Tag Archive: alcoholism

  1. Risks and Dangers of Alcohol Withdrawal

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    Can alcohol withdrawal be dangerous? The simple answer is yes. It can trigger serious conditions like seizures or psychotic episodes, and can sometimes be fatal. An individual who wants to withdraw from alcohol should seek medical guidance, so that they can be properly diagnosed and treated.

    Why Does Alcohol Withdrawal Require Treatment?

    A lot of people don’t realise the how dangerous alcohol addiction withdrawal can be. While all cases of substance abuse have withdrawal periods, alcohol withdrawal is one of the few that can actually be deadly. Why is that?

    The answer can be found in the way alcohol affects the body. When an individual is a chronic user of alcohol over a long period of time, it alters their brain chemistry. Some of the signals and chemical reactions in the brain become dependent on the alcohol. As a result, when the individual stops drinking abruptly, the brain is left unprepared for the lack of alcohol. This leads to other problems that can grow worse as time goes by.

    Alcohol Withdrawal Symptoms

    These can range from mild to extreme. Withdrawal from alcohol begins within 6 to 24 hours after the individual has had their last drink. Initial symptoms include shaking, headaches, sweating, anxiety, nausea and vomiting. The more serious symptoms surface approximately 12 to 24 hours later. The individual may find that they are getting confused, experiencing tremors, getting agitated and hallucinating.

    It only gets worse. One or two days later the individual can start to experience seizures, high blood pressure, fever and delirium. This is the most dangerous time during the alcohol detox, as there have been cases of people dying in this period. Once the individual is past the 48 hour mark, the symptoms start fading and by the time a week has passed, they are usually over the acute withdrawal period. It is important to note that the risk of relapse is very high during withdrawal.

    How Medically Assisted Detox Can Help

    After learning the dangers of alcohol withdrawal, it is quite clear why the individual who wants to detox from alcohol must do so with medical assistance. A doctor will be able to prescribe medications to ease the withdrawal symptoms and provide the necessary care. An individual wanting to medical care for the alcohol detox must take the following steps:

    1. Find a certified clinic to go through the withdrawal phase. This can be a hospital or a residential treatment center.
    2. Talk to a doctor to understand the treatment options out there and make a decision about what kind of program is best suited to the individual.
    3. Follow up therapy is a must. Merely going through a detox program will not cure the individual’s addiction to alcohol. 12 Step  Programs, counseling and other kinds of therapy is needed to help the individual come to terms with their addiction and identify new and healthy coping mechanisms

    Sustain Recovery has a unique approach to adolescent care. A typical residential treatment program supports a stay of 30-90 days but may be longer to help an individual find longer-term solutions to addiction. Call us to find out how we can help you get on the road to recovery.

  2. Writing and Staying Creative During Recovery

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    Drug addiction and alcoholism take an emotional toll on their sufferers. Recovering from a substance abuse problem requires an addict to confront and to open up about his emotions and feelings he experienced while he was addicted. However, many recovering addicts, and especially teens and adolescents who are recovering from substance abuse problems, have difficulties in articulating their emotions in conversations with therapists and recovery groups. Recovering addicts and alcoholics who are unable to talk about their feelings often find that writing and other creative endeavors are a more effective method for dealing with the emotions that accompany addiction.

    Recovering addicts and alcoholics who have not done a lot of writing can easily get started with a daily journal. Like most creative writing, journaling has no rules and journal entries do not need to be profound or in-depth. A person can simply write few sentences at the end of each day to describe how his day went, or to record a specific event that stood out during the course of that day. Over time and with regular entries, a person’s journal will become more detailed and he will include more information about his feelings and reactions to events, often without even realizing that his entries are becoming more involved. He can then look back over those entries to better understand the external forces and his emotional responses to those forces that led him into drug or alcohol use.

    Writing and journaling are only one of the many creative activities that can help a recovering addict to better connect with his inner feelings and emotions. Some addicts might have greater talents in painting or drawing, and their creative output can become a non-verbal visual expression of their innermost thoughts. Other recovering addicts might pursue gardening, clothing design, cooking or baking, music performances, or creative physical movement. With each of these endeavors, the creative thought processes that go into the activity become an expression of a recovering addict’s emotions that the addict is not able to easily verbalize in individual or group therapy sessions.

    These activities have an added benefit in that they engage a recovering addict in the present moment of creation, which helps him to avoid the boredom and distractions that might tempt him back to substance abuse. Drugs and alcohol take precedence over an addict’s thoughts and activities and continue to exert a sense of dominance when an addict is in recovery. Writing and other creative activities will alleviate a recovering addict’s boredom and push aside the lingering pressure that drugs and alcohol exert on his thought processes.

    Like all tools and techniques that addiction recovery counselors might use, writing and creative activities, by themselves, will not accomplish the recovery and long-term sobriety that a former substance abuser is striving for. They are one of several tools that a recovering addict can use to help him on that journey. Further, no two addicts respond to recovery tools and techniques in the same way. A creative outlet that works well for one recovering addict may be of no benefit for another. Counselors and addiction recovery specialists can best help their clients by developing a recovery program that is specific to their specific addiction problems and their personalities.

    Sustain Recovery Services in southern California helps adolescents and young adults to discover their own best creative outlets to help them defeat their drug addiction and alcohol problems. Please see our website or call us at 949-407-9052 for more information about our services or to arrange a confidential consultation with one of our counselors.

  3. Relapse Prevention for Teens in Recovery

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    Teens who are struggling to overcome substance abuse problems often have a much more difficult road ahead of them than adults who are fighting drug addiction and alcoholism. The combination of a teen’s still-developing brain that leads to poor impulse control, his limited perspective and life experiences, and his social networks and peer pressure often create the perfect storm to undermine every rehab effort and to push him toward one or more relapses Awareness of the problem is a good first step toward preventing relapses for teens who are recovering from drug addiction or alcoholism. Other specific steps can further reduce that risk.

    “Teen’s Relapse Triggers”
    Relapses are frequently a function of triggers that entice a recovering substance abuser back to drug or alcohol use. A teen’s relapse triggers might include exposure to drug or alcohol use among his peers, visiting physical locations where he previously used different substances, as well as more common teen emotional traits such as mood swings, stress responses, boredom, and self-pity. Parents and counselors who are working to keep a recovering teen away from a relapse should try to identify as many potential triggers as they can and then help him structure his schedule and daily routines to prevent any encounters with those triggers.

    “Identifying Triggers”
    Identifying triggers can help keep a teen away from them, but avoiding all relapse triggers at all times will not be possible. Teens also need tools and techniques to help them fend off the pressure they feel when they are faced with a relapse trigger. Those tools and techniques can include a heightened sense of awareness or “mindfulness” of the relapse risks, or connecting the teen with one or more recovery sponsors whom the teen can contact any time of day or night for support in staying away from drugs. Like adults who are struggling to overcome addiction, teens can also avoid relapse temptations by staying busy with exercise, creative endeavors like art and writing, and connecting with nature. Teens who find themselves bored or who begin to feel too good about their recoveries may find that relapse temptations are increasing. Learning to avoid relapse triggers and developing techniques to confront them are not one-time events, but both need to be ongoing processes that a recovering teen practices and relearns throughout his recovery.

    “Unnecessary Relapse”
    Teens and adults alike further should understand that contrary to some popular culture opinions, relapses do not need to be a normal or necessary part of addiction recovery. The incidents of relapses among recovering teen addict and alcoholics may be high, but relapse is not inevitable. A teen who expects to relapse will have a harder time dealing with relapse triggers than one who approaches recovery as a continuing activity with no inevitable milestones or backward steps.
    A teen who does relapse should not conclude that his recovery is a failure. Rather, he can immediately reconnect with a sponsor and support group to get his recovery back on track and to continue his recovery and rehab process. His sponsors and counselors can help him examine what caused the relapse and his recovery can be restructured to help him avoid a relapse in a similar situation. Sometimes, this can be as simple as simple as eating well and getting enough sleep so that the teen has a better general sense of how much better he acts and feels when he is sober. He may be experiencing symptoms of other psychosocial problems, including mild depression or anxiety that need to be treated separately. When a relapse is viewed from this perspective and caregivers provide the right response, a teen can come away from a relapse stronger and with even greater resolve to stay with his recovery.

    Sustain Recovery Services in southern California helps adolescents and young adults to stay on track with the rehab and recovery programs and to avoid relapses that drive them back to substance abuse. Please see our website or call us at 949-407-9052 for more information about our services or to arrange a confidential consultation with one of our counselors.

  4. Sobriety and Depression

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    Sobriety and DepressionOnce you embrace sobriety, everything seems a lot better. Finally you can wake up without a hangover. You can maintain normal relationships–relationships which benefit both yourself and the other person. Sobriety is being in touch with reality, and basing your decisions off real consequences and real benefits.

    Sobriety for an alcoholic is self-honesty. It’s shutting down that little devil on your shoulder who says Have just one beer! again and again and again. With this triumph comes a sense of power, and from that, depression begins to lift. After all, addiction and mental illness—most often depression—are practically two sides of the same coin.

     

    Sobriety and Depression

    Almost any recovering alcoholic can recall how their “downward spiral” began: innocently, at first. Maybe they drank on the weekends—or most days, but just a beer or two. That’s how it can re-start, too. Alcohol dependence is a progressive illness. Either it awakens a predisposition for clinical depression or it speeds it up dramatically. Keeping depression at bay means keeping alcohol out of your brain. The urge to drink will come, especially toward the end of your treatment, when you’re feeling confident—confident enough to believe you can start drinking casually again. It’s insulting to think we need some form of aftercare to keep us on your feet, self-aware, and strong, but we do.

     

    Sobriety and Aftercare

    For every stigma attached to mental illness–clinical depression, anxiety, and alcoholism–there is another attached the treatment for that illness. AA is widely criticized for being a “cult.” Pharmaceuticals are mythologized as zombifying-slave-pills. Many just don’t realize that treatment for mental illness is a trial and error process; that they take some time and group effort from the patient, their family, and their healthcare providers.

    No two individuals respond to the same prescription or psychologist the same way. The brain is complicated; brains are complicated, because they’re all so different. And that’s what the therapy, the group meetings, the sponsors, and the support network are there for: to provide you with individualized support through the sobriety journey. It’s an ongoing project.

     

    Sobriety and Psychological Struggle

    Sobriety won’t be easy. Cravings rarely vanish once rehab is complete; they can persist for weeks, months, sometimes even years. It’s not entirely impossible that you’ll be able to drink socially again sometime in the future, but it’s also up to you—and whoever knows you and cares—to make that call responsibly. Talk to your family often, make sobriety an open subject, and always keep a few outside voices in your head.

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.

K.C.
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