Tag Archive: addiction treatment

  1. The Importance of Feeling Safe for Adolescents in Addiction Treatment

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    The Importance of Feeling Safe for Adolescents in Addiction Treatment

    In the process of healing from addiction, adolescents go through many changes. This often includes addressing the root causes of addiction, improving overall awareness, and making behavioral changes that facilitate long-term recovery. Addiction treatment at Sustain Recovery occurs in a safe and loving environment, which helps adolescents to feel secure and relaxed when they are facing uncomfortable truths and learning new skills. When an adolescent feels safe, they are more likely to be able to make neccessary changes and build a foundation of skills that can carry them forward into their lives without falling back into substance abuse.

    Comprehensive Addiction Treatment

    At Sustain Recovery, addiction treatment is comprehensive and multifaceted. Feeling safe is vital in each piece of addiction treatment, including clinical intervention, 12-Step Recovery, and holistic modalities. The result of this comprehensive treatment for adolescents is improved awareness and behavioral changes that help them in returning home.

    Clinical Interventions

    There are a variety of evidence-based clinical interventions for treating addiction. These are designed to help adolescents improve awareness of their challenges with addiction and make changes, both internally and externally, in their lives. Such interventions often include individual therapy, group therapy, and family therapy.

    Feeling safe via clinical interventions is vital for them to be effective. When an adolescent is speaking with a therapist about their challenges, they are more likely to be open with themselves and the clinician if they feel safe. Admitting deep feelings like shame, fear, and anxiety can be very difficult for anyone, especially an adolescent. If they do not feel safe, it is unlikely that they will be comfortable owning up to deep feelings that play a role in their struggle with addiction.

    Additionally, clinical interventions for an adolescent often include family therapy. Family therapy can be particularly challenging in treatment. Many adolescents may feel the repercussions of admitting their difficulties to their family, and shame or embarrassment can lead them to not open up. However, being open and honest is the only way for them to heal. Feeling safe helps them to know they can be open to learning and growing with the support and care of their family.

    12-Step Recovery

    In 12-Step Recovery, an adolescent goes through each of the Twelve Steps in order to heal and recover from addiction. These steps involve admitting many challenging aspects of their addiction. Examples include admitting mistakes and those they have hurt. Additionally, 12-Step Recovery involves peer support groups where an adolescent can and will share their experiences and listen to others’ experiences and challenges with addiction.

    Admitting you have wronged others and made mistakes is difficult for anyone. If an adolescent does not feel safe, they are unlikely to open up and participate in the 12-Step process. However, when an adolescent feels they are safe, they can admit things they have kept inside for a long time. In the healing process, this is vital. It allows them to partake in a peer support environment, which can help them to stay sober long-term.

    Holistic Modalities

    Sustain Recovery offers many holistic modalities that can help adolescents on their journey of recovery. Modalities like experiential therapy, music therapy, and nutritional guidance can plan an important role for adolescents in their journey. These involve activities that help an adolescent work through challenges with addiction in a less direct way than one-on-one therapy. These modalities allow adolescents to develop skills that can help them in maintaining their mental health and staying away from substances.

    However, to be effective, adolescents must dive in and participate in these types of therapies. Often, when an adolescent does not feel safe or comfortable, they will hold back. This might look like making fun of the activity or simply staying quiet and not participating. When an adolescent feels safe in the environment, they can actively participate, which will allow these holistic modalities to really facilitate change.

    Feeling Safe Improves Change in Addiction Treatment

    Addiction treatment is a long and challenging process of change. Change is difficult for anyone; however, for adolescents, it can be especially difficult. Adolescents often have more anxiety and are experiencing certain feelings and emotions for the first time. Additionally, adolescents commonly have lower self-awareness, which makes change and growth even more challenging.

    Feeling safe is extremely important to help an adolescent to change. This is because the process of change takes time, awareness, and exploration. Safety helps in all of these aspects. When adolescents feel safe, they feel okay taking the time they need during the process. This involves taking the time to develop the skill of awareness and exploring pieces of their internal and external world that they may have never felt comfortable even looking at.

    Expecting adolescents to change without feeling safe is unrealistic. While change occurs from within, the environment plays a crucial role for adolescents to feel comfortable taking steps toward a new life where they can recover from addiction.

    When an adolescent is healing from addiction, they will need to face many truths and make many changes. This requires them to feel safe, as this helps them to improve their awareness and develop new skills. Within comprehensive addiction treatment, feeling safe is important at every step along the way. At Sustain Recovery, we have created an environment that facilitates change. Our programs are built around the understanding that feeling safe is imperative for adolescents to recover from addiction. We focus on helping adolescents to make changes in their lives that will help them now and into the future. To learn more about our programs or speak with a staff member, call (949) 407-9052 today. 

  2. When Multiple Family Members Experience Addiction

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    When just one member of a family deals with abuse of alcohol or drugs, it takes its toll on the whole family. When more than one family member is suffering from an addiction, it can complicate recovery efforts for everyone involved. Typically, when an adolescent or young adult returns home from residential treatment for an addiction to alcohol or drugs, their recovery often becomes the focus of the family unit. This can prove difficult at times as everyone tries to zero in on how to help the child transition back home, feel supported, and be held accountable for their actions. 

    If more than one addiction exists in the family, it becomes crucial for everyone in the nuclear family to address these issues. The more stable the family is, the greater chance a child has to maintain their own sobriety. While the presence of more than one addiction can initially complicate things, ignoring it will not make the problem go away. Factoring in the addiction of another family member can be a game-changer and ultimately cause everyone involved to decide how best to proceed so that the entire family unit thrives.

    Why Do Multiple Family Members Experience Addiction?

    When it comes to families having more than one member who deals with addiction, no single answer applies to all situations. Multiple studies have been done over the years that show the answer can be at least partially genetic. The University of Utah reports that many different genes can contribute to a person developing an addiction. When people share a genetic history that predisposes them to addiction, they experience an increased likelihood of developing the issue at some point. 

    The home environment can influence a young person who struggles with addiction. If they grow up around one or more family members who struggle with substance abuse disorder, it may normalize the condition for them. A parent or other influential family member who habitually exposes their abuse of drugs or alcohol to a younger person may unknowingly pass on the message that this is normal behavior. The message of “do as I say, not as I do” becomes ineffective. Behavior modeled over a long period makes more of an impact than verbal warnings against it. Even if the relative attempts to hide their addiction and the resulting chaos it incurs, children and teenagers are quick to pick up on the reality of a situation. They often know more than others may think they do.

    Dealing With a Family Member Who Actively Engages in Their Addiction

    A child returning home who has worked hard on becoming sober has their work cut out for them. When they return to living with a parent, sibling, or other family members who are actively drinking or using drugs, a game plan that addresses this should be enacted. This may involve a type of family intervention. This process lets the other family member know that their addiction not only affects their own life but now runs the risk of influencing a loved one to forfeit their sobriety. If possible, separate housing for the child can be established at least long enough to help the young person get to a more stable place in their own recovery.

    If living apart is impossible, establish rules about things like the time the family members spend together. Make it a rule that alcohol or drugs cannot be used in the presence of the child. Sometimes the relative may want to help the younger person but is not willing to address their own addictive behaviors. Asking them to commit to a few basic rules to help their loved one can prove productive and beneficial. You may be surprised at people’s willingness to accommodate the sobriety and wellbeing of young addicted people. 

    When Multiple Family Members Are in Recovery

    Much like being a member of group therapy, having a relative who is also working hard on their recovery can benefit a young person. They can take comfort from knowing someone who understands their situation and the struggles they face. They can even help each other celebrate positive achievements and milestones. Shared family history may also enable the two to do a deep-dive into how addiction has impacted their lives. They can take a look at which family members have suffered from it and which ones may be at risk of developing it. Understanding the family dynamics at this level can prove helpful in terms of personal knowledge as well as discussing that information with a therapist. 

    A family that has more than one member who deals with alcoholism or drug addiction may wonder why this happened. Multiple factors may contribute to the situation, including genetic predisposition and home environment. When a young person returns home from residential treatment for their substance abuse disorder, it can complicate things when other family members struggle with the same condition. Sustain Recovery has extensive experience treating adolescents and young adults who suffer from addiction. Our clients benefit from treatment that addresses their individual needs, including learning to manage co-occurring mental health issues like depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder. We also provide schooling to allow them to continue their education. Private and group therapy allows our clients to understand themselves. We send them home prepared to deal with the family environment waiting for them. Call our Southern California location to find out how we can get started on putting your family back together! (949) 407-9052.

  3. Using Mindfulness-Based Treatments in Addiction Recovery

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    adolescent mindfulness training

    Mindfulness is a practice and philosophy that has been used for millennia. Originating in the Himalayan region, mindfulness teaches people to become self-aware. The philosophy teaches that by focusing on moment-to-moment experiences, a person can become aware of their behaviors and emotional reactions. This is helpful because instead of avoiding feelings and urges, a person can name and accept them. Acceptance leads to less self-judgment, and in return, a person has better tools for dealing with cravings or negative emotions.

    Taking part in your child’s recovery is very important. Educating yourself on topics like substances and their effects on children, as well as different treatment programs is vital to their success. While they receive plenty of support from their treatment facilitators, recovery is a 24/7 process. This is why support at home is critical.

    Mindfulness in Youth Addiction Recovery

    Simply put, mindfulness brings a person’s attention to the internal and external experiences occurring in the present and is often taught through meditation exercises. There have been many studies on the effects of mindfulness-based treatments in adult populations, but the research of its effects on youth populations is emerging.

    A study conducted in 2009 showed evidence of a positive change in emotional, physical, and behavioral health in children and adolescents. A different study conducted that same year focusing on teens ages 14-18 showed a significant increase in their ability to deal with stress, regulate behavior, and improve their psychological well-being. There are several key aspects of why mindfulness-based treatments are successful when treating addiction in kids.

    These include qualities such as:

    • Reduced impulsiveness
    • Increased ability to accept drug cravings without using
    • Increased perception of risk in drug-use
    • An increased overall sense of well-being

    These skills are essential for helping your child through their recovery process and studies have proven that mindfulness can be used to prevent relapse, as well.

    What the Science Says

    Because mindfulness-based treatment is an emerging practice, there has been a rush by researchers to test its success. While an overwhelming amount of evidence points towards a decrease in drug use, some evidence points to it being a selective treatment; something that is not one-size-fits-all. What research does suggest is that adding mindfulness exercises into a child’s treatment can improve their motivation and decrease their chances of relapse. This can be linked to the patient’s newfound ability to confront their emotions or impulses without judgment and become aware of what triggers their cravings.

    There have been studies conducted specifically on adolescents who are mandated to participate in drug treatment programs. The outcomes are the same. There is a decreased chance of relapse and an increased ability to deal with stressors and impulses. Also, mindfulness practices increase their perceptions of risk from using drugs. Mindfulness works because it presents children with tools they can practice anywhere. Prolonged practice of mindfulness techniques supports long-term success. It provides the child with an internal process of dealing with negative emotions, impulses, or environments.

    Moving Forward

    Researches make a point to discuss a few assumptions about mindfulness-based treatment for youth addiction recovery. First, there is an assumption that counselors and families are interested in applying mindfulness activities to treatment programs. While many programs are being created to combine contemporary treatment programs with mindfulness-based treatments, they are not readily available everywhere. This is something to talk about with your child’s recovery facility. Ask if they are familiar with the practice and if they have any ways of applying it to your child’s treatment.

    The second assumption is that facilities and families have a working knowledge of mindfulness and mindfulness-based treatments. There is no need to be an expert on mindfulness to facilitate the practice with your child. A lot of resources exist online with guides on how to introduce mindfulness to your children and keep them engaged in the practice. This also leads to the assumption that you are willing to take an active role in your child’s recovery.

    The third assumption is that you have knowledge of substance abuse and addiction and their effects on children. Realize that when working with a treatment facility, questions about different types of drugs and their effects will come up. It’s important to prepare yourself by having some knowledge of these topics or knowing where to find it.

    Your child’s treatment facility is a great place to start. Also, many schools have programs on drug education. Talk to your child’s school counselor and ask if they have any literature on common or popular drugs and their effects on children. Remember, taking an active part in your child’s recovery is key to their success.

    To learn more about how mindfulness-based therapy can benefit your child in their recovery, please contact Sustain Recovery today at (949) 407-9052. Our outpatient, intensive outpatient, and residential programs are all built around evidence-based clinical treatment modalities. Our knowledgeable and compassionate staff can help your child begin to lead a happier, healthier life and decrease their chances of relapse.

  4. Native Americans and Treatment

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    native american youth

    Substance abuse is a problem for many people and Native Americans are no exception. Alcohol abuse is prevalent in this community especially, which continues to be a challenge in terms of treatment options. Poor economic conditions, lack of jobs or suitable programs are leaving gaps in treatment. Learn more about options available for substance abuse treatment for Native Americans.

    Addiction Treatment

    More agencies and organizations are beginning to recognize a need for treatment programs that support Native Americans. Tribal governments have created substance use prevention and treatment programs to provide for needs of the native people’s population including the following:

    • Culturally sensitive and customized addiction treatment content and language
    • Easier access to treatment
    • Residential programs
    • Awareness education in school
    • Outpatient addiction treatment programs

    Providing Treatment

    As with any addiction treatment program, there are many steps to follow. Learn more about those steps and how to get started.

    Assessment and Evaluation

    The first step for anyone going into treatment is assessment and evaluation by an addiction specialist. Once the severity of addiction issues is determined, then a suitable treatment plan can come to light and be prepared.


    Withdrawal from drugs or alcohol is usually very uncomfortable and maybe even dangerous. To make a person more comfortable and minimize relapse risk, a detox unit is typically recommended. Native Americans will go through detox surrounded by professionals monitoring progress to assist with any emergencies as they arise.

    Psychological Therapies and Support

    Native American addiction treatment programs generally take a multi-faceted approach to recovery. Treatment usually involves therapy including individual, group and family oriented programs as well as pharmacological treatment for opiate addiction. Mental health problems are a huge concern at this stage so any medication or therapeutic support can be offered to support long term recovery.


    Completion of a program is not the end of the journey. Native Americans in recovery will need a great deal of support from their community. Outpatient therapy, self-help groups, vocational training, community help and perhaps a stay in a halfway house are all part of the journey.

    Treatment Barriers

    Native Americans face many obstacles and barriers when trying to overcome addiction. Treatment barriers may include some of the following:

    • Cultural view of addiction and treatment
    • Denial of an issue
    • Family, work or school obligation
    • Financial challenges
    • Lack of health insurance
    • Language barriers
    • Limited access to treatment options

    A number of choices are coming up for Native Americans who need addiction treatment. Medical professionals are usually able to refer Native Americans to suitable addiction treatment facilities.


    Sustain Recovery provides recovery to adolescents who need a short or long-term solution. Learn more about our programs by calling us to see how we can support your adolescent in finding the right pathway to recovery.

  5. Addiction Treatment for Veterans

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    veteran addiction

    Members of the armed forces face great challenges. Constantly surrounded by violence and forced away from family to serve their country is a great honor but also brings great suffering in the form of combat-induced mental health disorders including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Learn more about ways to support veterans needing addiction treatment to cope with the challenges facing veterans.

    Providing Services

    A small percentage of veterans seek help for addiction treatment. Medical and mental health problems tend to get brushed off and addiction treatment is no exception, either. Addiction is sometimes perceived as a weakness which may build resistance to treatment. Veteran specific services may include the following:

    • Peer group therapy
    • Dual-diagnosis treatment options
    • Handicap accessibility for injured or disabled veterans
    • Stress and anger management
    • Family participation including family counseling and education

    Treatment Process

    Veteran addiction treatment should be thought of as a long-term journey. Typically, it begins with the following four steps:

    Screening and assessment

    Proper screening prior to participation is key to identifying underlying mental health disorders or issues such as dual diagnosis treatment. Medical professionals will then be able to confirm addiction diagnosis and determine severity of the issue while developing a care plan.


    Withdrawal in a dedicated detox facility under supervision of medical professionals is recommended. Doctors and nurses can then help veterans be more comfortable to attend to the individual in case of emergency. Relapse chances are also greatly reduced.


    Typically the choice between inpatient and outpatient veteran addiction treatment programs exists due to the needs of veteran populations. Treatment methods used may include behavioral therapy, group counseling and family therapy. Medications may also be used to help alleviate cravings for or pleasurable sensations derived from using drugs or alcohol.


    Staying sober is part of any plan recovering individuals with addiction face but it is not always easy. Aftercare programs support continuation of outpatient therapy, provide support and help guide individuals through the journey.

    Treatment Barriers

    Staying in an addiction treatment program is challenging so facilities want to ensure successful recovery for every individual. Veterans often need to overcome several obstacles. These may include:

    • Belief of addiction equating to weakness
    • Inability to find treatment options
    • Lack of health coverage
    • Inability to pay for insurance or co-pays to lessen the burden

    Asking for Help

    Veterans with addiction should never be afraid or hesitant to ask for help with overcoming addiction. In spite of what some believe, addiction is not weakness. Therapists may need to step in to help assist addicted veterans and medical professionals can screen for and assess addiction while referring veterans to suitable addiction treatment programs. The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is one of the best places for veterans with addiction to turn when needing treatment to help support the cost of treatment, mental health services or other necessary support services. In this way, veterans learn they are not alone and will find support for their addiction.

    Sustain Recovery provides a unique approach to adolescent care. Call us to find out more about our programs and how we can support the young adult in your life who needs help recovering from addiction.

  6. Is Ibogaine hallucination a way out of Heroin Addiction?

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    Is Ibogaine hallucination a way out of Heroin Addiction?


    Ibogaine is an experimental alternative treatment for various forms of substance addiction. It provides therapeutic relief from many substance withdrawals and even some behavioral addictions like obsessive compulsive disorder, self-harm, and problem gambling.

    Opiate addicts seem to benefit the most, though, with about 80 percent of cases reporting improvements.

    What Is It?


    Ibogaine actually the active chemical in the African Tabernanthe Iboga, a root used traditionally in the West African Bwiti religion for various ceremonies and rituals. Although illegal in the US for its strong psychedelic qualities, ibogaine is used medicinally for for reducing the symptoms of heroin and opioid withdrawals. It appears to interrupt mechanisms in the brain that are conditioned to influence and maintain opioid addiction. Large doses of ibogaine can temporarily eliminate substance-related cravings. It’s not the only drug to do this, but it’s one of the safest, least abuse-prone out there.

    How Does It Work?


    Ibogaine works by acting on the brain’s receptor systems and resetting dopamine uptake pathways; this allows the brain “rewire” itself, thus eliminating conditioned responses to opioid drugs. ibogaine helps eliminate habitual thought patterns, and that’s the key to reestablishing normal neurochemistry. It works on a purely physiological level.

    Ibogaine for Addiction Treatment


    There are very few ibogaine treatment centers in the world right now: just a few in Mexico, Australia, and Europe. Before undergoing ibogaine treatment, patients should be screened, assessed, and approved by a psychiatrist. Individuals with heart conditions, high blood pressure, or organ conditions should inform their doctor before taking ibogaine, and anyone with a history of psychological illness, especially addiction, should avoid this substance. Ibogaine shouldn’t be mixed with any other drugs unless a doctor approves it.

    Side Effects?


    ibogaine may cause nausea, vomiting, numbness, and, most notably, auditory and visual hallucinations that can last up to 20 hours on a single dose. During these hallucinations, patients are sometimes immobilized. Ibogaine can also cause anxieties and/or intense emotional distortions, in which case you should stop taking the drug immediately and contact a professional healthcare provider.

    If you live in the US, ibogaine treatment isn’t an option for you. However, there are numerous similar medicinal and behavioral treatments for drug withdrawals. Call Sustain to discuss our approach to drug withdrawal and the use of medical agonists as relapse-preventers: (949) 637-5499

  7. Getting Help for a Loved One with a Gambling Problem

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    Getting Help for a Loved One with a Gambling ProblemCompulsive gamblers often justify their conduct by arguing that it is a solitary activity. They claim that they gamble by themselves and that they are not hurting anyone when they do gamble. Their families and friends, however, know that the truth is exactly the opposite. Compulsive gamblers will be increasingly disassociated from their families, careers, and friends; they will use money for gambling and leave their families short of funds for food and shelter. Their gambling takes a larger psychological toll on their relationships as they turn increasingly inward to satisfy their compulsions. Families and friends who are faced with the challenge of dealing with a compulsive gambler will have no idea where to begin. Fortunately, they have access to a growing pool of resources that can offer assistance with their need and desire to help a loved one who has a gambling problem.

    Getting Help for a Loved One with a Gambling Problem

    Before taking any rash action, a person should make an effort to understand gambling addiction and to confirm that their loved one has fallen prey to it. Compulsive gamblers are unable to control their actions when faced with an opportunity to gamble. Over time, they seek out more and more opportunities to gamble. They spend larger sums of money to support their compulsion, they ignore work and family commitments to participate in gambling activities, they attempt to hide or downplay the amount of time and money they dedicated to gambling, and they might borrow or steal money to support their habits. No black-and-white rule exists to conclusively define a problem gambler, but if you have a loved one who exhibits a few of these symptoms, he may well be on a path toward developing a gambling addiction.

    You can use the same tactics with a problem gambler as you might use with a person who has a substance abuse problem. If you confront a problem gambler about his or her actions, stay as objective and non-judgmental as is possible. Do not blame yourself for the problem, and avoid heated arguments. Focus on how your loved one’s gambling is affecting you and your family. If you concentrate only on your negative impressions of the gambler, you may trigger his defensiveness and the conversation will rebound onto you.

    Treatment for Gambling Addiction

    Take pains to avoid any enabling activities of your own. Do not give or lend money to a gambler. Do not make excuses for him, for example, by agreeing to call his employer to excuse an absence or to explain why he might be missing a family event. Beware of any manipulative conduct on the part of the problem gambler. Addicts, including gambling addicts, develop an almost uncanny ability to cover their tracks and to have other people cover for them. When you have determined that your loved one is a problem gambler, you may need to put some distance between him and yourself to protect you from that manipulation.

    Look for resources that can help you as a friend or family member of a loved one who has a gambling problem. Support groups can give you more tools and techniques that can increase your likelihood of succeeding in getting help for the problem gambler. Lastly, understand that your efforts to help a problem gambler will take time. Do not expect an immediate resolution of a problem that might have taken months or years to develop. Convincing a compulsive gambler to get help may require persistence and patience on your part.


    For additional suggestions on how you can help a compulsive gambler whose actions are affecting your life, please call Sustain Recovery Services at (949) 407-9052. We can provide confidential counseling to help both you and your family member to address and stop a compulsive gambling problem.

Sustain Recovery changed my life in a way I never considered remotely possible. I arrived in a place where I knew nobody. Sustain Recovery gave me tools so that I never had to be alone again. I learned how to live like an adult and have genuine relationships with other human beings. I gained a sense of self respect, love, and pride from the challenges I was given by staff. I was able to work through the recent loss of my father and I achieved my goal of not taking any psychiatric medication.
I learned that life is an endless balancing act. I have to continually work on myself and my relationships with the people in my life. The staff at Sustain Recovery are all incredibly experienced and spiritual. They were available to me whether I wanted their help or not. Through their efforts and experience, I experienced the inner workings of having an intimate, loving relationship with a loving creator.
Sustain Recovery is “home” for me. I discovered a loving, caring family that helped launch me to a place I would have never dreamed and, if I would have dreamed it, I would never have believed I would be able to accomplish it.

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