person’s sex life. Men and women may experience physical changes that impair their sexual health, ability to perform, or desire. If you stop drinking alcohol, you may experience a noticeable improvement in your sex life.

10. Improved Mental Health

Drinking heavily can impact your mental health by causing or worsening mental health symptoms. People who drink to excess regularly are more prone to anxiety or depression. If you stop drinking alcohol, you may notice better mental health, which can lead to better overall well-being and improved relationships.

Get Help to Stop Drinking Alcohol Today

Our alcohol rehab program in Woburn, MA combines proven therapeutic methods of healing with effective holistic modalities, making for integrated and highly individualized care that cannot be found anywhere else in the area. There are many things that set Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment apart – for one, we offer an extremely unique set of therapeutic services, including weekly visits with therapy dogs, nutritional and physical therapy, and holistic treatment methods like yoga, mindfulness meditation, and acupuncture.

If you or someone you love require treatment for alcohol abuse, reach out to the Woburn Addiction Treatment specialists today.

5 Barriers That Stop Men from Seeking Rehab and How to Overcome Them

barriers for men in addiction treatmentBoth men and women struggle with addiction and alcoholism, but statistics show that men are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol and struggle with a substance use disorder than women. However, women are more likely to seek treatment earlier than men.[1]

There are many barriers that stop men from seeking addiction treatment and getting the help that they need. Here are 5 barriers for men struggling with addiction and how to overcome them.

1. He is the Breadwinner and Bears Financial Responsibility for His Family

In houses where the man is the primary financial provider, a man who is struggling with addiction may avoid getting professional help because he feels as though he won’t be able to provide for his family while in treatment.

Data reported by CNBC in March 2022 estimate that 64% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Families who depend on a man as the sole breadwinner may be unable to miss a paycheck without forgoing things like food, electricity, or gas. This places a lot of pressure on many men struggling with addiction, and it may stop them from seeking rehab.

The solution? Many men can benefit from an outpatient rehab program or a nighttime IOP. These flexible addiction treatment programs can be scheduled during hours outside of work, allowing men to keep their job while going to rehab.

2. His Friends Drink and Party, So He Thinks He Can, Too

Drinking alcohol is a huge part of American culture. It is often found at social events like BBQs, weddings, festivals, parties, and other gatherings. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), 59,1% of men ages 18 and older drank in the last month.[2]

If a man has a problem with alcohol, but his friends and family like to drink and party, he may not recognize that he has a problem. Or, he may be hesitant to seek help because he thinks that if he gets sober, he will no longer fit in with the people around him.

It’s important to reassure loved ones that you would rather them be sober and healthy than struggling with an addiction just to fit in. Let them know you will still love them even if they get sober.

3. He is Embarrassed About His Addiction and Doesn’t Want to Seem “Weak”

Society places a lot of pressure on men to be “masculine” or “strong.” This has caused men to feel as though personal difficulties such as difficulty coping with mental illness or controlling substance abuse are signs of weakness. Unfortunately, this notion only furthers the stigma that men face when it comes to addiction. Because a man may not want to be perceived as weak, he may feel shame and embarrassment about his addiction, stopping him from seeking treatment.

4. He is in Denial About Having a Drug or Alcohol Problem in the First Place

The fears of appearing weak or unmasculine or being unable to care for one’s family can push a man into denial. He may begin denying that he has a problem with drugs or alcohol altogether, or downplaying the nature of his problem. He may use excuses like, “it’s not that bad,” or, “I have everything under control and can stop whenever I want,” but when push comes to shove, he ends up choosing drugs or alcohol over the things in life that are more important.

If a man is in denial and refuses to get help, it may be time to stage an addiction intervention. Interventions are extremely effective processes that help people recognize the gravity of their situation and the importance of seeking treatment.

5. He is Fearful of Being Vulnerable Around Others

Toxic masculinity is real and often prevents men from seeking the mental and behavioral support they need. A man may recognize that he has an addiction and even agree to go to rehab, but once he gets there, he may shut down and be reluctant to express his feelings, thoughts, and past behaviors with a counselor and his peers. This refusal to become vulnerable and honest can prevent true healing because therapy and recovery require honesty and transparency.

Overcoming this barrier is up to the man himself, but two things that can help are finding a therapist that he trusts or participating in a gender-specific program that is uniquely designed for men.

Overcoming the Barriers that Men Face in Addiction Treatment

Many of the barriers that stop men from seeking rehab can be overcome with a phone call or visit with an addiction specialist. For example, the qualified team at Woburn Wellness understands how difficult it can be to ask for help as well as the concerns people have when it comes to treatment. They aim to educate prospective patients about the disease of addiction, what rehab is like, and what it takes to stay in recovery.

Addiction isn’t something to be ashamed about, and seeking treatment doesn’t have to be something that derails your life. Addiction is a disease–not a weakness or moral failing. With the right treatment and personalized care, anyone can recover.

Find Help Now

If you or a loved one are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, it’s time to explore the options that are available to know. Call Woburn Wellness today to speak with an admissions counselor about starting treatment.

References:

  1. https://nida.nih.gov/publications/research-reports/substance-use-in-women/sex-gender-differences-in-substance-use
  2. https://www.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/brochures-and-fact-sheets/alcohol-facts-and-statistics

5 Benefits of Addiction Treatment With Vivitrol

doctor discussing the benefits of VivitrolVivitrol is a monthly injection of naltrexone that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat addictions to opioids and alcohol. It can only be used after detox and once you are no longer physically dependent on alcohol or opioids. Vivitrol is most effective when combined with behavioral therapy and counseling–a comprehensive treatment approach known as medication-assisted treatment (MAT).

Vivitrol may not be right for anyone, but it is an extremely useful medication that can promote sobriety in those struggling with addiction. Here are 5 of the most important benefits of using Vivitrol in addiction treatment.

1. Vivitrol Reduces Cravings for Opioids and Alcohol

Vivitrol contains naltrexone, an opioid antagonist medication that binds to and blocks opioid receptors. The binding process tricks the brain into thinking it has opioids in the system, thereby reducing opioid cravings. The blocking mechanism prevents other opioids from being able to attach to opioid receptors.[1] In other words, if you take an opioid while on naltrexone, you won’t feel the euphoric effects of the opioid. This can reduce the desire to use opioids.

When it comes to treating alcohol, naltrexone helps regulate brain function and restore healthy chemical balances which can reduce alcohol cravings.[2]

Cravings are a major obstacle that you must overcome in recovery, but some people need a little extra help dealing with cravings while they take the time to recover. This is where Vivitrol comes into play. Vivitrol minimizes cravings while you participate in therapy and other holistic healing activities that encourage sobriety.

2. There are Very Few Side Effects and Risks

Treatment medications like Suboxone, methadone, and Antabuse all come with a long list of side effects. Although Vivitrol can cause side effects too, the ones it does cause are usually mild and they subside within a couple of days or weeks after receiving the injection.

The most common side effects are injection site reactions including redness, itching, swelling, and irritation. These side effects are normal with any kind of injection–even vaccines. Other common side effects include:[3]

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Tiredness
  • Anxiety
  • Loss of appetite

Many people have no noticeable side effects whatsoever.

3. There is No Risk of Abuse or Addiction When Using Vivitrol

Vivitrol is the only FDA-approved medication for the treatment of opioid use disorder that is not habit-forming. Other medications like buprenorphine and methadone, while effective in treating opioid addiction, can lead to a physical dependency. Even people who take buprenorphine or methadone as prescribed may experience some withdrawal symptoms when they stop taking the medication.

This is not the case with Vivitrol.

Naltrexone does not have addictive properties. It does not provide feelings of euphoria and it is not physically addictive. You can stop taking Vivitrol without experiencing any symptoms of withdrawal. It is also only administered in a medical office, eliminating any possibility of diversion.

Because you can’t abuse or get addicted to Vivitrol, it is a very popular treatment option for those seeking recovery.

4. A Monthly Injection is Easier to Keep Up With Than a Daily Pill

People who struggle with substance use disorders or mental health conditions typically have poorer rates of medication adherence than the general population.[4,5] Remembering to take a pill every day may sound easy, but it is just as easy to forget. Forgetting to take a daily medication can make the medication ineffective or cause sudden withdrawal symptoms.

However, with Vivitrol, you don’t have to worry about adhering to a daily medication schedule. Vivitrol is administered once every 28-30 days in a medical office, so all you have to worry about is making it to your monthly appointment. This makes Vivitrol a preferable option for people who struggle with taking daily medications.

5. Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) With Vivitrol Can Improve Treatment Outcomes

According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), medication-assisted treatment can improve treatment retention and completion rates. It can also reduce the risk for relapse since medications alleviate cravings and MAT provides a more comprehensive, individually-tailored approach.[6]

Overall, using Vivitrol as part of your treatment program may improve treatment outcomes. While the injection helps you cope with cravings, you can focus 100% of your energy on your therapy sessions. This will help you get better faster.

vivitrol

 

Experience the Benefits of Vivitrol at Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment

The medication-assisted treatment (MAT) program at Woburn Wellness is committed to helping patients achieve a sober, independent lifestyle. If you or a loved one are interested in the Vivitrol shot or starting addiction treatment, contact a team member today. We’re available 24 hours a day to take your call, verify your insurance, and help you begin your recovery journey.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK481477/
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2376083/
  3. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2010/021897s015lbl.pdf
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1868660/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3526017/
  6. https://www.samhsa.gov/medication-assisted-treatment

What Treatment Programs Can Help Me Stay Sober After Detox?

stay sober after detoxMaking the decision to get sober isn’t easy, but it is the best decision you can make for yourself, your family, and other loved ones. However, you don’t get sober overnight. Many people are under the impression that they can go to a detox center, get through withdrawals, then go back to their daily lives, but this doesn’t work for most people. Detox alone cannot cure or treat addiction–it simply prepares you for treatment and beginning life in recovery.

So, how exactly do you stay sober after detox? Thankfully, there are several treatment options and aftercare solutions that can support you along the way.

Staying Sober After Detox With a Continuum of Care

Detox only helps you get through symptoms of withdrawal and stabilize your body. While this is an important part of recovery, it doesn’t pave the way for long-term sobriety. Instead, you can learn how to stay sober by participating in a full continuum of care in addiction treatment after detox. A continuum of addiction care often consists of:

Day Treatment

Day treatment, also known as partial hospitalization or PHP, is an addiction treatment option that offers 24/7 support and sober housing. It is similar to inpatient rehab, but patients have more flexibility in the evenings and on the weekends. Day treatment typically involves 25 hours of counseling per week spread across 5 days a week. This is the most intensive treatment option offered at Woburn Wellness and is ideal for those who have just completed detox.

Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP)

IOP is the next type of addiction treatment program that can help you stay sober after detox. IOP is a step down from day treatment but it is more intensive and time-demanding than a standard outpatient program. Treatment consists of 3.5-hour appointments that are divided up into two sessions up to five days a week. IOP can help you adjust to living independently after day treatment while encouraging structure, support, and accountability.

Outpatient Program (OP)

Outpatient rehab is a less intensive option that allows you to continue treatment while getting back to work, school, or family. This level of care is meant to support you and help you adjust to living in sobriety without constant supervision. A major focus of outpatient rehab is relapse prevention as it aims to help you practice healthy coping skills and utilize your local resources to stay sober.

Staying Sober After Detox and Rehab With Aftercare

Detox heals your body and rehab helps heal your mind, but your recovery also depends on the actions you take after rehab to maintain your sobriety. Of course, learning how to navigate early recovery isn’t always easy, but there are aftercare programs available to help. Popular aftercare programs that can help you stay sober after detox and rehab are:

Continued Counseling

You can expect to spend a lot of time in therapy during rehab, but there is nothing wrong with continuing therapy afterward. Many addiction treatment centers have counselors who offer continued therapy sessions to patients who want them. You can also seek your own therapist and start fresh with someone new who may have an alternative perspective.

Whichever option you choose, continued substance abuse counseling can help you stay on track, level minded, and accountable in your recovery. If you begin veering down the wrong path, your counselor can help you get back on track.

Recovery Coaching

Another popular form of aftercare is recovery coaching, sometimes called “sober coaching.” A recovery coach is someone who has experience working with people struggling with addiction or someone who is in recovery themselves. A recovery coach is not a counselor or therapist. They are similar to a life coach but specialize in all things recovery.

You may meet with your recovery coach on a weekly or biweekly basis to discuss your week, your progress, and any concerns you may have. A recovery coach can:

  • Give you tips and advice
  • Help you find local meetings and other resources
  • Help you develop a resume and search for a job
  • Make suggestions as to how you can overcome obstacles
  • Inspire you with their own stories, experiences, and insight
  • Help you create a schedule that is productive and healthy

12-Step Meetings and Fellowship

One of the most widely used recovery programs is the 12-Steps. 12-Step meetings are hosted by members of 12-Step fellowships like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), and others. During meetings, members discuss their experiences with addiction and alcoholism as well as how the 12-Steps have helped them stay sober. This is a great way to develop a sober support system and maintain motivation to stay sober.

Sober Living

Sober living homes are drug-and-alcohol-free homes where residents live in early recovery. These homes have strict rules, randomized drug testing, and a structured environment. Staying in a sober living home after detox and rehab can help you adjust to life in sobriety while living in supportive housing among other sober individuals.

Staying Sober With Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment

At Woburn Wellness Addiction Treatment, we offer a full continuum of care that can support you in your recovery journey and help you stay sober after detox. To get started, call and speak with an admissions coordinator. A team member will verify your insurance, learn about your situation, and help you find a local detox program. Then, we will help you make a seamless transition to one of our day treatment or outpatient rehab programs.

Don’t wait another minute. Call now to get the help you deserve.