Heroin Addiction And Depression

DrugRehab.org Heroin Addiction And Depression

Mental disorders and addiction are often linked hand in hand. Sometimes it’s hard to know which occurred first. People who suffer from depression may use heroin to self medicate, but once the euphoria wears off it can leave individuals worse off, and in certain circumstances, with a greater illness to battle. Symptoms of depression can intensify when using heroin over a period of time. Within America, 15 percent of the population has suffered from depression.

Within the United States, 15 percent of the population is impacted by depression—making it the most common mental illness. Having little to no emotional sense of pleasure to form normal relationships, hobbies, and/or school or work connections—imagine if this was you. For the many individuals who contend with depression, these struggles are part of their everyday battle—one which may be worsened by heroin abuse and addiction.

DrugRehab.org Heroin Addiction And Depression 15 Percent

Many times a mental disorder and addiction link arms, which presents a challenge when both diagnoses are severe in a person. These two separate brain disorders intermingle, greatly impacting the other, and they both need treatment. Does drug abuse create a mental illness? The specific drug may trigger a mental disorder in people who are more genetically susceptible; however, in others, it’s not the drugs that cause it, instead the substances aggravate existing symptoms.

Mental Illness And Self Medication

People who suffer from mental illness can be prone to abusing drugs as a form of self-medication. When using these drugs, the individual may feel some temporary relief from mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, stress, etc. For example, a youth may have the beginning stages of a mental disorder and so he begins abusing drugs. Suddenly, the symptoms of the disorder heighten much quicker than they originally would have, thereby increasing the drug abuse.

How Are Depression And Addiction Related?

The areas of the brain which are impacted by depression are extremely similar to the areas affected by addiction. Both addiction and depression are centered in the same behavioral areas, including those responsible for pleasure, motivation, reward, and neurovegetative functions. Research continues to examine the relationship involving the two. There is still not a clear understanding of the root cause of the mood differences which involve depression.

DrugRehab.org Heroin Addiction And Depression Examine The Relationship

Many brain regions associated with addiction share a variety of symptoms with depression, and studies of patients with depression were reported as having abnormalities in these same brain areas. Though there has been contradictory reports as well, further research is still needed. There is also a high rate of suicide with heroin addicts.

Does Heroin Make Depression Worse?

The reward pathways in the brain, when they have little activation, can cause depression. For some who suffer from it, especially those who already abuse heroin, turning to drugs to create a leveled out feeling in brain may seem like an easy fix. When a drug, such as heroin, is used to treat symptoms like depression, it often leads an individual down a path worse than where they even started from. Those who are prone to one mental illness, can easy obtain two such as a co-occurring drug addiction. Many of the same pathways, chemicals in the brain, and molecules from addiction are also present in mental illness—thus linking them strongly together.

It can be far too easy to judge those who are addicted to heroin or another type of drug as doing so from weaknesses of their morals or character, however, this is not the case. An addiction is a disease of the brain, one that has the potential to worsen other disorders, such as depression, or even cause it. Some people who start off using prescription painkillers end up down the path of addiction, even progressing to heroin, even though they started off with legitimate concerns of pain.

What Is The Impact Of Addiction?

When dealing with a heroin addiction, an individual often goes through many different types of battles, such as neglecting relationships and responsibilities, random mood swings, health troubles, lying, or often buying drugs instead of paying bills, etc. These negative changes may foster addiction.

DrugRehab.org Heroin Addiction And Depression Negative Changes

The cycle of addiction is a constant up and down—extreme pleasure and comfort, followed by the lows—which may at first make an individual just feel “normal.” However, when a person first takes heroin, the euphoria is typically unlike anything they’ve ever felt, but after awhile, the once pleasurable feelings start to level out, and again, they feel normal. Overtime, the euphoria diminishes, and eventually, the situation progresses to the point where life, and their moods, starts to feel terrible unless they have heroin. The problem which starts to develop with prolonged abuse is that an individual needs more of the drug to not just feel the euphoria, but also the normal feelings. As this occurs, a person needs more and more heroin to feel even that—this is called a tolerance.

Soon depression settles in, even after abusing the drug—and it may not matter how much is abused—a person is often unable to shake the depressed feelings. This soon turns into a cycle of a person self-medicating their own depression. To top it off, there are additional side effects associated with withdrawal as well, including depression. Quitting can be difficult for those individuals who face depression, physical withdrawal symptoms, and cravings.

Help Is Always Here

If you or a loved one is battling heroin addiction and depression, contact us now!

When dealing with depression or a heroin addiction, there is help available for you. Whether the heroin addiction came first and ended in depression or vise versa, we are here to support you. Facing the duality of both of these mental illnesses can be difficult to overcome, but with our assistance you can overcome these battles. Contact us today at DrugRehab.org.


For More Information Related to “Heroin Addiction And Depression” Be Sure To Check Out These Additional Resources From DrugRehab.org:



U.S. National Library of Medicine — Depression, Hopelessness, And Suicidal Intent Among Heroin Addicts
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration — Tips For Teens: The Truth About Heroin
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai — Molecular Basis Of Addiction And Depression

Opioid Addiction in Cancer Patients

DrugRehab.org Opioid Addiction in Cancer Patients

Cancer can seem like a losing battle, and then even if you survive cancer, you might become addicted to the medicine used for treatment. Opioids like oxycodone and morphine can be highly effective in treating pain, but are also terribly addictive. Even if a person is taking the prescribed doses of their medication, they can become addicted to it. Addiction treatments are sometimes the only answer, because even though cancer can seem like a losing battle, addiction is a treatable disease.

DrugRehab.org Opioid Addiction in Cancer Patients Pain Biggest FearFighting cancer can be a pretty scary business, and the pain it causes can be unbearable; someone who is suffering a terminal illness like cancer is likely to be in unimaginable pain. Pain is actually reported to be the biggest fear of someone suffering from cancer; not death, and not the loss of their life, but pain. For a person suffering with an often incurable condition, sometimes the only thing medical professionals can do is give them painkillers and anxiety medication to help them feel comfortable.

The tragedy occurs, not only when the person has to accept mortality, but when they become dependent on their medication. The list of prescription drugs used to treat cancer patients is astounding. Opioids are the most utilized drugs in treating cancer patients, and though they are highly successful in pain management, opioids are also highly addictive.

Why Are Opioids Used For Treating Cancer Patients?

The dilemma that has been challenging physicians, when it comes to treating cancer patients, is what kind of medication to give them? It’s not a secret to health care professionals that opioids are highly addictive, but sometimes a cancer patient just needs something stronger for pain. Opioid painkillers are “among the most effective drugs for the treatment of pain… Their use in the management of acute severe pain and chronic pain related to advanced medical illness is considered the standard of care in most of the world, (National Center for Biotechnology Information).

Cancer patients are likely to experience cancer pain, end of life pain, and severe acute pain–therefore an intervention of opioid painkillers is often necessary for them to feel comfortable. Once it becomes established, opioid addiction can be tough to kick because of the withdrawals and euphoria they create…

How Does One Become Addicted To Opioids

Opioid use over an extended period, can change the way a person’s brain works–the cells become dependent on the drug, and thus, so does the person using them. Addiction is a chronic brain reward pattern, wherein the individual is unable to abstain from a drug, even once it is no longer available. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “The nerve cells grow used to having opioids around, so that when they are taken away suddenly, the person can have lots of unpleasant feelings and reactions…” also known as withdrawals. A good sign that a person is becoming addicted to a substance is if they have withdrawals when they stop using the substance or drug.

DrugRehab.org Opioid Addiction in Cancer Patients Use To Opioids

Can I Become Addicted Even If I’m Taking The Correct Doses?

Yes, unfortunately, even when taken in the correct doses, prescribed medicine causes addiction. Most people don’t choose addiction–addiction chooses them. Much like the woman coping with the loss of her husband didn’t want to become an alcoholic; the person fighting for their life didn’t expect to beat cancer and then lose to addiction. Addiction occurs when a person continues craving a drug, even when they don’t want to take it… It really comes down to the obsession and compulsion of addiction.

Obsession And Compulsion Of Addiction

Obsession occurs when all a person can think about is one thing–whether it’s their new car, their boyfriend, or in this case opioids. A cancer patient might be lying in their hospital bed watching the clock, because they know that once 4 hours have expired, they are due for another dose of drugs; that is obsession. Compulsion is when a person loses control over an action, they use the drug even though they know they aren’t supposed to–or even if they don’t want to use a drug, but they do anyways.

The point here isn’t to get cancer patients to throw away their oxycodone and go on suffering from pain; it is to inform them of what can happen when they take them regularly–and if an opioid addiction has already taken over, where they can go for help.

Different Approaches For Treatment Of Opioid Addictions

DrugRehab.org Opioid Addiction in Cancer Patients Cognitive Behavioral TherapyThe medical fraternity has come a long way in treating an addiction. Sometimes cognitive behavioral therapy is performed by a psychologist to get to the root of the problem, and sometimes partial-opiates like suboxone are issued by a physician to help with withdrawals and craving. The one thing that stands true for all addiction is that a single method of treatment doesn’t work for everyone. However, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse a successful treatment should include these steps:

Non-opioid (or non-narcotics) like acetaminophen are for treatment of mild to moderate pain. They are non-habit forming and are typically available without a prescription. According to the American Cancer Society, “in many cases, non-opioids are all you’ll need to relieve your pain, especially if you “stay on top of the pain” by taking them regularly.” They go on to say that acetaminophen and other non-habit forming drugs are “stronger than most people realize.”

DrugRehab.org Opioid Addiction in Cancer Patients In Many Cases

More On Prescription Medication Addiction

Sometimes we have losing battles in life–we might lose a job or a loved one, but we don’t have to lose to addiction. Prescription pain medication can be highly addictive, and addiction can feel like a complete loss. One thing that always stands true, even though it’s a chronic disease (which means that there isn’t necessarily a cure), addiction is treatable–and there are people who want to help you get there.

Finding Help For An Addiction

If you or a loved one is battling cancer and struggling with addiction or abusing medication, contact us now!

Have you beaten cancer, but lost to an addiction? It should comfort you to know that there are millions of people who were addicted just like you, but have now recovered. If you, or a loved one is battling an addiction to opioids and afraid that there is no hope. Contact us today to find out more information on treating your loved one, or yourself. Sometimes we can be victorious against cancer, but lose the battle to drug addiction in the process… You can beat addiction today!


For More Information Related to “Opioid Addiction in Cancer Patients” Be Sure To Check Out These Additional Resources From DrugRehab.org:


American Cancer Society – Non-opioids and Other Drugs Used to Treat Cancer Pain
National Cancer Institute – A to Z List of Cancer Drugs
National Institute on Drug Abuse For Teachers – How Does Someone Become Addicted to Opioids?
National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) – Opioids and the Treatment of Chronic Pain

Co-Occuring Disorders: Alcoholism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder

DrugRehab.org Co-Occuring Disorders- Alcoholism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder

A Co-Occurring Disorder is diagnosed when a person has a substance abuse disorder along with a mental health disorder. Narcissistic Personality Disorder NPS is a pattern of grandiose beliefs and arrogant behavior. A person suffering from Alcoholism can often exhibit coinciding behaviors. Alcoholism disease, defined by a person’s inability to stop drinking alcohol as soon as they start–or the phenomenon of craving. Sometimes a person suffering from alcoholism will have every excuse in the world to drink, even though their life’s consequences say otherwise.

We all have that friend who’s always right, and even if they’re wrong, they will still argue, or they will point your attention to somebody or something else. Arguing with a person who is always right can be a daunting endeavor. Our friend may suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder NPS, which the U.S. Library of Medicine defines as, “An enduring pattern of grandiose beliefs and arrogant behavior together with an overwhelming need for admiration and a lack of empathy for (and even exploitation of) others.” A person who suffers from alcoholism can sometimes display the exact behaviors as seen in Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

What Exactly Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

DrugRehab.org Co-Occuring Disorders- Alcoholism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder Overwhelming NeedNarcissism is rarely a desired attribute, though it is often directly related to a personality disorder. Personality disorders fall into the mental health category, and can negatively affect certain areas of a person’s life. More accurately, Narcissistic Personality Disorder can affect a person’s relationships, school, work, and money. So essentially, NPS can affect nearly every part of a person’s life. A person who is suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder may not display a whole lot of empathy for other people. In other words, they seldom care about anyone but themselves. NPS is often similar to Substance Abuse Disorder–or more conclusive, in this case, Alcoholism.

How Is Alcoholism Related To Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Alcoholism is more than just occasionally drinking too much and causing a scene. Alcoholism is an obsession with alcohol. It is the decision to drink when life’s circumstances tell you to do the opposite, no matter who gets hurt. It’s a disease where the person suffering lacks the ability to stop once they have started. Alcoholism is best described as a progressive illness–so it gets worse over time. Sometimes a person suffering from alcoholism claim a perfectly good reason to drink, even if they have lost their job due to drinking, or if their spouse threatens to leave them if they don’t put down the drink.

To everyone else in his or her life, they are foolish for drinking. “Why doesn’t he stop?” They’ll ask. “The doctor told him that he would die of liver cancer, if he keeps drinking, yet he drinks anyways!” …and so on. A person fighting alcoholism doesn’t always see things that way. In fact, they sometimes don’t see things any way but their own–this is where Narcissistic Personality Disorder can come into play. For even when important parts of their life are going to shambles, in the co-occurrence of alcoholism and narcissistic personality disorder, the sufferer believes that everyone else is wrong.

A Bit More About Alcoholism

DrugRehab.org Co-Occuring Disorders- Alcoholism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder 18 Million AmericansAccording to the U.S. Library of Medicine, approximately 18 million Americans suffer from an alcohol use disorder, which includes alcoholism. This means that their drinking causes severe repercussions in their life, whether that it’s health related – mental or physical, or financial instability. Sometimes a person suffering from alcoholism can seem self-centered, arrogant, narcissistic, and self-righteous–but there is much more to understanding the mind of a person afflicted by alcoholism. Alcoholism can lead to a lot more than neverending arguments, and urinated sheets. It can lead to death.

Common Signs Of Alcoholism

A person who is struggling with alcoholism can sometimes be easy to spot, but things aren’t always as they seem. A person with an alcohol abuse disorder such as alcoholism, might be what you call a “functioning alcoholic,” and though their life seems to be in order, they might be battling withdrawals right to their next drink. If you’re concerned about someone’s drinking habits, here are a couple distinguishable traits you might look for, in yourself, or in another person in your life. (From the U.S. Library of Medicine):

Craving – a strong need to drink.

  • Sometimes a person suffering from alcoholism will want to drink at the strangest occasions–in the morning, before an interview, during class, or on the road.

Loss of Control – not being able to stop drinking once you’ve started.

  • Oftentimes a person will continue drinking when everyone else has gone to bed, and stay up all night drinking. They may even drink alcohol until they black out or pass out.

Physical Dependencewithdrawal symptoms.

  • Withdrawals may include: Delirium Tremens, Cold Sweats, Diarrhea, Vomiting, Night Terrors, or Loss of Appetite.

Tolerance – the need to drink more alcohol to feel the same effect.

  • Some people suffering from alcoholism can seem like they can consume a lot more alcohol than everyone else. “How the heck aren’t you drunk yet?”

What If A Person Is Proud Of Their Drinking?

DrugRehab.org Co-Occuring Disorders- Alcoholism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder Alcoholism Is NotA person who is suffering from alcoholism and narcissistic personality disorder, might answer the question (How the heck aren’t you drunk yet?), with a false sense of pride or by stating anything other than “because I can’t stop drinking”, or by stating, “I have built up a tolerance.” There are many accomplishments that deserve a person the right to be proud of themselves, but unfortunately, alcoholism is not one of them, and it’s dangerous to believe that it is. Intervention and treatment are very likely the only way to get a person on the right track towards recovery. Try to remember that Alcoholism is a disease and the person with it is very sick.

Is Relapse More Likely With Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

“Once an alcoholic, always an alcoholic, right?” This statement can sometimes be heard when slurred through the lips of a person who is drunk, when they are confronted about their drinking. If confronted further, they may get highly defensive. Even when a person with narcissistic personality and alcoholism stops drinking, this defensiveness can continue growing. A person may seek treatment for one disorder, but not the other–according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration; they go on…

“…People receive treatment for one disorder while the other disorder remains untreated. This may occur because both mental and substance use disorders can have biological, psychological, and social components. Other reasons may be inadequate provider training or screening, an overlap of symptoms, or that other health issues need to be addressed first.” Though alcoholic relapse not a certain result of another personality disorder, a person suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder might find more reasons to hide a relapse from their loved ones.

What If A Person Suffering From Narcissistic Personality Disorder Relapses?

If a person is suffering from Alcoholism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder, they very likely have a fragile self esteem, and will not let on that there is a problem. If they relapse, they feel like a failure and can be quick to blame others, but really need not focus on the incident as a failed attempt, but rather an opportunity to learn. Everyone has a reason for the way they act, and whether or not those reasons are justifiable, a person with narcissistic personality disorder and alcoholism might tell you a perfectly good reason for why they should drink.

Treatment For Alcoholism And Narcissistic Personality Disorder

If you or a loved one suffer from a co-occuring disorder, contact us now!

Treatment for co-occurring disorders is tailored to the individual, because some of those affected by multiple disorders might exhibit more signs for one or the other. If you feel like you might be showing signs of alcoholism, there is hope, and there is no reason to be ashamed. Alcoholism is a very serious condition, and without treatment, it can lead to homelessness, failed relationships, and even an early death.

For more information about co-occurring disorders such as Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Alcoholism, please do not hesitate to reach out to us. Call to speak to one of our understanding staff members 1-833-473-4227 or Email Us We are always here to help you.


NCBI – Treatment of Co-Occurring Disorders
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration – Co-Occurring Disorders
U.S. Library of Medicine – Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse
U.S. Library of Medicine – Narcissistic Personality Disorder
U.S. Library of Medicine- Personality Disorders

Can Drug Use Cause Mental Illness?

DrugRehab.org Can Drug Use Cause Mental Illness_

Have you ever known someone who abuses drugs, and suspected that person may be suffering with mental illness? While you may not be a doctor, you also may not have been wrong in your concern. Drug use can affect mental illness and vice versa. Recent research delves into studies of dual diagnosis patients, or those people affected by two disorders, such as substance abuse and mental illness. What is clear is that when a person is dually affected by disorders, each disorder tends to affect the other.

But can one cause the other? In particular, can drug use cause a person to develop a mental illness? To understand the answer to this question, it may be important to know how dual diagnoses work, what they are, common symptoms of drug abuse and mental illness, and what treatments may be best for a person affected by both disorders.

Dual Diagnosis—What Is It?

As explained briefly above, a dual diagnosis occurs when one person is diagnosed with two disorders or diseases. Typically, though, a dual diagnosis means that a person had a disorder and developed another disorder which may be affected by the development of the first. For example, a person who is abusing substances may develop depression or anxiety. In contrast, a person with depression or anxiety may turn to substances as a form of relief or solace. Unfortunately, as the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) explains, “research shows that drugs and alcohol may only make the symptoms of mental health conditions worse.”

DrugRehab.org Can Drug Use Cause Mental Illness_ What Is It_People affected by dual diagnosis may experience dire effects to their health; each disease can greatly influence the other, and either disease can occur first. Further, the problem of dual diagnosis is vast. As NAMI reports, “about a third of all people experiencing mental illnesses and about half of people living with severe mental illnesses also experience substance abuse.” The reverse is also true, as nearly the same amount of people affected by substance abuse are suffering from mental illness as well.

Yet, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) reports that, “the high prevalence of comorbidity between drug use disorders and other mental illnesses does not mean that one caused the other, even if one appeared first.” In other words, though drug abuse and mental illness may appear together, even when in close succession, one does not necessarily cause the other to occur. Instead of focusing on how one disorder may cause the other, it is vital to learn about each disorder, how to recognize and prevent it, and especially how to treat it.

Drug Abuse And Mental Illness: Common Symptoms Of Each

Every instance of substance abuse may look different from the next, and the same for mental illness. However, there are some common symptoms which may appear with each disorder. If a person is already suffering with one disorder, knowing the signs of a developing, co-occurring disorder may be useful should the person need help. Some of the signs of drug abuse may be:

  • Behavioral changes
  • Engaging in risky or illegal behavior due to drug use
  • Experiencing symptoms of withdrawal
  • Inability to stop drug use, even when the person tries
  • Needing to use drugs to be able to start a day or function throughout the day
  • Seclusion: especially from those close to the person
  • Tolerance to effects of substances

DrugRehab.org Can Drug Use Cause Mental Illness_ If A Person Is AlreadySymptoms of mental illness are great in number, but some may signal the development of a disorder. A person with a developing mental illness may have problems concentrating at school or work, undergo severe mood changes, withdraw from family or friends, or have suicidal thoughts.

So, what can be done to help people afflicted with drug abuse or mental illness? Treatment is the best way to help a person begin to heal from substance abuse and manage mental illness. Though there is no one cure for either, a person may learn to abstain from substance abuse to live a healthy, fulfilling lifestyle, and may learn to cope with mental illness.

Treatment For Drug Use And Mental Illness

Treatment for dual diagnosis must be comprehensive, or must address the needs and issues of both a person’s illnesses. People undergoing treatment at the same time for two disorders have a long treatment road ahead of them. But completing treatment may give them the results they want and deserve. For instance, as the NIDA states, a person with a mood disorder and substance abuse could benefit from treatment because “the diagnosis and treatment of the mood disorder can reduce the risk of subsequent drug use.” Treating one disorder could help the other disorder.

DrugRehab.org Can Drug Use Cause Mental Illness_ Treating One Disorder Could HelpSome of the best treatments can occur in an inpatient rehab facility, where an individual has access to care and monitorization round the clock. For people with co-occurring disorders, medication may be necessary and supervised administration may be required. Also, behavioral therapy and counseling can greatly help a person who is struggling with the heightened issues of mental illness and the desperate urges of substance abuse. Whatever treatment plan a person chooses, it should work to effectively treat the issues of all diagnoses.

Where To Find Treatment For Co-Occurring Disorders

For more on drug use and mental illness, contact us today!

When a person has one disorder, finding treatment can be tough. When a person is affected by two disorders or more, this process may escalate to overwhelming. If you have a loved one who is struggling and want to get them the help they need, you don’t have to go it alone. Contact us today at DrugRehab.org for answers to your questions, information about treatment, and to learn more about our treatment centers.


MentalHealth.gov—Mental Health And Substance Use Disorders
National Alliance On Mental Illness—Dual Diagnosis
National Institute On Drug Abuse—Comorbidity: Addiction And Other Mental Illnesses

The Benefits Of Group Counseling In An Inpatient Drug Rehab Center

DrugRehab.org Group Therapy_group

Inpatient drug rehab offers a comprehensive array of treatment methods and modalities geared towards creating an environment that is most conducive towards fostering the stability and outreach that is necessary to achieve sobriety and teach people about how to maintain it for the long run. Though there is surely a lot of work to be done on an individual level, there are further ways treatment can engage you in taking advantage of the peer relationships that you will encounter within rehab. Engaging people who are also working on sobriety goals may serve to better prepare you for your recovery.

Understanding The Importance Of Inpatient Drug Treatment

In order for treatment to be effective, it has to be directed to a person’s unique needs. Some people require a level of care and attentiveness, set against a more developed arsenal of treatment modalities than that which is offered within outpatient treatment. Residential treatment allows a person to have access to continual care, 24 hours a day, throughout the duration of their time within a facility.

One thing that greatly stands apart from outpatient care is the type of individuals a person will encounter during their treatment. One of the possible downfalls of outpatient treatment is that during this care, a person is allowed to return home, thus allowing them continued access to unsupportive peers or negative influences should they choose. For some, these social elements can make a person’s journey towards sobriety very difficult by providing an absence of well-developed support and a means towards temptation or harmful triggers that may lead a person to continue using.

On the other hand, due to its residential setting, inpatient drug rehab removes the possibility of these temptations and negative influences. Instead, inpatient treatment provides a person with a compassionate staff whose entire focus is on creating a stable, encouraging, and proactive environment focused on sobriety. In addition, you will also spend a greater depth of time with your peers, finding additional time to get to know them, in a way that may provide you with unparalleled access to these individual’s accounts of their personal journeys through addiction.

Within this framework, by getting to know these people, you are offered an opportunity to break through the sense of isolation your addiction may have imposed, learning instead that you are not alone, in way that could empower you to move forward in your recovery. In addition, you may find that you learn more diverse coping skills and a measure of accountability that strengthens you both within your time in treatment, and beyond, as you protect your sobriety against threats of relapse.

Within this time at an inpatient facility, a person will experience various methods of treatment, depending on the scope of care the specific facility offers. Each, by design, will be implemented in a way that is conducive towards overcoming your addiction and gleaning the strength to create a lasting recovery.

The Role Of Counseling Within Treatment

Various forms of psychotherapy are typically offered due to their success within addiction medicine. Supported by countless scientific studies, these therapeutic methods will offer you or your family member a means by which to examine your thoughts, emotions, and behaviors in a way that will root out any negative patterns and instead develop and replace them with more positive and proactive ones.

Oftentimes, addiction is borne from preexisting negative emotions or co-occurring disorders, such as anxiety, depression, and even various types of eating disorders, such as anorexia nervosa. Within addiction, the drug or alcohol addiction itself may serve to further accelerate or even create some of these factors as well. In order to counter this, therapy and counseling looks at the root of these maladaptive elements within your life and works towards understanding them in a way that can help you both overcome them and learn how to not fall prey to them in the future.

In regards to co-occurring disorders, many therapeutic methods have been proven to work effectively towards treating not just addiction but any accompanying dual diagnosis concerns. It is important to root out and treat these factors, as if left untreated, they could continue to plague a person in a way that threatens their sobriety and draws them back into compulsive patterns of drug-seeking and using.

DrugRehab.org Group Therapy_Positive Outcomes

The National Institute on Drug Abuse acknowledges the importance of group therapy within treatment, noting that when paired with individual counseling sessions and/or integrated in a way “to reflect the principles of cognitive-behavioral therapy or contingency management, positive outcomes are achieved.” In addition, programs may also utilize other research-based therapeutic methods, including one that is increasingly being touted as a critical and transformative tool within addiction treatment—dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT).

Group Counseling: A Dynamic Modality Within Comprehensive Treatment

An excerpt from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Treatment Improvement Protocols offers a powerful directive as to the import and impact of group therapy within substance abuse treatment, stating that “The natural propensity of human beings to congregate makes group therapy a powerful therapeutic tool for treating substance abuse, one that is as helpful as individual therapy, and sometimes more successful.”

Essentially, this tells us that a large portion of the benefit of group counseling lies in the human condition itself—by nature, individuals seek the connection and influence of those around them, especially individuals that share common experiences or expectations, such as those you might find within the context of group counseling within inpatient drug treatment. It is by forging these connections within treatment, that many individuals find the support and resolve that is crucial towards building a life free from drugs or alcohol.

The article asserts that in certain cases, group therapy may be of greater reward during treatment that even individual therapy. Why is this? They note that “In the hands of a skilled, well‐trained group leader, the potential curative forces inherent in a group can be harnessed and directed to foster healthy attachments, provide positive peer reinforcement, act as a forum for self‐expression, and teach new social skills.”

DrugRehab.org Group Therapy_Access To

Within group therapy, individuals will have access to insights, direction, accountability, and encouragement that exists in a dimension beyond what they find in individual therapy. Together, these two facets of counseling—individual and group—may work adjacently in offering a person a more well-rounded, yet focused therapeutic backbone to base their recovery efforts upon. Group therapy offers a setting that helps to encourage people towards the change and stability that is necessary to maintain a drug-free life in the long term.

Group Therapy Can Aid In Preventing Relapse

The goal of therapy and counseling is two-fold—it stands to not only help a person achieve sobriety during their time within treatment but as a tool to build positive and long-lasting skills that can help a person ward off threats of relapse. The truth is, relapse is a very real concern for every individual that leaves treatment. In order to combat this threat, it is imperative that you choose a good inpatient program that utilizes the best therapeutic methods. Both dialectical behavioral therapy and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) have been shown to aid individuals within treatment in forging a drug-free life and in helping them to create an adaptable set of skills to utilize in maintaining their recovery after they leave treatment.

DrugRehab.org Group Therapy_Rate Of Relapse

A second publication published by the International Journal of Rehabilitation examined CBT within a group setting for addiction treatment. Specifically, scientists examined the role of CBT in reducing rates of relapse after treatment in a group of participants who were utilizing methadone within their treatment program. What they found was that CBT decreased rates of relapse, especially when paired with medication, in a way that was greater than the rates of individuals who received only the medication. The study also noted that a person’s age and level of education do in some cases, influence relapse rates, however, their results found that a person’s marital or employment status and the time in which they began substance use did not effect the results in this instance.

This study also outlined some of the many benefits that group therapy may have for individuals within treatment, and beyond, including:

  • Creating and instilling a sense of hope and optimism used to work successfully through the addiction
  • Providing individuals with a way to connect to and learn from others who have struggled similarly
  • Helping to ward off the sense of isolation the addictive life may have created
  • The “creation of sense of altruism and helping others in solving problems”
  • Creating an environment that helps people to denounce a poor and even false self-image
  • Aids in “nurturing socialization techniques”
  • Enhancing interpersonal and communication skills
  • Portraying and creating precedents for positive behaviors and more healthful ways to react within certain family situations
  • Constructing a means to help a person develop a more positive way of behaving, thinking, and feeling within their life.

Addiction, treatment, and recovery can be a harrowing journey alone. Group therapy helps to shed light on the fact that you are not alone, instead revealing the many ways that you can utilize connections with others in recovery to support your personal recovery goals.

Find The Best Facility To Help You Heal

Contact us to learn more about group counseling

We want you to succeed in your quest towards sobriety. If you’re uncertain as to how to determine which facility is best for your needs, or that of a loved one, please take the time to reach out to us. Our staff is highly trained in each aspect of successful inpatient treatment and understands the many demands and questions you might have.

Please, contact DrugRehab.org today. We can help you begin build a better and sober life.


U.S. National Library of Medicine — Substance Abuse Treatment: Group Therapy
National Institute on Drug Abuse — Types of Treatment Programs
OMICS International — The Effect of Cognitive-Behavioral Group Therapy on Decrease in Addiction Relapse in Randomly Assigned Addicts under Drug Therapy: A Statistical Analysis

Co-Occurring Disorders: Anxiety And Addiction

Co-Occuring Disorders Anxiety and Addiction

Anxiety And Addiction: What You Need To Know

Though anxiety and addiction are not necessarily linked, having both can cause symptoms of each to worsen, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. In particular, co-occurrence of substance abuse is common for those people affected by social anxiety. Mental illness may be caused by or may result from substance abuse, however, as new studies are finding. People who have mental illness may seek drugs as a way to cope with the illness, and conversely, people who are victims to substance abuse may develop mental illnesses. The following points highlight one of the most common dual diagnoses, social anxiety and alcohol abuse, how to diagnose these two disorders, and how to treat them.

Social Anxiety: A Catalyst For Alcohol Abuse

People with social anxiety tend to feel that the effects of alcohol help lessen their social anxiety. Unfortunately, in reality it tends to make their social anxiety worse, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America. In fact, alcohol abuse tends to follow the onset of social anxiety.

Co-Occuring Disorders Anxiety and Addiction Social Anxiety

In America, approximately 15 million adults (accounting for 7 percent of the population) have social anxiety disorders each year. In trying to cope with this disorder and its symptoms, it is not unusual for people with this disorder to turn to alcohol; in numbers, about 20 percent of people who have anxiety disorder also are victims of alcohol abuse. Many seek alcohol because it provides temporary relief of social anxiety symptoms, but researchers have found alcohol tends to have the opposite effect, even if this effect takes place later. Some negative side effects which users with social anxiety may experience include:

Signs that someone may be abusing alcohol include the following, according to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America:

  • Drinking alcoholic beverages four or more times per week
  • Having five or more alcoholic drinks a day
  • Not being able to stop drinking after starting
  • Needing a drink to face the day
  • Feeling guilty, or remorseful, after drinking
  • Hearing someone close to you say he or she is concerned about you, or your drinking

Dual Diagnosis: Dealing With Two Disorders At Once

Comorbidity, or when two or more illnesses (including addiction) affect one person at the same time, is common for people who have mental disorders or people with substance abuse—one tends to contribute to development of the other. This is in part because drug addiction is a mental illness; addiction changes the way a person’s brain works, making it characteristic of many mental illnesses. In terms of numbers, in contrast to those who do not have a substance abuse disorder, people with addiction are twice as likely to also develop a mood or anxiety disorder. The first step in diagnosing is the careful identification of both addiction and anxiety disorders.

Co-Occuring Disorders Anxiety and Addiction Mental Illness

Seeking Treatment For Co-Occurring Disorders

Because there is such a high rate for co-occurring disorders, when treating two illnesses at once, it is imperative that treatment involves careful diagnosis and appropriate treatment for both disorders—not just one of them.

Co-Occuring Disorders Anxiety and Addiction Substance Abuse

Although medications exist for treating single addictions to alcohol, opioids, and nicotine, no single drug has been developed specifically to treat addiction to two or more substances. However, there are some medications that may aid in the treatment of two disorders, such as bupropion, which can treat depression and nicotine addiction, and may also reduce cravings for methamphetamine, according to National Institute of Drug Abuse. Further research must be conducted in order to understand how medications can be used to treat people with comorbidities, but behavioral therapies are also available, and can be effective at treating people with comorbidities.

The Next Step: Finding Help For Co-Occurring Disorders

Co-occurring disorders can be disastrous when left untreated. In particular, having co-occurring disorders can mean that the victim never fully recovers from Contact us if you or a loved are considering treatment.either addiction. A person with social anxiety, in other words, may struggle with addiction his whole life. If you or someone you know is struggling with anxiety, and also battling addiction, (or even if they are battling a different set of comorbidities) do not ignore the signs. Contact us today at DrugRehab.org to help get the proper diagnosis and treatment, and to get your life back on track.

Anxiety and Depression Association of America- Social Anxiety Disorder and Alcohol Abuse
Anxiety and Depression Association of America- Substance Use Disorders
Genetic Science Learning Center- Mental Illness: The Challenge of Dual Diagnosis
National Institute of Drug Abuse- Comorbidity: Addiction and Other Mental Disorders

Dual Diagnosis: Anxiety Disorders And Substance Abuse

Dual Diagnosis: Anxiety Disorders And Substance Abuse

What Does Dual Diagnosis Mean And How Common Is It?

The term “dual diagnosis” (also sometimes called “co-occurring disorders,” or “comorbidity”) may sound intimidating or even frightening. However, dual diagnosis simply means that a person has both a substance abuse problem and a mental health issue at the same time.

A recent survey by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) indicates that over 18% adults report some kind of mental illness. In addition, more than 8% of adults report a substance use disorder. While not everyone with a mental illness also has a substance abuse problem or vice versa, in the United States altogether almost 8 million people over age 18 report having both a mental health issue and a problem with substance abuse. Including adolescents, millions more are effected. After depression, anxiety disorders collectively are the most common mental health issues among people with substance use disorders.

What Are Common Types Of Anxiety Disorders?

If you or a loved one is dealing with an anxiety disorder as well as substance abuse, you are not alone. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), people with anxiety disorders experience substance abuse or dependence at a rate almost two times higher than the general population. In addition, individuals struggling with substance abuse are also roughly two times more likely than average to be struggling with an anxiety disorder.

While any type of anxiety disorder can accompany substance abuse, research indicates that the three most common anxiety disorders in people with any kind of alcohol or drug use disorder are:

  • Specific phobias (extreme fear of a particular thing, place, or situation that is mostly harmless)
  • Social phobia (significant anxiety and self-consciousness around interactions with others)
  • Generalized anxiety disorder (extreme worry about everyday activities)

Drug Induced Symptoms Or Dual Diagnosis? Understanding The Difference

Withdrawal symptoms vary from substance to substance and person to person, but may include nervousness and agitation, and other negative physical or emotional states. While these symptoms may look very much like anxiety, they are the result of a person stopping use of alcohol or drugs and do not necessarily mean that someone has an existing anxiety disorder.

Dual Diagnosis: Anxiety Disorders And Substance Abuse Definition

In addition, the effects of coming off alcohol or certain substances can mimic some of the symptoms of an anxiety disorder. Assessment for anxiety disorders should occur only once a person is no longer actively using or going through withdrawal from drugs or alcohol. Therefore, it is important for someone entering treatment to be properly monitored and evaluated by a skilled team of experts.

Which Comes First – Anxiety or Substance Abuse?

There are several ways by which someone may come to have a dual diagnosis of anxiety and a substance abuse disorder:

Dual Diagnosis: Anxiety Disorders And Substance Abuse Which Came First

In the first example above, a person with an existing anxiety disorder then develops a substance abuse problem. For such people, substance abuse may grow out of an attempt to self-medicate or cope with their feelings of fear, worry, panic, or dread. Research consistently shows that three out of four individuals with a dual diagnosis of anxiety and a substance use disorder fall into this category.

The second example applies to a person who first has a substance abuse problem and then goes on to develop an anxiety disorder. In this situation as a person begins to experience the symptoms of an anxiety disorder as their use of alcohol or drugs escalates and impacts their physical, emotional, or cognitive functioning. According to results compiled from several large-scale national health studies, people with the most severe substance use disorders – who are only able to function normally when using the substance and who experience withdrawal symptoms when not using the drug – experience the highest rates of all anxiety disorders.

A third possibility is that a person develops both an anxiety disorder and a substance use disorder simultaneously. In such cases where the two issues develop together, it may be in response to external stressors, or as a result of unique individual characteristics. While less is known about this pattern of anxiety and substance abuse, people who have survived physical or emotional trauma may be particularly vulnerable.

Anxiety And Substance Abuse – A Self-Perpetuating Cycle

In all of the patterns described above, the symptoms of anxiety and the abuse of alcohol or drugs ultimately become intertwined. A person may use a substance to avoid the negative emotions they experience when feeling anxious. While substance abuse may temporarily numb those feelings, or even create feelings of euphoria, the negative emotions inevitably return.

Dual Diagnosis: Anxiety Disorders And Substance Abuse Healthy Coping Skills

Without healthy coping skills, feelings of panic, anxiety, and dread can create a situation in which further substance abuse is likely, setting up a self-perpetuating cycle of anxiety and substance abuse. Regardless of the order in which someone develops an anxiety and substance abuse, it is important to understand that without appropriate intervention the two problems can maintain and reinforce each other.

Finding The Best Treatment Options

It can be a challenge to address either an anxiety disorder or a substance abuse issue on its own. When a person experiences the two together, however, it is even more important to take the time to educate yourself and learn about the treatment options available. Seeking the right kind of professional treatment for you or your loved one is key to successfully overcoming both anxiety and substance abuse.

In the past, traditional treatment methods focused first on addressing substance abuse before any mental health issues. However, research now shows that the most effective treatments for anxiety and substance abuse use cognitive behavioral therapies to treat both conditions at the same time. Such programs help the person struggling with both anxiety and substance abuse learn new ways of coping with their anxious feelings, helping to break the cycle of self-medication.

In addition, preliminary research into in “mindfulness” (meditation with a deep focus on the present without judgment) also shows promising results. By encouraging thoughtful awareness of one’s physical and emotional reactions, this kind of training may also help break the pattern of reacting to anxiety or emotional distress with substance use.

Some studies do indicate that for particular anxiety disorders co-occurring with substance abuse, certain medications can improve both the symptoms of anxiety and substance use outcomes. Medications to treat anxiety may be harmful, however, if an individual experiences a relapse of substance abuse while in treatment. Further, some anti-anxiety medications, such as benzodiazepines, have a higher potential for being abused. It is important to discuss the risks and benefits of other types of anti-anxiety medications with a trained medical professional.

Contact us if you or a loved are considering treatment.At Drugrehab.org, we can guide you to the top-rated treatment centers with the right experience and expertise for you or your loved one. Please contact us today to learn more about your treatment options and get the help you need in overcoming anxiety and substance abuse.

Dual Diagnosis: Tourette’s Syndrome And Addiction

Dual Diagnosis: Tourette's Syndrome And Addiction

Have you ever met someone with Tourette’s Syndrome (TS)? If you have, you may have noticed some uncommon characteristics, but in truth, it is more likely you may have not even known that a person had TS. That is because many people do not experience severe symptoms, called tics, past adolescence. Even if people do not exhibit symptoms, more people have the syndrome than you may even realize: U.S. Census data from 2010 showed more than 300,000 children (ages 5 to 17) with TS, according to Tourette Association Of America.

Tourette’s Syndrome: What Is It?

In long terms, TS is a neurological disorder which influences the nerves and vocal activities, resulting in “repetitive, stereotyped, involuntary movements and vocalizations called tics,” according to the National Institute Of Neurological Disorders And Stroke.

While symptoms tend to appear in early childhood, and to peak in teen years, some people with the syndrome do experience symptoms into adulthood. In other words, TS can be a chronic condition, but tics may improve starting from early adolescence into adulthood.

Dual Diagnosis Tourette's Syndrome And Addiction Chilren With Tourette's

TS does not discriminate in scope; it impacts people of all social classes and racial groups. Men are more likely to experience this than women. Since TS is now also classified as a Tic Disorder, an individual has to display at least two motor tics and one vocal tic for at least a year, in order to qualify for this diagnosis.

Unfortunately, those affected by the syndrome may also experience co-occurring conditions or disorders, including ADHD and OCD. For children, this may mean disinhibition, or an inability to restrain behavior. For adults, or teens, this could also mean substance abuse disorders.

Symptoms Of Tourette’s Syndrome

Tics are classified in two groups: simple and complex. Simple tics are characterized by sudden, brief, and repetitive movements. Examples of simple motor tics are as follows:

  • Arm jerking
  • Eye blinking
  • Facial grimacing
  • Head bobbing or jerking
  • Neck stretching
  • Shoulder shrugging

Simple vocalized tics may include barking, grunting, hooting, repetitive throat clearing, shouting, and sniffing. Complex tics, in contrast, are more distinct. A person exhibiting complex motor tics may engage in hopping, jumping, twirling, or may have, for example, facial grimacing in combination with a head twist and shoulder shrug. Complex vocal tics may involve words or phrases in addition to the simple vocal tics—these may not be recognizable, but will continually happen, appearing outside the context of conversation.

In a rare percentage of persons with TS (10-15%, according to the Tourette Association of America), complex tics may also include inappropriate use of words, or coprolalia, such as swearing, cursing, ethnic or racial slurs, or other offensive words or phrases. The most disabling of the complex motor tics involves dramatic involuntary movements, which may seem purposeful, such as punching oneself in the face. Faced with such hardships, TS can often be coupled with other disorders, which may include substance use disorders.

As a person seeks to contend with TS, and the subsequent sense of being “out of control,” they may seek to temper these feelings, or any shame or embarrassment that they attribute to their behavior, with drugs or alcohol. Tourette Syndrome is not something you should be ashamed about, and most importantly, self-medicating these feelings, in this way, can be very dangerous, as it can result in addiction.

Addiction: Who It Affects

Dual Diagnosis: Tourette's Syndrome And Addiction Critital Developmental Stages One of the most important things to remember about substance abuse (and subsequent addiction) is that there is no single factor which can predict who will struggle with addiction. A number of things may contribute to the risk of substance abuse. Some of these may include genetic factors, or environmental factors. Lastly, a person may experience an increased vulnerability if they have certain diseases or disorders.

Of further concern, critical developmental stages, influenced by genetic and environmental factors in a person’s life, may heighten an individual’s risk for substance abuse. For teens, especially, this poses a high potential for addiction. In regards to this, The National Council On Alcoholism And Drug Dependence (NCADD) aptly states, “Although taking drugs at any age can lead to addiction, the earlier that drug use begins, the more likely it will progress into more serious abuse. Because areas in their brains that govern decisions making, judgment, and self-control are still developing, adolescents may be especially prone to risk-taking behaviors…”

Recovering from substance abuse is difficult because drugs can change the brain, which make quitting a harsh process. Withdrawal symptoms may occur for persons attempting recovery, some of which may be severe. Lessened self-control presents further challenges for persons touched by substance abuse—someone who has experienced repeated substance abuse may find it difficult, to nearly impossible to resist urges to continue use. Due to the tendency of people struggling in the face of substance abuse, it is common to relapse. Therefore, treatment should be ongoing, especially for those with co-occurring disorders or illnesses.

Dual Diagnosis: Finding The Right Treatment

As with any dual diagnosis, finding treatment for Tourette Syndrome and addiction can be a delicate process—but not an impossible one. The first step is to get proper diagnosis for each disorder. Each person with TS has a unique case, a unique set of tics specific to him or her. For some, tics may cause problems with everyday functions, and for those who wish to seek treatment, there are several types available. It is important to remember that TS does not have a cure, however, treatments are available that can significantly help a person gain control over this disorder. Some treatment types are behavioral therapy and medication.

A few types of treatment therapies are:

  • Deep brain stimulation (DBS)
  • Behavior modification (Comprehensive Behavior Intervention For Tics, or CBIT)
  • Speech therapy

Medications may work to help reduce tics, but not to completely eliminate them. People seeking medication as a form of treatment may experience side effects as a result, but these can be managed. For instance, the person taking the medication would (with medical supervision) slowly decrease dosage when side effects occur.

With behavioral treatment, a person with TS focuses on training the body to move in response to tic urges. This replaces the predisposed, involuntary movements with new, carefully conditioned voluntary responses.

Dual Diagnosis: Tourette's Syndrome And Addiction Medication

In treating addiction, medication and behavioral therapies may also be useful methods, but, as with TS, finding the most effective treatment will be dependent on the person, as well as the substance abuse. Alcohol addiction may be treated quite differently than opioid addiction, for example. A person with both TS and addiction must carefully select treatment methods which target symptoms of the syndrome and also aid in recovery from addiction.

Get Help With Treatment

Finding treatment for one diagnosis may seem like a daunting task, and finding treatment for two may feel impossible. However, you are not alone in your quest Contact us if you or a loved are considering treatment.for help with treatment—either for TS or addiction. Thousands struggle with TS and with substance abuse, and not everyone is getting the help to recover. However, the good news is that there are many options available for treatment. Contact us today to reach a team trained to listen, and ready to aid you in finding treatment that is right for you.

National Institute Of Neurological Disorders And Stroke —Tourette Syndrome Fact Sheet
Tourette Association Of America — Disinhibition
Tourette Association Of America — Treatment
Tourette Association Of America — Tourette Syndrome: An Overview
Tourette Association Of America — What Is Tourette

How To Treat Heroin Addiction

How To Treat Heroin Addiction

If you or someone you love is suffering from a debilitating addiction to heroin, help needs to be found as soon as possible. Trying to manage the problem by yourself is a process few can master, which is why it is so necessary to get professional treatment. There are many different methods utilized in treating heroin addiction, all of which are designed to focus on one or more aspects of addiction.

How Heroin Causes Addiction

Before discussing heroin addiction treatment, it is worth understanding how heroin use causes addiction. When heroin is used, it travels quickly through the bloodstream where it ends up in the brain. Here it is converted into morphine, another strong opiate. This morphine will then seek out the opioid receptors in the brain and stimulate them into activity.

Opioid receptors are spread throughout the brain and body to receive the important chemicals that help regulate various important aspects of the body. One of these aspects is the release of endorphins or pleasure-creating hormones. The body automatically makes this chemical, but heroin and other opiates trigger an excessive release, the kind that can’t be created naturally.

As a result, the body and the mind experiences an intensive sense of euphoria that is very pleasurable. This causes some to continue using heroin to achieve the same effect. Over time, the brain and body become dependent on heroin to activate these opioid receptors, in turn shutting down its own production of endorphins. As a result, those with a heroin addiction must use heroin to feel pleasure and to avoid the negative side effects that occur during withdrawal.

This intense effect helps explain why heroin is so addictive. It also helps to explain why heroin treatment is such an extensive process. It isn’t something that can be done in just a few days or weeks, but requires a month or more of serious treatment and a lifetime of constant diligence.

Withdrawal Symptoms Must Be Treated

The first step in managing heroin addiction is to detoxify the body. This requires a medically-tapered dose of replacement medicines. The idea behind this process is to keep the body from falling into a dangerous state of withdrawal which can be life-threatening. Withdrawal symptoms of heroin include:

  • Anxiety and frustration
  • Severe pain
  • Sleep problems
  • Sweatiness and clammy skin
  • Abdominal cramps and diarrhea
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Goosebumps
  • Hallucinations
  • Seizures

Replacement agonist medicines, such as methadone, stimulate the same full-opiate effects to prevent withdrawal. Doses are then slowly decreased until the person in treatment no longer needs any medication to avoid withdrawal. At this point, the body will have gone through the full rigors of detoxification. Other medications that are commonly given for heroin withdrawal include buprenorphine, which has an effect similar to methadone, but with less potential for addiction, due to the fact it is a partial agonist and does not impact the opioid receptors as heavily as a full agonist.

Other treatments use medicines that aren’t agonists, but antagonists. These block the action of the illicit opiate, preventing a user from getting high or experiencing a sense of euphoria. One example is naltrexone. This medicine is more typically prescribed after withdrawal is over to fight relapse and maintain sobriety, though some people report that it helps to alleviate cravings, it does not serve this purpose in everyone. These medications are paired with the mental health treatments that are crucial to promoting sobriety.

Mental Health Disorders Must Be Diagnosed

Drug addiction and mental health disorders often create a difficult scenario known as co-occurring disorders. The comorbidity between these two problems are common for a variety of reasons. Often, people are compelled to use drugs due to anxiety or depression. This is common with heroin use, as it slows the mind and decreases emotional potency.

How To Treat Heroin Addiction Study

Those with unbalanced personalities, such as those affected by bipolar disorder or borderline personality disorder, may use heroin for thrill seeking purposes. These choices may also be paired with the urge to self-medicate. Even more severe mental health problems, such as schizophrenia, can lead to heroin use. Some of those who suffer from schizophrenia and heroin abuse claim that drug use calms the negative mental chaos of schizophrenia.

In some cases, research suggests that it may be possible for heroin addiction to lead to the development of these conditions, rather than the reverse. Whatever the connection between the two concerns, it is important to treat them both at the same time using dual diagnosis recovery methods.

Dual Diagnosis Treatments Are Important

Dual diagnosis treatment is the process of treating co-occurring disorders at the same time in order to decrease the negative impact each has on the other. This is a method that has been particularly important for heroin and other opiate substances. For example, one study of 189 opioid-dependent people found that co-occurring diagnoses were common in 59 percent of all cases.

Dual diagnosis treatments take the form of psychological counseling and addiction treatment methods. For example, if a person has borderline personality disorder, dialectical behavior therapy will help calm the symptoms of this disease and decrease its impact on the use of heroin.

While this is going on, drug education courses, relaxation tips, and distraction therapy methods will be utilized to help manage heroin addiction in a constructive way. Physical health improvements are also implemented during this step, including managing any pain or malnutrition that may have occurred as a result of addiction. The idea is to help promote full-body and mind recovery.

These methods will take up the majority of your treatment time. During these therapy sessions, you will learn how to be a stronger person who doesn’t need heroin to be healthy and happy. However, heroin is a powerful drug that leads to a lot of painful relapses for some people. Learning how to avoid this problem is heavily focused on during your heroin addiction treatment.

Relapse Treatments Must Be Undertaken

Relapse with heroin is a dangerous problem, as it may cause a person to fall back into the throes of addiction or may trigger an overdose and death. Unfortunately, various studies have found that relapse rates are high in those addicted to heroin. This was especially true in the early 70s, when one study showed that only 25 percent of those who finished treatment achieved success.

How To Treat Heroin Addiction Recovery In The 70's

However, a modern study in 2002 found that 40 percent of those who finished rehabilitation maintained their abstinence, while those who did relapse did so quickly after leaving treatment and usually sought treatment after relapse. While the 15 percent sobriety increase is very promising (as treatment methods have improved) the conclusion reached by the study was this: “Treatment services should develop further and strengthen relapse prevention and relapse coping skills among drug misusers.”

How To Treat Heroin Addiction 2002

To that end, rehabilitation groups are now focusing heavily on providing services that help manage the dangers of relapse. For example, those in recovery are taught to identify their triggers and to find ways to negate them. Sobriety groups like Narcotics Anonymous also help those in recovery to create a positive sobriety group. Many of these treatments are typically utilized in the aftercare period of recovery.

Aftercare Helps Prolong Treatment Effectiveness

Managing a heroin addiction doesn’t stop when treatment ends. It requires mastering a variety of aftercare techniques in order to avoid relapse. For example, the relapse avoidance techniques mentioned above will be used to avoid falling back into negative patterns of behavior. Other aftercare recovery methods, like temporary residence in a sober house or job placement, help you to integrate back into the world with less of a struggle.

Aftercare is just as essential to recovery success as any treatment program. For example, one study of those addicted to drugs in prison found that those who utilized aftercare treatment did significantly better than those who received none. That’s why it’s so crucial to focus on aftercare after treatment.

Now that you better understand the ways that heroin addiction is treated, you can start looking for a recovery center that can help you. There are thousands of such groups around the nation who are willing to help those who are interested in eliminating heroin addiction and regaining a sober lifestyle.

Finding A Heroin Treatment Center Near You

Getting treatment for heroin addiction requires finding a center that offers this kind of treatment. Most drug rehab centers are staffed with people who understand this concern and who have years of experiencing treating it. They will work you through the process and help you to get clean.

Time is of the essence when treating heroin addiction, as studies have shown that people who get treatment sooner have lower relapse rates. It has also been shown that those who stay in recovery longer (such as 90 days, as opposed to 30) are more likely to remain clean. Breaking that year mark is an important milestone in recovery, but it’s one that requires a lot of work.

So try to look for a center that offers long-term residential treatment near you. However, if you are worried about relapsing or of being influenced negatively by those around you, recovery in a center in another state may be a good idea.

Once you’ve decided on whether near or far away centers are right for your needs, start contacting ones that you think you’d like to attend. Many offer unique treatment options, such as adventure therapy and yoga techniques, that help manage heroin addiction in specialized ways.

Getting Help As Soon As Possible

Contact us if you or a loved are considering treatment.The severity of heroin addiction makes it a problem that can’t be ignored. Treat it by checking into a drug rehabilitation center. If you or someone you know is suffering from heroin addiction and needs help on the path to sobriety, please contact us at DrugRehab.org today.

National Institute On Drug Abuse – Naltrexone
National Center For Biotechnology Information – Impact of substance dependence and dual diagnosis on the quality of life of heroin users seeking treatment
American Psychology Association – Relapse rates after treatment for heroin addiction
Society For The Study Of Addiction – Factors associated with abstinence, lapse or relapse to heroin use after residential treatment: protective effect of coping responses
The Prison Journal – Three-Year Outcomes of Therapeutic Community Treatment for Drug-Involved Offenders in Delaware: From Prison to Work Release to Aftercare

Dual Diagnosis: PTSD And Substance Abuse

PTSD And Substance Abuse

When you suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), you experience a wide range of mental and physical health problems. Unfortunately, these problems often push a person to begin using drugs or alcohol in excessive amounts which can lead to an addiction. The common occurrence is a result of the complexity of the situation, as PTSD is a very individualized problem and one that affects people in different ways. Drug addiction is also complex, and when it’s paired with the negativity of PTSD, it creates a thick web that can be hard to escape. If you or someone you love suffers from dual diagnosis, you need to understand as much about it as possible in order to beat it.

In this in-depth look at dual diagnosis, PTSD, and substance abuse, we are going to delve deeply into the causes of these problems and how they interact with each other. We will take a look at research study data and teach you how to pin-point the moment when your PTSD started and how it led to addiction. When you finish reading, you will also understand how to best take care of your dual diagnosis and the effectiveness of its treatment methods.

What Is PTSD?

Before going deeper into this subject, let’s take a moment to fully understand PTSD. This is important because you may be uncertain if you have this problem or may be suffering from an undiagnosed case. While this information is not designed to be a medical diagnosis, it can help you get a better idea of whether you have it. Use this information with your personal doctor to come with a proper diagnosis.

The mental health advocacy group, Mental Health America, defined post-traumatic stress disorder in the following way: “Posttraumatic [sic] Stress Disorder (PTSD) is an anxiety disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of a traumatic event. A traumatic event is a life-threatening event such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or physical or sexual assault in adult or childhood.”

When a person experiences these situations, they develop symptoms that make their life more difficult, such as:

  • Thinking constantly about the traumatic moment, including having nightmares about it
  • Being on high alert or trying to feel overly protected from danger, even when it does not exist
  • Being easily startled and often irritable about nothing in particular
  • Staying away from friends, family members, or even locations related to the trauma
  • Sudden increase in panic or anxiety, causing additional side effects like nausea, dizziness, and even blackouts
  • Severe headaches, cramps, stomach pain, muscle cramps, and even lower back pains
  • Difficulty trusting others and having personal and professional problems
  • Suicidal thoughts that are fueled by the trauma and difficult to face
  • Depression related to the trauma and an increased sense of hopelessness
  • The development of other mental health disorders, such as bipolar disorder or schizophrenia

With this increased understanding of PTSD, you can better understand how it may be influencing your drug addiction.

Where Dual Diagnoses Might Originate

There are a variety of different influences on dual diagnosis and it is valuable to gain an understanding of how they may begin. A few of the most common are:

  • Biology – People who suffer from mental health disorders are often genetically predisposed to these conditions. This may include “super sensitivity,” a problem that may lead to a higher occurrence of PTSD. It also includes increased sensitivity to dopamine and other chemicals.
  • Occurrence caused by triggers – This is a situation caused by a substance triggering a latent disorder. For example, someone who has a predisposition towards bipolar disorder may trigger it by using substances. The same is true of disorders that may lead to PTSD.
  • Inability to cope with life – Stress and anxiety often strip away a person’s patience and coping abilities. If they suffered from PTSD, coping abilities might be even more affected. In this situation, people often turn to substance abuse to alleviate their symptoms and feel more stable.
  • Environmental triggers – Even a person with no mental health problems can develop one based on environment. This can result from a traumatic situation, such as losing both parents at a young age or perhaps losing a job and being threatened with bankruptcy.
  • Poor diagnosis – Mental health disorders often have overlapping symptoms that can cause improper diagnosis. For this reason, a person who has a serious problem, like schizophrenia, may not get the medical attention that they need which may lead to self-medication with substance abuse.

As you can see, any of these situations might also be a contributor to PTSD. That problem occurs when a person experiences a traumatic situation that leaves them feeling drained, depressed, and defeated. Suddenly developing a mental health disorder could cause PTSD, especially if it shows itself in a dramatic manner. Struggling to cope with life and environmental triggers may also cause PTSD, creating an even higher chance of developing an addiction.

Mental Health Problems That Cause PTSD And Dual Diagnosis

Mental health disorders come in a wide range and they each cause a great degree of personal struggle and difficulty. Many of these problems have the potential to cause PTSD and lead to dual diagnosis. While having one of the following mental health problems doesn’t necessarily mean someone will develop a dual diagnosis, it does increase the risk:

  • Mood Disorders
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder
  • Phobias
  • Panic Disorders
  • Bipolar Disorder
  • Personality Disorders
  • Schizophrenia

The increased risk of addiction that comes with each disorder varies. For example, people who suffer from antisocial personality disorder have a 15.5 percent increased risk of developing an addiction, those with mania have a 14.5 percent increase, and those with schizophrenia have a 10.1 percent increased risk. This elevated risk is caused by disease symptoms and their possibility of creating PTSD.

For example, a person with schizophrenia may develop their symptoms suddenly and experience a traumatic break from reality. This can cause PTSD symptoms to occur alongside their schizophrenia, further increasing the risk of addiction. However, PTSD and depression are heavily linked, just like depression is with many other disorders, and understanding where depression begins and how it influences PTSD is crucial to further assessing your dual diagnosis situation.

Breakdown Of The Various Theories Of Depression

Depression, like PTSD and other mental health disorders, develops in a variety of ways. Fully grasping these points of development can be important in treating your dual diagnosis and eliminating the negative influence of PTSD and addiction from your life. One of the most common causes of depression is chemical, a problem that Richard H. Hall of Missouri S&T University delves into in his short paper “Theories of Depression.”

Hall states that people with chemical depression often have an underactive production of monoamines, which are chemicals that help promote happiness and stability. He found that people who had low levels of this chemical suffered from severe depression.

PTSD And Substance Abuse Sleep

Another theory he posits includes the effect of poor circadian rhythm in your sleep cycle. The idea is that an unhealthy sleep cycle may lead to increased risks of depression. This is particularly true of people who suffer from low instances of REM or dream-state sleep. His studies found that those who were sleep deprived in a laboratory setting often developed depression symptoms which were not there before.

Beyond these concepts is the behaviorist theory which is the idea that our environment and its influence on us is what leads to depression. Depression is, in this belief, nothing but the result of negative behavior patterns that resulted from learned behaviors in specific situations. For example, if a person who is overweight was teased for it as a young child, they may associate being heavy with negativity. This may cause them to fall into depression if they struggle with their weight.

This theory is also related to the idea of “learned helplessness” or the idea that people with depression learn how to be “helpless” and depressed at a young age. This might have occurred when a child learned to cry to get what they wanted or to claim an inability to perform a simple act, such as tying their shoes. Later in life, they may struggle to break this helplessness and feel that escaping from negative situations on their own is beyond them, further fueling their depression.

What is interesting about the latter idea is how it relates to PTSD. People who suffer from PTSD may experience a state of helplessness in the moment of their traumatic experience. As a result, they may fall into a state of learned helplessness which is new to them and which is hard for them to manage.

The Connections Between PTSD, Depression, And Co-Occurring Disorders

The connections that link these disorders are very complex, but not impossible to understand. As mentioned before, PTSD is heavily linked to depression and other mental health disorders. People who suffer from these problems may not even realize they are and may try to continue going on with their life as normal. This might include drinking alcohol or occasionally engaging in drug use.

PTSD And Substance Abuse Mental Health Problems

Unfortunately for the nearly eight million Americans who have PTSD, this may lead to an increased risk of turning to drugs as a way of self-medicating the negative effects of depression, PTSD, and other mental health disorders. As PTSD often exacerbates these mental health disorders, it can create an even tighter and more difficult to escape dual diagnosis. This idea was tested in a study entitled “Cognitive Distortions In The Dual Diagnosis Of PTSD And Substance Use Disorder,” particularly the way that cognitive ideas caused by PTSD led to dual diagnosis.

The study sampled 102 women with PTSD and a substance use disorder and 27 women who just had PTSD. They found that PTSD led to an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and drug addiction. Thankfully, they also found that many of the treatment methods applicable for both cases were effective in eliminating many of the problems associated with the dual diagnosis of PTSD and addiction.

Why do PTSD and substance use disorders mesh together so well in such a negative way? There are a variety of influences. For example, a person with PTSD may have troubles sleeping and may turn to alcohol or other calming drugs to fall asleep. Or they may have the opposite problem and feel numb and without energy. Stimulants, such as cocaine or meth, may give them the energy they need to face the concerns of day-to-day life.

Even worse is the way that PTSD can fuel thoughts of depression and avoidance. Drinking alcohol and taking drugs may distract the mind from its depression and further fuel the avoidance of the negative memories associated with trauma. Sadly, these effects won’t last for long, which will cause a person to turn to increasing doses of substances in order to stay stable, happy, and comfortable.

The Connection Has Been Studied

The study of the influence of these two disorders was focused on in “Posttraumatic (sic) Stress Disorder And Co-Occurring Substance Use Disorders: Advances In Assessment And Treatment,” a paper published by the National Center For Biotechnology Information. In it, the researchers came to a sad, but important to understand conclusion:

PTSD And Substance Abuse Influences“The comorbid presentation of PTSD and SUDs is remarkably common, and in comparison to patients presenting with either PTSD or SUD alone, PTSD/SUD patients often report greater functional impairment and experience poorer treatment outcomes –including treatment failure and dropout. Several mechanisms have been posited to explain the co-occurrence of PTSD and SUDs, including the self-medication hypothesis, the high-risk hypothesis, the susceptibility hypothesis. The majority of research to date supports the self-medication hypothesis.”

What this indicates is clear: people with PTSD most often use substances to self-medicate the negative influence of their disorder. This causes an increase in usage and even addiction, which is only fueled by the continued occurrence of these disorders. That’s why it’s so important to understand how to treat them, as this can help you break a negative feedback cycle and learn how to live a healthy life.

Eliminating PTSD

PTSD has become such a major problem that a variety of treatment methods have been created to help treat its negative symptoms. The most common of these are various methods of psychotherapy, including talk therapy, individual assessment, group therapy, and family counseling. Often people who suffer from PTSD interact well with others who have experienced a similar trauma, as they can relate and better understand each other.

Psychotherapy can also include methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy, which helps you identify the negative thought and behavior patterns in your life. By identifying these negative patterns with a skilled therapist you can replace them with positive ones. For example, if your PTSD has you on edge and nervous about another occurrence of trauma, cognitive behavioral therapy can help you learn to substitute those reactions with positive and relaxing ones.

Exposure therapy is also often used to treat PTSD and it is exactly what it sounds like: you are exposed to the situation which caused your trauma. Obviously this is done in a safe environment and it is designed to help you face your fear and beat it. New virtual reality treatments are often available for this therapy, completely eliminating any danger from the real situation.

PTSD And Substance Abuse Eliminate PTSD

Another interesting treatment is eye movement desensitization. This method works with exposure therapy to track your eye movements in order to understand how you are processing your traumatic memories. By teaching you new guided eye movements, you will learn how to better handle your traumatic memories and avoid letting them pull you back into addiction.

Beyond these psychotherapy methods are a variety of medications that treat the depression and anxiety symptoms that come with PTSD. These include antidepressants, anti-anxiety medications, prazosin (a drug that helps suppress nightmares associated with PTSD), and more. The idea here is to carefully guide you through these negative emotions, balance your emotional health, and give you the strength you need to fight the negative influences of PTSD.

Why Treating Both At The Same Time Is Most Effective

While it is possible to treat PTSD separately from your addiction, it’s fair to say that it’s best to treat both at the same time. Why? The two are so intricately mixed that it can be hard to treat them individually. For example, if you just try to treat addiction without handling PTSD, the anxiety and depression caused by the latter problem may influence a relapse. Conversely, trying to beat PTSD while still nursing an addiction will only fuel the intensity of the problems it causes.

We come to this conclusion after understanding multiple studies that tested dual diagnosis or co-occurring disorder therapies and which concluded that treating both simultaneously was the best option. For example, a study entitled “Treatments For Patients With Dual Diagnosis: A Review” concluded that “… existing efficacious treatments for reducing psychiatric symptoms also tend to work in dual-diagnosis patients (and) existing efficacious treatments for reducing substance use also decrease substance use in dually diagnosed patients…”

Essentially, this means that treatments for addiction also work well for people who have mental health problems. This indicates that treating both is not only possible, but preferable, as it is possible to eliminate both problems by utilizing the same treatment methods. Perhaps that’s why BMC Psychiatry, in a study on dual diagnosis client treatment satisfaction, found that “… integrated DD treatment yielded greater client satisfaction than standard treatment without explicit DD focus. In standard treatment without DD focus, DD clients tended to be less satisfied than single diagnosis clients.”

While these studies weren’t necessarily examining PTSD as a dual diagnosis specifically, the promising results they suggested show that dual diagnosis treatments for both mental health disorders and addiction can serve as an appropriate and effective way to eliminate both problems. So please consider making the investment, both in time and money, and helping yourself beat addiction for good.

Finding Appropriate Treatment For Your Needs

If you suffer from PTSD and a drug addiction, there is good news, as multiple drug rehab centers across the nation now focus heavily on dual diagnosis treatment. The rigors and difficulties of modern life have made trauma more of a problem than ever, and rising addiction rates may reflect this reality. It doesn’t matter where your addiction or your PTSD originated: dual diagnosis treatments can help you.

But how do you find a center near you that is willing to help? You could search online and read through a variety of addiction center listings. This may be effective if you are looking to get into a rehab center quickly, but you might be leaving out a drug center in another state that might be more appropriate for your needs. For example, if you are a mother suffering from PTSD caused by childbirth, there may be a center thousands of miles away that focuses on this specific concern.

That’s why reaching out to us at DrugRehab.org can help you begin your journey. Our addiction therapy specialists know all too well how addiction and Contact us if you or a loved are considering treatment.PTSD can impact your life. They understand the myriad of influences PTSD and depression has on your life and will work hard to find you a center that works specifically for you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us today to experience the healing power of recovery. Contact us today, we are here to help!


University Of Utah – Mental Illness: The Challenge Of Dual Diagnosis
Mental Health America – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
NHS Choices – Dual Diagnosis
Missouri S&T University – Theories Of Depression
Simply Psychology – Psychological Theories Of Depression
Anxiety And Depression Association Of America – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
Springer Link – Cognitive Distortions In The Dual Diagnosis Of PTSD And Substance Use Disorder
National Institute On Drug Abuse – Comorbidity: Addiction And Other Mental Illnesses
U.S. Department Of Veterans Affairs – PTSD And Substance Abuse In Veterans
Mayo Clinic – Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder: Treatments And Drugs
National Institute On Drug Abuse – Treatments For Patients With Dual Diagnosis: A Review
BMC Psychiatry – Dual Diagnosis Clients’ Treatment Satisfaction – A Systematic Review

Symptoms Of Substance-Induced Psychotic Episode

Symptoms of a Substance-Induced Psychotic Episode

Substance use and abuse carries with it a wide range of risks, many of which can be deliberating, disorientating, and dangerous. In some instances, a person who engages in these at-risk drug or alcohol behaviors may encounter what is called a substance abuse psychotic episode.

What Is A Psychotic Episode And How Does It Manifest Itself?

PubMed Health defines psychosis as “a severe mental disorder in which a person loses the ability to recognize reality or relate to others.” They continue to list the defining symptoms as: “being paranoid, having false ideas about what is taking place or who one is, and seeing, hearing, or feeling things that are not there.”

A drug-induced psychosis is similar in nature, excluding the fact that it can manifest solely due to the substance and not from a present “independent” mental disorder. The severity of this is such that the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 5th edition (DSM-V), includes substance-induced psychotic disorder. Medscape notes the DSM-V criteria for this as including “evidence from the history, physical examination, or laboratory findings indicates both (1) the hallucinations or delusions developed during or soon after (eg, within a month of) substance intoxication or withdrawal or (2) substance used is etiologically related to the disturbance.”

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) elaborates on this, stating that “substance-induced disorders are distinct from independent co-occurring mental disorders in that all or most of the psychiatric symptoms are the direct result of substance use.” However, in certain cases this psychosis may occur in someone who has a mental health concern. SAMHSA continues, “this is not to state that substance-induced disorders preclude co-occurring mental disorders, only that the specific symptom cluster at a specific point in time is more likely the result of substance use, abuse, intoxication, or withdrawal than of underlying mental illness.”

This Event May Be Aggravated Or Accompanied By A Co-Occurring Disorder

Some people may have a mental health disorder that can manifest itself in this way. At times, these people may use a drug either recreationally or as a means to self-medicate, which may then cause a drug induced psychosis. These conditions include: bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, and delusional disorder, among others, and may be comorbid to substance abuse.

Due to this possibility, it is important that a thorough mental health evaluation be conducted to ascertain if the symptoms are due solely, in part, or not at all from the substance use or abuse. The mental health provider must strive to determine if the initial onset of symptoms occurred prior to substance use, if they continued during sustained periods of abstinence, if they continued after the substance use and withdrawal have ceased, or if the severity of symptoms is greater than what would be expected from a certain substance used in the capacity reported.

They must also do a thorough inquiry of your substance abuse history to determine the amount, frequency, and length of use. These determinations will help your medical team establish the best modes of treatment for your situation.

It can be extremely harmful and even dangerous if a person is not treated fully for the exact root of the problem. Mental health disorders may many times precede drug use as people with these conditions may seek to self-medicate them through drug use, instead of getting the proper care they need. If a person is striving to overcome a substance abuse disorder, they must also seek to treat any co-occurring mental health concerns in order to help alleviate these stressors and triggers.

What Happens During A Substance-Induced Psychotic Episode?

The Merck Manual states that a “substance/medication–induced psychotic disorder is characterized by hallucinations and/or delusions due to the direct effects of a substance or withdrawal from a substance in the absence of delirium.” During a drug-induced psychotic episode, either one or both of these two prevalent experiences may occur. The National Alliance on Mental Illness defines them, and their defining characteristics here:

Hallucinations are seeing, hearing, or physically feeling things that aren’t actually there. For example:

  • Voices telling you to commit acts of violence or self-harm
  • Feeling like something is crawling under your skin
  • Seeing someone take the shape of something he is not, such as a demon

Delusions are strong beliefs that are unlikely to be true and may seem irrational to others. For example:

  • Believing external forces are controlling your thoughts, feelings, and behavior
  • Believing that trivial remarks, events, or objects have personal meaning or significance
  • Thinking you have special powers, are on a special mission, or even that you are God

What Type Of Substances Can Cause This?

Every person has physiological concerns that are unique to them. For this reason, a substance may affect one person in a way that is different from the next. Just because someone else took a substance in a certain proportion does not mean that you will react the same way they did or that you will be free from danger.

Also, just because you’ve taken a substance in the past does not mean that you’re in the clear. A substance may be laced, cut, or mixed with another substance or substances; or due to physiological variances in your body, you may react to it differently, in a way that could be very dangerous. The risks and dangers of substance use and abuse can vary based on a person’s gender, genetic disposition, physical and mental health, and other factors.

It is important to note, as SAMHSA mentions that “virtually any substance taken in very large quantities over a long enough period can lead to a psychotic state.”

Health.am outlines the class of substances that are known to cause psychotic episodes or disorders and the circumstances under which they do so.


  • Alcohol
  • Amphetamine and related substances
  • Cannabis
  • Cocaine
  • Hallucinogens
  • Inhalants
  • Opioids (meperidine)
  • Phencyclidine and related substances
  • Sedatives, hypnotics, and anxiolytics
  • Other or unknown substances


  • Alcohol
  • Sedatives
  • Hypnotics and anxiolytics
  • Other or unknown substances

It is also reported that certain over-the-counter or prescription drugs may cause psychotic symptoms including, but not limited to the following: pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine, muscle relaxants, anticonvulsants, antihistamines, chemotherapeutic agents, and certain antidepressant medications.

Other non-drug toxins may also initiate these symptoms. Some examples as reported by health.am include “anticholinesterase, organophosphate insecticides, nerve gases, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and volatile substances such as fuel or paint.”

Keep in mind, any time you use more than one drug concurrently, your risk increases.

How Is This Treated?

If you find that you or someone close to you is experiencing this, it is crucially important that the medical support team is made aware of any and all drug use, even if they are drugs that you do not believe to be responsible for the event.

The Oxford Journals Schizophrenia Bulletin write that “most substance-induced psychotic symptoms are considered to be short lived and to resolve with sustained abstinence along with other symptoms of substance intoxication and withdrawal.” Certain drugs may result in more prolonged psychotic episodes, the Merck Manual states that “psychosis triggered by amphetamines, cocaine, or PCP may persist for many weeks.”

Even though you might think that a person may be able to regain their senses within the quiet of their own home, you must, for their welfare and safety, keep in mind the nature of the symptoms of these psychotic episodes. Some manifestations of certain hallucinations may encourage a person to harm themselves or those around them. It is for these reasons that a person should be supervised by a staff that is highly-trained and educated in such manners.

When a person is encountering the overwhelming symptoms of one of these episodes, the best thing is to get them to a calm, medically supervised environment where they can be observed.
Benzodiazepines, antipsychotics, or anxiolytics may be administered. Treatment varies on the substance, in example the Merck Manual suggests that “for psychosis due to dopamine-stimulating drugs such as amphetamine, an antipsychotic drug is most effective…for substances with actions that do not involve dopamine, observation may be all that is needed, or an anxiolytic may help.”

If the psychotic episode is a result of withdrawal, it is especially important that a person seek medical help immediately. Unaccompanied withdrawal from certain substances may be very dangerous and even deadly. Also, in this instance, in addition to the psychotic manifestations, there are other symptoms of withdrawal that may require medical support and attention.

In the majority of cases, treatment should extend beyond that which treats the substance-induced psychotic disorder. Even if a person is no longer experiencing an episode, the presence of it suggests what could be a serious and underlying substance abuse disorder. A person should be evaluated for such and the necessary treatment options should be discussed. Treatment options include therapy, either individual or group, or a rehabilitation program.

Let Us Help You Find Clarity Within The Confusion

Reach out for help regaining mental, emotional, and physical balance.Substance abuse can complicate your life by creating intense confusion and in the worst and most severe of cases, it can completely uproot reality. This can leave you stranded, without your bearings, amidst a situation that can damage your mental and emotional health and that of those around you. If you’re fearful that yourself or someone you love may be engaging in drug or alcohol use that could result in a psychotic episode, or if one has already occurred, please reach out to us so that we can help you resolve the situation and regain the mental, emotional, and physical balance and wellness that you deserve. Contact us today at DrugRehab.org.

Schizoaffective Disorder And Addiction Treatment

Schizoaffective Disorder And Addiction Treatment
Mental health disorders can severely and negatively impact drug addiction and make it more difficult to obtain a new sober lifestyle. One of the most devastating of these problems is schizoaffective disorder. It creates an unstable lifestyle that often pushes people who suffer from it to drug and alcohol abuse and even addiction.

Understanding this disorder and the way it affects your addiction is crucial for your recovery. First of all, you need to understand the nature of the disorder, its relation to schizophrenia and bipolar disorders, how it affects your addiction, and what you can do to treat it.

What Is Schizoaffective Disorder?

The National Alliance On Mental Illness defines schizoaffective disorder in the following manner:

“Schizoaffective disorder is a chronic mental health condition characterized primarily by symptoms of schizophrenia, such as hallucinations or delusions, and symptoms of a mood disorder, such as mania and depression.”


Though relatively rare (only about 0.3 percent of the population is affected), schizoaffective disorder is devastating. Sadly, it is so rare that it is often misdiagnosed, as it so closely mimics symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Unfortunately, this means you may only receive partial or incorrect treatment, further distracting from your recovery.

The symptoms of schizoaffective disorder are problematic and cause a variety of erratic and unpredictable behaviors. Symptoms of this disease include the following:

  • Fixed beliefs that contradict reality (delusions)
  • Quick racing thoughts that are hard to control and which cause disorganized thinking
  • Fluctuations between depression (feelings of sadness, emptiness, and worthlessness) and mania (euphoria, quick thinking, and impulsive behaviors)
  • Hallucinations of visual or aural input
Schizoaffective Disorder_Racing Thoughts
Schizoaffective Disorder_delusions
Schizoaffective Disorder_emotional


The causes of this disease are mysterious, especially as it is a relatively new and unstudied disorder. It does seem to run in families and is influenced by specific brain chemistry, though the precise nature of this relation is still unknown. However, people can actually develop schizoaffective disorder due to stressful situations or through the use of psychoactive drugs, such as cocaine, LSD, codeine, and mescaline.

Unfortunately, this quick onset can cause a variety of problematic behaviors that make a person’s tendencies toward such behaviors hard to control and which may lead to heavy drug use and abuse.

Is Schizoaffective Disorder The Same As Schizophrenia?

Although schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder share many of the same symptoms, (such as hallucinations and delusions) they are not the same. Dr. Frederick J. Frese III—a mental health expert and writer for PBS—breaks down the difference by focusing heavily on the mood element of the disorder. Schizophrenia lacks the bipolar-like mood swings of schizoaffective disorder.

Elaborating on this point, Frese states that schizoaffective disorder is diagnosed when a person experiences schizophrenic symptoms while also suffering from bipolar symptoms. They must also show schizophrenic symptoms without bipolar symptoms and they must be present for at least a month.

Schizophrenia also requires a longer diagnosis period of at least six months of symptoms. These differences are crucial to understand and many experts believe that schizoaffective disorder is actually more closely related to bipolar disorder, rather than schizophrenia. Hence, the focus on the mood aspects of the disorder.

What Kinds Of Treatments Are Available For Schizoaffective Disorder?

The complex nature schizoaffective disorder treatment mirrors the nature of the disease. It affects such a wide range of your physical and mental health that it takes a concentrated and holistic effort to recover. However, with the right medical, psychological, and behavioral treatments, you can beat it.

Typically, schizoaffective disorder is treated medically by the antipsychotic drug paliperidone, otherwise known as Invega. This is currently the only medicine that is FDA approved to treat this disorder. However, doctors often utilize other antipsychotics, antidepressants, and mood stabilizers to treat some of the major symptoms of schizoaffective disorder.

Psychological treatment focuses on helping a person understand their disorder and the ways in which it affects their lives. Strategies such as peer support, group therapy, individual psychotherapy, and family counseling are implemented to help stabilize a person’s mind and give them the psychological distance they need to become more capable of handling their problems.

Behavior-adjustment therapies are designed to help change negative thinking and behavior patterns caused by schizoaffective disorder. Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most common of these methods. It creates coping tools you can use to manage the racing thoughts and behaviors of schizoaffective disorder.

For example, a behavior specialist may teach you to relax your mania with yoga or writing your thoughts down as they come. They may also teach you how to fight off relapse urges by focusing on healthier outlets, such as jogging or painting.

A new trend of ECT treatments has also been popping up lately. ECT is used to manage depression by sending electric impulses to the brain that help calm symptom severity. In cases where medication, psychology, and behavioral treatments don’t work, ECT is sometimes used as a last resort.

How Does Schizoafffective Disorder Influence Addiction?

The National Institute On Alcohol Abuse And Alcoholism reports that 9.7 percent of all people with schizoaffective disorder experience alcohol or drug abuse in their lifetime, while a further 24 percent experience true addiction. While these numbers are low compared to other mood disorders, they are severe enough to warrant further discussion.

Why do people with schizoaffective disorder suffer from such a high rate of addiction? The answer is complex. People with this disorder often use drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. After all, many drugs cause dulled senses and mental calm that are desirable for people with schizoaffective disorder.

Furthermore, the mania that occurs throughout the lifetime of this disease generates impulsiveness that causes a person to try a dangerous substance. Extended periods of mania then lead to continuing use of the substance, to the point where an addiction eventually develops and spirals out of control.

The schizophrenic symptoms of schizoaffective disorder may also compel a person to use drugs. The hallucinations and delusions that come with this disorder may make drugs an appealing choice, as a person may feel that drugs are either harmless or a powerful way of changing their consciousness.

Unfortunately, drug abuse and addiction only exacerbates the symptoms of schizoaffective disorder. They can create an even wider disparity in the mania and depressive episodes and cause increased hallucination and delusions. This is known as co-occurring disorders, as addiction is present with mental health disorders and it can create a tight grip that is hard to escape.

Does Dual Diagnosis Help With Schizoaffective Disorder And Drug Addiction?

Thankfully, escape from the clutches of schizoaffective disorder and drug addiction is possible with dual diagnosis. If you have never heard of it, dual diagnosis is the process of treating addiction and mental health disorders at the same time.

The knot of schizoaffective disorder and addiction is particularly tight, as both disorders feed each other so well. However, dual diagnosis has been found to be an effective way to decrease the severity of these symptoms in a safe and healthy manner. A typical dual diagnosis treatment includes:

  • Physical detox to manage withdrawal symptoms
  • Management of health problems caused by addiction
  • Dietary adjustments to avoid undernourishment
  • Psychologically probing the source of your addiction
  • Working through your psychological problems in an individual or a group setting
  • Attending behavioral adjustment classes that teach you coping mechanisms
  • Continually working through the process to bring new hope to a person’s life
  • Aftercare techniques that are designed to help get you back on your feet after leaving rehab
  • Outpatient classes in relapse avoidance or regular meetings to help assess psychological and behavioral progress

This treatment method may seem exhaustive, but it is designed to holistically treat your addiction on all levels. Spiritual aspects, such as attendance in 12-Step programs, are also available, should you or your treatment specialists deem them necessary.

Can Schizoaffective Disorder Be Managed For Life?

Living with schizoaffective disorder is not easy, especially if it has pushed you into drug use. However, it is possible to manage your symptoms before and after addiction treatment and emerge as a newly clean, healthy, happy, and stable person. It requires lifelong diligence and a dedication to treating and understanding schizoaffective disorder and your addiction.

For example, you’re going to need to regularly take the medications that manage schizoaffective disorder severity and continue following the new behaviors you’ve learned during your recovery process. Staying on your medications gives you the balance to fight off cravings, while new coping behaviors fight the severity of both problems.

Let’s say that you feel yourself about to enter a manic episode and are worried that you’ll be compelled to use drugs. Immediately reach out to a support group when you feel your mania building. They can help you find an outlet for your overactive mind and excessive energy. You should also make sure to sleep, even if this requires sleep medication.

The major challenge here is learning how to track your triggers for both drug relapse and your schizoaffective episodes. With the help of behavioral therapists and psychologists, you can identify these situations and learn how to avoid them or decrease the severity of their impact on your life.

You Can Earn The Life You Desire

Contact Us About DrugRehab.org ServicesThe two-pronged assault of schizoaffective disorder and drug addiction is a heavy burden, but it is one that you can beat. Thousands of people across the country have taken the plunge into recovery and emerged as healthy and drug-free people. So can you, as long as you’re willing to accept help.

That’s where we come in. At DrugRehab.org, we have a core of expert addiction specialists who can move you through the difficulties of recovery. Contact us today to learn more about how we will get your sober and back on your feet.

Drug Use And Codependent Relationships

Drug Use and CoDependent Relationships

One of the least discussed problems that often plagues drug addiction is the creation of codependent relationships. If you’re in a relationship with someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, you need to understand if your relationship falls under this banner.

It’s also important that you understand how to break the codependency cycle and get your loved one into a recovery environment. This process is not only important for your loved one, but for you as well, as it can create a more stable relationship environment and help you live a happier and more fulfilling life.

What Are Codependent Relationships?

Relationships that are codependent are highly dysfunctional and emotionally manipulative. Basically, they are relationships in which both people rely heavily on one another for emotional stability. You might think that all relationships require a balance of emotional attachment, but codependent relationships go a step further.

Codependent relationshipA typical codependent relationship consists of one person who uses the other to achieve their own personal needs. For example, in a relationship with drug addiction, the person addicted might manipulate their partner to get drugs or provide a place in which to live. It goes beyond merely getting help, though, and becomes a way to justify and enable negative behaviors, such as continued drug use.

The second person in this relationship is the “giver” and they do everything that the other person asks. Usually, they have problems with self-esteem and want to help people in any way they can in order to feel loved. As a result, they enable their loved one’s continued bad behavior in exchange for still having them as a partner.

If this sounds like you, you aren’t alone. Millions of people across the nation are currently in codependent relationships, including relationships that involve drug abuse and addiction. Not only is there a way out, but there are ways to break free from codependency while maintaining a relationship. First, it’s important to identify whether or not your relationship truly counts as codependent.

Behaviors Typical Of Codependent Relationships

People who enable drug abuse in a codependent relationship often follow a series of personality traits and behaviors, including:

  • Heavy guilt
  • Drive to please or “fix” others
  • Difficulty setting boundaries
  • Ridiculous and excessive emotional reactions
  • Problems with rejection
  • Control-freak personality traits

Basically, enablers are willing to put the needs of others before their own and are desperate to stay in the relationship. As a result, they will bend over backward to help a loved one continue their drug use and even ignore the negative consequences of their actions.

Conversely, the “users” in a codependent relationship have their own set of traits and personality behaviors, including:

  • Childishness
  • Emotional neediness
  • Constant need to know where their partner’s whereabouts
  • Jealousy and anger control
  • Manipulative and controlling personality traits

“But,” you say, “my loved one never had those traits before they started using drugs.” That doesn’t matter. If your addicted loved one is using right now, it may be changing his or her behavior. Remember that people who are addicted to drugs are often desperate to continue their use and can become entirely different people as a result.

How Drug Use Can Fuel Codependent Relationships

Drug use and addiction can cause a variety of situations that can lead to codependency, including the following problems and how you solve them:

  • Loss of job (creates a need for funds for drugs)
  • Home loss (makes your home an important place to stay)
  • Driver’s license suspension (need for a driver)
  • Isolation from other friends and family members (no one else to whom they can turn)

LoveBasically, drug use forces your loved one to become reliant on you in an almost child-like way. You need to buy them food (and drugs), give them a place to live, drive them where they need to go, and provide constant companionship. They will want to know where you’re at at all times and are likely to demand difficult things from you in order to make you “prove your love.”

Your role in this relationship is just as complex and difficult. Likely, you want to help your loved one get out of the rut of drug addiction and back on their feet. So you’re willing to do anything you can to help. However, you may also have been embarrassed by their addiction and work hard to try to cover it up. Rather than alienating you from your loved one, it will make you feel like a parent and a caregiver.

As a result, you’ll start enabling them to do anything they want as they become something like a spoiled brat. Part of you feels satisfaction at helping them, but also frustration at their helplessness, fear from their addiction, and depression in regard to them not getting any better. As their addiction increases in severity, they may become abusive and treat you in an awful manner as a result of these codependency issues.

Unfortunately, abuse like this often makes people feel worthless and keeps them stuck to the abuser for a long time. And that’s the major truth about codependency. Codependency is a form of two-way abuse that hurts both members equally. While you’re being taken advantage of by your loved one, your behaviors are only enabling them to stay addicted. That’s why you need to break the cycle.

Breaking The Codependency Cycle

CycleCodependency is a bad cycle that can seem impossible to break. If you’re in a codependent relationship, you know the kind of emotional and even physical bonds they impose. Breaking through a codependent cycle is the first step in getting your loved one help and the initial phase in that process is identifying the causes of codependency. Codependency has a wide variety of causes, including:

  • Self-esteem problems
  • Anxiety in social situation
  • Abuse (verbal, emotional, or even sexual)
  • Emotional attachment to a person or situation
  • Actual physical need for a person (such as need of a home or food)
  • Feeling like you need to take care of a person

These influences can be present in one or both parties, but codependency requires both partners actively supporting it. For example, you may feel that your loved one would die of a drug overdose without you there to monitor their use or buy them safe and clean substances. On this same note, perhaps your loved one relies on your money to buy their drugs or alcohol.

So how can you break the cycle of codependency? You need to have the personal strength to stand up to your loved one and tell them you’re no longer going to support their drug habit. Tell them they have to either quit using and get back on their feet or you will walk out the door. You are creating a sense of consequences for their actions and you have to go through with them.

This isn’t going to be easy! They are going to cry, wheedle, beg, and try to manipulate you into not going through with it. They will be desperate to both keep you and their drug and will make a lot of promises and excuses. You need to hold them accountable for it and go through with your consequences if they fail.

What you’ll find is that your loved one will immediately commit themselves to recovering from addiction. This is a major first step for both of you. Not only have you finally said “no” and broken the cycle of codependency, but they are willing to break their own cycle by getting help. Now the next step requires actually getting that help.

Helping Your Loved One Get Help

Loved OneOnce you’ve got your loved one ready to accept help for their addiction, you need to do what you can to help keep them out of the rut of addiction. This is also crucial for your personal needs as you have to identify the traits that allowed you to fall into this type of relationship and how you can avoid it in the future.

The process of treating a dual diagnosis may be necessary for this situation. Dual diagnosis applications of treatment apply to both mental health disorders and addiction at the same time by assessing both in one patient and utilizing powerful treatment methods, such as psychological counseling, withdrawal treatment, and behavioral adjustment techniques.

Due to the unique relationship dynamic, you will be heavily involved in your loved one’s recovery. It can help teach both of you how to avoid falling victim to codependency in the future. It might even be able to save your relationship. However, neither of you can fall back into the groove of codependency or all that help will be for nothing.

Turn To Us For Help

Contact us at DrugRehab.org today.Breaking codependency can help you get the self-confidence you need to say “no” and can get your loved one into the treatment they need to life a healthy and drug-free life. To learn more about the process of dual diagnosis and anything else involved with rehab, please contact us at DrugRehab.org today. We can get you the help you need to fuel recovery.

Treating Drug And Alcohol Addiction As A Learning Disorder

Treating Drug And Alcohol Addiction As A Learning Disorder

It is often difficult to understand the behavioral changes that accompany addiction. Even those of high moral integrity seem to succumb to uncharacteristic behavior, impairing relationships and hindering potential support. Despite being categorized as a disease, addiction is still widely stigmatized socially.

Maia Szalavitz is a journalist who has spent 30 years researching substance abuse disorders. In her new book, Unbroken Brain: A Revolutionary Way of Understanding Addiction, Szalavitz challenges our current understanding of addiction and the way it is treated.

Szalavitz On Addiction Stigma

Maia Szalavitz

In a recent interview with Business Insider, Szalavitz said, “Scientists think it’s nuts to frame the idea of addiction as a learning disorder as new, but most of the public has no idea and it’s been framed to the public as a disease – so when you think disease, you think cancer and Alzheimer’s – but then they see how people with addictions behave and they think, ‘Well, that doesn’t fit.’”

Szalavitz continued, “…So on the one hand, we’re calling it a disease, but then we’re treating it as a sin. And that doesn’t make sense.” Szalavitz’s suggests that drug and alcohol addiction should be considered a learning disorder to broaden the potential for effective treatment and reduce the stigma to move forward.

The Impact Of Social Stigma On Recovery

The concept of addiction as a disease has only been accepted socially for about 45 years. Before that, people struggling with drug or alcohol abuse were berated and dismissed as people of low morals.

The conflicted understanding of addiction and treatment still creates a stigma, making recovery more complicated. The negative impact of social stigma with addiction and recovery includes:

  • Greater isolation of those struggling with addiction
  • Higher likelihood of familial rejection
  • Trouble with career and community involvement
  • A greater chance of relapse

When negative behavioral changes impact the relationships of those struggling with addiction, it is common to assume that moral character is destroyed. Decisions made under the influence may continue to tarnish a person’s reputation long after rehabilitation is complete. It’s important to improve the social stigma of addiction to better treat those whom are struggling.

Psychological Addiction Treatment Methodology

The American Medical Association (AMA) first declared alcoholism an illness in 1956. The AMA further endorsed the dual classification in 1991 under both psychiatric and medical sections of the International Classification of Diseases.

Modern addiction treatments are more focused on psychological reform than ever before. With these ideas in practice, it seems that the medical community has been shifting toward this theory with great results. Many behavior and learning-based methods are in place, including cognitive-behavioral therapy. This process works to reverse the behavior and thought patterns in people with addiction through submersion. This is common practice in cases of obsessive-compulsive disorder and ADHD.

The Disease Or Choice Debate

Treating Drug And Alcohol Addiction As A Learning Disorder_quoteSzalavitz suggests that defining addiction as a disease is “misguided learning,” as it is not brain damage or pathology. Instead, she refers to the condition of addiction as “compulsive behavior despite negative consequences.”

This is the basis of her literature, much of which is agreed upon by many healthcare officials. Treating addiction as a learning disorder may be the key to finding new and innovating methods that will stick.

How Are Learning Disorders Treated?

If a specialist is working to improve a learning disorder, such as dyslexia or ADD/ADHD, coping skills are usually the primary focus. A multidimensional plan is developed to help the individual deal with the disorder while continuing to function in everyday life.

It is possible that a similar tactic could be helpful in addiction recovery. By creating predictable scenarios and “training” the brain, it may be possible to see a higher success in treatment. While cognitive behavioral therapies and plan of actions are a step in the right direction, there is still much work to be done by way of treatment.

Treatment With Purpose

It is possible that addiction treatment could be benefited by reclassification. Identifying addiction as a learning disorder may open the door for new and effective methods that may not have been considered before.

As understanding of this condition expand, the stigma is bound to be lifted. By identifying what addiction is and isn’t, we’re better equipped as a society to assist those in recovery in their journeys and live more fulfilling lives.

We Can Help

Contact us today for help with recovery.If you or a loved one is struggling with the stigma of addiction or recovery, the caring staff at DrugRehab.org is here for you. We can offer support and understanding, as well as resources to aid in your recovery journey. Contact us today. We’re here to help.

Utilizing A Relapse Prevention Plan

Utilizing a Relapse Prevention Plan

A relapse prevention plan is a system of ideas for avoiding relapse. Utilizing coping skills is often challenging, especially in early recovery. When you’ve grown accustom to using a substance to deal with stress, you’re forced to choose alternatives on your path to sobriety.

That’s when a relapse prevention plan is so crucial. It provides strategies and techniques for coping with stress and makes each event a little less difficult. Sticking to a strict plan is important in maintaining sobriety, as it offers options when those in recovery experience confusion or difficulty coping.

Identifying Relapse Triggers

A relapse trigger is an event or emotion that stimulates the urge to start using again. In order to utilize a relapse prevention plan, you must identify your personal triggers. If you’ve relapsed before, it may help to take note of your surroundings before the incident. This can help you develop a plan and see yourself through future triggers. While listing triggers, consider:

  • People and places that could influence your decision to relapse.
  • Emotions, such as anxiety and depression.
  • Potential breakups, deaths, and work trouble.
  • Financial distress.
  • Hunger, anger, loneliness, and tiredness (HALT).
  • Accessibility of substances.
  • Arguments or physical altercations.

Identifying your common relapse triggers is tricky because are predictable while others can take you by surprise. Regardless of the nature of the trigger, sobriety should be your number one concern. While it’s not fun to think of the possible adversity you’ll face, utilizing this information can make a big difference in the success of a relapse prevention plan.

Developing A Plan Of Action

Once you’ve identified your relapse triggers, it is time to develop a plan of action. In order to do this, you must think of the best ways to combat potential situations before they happen. If you are having trouble in your relationship, for instance, you may need to identify this as a potential trigger. Having a system can assist you in maintaining sobriety when times are most difficult. To develop a plan of action:

  • List potential triggers and a possible exit strategy for each. Consider simple solutions at first so you are better able to process your situation.
  • Have contact information readily available for your sober living coach, sponsor, a trusted friend, and/or a family member. This will give you resources for guidance and help keep you grounded while working through the cravings.
  • Write potential rationalizations for use and the reasons they are wrong. While you’re committed to being sober, your mind is much clearer than it will be when a trigger strikes. It helps to have a sober reminder of your commitment to recovery.
  • List the reasons for your sobriety and the implications of relapse.
  • Consider the possibility of relapse and develop a course of action to deal with it. While it is not ideal, the actions following a slip up can make all of the difference in the outcome.
  • Attend AA meetings or therapy sessions.

Many programs will implement a relapse prevention plan as part of addiction treatment. Informing your therapist, sober living coach, sponsor, close friends, and family of your plan can help carry out the strategy if there is trouble. Each time you resist the urge to relapse you’re developing coping skills and further increasing the chances that sobriety will stick.

A Plan For Sobriety

When facing hurdles in recovery, a relapse prevention plan offers a lifeline to many people. These plans help those in recovery remain sober. Sometimes, your plan will need updating to stay relevant. Maintaining your plan will aid in lasting sobriety, even after you’re confident in your power.

Becoming aware of triggers and utilizing your tools can make all of the difference. By developing a plan, you are furthering your commitment to recovery, and providing yourself the tools to succeed.

We Can Help

Contact us for more information.Sobriety is made much easier when a relapse prevention plan is in place. If you or a loved one needs help developing or utilizing a plan, the caring staff at DrugRehab.org is here for you. We can help you through any concerns you may have regarding your new journey. Contact us today.